Coach's Corner


What is your current state of mind? What benefits does that state of mind offer? Can you use the strengths of your mindset to help take you to the next level? Let’s deep dive!

Picture an empty 14×20’ room with plain white walls and nothing inside. Imagine yourself standing in its center with the ability to make different items suddenly appear. The room is your canvas. What are you putting inside? You might start to think about furniture first – our minds tend to want to explore the idea of comfort when in safe situations of control. Eventually, you’ll also add your style into the mix with paintings on the wall, splashes of color, or even some plants to bring additional life into the room. What type of furniture did you add? A bed and dresser? Maybe you decided on a large TV and couch. The items you chose to put into this room, the order in which you placed them, and the type of room you created might give you an outlook on your drive when you’re at ease and in control.

Understanding your basal drive and assessing whether you want to start focusing on a thought process that could prove more beneficial to you begins with reasoning out perspective. Think about the 14’x20’ room mentioned above. You were prompted with an empty canvas and directed to fill it however you deemed fit. Did you ask yourself where the room was in relation to the type of building? If so, you might have an inquisitive nature. Were you considering how to use the space for potential gain? That could signal an entrepreneurial spirit. Did you consider factors like air conditioning or heating systems? There’s a chance that implies a problem-oriented drive.

As explained in the book “Mindset” by Carol S. Dweck, there are two overarching thought patterns: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The first can lend to tunnel-focus, while the latter contains consistent potential. Some experts believe that there is an intrinsic nature in everyone to build a structure, so for this introductory article, let’s dive deeper into the subset drivers of a growth mindset.

Think through a difficult situation you may have had and consider the following modalities of thought. As you read through them, think about which most reflects your reactions to the problem.

Drive Description Main Strength Potential Weakness
Solution-Driven Dedicated in finding answers to problems or to resolve issues. Able to consistently stay in tune with what needs to be adjusted. Often falls into a cyclical pattern of repair.
Task-Oriented Motivated to achieve when a detailed system or map is provided to follow. Able to organize and function well despite potential deadlines. Slows down progress when a clearly defined linear path is not provided.
Goal-Driven Functions when excited to reach planned outcomes. Able to self-propel and surpass most obstacles. Pivots attention if the goal starts to adapt or be removed from focus.
Problem-Oriented Able to identify boundaries and barriers consistently. Lends support to most growth-mindsets by means of clear identification. Will continually take issue with solutions that can demotivate or detract from the connection to growth.
Community-Driven Focused on maintaining the health and connection of groups (including client relationships). High level of support creates desire for others to achieve. Harbors excess inter-dependency that can lead to goal disruption.

While there are plenty of other thought styles, these five are some of the most commonly discussed. Did you find yourself connected to any in particular? If so, reread through its main strength and potential weakness again. Can you cite specific examples you’ve experienced with both?

One of the keys to reaching your next level within these drives of thought is creating awareness through their strengths and weaknesses. The more you can create awareness of how your mind is processing both, the greater the ability to step back and see new solutions. This concept applies to all facets of work, personal life, and many elements within a coaching environment. To effectively create self-awareness, you need to be willing to follow three rules:

  1. Simplify the situation. Remove all “extras” and focus solely on the facts surrounding the topic.
  2. Reflect on the situation. This is where you step into attempting to see all angles of what is happening.
  3. Go beyond the surface-level thoughts and dig deeper into steadfast resolve. Ask yourself if there’s a more problematic situation or if shifting your mindset might provide additional opportunities for you.

Building self-awareness lets you also be able to tap into other perspectives. Once you begin to explore the potential basal drive of those you regularly communicate with, your ability to think through more robust solutions vastly improves. Leaders often build upon team growth by focusing those with particular strengths into positions to utilize them best. When a situation calls for resolve, a leader might turn to a problem-oriented person to root the cause of the issue and then turn that information over to a solution-focused team member to focus on resolving that specific problem. The leader’s role is often to help improve on potential weaknesses while reinforcing and facilitating achievements through strengths. This is one of the main reasons that a leader’s awareness should be trained and expanded upon to build overall success consistently.

Think about a current situation/case/project/difficulty that you are having and fill in each section below as a mindset-focused exercise:

What do I want to focus on/improve?
Using the strengths of the following modalities of thought, how would each resolve this situation?
Drive Strength Brainstorm
Problem-Oriented What is the exact, clearly defined, problem in one simple sentence?  
Solution-Driven What does a specific solution look like for this problem?  
Goal-Driven What milestones do I need to reach to be sure I’m on the right track towards the solution?  
Task-Oriented What clearly defined steps should I take to get to the first/next goal?  
Community-Driven What resources do I have available to help achieve my proposed solution?  

Awareness gives you the ability to see things beyond the focus of your basal drive. The more you practice trying to expand your understanding of thought, the more your mind improves on its ability to see different potential in everything around you.

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