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Rene Descartes famously uttered the words “Cogito ergo sum”…”translated to English as “I think, therefore I am” or, in French…“je pense, donc je suis”.

Awareness that we can and do think is a beautiful part of the human experience.

As leaders, important beyond our awareness that we do indeed think, is reflecting on “how” we think…the power of Metacognition.

What is Metacognition? Quite simply, it is the ability to think about how we think about things.

This metacognitive ability separates us from virtually all other known life forms.[i]

In fact, we can even think about how we think about things…think about it!

As an Executive Coach, helping leaders practice internal self-examination with deeper self-reflection and metacognition is imperative and creates an essential foundation for consistently great leadership behavior.

The absence of such internal examination limits one’s ability to make the most effective behavioral choices, produces sub-optimal leadership behaviors and inhibits sustained positive organizational results.

 To be clear, many of us are merely going through life every day with specific thinking and behavioral patterns that have worked for us at some level and enabled us to achieve the success we enjoy to date and/or placed us in circumstances which we currently face. We are simply using well-worn neural pathways in our brain without a great deal of conscious thought about these thinking and behavioral patterns.

So then, how do we break out of these patterns and reach new heights of personal and professional success?

Metacognition enables us to do so…along with understanding the context or circumstances in which our behavior is experienced.

Context and Metacognition are the two primary keys to greater success…