I have been blessed and privileged to have been schooled by The Coaches Training Institute over the past three days. Intense experiential coaching training to bring to my corporate world, a new string to my leadership bow, a new vigour to drive high performance in the agency. Life coaching, career coaching, ‘best self’ coaching. Conversations that lead individuals to take impassioned responsibility to put their best foot forward whilst honouring personal values and delivering their goals. It’s magical stuff. I’m blown away by the transformational power unleashed by the coaching alliance. Coaches uphold a beautiful pure assumption that everyone has a brilliance, limitless creativity and resourcefulness, vast potential waiting to be unleashed. Coaching simply triggers the individual to unlock it, and to do so by themselves thus growing personally with each life step. I am hooked and can’t wait to practice both personally and professionally in my organisation where I intend drive a new level of business success through human, conscientious, progressive conversation. Bring it on.
My reason for reflection today beyond marvelling over the virtues of coaching? Well I’ve come away from the experience with more than new skills. I was lifted high emotionally, spiritually (dare I even mention the ‘ethereal’ realm…) and energised. I left feeling empowered, decisive, committed and excited. I also felt happy and purposeful.
Let’s acknowledge that generally we don’t end working days in this high frequency, upbeat state. Often yes but not always. Digging into personal experience, I can recall several recent occasions when I have felt exactly this however. I’ve left meetings feeling buoyed, exhilarated and focused. It does happen and evidently is absolutely possible.
Propagating Positivity by Design
So, I’ve been reflecting hard on what triggers this positive vibe. I want more of it and our teams deserve it. I believe identifying how and where to propagate ways of working like this is the key to reaching a new level of inspired productivity in our businesses (and families/any communal relationships too).
The common denominator I see is being in a group dynamic that enables and encourages true, honest, open connection. A group bonded through a shared cause who together explore the goal, possible pathways, and each other in a respectful, kind and exploratory way. A discussion and energy that stimulates ‘Belonging’ through empathic intimacy.
The Power of Empathic Intimacy
And that’s it for me. The crux of this is unquestionably intimacy. When intimacy is created en masse the potential is limitless. With intimacy comes trust and confidence, which of course stimulates authenticity. When we feel heard, connected and understood, we step in and up with our truest, best selves and ideas effervesce in a bubbly, sparkly abundance. It’s self-perpetuating and infectious raising the output higher and higher. Egos left at the door. Hierarchies and political jostling abandoned. Free flowing creativity and pursuit of utopian work/outcome/plans. Dedicated, collaborative, intimate focus. It’s exciting and the sky is the limit.
There’s a ripple of subverted panic prevalent in my industry, the advertising industry, today. Agencies are rightly distracted by the homogenising landscape, frightened by reducing budgets, client scrutiny, insourcing, bundling. We must not however let our commercial nervousness impact dedication to the development and growth of our much heralded most important asset of all, our people. We talk about EQ over IQ. We profess to build ‘caring’ cultures. But what about intimacy?
A Plea to Leaders in All Walks of Life
Can I please invite all leaders to consider how they can infuse their cultures and meeting rooms with the buzz of intimate alliances that I’ve described above. How about sitting in a team, project or client meeting with an agenda of getting intimate first (no not like that, quell your naughty mind!)? How about everyone sharing their personal objectives for the meeting before you begin? Deeper, how about surfacing how people are feeling about the meeting agenda? Not just generalities of how they are but the level beneath, how they are feeling. How about infusing the room with respectful kindness? Watch what happens when you ask everyone to listen deeply, behave altruistically and park any egocentric agendas at the door.
Try it. Take steps to build intimate connection within your business. Get intimate with the people, the agenda, the work. Get intimacy flowing between the people, the agendas, the work.
If you take one simple thing from this post, it’s this. Jack Welch attributes his success to prioritising 40% of his time to nurturing his people. Do this through the lens of intimacy yourself and watch the profound impact hit business results positively through your happy, motivated and connected workforce. The simple effort of demonstrably caring and inviting intimacy will rock your corporate world. Please let me know how you get on.