As a leader, your depth of knowledge is often put to the test. You are expected to have the knowledge required to make key decisions. What happens when you do not know the answer? It is a vulnerable situation to find yourself in and the temptation is to pretend that you know the answer so your leadership skills are not questioned. The truth is, we all have much more to learn. Early in my career I felt like I had to have all the answers. If I did not, I feared that others would view my leadership strength as weak. However, as I progressed in my career I learned the importance and advantages of leveraging advice from others. Advice can be acquired through various sources. It can be as simple as reading a book, attending a workshop, or engaging in a formal or informal relationship with a leadership coach.
Informal coaches, also referred to as advisors, are a great resource when you need some advice. I have 3-4 people that I strategically reach out to when I need advice. They are great because they start with listening to my dilemma, asking great questions, and then objectively share their opinion. What I appreciate about their advice is they rarely get overly excited about what I am sharing with them, (i.e. buying into my excitement). Instead they tend to focus on poking holes in my thought process to ensure that I am seeing things from all angles. The result of our conversations typically brings greater clarity of the entire situation, which ultimately makes my decision much stronger.
Remember, coaches working with you on a project are expected to meet with you regularly, however in an informal coaching relationship, call on these individuals sparingly, knowing that their time is valuable. Having a small group of advisors is a great resource when you are in need of some objective advice. Who is on your list of trusted advisors?
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