We all use tools as part of our daily life, from a can opener to a washing machine to a socket wrench. They all have a specific purpose in helping to make our lives easier, better, as long as we chose our tools wisely.
The #tools, which are an integral part of #LeaderLine coaching, are no exception. The #toolkit we provide and offer to our coachees is built from years of experience and first-hand knowledge of what works and is important for leaders to have in their work belt. They are designed to overcome challenges #leaders face by providing additional skills and development. They can be: a whole new way of thinking, just valuable food for thought, stretch a leader’s thinking or confirm what a leader is already doing right but with perhaps a bit of added learning.
LeaderLine has many (currently 40) and wide-ranging tools that are available for both the #coaches to recommend and the coachees to use. They are all created to make it quick and easy for the reader to understand and apply, even when they have not been discussed directly with their coach. You may have seen the recent LinkedIn post about the #Resiliency tool as an example of one of them in action. Other favourites include States of a Relationship, Message Framing, Planes of Engagement, Stretch Zone.
This repertoire is expanded by the use of personal favourites of coaches who have been using their own tried and tested tools in addition to the toolkit. This gives coachees an incredible choice of supportive material to enhance their experience and the outcomes achieved from the coaching they receive.
However, not every tool is appropriate and it is the skill of the coach as masters of their craft that ensures the right one is chosen at the right time for their coachees. It is no good giving someone a Philips screwdriver to remove a slotted countersunk screw for example!
And we are not precious about them but encourage coachees to share those they have found beneficial to use with others in their organisation too.
We are continually adding in new tools, often based on needs that we uncover during coaching. This applies to one tool that is not yet in the kit but which will be the next to join.
Time and again, LeaderLine are recommending this practice as beneficial for any leader. It is a tool that is essential for any leader but does not always get put in the diary or, if it is, gets all too easily overridden by seemingly more urgent business. However, we believe that it is a mark of good leadership practice and is something that every great leader should prioritise. I won’t ask you to guess what it is because the title of this blog will have somewhat given it away!
Yes, you are right – reflection time. Creating time and space, a stop moment to take a breath and give yourself the chance to look at the bigger picture, or find the best solution (rather than diving too quickly into the more obvious but perhaps less effective solution), or plan the next step, or just reflect on what has gone really well and where there is room for learning.
There are many ways you can use this valuable time to help you in your role as a leader, to regain perspective and control.
Coaching itself enables a time for reflection – a safe space away from the day-to-day. This is recognised and much valued by our coachees. However, the challenge comes about when they are back in the busy workday. It needs ‘untouchable’ time, when it is practical for you or the right time (e.g. when a difficult point in a project needs some quiet thought). It does not always have to be as much as an hour a week even (though that would be great!). Sometimes, 15 minutes of quiet, focused time can be just as beneficial. Here are a couple of golden rules to get you started on this lifelong habit:
• If you bump it out of your diary (you are the only one who can do that!) always immediately rebook it
• Be clear before you start what you want to reflect on (purpose); don’t spend precious reflection time choosing
• Find a quiet space with no interruptions (that may even mean not staying in the office but going for a walk or a coffee)
• Keep working at making time to reflect, don’t give it up when it gets tough to find that time; it may be that you need to rethink how you fit it in to your schedule – be creative.
And the rest, as they say, will be written in the tool!
And as a note to finish on, to show how important we think this practice is, LeaderLine has its own reflection app designed to aid progress through the coaching programme which you will find all about when you sign up for coaching with LeaderLine.