Coaching Conversations

5 Ways to Grow Your Humility

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While strong leaders are stereotypically portrayed as egocentric, forceful, bold and self-serving, humility is by no means a lack of confidence or authority. It’s a mistake to view considerate and other-focused leaders as ineffective. In reality, self-serving leaders are ruining workplaces everywhere, to the point where most employees do not care for their jobs or employers. Self-serving leaders have yet to recognize the clear outcome of widespread research: Their style doesn’t work.

As I work primarily in the Christian CEO, president and business owner space, I often see leaders tilt away from humble leadership towards a more authoritarian style that leaves the leader uncertain about his/her faith or the power of God. This is classic form of compartmentalization that creates dissidence in the leader and the team.

True humility is a response of noble character, based on a choice to regard the needs of others ahead of one’s own. We certainly see this in Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, consider others greater than yourselves, not looking after your own interests but the interests of others.”

Humility is characterized by a desire to serve and the dedication to bettering others.

Again, I see leaders fighting their nature of command and control. They act humbly in one area of their lives and arrogantly in another area of life.

Hey, does anybody need a Savior?

In Start with Humility: Lessons from America’s Quiet CEOs on How to Build Trust and Inspire Followers (CreateSpace, 2010), Merwyn A. Hayes and Michael D. Comer cite numerous humble behaviors, any of which can be clearly discerned when on display. Some of the more important ones are:

Admitting mistakes – If you can be vulnerable, transparent and fallible in front of your people, your true self is revealed, and people are drawn to you. You convey safety, build trust and strengthen relationships.

Empowering people – If you push authority down to the most effective level, you give up some control to your people. This engages them and demonstrates they’re valued and trusted.

Actively listening – This shows people you’re interested in and care about them. You’ve laid the foundation for trust and forging a loyal following.

Crediting others – When your people succeed, give them the credit to build teamwork and inspire higher productivity. People will go above and beyond for a supportive leader who doesn’t steal the spotlight.

Empathy – Being sensitive to people’s trials helps you better understand their perspectives. You’ll lead them more considerately, and they’ll reciprocate with appreciation and allegiance.

Other humble behaviors include honesty, kindness, sincerity and approachability, each of which sets the stage for more favorable employee responses and mutually beneficial relationships. Humble leaders exhibit behaviors that more effectively meet people’s needs—and when their needs are met, there’s no limit to what they can accomplish.

I have been spending time with my clients on how to grow in humility. Got any suggestions?

Here is my calendar to make connecting simple: CALENDAR

I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Giving Back the Monkey

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People don’t need to be managed; they need to be unleashed. ~ Richard Florida, Professor of Urban Theory

In 1974, William Oncken wrote one of the two bestselling articles in Harvard Business Review: “Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey?” The piece compares an employee’s dilemma to a monkey. When the manager takes on the problem-solving job, he’s got the monkey.

The article focused on improving time management through better delegation (i.e., giving back the monkey). It didn’t, however, cover how to get people to come up with their own insights.

“Command and control” management practices were common back then. In a 1999 commentary about the article, leadership guru Steven R. Covey wrote:

“…much has changed since Oncken’s radical recommendation. Command and control as a management philosophy is all but dead, and ‘empowerment’ is the word of the day in most organizations trying to thrive in global, intensely competitive markets. But command and control stubbornly remains a common practice.”

Empowering subordinates is hard and complicated work. You have to be willing to give up control and let people work through their own thinking. Empowerment means you must develop people—a strategy whose success depends on dialogue and trust.

The Bible speaks of empowerment. I would point you towards 2 Peter 1:3-4 and Titus 2:12. God empowers us towards freedom and hope which is our call for those we lead. We are called to develop those we shepherd.

The best way to develop people is through coaching conversations (MOLeadershipcoaching.com) by letting people do their own thinking. This is also the best use of a leader's time and talents. A good leader acts as a guide rather than the all-knowing expert.

Here's what I've found to be true in the people I coach: People want to learn and want advice, but more than anything they want an opportunity to come up with their own ideas. A truly efficient manager helps her staff think things through so they gain insight and make wiser choices. Developing a coaching culture where people thrive in creating from ideas is a wonder to behold.

It all starts with the leader experiencing a safe place that slows down the fight or flight instincts and instead allows creativity to flow. Expand your thinking and the thinking of those you lead and you will gain time and your impact will increase.

Why do the most successful leaders and organizations have coaches? Because coaching works. The average ROI for coaching is 6:1. That is the average!  What would the ROI be for you? 10:1 or maybe 100:1. How much is a great idea worth?

Minimizing the risk and maximizing the opportunity is the reality offered for the courageous through coaching.

Let’s connect. Text me at 714-267-2818

http://www.healingplace.info/resources/virginia_satir/208.pdf

http://region10.acui.org/Region/10/conference/2011/presentations/Hall%27s%20Iceberg%20Model%20handout.pdf

 

Asking Permission to Coach

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An effective coaching conversation (MOCoach4ldrs.com)  requires an environment where people feel safe enough to explore their thoughts and reach new insights. In David Rock's book Quiet Leadership, the author suggests four elements should be in place:

1.      Permission: “Is this a good time to talk and explore your thinking?”

2.      Placement: “Let’s see if you can come up with some ideas in the next few minutes.”

3.      Questioning: “Is it OK if I ask you to share your thoughts with me?”

4.      Clarifying: “Tell me more about this. What do you mean?”

There’s almost nothing more personal than trying to change people’s thinking. Given that our perceptions become our reality, asking people to think differently means we’re invading personal territory. It’s therefore crucial to establish permission anytime you want to hold a coaching conversation.

As you approach the most personal questions, ask once again for permission. People can quickly become defensive and stop listening to you. Asking permission frequently helps people feel safe, acknowledged and respected. Here are some sample approaches:

1.      I get the sense you have more to say about this. Could I probe a little further?

2.      I’d like to have a more open conversation than we’ve had before. Would it be OK to ask you some more specific questions right now?

3.      Can we spend a few minutes brainstorming ideas around this?

4.      I’d like to understand more about your thinking. Would you be OK with talking more about this?

5.      I’d like to discuss some more personal matters. Would this be OK with you?

Ideas are like children; we love our own the most. ~ Chinese proverb

Advice is rarely helpful. People are far more likely to act on ideas they’ve come up with themselves.

Adult learning studies prove this is the way we acquire new habits. We find a connection for other people's ideas in our own mental maps and decide to act. It then becomes our own idea—our own decision. The retention statistics on self-discovery versus information delivered and retained are stunning. If you are tired of people asking for your help on the same problem type over and over again, try a coaching self-discovery process and that will cease. You will suddenly have more time. Are you interested in more time? My guess is yes.

Text and let me help you build a coaching culture to deliver more ROI and more time: 714-267-2818 or jump on my calendar and I will give you a call. CLICK HERE

 

Questions for a Coaching Conversation

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I've been writing about the need for leaders to improve performance by helping others, employees, investors, partners and all stake holders to think better and improve their abilities to problem solve. Until leaders learn to do this, they will continue to contribute to stakeholder disengagement.

Starting a coaching conversation is an ideal way to encourage self-directed learning. How do you initiate a coaching conversation?

Posing questions allows you to focus the mental processes of those you lead. Asking them to share their thoughts:

·       Helps them find connections in their minds

·       Makes them more self-aware

·       Encourages them to take greater responsibility for possibilities and solutions

As they process their thoughts, they’ll begin to search their mental maps for insights and potential solutions.

The following questions can facilitate a constructive coaching conversation:

·       How long have you been thinking about this?

·       How often do you think about it?

·       On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is this?

·       How clear are you about the issue?

·       How high a priority does this issue have?

·       How committed are you to resolving this?

·       Can you see any gaps in your thinking?

·       What impact is thinking about this issue having on you?

·       How do you react when you think of this?

·       How do you feel about the resources you’ve invested thus far?

·       Do you have a plan for shifting this issue?

·       How can you deepen your insight on this?

·       How clear are you on what to do next?

·       How can I best help you further?

You will notice that none of these questions focuses on the problem’s specific details. Notice how the questions avoid suggesting what someone should think or do. (We all need to work to do less “SHOULD OF-ING” The questions are designed to help people become aware of their own thinking.

At this point, your stakeholders will begin to contemplate key issues on a much deeper level, which allows them to see things more clearly. This often leads to new connections in their brains that create fresh insights.

We need to abandon our need to find behaviors to fix and problems to solve. Concentrate on identifying and growing people’s strengths and abilities to think things through deeply and you will grow those you work with and lead.

A great, simple and powerful read for those seeking to grow in their coaching ability and understanding is The Coaching Habit

There are many resources on coaching like books, blogs, webcasts and more. Let me know if I can assist by pointing you to resources that are best for you.

Just text my cell at 714-267-2818 or email me at marc@mocoach4ldrs.com

Coaching Conversations

Many employees are highly capable individuals who want to work—and be—smarter. They’re crying out for help. I hear about it all the time in the work I do ( www.moleadershipcoaching.com )  As a coach my passion is helping leaders create a coaching culture in which people are heard as they grow into their best selves including obviously their work selves.  It’s up to their leaders to learn how to ask the right questions and conduct truly engaging coaching conversations and train others to do the same. This is a skill set is teachable. I find leaders who experience coaching for themselves often seek to spread the impact throughout the organization.   The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution. ~   Bertrand Russell    Generations X  and  Y  have been making major organizational contributions, albeit with different expectations from their managers. They embrace personal development, while valuing freedom and independence. They want to work for leaders who will help them fulfill their career potential—mentors who can help them improve their thinking.  As these future leaders develop, they will move from managing themselves to managing others. Their leadership potential depends on their ability to change the way they think.  Regrettably, the organizations that employ them usually allocate few internal resources to help them through this shift. It’s time for leaders to learn how to train the next generation in higher-level decision-making.   What we think, we become. ~   Gautama Buddha   Some leadership experts have adopted  the “iceberg” model  to describe human performance. This metaphor suggests that some of our behaviors are visible, while most other behaviors, thoughts and feelings lurk below water.  Our work achievements are driven by how we think. Why, then, do leaders focus on what’s superficially visible when addressing employee performance? Evaluations rarely consider the factors that drive habits, nor do managers reflect on employees’ feelings or thoughts.  If we want people to think better, we must essentially let them do all the thinking.  David Rock , in his book  Quiet Leadership , suggests the following five-step process for establishing a coaching conversation that enables  self-directed learning :  1. Let the employee think through his specific issue. Avoid telling him what to do or giving advice. Ask questions about his thought process.  2. Keep him focused on solutions, not problems.  3. Challenge him to expand his thinking and stretch himself, instead of clinging to his comfort zone.  4. Focus on what he’s doing well so he can play to his strengths.  5. Make sure there are clear processes behind every conversation. To be truly helpful, a coaching conversation requires permission to ask questions and explore possibilities.  I would add a sixth that moves the organization forward.  6. Seek to explore specific next steps. Who can help and where will the best accountability be accessed?  Have you had a coaching conversation with your manager or your direct reports lately? Should you learn to coach those you lead? I'd love to hear from you. We all need trusted advisors that will reflect back on how we show up, push against our assumptions and thinking and be “for us” as we take our best next step.  I get coaching every month. I am a coaching advocate. Find your coach. Be your best version. Live life well!  There are many resources on coaching like books, blogs, webcasts and more. Let me know if I can assist by pointing you to resources that are best for you.  Just text my cell at 714-267-2818 or email me at  marc@mocoach4ldrs.com

Many employees are highly capable individuals who want to work—and be—smarter. They’re crying out for help. I hear about it all the time in the work I do (www.moleadershipcoaching.com)

As a coach my passion is helping leaders create a coaching culture in which people are heard as they grow into their best selves including obviously their work selves.

It’s up to their leaders to learn how to ask the right questions and conduct truly engaging coaching conversations and train others to do the same. This is a skill set is teachable. I find leaders who experience coaching for themselves often seek to spread the impact throughout the organization.

The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution. ~ Bertrand Russell

Generations X and Y have been making major organizational contributions, albeit with different expectations from their managers. They embrace personal development, while valuing freedom and independence. They want to work for leaders who will help them fulfill their career potential—mentors who can help them improve their thinking.

As these future leaders develop, they will move from managing themselves to managing others. Their leadership potential depends on their ability to change the way they think.

Regrettably, the organizations that employ them usually allocate few internal resources to help them through this shift. It’s time for leaders to learn how to train the next generation in higher-level decision-making.

What we think, we become. ~ Gautama Buddha

Some leadership experts have adopted the “iceberg” model to describe human performance. This metaphor suggests that some of our behaviors are visible, while most other behaviors, thoughts and feelings lurk below water.

Our work achievements are driven by how we think. Why, then, do leaders focus on what’s superficially visible when addressing employee performance? Evaluations rarely consider the factors that drive habits, nor do managers reflect on employees’ feelings or thoughts.

If we want people to think better, we must essentially let them do all the thinking. David Rock, in his book Quiet Leadership, suggests the following five-step process for establishing a coaching conversation that enables self-directed learning:

1. Let the employee think through his specific issue. Avoid telling him what to do or giving advice. Ask questions about his thought process.

2. Keep him focused on solutions, not problems.

3. Challenge him to expand his thinking and stretch himself, instead of clinging to his comfort zone.

4. Focus on what he’s doing well so he can play to his strengths.

5. Make sure there are clear processes behind every conversation. To be truly helpful, a coaching conversation requires permission to ask questions and explore possibilities.

I would add a sixth that moves the organization forward.

6. Seek to explore specific next steps. Who can help and where will the best accountability be accessed?

Have you had a coaching conversation with your manager or your direct reports lately? Should you learn to coach those you lead? I'd love to hear from you. We all need trusted advisors that will reflect back on how we show up, push against our assumptions and thinking and be “for us” as we take our best next step.

I get coaching every month. I am a coaching advocate. Find your coach. Be your best version. Live life well!

There are many resources on coaching like books, blogs, webcasts and more. Let me know if I can assist by pointing you to resources that are best for you.

Just text my cell at 714-267-2818 or email me at marc@mocoach4ldrs.com