Letting Go

Leaders are quite excited to begin working with a coach.  As a coach, I begin the process by orienting the leader to the coaching process, and in the dialogue, I learn what they want:  more skills, more clarity, more effectiveness, more success.  Invariably, they are shocked when I ask them what they want to eliminate!  Acquisition had been their focus.  It’s a wonderful moment in the coaching conversation; silence as the leader thinks.  The shift begins:  the realization that the “end product” is the self, not a shopping cart to be filled with fabulous prizes. 

What had worked for a leader earlier in her/his career may not have the same success today.  Rather than amplifying an old skill or adding a new technique on top of the old one, it is essential to take stock.  What are you doing that you no longer need to do?  What role have you outgrown?  In what ways are you holding yourself back?  What behaviors no longer serve you? 

Six months from now, what do you want to celebrate having eliminated from your life?

7 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. Mary Ellen, Great post! Very thought-provoking! Those questions can be applied to anyone in any position. As a person grows and experiences work and life daily challenges and situations, what worked before may not be effective now.

  2. In Marshall Goldsmiths book ” What got you here won’t get you there addresses the points you we making. I also believe your behavior directly affects everyone within your organization. Your behavior directly influences your organization’s
    profitability.

  3. I can’t recall the source of the quote, but it goes something like this: “It’s not difficult to learn new information. What is difficult is to forget old information”.

    Pruning is always hard!

  4. I love the shift in the conversation that those questions create. I also think it would be worthwhile to distinguish between eliminating & letting go.
    I think that quote, btw is this, by Dee Hock, who created the concept of the VISA card, amongst other things:
    The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out. Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.
    -Dee Hock

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