A story was told of a young lion whose mother died after giving birth to him. The young lion, not knowing what to do, makes its way into a nearby field and plays with a herd of sheep. The mother sheep sees the young lion and decides to raise it as her own. And so the young lion grows up along with the other sheep and starts thinking and acting just like a sheep. It would bleat like a sheep and even eat grass! But the young lion was never truly happy and satisfied. For one, it always felt that there was something missing. And secondly, the other sheep would constantly make fun of him for being so different. One day, a wild lion from a far-off jungle sees the herd of sheep and decides to attack it. While attacking, it sees the young lion running away along with the other sheep. Curious as to what was happening, the wild lion decides to stop chasing the sheep and pursues the younger lion instead. It leapt on the young lion and growled asking it why it is running away with the sheep? The younger lion trembled in fear and said, “Please don’t eat me, I am just a young sheep. Please let me go!” At this point the older lion gets confused. It drags the younger lion to a river nearby and asks it to look at its reflection. Upon looking at the reflection the lion, much to its own astonishment, realises who it really is; it is not a sheep. It is a mighty lion!
The young lion feels so thrilled that it lets out a mighty roar. The roar echoes from all corners of the jungle and frightens the living daylights out of all the sheep that were hiding behind the bushes to see what was happening. They all flee away.
No longer will the sheep be able to make fun of the lion or even stand close to it, for the lion had found its true nature and its true herd. (Mukesh M.)
Many people nowadays are like the young lion in the story – dissatisfied, limited and insecure. They feel that that there is something lacking in their lives and that they are missing out on something. They just do not know what. All this because they lack self-awareness.
Self-awareness, according to Daniel Goleman, is the ability to monitor our inner world – our thoughts and our feelings. Self-awareness allows a person to understand other people – how they perceive them, their attitudes and their responses to them in the moment.
People who lack social and emotional competence may :
– Be unaware of the signals from others as to how they are interacting with them and their environment
– Fail to recognise when someone else is hurting, and be unable to help them get through their pain
– Feel agitated and irritated a lot of the time, unable to get their own needs met
– Continually make mistakes and put other people off-side with what they say and do
– Feel stressed and lack work/life balance.
On the other hand, people with highly-developed social and emotional competence tend to:
– Understand their emotions and what causes them to feel the way that they do
– Recognise the effect on others of what they say and do, and if necessary, find more appropriate ways to interact with them
– Identify how their emotions and feelings affect their performance at work, and their relationships with others at home and at work
– Express accurately how they are feeling in the moment, especially when they might be upset.
In a study conducted by Green Peak Partners and Cornell University examining 72 executives at public and private companies with revenues from $50 million to $5 billion, it was found that “a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success”.
How can coaching improve one’s self-awareness?
Coaching offers many benefits to individuals, teams and organisations. At a personal level, individuals who are coached develop a greater awareness of their situation and what they need. Like the wild lion from the story, coaches can help their clients become aware of their limiting beliefs and assist them as they move through self-reflection into self-awareness and insight, to achieve their desired goals, actions and future.
Coaching can indeed have a significant effect on the lives of clients and those around them. If you would like to contribute more to your family, your work, your community, contact the Australian Institute of Professional Coaches 1300 309 360 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to become a Professional Coach, working your own hours, in your own time, with clients that you love. We look forward to speaking with you soon.