Leadership and Executive Coaching is all about understanding the human condition and helping our clients’ understand it for themselves. To do this effectively we use different mental models that help facilitate this development. One that you may consider is that we must know ourselves first before we can know another. Once we learn about others we are capable of hearing about ourselves and finally we are able to begin to understand the rest of the world around us according to E. F. Schumacher from The Guide For The Perplexed. This is a reasoned view of how we best obtain knowledge. If you begin to examine this framework it make so much sense. How can you possibly understand anything until you understand yourself? You are the compass, the meaning maker from all the sensory data you bring in. Until you know what are your drivers, what is important to you, what you believe in, what yours value are, what emotions cause what reactions how can you possibly understand what drives someone else. As you begin to explore others and see how they are similar and different from you, your experience will deeply inform you of the richness of the human life. It is only then that you will begin to accept how others see you. It is this point that could be interpreted at a more simplistic view of being able to see your blind spots, find your humility and avoid the all to conspicuous issues around narcissism.
The poet Shelly in provides deeper insight into exploring this by asking the question, what is it that others are needing from you? How is it the world presents itself to you? What does the world need from you? You bring uniqueness to the world. As you learn to understand this uniqueness you begin to see others and then you open yourself up to hearing what they need of you.
“There are no passengers on spaceship earth there are only crew,” said Buckminster Fuller. As leaders we must understand this role for ourselves by knowing what is needed of us.