A Coaching Power Tool By Kotaro Takahashi, Business Coach, UNITED KINGDOM
What is mindset? What does it mean, and how does it work/affect people?
Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny. Mahatma Gandhi
There are several popular mindsets such as Growth Mindset, Fixed Mindset, and Benefit Mindset, etc. A mindset represents a person’s behavior, way of thinking, and even value. Mindsets are the habit of mind created by one’s experiences, mindsets are self-deceptive, and they can be transcended (Buchanan, 2017). As a leadership coach, I face opportunities to talk with managers and young leaders, mid-level corporate executives willing to grow themselves, promote, or try to get any challenges. However, some people seem to think, fear, or other obstacles emotions negatively. This report will talk about the technique of two different aspects: See as you see vs. See differently.
See As You See vs. See Differently
See as you see
This aspect represents a mindset and attitude that people try not to see a thing differently. It is literally seeing “as you see,” it sounds realistic, but the problem is that they are stuck there, they are not solving a problem, or they are not moving forward as they want because they just see as they see.
- Economic is terrible at this moment; we cannot take a risk to challenge a new business at this moment.
- Let’s see how others will respond to this incident; then, we can decide what to do.
- Why my team members are so reluctant to lead this project? It doesn’t make sense that I explained how attractive this project is, and they seemed to understand it.
- I am losing my confidence after missed a sales target for over two months.
It seems those examples are pretty normal (it is actually the conversation between each client and myself). Actually, many people who face difficult situations for their work and their daily lives perceive a problem as they see it first. Once people start thinking negatively, generally, it is difficult to leave the negative loop by themselves.
Then, this perspective comes in. Things have both one side and the flip side. There are different angles to see what’s happening, what we can do to moving forward. If seeing differently for the above “See as you see” examples, it looks like below:
- Even though the current economy is wrong, it might be a chance to start now, since others might think negatively about the current situation?
- Is this the right thing to wait and see first? Any benefits for us to go first?
- Maybe better to understand what happened to them before starting this project and now.
- Is it worth losing my confidence already? Since I had reached my target over a year. Why don’t I investigate the cause of my result last two months first?
Actually, some people naturally make this “See differently” approach. However, even those people who naturally can do in a normal situation, once they are in a difficult situation, it is not easy for them to get out of the negative or fixed perspective without knowing the power tool. Furthermore, it is not easy to think differently by themselves in a difficult situation. That is why it is effective to work with a coach to face difficulties together.
Let’s say there is a client who works for an IT company as a middle sales management. He is basically a great performer and promoted faster than others. He knows he is a good sales player and just recently became a director to lead 20 salespeople. He managed five people while playing a sales role on his own just before the promotion, and now he focuses on the management role 100%. Everybody expects him to be a good manager since everyone knows he is talented, even he knows that his reputation. However, since he was assigned the management, several unlucky events happened: 2 people suddenly left the job, and two other sales also had to leave due to their lower performance in the last period. So now his team is lacking four people capacity, but his team’s annual target cannot adjust anymore. And that situation made other member’s motivation and mood down. As a manager, he visited me on how to achieve the annual target and keep members motivated.
First, he is a talented person who has an excellent sales record in the company. And he has enough knowledge, experience, and ability to make things better. However, he was in “See as you see” mode at the beginning of the session. He said, “I have no idea how is that possible to hit my team’s annual target in such a lack of resources. I need to hire new staffs, which will take time. Also, we need to train them after. It is almost impossible to hit the target, to be honest”. But he works with me because he wants to accomplish success as a manager. I gave him my observation that now he sees what he sees, and realistically it may be tough to achieve his team target. I asked him, “What you might be able to see this situation differently? “. After several following questions and thinking time, he eventually came up with the idea that “Actually, we can reframe this tough situation as an opportunity.” He tried to see the current challenging situation from different angles, hopefully, something positive. Then, he came up with this situation as an opportunity than a crisis. And he also realized that his attitude could affect the team mood both positively and negatively. Even though it was not enough to deal with such a challenging situation without any quick and effective measures, he needed to trust the remaining members to outperform significantly. Eventually, he concluded that he would focus on cheering his team up and creating a better working environment for team members to perform outstandingly.
Then now, his team has been performing very well, and they believe in achieving their annual target. He said that “If I still think this situation as I see, probably I never came up with my current primal strategy, which is to take care of my team members first. But I could realize that I need to rely on my members to outperform, so I spent my effort to make the working environment better for them”. So far, he and his team trust each other, and they have been outperforming in the last two months.
I realized that using the power tool will work effectively; not only just see differently, it will also lead clients to think positively. Because most cases, clients are stuck because of their fixed point of view – as they see a situation. Tying to see differently means trying to see things from a positive perspective without recognizing they are thinking positively. It is a magical way to expand their way of thinking, which will lead to finding awareness of what to do next to achieve their goal.
Also, it will generate a more growth mindset. Thinking differently to moving forward means that a client becomes more creative, adjustive, and learns from others. This positive thinking and growth mindset will loop and collaborate effectively and generate more ideas and energy, which will positively influence others. It is the powerful part of a coaching session. I will definitely keep this principle in my mind.
Ash, B. (2017). The nature of mindsets. Benefit Mindset.com. Retrieved from
Dave, P. (2019). 5 Strategies for Changing Mindsets. Medium.com.