When Daphne (not her real name) came to me with her business idea she had great projections and ideas of the ideal team structure.
But in our session of leadership coaching in London I asked her why she was doing this. She talked about profit and success and that was great but these were clearly motivations handed down to her from society, and didn’t come from her internally. When I asked, repeatedly, what would success in this business do for her, her rehearsed polished answers soon floundered and it became very clear that she didn’t actually know what were her internal motivations were. She actually started to panic a bit before I reassured her that actually many business leaders did not know their true motivations. Even if these motivations are simply money and power, this is rarely the end game – what, for example, is that money and power for? What are the drivers behind those?
So with most of my clients, this is indeed the first thing that we will do, to find out what are their motivation. This is whether they are business coaching clients or trading psychology coaching clients or whatever. The simple question to ask at this point is, what is important to me about being successful in this? Once the first answers come, you keep asking this question for several minutes until there is nothing left. Examples answers may be:
What you can see from these example answers is that they are slightly abstract. They are not common nouns or too specific, but general ideas of what is important to you in this area.
Armed with this, Daphne and I clarified what she actually needed to focus on in the business to fulfil her own values and allowed an operational and structural efficiency in how she approached the project.