Working at the edge

For those ready to go beyond what is familiar, working at the edge creates a step-change for those interested in bringing more self-awareness to how they lead themselves, and therefore how they lead others and how they lead in society.

The techniques I use in this work are a blend of Western coaching psychological approaches to the mind, and Eastern meditation qualities – such as relaxation, presence and being in a ‘here and now’ state. This blend is tailored so each leader experiences both approaches working effectively together for their individual benefit.

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Most psychology is rooted in the past; for example – I believe I am the way I am because of things that happened to my family or me in the past. This includes patterns I learned that have become habitual and defences I erected that have become automatic. Understanding this enables leaders to see how the past is affecting their current performance, and from the basis of that understanding find ways to increase their effectiveness. While this is certainly helpful for my clients, as an Executive Coach I have become aware of the potential to help leaders who are ready to move to a different frame completely.

This potential comes from working with the edge between leadership coaching and mindfulness. In ‘new psychology’ there is an alternative approach for leaders who want to grow their self-awareness and ability to operate with ‘what is’. As leaders learn to do this, they will lead from a different space within themselves.

A foundation of the new psychology is the understanding that when we have a problem, we tend to ‘lock’ or ‘cramp’ around it. In this locked state we become ‘smaller’ than the problem. In other words the problem becomes bigger than us. When the problem is bigger than us it is more powerful than we are. This is because when we are smaller, we are in a regressed state with our identity rooted in the past. Therefore the work of the coach is to help the client ‘unlock’ and come into the present moment where they are bigger than the problem. When a client unlocks and stays with their feelings, they are able to be open and curious about what they are experiencing. This is the starting point of the work.

The unlocking process tends to reveal how our minds tend to ‘put the brakes on’ and present many ways to dissociate from the present. For example, a typical way we block ourselves is to come up with a problem to cramp up around. We grab the problem to take us back into known territory, where we feel familiarity and a sense of control. Yet the truth is that nothing new can happen from this old place.

By learning to work with what is present in the ‘now’ leaders can move beyond this old place of being problem-oriented. Then other orientations become possible – and these go hand in hand with higher order thinking such as relational intelligence, systemic awareness, creativity, innovation and vision. It is from this place the leader becomes truly resourceful and able to handle their challenges with confidence.

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