”The best way to predict your future is to create it”
~ Peter F. Drucker ~
Samantha was ready to move up. But she was pretty much at a dead end at her current job. She knew she needed more executive job training before she’d be ready for a profitable transition to another company, but as a single mom, she couldn’t afford to pay for it. Her current job wouldn’t cover it. The executive training had to be free.
“I knew I needed to think and act like an executive before I’d ever have the chance to be in that position,” Samantha said. “I was close. But not there yet. I came up with 4 free sources for executive job training.”
1. Observation. ”It cost me nothing to observe other leaders,” Samantha said. ”I looked for executives within my current company—ones I liked and admired.” She made a conscious effort to watch their management style. She took notes on how they presented ideas, how they listened to responses, and interacted with team members. ”I not only listened to what they said, I watched how they acted, how they moved.” She paid attention to details. ”I even listened to their voice inflection and watched other’s reactions.”
2. Books. Samantha started with the free books at the public library. Those books she found especially valuable she bought so she could underline them, cross reference, and add them to her library. “There are a lot of books on job training and executive leadership,” Samantha said. “And they vary widely in quality.” Samantha spent some time on Amazon and other sources reading the reviews. While they were not always accurate, she found them generally helpful in choosing the best books for her.
3. Online Sources. While the quality also varies with web sources, Samantha found plenty of free executive job training there. Some sites offered free white papers on different aspects of leadership. She found blogs, articles, websites and business leadership books that delivered meaningful content. “I downloaded every piece of free training I could find,” Samantha said. “Some coaches and trainers are very generous with their information. It was like getting an MBA.”
4. Study Leaders. “I decided that my leadership style was like Meg Whitman’s—or I wanted it to be like hers,” Samantha said. She felt her personality traits and the way she liked to lead dovetailed into the way Meg was currently leading. So she did an in-depth study of Meg. “I watched her on YouTube. I read every article I could find on her. Then I “put on” her leadership style. I stepped up to a more direct approach. I realized I can be pleasant and still be insightful, deliberate, and exacting.”
Samantha was surprised at how completely her free executive job training paid off! “First co-workers started coming to me for advice and problem solving. Then the management actually created a new position and moved me into it.” Samantha realized that executive training requires work and application whether the training is free or paid.
But in this case, Samantha’s efforts paid off very well.
If you are looking for free training for your executive goals, be sure to visit Joel’s website and access the leadership articles and information there.
Talkback: Have you find great free sources for executive job training? Tell us about them.
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How Can I get the Skills I Learn from Executive Coaching to Stick? How can I get that training to actually become part of me?
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it”
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower ~
Q: Jamie asks: I read lots of material on how to improve in organization, skill level, and leadership. I work at it for a few days. Then I find myself going back to my old way of doing things. How can I actually change myself permanently?
A: Coach Joel Answers: You ask a great question, Jamie. This is the secret to success in all walks of life: Knowing how to take information and apply it in your life.
One technique is to take your Executive Coaching and train like an athlete. Athletes take their training seriously. As you think of yourself as an “Executive Athlete,” you may be motivated to stick to your plan.
1. Think about it daily. Athletes make training a priority. They think about it and plan time to practice their skill every day. Calendar your training. What can you do today to exercise your skills and train you to build the habits you want?
2. Make a commitment to train. You already know what you need to do. This is a great step forward. You have the desire to change. That, too, is a valuable piece of the pie. Now you need to make the decision to train every day. Like an athlete, you will start small.
Too often, athletes… and executives… find a great skill and think they can master it immediately. They train so vigorously for a few days that they are exhausted by the effort and stop training.
Instead, start at a deliberate, achievable pace. Master one trait and then go on to the next.
3. Hire the best executive coach and follow his training plan. Athletes don’t try to go it alone. Most often great athletes work under skilled coaches. You will find you progress more successfully when you have a coach at your side to help with your training.
An executive coach will keep you on track and make sure you take logical, necessary, and most meaningful steps. They will cheer your progress.
4. Measure your success and improvement. Every great athlete has goals to reach. They measure their progress toward those goals in milliseconds. Measure and celebrate every increment of change you see in yourself.
Set benchmarks and standards. Evaluate your improvement daily, weekly, and monthly. Soon you will see your habits of leadership developing.
5. Challenge yourself to do better. Only you know if your pace is too easy or strenuous. Challenge yourself to become the best executive you can. Use coaching and training to help you reach this goal. Don’t settle for okay. Reach for the best you can be.
6. Take a set-back, learn from it, and move forward. Know there will be setbacks. Athletes get sick or injured and have to regroup and start training again. There will be days you slip. Don’t let one failure stop your training. Get back up, give yourself a break for the moment, and get started again.
7. Reward yourself. You may not earn an Olympic metal, but you can still reward yourself for your success in executive training. You’ve followed your coach. You’ve seen success. Celebrate!
When you take the challenge to change your habits, you’ve started on a new venture. With executive coach training, you join the ranks of professional athletes. You establish goals, training methods, and measure your successes. The end results are habits of leadership that will benefit you and your organization.
To jumpstart your executive coaching and become the executive athlete you want to be, contact Joel.
Talkback: What methods have you used to change knowledge into habits? Let me know.
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“It is within everyone’s grasp to be a CEO.”
~ Martha Stewart ~
Lindsey is frustrated. She’s been with her company for several years now and she feels stuck. She’s not assigned to work on her department’s high visibility projects. Her boss ignores her in staff meetings. She is beginning to lose her edge. She’s considering looking for another position, but the job market is a scary place right now. Is there a way she can turn the job she has into the job she wants?
Lindsey shares her dilemma with some women in other companies and learns that they have used business coaches to help them move ahead at work. She gets some recommendations and starts working with an executive coach of her own. After a couple of coaching sessions, she begins to operate with a brand new business plan.
• Become the CEO of You, Inc.
• Play the role
• Ask for feedback
1. Become the CEO of You, Inc. Before Lindsey can become a CEO, she needs to treat herself like one. This means setting short and long term goals and conducting periodic self-evaluations to see how she’s doing. Her first month’s goal is to get assigned to her department’s next high profile project. She begins by drafting a memo to her boss outlining her past accomplishments and skills she knows are relevant to the project.
Acting like a CEO also means creating her own personal brand, an executive presence that shows off her unique skills and her contributions to the company’s success. Lindsey wants to be seen as someone who is both assertive and creative. She starts coming to staff meetings with notes on at least one important contribution she can make to the discussion.
2. Play the role. Writing in Business Leader, Thomas Walken says: “Women managers in traditional male organizations learn the good ol’ boy rules, but rely on their own strengths to become leaders. Taking risks, curbing maternal over-responsibility, and developing flexibility and confidence prevent derailment on the way to top CEO positions.”
In other words, executive presence doesn’t just happen. It must be designed, rehearsed, and constantly cultivated. Lindsey’s coach, who specializes in helping women move ahead in the workplace, recommends that she write down her negative feelings and beliefs about her current job situation. She can then find ways to flip those feelings into positive statements. For example, “My boss ignores me in staff meetings” could become “My performance gives my boss reasons to trust me and recognize my contributions.” Internalizing these positive statements helps Lindsey feel more confident in meetings and interactions with top managers.
3. Ask for feedback. One of the best ways to find out how you’re doing is to ask. Women in business sometimes have a difficult time speaking up for themselves for fear of appearing too aggressive. Thus the perception others have of them doesn’t fit with their true value. Lindsey’s coach suggests that she track her progress by getting feedback from a number of sources. She asks friends and family how they perceive her. After staff meetings, she asks a trusted colleague to evaluate her performance. And she keeps a file of positive comments she receives from clients and co-workers.
Three months after she started working with her coach, Lindsey’s whole world has started to change. She sees herself and her job differently, and now her boss and others in positions of authority perceive her differently as well.
Business coaching for women works. Email Joel today to discuss the possibilities or call him at 510-339-3201.
Talkback: Are you feeling overlooked or ignored at work? Having trouble speaking up for yourself? Have you tried some techniques that helped you get noticed? Share your story here.
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~ Stephen R. Covey ~
Client Rebecca Asks: I’m fairly new here and my company seems to rank pretty low on the trust scale. I want to create a more open, trusting environment where my people feel free to share and grow. How can I use your executive coaching tools to work around my corporate culture without making waves?
Coach Joel Answers: Executive coaching and the work we do together can give you the tools you need create the environment you want, regardless of your company’s philosophy or operating style. So let’s talk about what trust actually looks like and the tools you can use to build it within your own team. Here are four key trust factors that I’d recommend putting at the top of your list:
- Be consistent
- Show respect
- Create transparency
- Have their back
1. Be consistent. Why is consistency important? Sometimes people associate consistency with someone who’s a plodder, boring or lacking initiative. I see it differently in the corporate environment. When you’re trying to build trust, it’s letting people know where you’re coming from, reassuring them that you’re not going to change your mind about key issues and assignments without warning. Your people will produce their best work when they know you’re giving them guidance without restricting their initiative or creativity. .
2. Show respect. A lot of managers, especially those who are relatively new on the job, are anxious to get the respect of their team. But you have to give before you get. There are many small ways you can show respect for your people. Ask their opinion about projects and work assignments. Show respect for their time. Start and end meetings on time. Keep appointments and don’t cancel at the last minute unless it’s an emergency. Respond promptly to their emails and phone calls.
3. Create transparency. In a lot of companies where the overall trust level is low, people feel left out of the process. You can start to reverse this trend by being open and honest about decisions. Open communication is a powerful tool. Don’t just tell people when a decision has been made; show them what’s behind it. Share the big picture so people know about company as well as departmental goals and objectives. Unless facts and figures are confidential, share them with your people on a regular basis. Above all, avoid having a hidden agenda.
4. Have their back. People need to know that you have their best interests at heart. Make a list of your key people and, at least once a week, ask them how things are going. Then really listen to their answers and engage in a dialog. Speak up for your people in meetings. Be their advocate. Give public credit for good ideas within your department and promote their ideas to company leaders whenever you can.
An environment without trust is an environment with poor motivation, low productivity, and high turnover. By using these four coaching tools, you can build a strong team and create a workplace where your people feel valued and challenged to do their best.
Is your workplace missing the all-important trust factor? To jump-start your own action plan, begin creating these 4 steps immediately. If you have any questions, please email Joel at email@example.com.
Talkback: What have you done to build trust in your work group? What advice would you give someone whose company environment was low on the trust scale? Share your ideas here.
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Brian Asks: I’ve positioned myself into a number of opportunities which can raise my visibility with my firm’s leaders, but now I’m in the position of having to execute on that work while also maintaining my pipeline of new projects and my actual day job. How do I best handle this type of situation?
Joel Answers: As an executive coach and career coach, this question comes up often with my coaching clients. Following my advice, they seek out projects that will increase their visibility only to find that they suddenly have too much work to do! Don’t worry—the answer doesn’t involve working an extra 20 hours per week. Here are the three steps you should take to ensure that you can complete your highly visible projects without neglecting the rest of your work.
Step 1: Make the high-visibility projects your #1 priority. These are the projects that will lead to more and better opportunities in the organization. They are your keys to advancement and greater influence in the company. Put them first.
Step 2: Delegate as much as possible. Through careful delegation to your subordinates and team members, you can clear part of your workload while providing them with an increased sense of empowerment and responsibility. Don’t just dump a bunch of busy work on them. Give them real projects that they know are important. Some of them may be looking to advance to the next level as well, and they’ll jump at the chance to prove that they’re ready to handle your job once you get promoted.
Step 3: Prioritize what’s left. Once you have delegated as much as possible and blocked off the time you’ll need to complete your high-visibility projects, determine how much time you’ll have to do the rest of your work. Create a list of what’s left and prioritize it so that you’ll be able to see what you need to focus on.
You might also want to consider executive coaching to help you advance in your career. A coach can help you look at things from a different perspective so you can see exactly what steps you need to take to stand out, get noticed, and get ahead at work.
Find out how an executive coach can help you get ahead in your career by taking Joel’s free coaching assessments. You’ll get a personalized response with tips and suggestions specific to your situation.
Talkback: Have you had to balance your current responsibilities with additional projects that could get you noticed by company leaders? How did you do manage it? Leave your feedback in the comments, or ask a question for a future Q&A with Joel.