Monthly Archives: July 2017

Boldness, toughness, and grit are great leadership qualities, but empathy makes them effective. Apart from empathy, leaders are jerkholes. Empathy is: Empathy is stepping into someone’s experience. Empathy is laughing when someone laughs and crying when someone cries. Empathy is understanding why someone thinks the way they think. Empathy inspires courage in others. Empathy does: […]

via Empathy Protects You From Being a Jerkhole — Leadership Freak

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There’s a thin line between stubborn and persistent. Successful leaders make decisions quickly* and change their mind reluctantly. But stubbornness refuses to consider alternatives. Stubbornness makes decisiveness a disaster. But success requires persistence. 3 dangers of stubbornness: My observation is that decisiveness and stubbornness often live together. #1. Stubbornness promotes ignorance. Stubborn leaders refuse to […]

via Succeeding with the Thin Line Between Stubborn and Persistent — Leadership Freak


Pessimists think optimists are monkeys catching elephants in a trapeze act without a net. Dark leadership: You never get ahead by burying your head in the sand. You earn leadership opportunities by confronting tough issues, solving problems, and seizing opportunities. Leaders don’t need encouragement to anticipate darkness and difficulties. But if you aren’t careful, you walk […]

via You Find What You Look For — Leadership Freak


Continuing with yesterday’s post 4 Questions to Ask Before Making an Angel Investment, and the theme of angel investing, when talking to entrepreneurs it becomes clear if they are product-oriented innovators. I call them “product entrepreneurs” and you’ll know it immediately because they’re in love with their product. When meeting with a product entrepreneur, ask […]

via 8 Questions for a Product Entrepreneur — David Cummings on Startups


One of the best things to discover is your own lack of brilliance. Brain function goes down when you’re: Stressed out. If stress makes you dumb, some leaders must be dim-wits. Fatigued or in need of sleep. Light from computer screens may interrupt sleep patterns. (Science Daily) Multitasking. 10 things that make dumb leaders smart: […]

via 10 Things that Make Dumb Leaders Smart Today — Leadership Freak


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Business coaching has gone from fad to fundamental. Leaders and organizations have come to understand how valuable it can be, and they’re adding “the ability to coach and develop others” to the ever-growing list of skills they require in all their managers. In theory, this means more employee development, more efficiently conducted. But in reality, few managers know how to make coaching work.

According to the 2010 Executive Coaching Survey, conducted by the Conference Board, 63% of organizations use some form of internal coaching, and half of the rest plan to. Yet coaching is a small part of the job description for most managers. Nearly half spend less than 10% of their time coaching others.

With such limited time devoted to coaching, organizations need to be sure their managers know how to do it right. To improve the quality and impact of your coaching efforts, start by giving your individual managers tangible information about how to coach their direct reports. Typically, managers meet their coaching obligations by giving reviews, holding occasional meetings and offering advice. For coaching to be effective, they need to understand why they are coaching and what specific actions they need to take. To do this effectively, organizations need to bring in an experience business coach.

Coaching focuses on helping another person learn in ways that let him or her keep growing afterward. It is based on asking rather than telling, on provoking thought rather than giving directions and on holding a person accountable for his or her goals.

Broadly speaking, the purpose is to increase effectiveness, broaden thinking, identify strengths and development needs and set and achieve challenging goals. Research from the Center for Creative Leadership has boiled down the skills managers need to coach others into five categories:

1) Building the relationship.

2) Providing assessment.

3) Challenging thinking and assumptions.

4) Supporting and encouraging.

5) Driving results.

Give it time. It’s not surprising that managers feel they don’t have enough time for coaching. Even if you make learning and coaching explicit priorities, time is tight for everyone. But as your coaching processes and goals become more consistent and more highly valued, in-house coaching will take root. Your managers will have a new way to develop and motivate their direct reports. Individuals and groups will strive to build new skills and achieve goals. And your business will be on track to a more efficient, comprehensive system of developing people.


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I was at Stanford in the Graduate School of Business and was interviewed by Peter Gardner of StartGrid for his On The Road podcast. I shared my current thinking about innovation in companies and government agencies. It’s worth a listen. BTW, it seems every podcast has a trick last question. This one was, “if I was on […]

via Why Corporate Innovation is Harder Now — Steve Blank


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Jackson Kiddard was an elusive author about whom little is known. He is believed to have died in 1901, and his work is now widely circulated on the internet. His short verses about “anything” or “anyone” are a treasure of practical wisdom. 

We have much to learn if we can get out of our instinctual and often emotional reactions. As Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman wrote in his insightful book Thinking Fast and Slow, we have two systems in our brains: System I and System II. System I is automatic, involuntary, and fast, with feelings emerging from our primitive instincts. System II is more controlled, effortful, and rational, working more slowly and rationally.

The System I brain sees round coils in a dark corner, and our heart spikes into our constricted throat as we sense a huge snake. Then the System II brain registers a coiled rope and our pulse, blood pressure, and adrenalin slowly begin to return to normal. We need to be aware of our Systems I and II and manage between them accordingly:

  • The construction stop on the freeway annoys us. Take a breath, wave, and smile at the person holding the “Slow” sign. Maybe you might even get a smile back?
  • We humans fear abandonment, so we seek love and affection, often in all the wrong places.
  • Leadership can be either fear-based (triggering System I) or love-based (triggering System II).
  • Fears faced teach us courage.
  • Control is an illusion. We can barely control ourselves, let alone others, so we learn to work on what we can influence and just let go of other things.

All challenges we face are potential gifts if we ask, “What is the lesson that I can learn from this adversity?” It takes self-control, discipline, presence of mind, patience, and practice to moderate the quick-snap reactions of System I, dampening the emotional knee jerks. However, these skills can be learned.

Practical Applications

  1. When you encounter an emotional reaction today, practice your self-control.
  2. Tomorrow, practice it again.
  3. Repeat until this practice becomes a habit.

Good leaders learn to balance between their emotional and logical minds.

“Teaching You”

Jackson Kiddard

Anything that annoys you is for teaching you patience.

Anyone who abandons you is for teaching you to stand up on your own two feet.

Anything that angers you is for teaching you forgiveness and compassion.

Anything that has power over you is for teaching you how to take your power back.

Anything you hate is for teaching you unconditional love.

Anything you fear is for teaching you courage to overcome your fear.

Anything you can’t control is for teaching you how to let go and trust the Universe.


occ solo

Business coaching is the process of helping a company or business team achieve greater clarity, focus, and results. It is similar to life coaching but it takes place in a business setting. Regardless of the size of your company, whether you are a solo entrepreneur or a Fortune 500 company, business coaching is aimed at improving the performance of your people and increasing the company’s bottom line.

Here at OCC, we help both individuals and corporations get matched with their ideal coach(es). To learn more about our personal or corporate coach matching service, scroll toward the bottom of this page.

A common misconception about business coaches is that they are business experts. While many business coaches possess extensive business knowledge and experience, they need not be experts in your line of business to deliver quality coaching services. The underlying philosophy of business coaching is that the individuals within the company participating in the coaching, whether you are the CEO or the front-line staff, are the experts in your business. The role of the coach is to help you come up with your own solutions, strategies, and action plan for improving the business.

All too often, a perfect action plan is created but there is little to no follow-through. A business coach offers objective, unbiased accountability to execute the plan, learn from the outcomes, revise the plan, and take further action. A good business coach will also help create accountability structures that will encourage individuals to take consistent action to improve their performance and the overall performance of the company.

Company Benefits

Cutting edge companies know and understand the value of their people and invest in their performance, well-being, and professional development. They understand that a happy workforce is a more productive one. Coaching is one of the best tools available to companies to bring about change and transformation in their people. According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study published in 2009, clients who received business coaching reported several business improvements, including better teamwork, more clarity of goals, and better communication. In their own words, here is a sample of some of the benefits they experienced within their company:

  • “Better corporate culture.”
  • “More courageous conversations, more intentionality, more strategic approach.”
  • “Enabled an environment of internal coaching and encouraged staff at all levels to see the value in own external personal/leadership coaching.”
  • “People listen to each other, support each other and enjoy coming to work more. Performance has improved.”
  • “My department has achieved a much better team spirit.”
  • “Better communication, shared understanding of the vision, very high mutual trust.”
  • “Better interpersonal discussion between management and staff.”

Individual Benefits

According to the 2009 ICF Global Coaching Client Study, “Several focus group participants indicated that, prior to experiencing it themselves, they had negative perceptions of coaching and the people who use it. In many cases, it was perceived to only be for people with problems or those who can’t “do it on their own” rather than a tool that can help people excel and teach them new skills. Importantly, while participants in the focus groups did hold some negative views on coaching prior to commencing coaching themselves, these negative views were dispelled once the coaching process started and all ended up viewing the process positively.” Of the 2130 clients surveyed by the ICF, over 70% reported significant improvements in the following 5 areas:

  • Self-esteem / self-confidence (80%)
  • Relationships (73%)
  • Communication skills (72%)
  • Interpersonal skills (71%)
  • Work performance (70%)

Other areas of improvement cited include:

  • Work / life balance
  • Wellness
  • Career opportunities
  • Personal organization
  • Business management
  • Time management

How to measure the ROI of business coaching

Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of business coaching is a hotly debated issue. Traditionally it has been difficult to demonstrate an increased value of a company’s human capital. The knowledge and value of coaching is growing and clients are increasingly demanding that rigorous methods be employed by coaches to measure the impact of coaching. Clients want clear statistical evidence of the bottom-line value of coaching and they want coaches to better justify the methodologies they employ.

The challenge is that the cost / benefit analysis of coaching is not easily made because the outcomes produced by coaching may not be easily measured or directly attributable to coaching.

Business Coaching vs. Coach Consulting

For large organizations, a coaching consultant is often the first person to come on board prior to delivering coaching services within an organization. The coaching consultant is an expert coach that can perform a needs assessment for your company or organization and advise you in creating a coaching program that meets your requirements and budget. The coaching consultant may also be essential at getting all the major stakeholders to buy-in to employing a coach-approach in your company.

Once a coaching program is developed, a business coach executes on the coaching plan. The plan may include any number of coaching initiatives such as one-on-one coaching, group or team coaching, and / or coach training. Depending on your needs, the plan may also include a variety of coaching related services that many business coaches offer depending on their skills, education, and training such as facilitation, mediation, organizational development, strategic planning, and more.

Many individual coaches or coaching companies offer both business coaching and coaching consulting services. You may want to hire one individual or company to deliver all of your coaching needs or you may want to hire separately to make sure the coaching consultant can remain unbiased and doesn’t have a financial incentive in recommending specific coaching initiatives.

Finding a business coach

The most important thing to remember when looking for a business coach is to find one whose training, background and skills most closely match your specific goals. There are many coaches with many different specializations, and your ultimate success will largely depend on finding the coach with the best “fit” for your particular situation.

Because finding the right fit is so important, it’s critical that you not just hire the first coach you talk to. Instead, we recommend you speak with at least 3, and ideally 4 or 5, to find the one who you’re going to feel the most comfortable working with over a period of several months. Almost all professional coaches offer a free, 15 or 20 minute consultation to help you determine if they are the right coach for you.


Apart from intervention, the past is the future. Past performance reflects future accomplishment. Past attitudes predict future interactions. Leadership is intervention. Intervention is: Disruption…Interruption…Interference. Intervention is making failure less likely and success more probable. Intervention is elevating good to great. Interventions: Place an obstacle in the path of repeated failure. Establish rigid reporting procedures to […]

via Pigs Don’t Lay Eggs but Leadership is Intervention — Leadership Freak



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