A while ago I was talking to one of my clients about recruiting talents and he said: “You know Marja, we are all looking for a sheep with 5 legs - and seem to forget that most sheep only have 4... We laughed and concluded that indeed we are always looking for the ideal but obviously the ideal is hard to find - if it even exists. The saying kept swimming in my head for a while and I often think about it when I am facilitating training programs for future coaches. Future coaches tend to be very ambitious when it comes to the development of their coachees. They see an amazing potential for improvement and strongly belief that with their powerful and inspiring guidance their coachees will develop into a fully equipped and transformed 5 legged high performer. Which obviously is rarely the case as it does not work that way.
“OK”, they say, “Then tell us how it does work in your perspective..!” And then I start explaining about Intrinsic Motivation and the Self Determination Theory and Natural and Instinctive Learning and that their first job as a coach is to find out what is important to their coachee as a starting point for any progression to be made.
Because that is what gets people going - having a goal, aiming for something, having an objective to work towards. What the goal is can be many - everybody is different. Some people may go for good relations with co workers, others may find a high level of competence the most rewarding for themselves, or they want to achieve the utmost autonomy in the execution of their job. Or any combination of the three. This is always an eye opener to the new coaches - not to think from their own perspective, but to learn to think from the perspective of the other person, their coachee, and learn to address their needs in order to get them where they want or need to go.
In “The Godfather I” there is a part where the old Godfather shares his advice with his son , the new Godfather, saying “If you learn to think like other people, everything is possible”. And I think that is very true - whether it is Sales or Coaching or Consulting, or any other profession where you may want to sway people’s opinion or influence their behaviour, if you learn to think like the other person - if you are really empathetic - and you learn to leverage on that, you can achieve everything.
The gift of Empathy is a powerful tool in helping others cope with their challenges. Authentic leaders are able to deploy the gift of Empathy with discretion and integrity without being manipulative. If you want to win as an organization you need to let your people play the game: Engage, Empower, Perform, Enjoy together in order to establish best results and performance.
Marja van Soest has been working as a director, trainer, consultant and coach in international Sales, Service and Leadership for over 25 years for a diversity of companies and audiences. Parallel to her business career Marja is a sports trainer specializing in In and Outdoor Cycling. Combining her passion for sports, groups, individual and organizational performance Marja developed a highly effective model on Motivation and Engagement underlying coaching, training and leadership interventions in organizational and personal change and development initiatives: Engage, Empower, Perform, Enjoy. Using this model to empower leaders to build a culture of trust is her inspiration for both business and sports practices.
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