I was talking to a colleague last week and she asked me how I had started coaching. This gave me a chance to reflect and reminisce, (which is always enjoyable). At school I was good at maths and science and when I went to university it seemed natural to study engineering. I put my training into practice as an army engineer.
I left in the late eighties and, without realising it, started work on developing the other side of my brain. I learnt to coach and trained as a therapist. I work intuitively and seem to baffle people when I understand both them and their logic. I am expected to be either rational or sensitive to people, but not both.
I realised I have grown hugely over the last twenty years, but not in the conventional sense. Growth often implies being successful and success means having a bigger job, bigger house, bigger car etc. We are encouraged at many levels to make the grade, beat the competition and push ourselves to greater and greater heights. Not many people are encouraged to expand their sense of self and stretch themselves sideways. This is a shame.
It is a shame because we need more leaders with this balance of ability and understanding. In an earlier blog, I spoke about the Yin and Yang of leadership. I explored the powerful effect of leaders who can bring together male and female energy to their work. We need male drive to get things done. We need female nurture to grow healthily.
Looking at the world in a very simple way, there are balanced and imbalanced people. Imbalanced people make things change. Balanced people make things work. We have plenty of people changing things out there. I think we need many more that can make things work.
Leadership is not always about crashing the ship through heavy seas. It is often about steering a steady course when the sun is shining. By creating the opportunities for people to make repairs, reflect and learn, the growth we gain from facing adversity can be put into practice.
I think we are at a time in history when learning and growth is vital if we are to transcend the world we have created. We don’t need more crisis management, just many more balanced leaders who can tap into the extraordinary creativity of the people who normally don’t get asked.
How balanced are you?