Purpose and Wisdom

“Who do you discuss your 5% with?”

One of the things I’ve observed over the last 20 years from running a business are the consistency of highs and lows.  For many of us who own a business or have a career, we never develop a comfort level with the highs that makes us feel wonderful or the lows that make us question everything about ourselves and our business.  We appreciate the highs but we also recognize the opposite a low is likely right around the corner.  We know the general ebb and flow of what we do.  The challenge as a leader and a business owner is knowing who we can share these roller coaster of wins and losses with safely.

Coaching Focus

The highs and lows we want to focus on in a coaching session are the top 5% and bottom 5% in three key areas – personal, family and business.  With our traditional relationships, we likely have people we can rely on to discuss the 95% with.  Unfortunately, we rarely have someone who we can share the 5% with.  If we’re lucky, we have someone who will cover one to two of the three areas.

Business and Career Life

You may have an accountant who handles any accounting or taxes issues and you may have an attorney who handles any legal questions.  With both an accountant and an attorney, it’s clear where the focus of those conversations will lead.  It’s rare for an accountant or attorney to discuss your significant other, children, employees or customer issues.  The same is also true with a significant other or children.  You aren’t likely to discuss accounting or legal issues with them.  When you reflect on relationships in each of those areas, you may realize each relationship only discusses a small portion within that one area.

Personal Life

Personally, you may have a significant other or friends where you focus on you and what is going in your life.  Your goals, your dreams, your plans and your vision of your life may not be the easiest conversation to have with other people who may prefer to discuss themselves.  Discussing your exercise plan, your diet plan, or your relationship plan are likely discussions you can have with your significant other or friends.  Talking about employees, customers or difficult business decisions don’t usually come up in conversations about you personally.  And if these topics do come up, how likely will you share your top 5% or bottom 5%?

Family Life

Family dynamics are interesting and fun at the same time.  Significant others, brothers, sisters, parents, in-laws and children all add to the family dynamics.  Each relationship in a family is likely different and follows different patterns of what people hear and how they react.  Some of these relationships may be close, some may be strained and some may not feel like the relationship you hoped for.  Within the family, there may not be an opportunity to discuss your personal goals, the goals you have for your department, the goals you have for your career or the goals you have for your business.

Why you feel alone

Often times, when people speak with people outside their company, outside their industry or with people with whom they may not work, there is a sense that “they really don’t understand my situation because they don’t understand my business”.  Unless your significant other works with you, they likely do not understand all of the aspects to your job or the responsibilities associated with it.  Because of this, you may feel like there are limits on what you can and cannot discuss based on the response you expect to receive.  This could also apply to your significant other and/or friends or family.

What are some topics that may fall into the 5%?

“I may need to cut 1/3 of the workforce in the next week?”

“We just lost our biggest customer and I’m not sure what to do?”

“I have a family member with a significant health problem and I’m not sure how I feel about it?”

“Our company just hit its goal and I am going to give myself 100k bonus!”

“I was just asked to be on a board I have always wanted to be on?”

Opportunity for Growth

Often times, discussing the top 5% or bottom 5% may feel like you are dumping problems on someone or boasting about yourself.  It’s hard to withhold information you would like to share so it just festers inside.  The flip side may be if you share the news, you are afraid people may judge you or that you may come across as egotistical.  Worse yet, the individuals you share the 5% with may be jealous of what you shared. 

One of the responsibilities of a business and career coach is to provide a confidential safe space to discuss whatever the client would like to discuss.  One of the benefits of a coach is that they provide a judgement free space because it is the responsibility of the coach to not provide his opinion or advice to the client.  The right coaching relationship is spelled out and is clear on the expectations of each party and how they will work together.

What would it mean to have someone to discuss the top 5% or bottom 5% with knowing there was no judgment and it was safe to discuss anything?  A coach is not a therapist or a mentor.  A coach is there to ask you questions in order to help you understand what walls or obstacles are preventing you from moving forward in a specific area of your life.  Understanding the feelings and experiences that cause something to be in the top 5% or bottom 5% may shed some light on how you process things.  Once you understand how you process things you may want to understand why you process things this way.  The only way to truly understand is to answer questions in a safe environment where you can find the answers for yourself.

If you would like to talk about the top 5% or the bottom 5%, let’s connect.