The legal profession isn’t known for nurturing, but Kim Simmonds is working to change that, leading by example. She not only provides the best IT and flexible working, but also offers all employees the opportunity to work with Executive Coach, Louise Otton, to ensure they have all the tools they need to succeed.
Kim takes employee physical and mental health seriously and, in addition to the monthly 1-2-1 executive coaching and the weekly team meetings led by Louise, she provides weekly PT, yoga and meditation sessions for staff.
We want our clients to succeed too, so Kim has asked Louise to share some of the work we do with her here in this series of blogs. We find these tools help us to achieve our full potential and to provide the best service to our clients. We hope you find it useful too.
Our executive coach, Louise Otton, has been teaching us how to build self-awareness and how to help cultivate more of it in our busy lives. With Louise’s guidance, we’ve been exploring how our values are really important indicators into our inner self and can influence our behaviours and reactions to things at a deeply unconscious level. Creating greater self-awareness can enable individuals, teams and leader to work (at a more conscious level) aligned to their values, purpose and vision.
“Self-awareness has been a very important skill for me to learn so that I can be a leader who is able to support and inspire her team. We all come to the table with a level of it, but often we think we have more self-awareness than we actually do. My eye-opening moment was realising that there is more than one way (my way) to solve a problem. Others may have an effective solution, but achieve the goal in a completely different way. In the past I would just tell a member of the team to do something, now I try to engage them in the issue first so we can come up with a solution together. I’ve discovered that you get far more excitement and buy in from a team that way.’ Kim Simmonds, CEO and founder of Law 365
What is self-awareness?
Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself with clarity and to take an objective view through reflection and introspection. The theory of self-awareness is based on the notion that you are not your thoughts, you are an entity that is observing them, you are thinking but are separate from your thoughts. We can very easily live our lives without paying any attention to our inner self, but if we can learn to observe our thoughts in a reflective manner we are better able to stay in control of them.
Self-awareness can be the difference between how you see yourself and how others see you. The more self-aware you are, the more you are able to make good choices and look after your wellbeing and resilience and tune into the needs of others.
Greater self-awareness allows you to feel more confident, creative, satisfied in what you do, form stronger relationships, communicate more effectively.
“Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.” Eckhart Tolle
That said, it is not always easy to do this by yourself and so working with a professional coach, can be really beneficial in opening up your inner awareness.
Any great coaching journey is founded on raising your self-awareness and would involve many insights including; looking at what your personal values are, what limiting beliefs you may be holding onto that are blocking you from being at your best. Using these tools a coach can help you to discover what your strengths are and where your blind-spots are. Law 365 has been using Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI), a psychometric test which can help teams work together with a better understanding of how individual innate personality preferences contribute to how they think, feel and behave.
Why is self-awareness so important?
To make impactful and lasting change people need to be able to look inward, reflect and become familiar with what they find. By doing so this improves the alignment between our actions and our standards, which results in greater performance, confidence, self-belief and overall wellbeing.
5 ways to improve self-awareness:
- Mindfulness and meditation
Practicing mindfulness or meditation helps you to focus on the present moment and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, without getting wrappd up in them. You are guided to let your thoughts drift by without needing to react or do anything, which helps you become more aware of your internal state. For more details on mindfulness click on the last blog Mindfulness to restore calm.
Whether you do yoga, Pilates, running, walking, or whatever form of movement that works for you, notice what your body is telling you. During movement you become more aware of your body and all the feelings that manifest in it and you become more aware of your mind and the thoughts within it, which increases your self-acceptance and self-awareness.
- Reflection and journaling
A journaling practice allows you to be an objective observer of your thoughts which can help bring clarity to what you want and value. Make time to write down what has gone well today, or reflect on what has been a challenge, what has got in your way and what could you change or improve? Notice what may have triggered you today. It is equally as important to understand both sides for yourself.
- Ask for feedback from people you trust or loved ones
One of the best ways to build self-awareness is to understand others’ perspectives of you and what impact you have on others. The simplest way is to ask for honest feedback. We rarely do this for fear of criticism, but if you don’t ask you will never know what others think. But don’t just rely on feedback from one person, gather a range of insights and evaluate what you want to do with that information.
- Work with a coach!
You can achieve a certain amount on your own, but it’s hard and sometimes you need someone to hold a mirror up to you. Self-awareness takes time and is a lifelong journey and by working with a qualified coach it can be a truly transformational process.
About Louise Otton
Executive and Personal Coach
Bsc (Hons) PG CERT (Coaching) ICF ACC, MNCP
As a post graduate qualified Executive Coach, Louise is energised by helping ambitious professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners and teams to optimise their performance, impact and wellbeing.
By raising their self-awareness, leadership capabilities and getting clear on their goals, she helps them become more conscious, purpose-led and emotionally intelligent leaders.
Louise is a post graduate qualified, ICF accredited coach and a psychometric practitioner in Myers Briggs Personality Type Index (MBTI) and Emotional Intelligence EQi-2 and EQi-360. She also holds a degree with a psychology background and draws on psychological theories that are vital in understanding how and why people think, feel and act, in order to become more aware of the impact they can have in their lives.