Colin's Blog

Confidentiality in Coaching: What Your Boss is and isn’t Entitled to Know about Your Sessions

confidentialWhether you are considering hiring a leadership or executive coach for yourself, on your own, or it’s part of your company’s improvement efforts, you deserve to know about confidentiality.

Far too many businessmen and businesswomen in Toronto assume that when their employer hires and pays for some type of improvement coach, they forfeit certain aspects of privacy.

This is patently false.

When you are working with an executive or leadership coach, you are entitled to confidentiality. That means whatever you discuss with your personal coach regarding your goals, ambition, fears, anxiety, concerns, or just about anything else related to your improvement, that coach isn’t going to discuss those things with your superior or anyone else within your organization.

Things Your Coach May Discuss with Others

Your coach may have been hired by your employer to help develop stronger skills within you, and the coach may be required to update your employer regarding certain aspects of the coaching experience.

This means that he or she may discuss various strategies, tips, and other processes that they will be working with you on, but they will not be entitled to share personal information, including concerns or fears that you may have or problems you’ve expressed regarding your employer, the company, or anything else.

Confidentiality is essential in building trust within any relationship. If you don’t have trust, then how can you expect to build a strong relationship and accomplish the goals that you set out to?

If you have any specific concerns regarding certain aspects of confidentiality when it comes to leadership or executive coaching, contact The Holbrow Group today and see just what it means to gain trust, hold it, and honor it every step of the process.

Avoiding the Arrogance Trap while Improving Leadership Skills

avoiding arroganceOne of the most common pitfalls to fall into when it comes to leadership coaching is to allow your pride or ego to get in the way of improvement.

There is good reason for you to be proud of your accomplishments to date. However, when you contact an executive or leadership coach, you are doing so because you recognize the fact that there is still room for improvement.

The arrogance trap is a pitfall that can lead to problems with the coaching strategies. A person who falls into this type of trap will generally be open-minded and willing to listen in the beginning, but when the coach begins to discuss topics that the executive feels he or she has already mastered, and when the coach discusses strategies for improvement, that executive may close off to any such advice at that point.

Just because your leadership or executive coach has pointed out some things or areas in which you can improve, that doesn’t mean that you have failed. In most cases, even the best of the best still have room for improvement.

Michael Jordan, considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time, would routinely discuss the need for constant improvement. No matter how good he was at the game, at mastering his opponents, and making the shot when it counted, he still understood that there were things he needed to do to continue to improve.

If the best of the best in the world recognizes that he can still improve in many aspects of his abilities and skills, then so can just about any executive in any industry in the world.

If you feel defensive when your coach is speaking to you about potential areas for improvement, remind yourself that this is for your benefit, to make you a stronger and better leader.

3 Strategies to Manage Internal Strife among Employees

Team CoachingWhen you have people working for you, in most likelihood you’re going to have to deal with many different personality types. Trying to pull people together to work on the same team can be a complicated issue and that’s one thing that leadership coaches can help you learn: how to lead people, even when there is tension among the team.

Look to any professional sports team and you will see either a cohesive unit that works well together (and will win more often than they lose) or a team that has one or two members who create tension. When you see a team that is dealing with tension, it will generally translate onto the field and even though they may be more talented, they may also be limited on the number of wins that they rack up.

Here are three strategies that you can use to help ease internal strife among two or more members of your team.

1. Understand each team member’s motivations. When you get to know your team members more, you will begin to take notice of the things that motivate them most. Some are working for a paycheck and that’s it. Others truly want to excel within their profession.

The more that you know about your team members’ motivations, the more easily you can connect with them and get them working with fellow team members that share their same motivations.

2. Avoid micromanaging tension. While tension can certainly cause issues for any team, you want to avoid the common trap of micromanaging internal strife. You are their leader, not their referee.

If there are issues that arise that don’t directly impact productivity, allow the team to solve the problem themselves. You may just discover leadership qualities among other members of your team that shine through in resolving these problems.

3. Be willing to cut ties. Not everyone on your team is indispensable. Even your MVP might be causing more tension and hampering productivity. Be willing to cut people from your team if you notice that they have a tendency to cause trouble between themselves and numerous other team members.

The Front End Load: Why It’s Important to Meet with Your Executive Coach Frequently in the Beginning

business-exectutive-coachWhen you first hire an executive coach, you may have a lot of questions about the process. First of all, don’t be overwhelmed by the process. In the beginning, things are going to be (preferably) ‘top heavy.’ What this means is that you will most likely be asked to meet with your personal executive coach more frequently during the first couple of weeks.

Over time, as your coach has the opportunity to sit down and talk with you, observe your actions, and develop a more refined plan that suits your professional practices and personality, you won’t need to meet with him or her nearly as frequently.

It is important to meet with your executive coach more frequently during the beginning of the coaching process because this is a long-term improvement process. In other words, it is going to take you time to get comfortable with the coach and it is going to take time for your executive coach to understand your traits and specific characteristics.

Every individual is different, which is why the best executive coaches seek to work with clients on a one-on-one basis, rather than in group settings (though that can be arranged, if that is preferred within a specific organization).

The way that you conduct yourself, your inherent skills and qualifications, as well as your limitations will need to be harnessed and observed to help your executive coach develop the most accurate plan for your overall improvement over the designate length of time that the coach will be working with you.

If the coach requests that you meet with him or her several times a week during those first couple of weeks, most likely that trend will not continue. You may end tapering off to one or two meetings per week to discuss the aspects of the previous week and what to work on moving forward. The more open you are in the beginning, the more of an impact it is going to have for you over the length of your coaching experience.

Discovering Various Types of Coaching that Can Help You Excel Professionally

Exploring international marketsWanting to excel professionally is an important motivation to gather the best information that can help you improve your skills, your focus, and address any issues that you may have that can limit your potential. When it comes to leadership or executive coaching, there are different types of coaches to choose from.

Essentially, executive coaching is going to be focused on helping leaders maximize their potential within their company. They will help the executive learn to strengthen leadership skills, their time, develop plans more efficiently, follow through, and build better relationships.

Leadership coaches can help all levels of professionals, from entry-level to the highest executive levels within a company. These coaches are focused on helping these people manage their time more efficiently, build positive relationships, and learn to establish goals more effectively. They will also focus on helping these professionals to take charge, be stronger leaders, and also to inspire and encourage other team members to maximize their own potential.

Many people try to separate their personal lives from their professional ones. However, there are many aspects of your personal life that will have a direct impact on your professional one as well as your success within a company. As a result, you may choose to focus on a personal life coach, a career coach, a spiritual coach, or a business coach. You may want to work with one of these coaches simultaneously with an executive coach.

In reality, though, if you are intent on excelling in a professional environment, then you should choose either executive coaching or leadership coaching as your primary focus. That doesn’t mean you can’t pursue hiring personal or life coaches or even a spiritual coach for outside of your work environment. You need to know when to separate one from the other, however.

If you want to find out whether executive coaching or leadership coaching is ideal for you at this time in your career, contact The Holbrow Group today.

Stepping into Yourself: 3 Questions to Ask Yourself to Decide if You’re Ready for Executive Coaching

3 questions to ask yourselfWhen somebody is “stepping into” another person, it generally means that they are pushing them for the utmost honesty.

When it comes to executive coaching for yourself, there are three questions that you should ask to determine whether you are ready for this level of assistance.

Step into yourself to get an honest answer about whether executive coaching is right for you right now.

1. Will you make the time necessary for executive coaching?

Hiring an executive coach is an important decision, but if you don’t make time in your busy schedule to sit down and work with the coach on a consistent and regular basis, you will most likely not see a breakthrough in results.

Even though you may be busy, most executives like yourself should be able to carve out enough time to devote to executive coaching, if that is something you truly want.

2. How will executive coaching propel your career?

Ask yourself how executive coaching is going to advance your career. If you don’t know or can’t answer this question, then you need to reevaluate why you are even considering executive coaching at this time.

You should have a clear path to advance yourself and your career, whether or not you hire an executive coach. Once you have that path laid out, it will be much easier to help the executive coach determine how best to help you maximize your skills.

3. Are you willing to listen to a coach?

Far too often, people have a tendency to want to improve, but have a reluctance or resistance to actually listen to the advice of others. When it comes to executive coaching, it is going to be in your best interest to do and listen to what the coach has to say.

That doesn’t mean you have to agree with every single thing that he or she says, but you should enter into this process with an open mind. If you don’t, you may very well end up wasting your time as well as the coaches time.

The Difference between Leadership Coaching and Mentoring

business-womanIn the world of leadership or executive coaching, the term coaching and mentoring are commonly used interchangeably. While these terms are actually quite similar in their construct, there is an important distinction to make between coaching and mentoring.

Mentoring basically refers to a broader environment in which individuals focus on instructing, guiding, and encouraging others to reach their full potential over a longer period of time.

An educator in a school system may be considered a mentor if that individual spends a fair amount of time with the student on their own going over various issues that the student is having trouble with. During these “sessions,” the instructor will be not only seeking to explain the material in a way that the student can understand most effectively, he or she will also be looking at other factors that could be influencing the student’s troubles.

In the business world, a mentor is going to be somebody who has a vested interest in the employee moving up within the company.

Mentoring within the confines of executive or leadership coaching is an important characteristic. A coach can also be a mentor, but rarely will you find a mentor being mistaken for a coach. A leadership or executive coach will generally be hired for a specific period of time whereas a mentor may be working with somebody for several years in order to help him or her achieve their greatest potential.

A mentor is also more likely to be concerned about the individual’s personal life outside of the workforce. That is because, in many cases, personal issues can impact professional success.

An executive or leadership coach is going to be focused more specifically on professional and work related issues and finding ways to encourage the individual to achieve his or her greatest potential.


Being motivated can be tough, particularly as we approach the festive holiday season.

Motivation comes in many forms. Getting into the desired or needed physical shape (especially with all those tempting goodies at celebrations); keeping your spirits high; or making sure your work performance doesn’t slip, are all common states of motivation.

Healthy Recipe of the Month:
Sweet Potato, Apple and Thai Peanut Sauce Quinoa

Sweet Potato, Apple and Thai Peanut Sauce QuinoaCLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE

How can we tap into the energy of positive self-motivation when everything about you feels sluggish? Maybe all you want to do is pull the covers over your head and sleep 24 hrs a day forever in your cave! Getting yourself motivated starts with being inspired – striving to be the best you.

One of the most common mistakes people make is trying to accomplish too much at one time. You cannot maintain your flow of energy and focus if you are spreading yourself too thin. Visualizing what it would be like to be successful – the feeling it will bring you and how you will achieve it, will serve as the foundation of motivating yourself.

Try using these steps:

  • Set a goal and a time frame and visualize how it will feel when you accomplish this goal. Regularly visualize how you’re going to accomplish your goal and keep your sights firmly set on your target.
  • Make a list of the reasons why you want and need to accomplish this goal.
  • Break the goal down into smaller, bite-size pieces. Reward yourself when you have accomplished each piece, and
  • Get the help you need. Asking for help or accountability from family, friends or peers can result in an extra push.

Finding your sweet spot of motivation is linked to striving towards something meaningful and important for you. Achieving a steady state of motivation is a marathon in pacing yourself and leaving that extra kick of energy as you see the finish line ahead.

Be sure to set a date in the future. Many people find it helpful to identify each step as stepping-stones on their pathway to a successful outcome. Having an end date will allow you the time you need to plan. Use these stepping-stone dates to motivate yourself, getting excited about this date and realizing a successful outcome. Be sure to celebrate with something that rewards you for achieving each stepping-stone as well as the end result.

This video adds emphasis to the importance of motivation in our personal and business lives. After watching this video, ask, “How motivated will I be over the next 2 months as we look to conclude 2014 and move into a new year of my life?”

Sweet Potato, Apple and Thai Peanut Sauce Quinoa

sweet-potato-thai-quinoaThe Holbrow Group – Healthy Recipe of the Month

  • 3 cups of spinach
  • 1/2-1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 large (peeled) already cooked sweet potato
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large cucumber
  • Half of a sweet onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 Granny Smith apple

You can decide how you want to chop the vegetables/fruit. I like them in sure shapes which makes them easier to mix together. Combine all into a large bowl with sauce and this healthy salad is ready to serve. I prefer everything to be raw and crunchy.

Optional: add chicken or white fish to the meal as extra protein

The peanut lime salad dressing consists of:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 clove garlic

Serves four (4) people

Coaching and Counseling: Not Exactly One and the Same

business-exectutive-coachMany people who contact executive coaching think about it in the same terms as they think about counseling. They feel a bit embarrassed about even considering hiring somebody to “help them become better leaders,” and they associated that with counseling.


Basically, counseling is a form of therapy that focuses on healing an individual. That healing will likely have to do with emotional issues, but it could also be related to physical ailments.

Coaching is a completely different process. With counseling, you will be delving into your past while coaching is more focused on the future.

When you are in counseling, you are trying to determine why you are the way you are, why you react to certain stimuli the way that you do, and how certain situations make you uncomfortable.

When you hire executive coaching, you are seeking ways to improve your effectiveness and efficiency at work. You are seeking advice on how to be a stronger leader to help encourage your team to maximize its potential as well as its efficiency.


Executive coaching starts with the “here and now.” It starts with where you are at this moment within your company and your career. It then looks to the future and where you want to be. Once you can understand where you are right now and where you want to go, the coach will be able to help you figure out what you need to do, what skills you need to develop, and what habits you need to form in order to achieve those goals.

If you want to look into your past and figure out why you do certain things, it’s best to speak to a counselor. If you want to maximize your potential within your company, hire an executive coach.

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