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'Career Doctor' Liz Bentley on the 'game-changing' mindset the best leaders have

Executive coach Liz Bentley weighs in on the importance of mindset and how empathy is critical for problem-solving.
Liz Bentley is the founder and president of Liz Bentley Associates, a consulting firm specializing in leadership development programs.
Liz Bentley is the founder and president of Liz Bentley Associates, a consulting firm specializing in leadership development programs.Miller Hawkins

Your mindset dictates how you think and act. So how do you cultivate a positive one so it benefits you both in and outside the office?

It’s an issue executive coach Liz Bentley recently discussed with “Morning Joe” co-host and Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski.

Bentley said some of her clients, for example, focus on their fear instead of what they’re trying to accomplish. And that mindset can be self-defeating.

“Instead of staring at their goal and staring at what they’re trying to achieve, they stare at what’s not working,” said Bentley.

So, what’s the making of a great mindset? Bentley said it’s all about having a strong belief system and being open to work on yourself to grow.

Brzezinski asked Bentley how she helps clients who walk into her office with a negative mindset. Bentley said it happens frequently, however, it’s not always obvious to the executive that they need help.

“Sometimes, they come in pretending they have a great mindset,” Bentley said. “But really, when we get inside and we see the truth, there’s all kinds of barriers that are stopping them. So, we get in there with them and we help them get vulnerable. We talk about what they're afraid of. We talk about what’s holding them back.”

“It’s the psychology of knowing your value,” Brzezinski told Bentley.

An empathetic mindset is a game-changer, Bentley noted. But a judgmental mindset can be a killer.

“Empathy is about relating to someone and feeling their emotion,” Bentley said. “It doesn't mean you have to walk in their shoes. It doesn't mean you have to exactly understand what they're going through, but you understand their emotion. When we do that, we remove ourselves from judgment. The second I judge you and I decide that you’re wrong and I’m right, all of our energy shifts.”

Empathy, she added, is also critical for problem-solving.

“We can’t problem solve if you believe in one thing and I believe something else,” Bentley said. “It’s hard for us to get to a place together if I can’t understand where you’re coming from.”

It’s also a critical trait during negotiations, as “you can empathize with the other party, which means you can understand them and be more strategic,” Bentley said.