The personal vision concept is based around the belief that we follow a path of life-long learning to constantly improve ourselves. Through this journey a deeper self-awareness develops and your authentic self emerges. One tool to enhance this, is working with a coach who can facilitatively question you. This will help you gain deeper insights into your values, beliefs and assumptions and support you to plan action to bring your theory and practice more closely aligned. The relationship between coach and partner must be a respectful partnership based on deep trust and belief that both are working in each other’s best interests.
Personal visioning is a tool that surfaces vulnerability. It helps you to be honest about yourself with yourself. The last twenty years have been a learning landscape for me of how powerful this process is. When starting to learn about something new, the best place to start is with yourself. It is uncomfortable, confronting and there is nowhere to hide. For me it was certainly all of those. Through this journey, I learned more about the process and built trusting relationships with a large staff. Now I support other leaders as a coach using this tool.
There have been many highlights as the process has evolved and developed from initial surface level transparency to in-depth dialogue and development of deep and very powerful learning partnerships. Below are shared some thoughts from people I coached using this process (shared with their permission):
“I have never achieved so much in such a short time. I believe I have because I wrote it down and we discussed strategies together on how to make it happen.”
“Thanks for taking an interest in me and valuing what I have to offer. It certainly motivated me and look what I have achieved.”
“You helped me gain clarity in my head of how to make my dreams a reality.”
“I was in my last school for 22 years. I have learned more here in 4 years about real leadership and life itself than in the 22 years before. I believe it is because I am challenged and far more in tune with who I am as a person and a professional.”
KEY LESSONS LEARNED
- Create a strong environment of TRUST by regularly modelling values of the organisation and sharing your own dreams and plans. Your own personal integrity is paramount and on display at every minute. You need to be true to yourself.
- Take the personal conversations very seriously. If you want people to be open and honest you must value what they tell you and show utmost respect.
- CELEBRATE success.
- Model that there is nothing wrong with mistakes – they are lessons if you learn from them, only mistakes if you keep making the same one over and over.
- Be prepared as a leader to admit when you have learned something, and model learning regularly.
- Model personal choice and personal accountability in your own actions.
- Look for any opportunities to help others create their dreams and change their current reality.
- NEVER try to hurry the process, high quality takes time.
- Be prepared for major life changes.
- Listen without judging, you are trying to act as a mirror for the person. Discoveries about themselves belong to them, you are just the instrument of the communication.
- Be there to support through the ‘pits’ however resist the temptation to rescue as this only creates victims.
“Connecting with one’s dreams releases one’s passion, energy, and excitement about life…. The key is uncovering your ideal self – the person you would like to be, including what you want in your life and work. That is the ‘first discovery’ of the self-directed learning process. Developing that ideal self requires a reach deep inside to one’s gut level. You know you have touched it when you feel suddenly passionate about possibilities your life holds.”
The New Leaders, Goleman, Boyatzis, McKee
I acknowledge this journey has been instrumental in me moving into Bats full time, the thought of which used to fill me with fear. It was ‘hinted at’ in my personal vision as far back as 2012, however did not become reality for a further six years. It has been powerful and will impact the way I live my life forever.