Before Lisa Spencer-Arnell became a leadership coach, she had been in the corporate world for around 17 years. She worked in the textile industry, manufacturing organizations, and for the Financial Times Group as an account director in their consultancy business.
In 2001, she trained to become a coach, but beforehand had read an article about coaching. It revealed to her that she had been good at sales because of her way of listening, asking questions, and helping people to find their own solutions.
Being a coach takes good self-awareness. You need to know yourself well, be constantly developing and growing, know what is important to you, and be able to know what triggers you in order to manage it.
Her training was important, and it allowed her to go out to help as many people as possible and to change lives. Training to be a coach takes more than a few days, and it isn’t as simple as just changing your job title.
In fact, that’s why she and her colleagues wrote the book Emotional Intelligence Coaching.
She has the knowledge and experience to help people to become better leaders, which ultimately helps their businesses and teams to perform better. And she is going to share with us some truths to take a weight off our shoulders and to realize our full potential.
Lead with Courage, Compassion, and Spirit
When you start a business, there is always an initial reason for why you started it, and as it grows you have to employ more people. It’s common for the business owner to not actually see themselves as a leader, and still as an entrepreneur.
Even though they have people who report to them, they just don’t recognize themselves as being in a leadership role. But to continue growing, and to remain true to those initial reasons, you need to step up.
Sometimes, in order to keep going forward and to try new things, you have to dig deep and grow yourself. Take the courage to grow yourself and face what is a bit scary.
Even the most senior of leaders have their own fears and concerns, but they still take action anyway.
Having compassion for yourself is also really important, and it’s easy to stop looking after yourself when you become so busy. Lisa finds that she often discovers that people have ‘imposter syndrome’, where they try to be someone they’re not.
But as well as valuing yourself and managing your energy, you need compassion for other people too. As Richard Branson says, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers.”
To do that, connect and engage with your staff, and be real around them. Show them who you really are, as at the end of the day, we’re all just human beings.
It’s important to remember that when spirits are high, there is nothing you can’t achieve. And when you’re feeling low, everything seems pointless. It’s obvious then that you should make sure that your energy is high, as well as those around you.
At the end of the day, it is one thing to know all of this stuff, but you need to also internalize it, put it into practice, and take action.
From Fear to Love
If you loved going to work every day, your team loved working for you, and your clients loved doing business with you, it would be easy. So why complicate it?
Having people work in fear means you put them in fight or flight mode. They become scared of making a mistake and doing the wrong thing.
As a result, they’re not emotionally in the right place to come up with new ideas and make the right decisions. Instead, they’ll just keep their heads down and do the bare minimum.
An atmosphere of fear isn’t something you should want to create if you are all truly part of the same team.
The Gift of Values
Ask yourself what is important to you, what matters the most, and what the main priorities in your life are. And then what does that give you? Most will answer family, saying it gives them love, belonging, security, fun, and more.
And that is a good window into your values and the values of others.
You can then take it to the next level and think about what you enjoy doing, and what that gives you. Tennis for the competition, golf for the freedom, or gardening for the creativity. Or why did you set up your business? Was it wanting success, achievement, to make a contribution or a difference?
If someone hasn’t got these answers, then instead ask what really annoys them and makes them angry. Most people can then answer it. For Lisa, it’s driving past bus shelters where the glass has been smashed because it shows a lack of regard and consideration for other people.
When this is flipped on its head, it shows that she values respect.
Altogether, you’ll find out what your unique set of values are, you’ll understand yourself better, be able to connect with others, and set yourself goals. And that makes decision making easier as you can choose the things which match your values.
You Have Everything You Need
Of course, you should never stop learning, but the answers are not always going to be out there. You’ll find treasure inside every person and every team, such as their wisdom and intuition.
Use your strengths as a starting point, because you probably know more than you think you do.
As humans, we always believe that we’re not good enough on some level. We’re constantly striving for more and suffering from information overload. Find reasons to be happy now, rather than always thinking “I’ll be happy when…”
Because when you feel good about yourself, you perform better. And you can reinforce this by just simply starting and ending your day in the right way.
Checking your emails first thing in the morning is a good way of starting each day stressed. Instead, first think about what you want to achieve for that day.
And instead of checking your emails again before you go to bed, make a list of things you achieved for the day and did well at. Jon does this using I Done This, and has kept it up every day for the past three years.
Understand and Express Your Emotions
It isn’t helpful to suppress your emotions, put a plaster over it, and to just put a brave face on it. Thinking positive isn’t always the best thing to do.
Our emotions are a brilliant inner-guidance system which we all have, and it tells us when we’re on or off track. Don’t distance yourself from your emotions, and instead tune into it and use them as a tool at your disposal.
When people lose it over the smallest of things, it isn’t usually because of what has just happened, but because they’ve been boxing up their feelings away and putting a lid on it. It’s far better to understand and express your emotions in a calm and respectful way.
Reconnect With Your Whole Self
When Lisa goes into a business, she often finds that people are working in very logical ways, using systems and processes.
But you are the most powerful when you tune into your brain, as well as your heart and gut. Don’t ignore those gut instincts and your heart’s desires just to do the logical thing.
Successful business owners like Richard Branson and Steve Jobs all trusted their gut feelings and followed their hearts, and look at what they achieved by not always being logical.
You can connect with Lisa using LinkedIn, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and she will be more than willing to send you one of her ‘I Am Enough’ cards to carry in your purse or wallet as a constant reminder.
And look out for her next book, Be You, Are You Brave Enough? which comes out September 2017.