Look Up: It Can Be the Start of Transformation

Max is an emerging leader at a major corporation.  He is personable, highly regarded and travels extensively, leading corporate teams around the world.  As he walks toward my office on his first visit, I notice that Max looks down as he walks along.  His shoulders bend forward, as though he is ahead of himself.

Max is already highly effective in the work he does, yet he wants more from the life he lives.  For example, Max explains that he likes his job and the people he works with, but he doesn’t feel connected to them.  For example, he explains that as begins his day and walks through the long entrance way into his building, he doesn’t greet people, nor do they greet him.  I suggest that Max’s downcast eyes and hurtling-forward gait might be a factor in all of that.

Max and I return to the hallway outside my office and Max practices an eyes-up and erect (centered not stiff) way of walking.   He is curious about the shift he experiences walking in that way.  He volunteers to practice that way of entering his building to see what change it might bring.  That tiny shift might just enhance his  effectiveness at work.

When Max returns for his second coaching session, he is excited to report that an eyes-up way of entering his building has paid-off.  He literally sees people he had not seen before and greets them.  In turn, he is seen, and others greet him.  He is intrigued how such a small shift can reap immediate results.

Max is open-minded.  He is an adult learner.  He is curious about himself and the world around him.  Previously, Max was a competitive athlete.  He remains attuned to his body.

Not all clients enter coaching with Max’s profile.  Some enter defeated, resistant to change and divorced from their bodies.  They have been trained to think a lot and feel little.  They value (and are valued) for their schooling, their logic and ability to argue effectively.   They mostly value their bodies for transport, a way to get from point “A” to point “B”.  But that isn’t Max.

In the coaching sessions that followed, Max talked about the many public addresses he makes and how he wants to better connect with his audiences.  In response, I tell Max a story shared by another client of mine.  That client, like Max, travels extensively, often speaking to business colleagues around the world.  He attributes his success in doing so to advice from his trumpet coach.  After several days of intensive training, his coach summed it all up by saying:  “You’ll have to decide whether you want to impress your audiences or connect with them.  In that is all the difference.”