Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The distorted self - issues in coaching

Given we walk around all day with ourselves for company you would think we would know ourselves pretty well . However the evidence would suggest otherwise - most of us seem to distort how we see ourselves, either inflating or deflating our capabilities and capacities out of line with how others see us.

Getting to know our real self is more than a bit tricky. Even systems such as 360 feedback are not infallible - we often present to different people in very variable ways and it is not uncommon for our bosses to view us differently from our peers or teams. Which one is the 'true' self? We are also skilled a selectively hearing messages from feedback, picking out those that confirm our self image and rejecting those that don't

If this were not difficult enough, many of us are disconnected from our view of our ideal self - the self we would like to be - the reputation we would like, or the difference we want to make. However, according to leadership author Richard Boyatzis, this is the self view that can drive and propel change . Boyatzis believes that the more we are connected to our ideal self the more we are likely to accurately self-assess. Tackling our weaknesses (aka development needs) therefore become palatable when the ideal self provides the imperative.

Important stuff to remember if you work in the business of developing people.

Goleman, D, Boyatzis, R and McKee, A. (2001) Primal Leadership: the hidden driver of performance, Harvard Business Review

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