Welcome leaders and coaches. Today we are exploring two brain tricks into a successful future: what does that look like and how do we get there? Marilyn O’Hearne here with weekly wisdom.
Brain Trick One into a Successful Future: Look into the future and imagine the headline six months from now or 12 months from now.
- If we were reading about you or your team what would we be reading?
- What would be the success in the title and within the article?
- What would we be reading about the obstacles that we have overcome or you have overcome?
Then we (if we are partnering for team or leadership coaching) work backwards along the timeline of what needs to happen and what obstacles might be encountered. By stepping into the successful future and looking back, this brain trick avoids some of the fear and the drawbridge coming up in our brains when we think about moving forward and the obstacles that we may be encountering. Our systems and brains naturally resist change. Our brains resist ideas that can lead to disruptive change-“danger, danger!” the alarms go off, the drawbridge comes up. When change seems to be coming or we start planning for it, our brain’s “drawbridge” comes up to protect us, and closes us off. When we speak of the future as if it has already occurred or is occurring, our brains perceive it as already occurring and the drawbridge stays down. We are not closed off, we are open to our successful future. So that’s step one or one option.
Braintrick two to a successful future: When you are coaching or you’re in a leadership meeting guiding someone else and they’re uncertain, which is so common today in our rapidly changing world, instead of focusing on the fear and obstacles, ask “what is the part of you that will move you forward?” It’s a strength-based approach; that’s what coaching is about. As coaches, we believe people are creative, resourceful and whole and that question is a way of accessing strengths. A neuroscientist and coach, Joan King, introduced me to this question, which has become one of my favorite coaching questions.
The part of me that keeps me moving forward toward my vision is my adventurous scout from childhood. I vividly recall running ahead of my family on a family vacation to scout out what was ahead and then excitedly running back to share that with the rest of the family. The part of you that moves you forward is usually something from childhood, and carries positive energy with it.
Another question you can ask is “How have you successfully handled this in the past?” And if the person or the team doesn’t have an experience at successfully handling that in the past then you can say “Who do you know that has, and what have you learned from observing them?” Again instead of focusing on the fear and the obstacles, it’s on the strengths and the part of you that you know will move you forward.
If we’re focusing on the obstacles and fear that’s where we will stay, where our brain stays instead of into the solutions and the way forward to your successful future. Imagine the shift in your team and organizational culture when you make this shift. Train your brain to focus on solutions, your successful future, the part of you that will move you forward by daily envisioning, writing and talking about it.
Additional considerations for successful future meetings:
Some organizations are sharing the questions that need to be answered in advance of meetings rather than an agenda of what needs to be covered, to help with this future success boosting shift.
I invite you to consider adding these questions to your meetings: how will this plan be impacted by culture (Examples: culture of your target market: gender, generation, nationality, ethnicity, race, education level, urban/rural, etc.?) How will our organizational culture impact the plan? This is exercising cultural intelligence, the recognizing and understanding of the beliefs, values, attitudes, rank and behaviors of people (including your own!) with distinct cultural identities; and then applying that awareness toward effective behavior and communication.
I hope you find these two brain tricks into a successful future, for unlocking potential as you successfully step into your future helpful.
I look forward to hearing from you about how you are stepping into your successful future! Please let me know how I may be of further service as an executive, team and mentor coach as well as coaching supervisor.
To our potential, prosperity and peace-we are in this together!
Marilyn O’Hearne, MSW, MCC, LLC
CQ Master Certified Coach, International Coach Federation #unlockallpotential