What do dresses, my parenting skills and real estate have in common?
You’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you – goal setting.
More to the point, collaborative goal setting and the ability to know when to take over and when to co-operate.
I came to the sudden realisation recently that collaborative goal setting may not be as simple and automatic as it could be.
As Olive, my seven-year-old daughter, stood before me rehearsing her school public speaking talk, I found myself saying, “Come on Olive, we’ve got to win this”.
As she spoke about dresses being her favourite thing to wear, I found myself acutely aware that I’d mentally entered the public speaking competition.
I’m a little ashamed to admit that initially, it did matter to me if she won or lost and that I’d briefly lost sight of the fact she’d chosen a topic of interest to her and relevant to her audience.
No sooner had the words left my mouth, my daughter froze in front of me, her eyes conveying fear.
She had probably just pictured herself speaking in front of 1,000 people.
It was then that the little voice in my head screamed: “Woah, what did you just say?”
“You’re not in the speaking competition, she is.
“Abort, abort, abort.
“Change tactics while there is still time and before she cries. How does she feel and what does she want?”
At that moment, I reached into my toolbox, the only one I know, and I switched into coach mode.
I’m not saying it was parent manual worthy, but so far so good.
It’s this same voice that bellows at me from time to time when I’m coaching and mentoring.
Every business and person I work with is different.
We might all be part of the same real estate club, but we each have different drivers, interests, goals and passions.
The first job of a coach is to figure out what they are and then work with the person to support and guide them.
The same applies as a leader, an employer and even as a parent.
I see opportunities and ideas for clients every time I speak with them.
But just like the writing of Olive’s speech, the value of those ideas is only ingrained if the client implementing it wants it.
Is it part of their plan?
As leaders, we have a big responsibility to understand the influence and impact we have on those under our direction.
It’s no easy feat to help someone navigate their path, as opposed to steering them down the one you can see them taking.
We have to let that little voice inside our heads ask: “Do they want to do that? Is that your goal or theirs?”
Next time you do a performance review, host a goals session or build a performance plan, take a moment to listen to that voice inside your head and the one in your team member’s.
Are you creating a goal with them in mind or your goal for them?
Perhaps the magic is creating a little of both.
For what it’s worth, Olive’s public speaking is improving every day, but the jury is still out on my parenting skills.
We’ll talk about that in 18 years.