Are you willing to “open the box”?

Tom McCallum
open the box
open the box

Japanese puzzle boxes require three steps to fully open them

In coaching, I have learned that there are three “boxes”, three levels of Context where one can help a client around their leadership and their business.

For simplicity, let’s call them:

  • Box 1: Business Content
  • Box 2: Business Context
  • Box 3: Personal Context

A coach can support a client in Box 1 and Box 2 and help them achieve great results.

However, one’s personal context drives everything we do, so if you are willing to “open the box”, in my experience truly massive shifts can occur for the individual, their business, those they lead.

Interested in more? Read on.

“How we do anything is how we do everything”

An accurate adage and a great one for bringing awareness.

Coaching is all about awareness.

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change”

One of my wonderful coaching mentors signs off every email with this line. From awareness, we can then make informed choices, followed by taking action from those choices (and hold ourselves responsible and accountable for).

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

~ Albert Einstein

Now, looking at that Einstein quote, let me take you through Box1,2&3 a little.

Box1 is Business Content, all the “stuff” we do, all the “HOW”, all the To-Do lists, everything “day to day”, Operational. Box1 is not where I or most other coaches help clients unless they have a “burning issue” pre-occupying them when we meet. If you need support with the “stuff”, the HOW on a regular basis, coaching is likely not the best approach to solving such problems.

Box 2 is Business Context, it is WHAT we need to focus on at a more Strategic level. When we focus on our Business at a Context rather than Content level, then it has a higher impact than being stuck in the day-to-day. For example, if we find our staff have a high level of behaviours that indicate a lack of alignment to the business (eg absenteeism, lack of proactivity and responsibility, general lack of enthusiasm), then to focus on the Context rather than the Content we can ask WHY that is the case and WHAT we can do to shift behaviours. Box2 is more of an in-depth look at the source drivers for the business and so can be of much higher value. An open, honest and humble client with an experienced coach can unlock such issues quickly and with high value.

Box 3 is Personal Context, this is what drives you from a personal level. For example, if you are holding on tight to control of an element of the business and, rationally, you should let go, delegate, then the reason you are behaving this way sits at a deeper level, something personal to you.

Now, if you behave a certain way repetitively no matter the business content or business context, you are doing it because of what sits in your “Box3”.

To reframe the Einstein quote above, you will approach every situation from the same level of consciousness and awareness, unless you choose to “open the box” and look at that.

If you bring awareness to this right now, are there such repeated patterns of behaviour and decision making for you in your life and work? Do you wish to change this but find it intractable? Another saying:

“The universe will keep presenting you the same lesson over and over again, in different forms, until you choose to learn from it.”

Not all of my clients “open the box”, some are happy working only on the Business Content and Context. However, I am at my happiest with those who fit the description on the #BeMoreYou page, people who are:

  • Hungry
  • Humble
  • Brave
  • Open

To be coachable at all one must be Open and Humble and have some degree of being Hungry for learning and change.

However, to “open the box” one must also be Brave, and often at a level that business leaders may choose not to be, at a level where you truly are open to looking at the most powerful drivers of all, what drives you personally and so every choice and decision you make in your work and life.

Want to learn more? Am always interested in having a conversation with new people who are Humble, Open, Hungry, and, ideally, Brave.


Originally published at Tom McCallum.

Tom McCallum

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Sounding Board helping visionary leaders see beyond their own vision. Book your thirty-minute Diagnostic at https://tommccallum.com/services/. Daily writing.

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