The Right Coach with the Right Stuff can be Your Recipe for Success

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"The Right Coach with the Right Stuff can be Your Recipe for Success"

In my last article I talked about how you are never too “mature” to have a coach and to continue the conversation, I would like to share what a coach can do for you as well as important things to consider when working with a coach.

No matter what stage of life you are in, a coach can help you get to that next stage. It’s like losing 20 pounds, the first 10 are the easiest and then it seems we struggle in our attempts to lose the last 10.  One of the reasons may be that we have no one to share in the final victory, or we fear judgment about how long it is taking or we second-guess ourselves about what we need to do to reach our final destination.  A coach can be a cheerleader, a resource for more information, and a friend who doesn’t “judge” the what, why or how of our plans. And a good coach can help us make better decisions and celebrate our successes.

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Eric Hoffer

One of the questions you need to first ask yourself before working with a coach is this: “Am I coachable?”  I believe baby boomers are very coachable. Why?  We have had enough experiences to know what we want and what we don’t want.  We become more open to ideas as we grow wiser, especially in this day of lightning-speed change. We are likely more adept at working with others.  Most baby boomers I know are optimistic, courageous, have a great work ethic, want more quality relationships and more meaningful careers.  We have been the self-indulgent route, we have had money and lost money and had it again and know that money doesn’t buy happiness.  We are used to working outside our comfort zone and are able to bounce back from setbacks. We actually listen to our peers and even younger generations and will take their advice when we know it’s good for us.  And we are ready to realize our full potential.

Coaching works best when you know what you want to get done.  As long as you are open to feedback and willing to create positive change in your life coaching works.

So what are the things you should consider when working with a coach?

  1. Someone who is willing to give you the time and undivided attention you need to reach your goals
  2. Someone who understands your needs and most importantly your goals
  3. Someone you know, like and trust
  4. Someone who can help you assess your own life and get very clear about what you want to accomplish
  5. Someone who will help you evaluate your goals and come up with a plan (and timeline) to achieve your goals
  6. Someone who asks good questions and more importantly listens for the answers
  7. Someone who holds your feet to the fire (keeps you accountable)

Where can you find a good coach?  

Ask! Ask your friends for referrals. Network and find out who is using a coach and what success she or he has had. Interview potential candidates.

Check out the International Coaching Federation for a list of coaches.  Find those who have the types of skills and experience suitable to you and your goals. Investigate them by asking for references, check out their website, social media presence and any other place they might ‘hang out’ online.

Once you have narrowed down the candidate list, you can begin to ‘test’ the coach’s style and if it resonates with you. One way to do this is to ask for a sample coaching session.  See if she or he is a good fit for you.  While you don’t have to think alike it is good to have someone with whom you are not constantly butting heads.  Just as it isn’t good to have someone always agreeing with you, it is also not good for your confidence to have someone who always points out when you are wrong. When you do a sample coaching session you will find out if the coach is “in tune” to what you are all about.

Working with a coach can be a very rewarding and exhilarating experience. And at times it might even be frightening.  The right coach can help you discover your true gifts and talents. The right coach will help you face issues you didn’t want to or couldn’t face.  Working with a coach can help you no matter what your goals are; whether it’s to lose weight, make more money or live your ideal life. Working with the right coach can help you grow in ways you never thought you would (or could).

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Coaching and Leadership – Consider the Possibilities

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"Coaching and Leadership - Consider the Possibilities"When you hear the word “coach”, what comes to mind? Do you picture a basketball team with a man/woman yelling at the players, telling them to “keep their eye on the ball, cover the defense, or make the goal?” Or perhaps a football team with a man/woman pacing to and fro and calling out the names of the players?

Coaching has long surpassed being utilized only for sports teams; it is now one of the key concepts in leadership and management. Why is coaching popular? And important?

Coaching levels the playing field

Coaching is one of the six emotional leadership styles proposed by Daniel Goleman. Moreover, it is a behavior or role that leaders enforce in the context of situational leadership. As a leadership style, coaching is used when the members of a group or team are competent and motivated, but do not have an idea of the long-term goals of an organization. They need guidance and direction to help achieve those goals. This involves two levels of coaching: team and individual. Team coaching helps members work together. In a group of individuals, not everyone may have nor share the same level of competence and commitment to a goal. A group may be a mix of highly competent and moderately competent members with varying levels of skill and commitment. These differences can cause friction among the members. The coaching leader helps the members worth through their expectations and assumptions. The coaching leader manages differing perspectives so that the common goal is the driving force for the group or team, personal goals and interests while they may be important, are not the main focus. In a large organization, leaders need to align the members’ personal values and goals with that of the organization so that long-term directions can be pursued.

Coaching builds confidence and competence

Individual coaching is an example of situational leadership at work. It aims to mentor one-on-one, building the confidence of members by affirming good performance during regular feedback; and increase competence by helping the member assess his/her strengths and weaknesses towards career planning and professional development. Depending on the individual’s level of competence and commitment, a leader may implement a more concentrated coaching program for the less-experienced and/or new staff/team members.

Coaching promotes individual and team excellence

Excellence is a result of habitual good practice. The consistency of meetings and constructive feedback is important in establishing good habits. Members adopt the habit of constantly assessing themselves for their strengths and areas for improvement that they perceive what knowledge, skills, and attitudes are needed to attain team goals. In the process, they gain individual excellence along the way. Take for example, a musical orchestra: each member plays a different instrument. In order to achieve musical harmony when each instrument is played as part of the tune, members perfect their individual parts, aside from practicing as an ensemble. This individual performance enhances the entire outcome of the ensemble.

Coaching develops stronger commitment to common goals

A coaching leader balances the achievement of immediate goals with long-term goals. As mentioned earlier, aligning personal goals with organizational or team goals, personal interests are kept in check. By constantly communicating the vision through formal and informal conversations, the members are inspired and motivated. Setting short-term team goals aligned with organizational goals; and making an action plan to attain these goals can help sustain the increased motivation and commitment to common goals of the members.

Coaching produces valuable leaders

Leadership by example is important in coaching. A coaching leader loses credibility when he/she cannot practice what he/she preaches. This means that a coaching leader should be well organized, highly competent is his/her field, communicates openly and encourages feedback, and has a clear idea of the organization’s vision-mission-goals. By vicarious and purposeful learning, members can adopt the same good practices and attitudes from the coaching leader, in turn creating future leaders. When someone experiences good coaching, he/she is more likely to do the same things when entrusted with formal leadership roles.

Coaching is just one style of leadership

It can be done in combination with the other five emotional leadership styles (democratic, pacesetting, coercive, authoritative and affiliative), depending on the profile of the emerging team. Moreover, coaching as a leadership style requires that you are physically, emotionally, and mentally fit. A coaching leader understands that coaching requires an investment of time both toward the entire team and individual team members.

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3 Advantages of Outsourcing

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"3 Advantages of Outsourcing"Does outsourcing work to your advantage or disadvantage?

To some, outsourcing is considered a complete waste of time and financial resources, which can end up with unwanted complications. Why assign work to other individuals if you know what is best for your business? Why delegate the work to outsourcing professionals abroad if you can do better in your own back yard? You know what is best for your business, and you don’t need other individuals to deal with things that you can handle by yourself, or with the help of in-house personnel.

Here are three advantages to outsourcing:

1. Outsourcing provides entrepreneurs the freedom of handing-off all of their non-core yet important aspects of their business and delegating the work to an individual or group of individuals who can accomplish those tasks.  It leaves business owners free of additional responsibilities so they are then able to focus on the core of their business. On the other hand, the outsourcing firm can also focus on the specific work delegated to them, creating a more efficient system for the company.

2. Another advantage of outsourcing is a cost-effective solution it can provide. Technology (IT) services and human resource in United States or in Europe can be more expensive, which can affect hiring decisions. Outsourcing provides an affordable option. For instance, offshore outsourcing (delegating the work to off-shore destinations such as India and Philippines) is popular to U.S.-based businesses because of its affordability. This can be a “win-win” solution for the company you are outsourcing to as well as for your business.

3. Another advantage to outsourcing is the cost-savings to your business. You save because you don’t have to recruit or train new hires.  Or purchase necessary technology which can then be handled by the outsourcing company, thus saving money in the long run which you can use for other important business needs.

While outsourcing is not ideal for all businesses, it can be a good solution for start-ups, businesses with limited cash-flow and businesses with other limited resources.

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Leadership Exposed: Things You Thought You Knew About Leadership

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"Leadership Exposed: Things You Thought You Knew About Leadership"Much has been written about leadership: rules, pointers, styles, and biographies of inspiring leaders throughout world history. But there are certain leadership ideas that we ourselves fail to recognize and realize in the course of reading books. Here is a short list of things you thought you knew about leadership.

1. Leaders come in different varieties and packages.

There are different types of leaders and you will probably encounter more than one type in your lifetime. Formal leaders are those we elect into positions or offices such as the senators, congressmen, and presidents of the local clubs. Informal leaders or those we look up to by virtue of their wisdom and experience such as in the case of the elders of a tribe, or our grandparents; or by virtue of their expertise and contribution on a given field such as Albert Einstein in the field of Theoretical Physics and Leonardo da Vinci in the field of the Arts. Both formal and informal leaders practice a combination of leadership styles.
· Lewin’s three basic leadership styles – authoritative, participative, and delegative
· Likert’s four leadership styles – exploitive authoritative, benevolent authoritative, consultative, and participative
· Goleman’s six emotional leadership styles – visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, and commanding.

2. Leadership is a process of becoming.

Although certain people seem to be born with innate leadership qualities, without the right environment and exposure, they may fail to develop their full potential. So like learning how to ride a bicycle, you can also learn how to become a leader and hone your leadership abilities. Knowledge on leadership theories and skills may be formally gained by enrolling in leadership seminars, workshops, and conferences. Daily interactions with people provide the opportunity to observe and practice leadership theories. Together, formal and informal learning will help you gain leadership attitudes, gain leadership insights, and thus furthering the cycle of learning. You do not become a leader in one day and just stop.

Life-long learning is important in becoming a good leader for each day brings new experiences that put your knowledge, skills, and attitude to a test.

3. Leadership starts with you.

The best way to develop leadership qualities is to apply it to your own life. As an adage goes “action speaks louder than words.” Leaders are always in the limelight. Keep in mind that your credibility as a leader depends much on your actions: your interaction with your family, friends, and co-workers; your way of managing your personal and organizational responsibilities; and even the way you talk with the newspaper vendor across the street.

Repeated actions become habits. Habits in turn form a person’s character.

4. Leadership is shared.

Leadership is not the sole responsibility of one person, but rather a shared responsibility among members of an emerging team. A leader belongs to a group. Each member has responsibilities to fulfill. Formal leadership positions are merely added responsibilities aside from their responsibilities as members of the team. Effective leadership requires members to do their share of work. Starting as a mere group of individuals, members and leaders work towards the formation of an effective team. In this light, social interaction plays a major role in leadership. To learn how to work together requires a great deal of trust between and among leaders and members of an emerging team. Trust is built upon actions and not merely on words.

When mutual respect exists, trust is fostered and confidence is built.

5. Leadership styles depend on the situation.

How come dictatorship works for Singapore but not in the United States of America? Aside from culture, beliefs, value system, and form of government, the current situation of a nation also affects the leadership styles used by its formal leaders. There is no rule that only one style can be used. Most of the time, leaders employ a combination of leadership styles depending on the situation. In emergency situations such as periods of war and calamity, decision-making is a matter of life and death. Thus, a nation’s leader cannot afford to consult with all departments to arrive at crucial decisions. The case is of course different in times of peace and order—different sectors and other branches of government can freely interact and participate in governance. Another case in point is in leading organizations. When the staff members are highly motivated and competent, a combination of high delegative and moderate participative styles of leadership is most appropriate. But if the staff members have low competence and low commitment, a combination of high coaching, high supporting, and high directing behavior from organizational leaders is required.

Now that you are reminded of these things, keep in mind that there are always ideas that we think we already know; concepts we take for granted, but are actually the most useful insights on leadership.

 

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How to Become an Ideal Leader

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"How to Become an Ideal Leader"When you are at work, do you get frustrated because things don’t seem to be happening the way they’re supposed to be? You see people milling around but nothing gets accomplished. And in the daily hustle and bustle, do you feel that your goals remain just that – goals. Then maybe its time for you to stand up and do something about it.

Most people are content just to stand around listening for orders. And it isn’t unusual to adopt a follow-the-leader mentality. But maybe, somewhere inside of you, you feel the desire to make things happen – to be the head, not the tail. Then maybe leadership just suits you fine.

Some people believe that great leaders are made, not born. Yes, it may be true that some people are born with natural talents. However, without practice, without drive, without enthusiasm, and without experience, there can be no true development in leadership.

You must also remember that good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their natural skills. This takes a commitment to constantly improve in whatever endeavor a person chooses.

First of all, let’s define leadership. To be a leader, one must be able to influence others to accomplish a goal, or an objective. He contributes to the organization and cohesion of a group.

Contrary to what most people believe, leadership is not about power. It is not about harassing people or driving them using fear. It is about encouraging others towards the goal of the organization. It is putting everyone on the same page and helping them see the big picture of the organization. You must be a leader not a boss.

First of all, you have to get people to follow you. How is this accomplished?

People follow others when they see a clear sense of purpose. People will only follow you if they see that you know where you are going. Remember that bumper sticker? The one that says, don’t follow me, I’m lost too? The same holds true for leadership. If you yourself do not know where you’re headed to, chances are people will not follow you at all.

You yourself must know the vision of the organization. Having a clear sense of hierarchy, knowing who the bosses are, who to talk to, the organization’s goals and objectives, and how the organization works is the only way to show others you know what you are doing.

Being a leader is not about what you make others do. It’s about who you are, what you know, and what you do. You are a reflection of what you’re subordinates must be.

Studies have shown that one other bases of good leadership is the trust and confidence your subordinates have of you. If they trust you they will go through hell and high water for you and for the organization.

Trust and confidence is built on good relationships, trustworthiness, and high ethics.

The way you deal with your people, and the relationships you build will lay the foundation for the strength of your group. The stronger your relationship, the stronger their trust and confidence is in your capabilities.

Once you have their trust and confidence, you may now proceed to communicate the goals and objectives you are to undertake.

Communication is a very important key to good leadership. Without this you can not be a good leader. The knowledge and technical expertise you have must be clearly imparted to other people.

Also, you can not be a good leader and unless you have good judgment. You must be able to assess situations, weigh the pros and cons of any decision, and actively seek out a solution.

It is this judgment that your subordinates will come to rely upon. Therefore, good decision-making is vital to the success of your organization.

Leaders are not do-it-all heroes. You should not claim to know everything, and you should not rely upon your skills alone.

You should recognize and take advantage of the skills and talents your subordinates have. Only when you come to this realization will you be able to work as one cohesive unit.

Remember being a leader takes a good deal of work and time. It is not learned overnight. Remember, also, that it is not about just you. It is about you and the people around you.

So, do you have the drive and the desire to serve required of leaders? Do you have the desire to work cooperatively with other people? Then start now. Take your stand and be leader today.

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Benefits of Using Editorial Services to Improve Your Written Work

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"Benefits of Using Editorial Services to Improve Your Written Work"After you have written your document, the next thing you need to do is to proofread your work. That way, you can be sure that your work is not filled with errors that prevent you from sending your message across to your intended readers. However, you cannot always rely on yourself to spot all the lapses in your document.

Chances are, your eyes have gotten used to your writing, and you will surely miss several errors. And you cannot afford to publish or submit an error-filled written material, especially if it is a major paper for school, an important business document, or a novel. To be sure that your written work looks professional and can be understood by all readers, it is best to use editorial services that will improve the copy’s quality.

You can gain many benefits from hiring an editor to check your work. First, you get an expert’s opinion on how to improve your manuscript. Editing services usually include an editor’s analysis or critique of your work, which states what needs to be adjusted, added, or removed from your document. Second, you get fast results, typically within one or two business days. As a result, you can save time to complete your other tasks.

The greatest thing about having your work checked and edited by an editing firm or a freelance editor is that you can rest assured that your work is clean, clear, concise, and readable enough. In particular, an editor helps you improve the quality of your work by doing the following:

• Ensure that sentences are grammatically correct

• Organize thoughts to make sure that the sentences are coherent

• Fix transitions to make sure that the sentences flow smoothly

• Remove redundant and unnecessary words or sentences to ensure brevity

• Check for jumps in logic and inaccuracy of facts

• Enhance word choice and sentence structure for clarity of thought

• Correct formatting and style inconsistencies

• Checking the copy for jargons, slang, sexist language, etc.

• Ensuring that all cited references in the manuscript are added to the bibliography

Many editing services also offer ghostwriting services for those who are constrained by time to write their own work.

The only drawback of hiring an editor is that you may have to pay more if the editing firm offers fast response times. Editing services may cost you a few bucks, but the amount you spend is nothing compared to the disaster that would happen once you find out that your work reeks of grammatical errors and confusing statements. Simply put, you may have to spend more money for a book or a printed thesis that is inferior in quality.

Many editorial services offer editing and proofreading services for a wide array of writing projects such as books, magazines, newsletters, brochures, college essays, among others. To find the best editing firm or freelance editor for your writing project, do a background research online, read feedback and testimonials made by customers, and ask around for recommendations.

Need help with your writing? Check out the Author Marketing Mastermind

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6 Tips for Systemizing Your Business

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"6 Tips for Systemizing Your Business"Documenting your procedures is one of the best ways to systemize your business. These documents should be as detailed as possible, with no step left out. Over time they will be fine tuned and updated as your systems change and evolve.

Having operating or training manuals in place can help the process of training any new employee much easier. It can also help keep employees happy so that they stay with you longer. They know exactly what to do and what is expected of them.

Even a small business, or a one person business should have manuals and procedures in place. Have you ever thought of what you would do if you couldn’t run your business for six weeks or more?

1. Training manuals allow you to handover your business operations at a moment’s notice with fewer complications.

2. Depending upon your systems and procedures you may find that it can be helpful to create training videos. This is sometimes much faster than writing out long winded instructions.

The advantage of video training is the person can stop and restart the video as necessary. Videos are a great tool to use if you use a virtual assistant in your business.

3. Another great way to systemize your business is by delegating tasks. Yes, we know this can be hard for some people, but if you want your business to grow you have to let some things go. Learn to hand things over to someone else.

4. Once you have systems in place you must still remember to monitor them. They will need tweaking and updating regularly. Any time you make a change to one of your systems, remember to update the training manuals accordingly.

Things to monitor include seeing if the tasks are being completed correctly. If you have to constantly fix mistakes, something in your manual is wrong. This could be the user misunderstanding your instructions, or that the instructions themselves were confusing.

5. You should also be open and encourage any team members to offer suggestions to help improve your processes. After all, they are the ones using them.

6. At the same time you should be taking advantage of technology and implementing new techniques when appropriate. Software is constantly changing and there may be a better tool for something that you have been using for years. Be willing to make changes.

If you consistently apply and use these business systemizing tips you will quickly be running an efficient business.

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How to Deal Emotionally with Business Criticism

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"How to Deal  Emotionally with Business Criticism"It’s all too easy to feel personally attacked when someone criticizes your business. After all, you put so much of yourself–your time, money, energy and personality–into it. But it’s important to put business criticism into perspective so that it doesn’t get you down.

No matter how amazing your business is and how many people it helps, you will receive criticism…it just comes with the territory. But there are ways to make it less painful so that you don’t start doubting your worth and the worth of your business.

  • Step back
    Most complaints will likely be from customers who weren’t satisfied in some way with the product or service you provide. They aren’t meaning to direct their anger at you as a person, but rather, at the brand or company. Just because you are the company doesn’t mean that they meant it as a personal attack. Practice stepping back and viewing the criticism through your “boss” lens.
  • Put yourself in their shoes
    We’ve all complained about poor customer service or poor craftsmanship at some point. Sometimes, we may have even done so more vehemently than we meant to. So remember how it felt when you felt taken advantage of when you received less than what was promised. You just wanted the situation made right. You can do that for your customers. And it’s easier to do when you put yourself in their shoes when considering their complaint–especially when they are angry.
  • Don’t react, respond
    It’s human nature to go on the defensive when someone is angry and accusing you of shoddy work or under-delivered quality. But using defensive language is only going to make the matter worse. Take some time to cool down and then respond to their complaint. If you respond rather than (over)react, you have a much better chance of settling the issue amicably and keeping the person as a future customer.
  • Take time to evaluate
    Not all criticism you receive will be created equally. Some of it may be just plain griping for the sake of it. We’ve all read reviews on Amazon, for example, where people were complaining about something that was ridiculous, usually because it was clearly stated in the description. Yes, you will get some of that. On the other hand, some of the criticism you get will have merit. Take some time to reflect on the person’s complaint. Does it have some truth to it? Is there a way you can use this as feedback to make your product or service better?
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Meetings Should Not Be a Monologue

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"Meetings Should Not Be a Monologue"If you are someone who likes to hold business meetings, do you tend to be the only one talking? You may want to rethink that strategy. Your attendees are not really listening and are often distracted. You may have seen some of them either sleeping or getting ready to fall asleep.

Think about the last time you were at a meeting where it was one person speaking the entire time. Did you feel compelled by what they said or were you thinking of when your kid’s next soccer game is going to be played? Or maybe you were thinking about that great night out you had with your friends. In short, your mind is going to wander which makes the entire meeting ineffective.

If instead, you got the participants involved with the meeting, this would help it run much smoother on the whole. That doesn’t mean that you simply let anyone blurt out what they want to say whenever they feel like it. You either have to schedule them and allow them certain slices of time during the meeting, or you assign them a topic and they present using that topic.

Whoever called the meeting should be the moderator to keep it going and resolve disputes. The moderator will also be on hand for the question and answer session if that is needed. You want to handle disputes in a diplomatic manner to avoid participants becoming disgruntled about your meeting process.

Of course, there will be times where only one person will speak at a meeting, such as meetings held to handle emergency situations, etc. But these should be the exception, not the rule. Most meetings should be run with as much participation by everyone as possible.

When you let others participate and you assign them a topic, they take ownership of that topic. This means you will get ideas and thoughts that you may not have gotten had you handle all of the topics. So just by changing your meetings to a collaborative model, you have already set the stage for more effective meetings. Further, people will be less likely to have their thoughts wander.

Another side benefit of doing this is you will make the others more appreciative of being at the meeting. They will be willing to go to them more often. Not every subject is going to excite them but at least if they are involved it will move the meeting along at a good pace.

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Want to Stand Out? These 10 Tips Will Help!

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"Want to Stand Out? These 10 Tips Will Help!"Use the following tips to come up with ways to make yourself stand out from the crowd. This might mean personally or for creating a business profile that approaches things differently.

  1. Learn to think for yourself – to stand out you must have the confidence to go ahead with your own convictions and put them into place.
  2. Determine what the meaning of “standing out” means for you and then develop strategies for using them.
  3. Confidence – don’t let other people sway you from your original decisions.
  4. Taking a Chance – don’t be afraid to try out something new regardless of the end result. This is the only way you will know if your ideas and methods will truly work for you.
  5. Think out of the box – take a proven concept and see how you could do it differently, or add a new twist to it.
  6. Be Polite – standing out from others doesn’t mean you need to turn into a rude or obnoxious person. You can still retain your politeness while experimenting with how to stand out.
  7. Follow through – ensure that you do actually follow through with what you say you will do. This might be from a business standpoint or from a personal one.
  8. Take action – one of the traits of a person who likes to stand out is that of taking action. Be ready to make the first move or volunteer to try out something new whenever possible. This is a great way to get noticed.
  9. Develop a style – dressing in a style that reflects your personality will also make you stand out and be noticed. Dress in a style that reflects quality even if you want to be outlandish and wear something that is really extravagant. This looks much better than dressing in a cheap way.
  10. Be proud of yourself – one of the best ways to stand out is by using your body language. Stand tall and be proud of who you are. Slouching will only make you look insecure and nervous. Confident people stand tall and are looking for attention.

Use these tips to help you discover easy ways that you can stand out from others around you. What you do in your personal life will also reflect in your business life too.

Always be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. This will draw attention from those around you, and this in turn makes you really stand out.

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