Mindset Coaching for Business Executives
Many people believe that preparing the right mindset for business is akin to a spirited pep rally before a major game, replete with motivational phrases and inspirational cheers. While these can certainly be effective, I'd like to delve into a more profound aspect of mindset. Let's explore the underlying emotions that influence every business decision and every conversation you engage in. I categorize these emotions into two distinct buckets:
a) Emotions that drive your actions, propelling you towards your goals (i.e., the ones that help you get things done).
b) Emotions lurking beneath the surface, often tied to inaction, causing you to falter (i.e., those that hinder progress).
In my work with corporate executives, I've consistently observed a common set of factors
that contribute to the "not getting it done" state. Procrastination, a lack of confidence, and an inclination towards indirect communication often reign supreme. Decisions get postponed while they grapple with the barriers in their path. What those around them perceive is ineffective leadership, manifesting as silent frustration and irritation due to sluggish decision-making and a seeming absence of authoritative command.
Ironically, this frustration seldom finds its way into 360 Reviews, making it imperative to scrutinize the emotions and feelings that underpin both scenarios as we reframe the concept of mindset in this context.
What is Mindset Coaching for Executives?
Rather than relying on clichéd motivational phrases and self-help books, Mindset Coaching for Executives delves deep into the emotional undercurrents that steer our actions and, at times, our inactions.
Consider the scenario of dealing with a high-drama employee who needs to be let go. This conversation is far from invigorating; in fact, you might secretly hope it vanishes into thin air. You delay taking action to terminate the person's employment because you fear being cast as the "bad guy" – you'd rather be well-liked. Here, mindset coaching is all about identifying the core emotion – fear – and allowing yourself to truly feel it for a brief period, typically 1-2 minutes, allowing it to permeate your body. This process involves embracing your fear, and you'll likely discover that it doesn't bite. Additionally, you'll notice the tension ebbing away. At this point, you're prepared to embrace forward-leaning emotions that can guide you toward the desired outcome, averting any delays or procrastination.
The longer you postpone acknowledging and processing an emotion, the deeper it embeds itself in your inaction. Once fear has been isolated and acknowledged, you can work on shaping how you want to feel at the end of the challenging conversation and the specific outcome you aim to achieve. For example, you might aspire to feel optimistic or relieved when you let Bob go, with the overarching result being the restoration of creativity and collaboration within the team negatively affected by Bob's presence.
Allow me to illustrate this concept through the story of Sean, a senior VP at a medium-sized company, who grappled with managing strong personalities within his team. Through mindset coaching, he unearthed his underlying feelings of inferiority towards these team members, driven by their extensive resumes and esteemed status within their professional community. Sean underwent a transformative shift in his mindset, transitioning from annoyance to confidence, and from nervousness and puzzlement to confidence and hope.
Armed with this new mindset, he entered subsequent conversations and meetings, and the dynamics began to shift. Sean spoke from a place of authority, leading the team toward innovative solutions.
The Stretch: A Practical Exercise in Executive Mindset
Identify a specific situation and put the executive mindset concept into practice. Start by recognizing the dominant, often negative emotion (such as fear, frustration, or hopelessness) associated with the situation. Use "I" statements to take ownership of this emotion, while remaining mindful not to pass judgment. Spend 1-2 minutes fully immersing yourself in that emotion.
1.) Identify Emotions: recognize the dominant, often negative emotion related to a situation (e.g., fear).
2.) Ownership: Use “I” statements to own this emotion for 1-2 minutes, avoiding judgement.
3.) Shift Focus: Define how you want to feel in an upcoming conversation or meeting, choosing empowering emotions (e.g., confidence).
Next, shift your focus by clearly defining how you want to feel in the upcoming conversation or meeting. Choose empowering emotions like confidence, optimism, or enthusiasm. Be prepared to witness the transformative impact of adopting this new perspective and engaging with your emotions. You may be pleasantly surprised at how this shift in mindset can bring about positive changes in your approach to the situation.
By embracing this exercise, you can positively transform your approach to situations, leveraging the power of mindset coaching.