• Jan 30 2024

Harnessing Coaching for Breakthrough Thinking

Dr. Ron Rodriguez, ExecOnline's VP of Learning Design & Coaching, explains a 4-step process coaches employ to help leaders embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth

The turning of the year invites us to reassess our habits, behaviors, and ways of thinking. Instead of fixating on resolutions, we explore the power of leadership coaching to foster motivation, focus, and accountability in reshaping habits and perspectives. We sat down with Dr. Ron Rodriguez, ExecOnline’s Vice President of Learning Design & Coaching and ICF Professional Certified Coach, to uncover how organizations and their leaders can step into the new year with a fresh perspective. 

As a certified NeuroCoach specializing in transformation and sustained behavior change, Ron explains how coaches can guide leaders through a 4-step process to help them embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth. Learn how this approach goes beyond the typical New Year’s resolutions, creating a blueprint for sustainable change and success.  

Uncover and Unpack

Often, we operate on autopilot, unaware of how behavioral patterns or our ways of thinking will propel us forward or hold us back. Coaching provides a space for introspection where a leader can take inventory of current habits and ways of thinking, then explore their impact, personally and professionally. Ask “How do my habits and ways of thinking serve me?” “Are they effective?” “Do they align with my values?” “Will they support me in getting to where I want to go in the coming year?”

Understanding these questions and their response allows individuals to consciously take a step back to holistically look within themselves and uncover what needs to evolve to align to the leaders’ goals for the year ahead.

Embrace a Future-Self Mindset

Central to breakthrough thinking is adopting a future-state mindset. Too often we dwell on limitations or past experiences. Rather, explore the possibilities and identify the gaps between your current reality and desired outcomes, paving the way for innovation and growth. A leadership coach helps leaders to  envision their ideal future and delineate actionable steps to bridge the gap in a personalized way to ensure new habits form.

“When you stop thinking about what you can’t do and you start to think about what is possible and what you want to do, you’ve embraced a future-self mindset.”

Dr. Ron Rodriguez, Vice President of Learning Design & Coaching, ExecOnline

Form New Habits

Leaders are encouraged not to fixate on breaking old habits and ways of thinking as the approach is rooted in punishment and judgment. Instead, coaches suggest we form new habits to rewire our brains. Articulating clear statements that outline desired behaviors and their associated rewards, otherwise known as habit statements, helps us in this aim. 

Craft a habit statement using the formula: when I do X, I will instead do Y, and my reward will be Z. This practice allows the brain to halt repeating old ways of thinking and shift into new habits by rewarding new behaviors. Ultimately, the goal of habit statements is to move into the subconscious where the newly formed way of doing things exists like the day-to-day mundane actions that one doesn’t need to think about but knows how to do (e.g., brushing teeth, drying off after showering, working out,) as they don’t require a lot of prefrontal cortex activity. 

Be Accountable

Lastly, coaches guide leaders to develop and maintain accountability for themselves and their teams by creating milestones and measuring progress. Uncovering how to identify a successful shift in thinking or behavior is the first step in determining what milestones should be made and how to track them. Coaches take a customized approach by setting individual leaders up with goals that are refined, actionable, repeatable, and measurable to ensure that they’re able to celebrate their achievements and remain motivated to continued success. A cadence of metric-driven check-ins provides an additional layer of accountability and support from coaches.

“Once the leader has established how they want to be and how they want to think, coaches then support leaders in establishing accountability to themselves and those around them.”

Dr. Ron Rodriguez

In navigating breakthrough thinking alongside a coach, leaders should be aware of several key “watch outs” that could hold them back and impact their progress and potential.

Limiting Beliefs

Leaders should be aware of their limiting beliefs, such as thoughts like “I can’t do this” or “This is never going to work.” These beliefs can hinder progress, so it’s important to overcome them with the support of the coach and a network, taking things step by step to erode these beliefs over time.

Surroundings and Support 

Leaders should assess their surroundings and support system to ensure they have everything they need for their breakthrough thinking. They should avoid falling into old habits of support that may not serve their new purpose. This includes finding new support mechanisms and avenues of encouragement, rather than relying on what worked in the past.

Discouragement from Failure

Leaders should guard against becoming discouraged at the first sign of failure. Setting milestones along the way can help prevent this, as can adopting a growth mindset that focuses on learning from mistakes rather than viewing them as indicators of inability. Instead of getting disheartened, leaders should ask themselves what they can learn from each setback and how they can use that knowledge to progress further.

Starting the new year with a coach is a catalyst for transformation, guiding individuals and leaders towards breakthrough thinking and sustainable growth. Embracing reflection, stepping into the future mindset, rewiring the subconscious, defining milestones and desired achievements, and naming behaviors that can impede your success help leaders embark on a journey of self-discovery and innovation, propelling them, their teams, and their organization toward success in the new year and beyond.

Interested in exploring Leadership Coaching? Unlock the potential within your organization.

Speak to an expert who can walk you through the ways ExecOnline can benefit you and your teams.

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