Colin's Blog


For some people, the workplace can be a stressful, uptight area that makes them feel like they are trapped.

We spend most of our days behind a desk in a cubicle trying to make our deadline and impressing our bosses and employers, cramming as much work into a stress-filled day as possible.

We encourage every employee and employer to utilize the hours spent in an office to actually enjoy their work-time and create an enabling, positive workplace that supports creativity and fun.

Improving an office environment will enhance workload efficiency, job morale and productivity. Making your place of work an exciting place by holding contests, celebrations, and team-building activities will result in a more positive and much lighter-feeling environment.

This video clip focuses on making time during the workday to relax yourself and fellow workers in the office.

What possibilities has this video stimulated for you?

Here are a few ways to enable you and your workplace be a positive and less stressful work environment.

  • Schedule exercise breaks throughout your day. Stretch. Try chair relaxation exercises. Step out of the office for a five minute walk
  • Cultivate life. Celebrate the little things. Celebrate the BIG things. Look for ways to be playful
  • Exercise during a break or before or after work. Twenty minutes a day is all the body needs to change the chemistry to rejuvenate
  • Upscale your office with colour, pictures or decorations. This will enhance the desired mood and make the office feel more relaxed.
  • Look for and be mindful of all the wonderful things happening in your life and the people that you work with on a daily basis.

We invite you to take one or more of these types of steps and celebrate a different way of seeing your life at work.

Executive Coaching for Your Business

pointing-upFor a business to be successful it must have a strong leader focused on profitable goals. Some businesses already have that in place while other companies may need to develop that skill in their managers.

Great leaders are able to inspire employees and help take the business to the next level. For businesses that need help with developing great leaders, executive coaching is the best way to achieve that goal.

There are four main areas involved in executive coaching; strategic thinking, goal planning, communication, and performance. An executive coach helps managers improve upon or develop these crucial skills.

The first step is setting a plan to help a company thrive. The partnership will consist of a one-on-one meeting to begin. This is to ensure a quick response to any obstacles that may stand in the way of a business being successful.

At the Holbrow Group, we have a team of coaches ready to help you excel in your executive role. Our coaches provide all manner of executive and leadership training including planning, marketing, personnel management, and decision-making.

A survey conducted by the clients of the International Coaching Federation in 2009 showed that 80% experienced positive change as a result of the coaching process. At least two-thirds recovered or exceeded their initial investment in financial benefits. A typical client receives a return of investment of at least 3.44 times the amount invested.

Investing in executive coaching will change the mindset of company leaders. A great leader understands that they are never as good as they can become and that ongoing improvement in key to staying on top.
Many companies are now realizing that their long-term success is directly linked to the quality of the leaders whom they employ. These types of services can be used on people at all levels within a company. The goal is to help people learn.

Not all individuals are the same and good coaches understand that different modes of learning need to be employed for different people. Our coaches tailor their methods to you.

During this training, leaders will learn to identify and improve leadership gaps and then develop ways to close those gaps. There are several types of employees that make great candidates for this type of training program, including those who aspire to become great leaders, talented members of a management team, inexperienced managers whose success is critical to the company, and women who wish to break through the ‘glass ceiling.’

A successful business wants to remain successful and as things change, this means having leaders who can adapt and keep them on top. The Holbrow Group will help those leaders. Call us toll-free or fill out the form on our site. We will give you 25 minutes of complementary guidance and advice at no charge or obligation.

Why Hire an Executive Coach?

business-executive-coachingThe term “coach” means, in general, a person who helps another person (or people) learn a skill. Sports coaches train athletes to develop improved skills for their game. Personal coaches can help an individual develop a plan for managing time, losing weight, or accomplishing some other important goal.

Executive coaches specialize in helping executives improve their work habits, professional skills, inter-personal skills, and overall efficiency. These coaches may work with a CEO, board member, experienced executive, or a newly promoted manager to help him or her develop the leadership skills they need to reach the goals set forth by them and their organization.

Executive coaching is usually done on an one-on-one basis because each executive is an individual with different skills, goals, desires, and abilities. A personalized approach enables both the coach and the executive to identify his or her weak areas and develop a plan to improve them.

There are a lot of benefits to hiring a coach. Business organizations have found that executive coaching provides a significant advantage for newly promoted managers and executives. While the individual being promoted may have the skills needed for the job, he or she usually need to learn how to work with former peers, how to handle new responsibilities, and how to communicate with their team in an effective manner.

You don’t have to be newly hired or promoted to benefit from a coach, however. Experienced managers, executives, and even CEOs hire executive coaches to help give them a new perspective on their job, teach them how to manage their time more efficiently, provide insight into how the company can grow, increase ROI, and even develop new products.

In some cases, an executive or manager may hire a coach to help them deal with a specific business problem: lower sales, team management, staff behavior, and so on. A coach who is hired to handle a specific problem may speak not only with an executive but also with other employees in the company who are part of the issue that needs remedy.

A good executive coach will never tell you exactly what to do or how to do it. Coaching is more effective when the person being coached learns how to evaluate all facets of the problem at hand and come up with his or her own way of dealing with it. In many cases, an executive and the coach will go over the pros and cons of various options. Once a person has determined to pursue a particular course of action, the coach will help that individual make a goal list and determine how to pursue the ideal course of action in the best possible way.

The Holbrow Group will help you keep your eye on the prize. We support you and help you create a positive and productive business and personal life. Getting started is simple. Call The Holbrow Group toll-free, and in 25 minutes we will lay out an action plan to get you moving forward at no charge to you. Call or fill out the form on the website to get the process rolling.

Organizational Coaching

whistle2The values and behaviors of team members and managers are reflected in the culture of an organization. A coach who focuses on organizational change will conduct cultural audits using interviews, surveys, and group methods. With this data they can identify and articulate an organization’s culture and help develop positive, sustainable value and behaviors that are in alignments with overall organizational goals.

Organizational change must come from the top – leadership and inspiration are needed to make changes stick. Communication is key. Organizational coaches will help managers by assisting in strategy, identifying behaviors and attitudes that need to be changed, problem solving, and then communicating these ideas to the group.

If behavioral changes need to be made at the management level, your coach will be the guide. Communication through example is very important – a leader who preaches “Do as I say, not as I do” will not inspire team members to change. A leader who demonstrates the behavior they talk about will bring others together to accomplish their goals.

If you’re on the fence about hiring a coach for your organization, consider these benefits:

Leadership coaching increases company productivity, improves overall communication, decreases workplace stress, and increases employee loyalty.

Coaching helps managers and team members beyond the office. Interpersonal skills that are built within the workplace translate to better interpersonal relationships throughout life.

Coaches help develop critical strategic thinking skills. Leaders become better at managing risk and communicating large and small ideas.

Coaching will improve the organization’s overall culture – creating trust, commitment, and personal accountability.

Coaching opens minds to new possibilities and ways of thinking. This process can increase cognitive capacity, social abilities, motivation, and expertise.

Call The Holbrow Group today to learn what coaching can do for your organization. We’re the coaching firm that executives across Canada count on to be in their corner. We are trusted advisors they can rely on to help them reach their full potential.

Turning Commute Time into Value-Added Time

We are creatures of habit. Taking the same route and holding the same mindset as you travel to and from work every day is a common habit for commuters.

If you think your daily commute is the worst part of your day, watch this short video. It may change your mind.

Time spent commuting doesn’t have to equal time lost. What if you were to use your commute time to optimize rather than ‘kill’ time? What if you were to become a ‘think tank’ and use your commute time to think about and plan your day?

Don’t let yourself stress about all the urgent tasks awaiting you. Simply focus and map out what are the priorities to be tackled first when you arrive at your destination. If you need time to unwind turn your iPod on to music that is relaxing or high energy – music that creates the mood that sets you up for success as you walk into your workplace.

Here are added few examples of what you can do with your time and make commuting valuable and effective.

If you’re taking public transit or a taxi, try reading, writing or planning your calendar. If you’re driving, try scheduling phones calls or listening to an audio-tape.

  • Turn off the radio or IPod and clear your head
  • Rehearse your next presentation
  • Decide on a new role that will stretch your boundaries
  • Practice using the lens of a more senior manager and think about how you would handle a current challenge
  • Practice positive thinking
  • Make somebody’s day a positive one

Find the Right Leadership Training

leadership-trainingYour career and work life is a major part of most of your life. Even when you’re switching jobs or companies, you’re on a path for the long haul. It is important to keep this in mind as you learn and improve your skills. There are a lot of people out there offering leadership training; the key is finding the right coach for you.

You’ll often hear the terms ‘coach’ and ‘mentor’ used interchangeably but they are actually quite different. A mentor is someone who has been down the same path and a coach is someone who helps you develop your individual expertise. The main purpose of a coach is to draw on your creativity and offer objective suggestions. They will focus on your intelligence and help you find new strengths and skills within yourself. These will translate into major assets whether you’re looking for a new career, trying to move up in your current one, or wanting to become better in your current position.

When you’re searching for a coach, don’t settle for someone who is ‘close enough.’ You want to choose a coach who has specific interests and/or qualifications in the areas that you want to develop. If you’re a manager looking to move into a higher position, hiring a coach who specializes in entrepreneurial development is probably not the best fit.

The relationship between you and your coach is intimate. You need to find someone with whom you are comfortable and whom you feel is trustworthy. Even if you find someone with the perfect qualifications, you may not want to engage with them if their coaching style doesn’t jive with you.

Most coaches will offer a complimentary conversation to introduce him or herself to you. Your coach needs to be comfortable with you as well.

There are many options for coaching as well. It can be done one-on-one in person, over the phone, through Skype, or even through email if you prefer. If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, The Holbrow Group coaches are available for face-to-face meetings. Coaching tends to be just as effective in person as it is over the phone.

Whether you simply want to grow in your chosen career, you’re looking to become a better leader, or need to find more satisfaction and passion in your career, The Holbrow Group is here for you. Our coaches will help you achieve your professional and personal development goals.

Call The Holbrow Group today and we will give you 25 minutes of complementary guidance and advice at no charge or obligatio

How Coaching Can Help You

whistle2A coach’s main purpose is to give a person, or team, practical advice that will either help resolve problems or open them up to new ways of thinking. For instance, an executive coach who is helping with communication issues can assist an executive to communicate with his or her staff and colleagues better, learn how to be tactful yet honest, and even give practical presentation tips that will help a person communicate better with customers and/or potential customers.

For one-on-one coaching sessions, your coach may communicate with you via phone, email, video conference call, in person, or even through social media. A lot depends on what type of coach you have and how often you want to meet with them. In the beginning, a person will need to meet his or her coach on a very regular basis. Once certain plans and goals have been established, you may not need to communicate with the coach in person as often or only when certain milestones are met.

Group coaching works a bit differently than one-on-one for a few reasons. A group coach works with a number of people at the same time. Instead of helping any single individual develop a personal job improvement plan, a group coach will deal with issues that affect all team members and help develop a realistic plan for dealing with a particular issue, increasing individual productivity, and communicating better with colleagues, superiors, and underlings.

Group coaching is typically done in person or via video conferencing to make it easier to engage the entire group at once.

Before hiring an executive coach, it is a good idea to take some time to find a professional who has experience providing the type of help that you specifically need. A coach will take the time to communicate with a person or group of people on a regular basis, give practical tips and insight into how certain problems and issues can be handled, and then help clients develop a personal or group plan for improvement. Coaches will then help clients monitor this plan and ensure that it is providing the best possible results, and meeting the client’s needs. The more knowledgeable they are about your needs, the more the relationship will benefit both of you.

The right coach will help increase your job satisfaction, make you more efficient, strengthen your communication skills, boost your company’s ROI, and identify weak areas in the company overall. However, it is important to note that hiring a good coach is only the first step towards improvement.

An executive who wants to get the most out of each coaching session should be sure to put the plan into practice, assess it as often as needed, and communicate with their coach on a regular basis in order to handle issues as they come up and deal with issues and opportunities in the best possible manner.

How Coaches Help

business-womanThere are many different types of coaches and how they help depends on several factors: what you hired them to help with, how they work, how you work, and the scope of the relationship. For instance, a coach who is handling communication related problems will give a person practical communication advice that can help resolve the problem.

Business coaches who specialize in communication issues can help an executive communicate with his or her staff and colleagues in more effective manner, learn how to be honest, and even give practical presentation tips that will help a person communicate better with customers and clients.

There are also many ways a coach will work with his or her client. They may prefer to communicate via phone, email, online chat, video conferencing, or in person. This depends on both the coach and the client.

At the beginning of the relationship, you will want to meet your coach on a regular basis. Once certain plans have been established, you may not need to communicate with the coach as often.

If you’re involved in group coaching, it will work differently than personal coaching. These sessions include multiple people and are conducted in a different way than one-on-one sessions. Instead of helping any single individual develop a personal job improvement plan, a group coach will deal with issues that affect all members and help them develop a realistic plan for dealing with a particular issue, such as increasing personal productivity and communicating better with colleagues, superiors and underlings. Group coaching is usually done in-person or via video conferencing and a coach will meet with his or her clients at a set time on a regular basis.

An executive coach is more specific. For this relationship to work, both the coach and client need to have a rapport and clearly understand what needs improvement. An executive coach will take the time to communicate with their client on a regular basis, offer practical tips and insight into how certain problems and issues can be handled, and then help the client develop a personal plan for improvement. Coaches will then help clients monitor these plans and ensure that they are providing the best possible results.

No matter what type of coach you end up working with, you will see many benefits from it – increased job satisfaction, a boost in overall ROI, strengthened communication, and so on. However, it is important to note that hiring a good coach is only the first step toward improvement.

An executive who wants to get the most out of a coaching session should be sure to put the plan into practice, assess it as often as needed, and communicate with the coach on a regular basis in order to handle issues as they come up and deal with problems and even opportunities in the best possible manner.

Simple Ways to Improve Your Focus

team-trainingEveryone has moments when they are supposed to be focusing on something but find themselves daydreaming or paying only partial attention. Whether you have a tendency to drift during company meetings or are easily distracted while trying to complete tasks you don’t enjoy, better focus is a challenge that can be achieved.

Here are some tips that will help you maintain your focus throughout the day so you get more done.
1. Take frequent breaks. You can reward yourself after completing a task or set mini goals that provide you with a break after you reach them. Simply taking a fifteen-minute break to take a walk, have a snack, or stretch at your desk while checking you Facebook page will help you maintain focus for the entire day.

2. Eat right. Loading up on caffeine or energy drinks is a common way people deal with focus issues, but these often work against us. Unhealthy food may help briefly but the sugar and caffeine wear off quickly, leaving you worse off than you were before. If you eat healthy foods like vegetables and lean protein, your brain will focus better.

3. Make time to exercise. Stimulating your body with stretching and exercise will improve your overall brain function. There are even some yoga positions designed to improve focus. Stretching and proper breathing relax you while increasing your circulation and brain function. Deep breathing increases oxygen flow to your brain.

4. If you find you are easily distracted, change your environment. If you are unable to physically change locations, then invest in noise cancelling headphones. Make a daily To Do list and allot time for each task. Establish goals throughout the day that will help your brain stay focused for short periods of time.

5. Get the sleep you need. Sleep is the most restorative thing you can do for your body and mind. If you have trouble sleeping, remove the television, computer, and other electronics from your bedroom. These distractions keep your brain stimulated longer than it needs to be, which keeps it from getting the rest it needs. Getting the proper amount of rest is imperative for long-term focus.

Keeping your focus will make you more productive which will, in turn, make you happier at work. To start, focus on one task at a time and reward yourself once it is complete. Starting small will help you build up your ability to focus and handle more complex tasks with ease.

Different Types of Leadership Styles

business-womanNot every leader is the same or goes about managing his or her people the same way. There are advantages and disadvantages to every type of leadership style. Generally, the goals and culture of a company determine which style will fit the organization best. Here is a breakdown of the five main styles you’ll find in most organizations and the pros and cons of each.

A leader who works with highly trained and experienced employees who don’t need a lot of direct supervision is referred to as a laissez-faire leader. This style is not well suited for most work environments as it hinders the production of employees who need supervision and direction. This style produces no leadership or supervision efforts from managers, which is fine when the employees motivate themselves, but can lead to low production, lack of control overall, and increasing costs for the company.

A leader who includes his or her team in decision-making uses the participative style. This method is also referred to as the democratic style. This style is great for boosting employee morale because they feel their opinions matter and they are more than simply a cog in the corporate wheel. The final decision is always up to the leader, but because they are included in the discussion, employees feel empowered. This is often a great style for any organization as long as the leader is strong enough to keep everyone involved while maintaining authority.

The complete opposite of participative is autocratic. Leaders using this style make all the decisions themselves without input from others. They possess total authority and simply tell their employees what to do without being challenged. While not ideal in all situations, this style works very well with employees who need a lot of supervision.

A transactional leader assigns tasks and offers rewards and punishments to employees based on their results. This leader works closely with employees to set goals and the employee agrees to follow the direction of the leader to accomplish them. The leader reviews results and trains and corrects employees if they fail. Employees receive rewards, such as bonuses or special privileges, when they accomplish goals.

The last style is referred to as transformational. This is a highly involved style, which requires a lot of communication to meet set goals. The leader motivates his or her employees to increase productivity and efficiency through communication and contact. Leaders focus on the long term view within an organization and delegates smaller tasks to the team to accomplish its goals.

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