Welcome All!

If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Rocking the Boat: A couple of coaching assumptions and questions

“Confrontational, eye-opening, and refreshing.”
“No-escape conversations about what really matters.”
“Brutally candid, very direct, and respectfully in-your-face.”

These are some of the phrases that my clients use when they describe my style and interventions. And they are right. I do not shy away from confrontation or conflict. I disrupt where necessary to reach objectives at a good pace. I provoke if that's what it takes to open eyes and decrease blind spots. 

Of course I do this because I deeply care for my clients. I professionally care enough to risk misinterpretation of my interventions and to risk discontinuation of a project. It hasn't happened yet, but I've been close twice. However, my clients quickly experience  deep professional care for their professional and personal well-being. And they learn that my assumptions about people are different than those of most coaches. Six of these assumptions are: 

1.    People grow and change in response to challenges.

2.    The client loses when a coach beats around the bush, sugar-coats, postpones, delays, or rephrases as opposed to courageous, direct, candid and, if need be, confrontational and provocative interactions.

3.    In a trusting and transparent relationship people can handle confrontations, provocations and the (sometimes brutal) truth.

4.    People have a greater ability to change than is often assumed by coaches and themselves. 

5.    The psychological fragility of people is frequently overstated by both themselves and others.

6.    Unproductive behaviors can be drastically altered, no matter how seemingly severe.

These assumptions lead to a direct, candid, and if need be provocative approach which in turn leads to quicker and more sustainable results. No sugar coating or procrastinating, instead, you will face unpleasant truths and embrace radically different perspectives. In provocative coaching you will face your idiosyncrasies and challenges head-on. Not to dismiss, judge, or condemn them, but to see them for what they are and how they play their part in what you accomplish - and what you don't. 

Just a few of the many coaching questions that I have found very useful:

1. Related to your coaching objectives, think about what you are not telling me, what you are not showing me, what you are hiding from me? Follow-up question: What is keeping you from full disclosure?

2. What is that you are not admitting to yourself? In which ways and in which areas are you deceiving yourself?
Follow-up question: Can you list all the benefits from this self-deceit?

3. What do you gain from your problems? What would you lose if your problems, that led to these coaching sessions, were all solved?

4. What have you purposefully done lately to surround yourself with people who challenge you and are willing to oppose you?
Follow-up question: To what extend do you use their perspectives to really grow? 

Which are your provocative responses and practices?
And for examples of really provocative interventions, keep an eye on my next blog post. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Don't fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.

Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy on the power of body language and body poses. 
It doesn't just affect how others perceive you, it influences you. 
It influences your testosterone and cortisone levels, and thereby your outcomes. 

Great TED talk by Amy: Your body language shapes who you are. 

http://on.ted.com/iN6B #TED

What is your body language doing for you?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Simple Yet Hard: Back To Basics - Critical Skills In The Workplace

We’re all busy so let’s keep this post lean. I threw out irrelevant introductions and explanations you can do without. Will you make time to read just under 270 characters?

Critical skill number 1: Questioning
This is the ability to effectively and efficiently explore business issues and challenges in a way that demonstrates your understanding of someone’s business, of your own expertise and its place, and of your interest in the organization and its people. Asking relevant questions remains to be more effective than providing the right answers. Ask, not talk!

Critical skill number 2: Listening
This is the underrated ability to focus on, hear, and process both the content and the process side of messages, i.e. the emotions and intentions that come with the content. What messages are you sending besides your words? What messages are you receiving during the conversation? Take notice!

Critical skill number 3: Positioning
This is the ability to convey credibility and to persuasively link business issues with solutions that add demonstrable value to the business. Every time you are present, you present yourself, your expertise, your product or service, and your organization. Make it crisp and clear. Convince!  

Critical skill number 4: Checking
The ability to check, double check whether interpretations coincide, whether intention and effect are aligned, and whether what had to be said and heard is actually said and heard. Checking includes eliciting feedback that ensures your business partner or customer feels heard and that expresses your desire to have a deeper understanding of their perspective.