Whether it’s public speaking, writing, managing others, giving feedback, or receiving feedback, we all have an area in our work lives that we don’t enjoy, and avoid at all costs – and it can impact the way we progress in our careers. At Edgework Consulting, we love the challenge of working with coaching clients to help them face and overcome these obstacles. We call it getting to your stretch zone – that area beyond your comfort zone but before you get to your panic zone. It’s safe in your comfort zone and terrifying in your panic zone; but there’s the tiny area between the two where growth happens. You’re still safe, but looking over that ledge you’re seeing possibilities you never imagined. A good coach can get you to your stretch zone, and act as a safety, giving you the confidence to lean further over that ledge by knowing that someone will be there to grab your hand should you slip; it allows you to lean a little further, see more, and take that step into the unknown.
Confront Your Challenges
We all have beliefs or feelings that there are some things others can do, but we can’t. “Joe can lead teams; that’s not something I can do,” or “Sarah’s the one that speaks in front of a group; that’s just something I can’t do.” Whatever it is, you can do it. When you identify that thing holding you back, and realize it’s time to face the challenge, a good leadership coach can be the tool you need, both to push you to get there, but also to support you when you feel like you might fall. Because your coach was not in the conference room where you just gave your first presentation, or doesn't report to the manager whom you just told for the first time that you can’t work late tonight, he/she is your confidant, and an honest source of feedback and support.
Expand Your Comfort Zone
Growth isn’t easy, but with a trusted coaching relationship you can turn the thing holding you back into something that is helping you progress. Imagine yourself leading a meeting, giving feedback to coworkers, or telling a colleague that no, you actually can’t go to that meeting at 6:00 because you have your son’s soccer game. Working with a coach will give you the courage and tools to tackle that obstacle holding you back, and before you know it, you’ll be standing in the same spot, confronting the same challenges, but you’ll have turned that stretch zone into your comfort zone.