Coaching Group #6: FLEXIBILITY

We’ve been talking about Coaching Groups, and we’ve talked about 5 things:

#1)  INTENTIONALITY

#2) ADAPTABILITY

#3) VULNERABILITY

#4) CONSISTENCY

#5) AVAILABILITY

I want to add another one today:  FLEXIBILITY

The word FLEXIBLE means:  “capable of bending easily without breaking”.

When coaching, I want to encourage you to be flexible.

“If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon.  And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.”    Jeff Bezos

I think flexibility is key in coaching for these reasons:

* Sometimes we take ourselves way too seriously.  Flexibility enables us to  “move with the flow” and to adjust our expectations to reality.

I remember many times in leadership where I assumed that the most important thing happening in the team meeting that day was what I had to say.  I didn’t take into consideration what was going on with my team, what personal issues they were dealing with or what unexpected opportunity we had.  I wish I had been more flexible…

* Sometimes we only follow the plan.  We are so focused on the plan that we don’t see what’s going on around us.

I remember many times in leadership that I “worshipped” my strategic plan, my goals, my schedule.  I measured my success by how many items I was able to check off my to do list, and sometimes, in my quest to do that, I missed opportunities for relationships, opportunities for conversation, opportunities for impact.  I wish I had been more flexible…

* Sometimes we let fear paralyze us.  We see the risk as being too great, too costly, too scary, so we don’t follow our heart and gut.

I remember many times in leadership when I let fear keep me from moving forward.  I was afraid of failure, afraid of what others would say, afraid of what I would do if I let others down.  Fear kept me from being flexible and because of that I missed some great opportunities.  I wish I had been more flexible…

When you have the opportunity to coach and lead others, encourage them to be FLEXIBLE.  As leaders, we need more of this in our lives, in our organizations and on our teams.

I will say this though….

Someone once challenged me:  “Flexibility is not an excuse for bad planning”.

Many people use flexibility to cover their lack of leadership, their lack of vision and their lack of focus.  This is not the kind of flexibility I’m talking about.

We need to have good leadership, vision and focus at all times, however a good dose of flexibility allows us to “bend” a little to further our leadership, vision and focus.

Don’t get these confused!

Jeff Bezos also said:  “We are stubborn on vision.  We are flexible on details.”

Russ/2014

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