- On October 20, 2015
I was coaching a client and feeling a little frustrated. Wanting to nudge him towards what I thought was an obvious choice of what he should do. How could he not see that?
As a coach, it is not my role to determine the right action. That comes from the client.
Yet every question I asked was tinged with judgment oriented towards the pathway I felt was the right one.
He said something I mentally considered out of line with my pre-conceived notion of what was ‘right’–and my brow furrowed. He asked, “Did I say something wrong?” Thank goodness he was observant enough to recognize the furrowed brow for what it was–my filter!
I snapped back to reality. Here I was imposing my view of the ‘way things are’ onto him.
I apologized, “Hey, I got sidetracked by my own thoughts for a few minutes there. I have a bias towards risk taking and I was framing your issue in that context. Which may be right for me but is totally unfair to you. So let’s start over and explore it through your eyes, not through my filter.”
Filters, based on our experiences and assumptions, can be useful in helping us process information quickly. Until they are not. Until they bias us to the potential growth in the situation.
As a leader, it may be necessary to direct action from time to time, AND it almost always works better if your people come up with the best way it will work for them and also accomplish the desired end state.
How often do we let our filters weed out possibility?
How do you know your filter is kicking in? When you wall people in a ‘box’ of your own assumptions.
The antidote? Recognize the filter and put it aside. Let each interaction set its own tone and agenda.
Photo credit: JMaliszewski, 2015