A 6-part series focusing on impactful practices for developmental coaching conversations.
Recently I read two interesting books, Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday and Why am I Afraid to Tell You Who I am? by John Powell. Each book provided a fascinating opportunity for self-reflection (DEEP self-reflection) and although I don’t necessarily agree that ego is the ‘enemy’ per-say, I do believe it is vitally important to recognize the various shades of ego we naturally possess.
When we begin to identify and understand our ego nature, we begin to develop our discernment on what behaviors help or hinder us. As leaders, we need to continuously develop our ability to understand the defense mechanisms we play out in order to protect our inner self, i.e., games we play to protect or preserve our ego; and we all play these games.
To begin exploring our ego, it might be helpful to consider what are some of your “triggers” or “mental resisters”. Think about a time when you were cut off in traffic or when a client was to show up for a meeting and didn’t show with no notice. Where does your mind go? Do you curse at the driver who cut you off? Do you create a story about why the client didn’t show without notice? At times, our mental resisters kick into high gear and drive our emotions and behaviors either for the betterment or not.
Leadership is about being in the here and now, being fully present in a non-triggered, non-reactive state, taking responsibility for the impact we create with people and in all situations. So, it only makes sense for us to hold up the mirror and study our various shades of ego and ask ourselves, “Are my intentions aligned to the impacts I create?”.
Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself as you get in touch with your ego shades. Really pay attention to what gets conjured up within:
- What might I be resisting? Or, what am I moving towards or away from?
- What might I be attempting to prove? Or, avoid?
- What assumptions am I creating about myself? With others?
- What stories from my past have I created and how might I re-frame these stories?
- What game(s) do I play that keeps people from knowing my true self?
- How do I handle my failures? And, how has this become a patterned response?
Be courageous enough to ask yourself these questions and in front of a mirror – it may prove to be an awakening experience.
If you desire to be a leader who coaches effectively, then take necessary time and effort to get in touch with your ego and continue to be committed to self-development.
Next Up: Powerful Coaching Practice #4: The Artfulness of Asking Questions
Read Part 1 here.
Read Part 2 here.
Learn more how IMEC can help your leaders become impactful coaches here.