Colin's Blog

What Does Great Leadership Coaching Look Like?

business-womanThere are plenty of great leaders throughout history and all over the world. It is usually pretty easy to determine what a great leader looks like, especially after the fact. This is often referred to as Monday Morning Quarterbacking. It references American-style football and that people are quick to second-guess a person running the team, including head coaches, when things don’t go quite the way they expected or hoped.

In the business world, leaders don’t have the benefit or luxury of hindsight. They need to be proactive, focused on the organization’s goals, and dedicated to developing their team members.

In order to assist in maximizing the return on investment for each and every employee as well as department or division within a company, executives will have numerous options available to them. One of those options is known as leadership coaching.

Leadership and executive coaching are quite similar, for the most part, so what does this process look like exactly?

It is going to differ from one person to the next, but overall leadership coaching is essentially (and ideally) a one on one interaction between an experienced coach and any business leader or individual who is being isolated for promotion into a management and upper-level position within the company.

Leadership coaching is respectful. That means the coach is going to respect the executive’s time, position, and current ideology. They are going to work with that individual to help focus on their strengths and, as a result, minimize their weaknesses.

Leadership coaching is patient. There is no need to rush somebody through a process that will have lasting positive repercussions for the rest of their life. It takes time, practice, and failures to make changes and become the type of leader they want to become.

Leadership coaching is dedicated. When the going gets tough, leaders rise above. That doesn’t mean it happens overnight or the first time around. For any executive, manager, or other career minded individual who wants to excel and boost the productivity and prospects of their team, they should consider leadership coaching.

Even the Introverted Can Benefit from Strong, Powerful Executive Coaching

timidIf you’re looking into some type of executive coaching for yourself or somebody in your company, you may have certain concerns about a shy, introverted personality. If you’re looking into this for a potential star rising within your employees and you know that he or she is a modest individual, you might think that executive coaching would not be an ideal situation for them.

But, for some reason this individual may have captured your attention, either because of their incredible knowledge base, great ideas, or just their potential to lead a team, especially during a crisis situation that recently occurred.

If you feel this individual could be the rising star you have been waiting for, executive coaching can certainly help.

How does an executive coaching help the introverted, shy individual?

Experienced coaches can work with just about any personality. That’s because coaches focus on the strengths of an individual rather than their weaknesses. A person who is shy and timid can overcome that through confidence. Confidence is built over a period of time that entails small successes.

When people have small successes and they are highlighted by somebody, like a coach, it draws attention to the positives and the more positive that a person has in their life, the better they’re going to feel.

When you hire an executive coach for this particular individual, you’ll be able to see a transformation from this shy individual to somebody brimming with confidence and powerful leadership abilities. When you can look past the reserved person and see the potential for what it is, an executive coach can help them break away from that shyness and you will have a powerful force working for your company.

Think about Your Employees as Pieces of a Puzzle … and You Wouldn’t Force them to Fit Together: Leadership Coaching Can Solve the Problem

puzzle pieceIf you have ever tried to put together a puzzle in your life, then you know how challenging it can be, especially if it is a 1,000 piece puzzle or more.

When you work on a puzzle the main goal is to put all of those little pieces together to come up with the original picture or design. Eventually you are going to find a number of puzzle pieces that may look as though they should fit into the specific area but no matter which way you turn them, flip them around, or manipulate them they just don’t seem to want to fit. That’s when you know that particular piece is for some other part of the puzzle.

If you go ahead and try to force certain pieces to fit, you may be able to make it work in the short term, but when that puzzle is almost complete you will see not a smooth, refined image but something disjointed and inconsistent.

The same holds true when you’re talking about your employees. If you try to force certain employees to fit into various segments of your organization and they would be best served working in a different area or on a different goal or project, you could end up with a disjointed operation that is inefficient and ineffective.

Leaders often look for the strengths within their team members and assign them to positions that capitalize on those strengths and the most effective manner. They don’t take those team members, give them assignments and then force them to try and fit into those roles.

Managers often do this. Leaders don’t.

Leadership coaching can help solve many of these employee problems by helping you identify strengths, mentor those team members, and find the ideal places for them within the team, organization, or structure. That makes for a much brighter picture and stronger future.

The Million Dollar Secret to Boosting Your Business and How Executive Coaching Can Make It Happen

million dollarRunning a business is about accomplishing goals, finding the right products and the ideal target market. It’s about reaching that target market in the most effective and efficient way possible.

Most small to medium sized business owners have invested a significant amount of money into the company and are always on the lookout for ways (even short cuts), to make things much easier and more profitable.

In truth, they are looking for the seemingly elusive million dollar secret.

Some business owners with experience will readily admit to anyone who asks that there is no actual secret, that it’s a matter of hard work, perseverance, and planning.

While those are critical components of success, there is a secret … and it’s a million dollar secret. What does that mean? Essentially any business, regardless of its size right now, could be generating over a million dollars in gross revenue within three years if they adhere to the fundamentals of this powerful secret.

What’s the secret? Building the right team.

Far too often it’s easy to think of employees as just people there to work for the company, yet that misses out on some incredibly powerful benefits. Employees should be thought of as team members.

Like any professional team, they need to understand the company’s primary goals in order to work their hardest, in order to devote their specific skills and talents toward achieving them.

They must also buy into the mission, or goal. There needs to be a common purpose.

These team members must also be interdependent on one another. No member of the team can be more important than the team as a whole. The star quarterback on a football team may be the best in the league but he must still rely on receivers and other players.

Each team member must be accountable for his or her actions as well as their contributions. If someone is holding the team back, the problem needs to be addressed and, if necessary, even though they may be highly skilled and educated, it may be best for the team to let them go and replace them with someone more team oriented and driven.

Building the right team requires competent and confidence leadership. If you want to take full advantage of this million dollar secret to building the perfect team, hire the best leadership coach to put you on the path toward incredible success!

Getting to Know Your Executive Coach: What to Expect

amount of time your coach will spendNow that you have hired an executive coach, you are anticipating meeting him or her. Depending on the coach you hired, there may be certain expectations.

This coach may have certain requirements of you before the first time you meet. Others may prefer to sit down and have a first session with you before having you prepare.

Here are a few things that you may expect of that first meeting with your executive coach.

1. Sharing personal information. Even though you have hired an executive coach to help you with your professional life, it may be pertinent to this individual to know a little bit about you on a personal level.

Many times, a person’s personality affects their professional life. The more that an executive coach knows about you as a person, the easier it will be for them to help shape the strategies moving forward.

If there is anything you absolutely do not want to discuss or even touch on, let the executive coach know in a professional, and rational manner.

2. Be on time. The executive coach may be coming to your office or talking with you on the phone, but as a busy business professional you likely have meetings and other obligations. Assuming you established a good time to meet with this individual, make sure you are on time.

If you have a meeting, let that person know (or group of people) that you have to leave at a set time, regardless of the discussions going on.

3. Have an idea about what you specifically want to work on. An executive coach is only going to be as effective as his or her student. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. This is an ancient Chinese saying and is relevant to coaching as well.

You are the student in this relationship and you should have a pretty clear idea about where you want to go in the future. Sharing this will help your coach develop strategies that will maximize the chances of you reaching those goals.

Steps to Improvement through Executive Leadership Coaching

steps Executive leadership coaching is designed to help business executives throughout an organization improve and build better teams for their companies. There are numerous steps that these executives will need to take in order to achieve that level of improvement.

Below are some of the steps to consider and that may help you find the optimal coach for your specific needs.

Have a specific purpose in mind.

If you don’t know what purpose you are establishing for leadership coaching, how can you actually achieve any improvement? Sit down and determine why you’re considering executive leadership coaching in the first place.

If you feel that your company has stagnated, that you are having difficulty inspiring people to do more and do better, this could be your purpose. If you are seeking ways to expand your abilities to recognize opportunities in the industry, this might be the purpose for you.

Bringing balance.

Balance is essential for any organization that wishes to not only excel, but to maintain the success that they achieve. Many teams have varying levels of skilled members. Some people may have better skills than others, but that can unbalance the team as a whole.

If some team members feel they are carrying the weight for others, it can have negative repercussions for the entire team. If you want to find ways to bring balance to your team, executive leadership coaching can certainly help.

Learning how to develop goals more effectively.

Establishing goals is one of the most important aspects of long-term success. If your team members don’t know what the goals are, how can they best work together to achieve what you want them to?

Effective leaders are able to communicate their independent short-term and long-term goals to their team members. They also will find ways to inspire all team members to do more and ensure that the company achieves its overall goals in the long run.

Taking some of these steps and focusing on them will provide you a better platform upon which to develop your executive leadership skills. Find the right coach and you can get there.

Yes, Even CEOs Make Common Mistakes, and These Are Some

even ceos make mistakesIt is simplistic to assume that a CEO of any company is going to be immune to making mistakes. After all, when you reach the pinnacle of a company (or build the business from the ground up), other people think that it was all simple and easy for you. They assume you didn’t really have to work all that hard.

They see the success you have now and presume that this is how it was for you all that time.

But it wasn’t. It was hard work, some trial and error, and many late working days and nights. You spent vacation time, holidays, and even birthdays working 10, 12, and sometimes even 16 hours a day at your office, stuck behind the desk trying to make things work.

And you made a lot of mistakes through all of it. Some of the common mistakes that many (not all) CEOs make are:

  • Hiring and firing.
  • Time management.
  • Developing goals.
  • Being in denial.
  • Not giving credit.

Looking at each of these in more detail can provide some important insight into ways that any CEO can improve, and become stronger leaders.

Hiring and firing.

Building the right team members is important to success. Professional sports teams constantly strive to add the best athletes to their roster, but even when they do, it’s not the right chemistry. Focusing on the most education, most experienced, and most ambitious doesn’t always equal success.

It’s important to acknowledge that you may miss on the diamonds in the rough if you only focus on where they went to school, where they worked, or who they worked for.

Time management.

Being able to manage your time is important, whether you’re at an entry level position or the CEO. If you don’t have good time management skills, you can’t expect your team members to do well, either.

Developing goals.

Having clear, concise, and reasonable goals is important. If you don’t make them clear, if they are simply not possible to achieve, then this can negatively impact overall team attitude.

Being in denial.

One of the most common issues some CEOs have is denial. When things are working out right, when technology and innovation is leaving certain processes and methods that the company still use in the past, it can have a powerful negative impact on the company.

It’s important to be open minded and pay attention to the details moving into the future.

Not giving credit.

A CEO who takes credit for every success and then blames everyone else for failures is going to be burning bridges in the process. Make sure you acknowledge the hard work, great ideas, and successes that your team and even individual members have. It will build a stronger and more positive attitude and that will often continue to build on the success the company has already found.

The Pathway to Effective Leadership begins with Attitude

pathway to leadershipTaking on the role of a leader, whether it’s at home with your family or in business, requires a certain set of skills. Most of the skills that are required can certainly be learned, but attitude is incredibly important to becoming an effective leader.

What is Attitude?

Attitude is defined as a “settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.” In other words, it’s how we think about certain things… and that can have a direct impact on our actions.

So when you’re talking about becoming an effective leader, attitude is going to be incredibly important. If you approach leadership coaching or training with a dismissive attitude (it’s something your boss is making you do), then you’re not going to be receptive to the information, knowledge, and experiences that will be shared.

Having an open mind and willingness to learn, recognize flaws or shortcomings in your own behavior and actions, and improve skills is the best way to gain the valuable assets that make leaders effective and powerful.

Attitude in Business

Attitude is also a key component with regard to business. If you have a negative attitude about certain team members, if you think that you’re the only one who can do certain tasks of jobs effectively, it’s going to have a direct impact on your ability to lead others.

Patience and understanding are cornerstones of a positive attitude. Yes, certain deadlines are inflexible, certain assignments must be done to exact specifications, but when people make mistakes, when deadlines are missed, it’s how you deal with those situations and employees (team members) that’s going to determine your leadership qualities.

Having an attitude of acceptance, mentorship, or guidance is how you can build strong, positive teams that actually achieve the goals you set forth for them. Team members who believe in their leaders are more likely to push harder, take the organization’s goals as their own (more personally), and that’s going to make a significant difference. It all starts with the right attitude.

Three Fundamental Constructs of a Positive Team Environment

leadership

PHOTO CREDIT: juliuscaesarrock

You run a successful business, or you’re an upper level manager for a major company. In either case, you want to build a positive and successful team environment. You know full well that a positive team is a reflection of its leadership, but also in the attitude that the collective whole has.

There are three essential constructs (things that make up) a positive and successful team environment. They are:

1. Positive emotions.

2. Positive Personal Traits.

3. Positive Intuition.

It’s not always easy to establish these things, especially if you have certain members on your team who are negative, who don’t buy into the team or company goals fully, or who are seeking individual recognition, rather than success as a collective group.

There are plenty of great employees out there who are in it only for their own benefit and they can actually pose a greater stumbling block than anything else with regard to team, or company-wide, success.

Ways to foster a positive team environment with these three fundamental constructs.

In order to foster that positive attitude throughout the team, let’s take a closer look at each of these three topics in more detail.

Positive emotions. You’re not responsible for the emotional well-being of your team members, but you should find a way to harbor positive emotions and feelings when they enter their workspace. This could be allowing them personal effects, such as pictures of family, or starting the day with affirmations.

Positive personal traits. Highlight the personal strengths that your individual team members possess. Congratulate them on their successes, focus on what they do best, and avoid the negatives as much as possible.

Positive intuition. Team building is about understanding each members, identifying his or her strengths, and using them to structure each member in the most effective way possible. In other words, how would each member best contribute to the overall team?

When you focus on these three aspects, it will increase the chances of building a positive team environment.

Family Time

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Gluten Free Chocolate Quinoa

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Balancing your time between work and home can be quite the challenge. Once you have that scheduled time with your family, making that quality not just quantity time can be even more frustrating.

Families with young children usually spend the most time together because young children need a great deal of physical care and guidance. Families with teenagers may spend less time together because teens naturally want to spend more time with their friends.

A strong family finds that opportunities for quality time emerge from quantity time. Interacting with your family can take place in several ways, such as: talking about the events of the day; sharing joys and defeats; doing household chores together; and, spending some evenings popping corn and watching movies – these are all examples of shared activities. Some families even schedule one evening every week for special family activities.

Healthy families keep a vigorous balance between “too much” and “not enough” time together. They spend enough time to satisfy all family members. Children learn to bring balance to their lives when they see their parents setting aside time for what they value.

Try this mental trick to help you readjust your thinking. Practice parenting meditation; see the day and how you want it to go. Try to visualize any problems that may occur and develop solutions for them to make sure family time goes smoothly and you are not distracted.

Take a few minutes to watch this video and ask yourself if this looks familiar.

If it does look familiar, here are some ways to make family time enjoyable and meaningful.

  • Eat Together. Create special meal times with your family. Make dinner a team effort; everyone pitches in and has a job. Start making special dinners that everyone loves; for example, make Wednesday, Taco night.
  • Play Together. Sunday night can be board game night, switch it up though. One weekend, boards games, the next weekend, or shred some guitar while your son plays the drums and your wife sings. Connect with your kids using their interests and helpful technology.
  • Vacation and celebrate as a family. Some of the best memories families have are through vacations. The older your kids get, the less you will be able to plan vacations due to conflicting schedules.
  • Exercise Together. Become a healthy and fit family unit, which allows you to connect before dinner with weekly planned workouts.
  • Don’t Drive Everywhere. Use this as a creative opportunity to keep up family talk and connect over longer travel times. When we drive, we get caught up in the traffic and do not communicate. Instead, walk, take the train, subway or bus, bike rides or cabs. This way as a family you can focus on each other and the time you have.

How will you make the remaining time together in 2014 valuable and memorable within your family? How will 2015 be even better with many more memorable family moments?

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