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“The curious paradox is that when I can accept myself exactly as I am, then I can change.” ~Carl Rogers

This brief article is excerpted from a weekly ezine (“Monday Morning Muse”) offered by The Coaching Corporation. Each Muse has been prepared under the guidance of Inga Estes, president of The Coaching Corporation.”

Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Coaching works in large part because of the feedback the coach gives the client. And the more open you are to straight feedback, the faster you will learn and grow.

When was the last time you asked for and got straight feedback from another? Don’t have a coach yet? Get feedback from your colleagues: have someone who knows you well and whom you trust and respect give you his or her objective viewpoint. Ask for
specifics rather than asking general questions like, “What do you think about me?” That’s just too open-ended for people to be able to respond usefully. Use these three jump-start questions:

• What is my greatest strength?
• What’s one thing I could do better?
• How do you think I handled that meeting?

Then, just listen. Your only response to the gift of feedback should be, “Thank you.” Let in what they say. The quickest way to shut down feedback is to defend or explain yourself. After you’ve listened, you can compare what they say (or what you hoped they would or wouldn’t say) with what you thought and give yourself a priceless “ah-ha.”

We are known by our actions and by the impact our actions make on others. Get to know yourself from the outside in and become an astute and objective observer of yourself. It’s a powerful skill that takes courage. The person you are in your imagination hardly ever exactly matches how others see you. When we know ourselves exactly as we are, we can begin to change–to upgrade–the way we behave and the actions we take. Sudden and surprising new openings emerge.

This week be brave like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and pull back the curtain on yourself.

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