All great leaders know that the most effective form of learning is self-discovery, and that a key leadership strategy is to help people discover crucial things about themselves. World-class coaches are those who believe in facilitating such an introspective process, thus helping people re-discover what they already know.

Great leaders know that most people are in fact unaware of what makes themselves tick, of what are their own emotional motivators, the emotions that drive their behaviors. They also understand that the only way to help people discover the hidden power locked up in their psyches is through asking probing questions. Consequently, great leaders constantly ask their people questions--and take careful note of the answers.

Amateur coaches motivate primarily through logic. Professional coaches motivate primarily through emotion. Since human beings are primarily emotional creatures, it's obvious which method has the most power.

Facilitating the introspective process in another person requires patience and time; the great ones are willing to invest that time. The amateur wants instant results; pros know this rarely occurs. However, investing the time is well worth it: the payoff comes not only in the form of better results but also in a deeper connection between coach and student.

The Need to Belong
Once an emotional creature is convinced that you care about what he thinks and how he feels, the stage is set for emotional bonding to occur. Because of this bond, leaders who adopt this style of leadership seldom lose people to rival companies. People who feel emotionally connected to their sponsor or upline leader are not going to change companies for a hot new compensation plan or slick new product.

All of us have a fundamental need to belong. Great leaders know this, and that if the emotional cost of switching to another company is high enough, very few people will ever leave.

We see this in a company such as Southwest Airlines, where the culture is so emotionally charged that no one wants to leave. A few years ago, when I was interviewing some of Southwest's employees for a speech I was giving, I asked them if they had ever considered leaving the company. The most common answer was, "Where would I go where the company really cares about me, like Southwest does?"

In a time when many major airlines are going broke, Southwest continues to make record profits and is always near the top of ratings in customer satisfaction. These people have clearly mastered the concept of progressive, 21st century leadership. You can do the same with your team.

How to Facilitate Introspection in Your Team
To start harnessing the power of this type of leadership, make a commitment to invest at least 20 minutes with each of your people to lead them through the introspective process.

Start with the question, "What do you really want out of life more than anything else?"

Remember that your goal is for this person to be comfortable enough to answer you in terms of how she feels rather than how she thinks. Once she begins to explain her feelings, follow up with these questions:

1) What exactly do you mean by that?

2) What does that look like?

3) Why do you feel that way?

4) Tell me more about that.

5) Why is that important to you?

6) What does having that mean to you?

Take lots of notes during this process and tell the other person exactly what you're doing. The goal is for both of you to uncover the emotional motivators that burn deep within this person. You may be surprised to find out that most people in fact have no idea what is driving them emotionally! They've never thought about it, and no one ever bothered to ask--that is, before you did.

Once you know what these motivators are, you can begin coaching and motivating this person with this information. Here are some of the most common emotional motivators we've found in our Mental Toughness University Program for sales and management teams:

There are hundreds of different emotional motivators; they exist to varying degrees of emotional depth within each of us. Your job as a coach and leader is to uncover as many of them as you can, then use this information as a tool to help your people get what they want out of this business.

 

STEVE SIEBOLD
is co-founder of the Gove-Siebold Group, a training organization that helps networkers develop world-class communication skills.
www.networkingtimes.com/link/siebold