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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“I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities.”
~Bob Nardelli, former CEO, Home Depot.~
Elizabeth asks: How can I tell if I need a life coach, a personal coach, or an executive coach? Is there a difference?
Joel answers: The kind of coach you need depends on the area in your life you want to focus on. As I explain the differences between life, personal and executive coaches, you’ll see what I mean.
- Executive coaching focuses on helping the person achieve more at work. It may deal with peer relationships or communication. It might help the worker advance in his or her career or understand how to add value to the company.
For example, Nathan felt like he was ready to take on more responsibility at work, but felt “stuck.” He had always avoided what he called “office politics” and just did his job. He didn’t know how to position himself to get promoted.
When Nathan hired an executive coach, the coach helped Nathan to verbalize his goals. Together they set up a strategy so Nathan could broaden his visibility and increase his influence.
He looked for places he could add value to the company and was soon in line for a promotion.
Executive coaching is about personal discovery, goal setting, planning, and achieving. This benefits both the individual and the organization.
- Life coaching views the person as a whole. It includes work and may cover stress and overworking, but it also covers family and personal goals.
The goals set for a person working with a life coach may be internal- feeling better, better relationships or dealing with bad habits.
Karen was shouldering all the responsibility of caring for her elderly parents. While there were other siblings close by, they chose to let Karen handle it all since she worked from home and could be “flexible.”
Karen chose a life coach to help her balance her work and family responsibilities and also deal with the emotional burden of resentment toward her siblings.
The life coach helped Karen see options and choices. Through her support, Karen was able to call a meeting with the siblings, establish responsibilities, and share her burden.
- Personal coaching is much the same as life coaching. While the goals of an executive coach are specific, measurable, and focused on improvement and success in the work environment, personal coaching is based on empathy.
It is more reflective, allowing for introspection and for the person to grow in self-understanding. Personal coaches can be used as a sounding board and a cheering section.
However, some personal coaches also work with clients on their business, financial, or spiritual concerns.
As you examine your primary goal you’ll be able to determine the kind of coach you need. If you are looking for measurable action to conquer work challenges, choose an executive coach. If you have personal, family, or life concerns with internal or less measurable goals, you may find a personal or life coach will support your needs better.
To learn more about executive coaching and see if this is a good fit for your concern, contact Joel and he’ll be happy to talk to you about it.
Talkback: How have different coaches helped you resolve your concerns? Which kind of coaching has been most effective for you?
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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. Contact 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 contact Joel.
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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“You don’t lead by pointing a finger and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.”
~ Ken Kesey ~
Sometimes you feel like your mid- and upper- level management are not on board with your views of the company. They lack the “buy in” you expect. Perhaps they aren’t accountable with their time or they spend company money not in keeping with company goals.
Here are three steps to coach your business leaders so they understand and commit to the company in ways that builds success.
1. Vent your frustrations. Not at the management, but on paper or with someone else in the company whose opinion you value. As you consider the weak points, create a policy that will bring the management more in line with your vision.
For example: You are not happy that vice president went on vacation for three weeks and turned off his blackberry. You think a person in that position needs to be accessible—at least on a limited bases—wherever they are. So you develop the principle you want your management to understand and live by. Perhaps you say: management needs to be available for critical contact by phone or email no matter where they are.
Recognize that your management doesn’t get it because they aren’t wired to think this way. They don’t own it. It’s not their money; it’s not their dollar. There’s a disconnect and it’s your responsibility to help them see your vision.
2. Insure your management understands and buys into the principles. Good business leadership coaching does not thrust principles on management and expect eager compliance. You want them to understand and opt in, if possible.
Sometimes it starts with asking your key people questions such as: Where have we failed you in not having you understand the importance of accountability, ownership, and urgency? What can we do now to help you be held accountable for these three things?
Call a seminar or half day event to have your management brainstorm what they can do to build more urgency, ownership and responsibility into their thoughts and actions.
Discuss what those words mean. Ideally, you want your people to drive the meeting and come up with ideas similar to those you created. You may have to correct issues and pull out the points vital to you. But the more they can come up with on their own, the more they own the principles. Your goal is to take these intangibles and quantify or systematize them.
First help them understand the concept. Ask: What does urgency mean to you? What does ownership at your level of the company look like? Then seek to systematize or quantify it: Does urgency mean that your people will work on the project with the greatest priority first? Make that a principle. Does ownership mean that people run expenses through a series of questions such as: does this give value to the company? Would the CEO spend money this way?
3. Review and measure performance. Once you get these values quantified and measured, you can hold your people accountable. Make their performance, evaluation, and bonus based in part on these three things. Maybe once a month as you make time for direct reports, you sit down and spend 20% of the time getting updates on how they are measuring up to these principles.
Then, throughout the year these concepts are getting reinforced.
Business leadership coaching helps your team come up with the principles you value. You help them to learn to think differently. You want your top level management to feel ownership in the company and accept responsibility. Then you will have outstanding management who will act with the same urgency and diligence as the CEO.
Joel Garfinkle guides CEO’s and upper level management to become more productive through business leadership coaching. He finds the solutions for your problems. Contact Joel now to learn how he can build your team to new levels. Or check out his newest book Getting Ahead.
Talkback: What are some of the things that frustrate you about your management? How have you had success in helping your team accept ownership and responsibility?
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