Consider the cost of losing your patience when speaking with your team, peers, customers and family. What if you never lose what you need most in sales & management? How would this impact your performance, attitude, stress and relationships? Here’s the secret to finding eternal patience, peace, and how you can double your team’s productivity.
Where Did I Lose My Patience?
Here’s a rhetorical question. Ever lose your patience? The bigger question is, are you a patient leader, salesperson and communicator? Do you shift from coaching to telling and become frustrated when the person isn’t “getting it” fast enough, especially when you already know the answer?
When you’re not getting your way in a conversation, do you shift from collaboration to interrogation, steamrolling people with your agenda? Of course not. That’s the other guy. (Sarcasm?)
Patience builds trust, while impatience erodes it.
The Number One Trust-Killer
Managers share dozens of reasons why they lose their patience, which is why I was driven to create a solution for them in my book, Sales Leadership. What if you never lose your patience again because you have a GPS for patience? Now you can always track it, ﬁnd it, and get it back, as you can’t lead, coach or sell effectively without it.
If you re-examine any of the damaging behaviors or practices every manager engages in, that’s where you’ll ﬁnd the root cause – the inability to stop, stay in the moment, suspend your agenda, and embrace the other person’s point of view, and, key word – patiently.
One of the core pillars and principles of coaching is respecting and coaching to each person’s individuality. If you’re detached from your own agenda, and care enough to respect each person’s individuality, strengths, thinking process, communication style, skills, goals, values, motivators, how they like to be managed, and their position in the company, you will naturally become more patient. It’s a natural by-product of letting go by making them and their agenda the priority.
However, if you’re coaching in your own image, or feel what is often self-imposed pressure to get results fast, patience is lost, the should-ing begins, the directive manager emerges, and the erosion of trust follows in its wake.
Take a reﬂective moment. Think about the last time you may have become a bit impatient. It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Now, stop and ask yourself, why?
Patience is a Choice
Here are some typical reactions I hear from managers as to why it’s so difficult to be patient due to all of the pressure to perform. The irony is, your impatience is creating the very barriers to greater performance, coaching, collaborating and trust! See if any of this toxic thinking applies to you.
- I already know the answer.
- I don’t have time.
- It takes too long to keep asking questions.
- They’re not getting it.
- They told me they don’t know what to do. So I told them.
- They’re not getting it fast enough.
- They should already know this stuff.
- My leading, closed-ended questions keep the conversation moving to where they need to get faster than waiting for them to get it.
With some good coaching, here’s what managers don’t share until I dig it out of them. The truth. Or, how they feel and their assumptions of the truth.
- If I ask a question I lose control.
- What if I don’t have an answer?
- What if this conversation drags on forever?
- What if we don’t arrive at the right solution?
- What if they don’t think coaching is valuable?
- What if I’m not a good coach?
- Why go through the time-consuming process of coaching, when they should just listen to me because my strategy works?
This is the very attitude and the root cause that breeds impatience!
Acceptance is the opposite of judgment. Judgment causes the demolition of patience. Therefore, acceptance is the gateway to eternal patience.
Never Lose Your Patience Again
The fact is, your patience is in your thinking. Patience doesn’t require an external shift but an internal one.
In every conversation, you have already made a deﬁning decision in your thinking, which defined your approach and the outcome of this conversation by going into it leading with one of two of the following beliefs.
- I already know.
- I don’t know.
Let’s ride these statements through to their inevitable conclusions. Notice the experience the manager creates by holding on to the belief, “I already know.”
- I already know ➔
- I’m not curious because I already know the answers. ➔
- I already know where they need to be, so I’m no longer listening. ➔
- I’m living in the future, so, I can no longer be living in the present. ➔
- I’ll ask some questions but assume most of the facts. ➔
- They’re not getting it.➔
- I have other things to do. ➔
- I’ll stop asking questions and write out a prescription for my solution.➔
- Prescribe the same monotonous answers. ➔
- Trust is lost. Coachee confidence is eroded. ➔
- Manager felt like they saved time and helped ➔
- Direct report felt invalidated, disrespected and unappreciated. ➔
- Coaching and trust is tarnished. ➔
The Outcome: The coach and coachee both leave frustrated over a useless, damaging conversation.
Now let’s walk through the progression of this conversation when the manager comes from a place of, “I don’t know.”
- I don’t know ➔
- I’m curious to ﬁnd out. ➔
- Being curious causes me to be in the moment. ➔
- If I’m in the moment I can be patient. ➔
- If I’m patient I can intentionally listen. ➔
- I’ll ask relevant questions to ensure I gather all the facts rather than make assumptions. ➔
- Trust and the value of coaching is strengthened. ➔
- We co-create something greater together. ➔
- The coach and coachee both leave empowered and inspired over a high-value conversation.
Beliefs always precede experience. What you believe is what you create.
Ego Free is the Place Leaders Need to Be
Get over yourself and get comfortable with saying and thinking, “I don’t know,” rather than “I already know.”
I do know fuels the assumptive, Chief Problem Solver role. I don’t know stimulates curiosity and the thinking of a truly great coach. If you don’t know, you then seek to understand. This creates trust, reciprocity, and better results.
The more present you are, the more patient you become.
Patience is reflected in your ability to be present.
Patience is a gift you give to others—and without it, all of your coaching and selling efforts will be destroyed. Without patience, you can’t master the core competencies of a salesperson and coach, especially the ability to actively listen.
When you let go of your self-serving agenda, you’ll notice that you’ll naturally have more patience, enjoy the coaching process more, and create the results you ultimately want.
The Tao of Eternal Patience
That’s the secret! If you’re present, you’re patient. Patience only lives in the present. If you’re anywhere else, living in the past or the future, you’re pushing for something to happen, rather than letting something unfold naturally.
Here’s the summarized formula for maintaining eternal Zen-like patience.
No assumptions/judgments/agenda + being present + being process driven+ insatiable curiosity + proactive listening + intentional coaching questions =Developing the timeless patience of a masterful coach.
Therefore, if you ever lose your patience again, being present is the GPS to always find your patience. And the last time I checked, the present is where the magnificence of life happens, and where you honor your primary objective of a leader. To make your people more valuable.