Kevin Ciccotti is Certified Professional Coach and the Owner of Human Factor Formula Inc. Before setting up on his own, Kevin worked as a manager for the same company for 25 years. He has studied the 6 human needs that are described in my book, and has a vast amount of knowledge about psychology in a project management context.
My need for certainty and significance was holding me back
When I look back on my previous career and think of how I was living and working, I can clearly see that what drove me – the need for certainty and significance. And the cost to me personally was considerable. My need for certainty would cause me to seek “safe” situations, or situations I could control in one way or another. There were so many times I felt I wanted to push myself, challenge myself to try something radically different or out of my comfort zone, and I wouldn’t. In addition, my need for significance, had me comparing myself to others in multiple situations. And of course in my own mind, I never measured up. I always seemed to come up short. There were other drawbacks to this high need for significance as well. Because the fear of losing status is so strong, I found myself not taking on challenges or new activities unless I knew I could succeed. Failure was not an option. In my own mind, any perceived failure would result in the immediate loss of my job, my reputation, and my self-esteem – or worse.
So what changed for me? The first thing was that I realized it was all my own doing; my own thoughts and actions were keeping me from having the impact that I truly wanted to have on my company, team, family, and friends – and on the world. What I finally realized was that the pain of staying where I was had become greater than the fear of changing. It’s called reaching the threshold level of pain.
Today, I am very clear about my needs and my strategies for meeting them. My top two needs are contribution and love/connection. I wake up every day asking the question, “How can I contribute to the people in my life today? My clients? My family? My team at work?” Living in alignment with my core values, allows me to contribute on a higher level than I’ve ever done before. – Kevin Ciccotti, Certified Professional Coach, Owner, Human Factor Formula, Inc.
My client was held back by old beliefs
I was working with a client who is a division leader for a major US corporation (we’ll call him Sam). He was having issues with engaging his team and really getting them to buy in to his leadership. About two months into our coaching engagement, I was with him on a site visit, when we met his boss in the hallway. His boss said: “Hey, Sam, I wanted to tell you what a great job you did in that meeting this morning. The senior leadership team was very impressed with your delivery, and I was pleased to see how well you handled them.” As I watched Sam taking in this feedback, I noticed his face go almost completely blank, as though he had no frame of reference for what was being said.
When we got to his office, I immediately took that as my cue. I asked him what he experienced as he was receiving that feedback. After a few questions, I realized that his past had created powerful beliefs in him. We spent some time challenging those old beliefs, and focused specifically on his sense of significance. Here’s why: I discovered that Sam had been a football player his whole life, and even played in college. And the deeply imbedded beliefs for him were that feedback was always about what you were doing wrong versus what you’re doing right. His need for significance was being met by the fact that he was never good enough. (Note that your needs can be met in positive or negative ways.) Consequently, Sam had little or no reference to receiving positive input, and as a result he was also uncomfortable giving any.
We worked on creating a reversal of his old patterns. I had him focus on actively noticing when he was doing things right and also noticing the same with his team, then being sure to acknowledge those with positive feedback (internally for himself, and externally for his team). Today, his leadership style has completely changed. He now seeks out the positive in himself and others, acknowledges accomplishments, and has a whole new level of appreciation for his team. That has translated into deeper connections, more trust, and improved performance across the board for him and his team. – Kevin Ciccotti, Certified Professional Coach, Owner, Human Factor Formula, Inc.