Last week I wrote a short article about who my best ever coach was, and I talked about Julie Starr who was my first professional coach and I talked about the impact that she’d had on me and my thinking, and how she had really opened me up to possibility.
But actually having thought about it, it’s true that Julie has been one of my top coaches, but the person who has impacted my leadership the most is my wife Carine.
Many of you will have met her, and some of you will possible even know her, and for those that haven’t let me tell you that without doubt, not only has she had an impact on my thinking, she has actually changed the way I connect and deal with people, which is the cornerstone of leadership.
Before I met Carine I was a pretty good leader, but most of my leadership came from leading from the front, and leading by example. Sometimes I could be a bit tough to work with I set high standards and I expected everyone to try and match them.
Now whilst this wasn’t a bad leadership style, it wasn’t the most optimal.
Carine is a very warm, friendly and open person, one who gives first without any expectation of receiving anything in return. She’s great fun and very loving.
Which is how I am really, but this is not how I had been living.
It had been partly coached out of me, with many leadership courses talking about how it’s lonely at the top, how leaders need to be distant, etc., etc.
I was also surround by a few people who were of a scarcity mentality, people who would only give if they thought they had a chance of receiving, and if there was no chance of that then they were reluctant to give.
All these preconceived ideas, and other peoples thoughts and interactions, had an impact on me, and as a result although I was still fairly open, I wasn’t really being 100% true to who I was.
Living with Carine she encouraged me to be much more how I really was and not this pale imitation, and as we are both similarly inclined it became a multiplying effect, as she encouraged me to be more open and giving, I also encouraged her to be more-so too, until we both were 100% authentic to who we were, or as near as possible.
It was this openness which really helped me to make it to the next level as a leader.
The coaching in leadership and mentoring from other experts helped, but it was Carine encouraging me to be 100% authentic that had the biggest impact. I am a very loving person and she encouraged me to be loving, both professionally and personally, as well as privately.
It’s not always an easy route, because when we are open and giving of ourselves it is true that some people will take advantage, and that can be a painful experience.
But in reality these people are few and far between, and with our openness it encourages others to be more open too, and this is really where the magic happens.
It allows us to build great trusting relationships, showing that we care, and have other peoples interests at heart. That we’re not just in it for what we can get out of it ourselves. I do like to be successful for sure, but I love to help other people be successful, encouraging them to be all that they can be and reaching their full potential.
Carine has also encouraged me to be proactive about keeping in touch with people, before this was something I was terrible at, but with the advent of social media and her encouragement it has really helped me regain connection with a lot of old friends, many of whom we have visited, some of them in the far flung corners of the world.
Carine has been a gift to me, one that is the most precious, not just because she is a beautiful, intelligent woman, but because she has given me the gift of being able to be me.
And it is this increased authenticity that has allowed me to become a better leader; which has encouraged to write and share my thoughts on leadership; and also want to get into coaching and teaching.
So whilst its true I have had some great coaches, the greatest influence on my leadership has come from Carine, and she works on me daily and I know the best is yet to come.
I will be holding a FAST Leaders Summit in Boca Raton Oct 23-24, more details will be coming soon, and if you attend you will get the chance to meet with her, which I can assure you is an absolute pleasure, one I get to experience every single day.