The last two things you ever want to see are the eyes of a lion focused on you. That’s because, should you ever see such a sight, there’s a good chance those eyes will be the last two things you ever see.
The lion is known for its incredibly intense focus. So focused is a hunting lion that once it has chosen its prey from a herd, it will often pass up potential victims that unexpectedly come into range on its way to the meal it has targeted.
A similar kind of focus can help you execute more effective coaching conversations. Most troublesome issues come with a list of obstacles and fewer goals. Ideally a problem or an issue should have one desired outcome.
For example, let’s say you want one of your chronically late employee to start reporting to work on time. This one goal, in your mind, may have many obstacles. You may not want to confront the tardiness, hoping it will resolve itself. If the person generally performs very well, you many not want to tamper with his or her work style. You may fear the person’s temper, or your may not want to risk the good rapport you have established.
With the hunting lion in mind, choose a conversation you have been meaning to have with one of your direct reports. Think of all the reasons you have been putting off this discussion. Now compare that list of excuses with the one objective you want to achieve. What do you want to have happen at the end of this discussion? To achieve lion-like focus, forget about all the obstacles and focus as fiercely as the lion on the result you want as an outcome from your coaching conversation.
Just like the lion, you will achieve greater leadership success with greater focus. Lion tamers understand lion focus and use it to their advantage. That’s why they push the legs of a stool or a chair toward the lion. The lion, it seems, can’t decide on which of the four legs to focus, and gets confused. Not to mention the crack of the whip and the report of the pistol.
Don’t let complex situations or the people who report to you confuse you with all the obstacles they present. Go into every coaching conversation and challenge prepared to focus as intently as a hunting lion on the outcome you want to achieve. Leading and managing with a coaching style is about achieving objectives.