Executive coaching trends come and go, but one thing remains the same – to achieve the important and elusive professional goals that we set for ourselves we need to work on the deep assumptions that drive our behavior. To succeed, a coaching methodology must surface and address these deep assumptions. According to a century of research, humans reconfirm their assumptions by selecting for data that supports preexisting views, while ignoring data that refutes them. The source of all cognitive bias is this natural self-protective system of the brain. In the world of alternative investments, there are no clear feedback loops for success. But you can develop new cognitive capacities. If you don’t take care of your vehicle, your thinking may be skewed.
The good news is that the same system for removing these “anchors” can also be used to build “sails” – each developmental step taken affords you the ability to see the world more clearly.
Being of two-minds is the norm for adults, not the exception. Within the modern business environment – especially within the finance sector – where leaders face major decisions at an alarming pace, it is almost inevitable that one of your minds is always taking you away from your important goals.
Discovering Your Cognitive Bias
When considering professional goals like “building a world class team,” “taking bigger swings” or “making faster decisions,” more often than not there is an underlying, hidden assumption that guides us away from our desired goal. That is how we are wired as human beings. We must all reckon with the safety wiring of the brain (part of our fight-or-flight response), which is always ready to alert you and divert you. Most adults can benefit from a professional coach. Consider that even world class tennis champion Roger Federer relies on a coach. Executive coaches help us peek around the corner of our mind, and hold us accountable for the changes we know deep down we need in order to get to the next level. In other words, coaches accelerate the natural, developmental container that blends support and challenge.
Transformational Learning and New Behaviors
You will be expected to experiment in order to learn the new behaviors to perform on behalf of learning. These behavior change experiments unwind you from existing cognitive bias (which by definition, is unconscious). That is the essence of transformational coaching. This may seem obvious, but the dive looks much higher from atop the diving board! With guidance, your development as an executive will deliver you achievement of your immediate goals, but perhaps more importantly your new level of development will continue to pay dividends for years to come. Research shows that each new level of development brings greater success, on both objective measures like P&L and subjective measures like 360 feedback. (Sources provided upon request.)