James is leading the process development in his organization and a keen learner. Like everyone, he does see a lot of problems around himself and wants to attend to most of them. But during our coaching sessions, he quickly focuses on his contribution to the situation. The method he found for himself is to focus on his role. What he searches for, is to understand what belongs to his role and what doesn’t.
He is self-aware enough to know that he will not stop seeking solutions for the problems he perceives. What he learned was, that by giving himself a view on the limits of his role he would be able to see how his desire to help intervenes with his ability to help.
Take a professional soccer match. You’ll find it normal to have different roles in the team. And you will expect that a referee pays attention to the process of the game to make sure that it happens within the limits of the rules. The players are tending to their own task which is to be in the game and do everything they can to contribute to winning the game. The referee on the other hand is there to watch the process, he doesn’t care about the way the task is executed as long as it doesn’t interfere with the rules.
By regularly assessing his role, James is learning to see when he is trying to help a player play the ball instead of using the range of options at his disposal as their “referee”. He integrates how easing the flow of the process helps all players to be effective. But also that this may include stopping the game once in a while whenever that is the better way to serves individuals or the game itself.
Like most people in a team, James has different roles he can take up. Knowing that different roles may have conflicts with one another he will assess the situation first. Sometimes he can’t choose roles, in others it is by choosing a different role that he’ll enable himself to succeed in his ambition to help. He knows that he can’t be goalkeeper and center forward at the same time, but he sees that both contribute to the result.
It takes time to learn. That’s because we need to develop the practice.
And sometimes that’s what coaching is about.