Have you ever had one of the moments where you shout “YES!! That’s it!!” They may come fairly often or only infrequently. These significant ‘AHA’ moments can be transforming moments that turn your world upside down, or they can be smaller moments of gentle realization. I have had several of these moments in recent years as I have been reading and studying leadership. I have also been having them regularly again over the past six weeks, as I immerse myself in the Executive Coaching course in which I am currently enrolled. A course such as this causes you to re-examine your own personal values and dig deep into your heart and mind. For some this is a painful experience of discovering deeply buried issues that need to be resolved. For others it can be a moment of enlightenment or a reawakening of the soul. The bottom line is that you further your understanding of who and why you are.
This is a message I have come to embrace, mostly from my reading of Kouzes and Posner’s The Leadership Challenge (2012), as well as their work on Credibility. As stated in Strengthening Credibility: A Leader’s Workbook (2011), “Your ability to earn and sustain credibility depends first and foremost on how well you know yourself” (p.33). Seashore, Shawver, Thompson & Mattare also touched on this when they stated, “…the concepts of self-awareness, perceptions, choices and actions [are] the fundamental building blocks of our capacities to be effective agents of change” (2004).
I’ve had the opportunity to witness how getting to know oneself better can move one to action and create change. I have a client who was struggling in her role as a leader in her organization. In the course of our coaching sessions it came to light that she was not aware of her own values. I was able to put my client through a values discovery process, where she sorted and refined a set of values for herself. She then wrote down the five values she selected and created a “commitment to values to-do list”. This enabled her to focus on who she is, to create an opportunity for self-awareness, and additionally, to put together a plan to fully integrate her values into her day to day activities; in other words to strengthen those values. This process was helpful for her in recognizing some of the gaps in her leadership skills. This set this individual well on her way to narrowing those gaps, and becoming more comfortable in her leadership role.
When was your last ‘AHA’ moment, and what did you do about it?