person walking a labyrinthAs a team building and development coach, I regularly see clients make significant breakthroughs in a variety of areas, but obtaining a higher level of self-awareness is a significant one. In fact, If you happen to have seen my interview featured in the National Coach Academy’s Coach Interview Series, then you know it’s one of the main benefits of coaching. So, let’s talk about self-awareness, what it looks like in leadership roles, and how you can develop your own self-awareness. 


What Is Self-Awareness?

There are plenty of psychologists and other mental health professionals who can provide textbook definitions of self-awareness, but one of my favorite quotes about practicing it comes from Frances Hesselbein, ​​president and CEO of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum, at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership: 

“Practice self-awareness, self-evaluation, and self-improvement. If we are aware that our manners – language, behavior, and actions – are measured against our values and principles, we are able to more easily embody the philosophy that  leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do.” 

To take it a step further, self-awareness is also a key component of emotional intelligence – another benefit of coaching. And in case you’re wondering, emotional intelligence is defined as having the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. One influences the other, but for now let’s focus on self-awareness.


Traits of Self-Aware Leaders

Research continues to show how high levels of self-awareness positively influence personal development and effective leadership. And I can tell you from my own experience with clients, self-awareness transcends the work space and positively impacts personal relationships as well. What do self-aware leaders look like? They:

    • Welcome new ideas and encourage innovation
    • Embrace a people-first culture
    • Are perceptive and can anticipate outcomes
    • Show employees kindness and consideration
    • Display empathy and emotional intelligence
    • Support employee growth and personal development  
    • Understand that healthy conflict presents growth opportunities
    • Listen with intention and show interest in individuals
    • Know their strengths and weaknesses
    • Build trust and confidence with their teams
    • Seek feedback and are open to learning from others
    • Communicate in effective ways
    • Build and maintain solid professional (and personal) relationships


Ways To Develop Self-Awareness

 1. Personality tests. You can gain a deeper understanding of your attitudes, characteristics, behaviors and decision-making processes with the help of tests like EQi, 360 assessments (like LPI360) DiSC, and Enneagram to name a few.

 2. Coaching. Just as every sports team needs a coach, leaders benefit greatly from executive and personal coaches. We will provide you with support, direction, structure, resources and tools to accomplish more, gain personal insights, and help you succeed.

 3. Self-reflection. Those who develop self-awareness do so with regular self-reflection. That includes processing situations and events before, during and after they happen, and assessing how your behavior and actions are impacting others. 

 4. Feedback. It’s impossible to assess yourself without bias, which is why it’s important to ask for feedback from trusted sources, like friends, family members and coworkers. By receiving input from others about specific traits and behaviors, you can get a bigger and more complete picture of how you relate to and impact others.  


Plunge In To Self-Aware Leadership

Are you ready for a higher level of self-awareness? If you’re interested in finding out how executive or personal coaching can make you a more impactful leader, give us a call. We will help guide your business development, hold you accountable to your goals and keep you focused on what matters.



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