As a corporate professional I have had a unique opportunity to work with many people across many different professions, industries and cultures. I have learned that the pervasiveness of the inner judge and critic, the ‘masks’ we tend to wear, and our ways of blocking ourselves, is remarkably constant.
Through this I have gained a number of fundamental understandings that have proved invaluable because they support individuals to get to the underlying patterns, assumptions and beliefs informing their behaviour. And whilst I am meeting individuals in a professional context, where people want to grow and develop their careers, invariably this touches all areas of their lives.
Executive coaching and career development
In the work I do with executives, developing their careers, I am struck that at some point each ambitious, driven, talented person I meet comes to a point of realisation. For continuing career success they will need to learn new ways. There comes a point of realising that “What got me here will not sustain me further in this career”, and a fundamental transformation needs to take place. Without such a transition individuals continue to suppress and be unaware of what causes their ‘default’ thinking to be repetitive or reactive, predetermined or unaware, and for many this is the point at which their career plateaus.
Two reasons to make the transition
- To keep suppressing oneself – letting the judge, critic or ‘mask’ direct an individual’s thinking absorbs so much energy and effort that the executive finds they don’t have the capacity to take on bigger roles. It is not sustainable.
- The complexity of challenges in corporate life are met more effectively by someone who is prepared to say “I don’t know; however, I have the confidence that we can find a way”
Those executives who embrace self-awareness with the intent to become better leaders make this transition. And it is through understanding their patterns and assumptions, their judge/critic/’mask’, that they are able to do this. As individuals open more and allow more of who they truly are to be expressed, they become more visionary leaders, who are more able to engage their teams to the vision required to respond to business challenges.