Márcia Kodama, Spring Coaching Lead
Languishing. It’s that sense of stagnation and emptiness as you muddle through your day. It captured public attention last year, as many people coped with losing loved ones to covid-19 and also found their lives, plans and dreams set adrift in the limbo of the pandemic. If you’ve felt that way, you’re not alone. It may be hard to see it through the emotional fog, but solid ground may be closer than you think.
Leaders in the non-profit, human rights and climate action space are often missing the support they need to fight burnout, build self-care practices and ensure their teams are thriving. So as the Spring team steps into 2022 with you, I wanted to share some reflections looking back on our coaching work with 200 social justice leaders over the last couple of years.
I hope these reflections offer some insights on your own journey to thrive, to get “unstuck”, and break out of old patterns that tend to hold us all back. As Kátia Brasil at Brazilian media organization Amazônia Real said to us about her pod coaching experience. “The program enabled me to get to know myself and to take care of myself. I faced two wars: the virus and domestic violence. But I managed to end the cycles, and today I am in a new beginning. The experience with the women in the group was fundamental. When we are together, our lives really change. We change the world.”
Own your leadership style
Many people reach out to me with a desire to be a better leader. Step number one when this is your goal is to first understand your gifts — the things you excel at — before turning to what your fixations and limitations are. This self-awareness is grounding, helping you fully come to know your leadership style, trust it, and trust yourself. This confidence sets you on a path to continue growing into your own leadership style, instead of struggling in the exhausting and inauthentic work of trying to emulate someone else’s style.
I think we have this illusion that we can be anybody or do anything, but that’s not exactly true. We are who we are. So, it’s super important to have a deep sense of ourselves so we can truly embody who we believe we were meant to be and live our purpose. Authenticity is important for living a fulfilling life. To me, coaching is about supporting others to feel more at ease, confident and powerful in being themselves.
The world is getting more complex and we have big challenges to face. Instead of trying to make your problem more manageable (which you won’t always have control over), I advise my clients to think about how they need to grow in order to rise to the challenge and solve it.
Especially when it comes to staying resilient while dealing with conflict or managing people, it’s vital to learn to thrive when dealing with complexity. Thinking about problems, decisions and plans with a sense of empathy through multiple perspectives can help you relate better to people in difficult situations. It can help you keep staff engaged, nurture strong relationships or partnerships, give and receive feedback and navigate tension. Valuing the experiences of others, paired with confidence in your own unique leadership style, can help you delegate effectively and with trust as you and your colleagues carry your collective vision forward.
Know that asking for support is a strength
Many of the leaders I’ve coached get in touch because they need to get unstuck from stressful situations. They are looking for new ways of working and don’t know how to get out from between a rock and a hard place. Some of these leaders are executive directors, who might feel isolated and don’t have a thinking partner with whom to workshop solutions (as the saying goes, it can be lonely at the top). With a coach, you have someone right there with you, always ready to listen and support you to work on building your capacities.
Getting a coach is not a weakness. Quite the opposite. It’s a strength and can help you flourish in your work. I work with my clients to find time to reflect, plan and dream — to get out of cyclical problem-solving mode so they see the possibilities of their current situation and what they could open up through different courses of action. We’ve worked with co-Executive Directors, for example, on getting to know each other better, building greater trust, including the capacity to have difficult conversations, and ultimately becoming more impactful leaders for their organizations.
Learn more or get in touch
In its simplest description, coaching is about making time to talk about what deeply matters to you. Together with the coach, you formulate a coaching goal and create practices that will help you develop the capacities you need to realize that goal. At Spring, we work exclusively with social change leaders.
We are a group of 13 mastery-level coaches based in different parts of the world and can offer coaching in six languages. Drawing on a unique methodology, we keep track of what matters to you and support transformations in your life so that you can accelerate your development as a leader and impact the world in more powerful ways. We take a long-term view that is both holistic and practical, allowing you to build strategies you can use in your day-to-day life.
👉🏼 Visit the Spring Coaching page to learn more or contact a coach.
👉🏼 You can also read about past clients' stories of transformation.