Coaching For Growth: Lessons Learned On The Path To Self-Transformation

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Understanding one's stage of self-awareness development as an executive coach who facilitates leaders to practice conscious leadership is crucial. My own developmental journey emphasized the need to pay attention to how my beliefs and assumptions enabled my effectiveness in varied contexts and interactions.

I realized the importance of aligning my developmental stage with my role and goals. As a learning practitioner, it was clear to me that unless I became able to make sense of my own way of being and acting at a level essential for enabling others to transform, I would not be acting with a high degree of integrity. Nor would I be effective.

What provoked the realization that I was stuck in a level of mindset that was not going to serve me was my encounter with one of the leaders of consultancy that I was seeking to join.

My Pivotal Moment

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During an interview, the company director asked me, "What are your strengths?" Proudly, I responded, "According to my StrengthsFinder, my strengths are Activator, Communication, Connectedness, Woo, and Positivity." I believed I was showcasing my expertise. However, my ego took a hit when the director responded, "I don't want you to define yourself by an instrument. I want to know your essence, who you are."

My Transformation Journey

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Despite the rocky start, I was hired. At the beginning of our professional relationship, the director played the bad cop, challenging my tendency to act as the subject matter expert. He aimed to unveil my authentic self, and this feedback served as a wake-up call for me to reflect on who I truly was.

At this point, I needed a framework that I could understand that would help me find my way to what many call a “later stage of meaning-making.” Enter Robert Kegan's five stages of adult development, a framework that, despite my conceptual understanding, revealed a disparity between my self-assessment and reality. Believing I was at a stage referred to as Self-Authoring Mind focused on what I could create of value according to my own standards, I discovered I was operating from the perspective of Socialized Mind, which draws self-esteem and orientation based on how others would judge me.

I engaged the support of an executive coach, driven by my eagerness to learn, enabling a breakthrough that helped me transition from a Socialized Mind to Self-Authoring Mind. I was able to free myself from always needing to know the answers, to be more comfortable with the ambiguity of not knowing, and to be more collaboratively accepting of others’ perspectives.

Power Of Coaching In My Journey

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This experience highlighted the power of coaching that fosters self-awareness and transformation. I acknowledged that I wouldn't have progressed to higher stages without my coach's guidance. This personal evolution equipped me with the wisdom to help others grow.

Another resource, Jennifer Garvey Berger's book Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex World, deepened my understanding of transformation. It guided me on how to assist others in identifying their level of development and fostering corresponding growth.

My journey underscored the importance of self-awareness, coaching, and aligning developmental stages with professional roles. This experience fueled my passion for enabling others to navigate their transformative journeys.

Your Journey

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As you reflect on my journey of self-discovery and professional growth, consider your own path. What stage of development are you in, and where do you feel called to be to lead more effectively? Are you ready to embrace the transformative power of coaching, self-reflection, and continuous learning?

If you're ready to unlock your full potential, take the first step today. Seek a coach, explore relevant literature, and commit to your own evolution. Remember, the journey to self-awareness and authentic leadership is ongoing—embrace it and you will empower yourself to inspire meaningful change in both your professional and personal spheres. Your transformative journey awaits!

Man on laptop enjoys summer while working full time

There you are: sitting on the beach, covered in sunscreen, reading your favorite book, drinking your favorite drink under the cool shade of an umbrella. Life doesn't get any better than this. Suddenly, a door slams, a phone rings, a printer turns on. You jolt back into consciousness. You're at work, sitting in your cubicle, without even a hint of sunshine streaming in from outside.

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