Posts Taged assisting-a-client

Raising Your IQ? Possible?

 

For most of us, the inner workings of our brain are like the insides of a black box.  We know there is something going on there but don’t really understand it.  With the advent of modern research techniques and some new theories of physiology, the brain is not completely a black box to everyone.

Eric Kandel received the Nobel Prize in 2000 for his work his research on the physiological basis of memory storage.  The more we come to understand how the brain works, the more the possibilities grow that we can learn, relearn, and grow our IQ.

Kandel is now in his 80’s and just published a book titled, The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present.

While I’m not sure I will ever understand much of what he writes, his interviews are a patient and incredibly clear explanation of some core concepts in his mind.  As a coach, insights like those of Eric Kandel let us raise the standard of what we do even higher.  Take a few minutes and consider the possibility of becoming smarter and what the implication for this are for your business and your life.

If you are unable to view the video, click here to go to the website. http://bigthink.com/big-think-tv/the-human-brain-in-the-age-of-insight-eric-kandel-live-on-big-think

Read More

How Coaching Creates the AHA! Moments

We really don’t “know” how the brain works.  We just have theories.  One of the newest theories explains the AHA! process very well.  To understand it, however, we need to go back a few years.

The brain theory we know the best goes back to Roger Sperry’s theory of a two-sided brain.  He won a Nobel Prize in 1981 for his idea that the right side brain is creative and intuitive while the left side brain is analytical and rational. We understand the theory and can visualize the distinction.  So if we want to get creative and brainstorm, we let lose the whole brain and think we are getting ideas to bounce around inside our skull.

The big year for a model change was 1998 and the theory of intelligent memory.  Eric Kandel won a Nobel Prize for his theory in which analysis and intuition work together.  The theory is about learning and recall in various combinations throughout the brain.

Barry Gordon explains the newer model for the nonscientists in his book, Intelligent Memory: Improve the Memory that Makes You Smarter.  Basically, human memory is like an inventory system.  You take in thoughts, break them down, and put the components on the shelves.  When new experience arrive, your brain searches through the shelves to find how the new fits with the old.

  • When your mind matches things up, the result is a thought.
  • When your mind breaks things down and stores them, this is analysis.
  • As your brain searches and combines data with links, stories, images, and so on, this is intuition.

When different pieces come together, you get the famous AHA! moment. That’s why we can say things like, “I knew that” because we have these components that we have just put together into a new conclusion.

Coaching creates these AHA moments by asking the intuitive questions; by allowing the clients to pick and choose among all of the pieces on the memory shelves and combine them in ways to match new scenarios.  Cool, heh?

Like prior theories, this is a theory and it will probably be replaced someday.  Until then, you might want to buy Barry Gordon’s book and figure out how to help your clients find more of these unique growth points.

Read More

Coaching a Client on Building a Success Team

A Success TeamAs I coach solo entrepreneurs in their business, one common topic that comes up is the one of assistants and virtual assistants.  Coaching clients on this topic usually revolves around five key areas.

1. What can you do and what is it worth? If the most you can earn from doing the most lucrative things in your business is $50 an hour, then you can’t hire anyone for more than that for anything.  You’d lose money. For example, ABC Widgets will pay you $50 an hour as a creative designer.  There is nothing in your skill set that will let you earn a higher wage.  If you pay Susan Doe $50 an hour to answer the phone and do office work while you are out designing, then you don’t make any money.

2. What can you hire someone to do?  Frankly, you can pay someone to do just about anything.  You just have to decide what it is you don’t want to do.

3. What criteria will you use to determine the roles that you need filled?  Just because you can hire somebody doesn’t mean you should.  Some tasks may be eliminated or saved for your down time.  You may also be able to find hidden talents with people who you already know.  Once, for example, I had an office manager who was very competent at her job.  And then I discovered she could also take dictation at meetings.  The dictation could be added into her description much cheaper than it could be outsourced.

4. How will you earn while your employees are costing you money?  Usually you want to hire someone to do the jobs that you don’t want to do.  However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you get a vacation. Make sure that you can work enough extra to cover the cost of your new hires.

5. Who will you get to improve your game?  Your success team is more than the people you can hire to do the current jobs.  One key member of your success team is a mentor or a coach that is going to support you in improving your business.  While I’ve left it for last in this list, you might want to consider finding this person first.  They will support you in answering the other questions better than you can do on your own.

What other topics pop up on your agenda for building a success team?

Read More

Coaching insight: The map is not the territory

iStock_000019326792SmallIn 1931, Alfred Korzybski, a Polish-American philosopher and scientist, used the phrase, “the map is not the territory” to draw a key distinction between reality and our thoughts about reality.  It’s a very rich metaphor because there are so many ways to think about it and extend it.  You tend to create problems when you lose the distinction.

When you look at a map, you know it represents the territory.

What about your thoughts?  Your map may say that all Democrats are spenders and all Republicans are tightwads.  And think about your life.  The destination says “winner” but the route seems a little fuzzy at times.  In one sense, coaches operate within that metaphor as they coach.   Here are a few possibilities:

Clients want to reroute their map.  I have a client who joined a company ten years ago.  He was in the right spot at the right time and quickly moved from the production floor to management and is still going.  He’s added three children and life got very settled and busy.  Now he thinks he’s gone as far as he will with this company and it’s not what he wants for the rest of his life.  His dream of being the “thought hub” had turned into a comfortable existence.  The dream hasn’t changed, but he’s now in the process of finding a new route.

Clients think their map is real.  Whenever a client says, “That’s just the way I am” they are thinking that their map is real.  Fascinating comparisons show up when they compare their map to those around them.

Clients want to enjoy the scenic route.  Ever had a client think the express lane was going to burn out their engine?  If the journey no longer is fun, then the client wants to slow down and enjoy the moment.

What about you?  How well does your map match the territory?

Read More

Unconscious Communication as a Basis for Coaching

Have you ever watched a leader walk into a room and see the interpersonal dynamics change around them?  The flow of the chatter changes.  The topics change.  And people start to look to the leader for approval.  The conversation may even shift to the point that the leader becomes responsible for determining turn taking and who gets to talk next.  The charismatic behaviors of the leader subtly influence their surroundings.  It’s not something the leader tries to do; it just happens.  There is an unconscious shift in the communication patterns.

Alex Pentland from MIT refers to these patterns as honest signals in his book, Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World. They are the nonverbal cues that are so deeply embedded that we have extreme difficulty faking them.  He and his associates spent years studying these signals and developed the technology to measure them.  As coaches, an awareness of our client’s unconscious communication can be fruitful coaching territority.

First, as coaches, we can pay more attention to honest signals.  We can’t really cheat with our nonverbal signals.  In fact, Pentland conducted a number of experiments where people tried to change and they were generally failures.  Think of it this way.  You are walking with a friend and having a very interesting conversation.  Suddenly, your friend starts skipping while talking.  It looks like fun to you so you try skipping and talking, too.  Doesn’t work.  You are thinking so hard about skipping that that you can’t talk straight.  As coaches, we have the opportunity to become conscious of the honest signals from our clients.  Start noticing when there is an extra-long pause or maybe a sigh just before they say, “It’s been an adventurous week.”

Second, we can support our clients as they improve their self-monitoring.  Much of my coaching with executives centers on their awareness of how they appear to others.  I ask them to think about the honest signals that they are providing to others.  As that awareness grows, the clients also grow in their ability to adapt their activities.

Third, we can support our clients as they learn new honest signals.  Have you ever noticed how sales people always are nodding?  It’s an honest signal.  And it’s learned.  Alex Pentland says that we can learn new honest signals by role playing.  In one sense, we do that a lot as coaches.  We ask our clients to try on new behaviors and do different things.  I use the DiSC profile with most of my clients.  Imagine the conversation where I am coaching a “D” style who likes to address issues quickly, directly, and decisively and I ask him how he might approach the situation as an “S” who wants everyone comfortable with their surroundings and changing policies.  Once we understand the role, we can honestly play it.

If you have an opportunity to read Pentland’s book, I recommend it.  Most treatments of nonverbal communication treat it as something that can be easily dissected and manipulated.  David Pentland recognizes the subtleties of our unconscious behaviors and the resultant honesty in our communication.  As coaches, we also have an opportunity to work on our honest signals.

Read More