Archives For questions

I love the opportunity for new partnerships. Having been on both sides of the vendor & client agreement, I’ve enjoyed some partnerships so incredible that folks were often eager to work late – and then chum together afterward. Unfortunately, I’ve also been in situations where colleagues rued the day an agreement was signed.

In the end, high quality partnerships come down to trust. But if you rely on blind trust, you’re probably in for a rude awakening.

If you are responsible for signing up a new vendor, these 14 questions will significantly increase your likelihood of a great partnership experience and reduce the many business risks of a poor one. Some questions you can and should ask the vendor directly. For others, you will need to do your own homework. Here they are.

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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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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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Powerful Question #11

November 6, 2013 — 1 Comment

Question Mark 2Sometimes when I meet with a leader of a team or a department, I’ll ask a question about priorities that usually raises an eyebrow or two. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the ones who can answer it usually seem to be on top of things a lot more than the ones who draw a blank. Why don’t you give it a shot? Here it is:

What is your process for determining which projects get priority and which ones either get saved for later or dumped altogether?

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When I first starting studying leadership years ago, I’d find myself in conversations with friends and invariably a leadership challenge they were experiencing would come up. Sometimes, I’d even know how to solve it. I’d usually reference a book or an idea I had recently studied. Sometimes in my enthusiasm, I’d even go out and purchase the resource for them. Unfortunately, when I followed up a few weeks later to see what had happened, they had rarely bothered to look at what I had provided them.

Several years later, I got a consulting assignment to develop a plan to significantly improve an organization’s corporate culture. In fact, I was told this was my chance to “really shape the project.” I spent the next few months analyzing employee survey data, referencing strategic plans and carefully crafting a solution. Finally I got to present my plan to a senior client in a boardroom meeting and was thrilled when he accepted it. Now it was time to get to work. But much to my chagrin, a bigger problem soon emerged: no one wanted to take responsibility for seeing the plan through.

These experiences have taught and confirmed for me a simple but poignant lesson: you can’t want something for other people more than they want it for themselves. It doesn’t matter how much you care if they don’t.

Caring Hands

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Recently I wrote about the benefits of taking Gallup’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 strengths assessment. Nearly 9 million individuals have used the assessment to identify their Top 5 signature strength themes. That means there are many leaders out there who have yet to discover the incredible benefit of clarifying and leveraging their strengths.

Professional PeopleWhat I’d like to do in this post is show how the 34 StrengthsFinder themes neatly divide into four specific leadership styles – and I’ll explain what difference this makes for you and your team. In the next post, I’ll share some ideas for building a strengths-based leadership development program for your organization.

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Powerful Question #4

April 3, 2013 — 6 Comments

Question Mark 2We’ve all received lots of advice over the years, especially when we were young or starting out on a new project or a new season of life. Some of us may still get loads of advice, whether we ask for it or not.

What’s one piece of advice that’s stuck with you through the years? What’s the key to giving great advice?

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Powerful Question #3

March 6, 2013 — 8 Comments

Question Mark 2English writer Samuel Johnson once said that “The applause of a single human being is of great significance.”

Who is one person who has applauded you in a significant way?
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Powerful Question #2

February 6, 2013 — 8 Comments

Question Mark 2Everyone has development experiences throughout their life and career outside of formal training programs (school, professional certifications, etc.) that impact the way they perform as a person, professional, and a leader.

What’s one of the richest leadership development experiences you’ve ever had and how has it helped shape your leadership ability?

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Mentoring 101

January 21, 2013 — 11 Comments
Mentor

Telemachus consults Mentor

It’s said that King Solomon was the wisest man who ever walked the earth.  From the stories it seems his leadership ability was pretty astonishing as well.  Imagine what it would have been like to spend an hour with him.  What questions would you ask?  What problems would you want him to help you solve?  What best practices would you want to know about?

I had the privilege of studying under Dr. Jeff Myers in college and he introduced me to the art of mentoring.  My life hasn’t been the same since.   Continue Reading…