I watched the movie – “The King’s Speech”. It’s a good movie with wonderful acting. The movie tells the story of King George’s long battle to conquer a speech impediment. The historical events leading to World War II and the abdication of his brother serve as the background to the unique relationship formed between the future King and his unorthodox speech therapist – Lionel Logue. What stood out to me were some universal elements that exist in most leadership development challenges. I will discuss a few for you to observe while watching the movie – these include: courage and desire for a leader to evolve; the relationship between leader and coach; the challenge of finding, facing, and solving the root problem. (Don’t worry I won’t spoil the movie for you.)
Personal leadership evolution has no end, if one has the courage and desire to continue to grow. Given that the growth cycle usually is centered in a personal problem or weakness, most people will shy away from leadership development once they have achieved his or her definition of success or fulfillment. However, those who seek to explore his or her full potential will need to be humble before the possibility of growth, and continue to be an open student regardless of success or acclaim to date. An evolving leader must constantly leave his or her ego grown of past success out of the thinking for future possibility if they hope to evolve. This is no small feat. It requires courage and desire to continue to push one’s self into new personal challenges for the sake of growth. The King had to solve a problem. His Coach would not let him off the hook.
The relationship between leaders and leadership development coaches is complex. But I have observed a number of elements of success that exist in successful evolution which were shown in the movie – a measurable result, trust, faith, and commitment to the goal. Leaders must have milestones to achieve in his or her development. This allows focus and foundation building. Having a measurable result allows the leader and coach to focus their efforts on definable feedback. They can determine progress; see what is working and what is failing. They can adapt to the situation and create opportunities for success. Trust is essential for honest assessment of progress. Trust in the process, the relationship, and the Coach must be present for success. Faith in the effort put forth by the leader will be meaningful and worthwhile given the demands of leadership evolution. Finally, extraordinary commitment to each other and to the goal must be present from both leader and coach for success. Often the greatest challenge is dealing with the real problem.
Finding, facing, and solving real obstacles that lead to leadership success are critical steps in leadership evolution. Most people have mastered the ability to cope with root problems in order to live a normal life. These problems usually only emerge as they push themselves in uncomfortable challenges where stress brings forth fear. Consequently, evolving leaders must face their fears and the root issues which cause these fears to evolve. Good leadership coaches have a combination of empathy, discernment, timing, and ability to communicate the root issues in a way that allows leaders to see new possibility by identifying and facing a root issue. This is when the real work begins.
We all have the capability to have a greater positive leadership impact if we continue to push ourselves to evolve as leaders. Most us of us have problems we should solve, need to solve, or could solve that would allow us to evolve. Our challenge is to have the courage and the desire to grow.