Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When Change Backfires

You have been working diligently with your coach on identifying new behaviors to help you realize your career goals. You recognize that what you have been doing is not working for you. You are ready to try a new approach. You push out of your comfort zone and go for it!

Okay, you have taken the "new you" for a test drive. But the result was a speeding ticket rather than cheers for the way you handled the road. Colleagues pushed back; the status quo was obviously not a problem for them. You are disappointed and frustrated. What do you do now?

Here are some questions to ask yourself: Did you lay the groundwork for your new behavior or did you just spring it on your colleagues? People don't like surprises. Did you consider the impact of your different approach from your colleagues point of view? This is where high Emotional Intelligence comes into play. Manage your emotions and step back to analyze the situation as objectively as possible and to come up with a modified approach. The road to change is marked by bumps and potholes. Stay the course, but learn to navigate around the obstacles. You will get to your destination.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Baseball Hall of Fame Coach for the Mind

I often attribute my ability to persevere in the face of setbacks and outright defeat to my life-long loyalty to the Philadelphia Phillies. Yes, we have had our moments of glory; the 1980 pennant and World Series title come to mind. But the Phillies also hold the record for the most games lost in baseball history - 10,232 games lost from 1883 to 2010. Baseball can be hard on fans, but it is hard on players, too.

Enter Harvey Dorfman, the mental performance coach hired by the Okland Athletics in the mid-1980s. This appreciative article marking Dorfman's recent death describes his mental coaching techniques for helping professional baseball players improve their game. They worked, too. The game is mostly mental, after all.

We can all hit a slump in our careers, creating a defeatist attitude that keeps us from moving forward. A good coach can help you work your way through the problems and come out a winner. By the way, the Phillies are leading their division this season, and I am extremely optimistic.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Coaching's Multiplier Effect

In economics, the multiplier effect roughly means that one dollar of increased spending (usually by the government) produces more than one dollar of added consumer spending and an even greater increase in overall national income. As a leader and coach for your staff, you can also get a multiplier effect for your efforts.

That lesson was brought home today when I told a new client in an organization about an exercise to help get in touch with her record of accomplishment. She told me that she had already done the exercise at the suggestion of one of her colleagues, who happened to be a former client. Confidentiality rules kept me from revealing the connection, but I was delighted to learn that my coaching techniques had been embraced and passed along within the organization.

Keep the multiplier effect in mind as you help your staff increase their potential for success. Your investment will pay off more than you think!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Wisdom of Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee, martial arts super-star, is my brother's hero. I have learned a great deal from him, too. One bit of wisdom I often share with my coaching clients goes something like this: we cannot attain mastery over others until we attain mastery over ourselves.

Dealing with a difficult boss, a hostile work environment, or a setback in achieving our goals may cause us to lose touch with our strengths and accomplishments. We may let the negative feedback we are receiving define who we are and how we feel about ourselves. The first step in turning this situation around is restoring our faith in ourselves - attaining mastery over our self-doubt and frustration.

Start by writing down 10 - 12 things you have done that make you feel proud of yourself. Don't limit yourself to your professional life; include achievements from your personal life, volunteer work and so on. Go back to kindergarten or earlier if a memory from that time makes you smile at how amazing you are. When you have reminded yourself of your many talents and positive qualities, you will be ready to tackle your career challenges. Bruce Lee would be proud of you!