Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Awareness

Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Awareness by Angela Fieler

As a certified executive coach, asking great questions is my “bread and butter.” My goal is to be a thought partner, or as a recent client said, “you push my brain to places it doesn’t know it needs to go.” I never imagined that I would be able to do the same thing for myself! Marilee Adams introduced me to the world of question thinking. I can coach myself into new and more helpful trains of thought. She offers a powerful graphic, called a Choice Map, to represent this new way of thinking. I’d seen the map before. But without the accompanying tools in the book, the power was somewhat diminished.

How It Works

The basic premise of the map is that we all naturally tend to judge people or situations and that when we do so, we close our minds off to other possibilities. If we can teach ourselves to have more self-awareness and recognize when we are “in judger mode”, we can ask ourselves a few simple questions, and switch our mindset to one where we can be open to new possibilities. In the book, you follow the story of Ben, a leader who is struggling with a team of people who just can’t seem to get the job done, including one employee who Ben believes is sabotaging his leadership position. Ben uses the tools in the book to turn the situation completely around. He also uses it to improve his relationship with his wife.

The story is good. It helps you put the 12 tools into perspective, but I wanted to put the tools to a test for myself. I was dealing with a contentious family issue that I could see no way out of. I worked through the tools and was able to recognize that my self-talk was a huge contributor to our inability to address the problem. Again, using the “workbook” portion of the book, I took a stab at asking myself a few questions to help me see the situation in a different light. It didn’t work perfectly. I had to try a few different series of questions before I could really open my mind to other possibilities. But once I got myself there, the whole tenor of the conversation with family changed. And together, we found a solution to the problem.

The Results

I was so impressed with the tools. I’ve now incorporated them into my coaching practice. I’ve already helped a client who, like Ben, had a “bad team” and a “saboteur who wanted the leader role”. The leader was able to bring self-awareness into play and recognize her own tendency to use drama words that put her on the fast track to judging others and closing her mind to other possibilities. She started to focus on what her team had to offer, what they needed most from her, and what would help each of them make their best contribution. Her problem children have become the team that all other teams want to become. That’s quite a story!

How much are your professional reputation and leadership effectiveness worth to you? Would you be willing to invest $25 to secure both? Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching, and Life is a wise investment.

Baird Group offers coaching packages and includes sessions as part of Be the Leader Nobody Wants to Leave. Contact us at


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