We often have a great idea and don't implement it, have a vision and don't know how to get others' buy-in, want to be a great leader and have good intentions, but employees don't seem to get us, our children and spouse think we are not listening or connecting enough... maybe, just maybe, some coaching is what's going to help us unstuck and move forward; I certainly gained a lot of benefit from it, to the point I even went through learning the skill. So, what is coaching? Is it useful and why? Tips to choose a coach are in the article I wrote below! Enjoy!
The following quote is a definition of coaching delivered by the International Coach Federation - global site:
"Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives. The coach's responsibility is:
. Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
. Encourage client self-discovery
. Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
. Hold the client responsible and accountable."
Coaching is a professional relationship between two individuals (the coach and the client) that assists one individual (the client) in achieving personal and/or professional goals in an accelerated manner. The process involves a succinct conversation, in a structured manner (i.e. methodology), that supports the client to reach goals and to achieve desired outcomes. Coaches support the client in manifesting his/her potential in attaining agreed-upon goals. Coaches are hired for a variety of different reasons and often times they are hired to assist someone in changing jobs, clarifying a vision, improve communication skills, realize a dream, grow a small business, climb the corporate ladder, manage a team more effectively, etc. A coach encourages, confronts, challenges, questions, and above all, consistently honors, respects, and unconditionally supports a client in growing and achieving his/her goals. The coaching relationship is a transformational process that inevitably results in growth for the client.
This practice was generated to cater for emerging concerns which other practices such as counseling and consulting could not respond to. It has been proven that coaching fosters learning by 88%, especially to support learning in which it enables internalization of training skills recently acquired, as coaching focuses the clients on what is most important to them, on themselves (strengths and aspirations), while the coach believes in their ability to accomplish their goals (source: University of British Columbia, HR Depart.).
It is the practice that accommodates the nurturing of today's modern emergent concerns from home to work and from dreams to real experience, as well as transitions. Therefore, it is correct to say that everyone needs a coach, no matter if you're a peak performer who would want and need to maintain your inner-outer balance to continue to perform, or whether you're going through transitions and adversities, and could use a partner in confidence that truly places 100% of attention, in your best interest, while supporting you through such times and bringing you back up again.
Many corporations' employees, of all levels, have experienced the power and the value of coaching and for some of these reasons and outcomes:
. To develop higher productivity and effective leaders, talents and teams
. To plan for succession
. To improve performance of employees whose supervisor is being coached
. To improve recruitment outcomes
. To improve organizational performance
. To address specific workplace challenges
. To self-develop
. To improve team's morale and working relationships
. To increase communication precision, clarity in directives and proactive feedback
. To develop a vision
. To ameliorate staff retention rate
. To appreciate and make use of self-worth, peers' strengths and build synergies
Coaching's sweet-spot, especially in organizations, is best to be used for development purposes because this would support increased autonomy, relationships and competency, as defined by the three human basic psychological needs: ARC, under the theory of motivation (Susan Fowler, 2014, Chapter 2, pp. 33-50). Benefits for the employer are obvious if these three human psychological needs are met by the individual, as the employee realizes his/her potential, is self-motivated and self-directed, he/she is proactive in self-leadership and in learning to lead others. Great results can be shown when employees are focused in being productive by their willingness to extend discretionary effort in their jobs, endorse the company, wants to stay and crates a motivating environment at the workplace.
Coaches would typically use a coaching process in their sessions, combined with a set of skills and toolbox that support the sessions. The International Coach Federation (ICF) is a global body that provides the standards of coaching for professionally qualified coaches, accredited by the ICF. One of the most important things to consider when hiring coaches is not necessarily if they have a specialization that you're looking for, but rather, is the coach telling you the truth that you don't want to hear? Truth-telling may, at first, create anger in you against your coach, but it most probably will get you away from being stuck and living in denial? My dear friend, mentor and colleague - Linda Miller (MCC)- gives us, in her blog, a list of elements to look for in a coach when you're hiring.
Linda says: "If you're going to work with a coach, find one who...
. Will tell you what you don't want to hear
. Will say what no one else is saying
. Will not let you get away with...
. Holds you to the highest of standards
. Causes you to look at different perspectives
. Believes something bigger/better/more effective is possible
. Holds up the mirror again and again... and again..."
Depending on the reason behind your coaching engagement, behavioral changes take time, thus, coaching may take a few weeks to months; having a coach that can hold that safe place to work with your goals in complete confidentiality, is the ultimate performance enhancer, as the coach is 100% there to support your success towards your goals.
To find out more on tips how and where to find a coach, check out the ICF site.
Susan Fowler asks 2 simple and very pertinent questions, in her blog, to help you show authenticity, share with you who you really are through your practiced behaviors and what you're motivated by. Susan talks about your developed values are more important than your programmed values because you have chosen them freely and acted upon them over time, so they are cherished. Developed values, since you act on them, they show up in your daily life (I.e. you walk the talk with them) and so that is your authentic self. Now, more likely than not, this also means that if you follow them to achieve your goals, you are more prone to be motivated in achieving them based on your developed values.
Susan's blog is fun to read, have a look!
Effective Leadership is done on a side by side relationship...New One Minute Manager, co-authored by Dr. Ken Blanchard
Leading a business today to achieve vitality in terms of financial success and people's commitment needs new management systems approaches. A simple three step approach is shown in the New One Minute Manager co-authored by Dr. Ken Blanchard.
See Dr. Ken Blanchard's interview at MSNBC Your Business explaining how your business vitality depends on your people, your people are your first (internal) customers, when they are committed and focused on their goals then your (external) customers will increase.
Thought Optimization© Defined
After studying numerous researches and literature on how our physiology is built and understanding the power we have in mastering and regulating our thoughts impacting others based on how we feel by the decisions we make and the mood we had when those decisions were made, I realized that all the literature written by such ‘star’ medics, scientists and very intelligent people had one common purpose: to teach us how we can best learn how to control ourselves. This control is a positive one, in my perspective, out of the humility of what we have learned (through science and mindfulness) and having to accept how we are as human kind, yet understanding the advantages and the power of self-will, in order to execute upon us a process of growth, which brings about:
Only then, once this process is achieved, can we feel well within and aligned with how we see ourselves and how we see the world around us. The reason behind my interest in studying about the brain, the mind, decision making and to work with the corporate leaders is two fold:
Reason behind corporate? I worked 15 years in the corporate arena, I know how tension and bad feelings can lead us out of self-conduct in disposition, making bad decisions and becoming unlikeable or unattractive personalities, only because of pressures of external metrics – metrics established by others, as opposed to our internal self-metrics of wanting to perform for ourselves in search for self-growth and excellence. Being constructive when feeling bad is not always the easiest thing to do! Ultimately, having had encountered so many clients and helped so many people achieving their goals and finding a new direction in life and in business (private individuals and corporate employees), I believe that:
So what do we need to do to feel good about ourselves and impact others positively, so that we start performing for ourselves (internal metric) and for our organizations (external metric)? The answer is simple, start listening to what makes you feel good. Why?
Being aware of what makes you feel good makes you be in mastery and regulation of your thoughts, is how you reach Thought Optimization©; it makes you have self-belief and confidence vis-à-vis others; and, glow through a process of growth, heightened by strength, enjoy breakthroughs through a relaxed mind and enhancing the ability to find creative solutions to challenges, while multiplying that enlightened energy of yourself to the rest of those surrounding you.
Thought Optimization© has this effect, if we understand how we are built, we can use the techniques to overcome challenges of our physiology and succeeding in strengthening our deep self (emotionally, mentally, physically in balance) in order to achieve the optimized state of wellbeing and positive self-heightency – mastery and regulation of thoughts which lead to emotional regulation and clear decision making.
Managing your thoughts to sustain performance!
Leaders are hired to think and to create a platform to nurture and allow the thinking process to flourish. Hence, their role in organizations is to understand, scrutinize and strategize. But you may ask two very pertinent follow up questions:
Conscious leaders that embark themselves in a path of constant curiosity, thereby always seeking to learn, to improving their skill-set and know-how, are more likely to be consistently challenging the thinking patterns around him/herself and others. This is a very productive nurturing process in thinking as it also allows the generation of creativity in the team he/she is leading.
The bottom line of cultivating a thinking culture in the organization is to question compliance and assess opportunity cost of not doing something.
Thinking can be considered a skill that can be learnt, like a muscle that requires practice and exercise to perform better. As thinking generates creativity, team members that think and share their thoughts with their leaders, provide the latter with additional ideas to take a step further in their thinking; sort of like “give me a good idea and I’ll make it better!”. Thus, leaders will benefit from their teams and their own leaders when they proactively help others think in an open sharing platform.
How much attention you pay on your thoughts, the density of your thoughts and the quality of your thoughts (what you are thinking about) determine how you will make your decisions. For example, if you are thinking about a conversation at your workplace that has upset you, you may dismiss that thought by quickly re-framing the perspective of your negative experience, e.g. by simply labeling the fact as another possible perspective: “I should not take it personally, John and I were just trying to be objective about the matter, I’m sure next meeting we will make it a point to be more constructive…”. This re-framing mechanism will pull you away from developing negative emotions and keep you on track to your objectives of working with John.
If re-framing is not done, then possible consequences could be that you persistently are weary of John. As a consequence, possible rushed or erroneous emotional based decisions might be made due to that single experience.
Thus, one of the processes of driving productive thoughts is to re-frame your bad experiences as soon as possible and move on. The other would be to focus on solutions instead of the problem. By focusing on solutions, we accept that there is an existing problem, but we choose to focus on what works and on the strengths of the people involved.
The mind is the energy that drives thoughts and the brain is the master key that drives the functionality, put in very simplistic layman terms. So if this is the case, the brain needs help to focus our thoughts, since it is responsible for controlling our breathing, movement of the eyes, driving a car without too much concentration, etc. My point is, when you consciously focus on a topic, make sure you are focusing on something that is rewarding, so that you keep your balance sustainable.
Exercise: At the end of each evening, have 5-10 minutes for yourself, undisturbed! Think back and appreciate your day. If anything less pleasant comes up, let yourself feel that emotion (but not for too long!), then the exercise is to put that incident into a ‘label’ and reframe it out loud in words. Tips:
Work-life Balance: Mary's Case
Let’s begin with Mary, a 33 year old corporate employee on a career rise to targeting management level responsibilities by the turn of the year. She has 8 more months to go to prove her worth through her performance at work. She aspires to launch a new branding concept for transforming the corporate brand of the company she works for. Her energy is fully focused on this project, she is so deeply committed that there is no way out now but to move forward. She is working day and night for her promotion.
It is 10pm, she is about to leave the office, she drives home and just realized that this pattern has been going on for months now… she cannot remember the last time she had willing kiss from her 5 year old. That’s right, as she opens the door to her home, her child is already asleep, and tomorrow morning she will be at work before seeing her child off to the kindergarten.
Her husband is also working hard and travelling quite a bit. The couple has not had a meal together in 4 months. They seem to always just miss each other for another meeting, although they are living under the same roof.
Mary is wondering whether after her promotion, this will stop! Or will she get a promotion? Is this promotion really what she wants? She decides to opt for coaching to get clarity her sentiments.
After clarifying Mary’s objectives and goals of partnering with the coach to go through her priorities and aspirations, she realized that her brilliance was unique and she could hold that knowledge of herself and walk her entire life with the awareness that what is important is what she really wants and is happy doing. The effort put in whatever she did was more appreciated then the outcome itself, speaking of both work-wise and home-wise. As a result, by paying attention in making herself happy, she realized the efficiency at her work and the impact she had over her interfaces with people at work and at home. At work, she began to see the strength on her colleagues which ultimately translated into her making more resourceful delegations, while being able to arrive home earlier and have dinner with her child and husband. She made a point to be interested about their daily routines and in turn they were of hers too.
Mary had begun to live in the present because she went through a sanity check on her personal performance, what it meant for herself and while she received skills to effectively support her wishes of bonding more with her family and work more efficiently at her job. Her perspective of what is important was redefined by her awareness of what makes her really happy.
Everyone is different and has different needs and aspirations, so this was Mary’s story.
I'm a leader so I should know best! Where is my EQ? John's Case
John is highly efficient and effective in his job. He has now been promoted to a senior position with 12 headcounts in the region. His weekly team meetings are normally not too happy as they normally turn out to have a lot of disagreements. He dreads them. His team is complaining that he does not listen, but he sincerely means that he does. Yet, he does specify that his team has a few characters that are difficult and wants to show-off, so he thinks they are not being productive, and when this happens, he needs to cut the meetings short.
John has learnt a lot about himself! He thought he had no feelings, because that is what everyone tells him, as his wife tells him that he never cares about her, his children find him cold, his colleagues find him schrude and only interested to achieve his personal agenda. Obviously he did not agree, so we went to search who John really was.
Deep inside, we found out that John had a core limiting believe about himself, he is anguished by authority over him, so before letting anyone imposing something on him, he decides subconsciously to always be the first one to command an outcome, thereby controlling every single situation in the maximum capacity possible. John understands that socially and corporately, we are built in societies full of authorities and hierarchies, and he can accept that, what he cannot accept is individuals imposing commands on him, as he perceives that as a threat to what he wants to achieve in his aspirations.
Having this piece of awareness, made John realize his impact on the world around him and made him refocus his motivations vis-a-vis other people’s motivations, that they do not necessarily have to clash. John is today a much relaxed person and having also had his team and family gone through a coaching program, his world and him are more integrative and working through compliments and synergies instead of under the concept of constant competition.