Recently I have had a lot of conversations with people about what we keep hidden or are unaware of. We’re spending more time in 2D with people and can’t see the whole picture. There are things we don’t see in other people and we all have our own blind spots.
Do you know what your blind spots are? They can appear (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) in various areas of our lives.
Spotting them, though, is a different matter. After all, they are called ‘blind spots’ for a reason. That’s when you may need help, because it’s almost impossible to figure out your blind spots on your own. One of the best ways to do that is through X-Ray coaching sessions.
When you finally recognise where your blind spots are, understanding how they are holding you back can be the difference between remaining stuck in a rut and breaking free of restraints, running to win Gold. To find out how, read on.
X is for X-Ray to Find Your Blind Spots
When you’re driving your car, you know where the blind spots are. For instance, wing mirrors only have a certain range. So, we were taught to always look over our shoulder to make sure we’ve seen everything.
We also have blind spots in our lives. Unlike driving, we don’t always know when we need to look over our shoulders, because we’re unaware of where our blind spots are. We don’t even know what to look for.
Using the Jahari Window Model
A powerful method that helps you find your blind spots, the Johari Window Model shows you what other people already know about you, what you know about you, and what’s unknown to everyone.
Using the Jahari Window model and my X-Ray Coaching process, we delve under the surface to discover what’s hidden. Gaining that knowledge gives us something tangible to work on, helping to raise your self-awareness and how to be more aware of your surroundings and circumstances without taking anything at face value.
Each of the four numbered windows has a different significance:
- The open, free area is where you and everyone else knows you well.
- Here, other people recognise wonderful, positive things about you that you may not. Colleagues, friends and family value these aspects, so you not recognising them can be surprising, frustrating or even unhelpful to them.
- This hidden area is where we put on a façade, hiding aspects of ourselves that we’d rather other people didn’t know. During my confidence building coaching sessions, I often find that people struggle with imposter syndrome when we reach this area. So, I help them to remove their masks and confidently reveal the more authentic them.
During an Executive Coaching session with one client, I asked her to sum herself up in three words. Then she had to ask three people to do the same – a friend, a family member and a colleague. The words they chose were consistently similar, meaning they saw her for who she truly is. They recognised her! This knowledge helped her confidence in herself grow, realising that she didn’t need to ‘hide’ anymore.
- In this area, you’re unknown to yourself and others. You’re working blind until something happens that triggers a completely out of character response. This blind spot can be revealed through self-development to both find out what your personal preferences are and accept that they may be different to other people. That knowledge helps your blind spot to shrink.
Humans are complex creatures. We’re as deep as an iceberg, yet only ever show the tip. So, it helps in all aspects of your life to deep dive and explore your hidden depths. This helps you and your coach to discover what’s going on under the surface, make changes where needed and break unhelpful habits.
What’s Your Hidden Agenda?
This X-Ray exercise also helps us to find our hidden agendas. Surprisingly, we’re often unaware of them.
Hidden agendas tend to link to secondary gains, which can be both positive and negative. So, discovering what your hidden agenda is will help you to consciously work on projects more positively and mindfully. That way, the project results – whether for you or the organisation – are far more likely to be what’s needed.
Negative hidden agendas can be really destructive. Someone with an ulterior motive can destroy teams and relationships, and even severely affect the whole organisation. So, finding these harmful hidden agendas early prevents misleading anyone and can be the difference between success and failure. Not to mention preventing an atmosphere of mistrust and fear.
A workplace with a culture of fear can negatively affect outcomes. Managers using bullying tactics to meet targets or objectives is not conducive to a happy, productive and successful workplace. Whereas if the manager is open, empowering and honest about a genuine agenda, the team are motivated to perform confidently. And that confident performance leads to successful outcomes.
Changing Unhelpful Habits
When you’re trying hard to change unhelpful habits, it’s normal to feel stuck or locked in, not understanding why you keep returning to the same situation. So, we explore the secondary gain – that ‘secret benefit’ that we don’t realise we’re getting from our hidden agenda. This could be something like being allowed to recruit an assistant if you’re unable to cope with your workload. Or, if you have a fear of flying, receiving special treatment by the cabin crew.
Once we’ve ascertained what that secondary gain could be, I send my clients away with a goal to achieve. Often, it’s not been completed when they next see me, prompting me to ask what they’re willing to give up to achieve it. Yet, even knowing that their current situation isn’t helpful, they don’t want to let go.
That’s when we have to ask ourselves, “What do I really want? What am I gaining by staying here?”
So, when I ask clients why they want to remain as they are, if they don’t know I won’t work with them. Because no amount of coaching will get them away from where they are. It can end up feeling confrontational. I only work with people who are ready to change and want to get out of a tricky situation.
When working with teams and groups, I’m constantly listening for those trigger words or phrases. Those words tell me that there’s something under the surface that the person feels uncomfortable to share, or that’s not appropriate for sharing in the group. Invariably, I end up having 1:1 time with them and it’s almost always a positive experience.
Finally recognising where you’re stuck, or why you keep doing the same negative things, can be really freeing. At last, you can find an approach that allows you to work with everyone confidently, openly and by being the genuine version of you!