My coaching client, let’s call him Terry, was frustrated. Like many people, he valued harmony, and to achieve it he often didn’t speak up but when things didn’t go the way he thought they should. But, despite his best efforts, his frustration would often leak out, derailing his plans.
Harmony, I explained, takes work. It requires awareness of your own needs, wants, and beliefs as well as being curious about the needs, wants, and beliefs of others. With this awareness, you can communicate assertively to reach collaboration. In short, you must lean into difference rather than avoid it and pretend it doesn’t exist.
In this post, I share a framework that can help you have more harmony in your work and personal life.
A need, like food, water, clothing, and shelter, is a must-have. If a need is not met, we will consciously or unconsciously behave in ways to fulfill our needs. Beyond the physiological needs, Abraham Maslow...
Mentoring has a triple benefit. It benefits the mentor, the mentee, and the organization, so it is not surprising that people and culture, or human resource, departments are keen to set up mentoring programs. Why then do many mentoring programs fail, and what are the pitfalls?
The idea of mentoring can be traced back 3000-years to Homer's Odyssey. In this Ancient Greek epic poem, Odysseus entrusts his young son Telemachus to the care of a mentor, when he goes off to fight in the Trojan War. This history is likely the reason for the stereotype of the older, successful, man mentoring a young ambitious one. It also highlights the current need for those women, who have successfully navigated to the top, to mentor a new generation of women leaders.
In a modern and business context, mentoring can be defined as a developmental partnership between a Mentor, a leader with expertise in one or more areas, and a Mentee, an individual seeking learning and growth in these...
It often starts with a phone call or a message. Suddenly the world is different, and you must reorient yourself, or be overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness.
Whatever the bad news, financial, relationship, reputation, or health, with the application of self-leadership we can apply strategies. Self-leadership strategies to intentionally influence our thinking, feeling, and actions. To once more become the ‘Captain of our Ship’, or the ‘Master of our Soul’.
Four weeks ago, I visited my family doctor, and as I’m just turning 60, I asked proactively for a full health screen. I did this because I knew it was the right thing to do, given my age and family history, not because I was experiencing any symptoms, quite the reverse in fact. My frame of mind was, therefore, “this is one more thing to check off the list”.
Then the phone call came, and my world changed.
“Andrew, this is Dr. Seah, your blood shows a Cancer...
Nathan, my coaching client, was asking how to deal with a monthly meeting that frustrated him.
“Have I told you about, Kenneth?” He asked and then went on to explain how Kenneth would throw verbal jabs like, “Your department loves to create procedures”.
I listened carefully about how Nathan had become triggered by Kenneth’s words and actions and explored why and how Nathan chose to be triggered.
As we peeled back the layers, it became clear that Nathan was frustrated by Kenneth’s tactical approach in a meeting that was supposed to be strategic.
“Do you think Kenneth is capable of being strategic, or is he just acting from his programming?” I asked.
Now to understand why I asked this question, and its impact, you need to appreciate my self-leadership approach to coaching. Neuroscience and Psychology have concluded that we do not have as much free will as we think we have. Many of our decisions and actions are...
When creating change, whether personally or within an organization, you will encounter resistance. People will tell you they are on board with the new vision but then engage in behaviors that sabotage objectives.
The first key to creating change is to acknowledge that every behavior has a ‘frame of mind’, constructed of values, beliefs, identity, and intentions. This frame of mind can be conscious or unconscious but will act like a gyroscope, always bringing your behaviors back towards a programmed destination.
Let’s take an example of creating change that most of us are familiar with – dieting to lose weight. We have a vision of ourselves fitter or thinner, and we set a goal to lose X number of kilos by Y date; but what do we do? We cheat, we make exceptions and before long we are eating as we have always done.
Why do we default? Because our eating behavior, like all our behaviors, is controlled by a frame of mind. What are some common frames...
Choosing an Executive Coach for yourself can be a little confusing, to say the least. Your Executive Coach is going to be your confidant and you will need to open up to get the best from the relationship. So whether you are spending your own money or your organization is providing you with a coach, it’s helpful to have more than just a ‘gut-feel’ to go on.
Most coaches will give you a no-obligation, 30 to 60-minute ‘chemistry’ meeting to assess if there is a fit for both parties. That’s right, an experienced coach may spot you are not committed to the process, or the organization has misaligned expectations and so excuse themselves from the assignment.
I recommend that you meet with at least two coaches but no more than four. Meetings can be face-to-face, by video conference, or by phone. Try and ask each coach the same questions, and take note of the questions they ask you. A good coach is going to get you to step back and think. You will find...
Nigel is sitting in his manager’s office for his annual performance review. It had been a tough year, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic had decimated his plans for Q1 and Q2, but Nigel had put in a superhuman effort and hit targets in Q3. Nigel was expecting nothing but praise for his efforts, so imagine his surprise when he heard the following,
“You have met your Q3 quota, Nigel, but I have some concerns about how you got there”.
All Nigel heard was, “But we have some concerns.”
The word, ‘but’ has the effect of negating everything that proceeds it.
Imagine you and I met, and I said, “I really like you but…”
You would be on the defensive for criticism, even though I prefaced with, “I really like you.”
‘But’; is judgmental and is generally perceived as negative. For example, “I want to do this, but I can’t.”
‘But’ often creates the frame of limited choice. For...
Your annual review or performance conversation can either be an opportunity to advance your career or, feel like a failed parole hearing, condemning you to another year of being stuck in-situ.
This week, I was coaching a Senior Director in charge of Enterprise Strategic Planning. He has an upcoming quarterly performance review and asked me how to prepare. In my experience, coaching hundreds of executives to senior leadership and C-Suite roles, I have noticed that the ‘difference that makes the difference’ is proactivity.
Proactive Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance (PPPPP). Here is the 3-phase strategy I shared with my client so that you too can ace your next review or performance conversation.
Your boss is likely to start the conversation by asking,
“How do you think you have done?”
This opening invites you to show your self-awareness of your achievements, but so many people trip over themselves with this first question....
Conventional wisdom suggests that for career success, you need to show your value by working above and beyond. But is this the full story?
In the opening scene of The Godfather (1972 Francis Ford Coppola. You can watch the clip above), Don Corleone is receiving requests for favors, on the day of his daughter’s wedding. The undertaker asks for revenge against two boys who beat his daughter when she refused their advances. Don Corleone grants the favor, but not before saying,
“Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day accept this justice as a gift on my daughter’s wedding.”
The Godfather movie is a case study of the power of reciprocity for influence. If you are going to give value, know your value, and seek value in return.
I am currently coaching a Senior Vice President, who has her eyes on a C-level promotion. She has made her aspirations known to her organization and is...
What is your leadership style? Does it stay constant, or vary depending on the context and motivation of your employees /team?
Leadership books and leadership blogs are fond of listing leadership traits, but to be an effective leader you need awareness of your default leadership style and behavioral flexibility depending on the context and level of employee motivation. That is going to take some practice.
Before we explore your leadership style, we must address the fact that there are about as many definitions of leadership as there are authors on the topic. This leadership blog is more focused on practice than theory, so a practical definition, from The Social Psychology of Leadership, is:
"Leadership is the process of influencing others in a manner that enhances their contribution to the realization of group goals."
I like this leadership definition because it speaks to a ‘process’ that requires ‘influence’....