Coach the Inner Core.
Lead from the Inside Out.

A coaching colleague of mine and I recently spent an afternoon examining, brainstorming, and developing meaningful leadership curriculum for a cohort of successful leaders who are dedicating a year to build their leadership capacity. Already successful technical leaders, our question is – how do we assist them in learning the value of reflecting on who they are and how they show up so they are leading from the inside out?

Based on our years of experience and knowledge we believe that identifying and building your inner core of values, strengths and purpose is the foundation for future success. We have found that authentic, dynamic leaders who have a gift to inspire and influence others are those who have engaged in executive or leadership coaching. The coaching experience offers a safe place to explore the most tender aspects of yourself and receive feedback in building a solid inner core. In turn, leaders who have received coaching tend to use coach like skills with their people.

This is part 2 in the 5-part series on the Inner Core of Leadership by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.

Reflection, Inner Core, Values, Purpose, Coaching, Leadership Development, Assessments, Relationship, Secure Environment, Non-Judgement, Communication, Strengths, Strengths Based Leadership, StrengthsFinder, Leadership Coach

Removing judgment facilitates change. Click To Tweet

In my work as a coach, I find that the stuff of character is the hardest, yet most significant aspect of leadership development. Professional leadership coaching, coupled with robust assessments such as The Leadership Circle 360, is the most effective approach.

Even the most conservative estimates show a five to seven times return on investment from leadership coaching (Price Waterhouse, ICF study). But coaching success depends on the relationship between leader and coach. This relationship must provide a secure environment that fosters vulnerability in exploring character strengths, weaknesses and beliefs.

Whether applied to work, life, or sports your inner core is where you begin to understand yourself and where you start to make key changes. Neither a new nor particularly revolutionary concept, it is based on a profound concept: focusing attention without judgment.

Removing judgment facilitates change. When you learn to observe behavior (your own and that of others) without criticism, you’ll start to see where alignment is needed and change is possible.

The Coach is a Nonjudgmental Partner

Communication skills, like listening and observing, are automatic and unconscious. Everyone thinks they know how to do them. In my experience, we are not always fully present and don’t always listen and observe without judgment – a requirement for achieving desirable conversational outcomes.

Leaders, like you, experience ineffective conversations all the time. When people don’t respond to our suggestions as delivered, we tend to repeat it louder or with different words, as if they do not hear us or don’t understand what you we’re saying. This invites resistance.

I find that few people enjoy being told what to do, especially when the boss comes across as critical or judgmental. As a leader with authority, you will likely be perceived as controlling and dictatorial. It doesn’t matter how well-intentioned you may be. We can change this dynamic through nonjudgmental observation, being present and listening.

Have you reflected on and articulated your inner core? Have you worked with a professional to assist you with this process? Or experienced a coach who was nonjudgmental? I’d love to hear from you. Contact me here and on LinkedIn.

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