When it comes to coaching and leadership development, little takes root until the individual reaches a deeper level of understanding and awareness. It is amazing how quickly change begins to happen once a leader starts to understand at a deep level (in their mind and in their heart) what exactly it is they would like to change, and how their current behavior impacts others. When the lights come on and a leader can see the different dimensions of what they do, and the consequences of their behavior, the emotional motivation to change kicks in and new ways of being and leading can begin to emerge.

So how do we develop a heightened awareness and understanding of the way we currently behave as a leader? Start by taking notice of the behavior you’d like to change. Do this by observing yourself in meetings and conversations with others.

Ask yourself these kind of questions:

• What was the situation when the behavior occurred?
• Who was I with at the time?
• What triggered me to behave in this way? How did I feel?
• How did my body react to these emotions? (This is a physical cue that the behavior you want to change may be triggered.)
• What consequences did this create for me and others?

If you quickly record your answers to these questions shortly after the situation occurs, it helps increase your understanding. You can do this in a journal, on your mobile device, etc. As you collect and review these reflections, you will see patterns in your behavior and will develop a stronger awareness of the what, when and how. Ask yourself: What did I learn about myself and how could I behave differently next time?

Developing your awareness through this routine of self-observation, recording and self-reflection will provide you the information needed to think about what you could do differently next time, when a similar set of circumstances arises. Meaningful change occurs when we begin to experiment with new behaviors and actions in response to the triggers that led us to the behaviors we are trying to change.

As you work on developing new behaviors, you can solicit feedback from your trusted associates about what they observe regarding your development effort. We learn much about ourselves simply by asking good questions and then listening!