“My coaching engagement with Neal has been the most productive one I’ve experienced. I won’t say it was always the most pleasant because during our meetings, I had to face some hard truths about myself. And not only did I have to face those truths, but I also had to make some decisions about what I wanted to do about them. I say with affection that Neal’s “relentless challenging” helped make me a better leader and improve my executive presence. Neal helped motivate me to be able to achieve some key objectives, which I’ve listed below:
Determine what’s important and focus – For too long, I had been reacting to things around me because it was easier than trying to drive change or make tough decisions. By reviewing how I was spending my time and digging into my motivations, I was able to reveal that truth. Simultaneously, I have now been able to identify what is truly important and focus on that while either delegating other activities or realizing they didn’t add value and respectfully retiring them.
Motivate myself – Previously, I was lacking self-motivation and was focused on accomplishing tasks because checking those off my list made me feel like I was achieving something, when I really wasn’t. Through our discussions and exercises, as mentioned above, I was able to uncover what is important to me and that has helped me find my purpose again. By understanding that purpose, I am now able to motivate myself because I’m doing things I truly believe are meaningful.
Remove barriers – I had built up a fairly comprehensive catalog of reasons why I couldn’t achieve some of my goals. Some of those excuses were based on organizational structure, some on the behaviors of co-workers and for a very few I assumed full responsibility. Many of those were based on irrational fear. By challenging me and making me examine the barriers that I had effectively constructed, we were able to dismantle them and that has made me fearless, but not in a reckless manner. I’ve simply stopped buying into my own BS and begun looking at things through a new lens where those barriers no longer exist.
Find my voice….and own it – The culmination of these accomplishments is that I’ve been able to find a clear voice of who I am as an executive and what my purpose is in the organization. This goes far beyond job titles and responsibilities and has given me more peace of mind than I have had in a long time. As long as I’m true to who I believe I am, I can be a courageous leader.”