You Must Read to Lead!


Coaching Makes a Difference!

Coaching is a powerful development tool that when properly utilized can be highly beneficial in boosting employees' confidence and performance.

Coaching Moment:
1. Is coaching part of your own or your people's development toolkit?
2. If not, why not?



Are you prepared for the unexpected "crosswinds" in your life?

Skills and training do matter!
They make a difference because we can't always count on things going in a predictable manner. We have to be constantly prepared for the unexpected (e.g. crosswinds) to be able to navigate a safe landing.

Coaching Moment
1. How well prepared are you for the unexpected?
2. Is your preparation helping you to "land" safely?



Effective leadership is often about balance

In working with leaders I have frequently found that their degree of weakness is often associated with their level of awareness. In other words, they are not fully conscious of the impact that their behaviors or actions are having on others.
I have seen this in great leaders and not so great leaders.
How can this awareness gap be prevented?
Since leaders are not immune to this phenomenon, they must put in place effective countermeasures (such as continuous feedback from others) to bridge the gap.

Coaching Moment:
1. What are you currently doing that though well intentioned, is having an adverse impact on those around you?
2. How are you going to become aware of "this" thing?
3. How are you going to resolve it?



Take note of who is in your room!

For healthy growth to occur in us, we must be willing to do these two things. Be constantly challenged by others and continually prepared to move out of our comfort zones.

Coaching Moment:
1. Who are the people in your room?
2. Do you need to be make any changes?




Leadership is About Gratitude

Saying "thank you" can often make a difference in the lives of those we lead. These two simple yet profound words are often not expressed enough in the workplace. When they are, they have the power to inspire and transform those around us.

These words are an explicit acknowledgement of the effort put forth by others and the contribution they have made. They communicate to the hearer that what s/he did was welcomed, appreciated and valued.

Take a moment and make someone's day by expressing gratitude to them for something they did, or simply for  who they are and what they mean to you.

Coaching Moment:
1. When was the last time you expressed gratitude to someone around you?
2. Do you find it difficult to express gratitude to others?




Resisting Change is Often About Control

There are times when one’s reaction and resistance to change hinge on this simple question.

Who's in control?

Let me explain. Most people like to be (or, perceive they are) in control of their own decisions and situations (aka life). Taking control from them is tantamount to taking away their will, their very sense of self. This perceived onslaught on the self is extremely deep and resonates to the very core of their personhood. When forced into accepting something they perceive to be against their wills, most people will often fight vigorously for control, even if it means holding on to their current status quo.

The irony of it all, is that resistance can occur even if they themselves are not very happy or satisfied with their existing status quo. Their present position might not be perfect, it might even be horrible, but it’s a known entity and in a perverse way has become their “comfort zone.” In times of high stress and great uncertainty it often comes down to the “devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.”

Just the thought of being "other-controlled" rather than "self-controlled" is enough to trigger a resistance mechanism in many. This then leads to a power struggle over who's going to be in control and who is going to call the shots.

Greater acceptance of a change initiative can be improved by giving those to be influenced more control over events that are taking place.

This can be achieved by...

  • Allowing them significant input into the change process. Letting them have a "say" in events directly affecting them is a sign of respect and a demonstration that their opinions matter and are valued. Such actions go a long way in building trust and increasing the receptivity of the new information.
  • Providing them enough time and sufficient information to ensure clarity about what is taking place. With clarity comes better understanding and a greater ability to assimilate the proposed changes.

Too often the above steps are taken for granted and are either ignored or neglected. However, when they are in place, those being influenced are better able to integrate and make the new initiatives their own. Therefore, they don't feel coerced into accepting something that is being forced upon them from the outside.

Deciding on their own gives them the ability to retain control and preserve their sense of self. This makes resistance on their part to the new change initiatives less likely.

Coaching Moment:

  • What's your initial reaction when a new initiative is presented to you?
  • What must occur, or be present for you to easily embrace a new initiative?



Movement or Progress?

I once asked a coaching client how she was doing on an assignment. Her response was, “I am moving along, so I guess I am making progress”.

Further questioning revealed that although she thought she was “moving along”, she was not really making any progress in terms of achieving her desired objectives.

This exchange reveals a fundamental error that some too easily make, which is to equate movement with progress.

Progress usually involves movement, but all movement is NOT progress!

For movement to be considered progress, it must be purposeful, and have a specific destination.

Progress then can be defined as any movement which takes you in the direction of attaining your stated or desired objectives.

Any movement that doesn’t take you closer to your objectives is futile, unproductive, or might even be indicative that you are lost.

If you find yourself engaging in motion that doesn’t take you closer to your goals, you need to immediately stop and make the necessary corrective actions and get back on track.

Coaching Moment:

  • Review a project/assignment you are currently working on.
  • Are you engaged in meaningless motion, or are you making progress?



The Fear Factor in Leadership

Fear is a phenomenon that leaders are bound to face at one time or another.

When such time occurs and the fear is not dealt with constructively, it can be debilitating and drain leaders of their productive energies.

When leaders become fearful, they experience a great deal of stress which can negatively impact their physical, emotional, social and financial well-being.

However, not all fears are bad and should be ignored. Some fears, let's call them "real or objective" fears, can alert leaders to potential dangers and keeps them out of harm’s way.

When faced with these fears, it’s always in the leader's best interest to pay attention and take the necessary measures to deal with them.

The fears that leaders need to confront and eliminate from their lives are the "unreal or subjective" fears.

Those that exist primarily in their imaginations and are usually unsubstantiated by existing facts.

Several studies have indicated that a large majority of the things feared in this category seldom do actualize.

They merely serve as time and energy robbers.

Therefore, to successfully manage fear, leaders must first identify the type of fear they are experiencing.

Then they must develop the appropriate strategies to deal with these fears, so they don't get in the way of their success.

Coaching Moment:

  • What fears are currently preventing you from fulfilling your goals/dreams?
  • Are these fears objective or subjective?
  • What action(s) do you plan to take?



Effective Leaders Are Principled People

Anyone desiring to be a leader, especially an effective one, must have clearly defined, recognizable and time-tested principles.

Principles are derived from a leader’s core values and make up his/her fundamental belief system.

They dictate behavior and help the leader to understand the difference between right and wrong.

To be effective, leaders must have strong positive principles.

These are principles that have a compelling vision, are ethical and actively promote and safeguard the wellbeing of others.

Principles are strictly adhered to and not readily abandoned, even in difficult times or situations.

In challenging circumstances, principles serve as a moral compass and they determine the actions and/or behaviors that the leader will pursue.

When evident, strong principles…

• Serve as an example for others to follow.
• Inject a certain amount of predictability and stability into any given situation. The leader will always act on his/her principles.
• Are reassuring because they demonstrate that the leader is consistent and can be trusted.

Coaching Moment:

Take an inventory of the principles that guide/direct your life and actions.

• Are you comfortable with your findings?
• What changes do you need to make?



Leadership Matters!

Leadership is the defining element of any organization.

It’s the predominant driver of the culture, values, behaviors and anything else that is essential to the survival and sustainability of the entity.

To ignore the quality of an organization’s leadership is the surest way of putting it at risk for failure.

Having the right quality of leadership in place is important because organizations are often the reflections of their leadership.

To ensure that organizations have the most effective leadership in place, leaders must be equipped with the right tools and with the right skills/competencies to do their jobs.

Coaching Moment:

• When people look at your organization, what type of leadership is reflected?
• What do you plan to do about changing or improving the image they see?



Do you need to be more focused?

A key element of being an effective leader is the ability to focus.

To focus is to pay close attention, zoom in, or carefully examine something deemed important.

It's also about ignoring or eliminating any distractions you might encounter.

Distractions should be viewed as anything that has the potential to prevent you from accomplishing what you set out to do.

This might often mean your making choices between things that appear to be desirable and things that are mission critical.

Coaching Moment:

How is your ability to focus?
How can it be improved?