Archives For Coaching

We hear so much about coaching these days. Leaders need to coach more. Employees need more coaching. High performers need coaching. Low performers need coaching. As leaders, how can we know we’ve done enough? And what does a quality coaching conversation actually look like in action?

Over the years, I’ve adopted a simple definition of coaching: “To coach is to develop another person by listening and asking questions to clarify ideas and commit to action.”

If you look closely, you’ll notice five key characteristics. I’ve listed each of them out below:

Business Conversation

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Congratulations – you’ve just been selected to participate in a corporate mentoring program. Or maybe you took the initiative and enlisted a mentor yourself. Or perhaps, a seasoned pro has begun to formally or informally take you under his wing. Whatever the case, way to go!

Now comes the tricky part: what should you get mentoring for?

One of the difficult parts of entering a new mentoring partnership – especially for first-time mentees – can be deciding what exactly to invest a mentoring relationship toward. On one hand, it’s great to have a partner committed to your development. On the other hand, it’s hard to know where to start.

Confused Professional2

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As a University of Kansas basketball fan, I’ve never rooted for Duke. But there is a Duke moment that stands out in my memory. It occurred probably 10 or 15 years ago. Duke was in the process of getting upset in the NCAA Tournament. They were playing hard that day but not well. Near the end of the game, the senior star player fouled out, highlighting the frustrating day for everyone. As he exited the floor for the last time as a college athlete, he headed straight for Coach Mike Krzyzewski with tears streaming down his face and the two shared a prolonged embrace.

My first thought was that Coach K must have really messed up his black suit hugging a really sweaty guy (probably a sign that I’d make a terrible basketball coach). The second was how evident the bond between the leader and the followers was that day. It wasn’t an expression of victory, but one of commitment.

Coach K Sideline

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Book 3D image v2I’m happy to announce that last week I posted my first ebook Trusted Leadership Advisor: Accelerating the Leadership Journey of Others.

You don’t have to be special to be a leader and you don’t have to be an expert to help other leaders succeed. You can start right now, right where you are.

Trusted Leadership Advisor is a compilation of some of my previous posts on this topic. In the ebook, I show you how to think about your role as a trusted leadership advisor, what to say and how to get started. Take a look – and if you find it helpful, please share it.

I’d also appreciate your feedback. This is my first ebook and I want to know if the format, structure and ideas prove to be helpful for you. You can leave me a comment below or contact me directly.

There’s so much work to do – let’s work together!

The term “coaching” has been trending as a corporate buzzword for some time now. We’re all familiar with athletics coaches. But when someone advises us to find a coach to learn a new skill or solve problem, it’s usually in a professional context. What does it actually mean to coach someone?

The interesting thing about coaching is how dynamic of a leadership role it is. Supervisors can coach. Mentors can coach. Peers can coach. Executive coaches can coach (obviously). Just about anyone can coach at one time or another.

Whether you have the opportunity to be coached or to be a coach, let’s take a look at six things coaching leaders do that set them apart.

Business People Talking

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What if I told you you don’t need to have a great solution for every single problem that comes your way in order to be a competent and mature leader? Well that’s exactly what I’m about to propose. Hopefully it’s as refreshing to you as it is to me. And the best part about it is that it can dramatically improve your leadership influence as well.

Question Marks

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How SMART Are Your Goals?

November 11, 2013 — 2 Comments

Zig Ziglar once said that “a goal properly set is halfway reached.” I don’t know about you, but I always figured if I could get a 50% head start in anything, I’d take it! Of course it can take a lot of effort to slug through the dog days of execution, especially if your goal is to run a marathon or something tough and long-term like that. But the greater battle is usually for clarity at the onset.

So how do you get clarity when it comes to goal-setting?

You’ve probably heard about SMART goals before. If you haven’t, this little model could change your life. If you have, it’ll be a good refresher. Here are the steps to transforming regular, ordinary goals into SMART goals.

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Have you ever had a coach, teacher, or mentor in your formative years who pushed you to be more than you thought you could become on your own? If so, you’ll strongly appreciate this month’s leadership profile featuring my high school football coach, Dick Burton – even if you’ve never been an athlete.

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Have you ever considered hiring a leadership coach? Do you know someone who has a coach? Contrary to popular opinion, coaches are not just a luxury service for the rich and famous (as one of my past clients once believed). Writers hire writing coaches, speakers hire speaking coaches, actors hire acting coaches, and quarterbacks hire quarterback coaches. Why should leaders be any different?

Leadership CoachingMany leaders hire a coach when they want to gain clarity, explore future opportunities, form an action plan, or resolve a leadership challenge. They share conversations either on a regular or intermittent basis. Coaches are champions of the clients’ vision. But coaches aren’t saviors. Let’s take a look at some of the things a coach won’t do for you.

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In recent years, we’ve seen a new emphasis on the art of listening. It can’t be because listening is all of a sudden more important than it ever was before. Maybe the nature of work in the information age means the the cost of misunderstanding is higher. Or maybe our experts and trainers have been burned by poor listening and decided to produce more thought leadership on the topic.

At any rate, many studies demonstrate the importance of listening. We are apparently able to listen about 3 times faster than we can speak, but we also forget most of what we’ve heard. Listening been identified as one of the top qualities employers seek. And the ability to listen well has been tied to the ability to lead.

Listening Kid

Everyone wants to be hired, to lead well, and to experience true understanding in the communication they engage in. So how can we learn to listen more effectively? There are many solutions for growth, but one of the first may be to understand the various levels of listening that exist. Here are five of the most common ones:

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