Colin's Blog


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.

10 Topics that Could be Addressed when Working with an Executive Coach

valueWorking with an executive coach will mean that you can focus on a number of areas in which you want to improve. The more areas that you focus on, the more you will improve as an executive and a leader.

Below are 10 topics that could be addressed when you begin working with an executive coach.

1. Thinking more strategically.

In business, you will need to think strategically in order to maximize potential and business opportunities. An executive coach can help you understand how to approach strategic thinking in a more effective and efficient manner.

2. Benchmarking key metrics.

When you learn about benchmark key metrics, you will be able to use them to more accurately measure performance. This can help you keep track of your employees and team members and ensure that they are as productive as possible.

3. Determining your value.

An executive coach can help you find ways to not only determine your own worth as an executive within your company, but also your team’s value to the bottom line. The bottom line is usually profits and that is an important consideration for every business executive.

4. How to properly obtain the top talent.

As an executive, you are likely responsible for some aspects of recruiting and hiring. Attracting and recognizing the best talent can be a challenge. An executive coach can help you recognize what makes a great employee.

5. How to position your company to beat out the competition.

It is your business, and not that of the executive coach. However, an experienced coach will know some of the best ways to help you figure out how to position your company in such a way that you can beat out the competition.

6. Getting organized.

Being organized is essential for executives, especially as you get higher in position within the company. Organizational skills are learned and it is never too late to learn new ones.

7. Get your team members thinking like owners.

Far too often employees don’t feel invested in the company because they don’t have a connection to it. As a leader, it is your responsibility to get your team members thinking like they are owners. A coach can help you achieve this.

8. How to transition to a new role.

If you get a promotion or new responsibilities, it can be a little challenging to make that transition.

An executive coach can assist you with this.

9. How to get others to value your efforts.

If you are middle management or an up and coming executive, you want to find ways to get your superiors to notice you. An executive coach can help you develop strategies that will make you more noticeable.

10. Building high performance teams.

Your main goal may be to build a more efficient and high performing team. An executive coach will certainly be able to help you achieve this goal as well as many others.

Team or Individual Coaching: Which is Right for Your Company

Team CoachingYou are sitting in your office on a Friday evening trying to determine how to increase productivity throughout your company. You know that there are many things that your employees do well, but there are also a number of things that you wish they could improve upon.

You also recognize the fact that you can use improvement in certain areas as well. That is why you have been contemplating hiring a professional team coach to come in and work with you and the rest of your team. However, you are trying to decide whether it would be best to rely on a general team coaching environment or if your employees will gain more by one-on-one individual coaching.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this question. That being said, the most effective coaching that achieves the best results tends to come from one on one coaching. All you need to do is look to professional sports and see this in play.

If you go out and watch training camp of any sports team, you will see two different types of coaching going on. One will be a general, overall coaching that will provide instruction to the team on how to play more effectively together. Intertwined within all of that will be individual coaches working with specific players. One may be focused on a particular position on the team and trying to help that player maximize his or her skills.

When you couple individual coaching with overall team coaching, you may end up getting the most effective results possible. It all starts with the coach getting a general assessment about what your team needs and what each individual within the team can improve upon.

No matter whether you end up choosing individual coaching or team coaching, you will end up with a more efficient and productive team at the end of the coaching session.

Confidentiality Concerns Regarding Leadership Coaching

confidence reguarding coachingIf you’ve been looking into leadership coaching for yourself or for someone in your company, you likely have some concerns with regard to confidentiality. Businesses today want to protect their information, assets, and anything else that could be beneficial for their competition to know.

Ideas, products, and even operations can all be sensitive topics for managers and executives. Confidentiality, then, becomes a very important topic to discuss.

The Importance of Trust

Because of the nature of leadership coaching, and because the coach needs to get to know the client as well as possible, they are going to need to share some personal information.

If the client holds back pertinent information because he or she is concerned that it can be shared elsewhere, then this is going to hamper the working relationship and it’s going to cause the coaching to be less effective than it could or should be.

Trust is absolutely paramount to success with regard to coaching. That’s why a reliable, honest coach is going to be willing to sign a confidentiality agreement. In fact, the vast majority of executives or companies that hire leadership coaches will demand that they sign some type of agreement stipulating that they will not share, disclose, or steal any ideas, information, or processes that the company exclusively uses or has developed.

In order to achieve the level of trust and build a positive relationship, the client and the coach need to have a clear understanding of the expectations and the client also needs to understand that what the coach shares is also confidential.

It’s a two way street when you step into the world of leadership coaching and what you get out of it is what you put into it. Speak to your potential coach and he or she will be able to set your mind at ease about confidentiality.

The Length of Time an Executive Coach will Work with You

amount of time your coach will spendOne of the most common questions that people have when they are considering hiring an executive coach is how long they will need to work with a coach. In truth, every person is different and as such it is almost impossible to provide an estimate with regard to length of time for coaching.

Your personal expectations.

Mostly it is going to come down to your personal expectations with regard to the coach. If you are expecting to completely transform your leadership style or to maximize your skill set and efficiency as a leader within your company, then you should plan on having a coach work with you for a relatively long period of time.

However, if you are only seeking certain skills or strategies that can help in a short-term solution, then you may only need to work with the coach for a matter of weeks.

How long you work with a coach every week matters.

Another factor that will determine the length of time you should work with an executive coach is how much time you can devote to that coach during the week. Some business professionals are extremely busy and have difficulty scraping together an hour a week to work with their personal coach.

It is important to remember that if you don’t have the time to devote to the coaching process, then you really don’t have time to devote to trying to improve your leadership or executive skills. That being said, if you are able to work with a coach for several hours a week, this may reduce the overall duration of time (months) that you will have to work with him or her.

On average, many business executives plan to have an executive coach working with him or her for between 3 to 6 months. Some cut that short if they decide they don’t have time or it is not for them. However, others extend the duration to up to a year or even more, depending on how far their skills have come and what they hope to achieve in the future.

The best way to determine how long you should plan on working with an executive coach is to sit down with an experienced coach, explain your goals, so that they can then offer their honest assessment.

5 Classic Signs You Will Benefit from the Right Executive Coaching

executive coaching torontoTrying to determine whether executive coaching is right for you may be a challenge. Most people have difficulty stepping back in honestly assessing their own skills and position in a company or in life.

There are several signs that can indicate that any person could benefit from the right executive coaching. Below are five classic signs that could indicate it is time for you to choose a professional coach.

1. Something urgent is at stake.

You may be looking at a potential promotion within your company. It may be that a significant project has been established and the deadline looms somewhere in the distant future. The last thing you want is to miss the deadline or be passed over for that promotion, especially if those opportunities do not arrive all that often.

If something urgent is at stake within your company, an executive coach will likely be able to help you take advantage of the opportunity.

2. You recognize gaps in your knowledge or skill set.

If there are certain things that you don’t know or don’t have experience with as an executive, a professional coach can help you analyze and gain the proper knowledge and skills.

3. Unable to gain clarity when it comes to choices.

If you have difficulty making choices or you are unsure about the choices you have made and keep second-guessing yourself, you will likely benefit from executive coaching.

It can be overwhelming at times to have a great deal of responsibility and when the viability and success of your company is in your hands, it can add a significant amount of stress. Having a coach work with you can help you feel more at ease about the decisions you need to make and it can also help clarify what is truly important as opposed to what may be just ideal.

4. You don’t know what your core strengths are.

If you don’t know what your core strengths are, you can’t leverage them to the best of your ability. A professional coach will be will be able to identify those core strengths and help you best leverage them for yourself and your business.

5. You have a sincere desire to accelerate results.

You know that results come eventually, but you want to accelerate them. You may not have a clue how to do this and an executive coach will be able to assist you in finding the best ways to gain the greatest results in the shortest amount of time possible.

Leadership Coaching is Extremely Popular for some Very Good Reasons

leadership coaching popularLeadership coaching has become increasingly popular in recent years. There are many good reasons for this and we will touch on a few of them in this article.

The external business environment.

When you stop and take a look at the external business environment and how companies operate, you will notice that there have been a number of massive changes occurring within recent years.

For example, more people are working away from their teams. This places an even greater burden on executives and managers to find the best leadership abilities in order to maximize efficiency of their teams. When team members are working independently more often and do not meet in person, that changes the entire dynamic of the team and requires extremely strong leadership.

Organizational changes.

Downsizing and restructuring have become commonplace throughout business. Mergers and other acquisitions have made organizational changes a way of life.

This has also changed the way that employees work with and view their employers and leaders. That has placed an increased burden on those in leadership roles to find new ways to connect with their employees and team members and encourage them to accomplish the company goals.

Seeking more inclusion.

Diversity is a common word used in businesses today. More companies are aiming to achieve greater inclusion and collaborative efforts among their team members and employees. In order to achieve this and to encourage people to work well with one another, it requires stronger leadership.

Also with more diversity will be an increase in cultural differences among team members. When team members differ on how they approach work, it can create tension within the team structure. Relying on strong leadership will help to bring people together to achieve the common goal.

These are just a few of the reasons why leadership coaching is becoming increasingly popular. If you find that your company is stepping into these tepid waters, it is a good idea to make sure that your leadership skills are at their best.

Four Steps to Determine if Executive Coaching is Right for You

egoDetermining whether executive coaching is the right thing for you at this time will be a personal decision. There are some keys that you can think about that should help you recognize that this is the right time for you to get the final pieces in place to put yourself above the competition and help your team achieve all of its goals.

1. Determine your expectations with executive coaching. It’s not going to do you or anyone else much good if you’re not sure what you hope to achieve from coaching or training.

Be as clear and precise about your expectations from the outset.

2. Do you collaborate well? If you don’t tend to work well with others, but are an effective manager, then you may not be ready for executive coaching. This type of coaching requires you to work closely with your coach. You would need to listen to what he or she says and put that advice and information to work for you.

3. Do you have the time and energy to devote to coaching? Far too many business executives underestimate the amount of time that is required for executive coaching. It will be a relatively significant investment in your time and effort and if you’re not willing or able to commit to it right now, then it might not be right for you at this moment.

4. Determine how important it is for you to elevate yourself and your team. When you are committed to being a stronger team leader and help your company reach the next level, then executive coaching will certainly be beneficial to you.

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