Remember I mentioned Henry Ford’s quote in the 3rd part of the series “whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right”. Your beliefs about yourself influence your thoughts, so really what is at play here is an awareness of your inner beliefs and how those inner beliefs can determine your success as a leader. This part of the series relates to transitioning into a leadership role, and how your ingrained beliefs can make a success or failure of your move.
2 key questions:
What do you believe about your potential to succeed in the new role?
What do you assume it takes to succeed in the new role?
Identifying your beliefs in relation to what success looks like in the new role is a greatly beneficial exercise to undertake. Why? Because the beliefs that serve you well in life, can only serve you up to a certain point, and then they can become debilitating. There’s a whole library of neuroscience research and evidence which supports this which I won’t go in to here. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or take a look at our leadership coaching programmes, if you’re interested in being pointed in the direction of further reading.
Your beliefs shape your life.
A very brief summary is that our beliefs are ingrained in us from a young age. They shape everything we see and experience, and our perceptions of events reflect the beliefs we hold about them. We’re not conscious of them.
Let me illustrate through an example which is indicative of thousands of coaching assignments across the world each week. Let’s say “John” was told by his Dad that he was “wise with money” as a child and it made him beam at the time. Over time, his subconscious mind filters events so his perception of different experiences support that which he already believes to be the case. At some stage the belief expanded into “Spending money is foolish”. As it becomes reinforced, he becomes more and more cautious about spending. It also guides his choices about his career, and he chooses to study accountancy. It serves him well during university, he isn’t as broke as his mates and he comes back from his summers away with a few extra quid. It even serves him well in his 20’s and early 30’s as he builds his career – it also protects him from taking risks which would have backfired such as investing some of his savings just before the crash. All the more, with each experience, he reinforces the idea that taking risk with money and investment is foolish.
He gets promoted in work from senior accountant to finance director. He was a shoe in for it and he is delighted. In his eyes and those who surround him in work, there wasn’t really any point in interviewing anyone else for the role. But then all of a sudden, everything that has brought him to where he is today is being challenged. He has to sign off on current and future expenditure in a fast paced business environment with different department heads making different demands on him. Even the CEO has a word with him about his speed of decision making and lack of commerciality. He feels completely overwhelmed and begins to doubt everything.
His team see him floundering and it affects their confidence in his leadership. Inspiring confidence in his team isn’t even something John ever considered. He was just going to lead by example and do a great job. Before complete panic sets in, a coach is called in to help John see the wood from the trees, but some irreversible damage is already done, albeit not all is lost.
John made 2 key mistakes, which are repeatedly made over and over again in most businesses by key people in all types of scenarios.
He didn’t assess and evaluate how the beliefs he held about his ability and potential would serve him moving forward. This is almost impossible to do without a coach unless you possess the most exceptional levels of self-awareness. He didn’t critically diagnose his future position (pre or post appointment) and establish what would be required of him to make a success of it. The negative impact of either of these mistakes are intensified when moving into a new company, but you will be allowed more time to settle, so there is leeway in that regard. Potential of any opportunity comes from you.
There is no potential in a new position or a new company. There is no potential in a new market or new division. They all represent opportunity. The potential to experience success in any environment lies solely within you. It takes a heightened self-awareness to express your potential through your talent and strengths. The great news is that we can all improve at it, spending time on self-improvement and personal development being the starting point. Coaching is undoubtedly the chosen form of support for the majority of business leaders.
So before you transition in to a leadership role, internally or externally, ask yourself what about your success path to date will serve you well in the new position and what will impede you? What beliefs do you hold true about your potential to succeed? And what assumptions are you making about what is going to be required to succeed in the new position?
To learn more about the specific area of coaching that fits you, go to
Life Coaching and
Coaching for Companies.