Category Archives: Coaching

Vision that Drives You

“If You Are Working On Something That You Really Care About, You Don’t Have To Be Pushed. The Vision Pulls You.”- Steve Jobs

Vision.  Have you ever thought about just how critical vision is to your life?  Not only in the literal sense of being able to see what’s in front of you but also the invisible vision of seeing the beauty and wonder of life around you.  Your eyes are not the only vision enabled organ.  In fact you are able to “see” with your mind, heart and touch.  You are able to visualize a memory, a thought and a feeling.  We are visual creatures and therefore we dream in pictures.  We see our purpose or calling in visions of what our life will enable and the impact it will make.

It is therefore all that more important to know what your purpose and goals are in order for you to draw a vision of what it would look like as well as how to achieve it.  It is like putting all the Lego pieces together in order to build something.  It all starts with what we imagine the outcome to be.  We start by knowing what we want to end up with.  We start with a picture of the final product.  We then break it down in to each individual piece that is required.  We then put the pieces together.  The pieces might not and usually does not all come together at the first attempt.  In fact it might take more attempts than we would like to admit but the end result, if we do not give up will be an achievement that you will be proud of.  It is all because you dreamt it and persevered to build it.

Start with the vision.  How do we go about having a vision?

I would like to suggest that it starts with asking and answering these questions:

  • What drives me?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What am I good at? What am I not good at?
  • What would you regret not doing?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What change or impact moves you strongest?

Putting the pieces together.

Just like Lego or Ikea products, it all starts with the plan or vision.  Then the pieces that you would need to put together.  What are the pieces?  Pieces would consist of:

  • Resources: What do you need to achieve the vision?
  • Time: How would you allocate time and energy?  How to prioritise time?
  • People: Who do you need to help achieve the vision?  Identify people who are able to help in each stage.
  • Focus: Prioritise and focus.  Without focus, you will not be able to start or complete.

Expect mistakes and failed attempts.

It is important that we have the right perspective of how things are going to pan out.  You might be the small minority that gets it right the first time.  However, more often than not, it will take many attempts and learning from mistakes before getting to the point that you are seeing all the pieces put together in a manner that it resembles what you had envisioned.  All too often, we fall into the trap that success will come automatically just because that’s the expectation.  Having the right expectation is important as part of building the plans that will not only anticipate but also overcome challenges as it comes along.  No journey is without speed bumps and potholes.  Don’t let set back stops you from persevering and finishing the vision.

Let your vision grow.

Once you have accomplish one vision, allow the vision to grow and mature.  Vision is a starting point and then it will grow and expand as our experience grows.  It grows and mature as we grow and mature.  Vision is a living “organism”.  It is not stagnant and unchanging.  In fact it is a guide for you to achieve at this point in time but not necessarily forever.

Don’t live a life without going after at least one thing that is important to you.

You are unique and therefore your contribution to this world can only be achieved by you alone.

Make an impact with different categories of Goals.

We know all about goals.  We understand its purpose and importance.  Have you ever considered whether there are different categories or types of goals?  Depending on the desired outcome, different types of goals should be considered.  Different categories of goals would also require different types of questions to be asked and answered.

I find that there are 3 basic categories of goals.

  1. Reflective or Assessment type goals. This type of goals aim to achieve changes as a result of assessment from past results and actions.  Therefore there are 4 key questions that needs to be answered:
  • “What would I change?”. Questions that focus on assessment of a performance and what development changes needs to place.
  • “What went well and what did not?”. Questions that focuses around objectively identifying the positives and negatives.  Reflecting on what was good and what bad.
  • “How could I be better?”. Questions that focuses around improvements whether its increasing sales performance or improving running times etc.
  • “What do I need to stop or start doing?”. Questions that would focus around actions or behavior that should be changed or stop altogether and new actions that needs to be taken.

 

  1. The “Future or Impossible” goals:
  • “What if?”. Questions that would bring about future oriented goals.  For example,
    • What if I could do whatever I loved, what would it be?
    • What if I could change one thing, what would it be?
    • What if there were no risk in doing something, would I do it.
  • “No limits”. Questions that would help you to explore options that far beyond your current perspective.  Questions such as
    • If you could do anything you want, what would it be?
    • If you had no fear, what would you do?
    • What do you love doing that you would do if not for …?
  • “Dream”. Questions would center around your greatest dream or passion.
    • What have you been dreaming of doing?
    • What are you most passionate about and would do if …?

 

  1. The “present reality” goals:  Goals that are measured by achieving them in the now and in the moment.  These are the most goals and they would consist of answering questions:
  • “How much and time bound” Questions that would lead to goals that are very specific and time sensitive.  For example,
    • How much weight do I want to lose in the next week?
    • What do I need to do to achieve that outcome in the next week?
  • “Resource requirements” considerations and questions. Questions that would have assistance and structure support in order to achieve the goal.  For example,
    • what assistance do I need to achieve the goal?
    • What additional resources do I need to ask for?
    • What is the budget requirements?
  • “Fix-It”
    • What do I need to fix now?
    • What do I need to modify?
    • What changes to the process do I need to make?
  • “What To do next” Questions that would focus on the next steps.  Questions such as,
    • What would you do next?
    • What are the next steps in this process?

A simple and structured way to identify and ask the relevant questions to achieve the outcomes that you desire.  This will also help you focus on the goals that you want to achieve without being a little haphazard with the questions that you are asking yourself or your team.

Help! I want to give it my best but…

In everything that I do, I have a desire to do it to the best of my abilities. That is the hope and goal. However, is that really the case? Sadly, I can’t truly say that I have given my best effort in everything. I now know better. I know that the goal isn’t so much about in everything that I do, but in the areas of my priorities that I want to give it my best.

The truth of the matter lies in 2 “a-ha moments”:
1. Not everything in my life is weighted equally in importance or value. Not everything requires perfection. Not everything requires equal time and attention. For example, I don’t need to give my best effort in stacking the dishes in the dishwasher. Just sufficient “stacking” will do.

2. Only what is most meaningful will I choose to spend my time and energy on. I will want to ensure that what is most important to me, gets my full attention, time and effort. I will give up other areas in order to allocate enough time to complete the projects that are important to me.  For example, I will give up playing golf in order for me to have more time to complete a project that is more important to me.

Unless we are clear in our minds and hearts around the above 2 aspects, we will constantly be in a battle of feeling good or guilty. Guilty for not achieving or guilty for not giving it your best. So what can we do to ensure that we do give it our best when it matters?

Daring to do the best in requires 3 key factors:
1. Intention to succeed. You must be intentional. You must have goals and have plans in place. Change can only take place when we are purposeful and intentional in our approach and determination. Ask yourself:
a. How badly do I want to change?
b. What is going to make this attempt at change different from all the other times?
c. What changes do I need to make?
d. What goals am I going to set?
e. What plans do I have to put in place to achieve those goals?
f. Who am I going to share this plan with?
g. Who is going to help me be accountable?
h. Who am I going to assign as my cheerleader when the going gets tough?

Be intentional in setting up clear goals and action plans.

2. Disciple to overcome. Discipline is required in anything that we want to strive for. Nothing worth getting ever comes easy. Discipline also implies that sacrifices will have to be made in order to achieve something greater. Every successful person will demonstrate discipline in their actions. Discipline will mean that you will need to give up something in return. You might have to sacrifice some comfort in order to achieve your goals. Ask yourself:
a. What am I willing to sacrifice in order to achieve my goal?
b. What comfort am I will to give up?
c. What would happen if I gave up something in return to spending more time on achieving my goals?

Discipline requires determination, commitment and willing sacrifices.

3. Focus on the prize. Staying focus on the prize will help you to avoid distractions. Keeping your focus is hard especially when the demands of this world is so varied and constant. Making the decision to go for your goal requires that you constantly review, reflect and refocus. It is important as part of the goals that you have set, you are clear on the benefits or rewards of achieving the goal. Questions to ask:
a. What do I get out of achieving the goal?
b. What deeper purpose am I serving?
c. What impact am I making?
d. Who and what will this benefit?
e. How life changing will this change be?

Every winner keeps an eye on the prize.
The answer to being the best lies in being intentional, discipline and focus. It will require sacrifices and hard work. The reward is always meaningful.

No matter where the outcome, so long as you know that you have given it the best, you are already rewarded with learnings, experiences and growth.

6 things that are stopping you from help

Do you need help? Are you in a situation where a little help would be good? Do you offer help to someone who is struggling? Have you been in a situation or season of life where you need help? Have you asked for help? What is stopping you from asking or getting help?

Know you need help but…

In my coaching world, one of the most common situation that I am faced with is when someone needs help but for various reasons does not make the commitment to get the help. I think that there are 3 main reasons which stops or prevents someone from asking for help:

  • Fear: fear is always a barrier. Fear that by asking for help would imply that I am not good or smart or capable enough to do the job.
  • Perception: there is a myth that I am able to do everything well. I am super human with all the necessary competencies to perform my role well. That is clearly not true. Each of us has our unique set of abilities and personalities that will make us good at some things but not others.
  • Weak: weakness is asking for help. It is a sign of being weak or being a failure. This is probably the worst of all the myths.

In some areas, getting help is expected. Take any sport. No professional athlete has ever been successful without a team of coaches, medical team and so on. It is an acceptable norm that constant learning and improvement is a necessity and therefore seeking the best coach or trainer is a must. Think about how many coaches or mentors each professional sports person has had in their sporting career.

In the same context, in the workplace all successful executives have had great coaches and mentors to guide and lead them. However, something strange then happens downstream. Most people never get the coaching, training and improvement programs that coud help them further grow and be successful in their role. It is only reserved for those earmarked with high potential. What about the 80% of the work force that is running the business? Do they not require improvement? There are various forms of development that would not require extensive investment. As an example, mentor- mentee relationship is extremely valuable and the only cost involved in time from both party.

There are 6 things to you need to stop doing in order to start getting the help that you need:
1. Stop giving excuses. Stop giving excuses for not looking or getting help. Time and money are the two most common excuses. Imagine what your life would look like if you had taken the time and money to develop a certain skill or to overcome a certain fear. What would the benefit be then? What is the cost to you for not doing what you know you should be?
2. Stop Putting it aside. Putting something in back burner or not prioritising it will not make the weakness or issue go away. In fact it is just making the problem bigger over time. Sweeping it under the carpet will only make the carpet bulge up over time and it will be harder to clean it later on.
3. Stop hoping that the situation will change. Situation rarely changes, it is usually the person who changes. A wise person will learn and grow through each circumstances. Thereby learning the skills to go through the situation.
4. Stop blaming others. It is so easy to blame others for your struggles. You could blame your company or manager for not giving you the training that you need. You could blame the people around for putting in the hours or for being good at what they do which in turn makes you look less successful. The list goes on. Nothing good ever comes from blaming others. Take ownership and accountability and make your plans to grow.
5. Stop accepting the status quo. The difference between a successful person and not so successful lies in focus and goals. We can go through the day and just flow with it or we could dictate how the flow goes. Start by making a decision that you want to change and develop further.  Start with setting goals.  Simple goals are all that is required. What are the 3 things that I must do today? What is the one important purposeful thing that I want to make sure that I complete today?
6. Stop not accepting or asking for help. Help is just around the corner if we ask and there are times, people offer their help. Take it and be thankful.

Where are you today with getting or asking for help? Are you gritting your teeth and continuing on the path of self-reliant? Are you too proud to ask for help? If you are in anyone of those 6 areas, dismiss those myth and start getting the help that you need. There are books, training courses and people who are able to help. Don’t shy away any longer. The long-term impact can be significant.

PS: Get in touch with me for a free 30 minute exploration session to learn more about coaching and what it can do for you.

Working with a Manager with Credibility Issues?

Respect and credibility are 2 critical hidden badges that each of us carry in our workplace.  Both are earned through actions and accomplishments along with how we conduct ourselves.  What happens when you work for a manager who is well-regarded and has high credibility?  For those of us who have had such experience will know that it is a positive experience.  Conversely, working for or with a manager who has credibility issues is hard.  It is hard because it is fighting an invisible barrier and it makes working with people and teams more challenging.

What can you do if you are in that situation?  Here are some tips for you:

  1. Focus on your credibility. Focus on building your credibility.  Deliver on your commitments and be a professional.  You are responsible for building your own credibility.  Credibility is built over time through hard work, commitment and accomplishments.  Therefore, you are in control of what you are to achieve.
  2. Keep your words and actions professional. Be a professional.  Don’t succumb to gossiping or bad mouthing your manager or peers.  Be self-aware and ensure that you focus on your role, responsibilities and results.
  3. Seek out mentors to help you grow. Seeking out mentors will ensure that you have an objective outside to give you perspective and help your developmental needs.  Your focus should be how can you continually grow and learn to be better at your role and enhance your skills.  All these actions will help you to build your credibility.
  4. Stay optimistic and positive. One of the typical symptom that will appear in the group is low team morale.  Be the difference.  Be the light that shines optimism and keep working on what you are responsible for.
  5. Help your manager. You would expect your manager to help you but in this situation, helping your manager to be successful might be needed.  When the team is successful, it builds credibility for all.  It is a symbiotic relationship, everyone needs everyone to play their part for the whole to be successful.

Observing from a distance President Trump makes me feel sorry for the people that are working for him.  How hard it must be to do their job when they serve a leader who has very little credibility.  However, we don’t have to look too far to see in our workplaces, that we have managers who also suffer from credibility issues.  Instead of being helpless or raise our hands in defeat, let’s look for ways that we can still be successful.

What makes personal credibility important?

  • Power of Influence: Influence is a powerful skill to possess.  A person of influence can achieve a great deal.  Negotiations proceed smoother.  Convincing another person to participate or taken up task requires less time and effort.
  • Trustworthiness: When a person has credibility, that person is perceived as trustworthy.  For most, a great character to have or perceive to have is integrity.  When there is trust, there is mutual respect and working together is easy.  When that breaks down, it is hard as there is too much uncertainty and second guessing.  Focusing on what you need to do and watching your back make for work extremely challenging.
  • Authority: Direct or indirect authority makes working with people easier.  When you have authority whether it is in a subject matter or as part of the hierarchy, you are able to in some situation control the situation.

When you are in that situation, you will need to decide what is the path that you are going to take.  Are you going to make the situation better or make it worse?

Ask yourself:

  • What is my attitude towards my manager?
  • What is my attitude towards the work that I do?
  • What am I saying or doing that could contribute to making the situation better or worse?
  • How can I stay focus on the job?
  • What can I do towards developing my credibility? Am I delivering the outcomes or results that I have committed to?
  • How am I taking accountability for my actions or am I blaming others?
  • What are my choices?
  • What do I want to achieve or learn from this?

Working in any organisation, there will be a mix bag of managers and colleagues.  Most of the time we can’t choose who the people we work for and with will be.  The ability to manage and work with people will be key to your success.  You will need to decide what part you will play on top of your official role.  Will you be the catalyst of positive change or not?

Admittedly, there are times, no amount of positivity will help a situation, it is then, the need to find another opportunity.  But before then, focus on the learnings and skills building that this journey will take you through.