When a leader receives executive coaching, they are also offered the rare opportunity to learn new information about how they come across to others. Coaching creates a safe place for gathering and sharing that information, as the coach can survey colleagues and pass along the anonymous results to the client.
It’s hard to mine for this kind of data on your own, because people are less likely to be as frank as they would be with a coach as intermediary. But in the search for self-knowledge, information about how you come across to others is gold. If you can tolerate some surprises, you might consider asking siblings, friends, and acquaintances to answer a few questions about how you appear to them. Sending them questions by email with a promise not to get angry at the answers might make it more likely that you’ll get at the truth.
Keep in mind that when I coach people they are often surprised at how they show up. Also remember that there are ways to gently nudge yourself to show up differently if the answers don’t seem to match who you feel you are inside.
A simple survey:
- What are three adjectives that describe me?
- What do you see are my top strengths?
- How else could I be more effective as father, sibling, daughter, friend, or colleague?
- What do you appreciate most about me?
- In groups, do you see me as a person who asks questions, or a person who tells people about things?
- Do you find me direct or indirect?
- Do I seem easy to know, or hard to know?