Organization & Leadership Consulting

Raising Awareness and Response-ability: The Purpose of Executive Coaching

executive coach tells basketball player to grip ball

How do you get better at something?

Some people emphasize practicing as a means of getting better. This can help, but what if you keep practicing the wrong thing, or the right thing in the wrong way? Then you merely get better at something less than helpful, maybe even harmful. It’s not “Practice makes perfect,” it’s “Perfect practice makes perfect.” So how do you determine the most effective way of practicing something?

By increasing your awareness and response-ability.

We all need help with this. Because isolation skews perspective, no one is capable of full self-awareness without others coming alongside them. Sometimes the other person has our best interests in mind as they add to our awareness, sometimes they do not. But even unpleasantly delivered truths can be reframed and viewed in helpful ways.

When my wife and I consider the best location for a wall hanging, we take turns holding it up for the other person to suggest a shift in height or distance from other objects. It rarely works well to “eyeball it” by myself because I can hold it at only an arm’s length. Even the use of a tape measure is an act of relying on an externally-sourced perspective.

An executive coach is a dynamic source of external perspective. A coach provides this through intentional listening to what you say, how you say it, the non-verbal aspects of how you say it, and even what you do not say…or do. Then your coach shares observations and asks questions. The process helps you identify what is most important to you. It helps you connect dots that will reveal next steps, or even a full pathway forward. 

More often than not, you come up with the next steps and approaches, but you may also ask your coach for their recommendations. The best coaches initially respond to such requests with at least one or two more questions, to give you another opportunity to increase your awareness.

After awareness comes action. That is where your response-ability is enhanced.

Response-ability is enhanced when you gain insight into what to practice. For example, my high school basketball coach pulled me aside one day and, after affirming that I was gifted with a higher than average vertical jump and executed a wide variety of layups with skill, he pointed out that my rebounding was less than it could be because I failed to aggressively grasp the ball.

Then he helped me recognize it was due to a combination of my reserved nature, my mental state while playing, and a lack of knowing what it felt like to physically own the ball during a rebound. Next, he paired me up with a more aggressive upper-classman against whom I was to practice what it felt like to rebound using my entire self, not just my natural ability to jump high and land well.

My coach raised my awareness of what was needed and presented a means of enhancing my response-ability.

An attentive executive coach can do the same for you, and do so in areas of life that prove to be more impactful than a game of basketball, but hopefully just as enjoyable in the long run.

Meet with an executive coach today.

Perhaps it is time for you to benefit from the outside perspective of an executive coach who is interested in helping you deepen your awareness and strengthen your respons-ability. Contact TurningWest today to find out more. 


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