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Not long ago, we faced some challenging moments as parents. As one of our children acted out, we struggled to figure out how to make them stop. Upon reflection, we noted our tendency to point to the behavior as the problem, but that didn’t tell the whole story. In a relationship, it takes two to tango. In our case, we, as parents, struggled to understand the dance steps opposite of our child. 

Eventually, we recognized our child’s reflection of our own behavior, habits, and quirks. Even as autonomous beings, children still heavily mirror parents’ actions and words as they develop their own personalities. When a child imitates your behavior, you quickly gain insight into how you raise them. 

The whole experience reminded me of how we, as leaders, tend to look at the problems within our organizations. We don’t often think of these problems as reflective of our own leadership, but as a result of troublesome employees. However, as with our family, this reasoning doesn’t always reach the root of the issue. The culture and attitude of the employees within your organization have a direct correlation with its leadership. When we find ourselves unhappy with the attitudes of our employees, we should first examine ourselves. Have we done something to generate these attitudes? How can we alter the company culture to fix the problem? 

Self-reflection proves a challenge for every leader. It takes time, forces you to face uncomfortable truths, and requires a willingness to change. Due to its difficulty and importance, I recommend getting a good coach to help you through the process. Hire a business coach, or seek out a respected leader you want to emulate. 


Check out these ways a coach can help you become more self-aware: 

1. A coach can hold impartial space for you. 

As leaders in an organization, regardless of your title, we often struggle to find a trustworthy person to talk to about our problems. We need someone who allows us to unpack our issues and who has the ability to stay unbiased throughout the conversation. I recommend finding someone outside of your organization to discuss these important issues.

You will find this type of conversation freeing. In a confidential coaching session, you can honestly express what weighs on you without worrying about offending them or wondering if your words will stay between the two of you.

2. A coach can help you dig beneath surface behavior. 

Whether you want to improve organizational culture, address a specific employee’s behavior, or connect more with others, a coach can help you plan the steps you should take. They can help alert you to potentially problematic behaviors, whether your own or someone else’s. A coach can also ask questions to help you understand why that behavior may crop up. 

While a coach doesn’t usually offer specific answers, they know how to ask questions that require you to think deeply about your actions and the reasons behind them. This develops your awareness of your actions and words, and how they affect others. A coach helps you identify potential reasons others may act out and help you gain insight into deeper issues you may not have recognized on your own. 

3. A coach helps you generate tools for improvement. 

A good coach helps you explore the reality of your situation, perceptions, personal roadblocks, and biases. This way, you can better understand how an employee’s behavior reflects your own. You get the opportunity to see mirrored behavior. With this information, the coach works with you to generate strategies to move forward. 

Making improvements doesn’t always feel easy or simple. With someone in your corner helping you develop strategies, you can get ahead of the issues you face. Challenges seem smaller when you don’t face them alone and when you have support creating solutions. 

You may ask, “Do I really need a coach?” Without an outside perspective, you will struggle to gain true self-awareness. Without self-awareness, you will stunt your personal growth, the growth of your organization, and the growth of your employees. In the ever-changing landscapes of business, we need constant awareness of our actions and their consequences. 

If you have any role of leadership within an organization, you influence those around you. To influence them for the better, you need to deal with any issues or personal biases you face. Finding a coach allows you to become the leader your organization needs, and you can grow significantly faster with their guidance. 

If you have a well-established career, look to hire a coach. Take this shortcut to become better, faster. Have an openness to dig deep into issues and improvements. You may feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll find value in the results. As you grow in self-awareness, you’ll see your leadership abilities improve. You’ll make better connections with others, and you will have a greater ability to influence others’ growth. 

If you have just begun your career, you may not yet have the financial ability to hire a coach. In this case, look for a leader you respect and trust. Tell them you want to grow and ask them to teach you how they learned strong leadership skills. Additionally, gain other free learning experiences by taking opportunities to learn from others who have successfully grown in self-awareness.

Whether starting out or being tenured in your career, don’t underestimate the importance of self-awareness.  This quality makes us more present in our conversations and daily tasks. It allows us to assess situations, unblurred by emotions or personal offenses more clearly. Often, in order to achieve self-awareness, we need a coach. A quality coach will help you develop these skills and strengthen your leadership abilities.