Coaching Tips

Feed Your Head: Good Blogs for Your Start

iStock_000008635378SmallSome things are written so well that you have to read them even if you haven’t heard of the author before.  These blogs are the kind to whet your appetite.  This is Part 2 of the Feed Your Head series.  Part 1 is on finding and subscribing to blogs.

This post is about some of those great blogs that you will want to consider adding to your reading material.  While there are lots out there for you to select, we’ll focus on five. Check them out, subscribe for a while, and then either keep’em or unsubscribe.

Seth Godin’s blogSeth Godin has been blogging longer than about anybody but God.  That means he has figured out how to do it well.  Seth is a self-described agent of change.  No comments are allowed, quick reads (often less that 200 words) and seldom are their pictures.

Celebrate What’s Right with the World.  DeWitt Jones spent 20 years as a photographer for the National Geographic.  His blog, Celebrate What’s Right with the World, is just a cool place to visit.  You’ll see pictures that change you if you let them.

Get Rich Slowly.  This group blog is centered around Get Rich Slowly.  It’s about common sense ways to save or make money.  You can also figure out how to talk with children, parents, or spouses about money.

ZenHabits. Take a habit, break it down into little pieces, and then figure out what you know.  That’s what Leo Babauta does in zenhabits.  If you are trying to figure out how you got where you are, this blog will help you in that journey.

The Calm Space.   Do you need to get centered? The Calm Space will help you do that.  They describe themselves as “an online magazine that is like a virtual day-spa for your senses… decadent, informative, relaxing. A real no-mobile-phones-allowed kind of escape where you can chill for a minute or an hour and emerge refreshed and ready to face anything your day throws at you!”

Part 3 of Feed Your Head is coming soon. Look for blog “Main Courses.”

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Feed Your Head: Read Blogs

beautiful woman holding rss logoYou are what you eat, and that’s especially true about your brain food.  While you’ve heard all of the reasons to read, think about what happens if you don’t stretch your brain.

You will never ever get any better than you are now.

You give up your right to be called “professional.”  By their very definition, professionals are always working to improve.  You have chosen to be an amateur.

You cut yourself off from other people.

One of the best ways you can feed your head is by reading and one of the easiest ways to access reading material is through blogs and newsletters.  How do you find them and how do you access them easily?  Here are a few ideas.

CaptureThe best way to find blogs that you like is to follow the breadcrumbs that others leave.  May be you’ll find a link in a Facebook post.  If you like what you find, subscribe.

I love to uncover lists.  Here are three recent ones that were very productive for leadership coaches.

Wouldn’t you like to find Hidden Gems? Maybe you want to check out socially shared blogs.  One of my favorite lists comes from Julie Stewart, who gives previews of the entries in her list of coaching blogs.

Once you find a blog you like, subscribe.  Honestly, every blog wants you to subscribe so you won’t have any problem figuring out how to do it.  There are three basic ways to subscribe.

Subscribe by email.  Nearly 90 percent of the Ultimate Coach University blog subscribers choose email.  That means whenever something new is posted, it shows up in your in box.  The biggest problem with this method is when you are buried in emails.  You delete the blog posts or simply unsubscribe in frustration.  How about something different?  Create an email folder called blogs and just shove them in that folder until you have a chance to read them.  Better yet, create an Outlook rule that sends the emails directly to that folder.

Subscribe by online RSS. This is the most popular way to subscribe.  Until recently, Google Reader was the app of choice.  When Google decided to end their reader, others have sprung up.   I started using the old reader.  It’s a lot like the Google reader and I think it is actually easier to navigate.  If you want to try this approach, Duct Tape Marketing has a great list of alternative blog readers.

Subscribe by Outlook RSS. If you use Outlook 2007 or newer, you have a blog reader built into your outlook.  It’s relatively easy to start using and the blogs will automatically go to separate folders. (The worst part about the whole process is understanding the Microsoft instructions.)

So go hunting!  Feed your head.  This is the first in a five part series about reading blogs.  Part 2 is on appetizers:  those great bits of head food you just can’t skip.

 

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Educating Others about Coaching is Worth It

Direct Selling Association ConventionIn early June,  Neil Phillips and I had the opportunity to represent Ultimate Coach University at the Direct Selling Association national conference.  Over 1,000 corporate executives and supplier members were in attendance and it was a great time to discover the best practices in the direct selling industry.

I was privileged to present a workshop on coaching as part of leadership development for company employees and independent contractors.  My assumption that people don’t really understand coaching was spot on.  After the session, people came up to us with comments such as these:

“I think we haven’t been coaching at all.

I didn’t realize companies like PepsiCo, ATT, Xerox, and IBM have coaching programs for internal leadership.

Our company has been calling one-on-one training ‘coaching’.

We are ready to look at coaching as part of our overall leadership development strategy.

The big aha for me was that coaching bridges the gap from what I know to what I don’t do.”

As coaches, we know coaching works!  We know that coaching raises awareness.  We understand the distinctions between coaching and training.  We have a tremendous opportunity to share everyday about the benefit of coaching for self-discovery, personal and professional productivity, and permanent change.

My challenge to coaches today: create a short and engaging answer when people ask, “What is coaching?” and be ready to share.

What is your answer when people ask?

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The J. Hilburn Coaching Culture

It’s rare that I get to see our students get resounding applause for their coaching.  That occasion occurred this past week at the International Coaching Federation-North Texas Chapter Prism Awards.  This is a big deal.

J. Hilburn Prism Award recpients

(L to R) Neil Phillips, Dana Phillips, Larry Novak, Karen Bejjani, Angie Howell receive Prism Award

Two of Ultimate Coach University’s students are key performers in J. Hilburn’s coaching culture. Karen Bejjani and Angie Howell led the charge in developing a coaching culture among the sales force.  They both spend most of their workdays coaching top performers, upcoming stars, and groups of new leaders.  Karen and Angie will both tell you that coaching is energizing and they are passionate about its importance to productivity and the personal development of leaders.

J. Hilburn received a special recognition for “demonstrating a deep strategic commitment to coaching across the organization.”  Top honors went to BNSF Railroad.  The other finalists were AT & T and Frito-Lay.

THIS IS HUGE.  I can’t emphasize enough the honor they receive with this award. Here’s why this demonstrates such an incredible achievement.     

 The ICF-NT Chapter has a storied history.  The ICF got its start with the work of Texas coaches and the ICF-NT is the first chartered chapter of the world’s largest professional association for coaches.

North Texas is known for quality coaching. Big claim?  Need proof?   In 2005, the global office of the ICF adopted the concept of the Prism Award and has been recognizing organizations that have enhanced excellence and business achievement through their commitment to coaching ever since. In the 8 years that the international award has been given, North Texas companies have been honored 3 times.

The Prism Award recognizes excellence.  The North Texas Prism Award is recognition that the coaching initiatives are meeting and exceeding globally recognized standards. The award is a public acknowledgement of their efforts in creating a culture that embraces coaching. The Prism Award celebrates:

  • Effectiveness: How has the coaching initiative been effective in achieving the intended goals and purpose?
  • Impact: How has coaching improved the culture of the organization?
  • Strategic Significance: How has the initiative addressed significant issues within or for the organization?
  • ROI/ROE: What are the tangible results or the proven return on investment or return on expectations for the organization because of the coaching initiative?

If you have an opportunity, please leave a comment and congratulate J. Hilburn for their accomplishment.

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Leadership Coaching

crowdsourcing leadership trainingI need your help.  Badly.  I want to develop some teaching tools on to help train leadership coaches in direct sales.  Direct sales leadership is not about sales and recruiting; it’s about growing others to become leaders in their own way.

It’s hard to train people in leadership coaching without being formulaic.  Don’t get me wrong: I coach people through corporate transitions as they move higher up the ladder. I know how to create and hold a coaching space for my clients.  I ask them questions like:

  • What does a leader do?
  • What do you do when you are wearing your “leader” title?
  • What separates your leadership from what you used to do?
  • How are you a leader at home?
  • What are the characteristics of a great leader you have?

I love asking questions like these and giving people a chance to think aloud about their answers.  And the coolest part is that every answer is right!

My problem is that I want to develop some training tools for leadership coaches.  To make it fun, I want to crowdsource some tools to teach leadership coaching.  You can help develop some teaching tools to help train leadership coaches in direct sales. Please hit reply and leave a comment.  Here are some things I want your insights on:

  • What would you like to know about training sales leaders?
  • What makes sales leaders different from other types of leaders?
  • Are there core values of a direct sales leader?
  • What are the best tools you have?
  • How do you know you are successfully training leadership?
  • Curious random thoughts about leadership that you would like answered.

As you can tell, I am wide open to hear your thoughts.  If you share, I’ll respond in kind.  As I develop some tools, I’ll be happy to share them with you.  For example, one common tool for values clarification is to sort through a list of terms and narrow it down to three or less core values.  Would a tool like that be useful to explore the core concepts of a leader? When it’s ready, you can try it out first and have full access to it.

Worth a comment?  Please leave one.

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Sharpening the Saw

sharpening of saw bladesWhen I coach high performers, one of the hardest things for them to do is relax.  They are so tied up in performing that they can’t turn it off.  The result, after a while, is a loss of emotional balance and a weakened  work performance. When we talk about it in their coaching call, they start to identify the issue (“I need some time off”).

In Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the very last one is called the “Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal.”  More commonly, it is known as Sharpen the Saw.  The metaphor he uses to explain this is straightforward.  If you were cutting down a tree, it would be much easier with a sharp saw.

What we don’t often think about is the four dimensions of self-renewal.  On a holiday weekend, there is a perfect opportunity to experience a little of all four.

1. Spiritual Renewal.

In the U.S., we have an opportunity to reflect on gratitude.  What was your part of remembering gratitude on Memorial weekend?  What are you grateful for and how will you show it?  Can you spend a little extra time this week contemplating all that has gone right in your life so far this  year?  Who will listen as you share those perfect feelings?

2. Physical Renewal.

Food is a part of your holiday weekend.  Holidays are also some of the highest alcohol consumption days.  While the consumption binge is briefly satisfying, we also get an opportunity to catch a little extra sleep, relaxation time, and (for the food guilty) even some exercise.

3. Social/Emotional Renewal.

With time away from work, you have an opportunity to spend more time with our family and friends; you can renew familial bonds and friendships.  Sharing a meal is more than breaking bread.  You also share the bonds made and strengthened over the table.

4.  Mental Renewal.

When you take the time to slow down, you can spend a little time letting your minds wander in some new directions.  You catch up on the news, daydream, plan without pressure, and maybe even catch-up on some list making and office cleaning.

While these four areas all seem unique, they share a common trait:  you can only engage in renewal by being proactive.   When you are driven by the urgent, renewal doesn’t happen.

Ask yourself a simple question:  Do I really need a holiday to sharpen my saw?  Obviously, you don’t have to have a holiday.  You can establish a habit by building time in your schedule for renewal.  This doesn’t mean just thinking about it.  Unless you build the time in your schedule, you won’t set the time to break your old habits.  Ironically, the one that most people don’t take seriously is mental renewal.  We schedule time off; we have vacations.  What most people don’t do is schedule time for mental development.

  • When is that last time you took a class to improve your job performance?
  • What are you scheduling on a regular basis to develop new skills and attributes?
  • How often do you talk with outside business acquaintances without trying to sell them something?

With a three day weekend just finishing, you’ve found time to do a little sharpening.  I know I did. But don’t stop there.  What are you doing to sharpen your saw this week?  Month? Summer?

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Gratitude Matters

iStock_000007716756SmallI have a lot to say about coaching, but sometimes it’s better to shut my mouth and let others do the talking.  Many knowledgeable people write about leadership, psychology, and coaching.  Here are some of their thoughts about gratitude.

I am thankful for my life.  In just the last two weeks, I’ve gotten to train a dozen new coaches at Ultimate Coach University, to train 35 new and exciting leaders at J. Hilburn, meet 10 new clients and start two Master Mind groups. I’m exhausted, and very grateful for all of these opportunities.  One of life’s little puzzles is how often we read about what we are feeling. You have to wonder about a grand plan wherein you start to feel grateful and then see articles about it.

Sometimes you don’t feel very grateful. You want to “do down” for a day or two.  The Change Blog has a list of seven ways to pull yourself out of it.   Read Why Gratitude Will Save Your Life (& 7 Ways to Increase It Starting Today).

While “gratitude” is an important topic when it comes to leadership by example, there is more to it than that.  As a leader, creating and maintaining an environment of gratitude is a good work practice.  Christine Riordan write in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network about why and how to Foster a Culture of Gratitude.

If this all sounds a bit heavy for you, chuck the attitude.  Leonie Dawson wants you to smile a lot and her blog shows it.  Read what she has to say about WANT TO GET HAPPY? ADOPT AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE!

I know, some of you are saying to yourself, “Gratitude has nothing to do with it. I’m just a realist.”  Maybe you are.  Read Tim Brownson’s article about What Is A Self Limiting Belief?  Maybe you will discover that gratitude is a whole new way of looking at things.

Thank you for your time.  I’d be very thankful if you would leave a comment about gratitude.  I’d also love to hear from you about this type of post.  Is it useful?

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You need a Coaching Champion

Portrait of smiling business people with thumbs up against whiteEvery cause needs a champion; the person who leads the charge forward.  Coaching initiatives are no different.  Whether you are trying to build coaching into a sales team or a company environment, you need someone to support you.  As a coach, you are passionate about what you do.  However, you can’t be your own champion. You need someone on your side.  What should you look for in your champion?

A Champion is your evangelist.

This person wants to champion the cause.  They are the visionary; the advocate who sees a productive role of coaching in lots of places.  Often your champion is the one who started it all for you.  They see a role for coaching in their team and are the first one with a coach.  While your evangelist loves you, they love coaching even more.  Their passion about coaching is what will shift the culture.

A Champion feeds you.

Coaching is not a one size fits all proposition.  You need insights into prospective coaching clients. You want to know what these clients want even before you talk with them. Do they want facts and results?  Maybe they want someone to talk with weekly so they can measure their progress.  Maybe they need someone to celebrate for them. As you get to know your prospects, you will start to understand how coaching can make a difference for them.  This all starts with your champion.  Your champion feeds you information.  Your champion provides honest feedback about what’s working and what’s not.  Your champion is your trusted adviser about the people around them.

A Champion builds your community.

In his or her own way, your champion is your banner carrier.  I’ve identified four ways to celebrate coaching. Each of these methods needs a champion to spread the word. The champion creates a place that others want to join.

Who will be your champion?  Identify and support the champion of your cause, and they will support you in ways that you can barely imagine.

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Who Are You Kidding?

iStock_000001754493SmallI have a coach to support me in my weight loss process.  Part of my commitment is to be more active.  When I started last December I set a goal to increase my number of steps by 500 per day every week.  I moved from 3,000 to 8,000 steps a day which was pretty great for me.  Today I hit 10,000 steps every single day.  The new habit required change.

Looking back, I remember the week where I was upping my steps, didn’t make it and almost wrote down the number I had committed to achieving.  I stopped and said to myself, “Who are you kidding?”

Who wants to lose weight?  Me.

Who committed to the changes?  Me.

Who benefits from the steps?  Me.

Who am I kidding?

Of course my coach wouldn’t know. But I would know.  I stopped and marveled at my own conniving. Who am I kidding?

As I coach many top sales people, I hear, “I made a TON of calls,”  “I worked sooo hard!”  and lots of other statements.  Who are you kidding?

When I coach direct sellers, I often remind them that I want to not only hold their dreams, but hold them to the activities that will lead to their dreams.  When you make a commitment, there is a temptation to want to appear to be doing things “right” for your coach.  Stop and ask yourself, “Who am I kidding?”

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When Your Client Misses the Mark

iStock_000002066688XSmallI was talking to another coach recently and she told me about a client who wanted to stop meeting with her because she felt like she wasn’t living up to the agreements she made.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this happens to all coaches occasionally.  I have clients who discontinue coaching because they are unwilling to keep the commitments they make.  Some use the excuse that they want to “try it on their own.”  Others sheepishly confess that they were ashamed and just didn’t want to continue.

I have a weight loss coach. When I first started using this coach, I wasn’t reaching my walking goal on most days.  I thought about not showing up and decided out of respect for the coach, I needed to face the music.  She noticed my disappointment and we worked through the real issue.

Here are three possible steps if you sense your client is missing the mark.

  1. Don’t ignore it.  The ICF is clear about the role of the coach, “The coach trusts the client to be accountable to themselves and lovingly calls the client to account or discussion if agreed upon forward movement does not occur.”
  2. Look for progress.  Ask, “What did go well?”
  3. Look for over-committing.  If a client is missing the mark consistently, you may want to check in and explore the motivation and/or reason for not meeting the actions designed.

The ICF core competencies outline the value of exploration, “The coach’s invitation to exploration precedes and is significantly greater than invitation to solution.”

I always see my time with my coach as important in the process. I know the value of someone holding me accountable. As a coach, I want to lovingly hold my client’s behavior in their mirror.

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Find the greatest research about Leadership and how become one of Them.

  • Check our newest post about Leadership
  • Great inspiration to succeed as a Leader
  • Tips, Tricks and much more about Leadership
  • How to Discover the Leader within you