Mind Engineering for Leaders
Leaders face many challenges: guiding constant change and development, staying motivated and inspiring others, maintaining focus with a clear vision in an uncertain environment, balancing the needs of the organisation and its people and many others.
Taking a closer look at these challenges, we notice, that to make a lasting improvement we usually need to address the root of the problem or the heart of the matter, the mind.
The biggest challenge is therefore not the world, but our perception of the world and how we use our thinking potential to influence ourselves and others.
I will combine an engineering analogy with a leadership coaching example to show how to keep engineering, … not just our technology, but also our minds for a successful future.
Engineers don’t design and manufacture and only then test every idea in reality anymore. That is passé. It takes too much time and money!
Now they do hundreds of simulations to challenge their ideas, their way of thinking and feeling before an idea goes into production. They never stop playing with their imagination. They try different options until just right, based on the goal. There is always the next possibility to achieve their goal.
This reduces mistakes and even though simulations take time, you know, that they increase productivity and profitability at all subsequent stages of the process.
The same is with our minds. To be faster and more effective within the fast changing world we live in, we need to use our minds to simulate what we want and how we will get it.
Sometimes, the computer freezes because of overload or a syntax error. Maybe we run into a limiting belief or a value that does not coincide with our company or our customers or clients. We get stuck or angry. That is when we need to upgrade and challenge, expand our inner worlds to be more flexible and in sync with reality in order to take the next step.
As a leader, are you successful because you know everything there is to know, or are you successful as a learner who is always in the flow with the latest mental software and one step ahead because of this?
One of the best ways to learn is to use our imagination, to challenge and expand our concepts of thinking, just like in engineering simulations.
This can be an advanced type of learning, where you become an observer of the way you do things with your speaking, feeling and behaving. You realise that it is very important how you are being, and not just what you are doing. In this way the challenges become learning opportunities, enjoyment and a powerful way to get results from the inside out.
The best technology to do this is to use our ability of communication, since it is a direct connection to our mental software; beliefs, values, past experiences, etc. Every person we meet has their own mental software and provides a possibility for growth, a new perspective for every other person, if they are open to this possibility.
What if you had a conversation, that was specifically geared towards expanding and utilising the full potential of your mental software in any situation?
This is the role of a personal coach, who supports your path by motivating, helping envision your dreams, but also by challenging your behaviour and thinking in times of conflict and struggle, to reach your goals faster and easier. A coach does this by using open active questions that create new meanings and new paths in your life.
An example: Lets imagine a leader, who is stressed at work because of missing deadlines. At one point this shows up negatively in his working and personal relationships and his health. A promotion is probably the last thing on his mind. He calls a coach to help him become more effective. After a brief focused conversation the coach recognises a possible limiting belief (a thinking program through which the leader perceives the world): ‘There is never enough time to do what is important,’ and places a few questions to reconnect with the experience and find out more information about this generalisation: How do you know this? ‘We miss deadlines…’ What makes it possible for you to miss the deadlines? ‘We focus our attention on to many other ideas.’
With permission and curiosity, the coach decides to challenge the belief and the new information. Bellow are some possible questions that a coach might ask:
You Never have enough time? How much time do you need?
What do you do instead, that you find is more important to you now?
How does this other thing that is more important affect this project?
What is your priority?
How many ideas would you need to focus on to have enough time to do what is important?
What is here the real challenge for you? ‘Well, i have been having trouble with motivation and a lack of energy for some time.’ I don’t know who i am anymore.
As you can see, the problem was not the strategy of which tasks to do, but on a higher level which influences all other thinking and doing. The conversation would probably continue by finding what motivates this leader, what he values the most, who he is as a person and as a leader and why he is doing what he is doing. By knowing who he is and his purpose, obviously the thing that was the most important to him, he could reconnect with the project and find more balance and energy to do everything that needed to be done in perfect timing.
Having the tools and the experience to notice and change thinking and behaviour patterns, a coach can help solve the inner challenges that the leader might not even be aware he is producing on his own.
Just like an Engineer uses a computer for simulations, a Leader can use the help of a Coach to advance to the next level of success by helping him expand his perception of reality and become more effective with all his challenges.