In 2006, a senior leader I was working with asked me how I came to be so honest! It was a strange question from someone who himself was known as a straight talker. It made me think about what his expectations had been and how I had measured up or surprised him.

Integrity has always been important to me in all parts of my life and I have always tried to say and do the right thing. Not to suggest that has always worked out and, of course, there is always learning.

In my role supporting people, teams and change, I never understood the idea that I would get paid to tell people that everything was fine, that the current thinking was enough, or that doing what you did before would make a difference. I think the job is to carry a virtual mirror, to hold it up and then to ask questions, and more questions and more questions.

This kind of challenge is not about doing people’s thinking for them, nor is it to be smart or be right. The whole point is helping people to think better for themselves, and understand blind spots and unhelpful patterns that get in the way for them and others.

This challenge comes with humility (I’ve been there), with support and with practical insights should they be required. It is likely to be uncomfortable, but that’s the learning edge.

I have taken this idea of challenge and layered it with Transactional Analysis and Gallup Strengths Finder to create a space where challenge can deliver real change.