I assume, therefore I am right!

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 23

Yesterday I introduced the idea of making assumptions about situations, and shared with you my culinary disaster story.

Today I’m focusing on assumptions about people.

In coaching, it’s important that the coach asks the client clarification questions, to avoid assumptions being made about the client’s situation or thoughts. This is the case especially when a coach specialises in a particular area of personal development. For example, it would counter-productive for me to assume that when coaching one head teacher on leadership team development they face the same issues as another head teacher working on the same topic.

In the workplace there are many opportunities to make assumptions:

  • assuming people have received / read messages
  • assuming your line manager will be too busy (or won’t want) to speak to you
  • assuming your colleague will be late again
  • assuming you’ll make a mess of your presentation to the team

Sometimes it’s necessary to assume some things will always hold true, but not if they hold you (or others) back. Consider …

  • How much weight your assumptions carry
  • What else is possible if you don’t assume these things

As Alan Alda said: “Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”

Last year, I worked with a team leader who used to be part of the team she is now leading. Much of what we discussed and resolved was how to tackle assumptions made by her team about her ability to do the role well. They had certain expectations of her based on their assumptions about her.

I leave you with 2 questions:

What are you assuming about others you work with?

What do you often assume about yourself which could be holding you back?

Would love to hear your thoughts about this topic.

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