Posts in coaching
How to Coach Your Team to Success

One of the biggest challenges for leaders is to create and maintain the proper conditions for worker engagement and productivity. We know that if we are to maintain high levels of workplace output and morale we need to ensure that our employees feel valued and challenged. We also recognize that if we want to be able to respond to, if not stay in front of, marketplace change we need to develop workers who are comfortable thinking independently and contributing to the collective brain trust.

Too many leaders and managers, however, fail to achieve this because they do not understand how to motivate today’s workers or how to empower them to think and act independently and more positively.

In generations past people would be told what they needed to do from their earliest years. Parents would instruct children on how to behave at home and teachers would demand student compliance in school. Failure to obey would result in corporal punishment or other heavy handed responses. In the workplace, employees would be given orders and were required to dutifully implement them if they wanted to hold their positions for any meaningful duration.

But times have changed. As younger workers make their way into the workplace, they expect to play by a different set of rules. They want to be given the freedom to experiment, a voice with which to weigh in at staff meetings and the ability to pursue what they view as meaningful, engaging work. Anything less they view as limiting, which spells dissatisfaction and, for the most part, underperformance (if not outside job seeking).

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Coaching: The Key to Getting Unstuck

One of the local papers runs my coaching content weekly.

They use this caption for my "Coach's Corner" column.

I hadn't seen it before. And I love it.

Unlike other interventions, coaching is all about taking the ideas and magic already in a client's head and helping them unravel, organize and make sense of it, while setting aside the things that have been holding them back.

Standard client comments: "I know I need to ___ (take action) but can't because ___ (limiting belief.)"

Coaching empowers people to move forward and get things done.

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How NOT to show appreciation

Do your people feel valued and appreciated at work?

If you're a leader, one of the most important things you need to be doing is thinking about how can you demonstrate appreciation – that's right – appreciation for your people and what they are doing for you.

We cannot assume that just because we pay people – and often pay them really well – that that alone constitutes appreciation.

Nor can we assume that just because we don't need appreciation, which may or may not be the case, but even if we don't, that others don't as well.

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The Risk of Staying in the Safe Lane

For our recent family road trip, my wife and I went with our children for two days of sightseeing in nearby cities. In total, we spent around ten hours in the car, mostly on 3 lane highways and predominantly at night, with little roadside scenery to take in. This gave me, the sole driver, plenty of time to observe my road-mates.

For the most part, the other drivers on the road followed the standard script. Those in the right lane were the slowest, with lots of folks occupying that lane temporarily to enter or exit the road. Drivers in the center lane were the majority. They maintained a healthy, predictable speed and were largely content to keep their place in line. Then there were the left-laners. These folks were the most aggressive, clocking in at the highest speeds. They would also weave in and out of lanes in order to improve their position and arrival times.

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How to Get Your Mojo Back

As a coach, it is relatively common to be contacted by individuals who feel stuck. Often, these people are mid-late career and struggle in their current position.

Their challenges often include, but are not limited to:

  • Long, grueling workdays

  • Insufficient pay

  • Lack of passion for their work

  • Managers who mistreat them

  • Working in industries, such as tight-knit community businesses, in which “everyone knows everyone”, limiting their ability to make lateral career moves

Ironically, when we unpack their situations and identify pathways forward, they are often unprepared or unwilling to take the kind of action necessary to break free.

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Tips to Help Your People Become More Independent

The transition from dependence to independence exists in many arenas, including the workplace. As leaders, we want to quickly help our newly employed or repositioned personnel move from needy and dependent, requiring lots of direction, to confident self-reliant, and thus capable for being delegated to.

Here are some steps that can help expedite the process of making your people more independent.

  1. Avoid micromanaging – It is very common for managers and supervisors to want to ensure that their newest additions feel properly supported. They also want to avoid early mess-ups. So, they micromanage and insist on being involved in every step. While this is understandable, it is also detrimental to the new person’s growth. Find ways to allow them the space to work without constant direction, so that they can spread their wings.

  2. Be willing to let them fail Jon Brodsky of Finder.com takes the approach of letting his newly-appointed managers fast and forward. This does not mean that they get tossed into the deep-water section with the hope they quickly figure out how to swim. Instead, the goal is to give them space and permission (if not encouragement) to fail in controlled, low-stakes ways. This will allow them to learn from the process and start self-correcting. In the long-term, this learning will be far more valuable and lasting.

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From Resolution to Achievement: 8 Tips for Making Your New Year’s Commitments Stick

If you are like most people, you will take some time on New Year’s Day to reflect on the outgoing year and set some resolutions for the year ahead.

Maybe you’ll decide to make a lifestyle change, such as eating healthier and exercising more.

Perhaps you’ll determine that it is time for more work-life balance or to travel more often.

You may set some business-related goals, such as making more sales calls or taking other action steps that will improve your bottom line.

These, or any other constructive goals, are the first step in living a better, more fulfilled life.

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Making the best of a down market

How can we stay positive when the "weather" that surrounds us is bleak?

Here are some tips:

  1. Find the positives ➕ - In every situation, there are positives and things to be grateful for. Despite the rain, the weather is quite warm. Actually, the warmest we're had in weeks. A down market offers opportunities to buy on the cheap. Reduced volume gives us time to think and strategize about how to grow when the trends reverse.

  2. It's all pointing up ⬆️ - Starting tomorrow, the day will begin to lengthen. It will be a long climb, but it will happen. The rain will clear out as well. We can't predict when we've hit bottom in our personal lives, but past experiences tell us that better days are ahead.

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It Needn't be Lonely at the Top

Loneliness is, in a relative sense, measured in the eyes of the beholder. Some argue that the loneliest professionals in the world are those who toil in isolation, with limited opportunity for interpersonal communication. Yet there are others who weigh loneliness not by the frequency or infrequency of their interactions with others but rather with the quality of such exchanges.

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