• Rory McDermott

Can I be myself and be successful?

As a coach clients often say to me ‘I want more success but I don’t want to change who I am’. This is a very common problem. Most of us have come to accept who we are and have a good sense of our personal strengths and weaknesses. Yet we also realise that some of the behaviours and patterns we have developed can limit our success within the organisation within which we work.

Is there a solution? Inevitably if you keep doing the same things, you will get the same results so I’m afraid something has to change and below are some possible options:

1.    Stay the same, move jobs and try to find an organisation where the leadership team share similar traits and behaviours as you. This may give you a better chance at progressing.

2.    Be content with who you are, do nothing and settle where you are.

3.    Get a coach and work with them to explore how you can develop your style to make it more effective.

Let’s consider a few common examples that you may identify with:

  • Am I being too hard or too soft on my team?

  • How am I perceived by senior management and my team?

  • I feel like I am micro managing others, don’t trust them and doing too much myself.

  • I’m struggling to make big decisions.

  • I’m extremely stressed all the time and it's affecting my work.

  • I’m struggling to be proactive and always firefighting.

  • I want to be more strategic.

  • I know I have a specific issue that is limiting my success.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already had an honest one-to-one with yourself and you have probably identified something that you would like to address. Knowing what to change and wanting to it is a really important part of change its self so you are off to a good start!

How do I change?

1.    Self help

The good news is you can change by yourself, however it can take a long time and in career terms that can be limiting. Read up about your specific issue (there is plenty of information online), try to understand the problem in more detail and find out how others have overcome similar concerns.

2.    Training

For some issues, simply going on a group training course can and will help. It will give you guidance, practice and knowledge / expertise.

3.    Coaching

Working with a coach can accelerate this change and get you to where you want to be much more quickly as you learn to develop a deeper understanding of yourself and practice skills and behaviours which help you to achieve your goals.

Earlier I posed the question, can I be myself and be successful? The answer is of course much deeper than yes or no. After all, we are all changing, learning and developing every day. Who you are now, is not who you will be tomorrow and so on. This change is not limited to you either, everyone around you is also changing; think about how your boss, your peers and your subordinates have developed since you have worked with them.

The key for me is self-evolution not revolution.

Overcompensating or forcing huge change upon yourself within your current role will never work. For example going from being too nice to being too hard all the time is not who you are, will not be sustained and will not get you results. But small tweaks to how you approach and respond to people in certain situations will.

Ask yourself who you are and what you stand for. Then consider whether the change you are going to make changes who you are or simply gives you a new perspective, new tool or new coping mechanism to help you grow and develop.

Once you are comfortable with your answer then it’s probably time to make it happen!

Rory McDermott is an executive coach and founder of uniQua People Group. A specialist People practice that helps organisations and individuals to grow and develop.

Rory McDermott

Founder & Coach, uniQua


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