Context, your personal “one-word theme”


My first post of the year was “What is your one-word theme for 2019?

Since I wrote that, several people have told me they will use that to support them in landing on their own theme for 2019.

With that in mind, I felt to share some related thoughts from a prior post more on the power of this as a personal “driver” and how to land on your personal context

First, that post earlier this week noted:

“As humans, we tend to love complexity and detail, not to mention long project and “to do” lists. However, as leaders, counter-intuitive as it may seem, I’ve found that one of the absolute keys to successful leadership is to distil to simplicity.

It does not matter whether you are leading self, leading family, leading a team, leading a large organisation, leading a country, or whatever level of perceived ease or difficulty of leadership role or opportunity, my advice will almost always be to make it simpler.

The ultimate in simplicity is to get your theme down to one word.”

That post then went on to talk around how to distil down to the simplicity of a one-word theme.

Another word for such a theme is a “context”. An earlier post was “Setting your personal context“, a post which talks more for the coaching process I use to support others in landing on their theme or context.

In that post, I used a real and recent example of supporting someone in reaching their context, focussing on the power of listening and applying a coaching mindset. I share part of that post below, and note again the power of having someone else help you reach your theme or context. After all, we can’t see the golfish bowl we are swimming in:

“..when I coached the individual, from my standpoint wearing my coaching “hat” (and please note, coaching is permission-based, always ask before you coach!), I was deeply listening. I was focussed on my own awareness of where the client was in that moment.

By deep listening, I mean listening beyond their words, with a focus on body language, tone of voice and more. I also focus on their eyes (as Shakespeare said, “the eyes are the windows to the soul”), and even heart rate and breathing are all in my awareness of the where the client is in that moment.

From that deep awareness in support of that client, my intuition tells me what questions to ask. When I do ask them to bring forward words, themes, areas around their context, I’m also listening less for their rational explanations and much more for the energy behind the words.

All of this though, is about THEIR awareness, my own awareness of where they are is only valuable in allowing me to both create a space for them to be self-aware, and in asking the right questions for them to find their own answers. Coaching is not consulting. Consulting is telling, coaching is asking.

Once you are in that space as a coach with your client, sometimes they can “pop out” their context and focal points in minutes, with true clarity.”

I hope some of this helps you with your own process for reaching your context, your personal “one-word” theme.

Also published on Medium.

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