Give Me Clarity – and Courage

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Though this quote by Reinhold Niebuhr is used in both serious and funny scenarios, I think it perfectly sums up a good coaching session. Coaching is focused on guiding you to gain clarity of yourself and your world so you can wisely choose an intentional or productive direction for you in work, relationships and life.

A coaching session calls a lot of things into perspective, whether you want to hear it or not. You gain clarity to see things with greater understanding. This lets you more clearly see your own goals, directions and personal expectations and learn how to align them to who you are and to what is possible.

Many times, you may enter a coaching relationship with a particular outcome or goal in mind, but through greater clarity, you realize the goal was more for others than for you. Does that sound familiar?

Keep in mind that coaching is not mentoring. Mentors give suggestions and advice. They accelerate learning in particular areas. Coaching, instead, guides you to see what is, solve your challenges and learn to identify, accept and work with what cannot be changed. You decide what success is and what it looks like for you. You, with guidance, consider your options to achieve your goals, then choose and act. Your coach is your clarity and accountability partner, helping you stay focused, clear and true to the goals you’ve defined for yourself.

Through coaching, you see, define and develop realistic, practical and achievable outcomes. That is being your life’s owner. That is being intentional in your decisions because you are clear about what is possible.

As poet e.e. cummings says, “It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are.”

Courage and clarity through some assistance and guidance. That is how a coach can help you grow up to be who you really are.

Take Action
It’s up to you how you want your coaching relationship to look, what goals you want to be accountable for, and how you define and strive to reach those goals. Contact us to schedule a free 15-minute introductory conversation to see if coaching, and our style of coaching, is the right fit for you.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Bad Days Don’t Have to be Bad

Return to the Blog

Looking Back, What Did 2018 Tell You?

By Jay Forte

Another year comes to a close. As with anything that we call the past, it has lessons to share.

I find that this time of year invites us to be reflective. If we can carve a few minutes out of the noise and busyness of the holidays, shopping and festivities, we could learn from our past to be ready to make wise decisions about our future.

Here are two great questions to ask yourself that are worthy of review at this time of year.

When looking back at the past year, what worked that I should probably do more of?

Our habit is to be more tuned into our failures than our successes. But your successes have a lot of information for you if you make the time and effort to notice them. As you look at 2018, what were your successes and victories – large and small? What improvements, growth and opportunities happened – and why? What do these events tell you about you – your attitude, your strengths, your dreams or even your goals? What do these events tell you about who you are and who you are becoming?

You are amazing at some things. Know these things and do more of them. You are passionate and inspired by some things. I imagine your successes were in these areas. Know them so you do more of them.

When looking back at 2018, what didn’t work that needs improvement for 2019?

Our challenges and failures – the job you didn’t get, the relationship that failed, the out of control finances, the poor eating habits – are all just information. You made decisions that resulted in these outcomes. Notice what didn’t work and ask why. This will give you great information to consider what you could do to make improvement(s). No need to waste any energy feeling upset or sorry for yourself. You made some decisions or had some events that didn’t work out. Simply notice that they need improving and use your energy to notice them, understand them and to come up with the first few steps to make a change. Know them so you can improve them.

Both successes and failures are life lessons. Successes teach you how to celebrate and remind you of your strengths, abilities and capabilities. Challenges and failures remind you of the areas that need improvement and greater attention. That’s it – it’s just information. But you can’t learn from these to make a better 2019 if you don’t make the time to review and reflect on what lessons 2018 has for you.

So, as you approach the end of the year, commit to making time to let 2018 speak to you. It has lessons for you. Learn the lessons – do more of what works and improve what doesn’t work – only you can do this for you. And when you do this, you will have a more amazing 2019.

Take Action
We learn how to celebrate and continue through our successes, or we learn how to improve from our failures or challenges. Either way, it is just life doing what life does – constantly giving us the ability to be better tomorrow than we were today.

Take five minutes today to think about the past year. What worked? What didn’t work?

 

Consider reading You Can’t Improve on Something You Don’t Measure

Return to the Blog

Stop Promoting the Wrong People into Management Roles

You have a great employee. So great, in fact, that you are afraid you will lose her if you don’t promote her. So, you promote her. And she fails in her new managerial role. Why? Because being great at her current job doesn’t mean she will be great as a manager.

This isn’t a one-off example. According to the Gallup Organization, companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talents for management positions 82% of the time. They let old ways of advancing employees override a wiser and more results-focused approach. Think of all the resources mismanaged in this situation and think of the unintended consequences of putting the wrong person into a managerial role: employee disengagement, low morale, workplace drama and the inevitable turnover.

Today’s workplace success comes from talent alignment. Since most of our jobs are thinking jobs, we must know the brain of the job to know whether those we want to advance or promote to the job have a similar brain. People excel in roles that need what they do and like best.

But so many organizations continue to believe in promoting from within without using a sound and intentional review process to assess the existing employee’s attribute alignment to those needed in the new role. Having a clear process that is used for both new hires and internal promotions can help you both get the right people in the right jobs and build a workplace cultural value of alignment as the key to performance success. Promoting with inadequate assessment of fit and alignment is the key to disengagement and poor performance.

To be able to make wise promotion and advancement decisions, consider the following.

  1. Create a clear performance profile for all management roles. Clearly define the tasks of the roles as well as the attributes (the strengths, skills, experience and education) needed to be successful doing the defined tasks. Be clear of what is required to be successful in the role. Don’t deviate.
  2. Build and use your interview process to accurately assess the abilities of any candidate, both internal or external, new or promotion. Hold every candidate accountable to demonstrate the required strengths and skills as these are what it takes to be successful in the role.
  3. Be honest with employees about why a role is or isn’t for them. Being upfront shares that your hiring process is designed to create role alignment and is committed to getting the right person for the right job for the success of the employee and the organization.
  4. Help the employee who does not get the management role develop a meaningful development plan (including new value-add tasks) that better aligns to her core strengths that she finds both engaging and important.

So many times we automatically promote employees based on either time with the organization or success in their current role. The failure comes by promoting them from a high-performance area to an area that may be out of their core strengths. Both the employee and the organization then suffer.

Change the mindset by showing that alignment matters most, whether that means bringing in new talent or promoting existing talent. Rethink how employees can stay in their high-performance areas, continue to add value and see a career path in your organization. This is the new way to engage employees.

Take Action
Consider a new manager job opening at your company. Do you have an internal candidate in mind? Why? Take the time to really understand the role and its success attributes, then interview your employee the way you would interview an external candidate. The goal of the interview is to assess whether the employee has what it takes to do this new role. Do this to set them up for success.

Need help with this? Contact us to learn how we help companies hire and promote the right people to the right jobs.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Are You Rigid or Flexible? 

Return to the Blog

Reflecting on the Olympics and Potential

By Jay Forte

Rarely do we get to see what potential looks like. So many people just barely scratch the surface of what they are capable of. Too many of us settle for “good enough.”

For those of us tuning in to watch the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, we get ringside seats to see of the results of focus, determination, effort and above all, potential. To have so many consecutive days of Olympic athletes is both inspiring and activating. These athletes train without limit, know their strengths, push through their own obstacles and reach their potential right in front of our eyes. These ringside seats have led to multiple recent conversations I’ve had with clients who now are more inspired to set higher goals and push a little harder to achieve them.

I was most touched and reminded of potential when I heard interviews with the American brother/sister ice dancing couple, Maia and Alex Shibutani, who earned two Bronze medals during the Olympics this year. In their interview, they focused more on talking about their goal to show up and do their absolute best, to look past the basic level of competition in the Olympics and be fully engaged and committed to what is deepest and best in them.

They knew their potential and worked to achieve it. Remarkable perspective, especially from two 20-somethings.

This dedication and perspective on being present to be their best is a theme we hear over and over as every athlete talks about drive, focus and potential.

I routinely share this powerful quote by Buckminster Fuller, an American architect, with my clients and audiences: “What is it on the planet that needs doing that I know something about that probably won’t happen unless I take responsibility for it?”

It is a reminder to look into yourself, to know your abilities and potential, and to use them to make a positive change in your world. Olympic athletes do this as they activate something deep in all of us to want to do better, be better, perform better. They remind us that we have an obligation to bring what we do best to make our difference in the world.

Watching the Winter Olympics this year presents us with three big lessons. First, spend time knowing yourself. Recognize the limits you place on yourself and what your potential is and could be if those limits are removed.

Second, find places in your world where you can raise your game and your performance, for both you and your world.

And finally, stay inspired to always bring your A-game, your best, to all that you do, including the small stuff. Each moment of each day matters.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. Soon, the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea will end. How will the inspiration of the Games not go with it?
  2. How will you continue to be inspired, engaged and even push to reach past the limits you set for yourself — whether intentionally or not — to move toward recognizing your full potential?
  3. What is your commitment to bring your potential to all you do, to share it with your world to make it better?

The events of life are here to inspire us. Sometimes, they are challenges that force us to learn. Other times, they are success stories that remind us how capable we all are in our own ways. Your potential is not the same as mine, but there is the capacity for both of us to achieve great things when that individual potential is recognized. Watch for what the world shares with you and expects from you. In both places, watch for potential.

 

Consider reading How to Succeed in Changing Times

Return to the Blog

You Can’t Improve On Something You Don’t Measure

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

If you want to manage your spending, you need to track what you spend and where.

If you want to be more kind, generous and loving, you need to track when you exhibit these behaviors.

If you want to improve your skills, you study, practice and take a test – it gives an assessment of your skills.

In all of these scenarios, the common denominator is information: tracking your behavior to provide you with insights you can assess to determine how you want or need to move forward.

As a result, when you look at your life and decide what you want to achieve, learn or improve on, learning to measure is critical. 

I was a financial professional in the early part of my career, and quickly became aware of the value of numbers. Numbers are the financial representation of the quality of the organization’s decisions – the decision to hire, promote, engage or fire. The decision of what to sell and how much to sell it for. All of these are daily decisions that affect the organization’s financial performance. The numbers are the metrics that assess the decisions and drive the performance.

But metrics don’t need to be solely used in financial situations. In fact, there are ways to track metrics in your daily life to help you stay focused on achieving your goals.

Let’s say your goal is to improve your health over the next 30 days. As you start to develop the steps to move toward this goal, include a way to measure your progress. For instance, you could have a goal to walk for 20 minutes, 4 times a week. This is measureable. You could have a goal to run 4 times a week at a 9-minute mile pace. Again, measureable.

The information you gather during this time provides you with insights into what’s working and what’s not. Ultimately, the idea is that this information helps you see what you should continue to do (what’s working) and what you need to improve on (what’s not working).

Measurement helps you stay on track. You close the gap from where you are to what you want.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. How can you quantify one goal you have to make it more measureable?
  2. How will you ensure that each end goal or performance goal includes a way for you to assess your progress?
  3. When you help others define and achieve their goals, how will you help them be clear about the specific measurements?

Most of us miss our goals because we can’t measure them. Give yourself some metrics that are specific and easy to measure, then assess and evaluate your progress to help you determine where you stand as you work toward your goal.

 

Consider reading Create a Personal Report Card.

Return to the Blog

 

What defines success?

By Kristin Allaben, Executive Assistant and Strategic Communications Specialist

In anticipation of my second son’s arrival (due in December), I recently started purging the house of all the items I’ve rarely used or looked at in the six years we’ve been in our house. This act of purging can be extremely refreshing, but that’s for another post.

Instead, I’m going to reflect on success – what is it? What defines it? Why is the allure of success so powerful that it drives us to do great things? Or, on the flip side, inspires feelings of frustration, dissatisfaction and failure?

These questions all came up because, during one of my recent purges, I came across my high school yearbook. I started flipping through the pages (I guess I couldn’t wait to cringe at 18-year old Kristin) and stumbled across the class superlatives section. Below the embarrassing and awkward picture of me posing with a fellow classmate read the title “Most likely to succeed.”

I admit, I struggled with that over the last few years. Voted “most likely to succeed” by my high school classmates didn’t dictate my future, but I felt this overwhelming need to show them they were right, to prove that I did, in fact, grow up to be successful.

But what exactly is success and how does each person define it?

The definition of success has certainly changed for me over the years and, the truth is, it took me a while to realize that this process is normal and a good thing. How I define success is the result of how I evolve over time, the result of gathering new information and choosing how to use and adapt to that information.

 

For example, while in college, success meant doing well, graduating and getting a job. In my first job out of school, it was to work hard and get promoted. Then success changed for me when my husband and I decided to start a family – success was no longer about working hard to become a high ranking professional but instead finding a meaningful and healthy balance between working and being a mom.

When my first son was born, that changed again. Success shifted more to raising a happy and healthy son and having a work schedule that allowed this to happen. And as life continues to change, my definition of success is evolving again as I get closer to bringing another baby boy into the world – I now define success as being the best mom I can be to raise two happy, healthy and well-adjusted boys who are confident in themselves to recognize, embrace and use their own unique talents and strengths to be authentic in a world that tries to create copies.

Wow. What a whirlwind.

So when you find yourself overwhelmed at the prospect of success – whether it’s because you’re working toward a lofty goal you’ve set for yourself or you are trying to live up to expectations someone else has set for you – take a moment to ask yourself: is this what success means to me? This definition is personal and needs to be based on who you are and what you want.

 

Need help finding your definition of success? Consider reading The Greatness Zone to understand your three circles – what you are good at, what you are passionate about and what success means to you – to help you find your fit in today’s world. This is for all of us at any point in our lives.

Return to the Blog

RSS feed
Connect with us on Facebook
Connect with us on LinkedIn