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Mind The Gap....The Mind Gap

Back in the annals of time when I was a) new to the world of work and b) a regular London underground commuter, I often avoided the overwhelm of the rush-hour Northern Line crush by retreating into my thoughts.

Along the edge of the platform in large letters was written "Mind The Gap". As I focused on the letters, I played around with the words. It's hard to remember quite how pervasive the (now almost historical) daily cattle-class commute was but I recall it was dehumanising, relatively speaking in first world terms.


"Mind The Gap" became "The Mind Gap". It perfectly reflected the inner narrative: find a way to distance my thoughts from the experience of ramming myself into a tin can, enduring extreme invasion of personal space, boiling temperatures and deafening clattering of wheels on the track.


Our minds are so powerful. They are the source of our thoughts and beliefs and our thoughts beget behaviours. For most of us there are times in our lives when our desire to move forward/reach a goal/take action/tell it how it is/reveal how we feel are powerfully curtailed by our thoughts. We can't bridge the mind gap. We are held back from doing, saying or thinking the things we most need and want to by our own limiting beliefs.


One of the most powerful elements of the work I do as a coach is to help clients identify what they really want and explore what is holding them back. What are they turning away from? What are they telling themselves or assuming? What are they afraid of?


In the case of wanting to progress a career, it often begins with the coachee sharing reasons why change is so hard. There will be relevant context about the environment, the people involved, the pressures inherent in the work itself, the workplace system and the business' organisational design flaws. There are many reasons why it seems almost impossible to have that conversation about the next step, be direct about promotion aspirations, give ourselves permission to believe we can be successful at the next level. In the case of wanting to make a jump to something new or getting out of something toxic, there are family systems to consider, financial restrictions, job security concerns, not wanting to let the current team down, fear of being found out as an imposter....


In short, there are myriad stories being told as to why a change that is clearly desired and integral to the individual's values and beliefs cannot be made a reality. The stories have germs of truth. The voice of the inner critic is doing its best to keep us safe (let's not demonise the voice that is programmed to assess danger and steer us away). However, it can be very hard to access internally the balanced, challenging alternative perspectives that could create oxygen, sunlight and energy for solutions and possibilities to germinate.


In coaching, the coach becomes the thinking partner; my purpose is to create new awareness in the other. We co-create clarity on what the client really wants. We explore what is holding back action. There are limiting assumptions to be discovered, inner narratives to understand, past experiences to unpick, current issues to examine. Through identifying the real issue behind the issue, we are able to right-size the blockers and unlock a pathway to solutions and ideas...to new possibilities only made possible through access to alternative perspectives that break the echo chamber of the coachee's own mind. The coachee becomes highly resourceful and clear-sighted, generating realistic and achievable options and actions, utilising the powerhouse of their own confidence and self-belief. And because it's come from within and is tightly aligned to what they want, they are committed to taking the steps and experimenting with new ways of thinking and behaving. Change happens.


So what's the story for you? How is the mind gap at play? What do you want and what's holding you back?


I'd love to hear more.

 

Georgie Rudd is an accredited Executive & Leadership Coach, working with business leaders across global FTSE 100 and Professional Services firms. She leads her own practice, Rudd Coaching Ltd, offering 1:1 and group coaching on a range of topics spanning business development through to leadership effectiveness, emotional intelligence and working parent coaching. Georgie often works on leadership impact, self-belief and the inner critic, managing healthier work/life rhythms, effective delegation, building relationships and career transitions. She is also co-founder of www.thinkperspective.com, running Listening Labs to help leaders unlock the superpower of listening and have higher quality conversations everyday.

Contact georgie@ruddcoaching.co.uk for more information and start a conversation.


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