Learning to use the tools and techniques of a trade is an essential part of any job. Whether it’s a new invoicing system, a new process for onboarding customers, a new piece of equipment for turning the right widget, the best way of writing marketing emails to attract potential buyers, a new psychometric tool for unlocking leadership potential… they all matter and they’re all really important. They can give us the confidence, structure, and equipment we need to do our jobs and they can give customers and clients some reassurance that the person they are working with knows what they are doing!
But I reckon your tool bag is still half full.
There is an important set of ‘tools’ that we tend to overlook. These are things we often forget about, ignore, believe are insignificant, or consider as less important than the other learnt skills in our tool kit. These tools can also hamper our impact if we don’t harness them and use them effectively. Have you worked it out yet?
We are our own greatest asset.
That’s right! The combination of our values, our strengths, our experiences, our knowledge, our skills, our way of doing business, are what makes us different. When was the last time you paid any attention to your strengths within? When was the last time you paid attention to who you are, what you offer and how you add the most value… when all those other commonly applied tools and techniques are stripped away?
Tools are incredibly useful and necessary, but they can become crutches we lean on, 4 box models we hold too tightly and software packages we hide behind. Yet what really matters to our businesses, our relationships, our customers, and suppliers is how we use them, how we make them relevant, how we enable people to understand the benefits they can bring, how we ignite people’s passions, how we join up the dots, how we bring people with us, how we engage with other human beings and bring business and relationships to life.
The HOW is all about YOU.
I spend a lot of my time training budding new coaches and, yes, I spend a lot of time teaching them the tools of the trade, both the theory and the practise. In fact I’ve contributed to a few books on the topic, the latest being Succeeding as a Coach . It’s important to know and understand these things to be able to do the job well, to feel confident, to have credibility… I could go on! We learn about things like the GROW model, Socratic questions, chair work, listening skills … the list is endless. But I also spend lots of time talking to new coaches about the importance of deconstructing these tools and techniques and turning them into something that will work for them, the way they coach, and their clients. Helping new coaches to articulate and develop a style of coaching which is unique to them. A style of coaching that acknowledges all their strengths and experiences, individual idiosyncrasies, and brings to bear who they are as a human being in the way in which they coach. This can be a bit terrifying for some, and liberating for others, yet I’ve never met a coach who does it in exactly the same way as the next!
Are our tools of the trade the be all and end all?
I know I wouldn’t want to meet a brain surgeon who wasn’t using his tools properly, but even then, as humans they bring part of who they are into the operating theatre. And, as a result, the experience of others in the theatre will differ depending on the surgeon operating that day. I’m sure we’ve all met many Prince ” qualified project managers in the course of our working lives, but would you want all of them to manage your project? I doubt it! I’ve had several hairdressers over my lifetime, all of which cut hair just as well as the next, but only one whom I trust to do it just the way I like. Even dentists. Now surely there can’t be much difference in the way in which you check teeth… but believe me there is!
How do you show up in your world and what impact do you have?
What tools do you have in your tool kit, besides your industry standards, common to all? Get them out, dust them down, use them with pride, and perhaps experiment with holding your other tools more lightly.
If you are struggling to recognise your inner strengths and how best to maximise their impact, please get in touch. I’m sure I can help to shine a light on it, in the Sarah Leach way 😉