Perspectives of a Leadership Coach
I’ve changed my reading habits as of late. I’m less willing to read business or leadership books and far more interested in reading behavioral science or memoirs. Especially memoirs. A compelling memoir will leave you questioning your own mindset. I think a memoir is excruciatingly personal and perhaps the most private of all the stories we tell – both to others and ourselves. It attempts to extract meaning from events, experiences and circumstances. Sometimes the piercing questions are answered in an exactness that is unnerving. And other times these questions leave gaping holes where answers might have been. There is no correctness…only humanness.
I feel the same way about personality assessments. The right behavioral tool reads like a good memoir, it offers up the whole person from their point of view and asks others to share in their humanness. I love that. And I love that The Birkman Method personality assessment does the same thing.
The right memoir will cause you to wrestle with various versions of the truth because your truth depends on where you’re standing, what you see, and what you think. This is why a slew of people can read the same memoir and walk away with different insights, revelations or reflections. Because, well, perspective.
Your filtered reality
Perspective takes us far beyond the simple dichotomy of “I see it this way” and “you see it that way”. It introduces the notion that between two ends of a scale, there is an entire spectrum of understanding. And from my point of view, you really can’t have too much perspective.
The same occurs when you review your Birkman Mindset report. Ultimately, it’s about perspective, which is very important. I don’t know if Birkman found me or if I found it, but it has transformed my life, my work as a leadership coach, and my understanding of humanness. And we’ve been inseparable for the last 15 years. While the Birkman Signature Suite remains a mainstay in my overall business platform, it’s the newer Mindset report that has added another dimension to my Executive Coaching engagements.
By merging behavioral information (Signature) with attitudinal information (Mindset) it becomes a 360 view of your humanness: how do you see yourself, how do you see others, how do you see the world, how do others see you, and what on earth does all of that look like when combined. More likely than not, you are a walking set of contradictions. There is a push and pull to life…and there is a push and pull within all of us.
Perspective made easy
Since I was young – way before I had the right words to articulate my understanding of self and others – I’ve acutely felt that I was vastly different than “most people” in the way that I saw things and approached life. While it was no surprise that my personal scores on the Mindset report reflected my long-held feelings, it was immensely gratifying to have them [scientifically] validated. I think what we sometimes forget is that while it’s hard growing up standing out, it’s also hard fitting in. There is a constant desire for both popularity (mainstream) and singularity (beat of your own drum). It’s not until you see where you land on a particular scale in comparison to others – viewing all the shades of gray between the black and white ends – that you come to understand – viscerally understand – the complexity of our collective humanness.
Three of my four Perspectives Scale scores from the Birkman Mindset report are intense (90’s or single digits). My remaining scale score is exactly in the middle – which is perfect, because for that scale, “it just all depends”. And I love that.
[ 99 = Distinctiveness | 93 = Image Management | 2 = Social Acuity | 51 = Alignment ]
Mindset reveals the "why" of one's personality
Ultimately, mindset matters a great deal. And so does a willingness to stand in the middle of your own truth – to know who you are – and to own it with unabashed euphoria. It is…liberating. Much like understanding your personality, a memoir unfolds over time. The significance of that understanding may surface through subtle signs, or it might land with such a force that it shakes the very ground you’re standing on. The experience is different for everyone.
I believe that we absolutely need everyone contributing to the greater good in a way that works for them – from their perspective. But I also believe that we need everyone developing an understanding of others who are far different from ourselves. Because if all I ever do is walk to the beat of my own drum, how will I ever know what the other drums sound like? While I may be standing in the middle of my own truth, surely I can honor someone else’s truth as well. Actually I think I have to, our collective humanness depends on it.
With The Birkman Method, I rely on seven decades of research to enrich my understanding of how human behavior works – within ourselves, and among each other. When I learned to use Birkman Mindset and the Perspectives Scales, I found a greater understanding of the “why” behind our behaviors and perceptions. The application of Perspectives insights in my leadership coaching practice is transformative in helping my clients grow.
The Birkman Mindset report helps train individuals to become much more aware of our own filtered reality. The executive and leadership coaching experience that this certification offers allows us to increase awareness of where other perspectives don't align with our personal mindset, begin to understand the possibility of others' perspectives, and open and challenge our minds to see value in and leverage the differences in mindset among people. Are you an executive coach, decision maker, C-suite executive, consultant, or looking to make your next-level career move? The Birkman Mindset report was made just for you! Check out our upcoming courses to get Mindset certified!
About the Author | Stacey Mason
Stacey Mason is a seasoned Executive Coach and the founder of The Improv Lab, where she helps others experiment with their own perspectives and works to enhance the effectiveness of teams and organizations. Stacey holds the esteemed designation of Master Certified Birkman Consultant with 15 years of experience. She also writes about thought leadership as a columnist for several B2B publications. Stacey co-founded comedy improv troupes Sidebar and Sock Monkey, and has trained with various actor-teams including the Kansas City Improv Company, Jimmy Carrane of Improv Nerd, and Second City in Chicago.