Get Out of Your Own Way…

It’s not often a phrase hits you between the eyes, especially when you should have seen it coming, but the title of this blog came out of the mouth of my colleague Howard Scott ( and resonated with me. We were discussing recent case studies and talking about our VISTA Executive Coaching approach from which we have had some significant successes over the years. VISTA (an acronym you might imagine) is a five step approach to transformational Exec Coaching as follows;

  • Vision – what is the story you want to tell about yourself in three years’ time?
  • Insight – what can you tell me about where you are right now and how big the gap is?
  • Self–awareness – what would it help you to know about yourself, that others may see more clearly than you do?
  • Thinking – what input do you need to start answering the questions you struggle with?
  • Action – what are you prepared to do to bring your vision to life?

Our discussion about VISTA successes led us to ask ourselves the question ‘Why does Executive Coaching work?’ and we wrestled with it until Howard landed the killer blow ‘It helps you get out of your own way’. He could not have put it better, it absolutely helps execs think about what they want and what stops them getting it. So often we are in our own way and others can see it but we can’t. Only yesterday I started a coaching assignment with a three way between myself, a CEO who I know well and his FD who is looking for some answers to work, life, the universe and well everything really! This person is massively self-aware, but that doesn’t make it easy to change and it doesn’t make the scale of change any less scary.

Once you decide to take action on a topic like assertiveness, the impact is whole-scale and holistic! You probably won’t only be assertive with your team, you may want to do it with your colleagues, friends, family, spouse, children and anyone you come into contact with. It becomes a life choice and an empowering one at that because it up-weights your own personal agenda to a point that others will not have seen in you before. Tackling assertiveness helps execs get out of their own way and the beauty of VISTA is that it addresses a wide range of topics that may stop any C or D title reaching their potential, not just assertiveness.

I am constantly amazed at the negative power of self-limiting beliefs and the personal baggage that each of us carry with us through life and by swapping my stories with others I have learned that each of us is tackling something that stands in our own way. To do that purposefully you have to have clarity on what you want because if you can’t be clear on the road you are taking you won’t know where the roadblocks are. Personally, I’m very happy knowing I’m the world’s worst chess player because it isn’t important to me at the moment but for the road I’m on; becoming technically better at work, running a bigger, faster growing business and meeting the demands on my time supporting my wife and children so they can realise their potential, I know I stand in my own way. Thanks Howard, your insightful question helped me get clearer and helped me better understand a topic I’ve been working on for years!