Getting the best out of yourself: meet your inner mentor

Finding your inner mentor

A HR roundtable with author Nikki Gatenby

At Let’s Talk Talent (LTT), we get to collaborate with some pretty great people. We asked Nikki Gatenby, renowned author and Cognitive Behavioural Coach, to host a roundtable with 15 HR leaders from several industries focused on building confidence and positive intent by finding your inner mentor.

With a facilitator like Nikki, we could have opted for a masterclass format for this roundtable. After all, it made sense to try and absorb as much knowledge from such an experienced coach.

However, we wanted to give people the opportunity to turn the lens inwards. “There is so much content out there telling people what to do, what to focus on, and how to be a better leader,” says Jo Taylor, MD at Let’s Talk Talent. “We wanted to do things differently.

Here’s how we helped participants unlock their leadership potential by understanding themselves better.

Becoming a better leader

Becoming a better leader starts with you, and that premise became the core theme for our interactive session.

The main objective of our roundtable was for leaders to learn how to challenge the negative mindset we all have as humans. We wanted everyone to have the opportunity to take a look at themselves, and at how their thoughts define and frame their behaviours in key situations.

As such, the practical exercises chosen were centred around helping participants identify their limiting beliefs and challenge the negative scripts they say to themselves.

In short, we wanted everyone to start thinking differently. Here’s how we achieved this.

Exercise 1: Cognitive Behavioural Coaching (CBC) for HR leaders

The way we think about any event profoundly influences the way we feel about it, which impacts upon stress and performance, and results in a set of behaviours. These behaviours then go on to have an impact on the people around us, and can influence team dynamics.

So how do we change the way we think to approach challenges with a positive mindset? This doesn’t just happen overnight!

According to Nikki, humans are programmed to think more negatively than positively. The brain’s main function is to keep us alive, and is constantly on the lookout for potential threats, often sending our thoughts into a negative spiral. And with around 70,000 thoughts per day, breaking this cycle is crucial.

The purpose of the CBC exercise was therefore to identify negative thoughts, and take the time to pause from that inner critic and reframe them. Participants took a moment to work though these and turn their intent into a positive one.

Ask yourself: what’s the next thought you want to let go off? Once you’ve identified it, try this self-reflection exercise for yourself.

Exercise 2: Identifying your inner saboteurs

Amongst those 70,000 thoughts, many come from our inner saboteurs. These negative, inside voices have been around since our childhood and often take over our decision-making process.

In this exercise, Nikki provided a list of nine saboteurs. Participants were given a description for each, and asked to identify those that applied to them.

Nikki believes that by knowing your saboteurs, it is then possible to become more aware of their voices, the lies they tell and the impact of those lies on your life. This powerful statement empowered participants to take a break from their inner critic, and gave them the tool to reset and go about their tasks in a better way.

If you would like to identify your own saboteurs so you can understand how to stop them from influencing your decisions as a leader, you can find the inner saboteur exercise here.

Exercise 3: Meeting your inner mentor

This last exercise started with a hypothetical question: imagine that you were given a car when you started driving, which would be the only car you’ll ever own. You would probably look after it carefully, right? Here, NIkki pointed out that you only get one self, and you need to look after it.

This is where the inner mentor comes in.

Participants had to picture themselves 20 years from now, living a happy and fulfilling life. They were then asked to define what they looked liked, where they lived, and what was important to them.

The next step was about imagining meeting this future person and asking them questions, such as what they needed to do to get from where they are now, to that fulfilled state. “That person is always on your side,” says Craig Howell, Sales & Operations Director at LTT and facilitator at the session. “Your saboteur won’t be, but your inner mentor is there to bring you back to what really matters,” he adds.

Have a look at this article from Tara Mohr, creator of the Meet Your Inner Mentor exercise, for more details on how to do this at home.

Or listen to this episode of the Diary of a CEO podcast with Steven Bartlett interviewing Jimmy Carr for some thoughts on how to live a happier life.

Giving HR leaders an opportunity to understand themselves better

The result of our interactive roundtable? A tangible change in the energy of the room!

Everyone was given the opportunity to reflect, pause and look at the way they frame their thoughts,” says Craig. “We are all extremely busy, and it’s important to take some time to reflect and understand ourselves better so we can remove barriers and unlock our true potential.

At LTT, we didn’t want to talk AT people. We wanted to give them the time and space they needed to become a better person, and a better leader. With Nikki’s help, we believe we’ve achieved this. And we can’t wait for the next session!

If you too feel like your team could benefit from a positive self-awareness session to improve your organisation’s leadership skills, book a call with us.

You can also visit our Coaching services page for additional resources, or listen to our The Potential for What? podcast episode featuring the one and only Nikki Gatenby. And don’t forget to check out her amazing books, Superengaged and Better Business on Purpose.

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