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Once you understand
how a “block” confines
you, you hold the key
to eliminating it.
MANAGEMENT BY COACHING
By Kimberly Paterson, CEC
WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK?
Challenge your beliefs about yourself and external events
N o matter how successful or motivated we are,
at some point we all encounter it—the
obstacle that we can’t seem to overcome. That
Block #1: External Conditions. Most of us
can easily recognize our external or outer blocks.
They are conditions outside of us and usually are
crucial project that you never seem to ﬁnish. Losing things over which we have no control. A good
your edge as top sales manager and not being able example of an external block is the soft market.
to get back on track. Market conditions resulting in Decreasing premiums may cause your income to
quoting more new business and writing less. One of dip even though you and your staff are working
your employees, who despite your numerous pep harder than ever. That hit to the bottom line may
talks, is still not on board with the changes you affect the agency’s plans for expansion or the
want to make. The New Year’s resolution to start purchase of new technology.
living “healthier” that fell by the wayside sometime When faced with external blocks, some
in early February. managers feel paralyzed and see these conditions
Why is it so hard to get some things done— as a reason for being unable to succeed. Other
even though they are so important to us? Nine managers understand these obstacles and work
times out of ten, it is due to one or a combination through them to create a successful outcome or
of ﬁve “blocks.” Whether you are coaching yourself path for their business.
or someone else, it is critical to be able to identify In reality, the external block isn’t the block at
and understand these blocks. all. The block is how you feel about it. More often
A “block” is anything that restricts you. It can than not, how we see the situation determines
be external—like money, time or the economy. Or it the outcome. Take American freestyle skier
can be internal—like your beliefs and attitudes Hannah Kearney, who won a gold medal in the
about yourself and the world around you. The ﬁve 2010 Olympics. External conditions were against
key blocks are: her. Kearney didn’t have a good track record at
• External conditions the Olympics.
• Limiting beliefs Her last run for gold in Turin was a disaster.
• False assumptions from the past that you She had been favored to win, but the race ended
continue to carry with her in tears and in 22nd place. This year,
• False interpretations that you make Canadian Jennifer Heil was the undisputed
• The inner critic leader. On paper, Heil was the superior mogul
Each of these blocks exercises its own hold on skier. Plus, she had the advantage of skiing on
you. Once you understand how a block conﬁnes her home turf with the world predicting she
you, you hold the key to eliminating it. would win Canada’s first gold medal.
62 ROUGH NOTES
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Nevertheless, Kearney did not let Conside