What Are Your Mental Models and How Do They Hold You Back?

 By Nicki Gilmour, Executive Coach and Organizational Psychologist


Image via Shutterstock

When I am coaching within the first 30 mins, I hear mental models and worldviews come out of every client’s mouth. I also hear it in friends and social situations whether I try to or not. Mental models are the paradigms that we walk around with, the inner voice and inner theater that plays inside our heads and is the biggest enhancer or constrainer of our careers and of our lives. This inner voice is built by what we were told as kids by our families, our observations on what we could and could not get away, as well as what society messages us overtly and implicitly.

The point is, if you can understand the phrases that control you and can override the “way it is” and ask yourself why do i believe x, y, z is how it has to be, then great progress can be made.

A typical example of a common mental models that might be standing in your way is:
– Trust is earned. This is obviously a righteous sentence that many of us agree with but at what point are you not trusting your bosses and team and how is that preventing optimal results?

So, how do you begin to change this? It is engrained and hard to shift but entirely possible to do so. Surface it with a coach, understand how it serves you and how it perhaps gets in your way. Does it get you to where you want to go?

I also personally have found reading articles that i agree and entirely disagree with, are entirely helpful to me personally on issues that I know I am drawn to and that are my kryptonite. By opening my mind to seeing things from other people’s angles and viewpoints, I can add to my knowledge on the subject (I tend to go for academic rather than opinion based reading) but also ensure that i am not in an echo chamber of people who believe the same thing as I do.

It is a journey and it does take time, but investigating and exploring what you think and why you think it, can be not only career enhancing as you become a better leader but if you allow it, it can be a gift.

To explore how your mental models are holding you back, book an exploratory coaching call with Nicki at 646 6882318