You are what you eat. That’s what I read on social media anyway, particularly during vegan January (in the UK). We could propose alternatives: You are what you think; or, You become what you do. There’s an idea in psychology that we don’t really know who we are until we expose ourselves to different situations, or find ourselves in them, then observe what we think, feel and do. We may discover, with surprise, that we are quite different to how we had imagined ourselves to be.
Another idea is to think of an idea, an approach, and then act on it as if it were true. It’s as if I’m choosing in advance who I will be, how I will behave, how I will respond. So, for instance, if I’m facing a presentation where I lack confidence, I can stand up straight, tell myself I feel incredibly confident, create an image in my mind of being incredibly confident, then act that out, like a role play, until it becomes real and normal for me. It’s about breaking default patterns and creating new ones.
I’m reminded here of a biblical principle: ‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ I’m limited or changed by what I believe and act on, by faith, as possible – in this case, with God. Richard Bach in his philosophical allegory, Illusions: ‘Argue for your limitations, and they are yours.’ Henry Ford: ‘Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.’ This isn’t positive psychology on steroids. It’s an acknowledgement of the profound relationship between thinking, feeling, experiencing possibility - and hope.
A goal of leadership, OD, coaching and training is to tap into the power of imagination, to create and release potential by paying attention to what people think, believe, hypothesise, assume, notice (and not-notice), the deeply personal and cultural narratives they tell themselves and each other – and to experiment with divergence, disruption, dissonance and change. You can because you think you can: When have you adopted this idea? How did you do it? What difference did it make?
Hmm. Team coaching. How to reveal the team to itself. Sounds simple, but often hard to do in practice. Why is that and how can we work through it?
Team: a group with a shared purpose. Yet the notion of group is an abstraction. What we have in the room, or virtually, are actual people, individuals. Team is a dynamic, a way of thinking about what happens between the people: how each conducts him or herself in relation to the others…together. So, if a team is to see itself, it needs to see the interfaces, the what happens in the spaces between.
Think Johari Window: reducing blind spots through reflection and feedback. A self-reflective approach: ‘How are we doing?’ That invites collective reflection on group process and results. ‘How am I influencing our performance?’ That takes humility and courage, curiosity and trust. ‘How is this team influencing others’ performance…and vice versa too?’ That takes a wider picture, a systemic-cultural view.
How do you work with teams? If you do it well, what then becomes possible?
Nick is a psychological coach, trainer and OD consultant with over 20,000 followers on LinkedIn. How can I help you? Get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org