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Showing posts with label coaching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coaching. Show all posts

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Leading Into the Acceleration of Change

Guest by Marcia Reynolds:
The response to the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated economic and social trends. We are now shopping and buying meals more online, saving rental dollars on office space, holding more virtual business and personal meetings, and improving or seeking an end to our personal relationships as we spend more time together. 
As we transition to being more mobile, we won’t be “returning” so much as “evolving” to confront a new reality.
This is the perfect opportunity to reflect with colleagues on how best to work and what is possible for us in the future. Yet you can’t force people to think creatively, especially now. You have to ease them into the conversation, and then inspire them to think beyond the negative cloud overshadowing their views.
The role of the leader in times of uncertainty is to coach people to think differently, not tell them what to do. 

Enter the conversation with a coaching approach
Whether threats are real or not, forcing a conversation about the future is not productive. When we experience acute stress, our brains shut down in self-survival. We prepare to fight, flight, or freeze, not explore possibilities. Creativity is paralyzed. We believe doomsday stories more than the future leaders are inventing. 
The two key triggers of psychological stress are the perception that there is no control over present circumstances, and there is no way to predict what comes next. All indicators suggest uncertainty will not let up. So, how do you lead others to shift their perspective around control and predictability so they embrace, even capitalize on change? Try taking a coaching approach to your conversation.
People need to feel seen, heard, and reminded that their existence matters no matter what they are experiencing. They need to know their raging emotions are legitimate reactions to their current challenges. Let them know you understand why they are feeling the way they do. Share that you feel unsettled, too, so they know you are a fellow human being. This acceptance may help them feel safe enough to consider the possibility of expanding their perspective. 
To start, don't just ask, "How are you?" Ask something like, "How are you really doing with all these challenges?" Relax as they talk. You don’t need to make them feel better if you are genuinely listening. 
Once you feel their brains calming down, you can ask if they are ready to look at actions they can take. They may or may not be ready.


Clarify what they believe about today and assume about tomorrow
The less we know for sure, the more we believe the worst will happen. It’s difficult to sort the most likely truths from imagination, but using compassionate curiosity will help clarify the stories people are living.
When I coach clients, I listen for the beliefs they are holding about the present moment and the assumptions they are making about the future. I share statements like, “Sounds like you believe (this) is happening.” Or “You said you assume (this) is how your life and work will be affected. Can we sort out what we know for sure and then look at what else is possible?” I fill in (this) with specific phrases they shared, using their words so we can examine their thinking together. Acknowledging limiting beliefs and unsupported assumptions will soften the edges of their stories. 

Offer ways to embrace control and adapt predictions
Once you clarify their beliefs and assumptions, you can shift the conversation to explore what is in their control to do today and how these steps will help shape the future.
Control – Ask what routines they have created to manage their days. If they are struggling to uphold commitments, strategize what boundaries they could create and how to plan for taking just a few steps at a time. Ask how you can support them in feeling they are in more control of their days.
Predictability – Even if you have a vision of what business might look like in a few months, be open to new ideas so you can co-create the future together. Ask questions to create possible scenarios to work toward, knowing that you will adapt as the future unfolds. Executive coach Scott Eblin suggests asking specific “what if” questions that look at how our lives today might influence how we do our best work going forward. Here are a few examples adapted from his work:
  • What if we social distancing needs to be practiced for a year, how would we do business? 
  • What if we changed 50% of the things we’ve always done to better use our current resources and time?
  • What if we were starting our business today? 
  • What do we need to do to emerge better and stronger than we were? 
Accept and build on their ideas instead of judging them. People need to feel safe with you to speak what is on their mind. Once they trust you won’t make them wrong, they will be more open to change their minds. 
Also, let go of how you want the conversation to go. Don’t let your impatience sabotage the conversation. If they reach a dead-end in deciding what to do next, then you can offer suggestions for them to consider without taking their power away.
When you use a coaching approach instead of telling them what to do, you expand their mind and strengthen their will to move forward.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds is a world-renowned expert on inspiring change through conversations. She has delivered programs and coached leaders in 41 countries and reached thousands online. She has four best-selling books, including The Discomfort Zone; Wander Woman; Outsmart Your Brain; her latest, Coach the Person, Not the Problem: A Guide to Using Reflective Inquiry gives tools, tips, and case studies to help you easily apply coaching skills to change minds and behaviors. Read more at https://www.Covisioning.com .

Thursday, December 5, 2019

#GreatLeadersCoach – 5 Coaching Skills Every Leader Should Have


Guest post from Phil Renshaw and Jenny Robinson:

For many years now there has been increasing recognition of the value professional coaches bring to managers and leaders in business. Given the power of coaching, it can benefit everyone. Both the supply and the demand for such coaches continues to increase. However, it is our belief that we are all missing a vital fact.

It is simply untenable to think that we can give a professional coach to everyone who would benefit from it - organisations cannot afford to give everyone a professional coach. And yet they can, and in our view should, give everyone a leader-coach.

Theories and leadership advocates have been arguing for decades (if not millennia) that the most effective leaders are great coaches because they use these skills to harness the potential of the whole team, not just the super stars.  These leaders recognise that they cannot lead alone.  

The first five fundamental skills of coaching can be learnt by anyone.  As you read the list take note if you are mentally yawning because you think “they’re not rocket science” or “these are obvious”.  It’s important to spot if you do this. Many do, and it means they fail to develop the nuances of these fundamentals. All skills require practice – we are not born with these skills!

1. Generative Listening
We need to hear the concerns of our colleagues, understand their issues and give them time to think if we are to be most useful. This is not simply listening. Rather it is giving your full attention, listening out for what is not said, the tone and language used, such that it prompts great questions and hence great thinking in your people. It is generative because it helps the speaker to generate their own solutions. This empowerment is the core to great coaches. Having the belief that your people will be able to find their own way forward is what generative listening demonstrates.

2. Questioning
Banish boring questions.  This is how you will bring alive your curiosity and help someone to see a new perspective.  It also makes it FUN!  We advocate left-field questions like: if you had a magic wand, what would you wish for? What would your kids say? How will you see this issue in twenty-five years-time?  Imaginative questions help to break old assumptions and are a powerful gateway to change.

3. Giving Feedback
Leaders who coach do not turn into “softies”. Coaching skills allow for more direct and straightforward conversations about performance and behaviour.  Key to this is establishing a relationship of trust, so that both people feel they are respected.  In this context, giving feedback becomes a gift because it now comes from a place of helpfulness.  When you are a leader who coaches, you hold the belief that people absolutely want to know if they are failing or acting in a way that is not helpful to others.  Notice now what happens for you, when you make this assumption. And now think about giving someone feedback. 

4. Changing Perspective
Have you ever had the experience of listening to a friend as they tell you a problem and from your point of view it is obvious what they should do?  Welcome to a new perspective.  Of course, your “obvious” might not be theirs, nor may it be right for them.  But the point is, there is always a fresh way to see things.  Leaders who coach help people to find that new perspective.  Ellen Langer, a Professor of Psychology at Harvard, says that new perspectives help us to break categorical thinking.  Categorical thinking is all about “right” “wrong” “should” “must” “ought”.  This is not helpful and not true. There is always more than one way.  Your job is to help your coachee find new ways.

5. Using Pause-Points™
We use the term Pause-Points to represent several related and yet crucial skills. For yourself, as a leader, Pause-Points are the brief moments that you take to notice what is happening around you. When you metaphorically step back, and reflect – what important things have happened today? What did I miss in the whirlwind of meetings and conversations today? For others around you, Pause-Points represent when you pause in conversation, when you use silence to encourage them to think more deeply and to draw out what is happening at a deeper level. Do it now – what has surprised you so far in this article?

Being an effective leader-coach requires awareness and practice – it’s a skill so this should be no surprise. The components of coaching often appear easy – and like the great sportsperson whose ability seems effortless, they are easy (or at least straight-forward) … provided you practice. If you’ve never been trained at these things, or never given them attention, why should you be any good at it? Being senior does not mean you can do these things, after all, as someone significant said: What got you here won’t get you there! (thanks Marshall Goldsmith).

And as Marshall also said, ‘Successful leaders achieve lasting change through effective coaching.’

PhilRenshaw and Jenny Robinson are leadership development experts and co-authors of new book, Coaching on the Go.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Seven Subconscious Habits That Sabotage Your Ability to Listen – And Lead


Guest post from Fred Halstead:

Years ago, I complied with my wife’s request to have my hearing checked. She told me time and again that she felt that I did not consistently hear her. I was surprised and somewhat reluctant, but decided to go to an ENT. Everything checked out and the doctor told me my hearing was fine. As you may have guessed, I realized it wasn’t my hearing that was defective – it was my listening. That event accelerated my interest in making listening a hallmark for me, not only as a coach, but in all aspects of my life. As I focused more on listening, I encouraged my clients to become better listeners and noted these positive changes:

·         - Increased self confidence

·         - Decreased frustration with subordinate misunderstandings

·         - Increased respect with subordinates as well as their direct reports

·         - Substantial increases in performance and effectiveness

·         - Greater efficiency, despite additional listening time with subordinates

As an executive coach for the past 15 years, I have observed how a change in a leader’s leadership style can rapidly transform a company culture. Like a cascading waterfall, direct reports quickly emulate the leader’s changes, and cultural transformation follows organically. Becoming a highly skilled listener is one of the most important tools in achieving remarkable transformation. A critical part of becoming a better listener is understanding and then overcoming these seven habits.

·      A conscious or subconscious lack of respect of others. The act of fully listening to another person is an act of respect. When we do not truly listen, we are disrespecting the person talking. Our disrespect may not even be intentional, but it is disrespect never the less. Just recognizing this fact may inspire you to be in the present and truly listen.

Action Tip: Prior to meeting with a person or persons, think about what is your purpose/motivation for listening. I could be to show respect, to learn, to inspire or to…

·         The natural desire to talk. The fact is, for just about everyone, it is more natural to talk than to listen. We want to tell others what we think, what we did, and what we know. Therefore, be honest with yourself how true this is for you, and give yourself a break in understanding that focused and active listening requires discipline.

Action Tip: For the next month, consider putting your curiosity into overdrive! Ask insightful questions and observe the effect this has on you.

·         Judging others. Assessing one’s thoughts and actions is a critical part of leading people and helping them achieve the desired result. Judgment, as in judging another person’s value, beliefs, intelligence, personality, or background, however inhibits listening. When assessment turns into judgment, amongst other implications, it becomes so much harder to really hear and to gain any benefit from what they are saying. 

Action Tip: Ask yourself: What could motivate me to reduce or eliminate the temptation to judge others while listening to them?

·         Preconceptions and biases. One source of judgment is preconceived ideas about a person. This bias stems from something you believe, such as, “Every time I talk with him, he always has the same point of view.” “I just know he is not very smart, so it is so hard to listen to him. What will I get out of it?” As amazing as it might seem, you will learn something new when you leave your bias behind and sprinkle in some thoughtful questions with a dose of curiosity. 

Action Tip: Consider: What will I gain if I abandon my bias when listening? Be more aware of preconceptions that impede your ability to listen.

·         Ego. We all have a need to appear to be smart. Maybe even to “be the smartest one in the room.” My observation is the less we worry about appearing smart and the more we listen and ask great questions, the smarter we actually appear to be! And, others develop an even greater respect for us. Another observation is leaders known for their big egos are normally those who have the deepest doubts about themselves. If you are a great listener, it is hard also to be known as the person with the big ego.

Action Tip: Be aware when you are trying to demonstrate your intelligence. Try asking questions to learn more about what others know. Prepare to be surprised by the value of others’ thoughts.

·         Multitasking. In my Skills That Inspire Incredible Results (STIIR) program, this habit always garners a strong response. “I have so much to do I have to multitask” can be heard spoken from the audience. Our ability to think comes from our prefrontal cortex lobe where information processes serially – where each new piece of information processes individually. Our brains cannot take in multiple bits of information simultaneously. Most of us can process information very rapidly, but not simultaneously. Simply put, we are most effective when put all of our focus on one thing at a time.

Action Tip: As difficult as this might seem, try for one week to turn from the computer or whatever might distract you from listening and give your undivided attention and listening to the person who is talking to you. Notice how much it benefits you and the other person.

·         Shutting people off. The habit of disagreeing with a person and concluding that you will not learn anything useful from that person is common. We concentrate on the disagreement rather than the kernel of truth or the insight the other person may have to offer. When you shut people off, you may miss critical information or knowledge.

Action Tip: When you find yourself shutting another person off, instead become curious and listen for the kernel of truth or insight that the person may have for you.
I have observed that high-performing leaders who make a strong commitment to overcome these habits gain benefits far beyond the effort required. Try it; you will be amazed by the outcome.


Fred Halstead is the founder and principal of Halstead Executive Coaching, the author of Leadership Skills That Inspire Incredible Results, and creator of the performance-enhancing leadership program, Skills That Inspire Incredible Results (STIIR). He specializes in coaching highly successful CEOs and senior-level executives who are open to positive change and wish to increase their abilities as great leaders. Discover more leadership coaching resources at www.HalsteadExecutiveCoaching.com.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Why Managers Don’t Listen (Poor Listener Syndrome): and the Cures!


One of the most important skills for any manager is listening. Listening demonstrates respect, concern, an openness to new ideas, empathy, compassion, curiosity, trust, loyalty, and receptivity to feedback – all considered to be qualities of an effective leader.

Listening isn’t rocket science. We are born with the ability to listen, yet somehow managers, at some point in their careers, seem to forget how to use this natural born gift. Listening is one of the most consistently lowest rated behaviors in 360 degree feedback assessments for managers. It’s a management disease – Poor Listener Syndrome (PLS)!

Actually, it’s not just managers that don’t listen – it’s also employees, husbands, wives, kids, students, teachers, and just about human being with two ears. However, this is a management and leadership resource, so we’ll stick with listening in the context of a management skill.

So if listening is such an important management skill and it’s an ability we were born with, why do so many managers get feedback that say they are poor listeners?
That’s an issue I’ve explored with several managers when I review their 360 assessment results. Here are the seven most frequent reasons, and a prescription for each cause:

1. They don’t know they are poor listeners – it’s a blind spot. A behavioral blind spot is the gap between our intentions and our behaviors. We see ourselves as a good listener, but others don’t. Given that candid feedback is such a rare commodity, we are clueless about our flaws until they are pointed out by others. And even when they are, we sometimes still deny they exist (fight or flight).

The cure: Get some feedback. Feedback is a gift, and awareness is the key to self-development.

2. They don’t understand the value of listening. I’ll often have to spend time explaining the impact of poor listening to managers, either in a coaching session or in a training class. Sometimes I’ll demonstrate it. At some point, the light goes on, and for the first time in their lives they get it. These are the same managers who are often having issues in their personal lives, with their friends and family, and poor listening is often the culprit.

The cure: Read the research, discuss the importance of listening with others, and experience the positive effects when you focus on improving your listening skills!

3. They don’t know how to listen. Managers often get low scores in listening but insist they understand the importance of listening and that they DO listen. While this may be true (good intentions), others see behaviors that convey a lack of listening.

The cure: Listening skills are relatively easy behaviors to learn, with a little awareness and practice. They include:
·         Making eye contact
·         Head nodding
·         An open posture
·         Leaning forward
·         Arms uncrossed
·         Using encouraging phrases such as “go on”, “tell me more”, “uh uh”, or anything to show that you are paying attention
·         Paraphrasing (repeating back in your own words to check for understanding
Take a short course, read a book, observe others, practice, and get feedback. Like any new skill, it will feel unnatural at first, but with deliberate practice, the skill soon becomes a habit.

4. They are impatient, smart, or easily distracted. OK, these are actually three separate, but sometimes related causes. Highly successful, intelligent,  type A managers often find it difficult to slow down and take the extra time to listen. They jump ahead and want to finish someone’s sentence, use hand gestures to speed someone along, or their minds start racing on to other issues and thoughts. Smartphone checking is a symptom of this impatience and habitual multi-tasking.

The cures: Shut the door, turn off the smartphone, focus, and give the person in front of you 100% of your attention. Think of it as a gift, and observe the difference in how others respond.

5. They listen selectively. This reason is one of the most common, and becomes apparent with 360 degree assessment results. The manager shows high in listening for the boss and superiors, but low with peers or direct reports.

The cure: The skills are there- you just have to apply them consistently!

6. They don’t value people at all. Managers won’t admit this, but when they try to justify their low listening scores, it becomes apparent that they just don’t see value in paying attention to what others have to say. They just may not be interested in people. In the worst cases, it’s extreme arrogance.

The cure: Fake it until you make it. If you can convince a manager that it is in their own selfish self-interest to at least pretend that they are listening, they might be willing to mimic listening behaviors. Yes, it’s not authentic, and some people will see through it, but sometimes if you practice a behavior long enough, you get good at it, and you start to become the behavior.

7. They have poor hearing. I know this from personal experience, when a caring manager told me that others were complaining that I didn’t listen to them. That, and my wife complaining that the TV was too loud.

The cause: get your hearing checked, and if you are told you need hearing aids (and can afford them), get it done. Your family and employees will appreciate it, and you’ll find out what you’ve been missing.

Need an executive coach that can work with you or your leaders to improve their listening skills? Or a half day training program? Please contact me to discuss!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Closing the Gap: How to Get Coaching


Guest post from Michael Bungay Stanier:

Over the last few years, the leadership world has begun to understand the importance of coaching in the workplace. But what has that really translated to?

Some companies went about implementing coaching by bringing in an executive coach to help develop their employees.

And while that can be a good introduction and yield great results, it can also be quite

expensive, the individual training can be a little inconsistent, and it doesn’t effectively implement coaching into the workplace long term.

So, although leaders have acknowledged the need for coaching within their organizations, they still aren’t 100% sure how to close the gap.

The key lies in turning existing managers into future coaches. And here’s how to get started.

Define What Coaching Will Mean to You

If you don’t know what coaching really means to your organization, what’s the point of trying to get into it?

“Coaching’ has been a bit of a buzzword over the last few years, and there are hundreds of definitions of it. One of my personal favorites, though, is this: “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”

That definition comes from Sir John Whitmore, and I think it’s a perfect way to introduce coaching. But that doesn’t mean you can’t alter it to best suit your organization’s goals.

Don’t Turn Coaching into a Big Deal

“Don’t turn coaching into a big deal.” By that I mean don’t try to create a coaching culture or make it a formal event.

Just because the HR industry has touted coaching as one of the best concepts ever in the leadership world, that doesn’t mean it’s a fix-all for your organization. True, successful coaching can improve the workplace in many ways, but that doesn’t mean it will immediately drive change and fix all the obstacles you’re tackling.

And that’s where trying too hard to make it part of your organization’s culture can get you into trouble.

Coaching is a tool that works best when it’s targeted toward one specific objective.

So instead of focusing on implementing a coaching culture, focus on that specific objective. Are you looking to increase customer retention? To better track website metrics? To improve operations budgets and procedures?

If you don’t outline exactly why you’re looking to implement coaching in the workplace, the whole concept of it may come across a little too vague and distanced from the busyness of the everyday workflow.

Make It Mean Something

Managers are busy enough as it is without having to feel like they’re going to be forced to learn a new skill. They need to understand a connection — that is, what’s in it for them? In order to bridge the gap and successfully implement coaching into their lives, they need to understand that, when done right, coaching can reduce their workload, make their teams less dependent and make their employees more accountable.

Once managers understand this, why wouldn’t they be more open to learning how to become more coach-like?

Show That It Doesn’t Have to Be So Hard

My experience these days, working with busy managers around the world, tells me that managers are stretched more thinly than ever. We thought we were busy in the year 2000, but that was nothing compared with today’s hyper-connected digital world.

So why would a manager want to take on the added task of coaching employees? Well, we’ve already settled that it will help alleviate some of their stress by encouraging their employees to be more autonomous. And I think it’s safe to say that a reduction in workload is a good reason to get started.

But what’s important to explain to your managers is that coaching doesn’t have to take more time, it doesn’t have to be an added task to a seemingly never-ending to-do list. Instead, it can be something done in passing, nothing more than a daily interaction that’s as easy as catching up by the water cooler.

Be Lazy, Be Curious, Be Often

Managers don’t need to become coaches; they simply need to become more coach-like. And the way to do that is for them to offer advice a little less often, and ask questions a little more often.

So, as a manager, the next time someone comes to you …

Be lazy. Don’t jump in right away to offer advice. Ask something like “How can I help?” This will work in two ways. First, it will force the other person to get clear on what it is they want or need from you. Second, it acts as a self-management tool that will keep you lazy — preventing you from running off to do things you think people want you to do.

Be curious. Instead of saying yes all the time or taking over, ask questions. “And what else?” leaves no rock unturned. The first answer someone gives to this question is never the only answer, and rarely is it the best one. There are always more answers to be found and ideas to be generated — and this question will keep you lazy and encourage others to come up with them. So, without coming up with the ideas yourself, and without taking on more work, you’ll get the answers out anyway — by helping your employee learn along the way.

Be often. Don’t set time aside to coach; rather, turn everyday conversations into insightful moments of coaching. Asking questions like the two noted above won’t take any more time out of your day, but the results will be noticeable.

So, instead of thinking of coaching as something else to add to your plate, think of it as an adaptable skill. It’s all about asking the right questions, asking them often and watching your employees learn through your daily conversations.

We’re all hardwired to give advice. But promoting a little more curiosity rather than expertise will create perfectly coach-like managers — and that, surely, will help bridge the gap.


Michael Bungay Stanier
Michael is the Senior Partner at Box of Crayons, a company that teaches 10-minute
coaching so that busy managers can build stronger teams and get better results. His most recent book, The Coaching Habit, has sold a quarter of a million copies. Along with David Creelman and Anna Tavis, Michael recently conducted and released a new piece of research, The Truth & Lies of Performance Management. Michael is a Rhodes Scholar and was recently recognized as the #3 Global Guru in coaching. Visit BoxofCrayons.com and http://boxofcrayons.com/pmresearch/ for more information.
 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Leadership: Leveraging Your Soft Skills

Guest post by Lisa Sasso:

Soft skills can make or break you as a leader; they are clearly more important to a leader than any hard skill.  This is a basic truth I learned early on in my business career, and it has sustained me throughout a succession of leadership roles — right up to my present work as an executive coach.
  
I first became aware of the need for soft skills when I was a Tupperware Executive Manager, teaching members of my team about the products, how to best present the line and explaining how effective use could make customers’ lives more efficient.  My team members easily grasped these concepts, and I always made sure they were well versed to answer almost any customer question.

Nevertheless, I found that I was spending most of my time working with them on the softer skills.  Before I knew it, my role became that of a coach, inspiring them to give their best, teaching them how to be customer-focused, understand their customers’ needs, wants and desires, and demonstrating how to present, motivate and engage the customer.  Also, how to potentially transform an excited customer into a recruit for the team.

Tupperware was where I learned how recognition can be an important motivator.  With hindsight, I now see that I hadn’t realized just how important recognition for my own accomplishments was to me.  I knew it felt good, and now I saw first-hand how Tupperware effectively used recognition to motivate and retain quality consultants and managers.

Leaders of today have a bigger challenge, given the diversity of modern-day teams.  While teamwork had been important with my Tupperware team, my leadership skills were really put to the test when I took on the responsibility for all Sales and Clinical teams at Radi Medical Systems (Radi).  I could screen candidates for product knowledge and aptitude (candidates had to demonstrate they could sell the product and take an online test to prove that they could interpret the technology and explain how it was used), but figuring out if they had the right values, were a good fit with the other members of the team, and knowing what I would need to do to motivate them appropriately was complex.

In my dual role as President/CEO and first sales representative, my goal was to generate revenue one customer at a time.  Within five years, the company had nearly 50 employees, 30 of whom were in the field, with revenue approaching $28M.  Dealing with the explosive triple-digit growth forced me to relinquish my “lead by example” sales role and instead lead differently.  By setting the company’s mission, vision and values, I used those corporate philosophies as litmus tests in hiring — taking on applicants who aligned with these philosophies. That made us a cohesive and successful team.
 
The takeaway here is that it’s a lot easier to lead a team when everyone is on the same page.  Leaders understand that people make the difference between a good and a great product, and that means hiring the right people must be a #1 priority.  Never settle for just any candidate; make sure they are the right candidate.

It bears repeating:  soft skills can make or break you as a leader; it’s not necessary to master every such skill, but each leader should find those that work for them.  One skill that always stands out in my mind and that I have used successfully is Caring.  There’s a famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt that I’ve always believed to be true: “Nobody will ever care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  Anyone who has ever worked for or with me knows that I put this quote into practice.

In my recently released book, Motivation Now!, I’ve shared the soft skills that are reflections of my approach.  Examples include:
  •          Achieve Now!  Achieving now is about accomplishing things that you want to do.
  •          Celebrate Now!  Reflects the personal touch and how I ran Radi — like a family.
  •          Setting Goals Now!  This is as much a soft as a hard skill, and clearly relevant to leadership.

Leaders are not expected to be everything to everyone, but it is critical that leaders know their strengths and how to leverage (and supplement) them appropriately.  Just being aware of your “Top 5 Strengths” helps you to truly define yourself.  [I recommend completing StrengthsFinder Assessment (SFA).]  Once you know your strengths, you can channel your energies into the things that you do naturally.  This will get you further in life — it’s called building on your strengths.

I’ve found that leadership isn’t a constant — it’s put to the test every day.  As president of the non-profit Medical Development Group of Boston (MDG), I found myself in an environment that required me to make good decisions and speak with authority and passion.  Membership in this group was about as diverse as you can get (age, experience, skills, specialties, etc.).  I found that my passion broke through many of the potential barriers.  Passion is one of my true gifts, and I share it with everyone that I come in contact with.  How you act and how you present yourself are two very important measures of leadership.

If you consider all of the leadership roles I’ve presented above, you will find that all of these positions required use of attentive listening, clear speech, and persuasion.  In the end, I realized that my true calling was to be a coach, and to this day coaching is how I lead.  Leadership can be a lonely road, since a leader’s journey is often fraught with adversity, change and long hours.  But it doesn’t have to be lonely, nor should you feel alone.  Have you ever considered having a coach in your life?


Lisa Sasso, MBA, is a certified executive coach who empowers aspiring leaders and executives to achieve their personal and professional goals, maintain work/life balance, and ultimately reach their greatest potential.  She specializes in coaching medical device professionals and recently published “Motivation Now!”

 
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