Colin's Blog

Small Business Owners Benefit from Leadership Coaching, Too

business-goalOne of the most common mistakes that businessmen and businesswomen make with regard to considering leadership coaching is that they believe it’s only meant for executives and managers in larger corporations.

This is not true at all.

Leadership coaching can benefit anyone, from the small business owner to the corporate CEO. It can even help the stay at home mom or dad!

There are many ways in which a small business owner can benefit from leadership coaching.

Learning to set goals more effectively.

When you own a small business, you’re likely in charge of almost every aspect of its operations. Whether you have one employee or ten, you may control the finances, ordering, payroll, scheduling, and much more. Those are a lot of hats to wear and it can take its toll on you.

It can also make it more challenging to figure out what type of goals to set for the business. Leadership coaching can help you understand the importance of solid, achievable goals and how to establish them for your business.

Establish a foundation of trust and integrity.

You may be an honest and hard working individual, but do your customers know that? What about your employees?

If you are a manager, especially a micromanager, you will come across as ruling with an iron fist. People won’t trust you, you’ll have less time to devote to your clients, and this will make it more challenging to establish trust and integrity among the people who matter most to your business.

Understand how to motivate others in a positive way.

There are two basic ways that we can motivate people: through inspiration or through intimidation.

Leaders choose the former while managers tend to focus on the latter. When you motivate people in a more positive way, they will be more willing to work harder to achieve the goals that you set forth already.

Most people want to enjoy their job, and when you have the right leadership skills, you will help to create a positive working environment. That will, in turn, have a positive impact on your customers, support, and all other aspects of your business.

5 Advantages of Team Coaching and Why You Should Pay Attention

whistle2If you are “on the fence” about team coaching, you may not truly understand the advantages that this can offer you. Team coaching can not only help you and your team achieve greater goals, it can also improve productivity and efficiency.

The five advantages of team coaching that you should pay attention to are:

  • Builds team commitment
  • Increases chances of reaching goals
  • Boosts knowledge and proficiency
  • Fosters accountability
  • Accelerates results

Builds team commitment

If your team members are not committed to the team goals, it can make achieving those goals more challenging for the rest of the team. Team coaching helps the leader recruit and find the right team members and formulate a plan that will maximize the opportunities for success.

Increases chances of reaching goals

The common goals that team members have are what motivates them to work for those goals. When you have proper team coaching, you will be more attuned to assembling a group of like-minded individuals who are more willing to work together to achieve the organization’s goals.

Boosts knowledge and proficiency

Team coaching can help boost knowledge and proficiency among the team members. We learn best through our mistakes, and with team coaching you will learn better ways to help your team members acknowledge their mistakes and improve their performance as a result.

Fosters accountability

Both the team leader and the team members need to be accountable for their actions. Through team coaching, you will learn to foster more accountability within yourself as well as among your team members. Each team member may require a different approach to help them be more accountable. Team coaching helps with this.

Accelerates results

When you have team coaching working with you, it will help to accelerate results. When you just try to “wing it,” you increase the chances of making mistakes and flailing. This, in turn, increases the chances that your team will miss its target goals.

There are many other advantages to team coaching and when you pay attention to the advice that you receive from a team coach, it will have a positive impact on not only your leadership abilities, but your overall team and results as well.

The True Value of Honesty as a Leader

honestyBeing a leader is about possessing a number of characteristics and qualities, stepping up when it’s needed, and honesty. Even though the business, political, or cultural world may seem to be hotbeds of dishonest people getting ahead, there’s a difference between being a leader and being someone who is only out for his or her own self interests.

Establish Your Identity Now

It’s up to you regarding what you want to be. You can either be a leader who values teamwork, accomplishing goals, and honesty or you can be someone who is willing to climb their respective ladder to success using any means necessary.

Before you go any further down this road into leadership, it’s essential that you establish your true identity now. Is honesty going to be one of the foundational cornerstones or is it only going to be a characteristic worth having when it doesn’t interfere with you getting what you want?

Your Teams Rely on Honesty and Integrity

It’s a matter of trust for you, for your team members, and for those higher up the food chain than you are at this point in time. When people lose faith in their leaders, when they feel that they can no longer trust them, then it’s going to me more challenging to get them to believe in a goal or to accept that what they do will actually make a difference.

This doesn’t mean that you have to share every personal detail with the people who surround you, but when it comes to goals, mistakes, and other facets, when you cover things up, embellish truths, or otherwise lie it will undermine your ability to lead later on.

When people lose faith in those who are leading them, they will be less motivated to support them. They won’t work as hard as they would have if they still believed in their leader. They won’t have the same vested interest in the organization’s –or leader’s- goals as they did before.

When faced with confrontations, moral dilemmas, or any question of integrity, the kneejerk reaction is to lie and cover up one’s culpability. Own them. While it may be more difficult in the short-term to navigate through the situation, your team members will ultimately respect you for it in the long-term and that will prop you up as more effective and powerful leader as a result.

Positivity in Abundance

“Dear Colin, I have recently received feedback from my clientele about my writing style. I have been told that the style of my writing depends on the mood I’m in. Lately, I have been stressed and have found myself to be rushed and impatient, which in turn, has created a negative writing style and impression. How can I improve my writing and make it more positive?”

Healthy Recipe of the Month:
Tofu spinach salad with cabbage, feta, spinach and chia seeds

spinach-tofu-saladCLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE

Positive writing is a very effective tool for business professionals. Writing with a positive style will enhance your relationships by changing attitudes that you may have already created; shifting yourself and others to a proactive outlook; and generally accentuating an eagerness for others to want to work collaboratively with you.

The mindset of writing positively can be a challenge if you are finding yourself stressed or in a negative mood. Putting your mindset in a constructive mood through positivity and being in a state of stillness will definitely put you on the right path.

I have found the technique of positive affirmation to be a powerful tool. Taking the same approach as stillness (see our July 2014 newsletter – Stillness ) and removing your negative thoughts from the equation. Start the process of creating a positive affirmation by writing down positive thoughts on accomplishing a new goal like losing weight. Write down what you like about your body, then add how losing some weight will enhance what your lifestyle.

Here are a few other exercises that will help you practice positive thinking and creating among other things, a positive writing style.

  • Write a thank you note or a letter of gratitude to someone who has had a positive impact on you. A personal touch will be genuinely appreciated since most notes are sent electronically. Consider delivering the letter in person.
  • Before you go to sleep set aside a few minutes to write down three things that went well for you that day. Beside each item, write a quick explanation about how you (and others) made each a special moment.
Work on your positive affirmation and positive writing style over the next month of more. With conscious effort you will see a shift in how you approach your work and your life. And others will too!

Tofu Spinach Salad (with cabbage, feta, spinach and chia seeds)

spinach-tofu-saladThe Holbrow Group – Healthy Recipe of the Month

In a separate bowl:

  • Chop the cabbage into small pieces and add 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar and 1tsp of honey (let this marinate while putting together the rest of the salad)

In another bowl:

  • Chop the feta cheese into cups or however you like to have it served over your salad
  • Make sure the spinach is washed before placing in the bowl (grab 1-2 handfuls)
  • 2 tbsp of chia seeds
  • Cut an avocado in half and scoop the pit out. Slice into small cubes. (make sure not to toss the avocado around too much so its doesn’t turn to mush)

While putting together the salad

  • Chop the tofu into small cubes and cook on the stove until golden brown add a dash of olive and garlic powder to add flavour (make sure to buy extra firm Tofu) this can be substituted with chicken as well!

Once everything is ready to go, add the ingredients together and toss into a large bowl and mix

  • Add a handful of cilantro
  • Drizzle some balsamic on top and a hint of salt!


Taking Time to Reflect Daily to Improve Leadership Skills

emulate-behaviorWhen you don’t take time to think about things that you did throughout the day, then it’s going to be that much more difficult to improve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about relationships, anger issues, or even leadership skills.

Reflection is one of the best ways to improve leadership skills. No matter how busy you are during the day, still find time to be alone, in a quiet environment where you can think about the events that transpired during the day.

Make sure it’s a quiet location.

You can take this time when you’re at home, still at the office, or even stuck in traffic, but it should be a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted by others. Turn off the phone, lock the door, and tell anyone around you that you want to be undisturbed for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

Work through your entire day.

Start with the moment you woke up. Replay your day as smoothly and quickly as possible. Even getting dressed in the morning and helping your kids get ready for school can offer lessons that are vital to leadership skills.

You should be able to pinpoint at least two to three things that didn’t go quite right during the day. No matter how you handled the situation, these are the things that you should focus on most.

Determine where you succeeded and where you could have done better as a leader.

Take an honest assessment of each situation. Determine how you succeeded in being a leader and then also ways in which you could have done something different. Every day there are going to be teaching moments for just about everything in life.

This is usually one of the most challenging aspects to improving leadership skills: self assessment. Most people tend to either be too hard or too easy on themselves and neither scenario is going to be ideal, though being too easy on yourself will generally offer you less opportunity for growth.

During that time of reflection, imagine doing things differently. Try to determine how the outcome could have changed if you acted differently. This can often help leaders improve their skills and grow stronger. Reflection will only truly work best when it is done daily, consistently.

‘My Mistake.’ Why Leaders become Stronger through Adversity

adversity-growthThere are a couple of phrases that some people rely on to explain the difference between an individual who attended college and one who went right to work out of high school. They are: book smarts vs. street smarts.

One doesn’t make a particular individual better than another, nor does one imply better potential or performance. However, there is a reason why companies prefer employees to have prior experience when hiring, rather than simply looking for those with college diplomas in their hand.

Learning a great deal of information in textbooks and a classroom setting can certainly provide a stronger base of knowledge, but it doesn’t replace actual real world experience.

On top of that, most people have a tendency to learn more from their mistakes than from actual instruction. Think about when you were a child and your mother or father scolded you or warned you to not go near the stove. It didn’t matter whether it was on or not because the elements –though looking cool- could still be hot. Still, many kids either didn’t listen or didn’t understand the big deal until they burn themselves for the first time.

Once the child is burned, he or she remembers and won’t go near the stove, or will use caution when they do.

The same premise is true when you’re talking about leadership skills. Great Leaders don’t get mad when their team members make mistakes (or they shouldn’t get angry) because they understand that people learn best through adversity and making mistakes.

It’s also true for leaders. If you make a mistake, own up to it. We tend to be programmed to believe confessing to a mistake will bring the pink slip, the demotion, or some other reprimand, but it also brings an incredible learning opportunity.

When you own up to your mistakes, people respect you more. Team members will be more willing to support you and upper management will keep an eye on you, not because they’re worried that you’ll do it again, but because you have integrity.

Mistakes are not major problems unless you hide from responsibility or try to blame others. True leaders own their mistakes and that helps them grow and improve.

When Facing a Moral Dilemma, the Leader Shines Through

leaders-shineNo matter what type of work you do, once in a while you may be faced with a moral dilemma. Your immediate supervisor may want you to manipulate some figures to make it appear that the department or the company is doing better than it actually is.

You may have given a friend or colleague with whom you get along a pass when he or she showed up late for work a couple of times, but now you have a similar situation with someone else.

No matter what type of moral dilemma a person faces, the more leadership skills he or she possesses, the more likely they will shine through during these situations. This doesn’t mean that everything is going to work out justly or the way that you hope, but when you possess those valuable and powerful leadership skills, you will be in a better position to resolve the problem.

This is made possible through a variety of processes. First, when you have leadership abilities, you take the time to get to know your team members. You pay attention to the goals of the company. You are willing to accept responsibility for your actions. Those all indicate an individual who can handle any moral dilemma.

Second, leadership skills build your presence within any organization up, helping you to earn more respect throughout the company or the organization. When that happens, you will be more likely to gain the support of those working with and for you.

Finally, leadership skills help you develop a solid plan moving forward and to adjust to changes in the landscape. When you have better vision, you can find more viable solutions that help you avoid moral dilemmas that can easily trip up someone with only managerial or basic level skills.

Hating the Job? How Leadership Coaching Can Change That


PHOTO CREDIT: juliuscaesarrock

Are you one of the lucky individuals that absolutely loves your job? Do you go home at the end of your day and cannot wait to get back to start work all over again?

Yes, there are people out there who love their job to the point that they would prefer to keep working rather than go home. For the majority of us, however, a job becomes burdensome when you don’t enjoy any aspect of it or if you do not feel that there is any potential future for you at the company.

No matter what kind of job you have and no matter what prospects there are for promotion, you can change your entire outlook on it simply by learning to become a strong leader.

Leadership teaches us how to build better teams around us. When you are able to work in a team environment, when you are able to set better goals for yourself individually as well as within the company, you will stand out more than your coworkers. When you stand out, management takes notice.

The most important issue for any company management is the bottom line. When you find ways to improve productivity or increase sales, then management is going to pay more attention to you.

The more positive results you achieve, the better you’ll feel every day. The whole process is similar to a snowball rolling down a hill. It all starts with one small pack of the fist-sized snow and then continues to build. The moment you begin to find success within your company, the more you will enjoy your job.

When you are ready to stop hating the job you have and enjoy work again, consider hiring a leadership coach to help you change your perspective and your future.

The Fundamentals of Leadership Coaching

Future LeadersLeadership coaching can offer anyone a great platform upon which to launch his or her career, or to help boost their career to new heights. It’s a good idea to understand some of the fundamental basics of leadership coaching so that you get the most out of your experience.

1. The coach should create a safe yet challenging environment. If you don’t feel like you can take risks, then you won’t grow. However, the risks that you take need to be safe so that you don’t hurt yourself or others and so that they don’t negatively impact your confidence.

2. The coach should be willing to work within your own agenda. While the leadership coach will likely have worked with numerous clients through the years, all with varying backgrounds and goals, he or she should still be willing and able to work within the constructs of your own agenda.

If you’re not seeking to become the CEO of your company, then the coach should focus his or her plan on that end goal.

3. The coach should facilitate the learning process. The best teachers are those who ask questions of their students and don’t seek to show their prowess or intelligence by answering them for those students.

Instead, your leadership coach should be a facilitator, someone who helps guide you through the process. You will learn best when you have to work and seek out the answers you need.

4. The coach should advocate self awareness. It doesn’t do anyone any good if you are unable to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses. This is one of the most challenging aspects of leadership coaching: to be able to honestly assess your own strengths and weaknesses, but it’s also tantamount to success.

When you find a leadership coach who incorporates these fundamentals into their philosophy, you’ll be well on your way to improving your own skills and become a powerful leader for tomorrow.

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