What drives self-development and why does advice often not work?

Take the entrepreneur Bas, for example. He has had his own company for a few years and would like to take this to the next level. Bass knows he has difficulty attracting customers and orders (sales). This restriction hinders achieving the goal.
Bas wants to tackle this limitation by following a good sales course. After a long search he has found a course and registers. He gains a lot of knowledge about how to search for leads, to approach them and how to hold a sales conversation.
Despite the course taken, Bas finds that he still has trouble attracting clients and orders. The problem is not yet resolved. He wonders whether the course has been useful at all. A lot of money and time has been invested and has hardly yielded anything.

What happened here?
Why does a training, course or education often have no effect in self-development or in solving problems?  
Regardless of how many years your company has existed, in which phase your company is in, or what your (company) goals are.

Layers of personality

Behind a problem is often a personal question or barrier, which you are sometimes not even aware of. Self-development is based on the model of layers of personality (also known as the onion model, Korthagen & Lagerwerf: The strength of reflection, 2008). This model provides insight into which layer or layers have barriers that limit or even prevent self-development.

Lagen van de persoonlijkheid

The different layers (from deepest to outermost):

  • Core: The core qualities
  • Engagement (also known as spirituality): What are you doing it for?
  • Identity: How do you see yourself? | Who are you?
  • Beliefs: What do you belief in?
  • Competences: What can you do?
  • Behaviour: What do you do?
  • Environment (also known as situation): When does who, what, how?

All deeper layers in the onion influence the next layers.
Looking at your beliefs: the core, engagement, and identity layers all affect your beliefs. The deeper the barriers are layered, the more the causes are personally and psychologically oriented. The lower the barriers are layered, the more this is related to your business knowledge and company and private situation.

Executive coaching

A problem rarely lies on one layer, there are usually multilayer causes. That is why it is important for self-development that a complete plan is drawn up. This is to achieve the development goals and to minimize or eliminate the barriers on all necessary layers.

Side note: Usually when people give you advice, then a solution is given to change something on only one layer. The Advice is usually ineffective because it is rejected on a deeper layer. It does not suit you (at that moment).

Back to Bas’s example. His problem was not solved by following the sales course. The sales course lies on the layer of competence. He has acquired new skills, but the problem is on several layers, of which he is not aware.
Bas formed patterns in his youth and these old patterns are triggered by customers. When a customer objects to his offer, Bas reacts very fiercely and chooses the attack. As a result, the customer loses confidence in Bas. In psychology, this behaviour is called a suspicious mask structure.
Bas beliefs: “Customers will come to you if you are good enough.” and “Customers must accept what the specialist says and offers.”

This mask structure in conjunction with the beliefs ensures that Bas does not believe in the sales course. Therefore he experiences the course as ineffective.
In addition, the focus of a group training / course is on the group and not on the individual. As a result, the pace of development is not personalized for Bas, making the course inefficient.

Do you allow yourself the personal attention and development that you deserve?

We assist you as an executive coach in realizing your personal ambitions and goals. By analysing your goals and problems and drawing up a solid plan together. This allows you to develop on the required layers and achieve your personal ambitions and goals.

Seeing through more of your self-development, more impact.

Thanks to Renée van den Kerkhof for the main illustration.
For your information, the example of the entrepreneur Bas is fictional.