Category Archives: Coaching

Are You Really Ready?

reaching for ladder

You see a job posting that looks like it would be the perfect next step for you.  You decide to apply for the position so you go in to talk to your boss about the move as you need his approval to apply.  No problem right, he’s talked to you about where you want to go and he’s supported your development.  Surprisingly he tells you that you aren’t ready for that position, you just don’t have the right experience.  What’s going on?  Now what do you do?

First you have to set aside your disappointment and that may take some time.  When you can be calm and are ready to hear what your boss has to say, schedule time to talk to him about it.  You may be surprised by his answers.

To get to the root of the issue you need to be open to asking questions that may have tough answers.  Here are some suggestions of questions you can ask to learn more about the situation:

  • What about this position wasn’t a good fit for you?
  • Where there skills required for the position that you don’t have or haven’t fully developed yet?
  • Was there some specific business experience required that you haven’t had yet?

Once you get answers to those questions you can then start to explore what you can do to be better prepared for the next opportunity that comes along.   Ask what you can be doing to grow in the appropriate areas.  Are there classes you should take?  Is there a project you can be part of to gain experience?  Should you be connecting with people in another area?

You may also have discovered that the position would not have been a good move for your career goals.  Maybe it was interesting but would pull you in a direction that really is not where you want to go.  It can be so easy to get excited about a position based on the job description only to learn that it really is more repetitive or tied to a desk than the description might imply.

Another possibility may be lurking in the background.  One is that your boss knew they had identified someone for that position before it was even posted.  The posting was a formality and you would never have had a chance so he was saving you from getting false hope.

The other reason you may have been told you weren’t ready is that your boss may not be ready to let you go.  If you are doing a great job and are in a unique field it might be hard to replace you, so your boss is holding on to you for his own good.  This will be harder to spot because bosses rarely admit to this one.  Look for comments related to difficulty backfilling your current position.

No matter what the reason is behind the “you aren’t ready” you now have more information about what you need to do to be prepared to move.  If it’s related to skills or experience focus on developing the needed skills or getting the right experience.  If it’s because they had hand-picked someone work on getting to know people in the area where you want to go.  This will help you be someone they will consider because they know you now.  And if it was because your boss wants to keep you, you will need to find an ally outside your area who can help you grow and move forward.

It’s not always easy to hear that you weren’t right for a job, however it gives you the opportunity to prove what you can do and how you handle disappointments.  Focus on moving forward and stay positive.  That will prove you are ready when the time comes, and it will come sooner than you think.

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Thought for Today

Growing Knowledge

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.
Benjamin Franklin

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Developing Future Leaders Radio Interview

Here is a link to the chat I had with Doug Dickerson on Management Moment Radio show last Friday.  We discussed the need to develop the next generation of leaders.

Radio Show

Take a listen and let me know your thoughts on how we can prepare for the future of our organizations.

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How do you Get to the Point?

ConfusionWhen you are communicating information to others how quickly do you get to the point? Do you hit them between the eyes with the bottom line or do you spend 5 minutes laying the groundwork for the decision?  Maybe you fall somewhere in between.  All are valid options and needed in different situations.  The next question is how does your audience respond?  Do they shy away from the blunt data or do their eyes glaze over at the details?  To get your point across you need to tailor your delivery to the audience’s style not yours.

To understand which style to use with your audience you need to have an understanding of their preference and their needs.  What do they need to get from the information and how do they like information presented to them.

Being direct is great when:

  • You have 30 seconds to update your boss before his meeting
  • The person you are sending information to likes bullet point highlights
  • It’s the team’s weekly update meeting where everyone reports status
  • People’s safety is a concern and time is of essence

Being more detailed is great when:

  • People need to understand the reason for a change
  • The person you are sending information to needs the backup as support
  • You are asked how you reached the decision
  • Getting buy-in to a decision is critical for success

When you are going to share information, in response to a question or as part of a routine report, take a minute to consider the needs and style of your audience.  They may want bullet point highlights with the details attached for future reference.  They may need to have all the details so they can answer questions from others.  It varies each time you communicate with someone.

Keep in mind that if you always default to your preferred style people may be missing your point.  If you love to give details, but the person you are talking to needs the three main points you’ve lost them before they get the points.  If you tell some on the top three points but don’t give them the details they need, they could see you as rude or uncooperative.  Either way your credibility and opinions of your ability to communicate has been damaged.

The point of communicating is to share information.  So it’s up to you to adapt to the situation to ensure your message is received.  Pay attention to people’s reaction to how you provide information, this will give insight into how well you are making your point.  At times you must be direct and other times you must be detailed.

photo from iStockPhoto.com

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New Year – New Results

which wayIf you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. 
Tony Robbins 

Now that we are in 2013 what are you going to accomplish?  When you look back on this New Year will you be able to say you accomplished your goals or that you went beyond to reach your dreams?

There has been a lot of conversations about dreaming big, setting goals (or not) and how to translate those into action steps.  However, so many people set goals, create resolutions, dream big and yet they fall short of where they want to go.  That doesn’t mean they are bad people, they aren’t failures, they just didn’t have all the tools and support they needed to accomplish their goals.

Have you ever gotten help in reaching your goals?  If so you know that having a partner alongside you can help you find the right path, get over the obstacles and celebrate with you when you reach your goals.  A coach can be that person who is there to be that partner.  A majority of executives use coaches to help them become better business leaders.  Why not get a coach to help you build a better foundation for your career?  A performance coach can assist you in developing better skills in time management, project management, planning and interpersonal or supervisory skills.   Strengthening these skills will provide you with a solid foundation that will help you do more now and set the stage for achieving more in the future.

I want 2013 to be the best year ever, for me and for others.  One of my big dreams is to help others build their skill set so that they have the career they always dreamed of and have time for family and friends.  So in honor of reaching new heights I am offering a New Year – New Results special on my coaching packages.  Click here New Year – New Results to learn more. If you are interested, or know someone who would like a helping hand, please check out the offer and contact me.

Here’s to having the best year ever and making dreams come true!

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Re-evaluating Your Goals

From time to time it’s important to take some time to reflect upon where you’ve been, where you are and where you are going.  This gives you the opportunity to celebrate the successes you’ve had, the progress you’ve made and the lessons you’ve learned along the way.  When you take in all your personal growth you may find that your vision of the future is slightly different than it was a year ago.  This is why regular reviews are vital for your continued growth. 

Recognizing that the things you have learned may lead to new paths to explore is key to personal growth.  As well, making sure your goals are still the right ones for you will ensure that you are focusing on getting the right things done.  Progress towards an outdated goal is not really progress, it’s just movement. 

For me personally the goals I had in mind when I started this blog last January have evolved.  I was looking to get back into the training and development world in a full time position.  As I worked through a move to a new city and taking in everything that I’ve learned from my blogging I came to realize that really wasn’t the right role for me now.  I still have a deep and abiding passion for training, learning and development.  However, I discovered that instead of a full time job within a company I was happier working one-on-one with people and helping companies improve their training and development programs.  As a result, I am focusing my efforts on becoming a performance coach to help young professionals build a strong foundation for long-term career success.  I will still do training in the areas of time management, leadership and team building while I work with people one-on-one to reach their potential at work and to find their work-life balance.

I’ve been very fortunate to have supporters, mainly mu husband, who have pushed me to stop and figure out what I really want to do next.  They have encouraged me as well as pushed and prodded on occasion to get me moving in this new direction.  Without that support it wouldn’t be possible.  It’s been hard work, a bit stressful and it has its risks, however, by shifting my focus away from the goal of last year I find I am more hopeful and overall have more energy to get this off the ground.

When you are pursuing the things that really make you excited about getting up each morning it hardly feels like work.  As Confucius once said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”   Aligning your actions with your goals and your goals with your passions will make the journey more enjoyable and well worth the effort.

As the year winds down take some time to re-evaluate your goals and make sure you are on the right track for you.

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Quote for Nov 15th

Coaching helps you take stock of where you are now in all aspects of your life, and how that compares to where you would like to be.
Elaine MacDonald

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Leaders as Coach

As a leader one of your responsibilities is to get the best out of your team. There are several ways that you can get that done. One way is to set clear goals and hold people accountable to achieving them. The problem that will crop up sooner or later is that there are times when people aren’t meeting their goals, or their performance is suffering. How do you get them back on track?

A great way to help redirect someone is to provide coaching for them. As their leader you will need to put on a coaches hat and work with them. To make the most of this opportunity to help someone improve their performance you will need to step back from being their boss and the needed performance numbers. To really help someone grow through coaching you need to take the approach of being there to help them succeed. The goal is still to meet performance criteria, but by stepping back and coaching for improvement you can help the employee get there quicker.

To effectively coach the key is to focus on asking questions that trigger the person to think of new ways to get things done. A coach does not provide solutions; they create an environment where new solutions are discovered by the person being helped. When a person develops their own ideas on what to do differently they will own the solution and thus be more engaged in executing it. This increases buy-in and improves the likelihood of reaching the goals and sustaining performance.

Some questions to get the ball rolling in a coaching session are:

1. What is your understanding of the goals for your position?
2. What are some of the challenges you are encountering in reaching these goals?
3. How might you get around these obstacles?
4. What strengths do you bring to this position?
5. What tools or training would help you improve your performance?
6. How can I, or someone else, help you succeed?
7. What steps will you take in the next week to reach these goals?

There are many, many more questions that can be used to inspire new thoughts and trigger new solutions; these are just a few to get you started. Keep in mind that the questions are best when open ended and not judgmental. Assure the person that they are capable of reaching the goals and finding solutions to the issues. Remember there are no right or wrong answers to these questions as long as the person is taking responsibility for creating solutions to improve.

What have you done to help coach someone for improved performance?

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