Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Should You Disclose Your Beliefs?

Today I wrote down my beliefs so I could better communicate who I am to my current and future clients. It was a great exercise that really made me think about what I personally believe, and also what was important to tell others as part of a professional working relationship.

Coaches, managers, teachers, parents, counselors, leaders, older siblings, etc. all play a role in someone else's life. One would hope that the individuals in those critical roles are the types of people who nurture and empower others. But for better or for worse, and whether they know it or not, these mentors are presenting elements of themselves that will impact how others grow and develop. For that reason, I think it's important for them to be up front with what they believe, especially to the people they might influence.

Some managers, coaches, teachers, leaders, etc. may have never officially disclosed their philosophies, but have developed a lore over time about who they are and what they believe in - Teacher X is a really hard grader, Coach Y insists on being on time, Manager Z demands high-quality work, and Mom is a stickler for a clean room and chores. But, wouldn't it be nice to know what these people are all about, up-front?

  • Do you think coaches, managers, teachers, leaders, parents, etc. should outline their beliefs and communicate them to the people they interact with?


Rob said...

I think it's a good idea for a coach to be upfront, instead of leaving people to piece together a framework from various actions. I think the great coaches, like Joe Gibbs, gain the respect of their players by showing and communicating that they stand for something worth joining.

Jenna said...

I think it defintiely depends on what context a person is acting in and what responsibilities go with that role. There are numerous kinds of personalities in this world; by disclosing your beliefs upfront, it could a)put people off, if your beliefs don't coincide with their own; possibly leading to a communication barrier; b) inadvertently closes the mind of leader/coach/parent to consider other options and have their beliefs modified and c) if beliefs are ever modified - it is hard for some people to gain credibility if they say outloud "this is what I believe" and then, if/when things change...then they have to go back and communicate to everyone "NOW, this is what I REALLY believe". Kind of like changing rules, mid-game - it's hard to do.

On the other hand, disclosing beliefs definitely aid in a) setting expectations b) creating order, structure and discipline which can lead to efficiency and effectiveness.

Like I said, I think it truly depends on the role/situation - Do I sound too "crunchy granola" if I say that dictating beliefs puts yourself into a box and tends to close "open mindedness"??

I understand that there are pros/cons for each case if you are a teacher vs. a parent vs. a coach vs. a manager vs. a mentor....

Interesting discussions - I like it!!