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Coaching Strategies

Ways to battle your own Achilles’ heels

Following are James Waldroop’s 12 Achilles’ heels, along with short descriptions of them and some ways to begin grappling with them.

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Acrophobe: Never feels good enough.

  • Stop the damage.
  • Prioritize and think about how to let yourself succeed.
  • Buy yourself time to grow into a job.
  • Act “as if” you belong. Acting “as if” will start to make you feel naturally more comfortable in reality. Once you’ve mastered the act, you will have convinced yourself.

Meritocrat: Thinks the world should be black and white. Resents that the world demands negotiation and the selling of ideas. If something is “right,” that should be enough.

  • Plan influence campaigns.
  • Think seriously about who the voters are and work to convince them.
  • Don’t worry, be crappy. Don’t be a perfectionist, just go for it.

Hero: Pushes hard and does too much. Causes others to burn out and is destructive within an organization, leaving behind him a trail of “dead bodies,” or coworkers who couldn’t keep up with the pace.

  • Ask, “Do you want to be a commando or a general?”
  • Look behind you for damage. Look carefully at metrics and turnover. How many dead bodies have you left in your trail?
  • Get perspective — how many other cars are in the parking lot when you leave work at night?

Peacekeeper: Always avoids conflict. Not a peacemaker, but someone who fears change and prevents innovation.

  • Acknowledge the benefits of conflict.
  • Use role-playing to make yourself more comfortable with conflict.
  • Practice “normalizing” relationships after conflict. Don’t be afraid of that process.

Bulldozer: Runs roughshod over others. Managers often praise their willingness to knock down walls to get things done — despite the coworkers on the other side of those walls.

  • Learn the DEW (Distant Early Warning) signs that you are about to blow up.
  • Learn to say you are sorry — and mean it.

Rebel: Always looking for a cause that doesn’t exist.

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  • Acknowledge that you are not Che Guevara — you are more like James Dean.
  • Ask yourself why you are doing something. What is the real cause?

Home-run Hitter: Swings for the fence and has unrealistic ambitions. Always disappointed at failures, but would have more successes if she could settle for a few singles.

  • Recognize the culture of “speed kills.”
  • You can’t start lifting weights at 500 lbs.
  • Think about growth and harvest times. Successful growth takes time.

Pessimist: Always on the down side and is defensive and risk-averse. Thinks she is defending the organization when, in truth, she stagnates it.

  • Examine the downside of not acting.
  • You may feel comfortable, but not changing can be just as dangerous as necessary change.
  • Make others sound the alarm. Take that responsibility off your own shoulders.

Mr. Spock: Emotionally tone-deaf.

  • Learn to think about how others feel. You may never be as emotional as your coworkers, but it is important to take their feelings into consideration.

The Coulda-been: Thinks that no job is ever good enough and that life is full of near misses.

  • Think “good enough” not “great.”
  • Divorce yourself from the expectations of others.

Loose Lips: No sense of boundaries. Always talking out of turn. Lets things slip.

  • Pay close attention to an organization’s culture before you join.
  • You will succeed more easily in a company that has fuzzy lines of appropriateness.
  • Be sensitive about differences. Others may not feel as comfortable hearing what you are comfortable telling.

Lost Path: Work is without meaning. Lost passion about a job, but stays on without energy.

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  • Think want, not should or can.
  • Don’t blame dissatisfaction on your organization. You will not be cured by migration.
  • Get to the root of your problem at your present job.
  • Get in touch with your imagination and with your dreams.

Back to Maximizing Success
Go to Ingredients for Success

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