Almost a decade ago, my tryst with coaching started.
I was a hotshot corporate executive. I was part of a business transformation exercise and was assigned a coach.
My first reaction was “Why would I need a coach? I know everything.” Besides my coach was not from my industry so “what would the person tell me which I didn’t know?”
I was a complete skeptic to the process when I went into the first interaction. Over the course of the year, I was humbled by the person and the process. My coach brought out so many insights about me and my performance that it opened new doors for me.
I became a complete convert to coaching and was trained in Breakthrough Coaching.
Over the years, the coaching industry has matured, but understandably there are still doubts on how an ideal coach should be.
In the absence of a clear idea, individuals going through the coaching process could lose out on the transformational magic of coaching. Organizations would lose out on time and money.
What I am sharing with you today is my experience, in both the roles, as a Coach and a Coachee (a person who is being coached).
Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations.
Brian’s goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined.
Brian Tracy has consulted for more than 1,000 companies and addressed more than 5,000,000 people in 5,000 talks and seminars throughout the US, Canada, and 70 other countries worldwide. As a Keynote speaker and seminar leader, he addresses more than 250,000 people each year.
He has studied, researched, written and spoken for 30 years in the fields of economics, history, business, philosophy and psychology. He is the top selling author of over 70 books that have been translated into dozens of languages.
He has written and produced more than 300 audio and video learning programs, including the worldwide, best-selling Psychology of Achievement, which has been translated into more than 28 languages.
He speaks to corporate and public audiences on the subjects of Personal and Professional Development, including the executives and staff of many of America’s largest corporations. His exciting talks and seminars on Leadership, Selling, Self-Esteem, Goals, Strategy, Creativity and Success Psychology bring about immediate changes and long-term results.
What does Leadership mean to you?
“Leadership is the ability to get extraordinary achievement from ordinary people.”
It is difficult to distil the impact of a person who has written 70 books. His words have always had an impact. The one closest to me is “Luck is predictable. If you want to be lucky, take more chances, show up more often”. His book “Eat that Frog” and its philosophy of getting your most important work done first thing in the morning has been my personal productivity mantra for years.
1938. Karoly Takacs was writhing in pain. The 1936 world class pistol shooter had just shot his right hand. His right hand by which he would hold his pistol.
The pain of the extinguished hopes was more than the physical pain. Everyone looking at him said “A great career which could have been has just ended” Or did it?
By 1939 i.e. in a year’s time, he won the National Shooting Championship. Olympics was cancelled in 1940 and 1944 due to World War 2. Finally in 1948 Olympics, after waiting for nine years, he wold the Gold medal and also in the next Helsinki Olympics in 1952.
He won all these championships by his LEFT Hand.
Back in 1938, He could have easily moaned in grief and led a victim’s life which everyone would have shown sympathy to. Instead he rose above his physical and mental challenges and achieved the impossible.
You may say “I am not an Olympic Athlete. How is this relevant to me?”
Let me ask you: “Do You want today to be better than yesterday?” If yes, then this is for you.
Because if you focus on the very core aspects of your life then your today is going to be better than yesterday.
Most days, your day starts with tumbling out of the bed to shut off the alarm, a quick shower, then, coffee while running out of the door. A long ride in the traffic to the office, a long to-do list is made with your head in the hand, a day which goes by in a blur and before you know it, you are back in the bed staring at the ceiling, wondering “One more day gone!”
How is it that some people seem to do so much within one day while you are just about ticking the 6th item on the task list?
If you study the habits of the successful people, you can unlock the keys for a joyful and highly productive day. Want to know more? Read on.
Do you know that by the time you reach 18 you have heard NO around 10,000 times?
No wonder we get used to hearing NO. What is worse for business is we get used to saying NO to others. NO to new ideas, new initiatives, new ways of working. The common refrain “We don’t do it this way here”If it ain’t broke, Don’t fix it.”
It requires an outsider like Starbucks to show what Nestle should have done a long time back.
This post is about how key decision makers in your organization may be operating and why it may stop you from unleashing the best.
Quite often people act from The Power of saying NO and Responsibility of saying YES mode. Let me show how:
Managers often will say NO to a subordinate’s plan for a new style or new idea or an innovative way of doing things. This comes from the feeling that “I have the power to say NO” and I am going to use it liberally.
However, when it comes to saying yes, low performing managers think “I’ll have to explain why this works. Tomorrow something goes wrong I will be blamed” so they feel a certain heaviness of saying YES.
Over time, the organization becomes “safe” and “follows procedures” rather than taking risks to deliver more value to the customer.
Now contrast this with what I am saying:
What if Leaders felt the power of saying YES. They should feel that they have taken one more step in adding value to customers. I have taken one more step in beating the competition. I have taken one more step in making my team think and deliver innovation.
And If I say NO, then I have the responsibility of not making any of the above happen. Not only am I crushing someone’s dream, but I am also reducing the company’s future growth potential.
Now if someone has this doubt “Hey, does that mean I allow every wild dreamy idea out there?” The answer to it is: judge it whether it adds value to the customer, beats competition or increases the innovation and growth in the company, If Yes, Feel the Power of YES.
As a leader, are you building this culture in your team and organization?
For more actionable insights for improving your Leadership, check out my book
My boss used to love asking questions. On every campaign, we used to design; he would ask ten questions. Once replied, they would lead to 10 more questions and so on. One day, I decided that I would start it as a pilot project, and we will keep answering his questions. After two months, he asked, “By the way, what happened to that X campaign?” I replied “well, we started as a pilot project and got some good learnings from it and now in a better position to answer your concerns” He paused for a while and then said “you did the right thing. Let’s go national”.
The market and the customer are the best ways to understand whether something works or not.
We can have endless boardroom discussions, but it has no comparison to the rich learnings in the market.
But the new millennium has shown that the chances of being fired from a job have increased.
So what are the signs that you could be the next?
Your boss tells you that you are distracted and not focused
Once in a while, your boss comes over to your cubicle and while chatting tells you that “John, nowadays I find you very distracted, not focused on your job”. While you are busy trying to turn over the monitor so that he can’t see your Facebook comments, he was actually laying down the ground for the further discussion which is going to come up.
Every time you talk with your Boss he tells you how unhappy he is with your performance
You are doing a review of a recent assignment or have gone to him with a proposal. He gives his assessment but follows up with “Off late, I am unhappy with your performance. We had agreed on some clear deliverables and you are behind. John, you need to pull up your socks”. He stresses on the words “unhappy” and “performance”. He is making sure that you register that your performance is being evaluated.
Your HR person has started talking to you
Generally your HR knows you as “employee code A321” but now, over the past one month, someone from HR has started talking to you and asking probing questions on “how do you find your work?” “How do you handle criticisms?” “How are you improving your performance?” “How do you keep on top of your assignments?” If this is done with everyone, then, it is different matter. But, if you find you are the only one or only one among a very few, then it is a sign that the HR department is making its own assessment.
Key projects and assignments are going to someone else
In the past, Key projects were given out democratically or you were one of the few who were considered. Now none are coming your way. Even when you are best qualified or best experienced. This happens multiple number of times. When asked you are told “You were considered but looking at all factors we decided to give to Debra”. The organization is preparing itself and training other people so that when time comes, they will handle your exit.
You are getting a mid-year appraisal when that is not the norm
Your boss calls you over or schedules a mid-year review when that is not the norm. There could even be a HR person in the room “for quality monitoring purposes” Both of them look very keenly at your answers. In fact, your boss was never so attentive in your appraisals before. You are carefully asked to explain what actions you took and why you did it. You are asked leading questions like “Did you consider collaborating with ….?” “What policy rules did you apply …?” “How did you make sure your performance was to the desired standards as prescribed in …?” They are building a case so that when the termination case is made, they can cite the “self-confession” you made.
A senior executive in the organization who cares for you tells you to “Look Out”
There is always someone in senior leadership or in Exec Team who must like you. (If not, get yourself noticed). He would have a wind of what is coming. In an informal place probably in office party or an event, he strikes a casual conversation with you and says “John, nothing in this world is permanent. It is ever changing. You must keep your options open. Gone are the days when people used to retire in their companies. So, look out. Nothing to be done in haste. I am not asking you to leave the company, quite the contrary. But you know, keep options open”. What he is actually telling you is “I have been in a meeting where it has been decided to fire you. I can’t rat on the organization but I like you, so I am giving you a hint. Hope you are smart enough to get it”
Your boss reminds you of an opportunity in the past you did not take up
In your journey of one year or ten years, you must have passed up a career move which the organization wanted you to take. The more the number of years, the more such opportunities. Off late your boss brings this up in the middle of an unconnected conversation “We need to close this sales number soon and it requires you to really step up your game. Get Marketing to give you a campaign soon. John, if only you had taken that stint in designing Performance standards seriously, you would not be in such a situation” The case is being prepared that the organization had given you all the opportunities to improve your game but you did not take them.
Your discussion on your career path does not happen
You have been pressing for this discussion for past one year or six months on what are the next steps for you in the organization but nothing is moving. Your boss is stonewalling it by saying “We will discuss when the time is appropriate”. When you have approached the HR they have said “Talk to your boss” The situation is: the organization has no plans for you.
All of the above taken together is pointing to one door. Your Exit.
Take action. Engage with your boss and step up if you want to remain in the organization. Or start writing your resume, if you want to exit too.
You are the leader of the business and the team and hence, you obviously own the results. And everything which happens between now and the results. But does your team own the business?
Why does this matter?
Are your employees coming to the office just to collect the paycheck? Then there is a serious problem. If the job, for them, means a vehicle to get a “bigger” or “better paying” job somewhere else, then, there is a problem. When someone says “I just follow instructions. If something goes wrong, it’s my boss’ problem” there is a serious problem.
When you own the business as if it is your own, you don’t wait for instructions. You are always on the lookout for opportunities. You will always want to be one step ahead of the competition.