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Why Mind Training is Crucial for Leaders to Move to the Next Level

Mental Fitness for Sustainable Leadership Behavioral Change :

Why Coaching Leaders on Building Mental Fitness is crucial for them to Move to the Next Level

Almost every organization has some form of an internal process where leaders receive feedback on behaviors that they should change or modify in order to create more team or organizational value. The feedback is either provided by the manager or by a wider array of stakeholders in the form of a 360 Degree survey.

Based on the feedback, typically, an Individual Development Plan (IDP) is created by the Leader in discussion with their manager & actions for changing identified behaviors are discussed.

However, despite the enormous amount of time, energy  & organizational resources invested in this process, research shows that less than 20% of targeted behavioral change from most IDPs actually changes.

So what exactly is going wrong ?

From more than two decades of Corporate experience, what I see as the biggest issue that comes in the way of sustainable leadership behavioral change is that, in most cases, once the Behavior (to be targeted for change) is identified, no real diagnostic & corrective support is provided to the Leader.

Organizations have a belief that Leaders, having risen to a certain level within the organization, should be able to figure it out on their own, once they get the necessary feedback & managerial inputs.  This is a dangerous & faulty presumption.

Leaders who rise to middle-to-senior management levels in organizations are often very competent in the technical skills that they need to efficiently carry out their responsibilities.

Most of the challenges which leaders face at this level are emotional & psychological rather than technical in nature. The behaviors that come in the way of them moving from good to great, are rooted in deep-seated Emotional Patterns & Self-Limiting Beliefs. Unless Leaders are provided with professional support in identifying & addressing these mental barriers, they will continue manifesting in the form of Behavioral patterns that sabotage the Leader’s actions & come in the way of them leveraging their full potential.

Moreover, making sustainable change in habitual behaviors requires not only gaining the insight but also building the mental muscle to re-wire the brain & to re-write habitual mental patterns with new behavioral patterns. Without professional support, this is unlikely to happen.

Most Leadership training & development interventions infact fail because they focus more on the symptoms without understanding the root cause of behaviors. Behavioral change becomes even more difficult for a leader to achieve on their own because many of the undesirable behaviors are blind-spots that are not clearly apparent to the leader themselves.

Very few organizations think actively in this direction &  invest necessary time & resources to help Leaders work on their mental fitness. A survey conducted on Linkedin showed that less than  25% of Organizations invest in resources like Internal or External Coaches that can support leaders in behavioral change or mental fitness.

Without such kind of support, the IDP only assumes the form of a paper-passing formality with little real value. No wonder, a vast majority of leaders start looking at this process as a waste of precious time, with emotions ranging from skepticism to scorn & frustration.

For IDPs to result in real sustainable change, while bringing sustainable value to both leader & organization, the organization should proactively identify & engage with trained Coaches, who have the necessary expertise in Mental Fitness training &  who can help in connecting the dots between the Behavioral changes mandated in the IDP and deep-seated beliefs &/or psychological/emotional patterns exhibited by the Leader.

Further, in order to be able to internalize & to make any sustainable change in their behaviors, leaders must be taught techniques on how they can train their brains, so that the new behavior gets imprinted in the form of New Neural connections. Unless this is done with structured & disciplined mental fitness training, the change is likely to be just temporary with a high risk of old habits & behaviors re-appearing sooner rather than later. From this perspective, mental fitness is not very different from physical fitness, where sustaining a positive change requires constant training of the muscles.

Mental Fitness Training can help Leaders with a wide range of benefits, including, but not limited to:

  • Helping Leaders understand their dominant & self-limiting Negative Thought & behavioral patterns  (Known as Saboteur patterns from the psychological perspective)
  • Training leaders to develop the capacity to observe, label & regulate their thoughts & emotions in real-time
  • Providing leaders with tools that help them in managing  negative emotions such as stress, anger, fear, impatience, frustration & burnout
  • Internalizing the tools to access the highest wisdom and capacities of their Positive Mind (the Pre-front Cortex) – Accessing fully their higher mental capacities like empathy, creativity, innovation, curiosity, focus & big-picture thinking, for optimal decisions & reactions.

At Exponentium Coaching & Consulting, we specialize in helping leaders to Re-wire their brains & to support them in moving from stress, burnout & anxiety to a life of meaning, inspiration, and balance of peak performance with happiness, using a combination of Mental Fitness, Neuroscience & Positive Psychology tools.

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