Posts Taged coach-approach

Coaching Leaders to Maximize Their Impact

Give up control to get itDo you get more power by grabbing it or giving it away? As I coach leaders, I often try to get them to confront this question.  While this seems to be a question for the corporate executive, it fits almost every leader from the top of a direct sales organization to company directors.  The obvious answers often doesn’t work.

The usual answer is along the lines of “I need to tighten the reins of control.”  That means clearer organizational charts, roles, responsibilities, and micro-managing.  For most of the people I coach, this is a recipe for disaster.  They will alienate their teams, undercut their development, and create an environment in which people are content to meet the minimums rather than energized to provide maximums.

The real answer is “I need to equip and empower my team.”  Giving away control raises your leadership capacity.  Here are a baker’s dozen questions that might prove useful as you coach leaders on this issue.

  • What roles do you currently play (and get very detailed)?
  • What skills does it take to fill your roles?
  • What would make you better equipped to fill these roles?
  • How do the people you work with make you feel? What do they do to create those feelings?
  • How do you make the people around you feel? What are you doing to create these? Give examples.
  • What personal goals do you have?
  • What aspirations do your people have?
  • What would shift your enthusiasm up?
  • What limits your ability to influence at work?
  • What would enhance it?
  • How much control do you feel you have in your area (scale of 1 to 10)
  • How much control do you feel you need?
  • If you were to report to the you-boss, how do you feel about you-boss on an average day?

What questions would you like to add?  Remove?

 

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Four Easy Guidelines When Advising Like a Coach

Advising like a coachMuch as coaches try to avoid giving advice, clients sometimes are very good at pulling out of us.  Just when the client seems to be rolling along quite nicely, they will throw in a “I don’t know, what do you think?”  You, as the coach, are caught off guard and before you can help yourself, you have turned into a mentor and a font of wisdom.  Here are four easy guidelines to follow when in this situation.

Always ask permission.  When advice is permission based, you will keep ownership of the strategy with the client.  You will often have the opportunity to ask permission several times.  Think about using questions like:

  • Are you asking for my advice? (This is your real-time opportunity to confirm what you heard.)
  • My advice is offered from outside your activities, so feel free to reject it or tweak it to fit better.

The other key benefit of asking permission is that you prevent resistance. Unsolicited advice immediately generates a backlash.

Start with what they’ve done.  Want to appear foolish?  Blurt out your advice and then listen to your client say, “I tried that and it didn’t work.” Discover what your client has done before giving advice.  You will save time and ego.  Ask the simple and straightforward question, “What have you tried?”

Be clear on what is requested.  Sometimes clients will ask for advice and, while it may be clear in their mind, it may not be in yours.  Ask questions like:

  • Is your question about your goal or your strategy?
  • Are you concerned about your process or your point of view?
  • What’s the advice you would like me to give? [This sounds like a weird question, but you will discover what they want.]

Avoid being Directive.  The phrase “you should” is usually an invitation to trouble.  Alternatively, try phrases like:

  • Other clients have found that. . . .  You are the expert on this situation.  How does this fit you?
  • Here’s another option. . . .
  • What I’ve found helpful is . . . .

These four guidelines keep you thinking and acting like a coach while providing an opportunity to partner with your client.  What have you found useful?

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Should Your Client Quit or Not?

Iditarod Red LanternWe respect those who finish. A recent Seth Godin blog reminded me of this.  Seth wrote about The Red Lantern, which is the Iditarod reward that goes to the last person to finish the race.  The lantern is the reward for those who push through to the end. The Iditarod has found a way to recognize the value of hanging in to the finish.

As a coach, I’ve always struggled with finding the right balance for my clients between finishing what they start and moving on to a different goal.  Here are 19 key questions to sort through what is often a mixed motive situation:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it to you to hit this goal?
  2. Are you being driven by your courage or bravado?
  3. How do the costs and benefits look to you at this point?
  4. How do you feel about cutting your losses?
  5. What’s the win if you redirect your goal now?
  6. What’s the loss?
  7. How will you regain your sunk costs?
  8. What will you do to forgive yourself for stopping?
  9. How will you reward yourself for finishing?
  10. What’s changed?
  11. What hasn’t changed?
  12. Are you being internally or externally motivated right now?
  13. How would you feel if it was just you?
  14. How would you feel if you influenced others to do the same thing?
  15. What would _____________ tell you to do?  [Superman? Batman? Your mother?]
  16. What’s your gut reaction right now?
  17. What would happen if you put off deciding for 24 hours?
  18. How would you decide right now?
  19. If you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

The race is not always to the swift.  For Aesop, slow and steady wins the race. As coaches, we cannot decide on the right course of action for our clients.  Even more fundamentally, we need to do our best to avoid influencing their decision.

Think of a recent situation where you were coaching in a mixed motive situation.  What’s the question you would add to this list?

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Three Key Insights on Language and Coaching

Language and reality for coachesThree umpires are arguing about their role in a baseball game.  The most intense argument is about their role in calling balls and strikes. 

The first umpire says (matter-of-factly), “The pitcher pitches.  If he throws a strike, I call it a strike.  If he throws a ball, I call it a ball.”

Throwing fuel on the argument’s fire, the second umpire says, “I just call them as I see them.  If it looks like a strike, that’s what I call it.  If it looks like a ball, then I call it a ball.”

The third umpire puffs up his chest and ends it all. “It ain’t nothing until I call it.”

How do your clients express their view of the world in their language?

Is their world out there and their job is to reflect reality?

Maybe they realize that their mental state plays a role and their role is to select the reality.

OR, maybe your client wants to hide the reality that others see and play a role to deflect it through their language.

What is your role as a coach in working with your client’s reality as it shows up in their language?

As coaches, we often see our role as supporting our clients in seeing alternatives.  How will you do that if your client wants to hide from the reality you want them to see?

When we treat our words as simple vehicles to describe what’s what, we give up on the richness of our surroundings.  And in that richness are the grounds for the best coaching.

How will you coach your client on their use of language to reflect, select, or deflect reality?

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Twenty-one Questions to Ignite a High Performance Leader

High performance opportunity

How would you ignite a leader to create a high performance team?  I was talking with an executive about someone he thought would really grow through coaching.  I asked him an obvious question, “What would you like to see happen?”  His answer was “I really like to see him develop a high performance team. It’s not that they do bad work; the team is just closer to average than a top one.”

My imagination exploded!  I already had an initial coaching call with the new leader, and he expressed some ambitious goals.  He wanted to be in front of his team rather than just herd them along.  While I know that coaching questions are organic and arise in the course of a conversation, I couldn’t help but think of some questions that might be helpful.

  1. What’s your vision for the team?
  2. Where does this lead?
  3. How do you make this happen?
  4. How can you push it to the level beyond what you describe?
  5. What will get your team to unite behind the vision?
  6. Have you seen the Nike commercial, “One more”?  What’s yours?
  7. What does a bigger game look like?
  8. What happens when your team performs beyond expectations?
  9. How will you execute to the vision?
  10. What will you do to meld your people into a team?
  11. Who gets to provide input on the vision?
  12. What’s your team’s mission statement?
  13. What does it look like when you are at peak performance?
  14. What’s your first step?
  15. What’s your first step to change you?
  16. What needs to change in you to lead like this?
  17. What’s holding your changes back?
  18. How did you feel when you first thought of this possibility?
  19. What excites you most about becoming a high performance team?
  20. What makes this important to you right here, right now?
  21. What’s the core difference between now and what you are creating?

Whether corporate or an entrepreneurial team, creating a high performance may be a real goal.  How will you coach higher performance?  Please share questions that come to your mind.

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Creating Your Company’s Future

Coaching for successionNearly every hard-driving leader I’ve ever met has picked a singular goal for themselves.  You want to get product out the door; you want to have a smooth production system; you want to create a business that stands the model on its head. You want to make your mark.

What if you picked the wrong goal?  Making your mark is not what you do during your lifetime or even your business career.  What happens to your drive if you say:

My job is to build bench strength.  I need more people ready to step up and fill leadership roles.  This is what Jack Welch and G.E. did for leadership in the 80’s.  Google is arguably doing the same with their business model.

My job is to find my successor.  When your work is to create the possibilities for the next generation, what you are doing for the business on any given day takes a back seat.  Your job isn’t about product; it’s about people.  It isn’t about today; it’s about tomorrow.

My job is coaching tomorrow’s leader.  You can’t tell your future leaders what to do.  You can only prepare them.  You can coach and mentor as a way to support them is seeing their capacity.

Which goal do you prefer: today’s or tomorrow’s?

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Feed Your Head: Dessert Blogs

iStock_000004588562SmallReading is a great way to open your mind to new alternatives.  Once you find a new thought, it becomes a force too powerful to ignore.  I will admit, however, that deliberately looking for new insights can just seem boring some days.  You need to have a few serendipitous pleasures along the way. Have yourself a group of blogs you call your dessert blogs.  You read these as a reward.  And sometimes, they will spark a wonderful thought.  This is Part Five of the Series called “Feed Your Head.”

Part 1 is on finding and subscribing to blogs.

Part 2 is about those blogs that whet your appetite.

Part 3 is about leadership blogs.

Part 4 reviews several outstanding coaching blogs.

Here are my dessert blogs.

Mental Floss.  Little more needs to be said about Mental Floss than its own description as “Random, Interesting, Amazing Facts – Fun Quizzes and Trivia.” If you are like me, there are times during the day you want a quick break, a chance to laugh or puzzle over anything besides work.  I love a two-minute break flossing my mind and am ready to dig back into my key activities.

Dilbert.  No morning is complete without a visit with Scott Adams’ cartoon Dilbert. While Dilbert may not make you laugh, you can find a cartoon or two to add to your inbox to start the day right.  Just Google the cartoon name and you find the opportunity to subscribe.  Frankly, a well-written cartoon puts my inbox into perspective.  I look forward to opening my mailbox in the morning and discovering the Dilbert sense of reality that makes me smile.

Dilbert 8-19-2013

PostSecret.  PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. While this sounds a little like being a Peeping Tom, it’s not.  You’ll find that by reading these postcards once a week that you are not so different after all.

The Homesick Texan. The Homesick Texan left the state around 2005 and discovered that she missed the unique recipes and foods from her childhood.  This blog is her attempt to share those recipes and create some new ones.  When I moved to Texas, my sense of curious adventure pushes me to make some of these foods and her blog has been incredibly helpful.  You can find recipes ranging from Chocolate Cherry Scones (like Central Market makes!) to Carnitas and Hoe Cakes. I challenge you to try out at least one recipe from The Homesick Texan.

One of the great things about reading blog articles is that you get to pick and choose.  Try one, two, or as many as you can read.  Try them out.  If you don’t like one, simply unsubscribe and find another.  Can’t find the time to read much today?  Well then just delete a few and start over tomorrow.

I’ve heard from several people that they have started reading more and really love what they find.  Try it! It just might change your life.

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Seven Tips to Stealth Branding Your Coaching Culture

Minolta DSCStart with an assumption:  you want more coaching in your company. Maybe you are just getting started and want to do more than hang on until “coaching” catches on.  Maybe you want to find those pockets of resistance.  Maybe you are tired of the snickers and snide comments from unbelievers who haven’t bothered to discover what coaching has to offer.  Now is the time to do some stealth branding.

Follow with a confession: I am not a marketer and I certainly can’t teach anyone about branding.  However, I do know branding when I see it.  Branding is what sets you apart.  It’s your difference; your uniqueness.  Now is the time to start introducing (by stealth) some branding elements to introducing a bit of change in the culture.

Here are seven easy ideas to start changing your culture.  They are small ideas that when consistently pressed, will get people talking and thinking differently.

1. Change the language.  Start to introduce some coaching language into the company. As the language shifts, the thought patterns tend to shift as well.

When someone comes to you and asks for help, reply by asking, “How can I support you?” The shift from help to support introduces independence rather than dependence.

Descriptive words and phrase will come to you as you get started.  Maybe a phrase jumps out at you from a coaching book or a class.  Claim it, own it, and use it religiously.

2. Answer with questions rather than statements (thoughtful questions prompt better thoughts and promote independence).  What have you done so far? What gets you excellence?  What’s stopping you?  What’s your breakthrough idea?

3. Work from a model.  When setting a goal, set a SMART goal.  Push others to do the same.  Broader coaching models work well for problem solving situations.  Sir James Whitmore in Coaching for Performance introduces the GROW model (goal, reality, options, will).  At Ultimate coach University, we teach a model called CDDC (connect, discover, design, commit).

4. Tell your Story. As anyone in sales will tell, you, “facts tell, stories sell.”  Use your personal narrative to show your results.  You can give more vivid details about your life than anything else.

5. Find a metric. Discover the one thing that your coaching seems to influence and measure it.  Retention? (HINT: retention is almost always improved.)  Personal performance? Team building? Manager development? Sales? Recruiting?

6. Gather love hugs. As you coaching and use coaching in your other activities, your team will start to appreciate your effort. They will share their hugs. You can share them, too. Put them on your white board.  Add them to the bottom of your newsletter.  Ask them to say something in public. Love hugs are the start of gaining momentum.  Let the MO flow!

7. Shrug away resistance. You know you have a great idea. Would you want to be ignored or resisted? What are you worried about? When the resistance starts to show, just smile cryptically and go about your business.  Your detractors will be curious and their curiosity will lead them into the change.

What do you think?  Are their simplere ideas that come to mind?  Please share.

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Feed Your Head: Coaching Blogs

AppetizerIf all you ever ate was chicken and rice, my guess is that you would get very bored with your diet very quickly.  The same is true for what you read. Pick the two or three main topics you want to more knowledge in and read those areas. In this, Part Four of the Feed Your Head series, you will hear about several outstanding coaching blogs.  The last piece in this series, Part 3 is about leadership blogs.  Part 2 is about those blogs that whet your appetite.  Part 1 is on finding and subscribing to blogs.

A Daring Adventure.  Tim Brownson’s blog, A Daring Adventure is the best coaching blog available in my mind.  He covers topics from goal setting to failure to what’s right and wrong with NLP and other approaches.  He is also very, very funny.  He has a blog, a newsletter, and several free e-books.  If you like what you find, you can also join his Google+ group.

School of Coaching Mastery.  Julie Stewart’s blog covers all of the important bases for coaches.  Julie is a Master Coach through the International Association of Coach.  Her goal is to support coaches in building a business and becoming great coaches as part of the process. She does a great job of incorporating current research on the coaching business and you will see references to the ICF, IAC, and Sherpa Coaching. Her thought pieces like the blog on Top Ten Reasons You Need a Coach are must read idea generators for new coaches.

ICF Blog.  The International Coach Federation has made a strong commitment to their blog and it is showing in the quality of the entries. http://coachfederation.org/blog has entries from top coaches from around the world who are writing about everything from transformational coaching to LinkedIn to develop strong core coaching habits.

IAC Voice. Most coaching blogs have a commitment to helping their readers see the difference between coaching and great coaching.  The ICF and the IAC do that by looking at coaching skills as pieces of core coaching competencies.  The International Association of Coaching Voice does an unparalleled job of clarifying, exploring, and developing the essence of a strong core competency.

The Success Alliance. Karyn Greenstreet has been working with Mastermind Groups since 1994.  She writes about Mastermind topics ranging from the big issues like getting started to the management ones like fees and confidentiality.  You’ll also read occasionally about how to deal with the crazies that can pop up. If you want to get started with a Mastermind, the Success Alliance is for you.

Coach the Life Coach. Tim Brownson has added coach training to his offerings.  As a result, he has added a second blog call Coach the Life Coach. While this blog is too new to evaluate, it holds great promise as a place for new coaches to understand what they need to do to find and keep clients.

Try them out. The worst you could do is decide they are not for you and then you can unsubscribe.  On the other hand, they may just change your life.

Part 5 is coming soon. Every meal needs a desert.  Some blogs are just for fun!

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Enrollment is Open for UCU Fall Launch Workshop

On September 17, Ultimate Coach University opens its door for the next cohort of coaches at its Launch Workshop.  Here are a few things past students have said:

Why should you consider coming? If any of these reasons for attending apply to you, please join us.

IMG_0613You want to see “coaching training” up close to see if it fits your vision. You’ve seen trainers and you’ve seen consultants, and something seems to be missing.  Maybe coaching is it.

Mike Least at Coach SchoolYou are a coach and want more formal training so you can play a bigger game.

You get pumped beyond belief by supporting others to play full-out.

You are looking for the pieces of getting your International Coach Federation credential.

You want to succeed. You want your team to succeed. And you know that with the right type of support you can improve your ability to inspire and hold others accountable for accomplishing significant achievements.

IMG_1021Let’s face it; we all have experienced coaching and have seen coaching in action.  Have you ever thought about understanding coaching without the pressure of results? That’s what the UCU Launch workshop in September offers. Three days to understand coaching.

  • Day One is about thinking like a coach.
  • Day Two is about acting like a coach.
  • Day Three is about being a coach.

When you attend the three day Launch from September 17-19 in Dallas, Texas, you receive:

  • Online DiSC profile to assess your communication style
  • Experience as a coach and as a client (your first three sessions)
  • Your UCU Resource Workbook
  • Online Time Mastery profile and self-coaching application
  • Your copy of Coaching for Performance by Sir John Whitmore.
  • Your copy of StandOut by Marcus Buckingham.
  • New Client Welcome Forms
  • Sample Coaching Agreements
  • Small student/faculty ratio for personal attention
  • Student rates on coaching tools

Cupid Shuffle 2Want to talk about how this might just be what you are looking for?  Email dana@ultimatecoachuniversity.com for more details or a personal conversation about how UCU may be for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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