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Good morning and Happy Monday! I’m Monica Wofford and this is your Monday Moment. This weekend I had a great opportunity to get some coaching and those of you who were there, know exactly the situation I’m talking about. Like some of the most poignant of coaching moments, it happened off the cuff and out of the blue, but at just the right time. My question to you is are you open to feedback and coachable moments, even in your capacity as a Contagious Leader – and even if all you lead is you?
The situation unfolded something like this: I asked an expert for her opinion in an area that I knew she had more information than I. what I was expecting was guidance and what I got was, well, guidance, but it came in a way that sounded like “funny you should ask.” Now, you and I both know that I had a choice of reactions at that point. As she proceeded to share with me what all I was doing differently than what she thought was best, I could have gotten defensive or retorted with the oh so mature “Nuh uh!”, but instead I listened and asked for more. Now, mind you, hearing that you are the poster child for the way something should not be done which is what she told me, is not the best way to wrap up a Saturday afternoon, but it turned into a fantastic coaching moment from which I learned and grew and now have a new expert partner willing to help me do better.
What do you do when someone says “funny you should ask?” If you’re coachable, or particularly, if you’re not, these guidelines or techniques may help:
1. Remember that those who do, every day, the job you are asking about, are often closer to the problem and solution than you are, meaning they likely know more and are worth listening to. This is mentioned in chapter 4 of Contagious Leadership in which I encourage leaders to ask for help. The key is that when you ask, be open to listening.
2. Know that there is no shortage of opinions out there and that even an expert may not know the right path for you, but still share his or her opinion of the road you “should” take. It is always your choice to listen, nod and smile and consequently ignore, OR consider their intent, their expertise and its value and decide to take their advice. Someone else telling you “you’re doing it wrong” does not make you wrong, it means they have an opinion… and we all have those, some stronger than others on things we’re particularly passionate about.
3. And finally, if you’re self esteem struggles with the fact that you don’t know everything about everything, then work on that first and work on gaining more knowledge second. It’s okay to be a leader and still not know everything. In fact, it helps those you lead feel more valuable and more respected when you take their advice to heart and then even DO something with the advice you asked for. This is not always possible, but when you are coachable, it at a minimum deserves your consideration.
There is a lot of information out there and it is becoming more and more difficult to know everything about… well, anything. Being coachable helps you improve. If you’re not coachable, it keeps you stuck in the position of needing to know it all while you continue to face the reality that you don’t. That is not a fun place to be. Stay coachable my friend and that, too, just like everything else we do, will be contagious. You want those you lead to be coachable, too, right? Well, it begins with you.
I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great Monday and of course, stay contagious!