I grew up near enough to St Louis that my family would make the trip two or three times a year. Coming from Illinois, the only way into St Louis is across a bridge spanning the Mississippi River. The Poplar Street Bridge is the length of two football fields and carries Interstate 70 across the river toward the famous St Louis Arch. It is quite the entrance into the St Louis area.
Since my dad rarely left the county, my mom would drive us into St Louis dreading the Poplar Street Bridge the entire two-hour trip. As we approached, the car had to go quiet, like a submarine entering an enemy harbor. The radio was turned off, everyone was placed on high alert, and mom would focus her eyes on the bumper of the car directly in front of us. Her white knuckles indicated the problem: a terrible fear of heights.
In your coaching life, what are you most afraid of? What worries you the most? What fears hold you back? I suppose for many coaches – especially those who are new to the craft – the answers to these questions would include:
– Fear of failing
– Fear of being seen as incompetent
– Fear of not “getting it”
– Fear of harming your client
– Fear of not making the transition from your previous mindsets
For the more experienced coach, the fears might include:
– Fear of not achieving “success” as a coach
– Fear of slipping back into old habits
– Fear of losing your identity or sense of worth
– Fear of failing making any real difference
May I ask you to trust me for a moment? I’m going to give you the secret to giving up your fears. I’m going to give you the secret sauce for overcoming the fear that might be hindering your best work as a coach. Are you ready…..?
Instead of learning the importance of humility while ascending to leadership, Doug Guthrie learned it on the way down and out.
Guthrie teaches leadership at Apple University, but his ascent to Apple followed a pride-induced fall. Guthrie is a smart, hard-working and capable leader who served as the dean of the George Washington School of Business. His tenure at GWSB should have been a long and fruitful one, but it wasn’t. Why? As Guthrie confesses, “the painful reality is that I lacked the important element of humility when I walked through the doors at GWSB. I thought I knew everything when I really had much to learn.”
Guthrie’s rise and fall exemplifies the precarious place of leaders.
I was recounting the other day the worst email I ever sent. It was a “Reply to All.” The email I had received said that my strategic plan had failed to create the desired results, and now it was time for me to end my efforts and join the email author in implementing his strategic goals (which were stupid). The email had been copied to my supervisor and to his.
A stalemate had occurred of who had the better strategic plan and who should get on board with who. I replied with an email, copied to his supervisor and mine,