Executive coaching might seem like an easy task: We just take a look at what’s holding you back, then commence with a plan of action to resolve it. However, if we aren’t taking steps in the right direction, it can start to feel a lot like a boxing match; You take the hits and throw back a punch when you can.
I recently became fascinated by the concept of Eat This, Don’t Eat That whereby the author used common food swap-outs to encourage people to eat healthier. The basic concept revolved around not ordering the Arby’s triple-shake and subbing out a small McDonald’s sundae.
In everyday life, if we can conquer the best way to do this for ourselves, it makes sense that we’d be healthier, happier people, doesn’t it? We’d also have less regrets about the way we live our daily lives. You simply have to learn what you should and should not compromise of yourself.
Ultimately, so much of life comes down to compromise. If we compromise too much, we feel used, broken down and unmotivated. If we don’t compromise enough, we feel like bullies who trampled on the other person.
One important step of executive coaching, then, is for us to successfully walk the line between what we should compromise and what we should not. Before you give an inch, or take one, consider these factors:
What will the compromise really affect?
If your answer is something physical that negatively affects you, then it’s best not to compromise it. If you’ve got 10 meetings this week and you’re asked to cram in just one more, adding the additional item will take your energy away from concentrating on the other meetings.
Here’s the other kicker: There’s only so much of you to go around. If you’ve set aside 2 personal hours a day to work out or family time every Saturday, nothing could be more important than sticking to the elements that make up a well-balanced life. Yes?
Are you the only one who can do it … really?
I love it when people suggest I’m the only one qualified to provide executive coaching in such and such circumstance. They typically follow it up with a comment about the budget. Well, I’m certainly not the only one who does what I do.
Unless you are a surgery specialized medical translator who speaks Mandarin Chinese backwards you are probably not the only one who can do it. In other words, it’s okay to say no even if you’re told you’re the only one who can do it. So just say no.
The language of the asker.
In sales coaching, the language we use can be the difference between a successful interaction and the loss of the sale. It can also tip you off when you really should compromise. In leadership coaching, this is an important element of life / work balance.
Listen carefully to how you’re being asked for assistance. You should be able to recognize when someone really needs a favor vs. when they simply don’t want to do it themselves.
How do you feel?
Okay, so this is a soft example. However, when you make the choice to give too much of yourself, you don’t necessarily feel good. Likewise, if you don’t compromise enough, you’re likely to feel stubborn and unyielding. You could also call this self-awareness – if you don’t have it there are lots of great workshops that can teach you.
I once had a colleague who was always back logged. A few times I bailed her out. One day, I said, I can help you with this if later in the week you can help me with that. Her answer, that she couldn’t guarantee her help, was all the information I needed to never help her again.
I also never felt bad about not jumping in to do her work for her. I was the one doing all the compromise while she did all the taking.
Ultimately, when you focus on what’s important to you, you garner the ability to recognize what’s important. You quickly realize when you should – and shouldn’t – compromise.