Reflection – holding up the mirror to optimal performance

The benefits of reflecting on performance are easily defined. Who wouldn’t want to sign up to increased self-awareness, an enhanced ability to make decisions, growth and the capacity to generate innovation and the ability to be compassionate. Sounds good right? However, reflection isn’t a silver bullet – it doesn’t always cut through complexity or provide an immediate solution.

Certain ingredients are required. We know that reflection won’t burn a hole in your bank balance, but it does require that precious commodity of time. You will also need a degree of curiosity. An ontological search maybe – who are you being? A focus that demands more of a ‘work-in’, rather than a ‘work-out’.

If you can calm the environment around you and generate curiosity then your mindset now becomes key. Literally unlocking the doors of reflection. As I wrote in my first book It’s Not About The Coach “For many individuals their mirror is broken, unable or un-wanting to reflect and be curious”. Simply put they are scared of what they might find.

It’s not what you think; inadequacy might not be our biggest fear. Instead it’s often power and the responsibility to act that we shy away from. Afraid of the light, not of the dark.

Shifting from locking to looking allows us to perform optimally, entering states of flow when we need it most. Where we act and feel our best, our sense of self disappears and there is a deep focus on the now. Calculated risk taking, learning and motivation are all accelerated.

Reflective practice, a practice that works. As HR and L&D professionals formal opportunities might include – Coaching, Community and CPD. Informal also – commute, coffee and chat. Either way give yourself and others permission to dive deep. Complexity will give way to clarity as solutions appear. Signs of improvement and light at the end of the tunnel after all…

Stuart Haden
Programme Manager, CIPD, StormBeach