This year I had the privilege of being nominated for the ‘Hull and Humber Top 30 under 30’ accolade. As part of being recognised, all 30 of us were invited on to the LEAP programme – a leadership course led by three amazing coaches: John Borland, Dominic Colenso and Nicola Ellwood.

Ten sessions throughout the year and what a year it has been! As the programme opens its doors to 2022 nominees, I’d like to share some of my key takeaways and encourage all businesses in the area to take advantage of this amazing opportunity – I know we will!

Coaching

Coaching is all about placing others as the experts. You’re on the same level as them and you’re guiding them to see their own vision, who they are when they’re at their best.

Footprints in sand


Coaching makes people conscious. It hands people back their excuses and creates a partnership that empowers people to take ownership of their own development.

We all have our own personal maps that interpret things differently with unique experiences e.g. when I think of ‘family’ I think ‘love’ but when others think of family they may think ‘darkness’.

As a leader, we need to put our own mind map away, allowing others to look at their map, especially when it comes to one-to-ones.

You’ve also got to consider the drama triangle, a model that illustrates interactions that involve three roles as a response to conflict: the victim, the rescuer and the persecutor.

The persecutor is controlling and critical. If blamed, they become defensive and switch roles to become the victim. The victim doesn’t want to be fully rescued because they love playing that role and the rescuer can run out of steam and stop helping out.

In management we can sometimes fall into becoming the rescuer, however, in leadership, it’s about offering ownership and empowerment.

The drama triangle is a losing game, so if you’re already in one, consider how you can step out of it gradually and start giving people accountability.

Creating a vision

Great leaders know the way, go the way and show the way. It’s all about your attitude and having an understanding of why you do what you do.

Do you know who you are when you’re at your best? Create a clear vision of your own values and then you’ll know how to replicate these.

Passion typography on path


By actioning what you believe, you’ll be able to attract people who share the same beliefs.

Communication

Storytelling is incredibly powerful so consider your structure - past, present and future.

Stick a post-it-note up next to your screen and consider how you’re going to frame your next conversation - what do you want them to KNOW, how do you want them to FEEL and then what do you want them to DO as the outcome?

An employee’s relationship with their line manager is so important. Don’t just listen, REALLY listen, consider your emotional intelligence and ask for feedback.

Ear poking out of paper


There are four types of listening:

1. Distracted – you’re only half listening
2. Filtered – you’re twisting what you’re listening to because of your mind map
3. Attentive – you’re listening but it’s only short term
4. Attuned – you’re present and listening to everything

We feel valued when we’re listened to, it raises our self-esteem. So, the key thing about being a leader is being aware of how you’re listening. We spend the majority of our time distracted, only half listening and we are experts at body language - so if you’re not listening, everyone can tell!

Questioning can be split into head vs. heart questions that are more reflective.

In terms of coaching, there are three types of questioning:

1. Perspective – the eyes: how can we look at it
2. Purpose – the heart: what matters
3. Progress – the head: what can we action (forward thinking)

Don’t concentrate too much on the progress questions and leave them till last - you don’t want to coach someone down the wrong path!

Our ego

Our ego is never happy, it holds us back and reacts to criticism or praise. It’s possessive, compares ourselves to others and when we argue, we argue with our ego.

Curb your ego poster

When we look at our mindset, it can be split in to four areas.

The first three are from our ego in protection mode:

1. Moaning – this is where we use excuses and blame others
2. Postponing – we don’t move forward
3. Controlling – we stress about things that can’t be controlled

The fourth is our true self and taking ownership is incredibly brave:

4. Owning – we can accept and own the way we respond

Our true self is 100% resilient, it knows you’re okay and can handle anything. It’s about changing the way you think. Stop focusing on the negatives and start focusing on the things you want - all the positives!

“Fear is a doorway that can be stepped through”.

Our ego is desperate to stay in our comfort zone but confidence will not grow if you don’t step out of it. Do things that stretch you beyond your comfort zone and see what you can achieve!

Self-awareness has to be non-judgemental. Start acknowledging when your ego is stepping in and be aware of it in others too. When you start noticing your own ego you can begin to think about what our true self would do.

In summary

Overall, what an incredible journey it has been, and it’s not over yet!

For me, the journey into self-awareness has been most empowering. Every session I have allows me to come away with a new perspective.

Working in digital marketing, it’s easy to get carried away in your own head, running at 100 miles per hour. With the help of the LEAP programme, I’m starting to realise the importance of being present and conscious of my triggers when under pressure.

I now understand the value of taking myself off autopilot, taking a step back and thinking before I react in certain situations.

It’s about being present and in the moment. I’m putting my learnings in to practise, asking the herd to share their vision, discover when they are at their best and see how we can interpret these values into the business. I’m excited to see what the future holds!

You can find out more information about nominating someone in your business for Top 30 under 30 here: How to nominate

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About the author

Becky Allbones

Becky Allbones, Digital Marketing Lead

Becky is an SEO, PR and Content Marketing specialist with 5+ years' experience. Becky has worked on brands such as Reckitt Benckiser, winning 'Best Content Marketing Campaign' at the Performance Marketing Awards.

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