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Its time to stop blaming the tools

When something isn't working out the way we want it to, there is often the temptations to blame the tools we are working with, and that is wrong in so many ways. It is true that the tools are important, and if you using the wrong tool for the job then you shouldn't expect to get the result you were hoping for. Or if the tools you have chosen are simply not of the right quality, then disappointment will be waiting for you. But even the best tools in the hands of a poor craftsperson aren't enough to deliver the best results. So how do we get those results we want?

Well, firstly, there is no place for blame. Blaming is simply a way to provoke guilty feelings about the way something went. It doesn't change the situation, and people simply learn to feel bad rather than learning how to improve. Colleagues who feel 'blamed' at work when something goes wrong, often will often hide things in the future. It is surely better for them to know it is ok to be accountable, acknowledge their mistake, and to be part of correcting it, where honesty, respect and learning are all part of the culture.

Blaming the tools, rather than accepting our own imperfections, is the process of putting ourselves as the 'victim' inappropriately, placing the cause outside of self, rather than recognising our own part in the situation. But why does it happen? Well, often it feels easier than having to accept that we had a responsibility in the situation, and didn't quite live up to our own expectations.

As a coach I am constantly collecting tools for the coaching toolkit. There is no one tool that works every time and with every client. Instead it is about having a range of techniques available in the moment that enable you to meet the client where they are, and accompany them on their own journey of reflection and action planning. Most coaches will have their favourite tools, but I don't know any coach worth talking to who that does not have a range to choose from.

In my leadership role I bring in my coaching, and also know there is much more to leadership than a single approach. There are times when a much more directive style is essential in that moment. If the building is on fire then calling a meeting to discuss options and listen to different perspectives is dangerous. Then again, a leader who believes they always have exclusivity on the right answer is dangerous in a very different way.

Our responsibility as coaches, and as leaders, is to make the right choices. To have a range of tools available to us to make the right choice from. If you only have a hammer and screwdriver in the toolbox then when it comes to sanding down rough edges your choice is limited to things that won't work. In the same way a coach or a leader who does not seek to continually reflect and learn is allowing those tools they do have to gather dust and rust, and not adding to the collection.

So are you making the right choices? Are you choosing from a limited supply of tools? The ones you have work 80% of the time, its just that the rest of the time you just don't have the right tool yet. Or are you always choosing the same tool because it is your personal favourite, and wondering why it doesn't work in every situation? There are many ways of acquiring new tools, or keeping your current selection dusted off and fit for purpose. It might be academic learning, or just another new book. Choosing one you wouldn't usually look at to see what it has to offer. Perhaps a mentor, or some peer group support. For those with more experience in their role, some coaching to provide that reflective platform to keep your skills sharpened.

If you are looking for some executive coaching to support your leadership role, or perhaps some NLP training to add to your leadership or coaching toolkit, then get in touch to find out more about what we can offer.

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