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Get Unstuck-The Client Experience

As noted previously, client confidentiality is honoured, so while the quotes are real quotes from clients, the names are changed to ensure their privacy. It is important that my existing and future clients feel comfortable that I always comply with the Evolve Executive Coaching confidentiality promise. Do any of the clients quoted below resonate with you right now? Let me know.

I Always Wanted To Have A Different Career-I Feel Stuck!

‘Charles’ mentioned recently that our coaching work has helped him to “think outside the box”, meaning that he “no longer feels tied to something to fit into” but he can “look at using my abilities in other ways.” This highly competent professional has had a successful career yet throughout has always felt that there was some other work that would be more satisfactory, that would make use of the interests and competencies he has in ways that really met his needs. Even though he has participated in several assessments throughout his career I suggested the Striving Styles Personality System™ because of the length of time he had been seeking something new and also because it would appeal to his ‘always on’ search for knowledge. Our first goal was to get him past ‘stuck’ and the combination of the SSPS™, our coaching sessions and the assignments I give him, he has succeeded. He is now starting to look at and more importantly act on the optimal ways of making his next career project a reality. He is showing more enthusiasm and feeling happier in general and that is a successful coaching outcome. Our QS Impact and QS Power Leadership Packages are designed to shift you past ‘stuck’ and integrate your skills for a more satisfying career and life!

My New WorkPlace Has A Different Culture-Help!

‘Jake’ noted, “It helps to have an objective person to talk through my work challenges with and the assignments show how to put the coaching to work. I learned that carrying out the assignments proved that experiential learning really helps”. ‘Jake’ did not complete any particular assessment tool; although we did gather helpful information by talking to some colleagues he worked with in a previous organization. He found his new role presented challenges in getting his team on board with his ideas that he had not encountered before. This is a common experience for new managers and managers that take over a leadership role in a new organization. Jake has established a more collaborative team culture in his workplace and reports that the productivity and innovation on projects has improved. Our EC-Impact-3 Months and EC-Power-6 Month Executive Coaching Packages are designed to navigate the cultural jungles of workplaces and help you to have a positive impact.

I Like The Company I Work For-But My Job Isn’t Right For Me-What Do I Do?

Leah was feeling stalled in her career and quickly admitted that her chosen career, in Finance had never felt ‘quite right’ and a sense of dissatisfaction was making continuing more difficult. We explored her interests, strengths, and skills to determine what role would be more satisfactory for the next phase of her career. Leah hoped to stay in her current organization, while the job was not quite right, she liked working there. Leah was able to turn her past accomplishments into a new role in her current organization by creating her own career dashboard. Leah commented, “Learning how to present my skills and understanding what was needed in the organization was the key to reaching my goal.” Evolve Executive Coaching Professional Career Planning packages help clients create a foundation that will benefit their careers at any point in time.

Evolve With Evolve Executive Coaching! Register for a complementary exploratory session today and find out which Evolve Executive Coaching Package is right for you. 

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Coaching Helps You Take Action.

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Evolve to your potential.

Photo of “Evolve to Your Potential is courtesy of Ambro at freedigitalphotos.net

 

How Coaches Help When You Feel Stuck

On the first day of April 2013 I started a new series for our blog posts, Create Your Niche-A Personal Perspective. Today, I am sharing some thoughts about coaching from a client’s perspective. In this post, I will talk about how I have benefitted from having coaches in my career. In the next post I will include quotes on the benefits realized from Evolve Executive Coaching clients.

It Started Here

Through much of my career I had a few informal mentors, mostly executives who recognized my work ethic, and saw my potential. They offered wise advice when asked and offered advice when they saw a way to help me at other times. I valued those interactions, took everything ever offered through their kindness and worked hard to create something out of that advice. I have never had a formal mentor but my first executive coach came as part of my management role in one organization.  My coach at that time was the only person willing to tell me what I needed to hear and to work with me to turn that awareness into actions that helped create more success in my career. The benefit I gained from that coaching relationship was significant enough that I started playing with the idea of coaching as a career. This came up a few more times in other roles in which having the expertise of an executive coach was offered to me and it reinforced how helpful it is, offering benefits that are not available from performance reviews or 360 reviews.

Where It Really Started To Take Shape

Part of my responsibility in several of my organizational roles was to provide coaching from an internal perspective, to my client groups and to my colleagues. This was part of the overall development plan to assist a manager who may be new to a management role, struggling in their role or stuck in their career. So, executive coaching was something I was observing from a variety of perspectives. Additionally, I frequently heard from colleagues, clients and others that they felt I should consider being a coach as my next career. But I hesitated, for years, without really knowing why. I had all sorts of practical excuses- “the coaching field is saturated, the economy is in trouble, few people are paying for coaches” etc. Ask me about becoming a coach myself and I had a quick ‘oh so logical’ reason why not.

We All Get Stuck

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Look past barriers.

I was also ‘stuck’, pursuing work I no longer felt any real satisfaction doing. I can only stand being ‘stuck’ for so long before acting, taking the leap, going after something new so my decision was made. I stopped thinking about why not as part of my work on my own Roadmap from the Striving Styles Personality System™. I recognized it wasn’t about the coaching business but about how I was seeing myself. I started thinking about why yes, looking for solutions and taking actions to accomplish my goals.

Multi-Tasking For Change

I decided that I would earn a certification in Executive Coaching, create a business and go through the rebranding process. I already had a lot of research available about executive coaching certifications, was easily able to determine that I also needed a program that offered a business-coaching module. What I needed was new tools! Once I found the right option for my needs, I signed up and once committed threw myself fully into earning the certification and creating my business.

At the same time I started the certification process for the Striving Styles Personality System™ because I knew that the better the tools I had to offer my future clients the more benefits they would gain from working with me. This was a good decision because Heather and Anne have the experience in working with similar tools with their clients and knew what was missing in many of them. It was also a good decision because the SSPS™ helped me understand more about myself, which led to improving my conversations when talking to prospective clients. It offers a lot more benefits in other areas of my business and life in general so overall my satisfaction in business and life is back on track.

Using What I Learn

As I reflect on my decision last Fall to take this path, and consider the time spent pursuing something that no longer provided satisfaction I also came to gain even more appreciation for the coaches I had in my career. My current business coach, Catherine Rocheleau of Ignite Leadership International, was instrumental in helping me put everything I learned into action. I still use what I learned from my executive coaches in previous roles, and now use all of that for the benefit of Evolve Executive Coaching clients.

Where Are You Right Now?

Today’s questions: When was the last time you felt ‘stuck’, you knew a change was needed but just could not quite make it happen? What did you do to resolve it? How did that work?  What else are you willing to do to achieve what you want in your career or business?

 

 

 

Create Your Niche-A Personal Perspective

In the Winter blog series we talked about The Leadership Change Gap, Values Based Leadership ROI, and Improving Performance-A Value Proposition. Spring is now here and it is time for a new thread. This season we take a look at coaching from a more personal perspective so let me know if anything in particular resonates with you.

Coaching has so many meanings these days that it seems to have become a little blurred in peoples minds. This is one of the reasons why it helps to define a niche for ones coaching practice. The niche that a coach defines for their practice helps clients and prospective clients understand what benefits they will gain from working with the coach they choose. I am starting this series with a look at how I created Evolve Executive Coaching.

I chose Executive Coaching as the area to focus on because throughout my corporate career working with managers, supervisors, executives, and emerging leaders has always been the most rewarding aspect of my work. Since moving to the entrepreneurial world, especially small business, I have also discovered that same level of rewards in working with the creators and drivers of these businesses. I am building my business by having coaching packages that are suitable for owners and managers in small businesses and packages that are suitable for executives in medium to large organizations.  I tend to be a ‘big picture’ thinker so from my perspective working toward successful change with leaders and emerging leaders is the most impactful way to use my own skills.

Having a front row seat to observe all these different types of leaders create even more impact in their organizations and communities through the coaching plus action process is terrific.

I know from my years working in medium to large organizations that when the leadership is effective, the culture in the organization is more conducive to a good employee experience. That counts, not just because I want everyone to have a good experience at work, but because when employees have a good experience in the workplace, the customers they serve are much more likely to also have a good experience with your business. Independent business owners also benefit from this type of coaching as it helps to create an approach to employees and customers that improves their ability to create the type of trust and value proposition the customer is seeking.

Coaching benefits come about through two primary ways: the ‘aha’ moment when something just clicks and the longer process of understanding how and when we create the results we get. Those ‘aha’ moments shed light on a challenge but that understanding rarely provides the solution. Coaches take those aha moments and create the solution with the client, the “Evolve” process and turning that into sustainable change. Sometimes it can be accomplished in two coaching sessions [assessments help speed up results] and sometimes it occurs over a longer period of time. Evolve Executive Coaching offers complementary exploratory sessions to determine the best choice for the client and their readiness for committing to the process.

This month I am adding new service packages to my practice because I have been working with several professionals that are in the beginning or middle of wanting something different from their work. This work reminded me how much I enjoy working with people in transition that are committed to change. Being part of this transition is very rewarding for me as the results are positive but more importantly that these clients trust me enough to work with me at a vulnerable point in their career is meaningful. Watch the Evolve Executive Coaching blog, Twitter and LinkedIn posts for details on these packages.

The next post in this series will include some quotes from Evolve Executive Coaching clients that talk about the benefits they achieved from the packages they signed on for. As always, client confidentiality is honoured, so while the quotes are real quotes from clients they will not be identified.

I leave you with a few questions to either answer via the comments or to take away and consider on your own, so here are a couple of questions for you today:

When was the last time you sat down and looked at your own Evolve process? What did you learn when you did this? What actions did you take based on that review?

 

Improving Performance-A Value Proposition

Welcome to our new readers and my appreciation to those of you who have returned for more! As promised this post is about improving performance by making it the centre of attention through consistent and timely communication.

Executive coaching focuses on helping us find results based solutions through the process of our own growth and skill development. As we evolve we take that new confidence into the workplace and begin to help others improve their performance. It starts with us, and one of the things that executive coaching offers is insight to how we learn and change that will help us in guiding others through their own performance improvements.

I have experienced performance management from many different angles and so many different methods in my career so what I am proposing here based on years of experience, observation, research and outcomes. Optimal performance is critical to the success of any organization, if you get the performance conversation right, the ‘engagement’ factor that is garnering so much attention lately will take care of itself. Engagement is not a program, it is an outcome of a workplace culture that understands and values the contributions of the people who work there. Create a culture of accountability, trust, and consistency and make sure that performance is a natural part of the workday chat.

There are three absolutes that have been consistently proven to create the best outcomes in my adventures in performance management:

(1) Your communication style will make or break effective performance discussions.

(2) Timeliness is not optional.

(3) Participation by all parties is mandatory.

Do the three absolutes resonate with you? Do you practice them consistently at work?

Try this exercise:

  1. Jot down the number of times you have interacted with an employee in your organization (regardless of where in the organization) in the last three days and offered some form of performance related comment. Consider colleagues, peers, boss, support staff etc. And, jot down when someone else in the organization offered some form of performance related comment to you.
  2. Who were they? What was the nature of the comment?  What response did you get from the employee you spoke with?
  3. Now think about the last time you conducted (or was the recipient of) the annual or quarterly or semi-annual formal review-what did that communication feel like?
  4. Did anyone seem surprised by what you communicated? Were there disagreements about your review content? Did anyone express appreciation for how helpful they found your performance communications over the previous period in their work?
  5. Does performance review time feel like a burden in your workplace? If you were unable to recall even one performance related discussion in your workplace in the previous three days it is time to get started.

How committed are you to changing that going forward?  

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Kick Start Performance Today!

Even when we work in organizations that have traditional performance review programs we can easily create our own practice that works well despite those programs. The key is within the absolutes, and that is something that you do have control over. It begins with you changing how you view and approach performance results in your work every day. And it requires consistently operating with the core values in mind.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

The Leadership Change Gap

An important function of leadership is to engage others in your vision for the future. The vision, regardless of what it is, will likely mean those you lead will experience some form of change. How much of an impact that has on productivity and the acceptance of the changes needed depends on a number of factors. In this post we will take a look at the gap that often exists between where you, as the leader, are in the process and where the people you are leading are in the process.

I have worked in several large organizations as they underwent significant change, and have observed this gap repeat itself over and over. Even when the change expert reminds the leader that they have been researching, analyzing and adjusting to the change for some time, often the people outside of the executive team have little or no awareness of what is being contemplated. The gap, then, is that place where you as the leader are in the change, and where the rest of the people in the organization are in the process. This gap is then magnified because the bumps in the change process are reflected in the experience of not just employees but in the experience of the customers.

Recently, I was in the local grocery store that had changed to a new point-of-sale system and on this busy Sunday afternoon, the glitches in the system were creating a chaotic effect. The staff members, who are generally quite laid back and calm, were clearly experiencing stress and expressed this to customers. The system created multiple errors that had to be corrected, the line-ups were getting longer and slower and the staff were frustrated. This is not an unusual scenario when change is introduced without closing the gap. It is one that is played out in workplaces often.

The only way to reduce the gap is to change the way we approach change. This is done primarily through changing our communication style within the organization. Leaders often spend a lot of time thinking about how to communicate a change in the organization.  The key to closing the gap is to think about changing when you communicate. This necessitates an open form of dialogue early in the process. And that will take many leaders outside their comfort zone. In our next Evolve Executive Coaching blog post we will talk about leaders operating outside their comfort zone. What do you see as your biggest communication challenge going forward? How have you changed your approach in the last eighteen months?

We can see the sun, in change leaders help others through the fog.

We can see the sun, in change leaders help others through the fog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolve Executive Coaching Blog

Welcome to the new home of Evolve Executive Coaching blog!

I am excited to be starting out 2013 by establishing a new home for my website and blog all in one place. My practice is now focused on executive coaching while keeping a strong connection to my work in Digital Era Leadership. The two areas of focus are relevant in a world in which communication channels are wide open and collaboration is an increasingly important key to successful business results. As in the industrial era when machinery changed the way we worked, consumed and lived, the proliferation of technology tools has created a new Digital Era in which our connections, communication skills and trust become the hallmarks of success.

I am currently working with two virtual teams on Digital Era Leadership projects. We use Skype, Zipcast, Google+ Hangout, and Signal 37 Basecamp project management tools to interact, share information and schedule team meetings. I conduct sessions with clients, in-person, via Skype or Google+ Hangout and sometimes by phone.

For coaching sessions I much prefer using tools that include the ability to see the person I am working with when not meeting in-person. There are nuances that can be missed and a bigger challenge to establishing strong connections with clients and colleagues when we can not see the people we are working with in many of the same ways that the switch to email vs. talking to clients and colleagues were experienced way back when email became a common method of sharing information. I also prefer being able to see colleagues on the virtual teams when we ‘meet’ as a voice only set up often means that several people start responding at once and thus many contributions can be lost in the confusion. So for those reasons, I applaud the creators of tools that let us see our clients and colleagues when they are thousands of miles away.

With all the tools available to us to ‘meet’ virtually it is important to remember that meeting in-person is a valuable aid to strengthening our work relationships and I encourage everyone to always try to meet in-person when possible.

Thank-you for visiting our new home at Evolve Executive Coaching. Please browse our other features to learn why Evolve Executive Coaching may be just the answer to your workplace challenges!

 

Evolve Executive Coaching for results based solutions specific to your leadership development needs. Contact us today!

 
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