You have to work with a Coach… What Now?

Harvard Business Review posted an article called “If your Boss tells you to Get a Coach, Don’t Panic“.  Author, Ron Ashkenas shares some great points for you to consider if you ever face a similar situation.

1.  Take time to process the recommendation before you start working with a Coach.

Many times I am asked by bosses to work with members of their team. Yes, in some situation, the employee’s performance is less than stellar and I am the last hope.  Having said that, more often than not I am asked to work with employees because their boss recognizes the asset they have and don’t want to lose this employee to a competitor, or they want to help prepare them for advancement or  help them improve their skills.

Before working with a Coach, its important to understand what’s expected and how you can benefit from the coaching engagement.  A Coach can be your greatest supporter and confident during change or challenging times and they can be your greatest cheerleader as you advance.

2.  Recognize how Coaching can help you and your business or career.

As stated by Ashkenas, coaching is “a fantastic opportunity for growth, development, self-insight, and careerMentor Leadership Coaching, Training, Motivation, Siuccess progression – and an endorsement that the company is willing to invest in you.”   Let me use a sports analogy.  A top notch athlete consistently works with a coach – not because they aren’t great at what they do, instead they rely on their coach to provide some insight, a different perspective and help keep them focused on their goal.  The Coach helps with mindset, strategies and tactics.  Together they are stronger and more effective than separately.

The same is true in business.  One of my clients offers a contracted service to another organization.  They have had that contract for a long time and little has changed.  When I was asked to work with the principle, it was to help shift the focus of their service spectrum and integrate new strategies, not to fix a wrong.  We worked together for several months and created an amazing new approach that their client really appreciated.  They were commended for taking the initiative to make improvements that added value and offered a better fit with other services within that organization.

3.  Step Up and Reap the Benefits

No matter why you are about to work with a Coach, you will definitely get the most of your coaching sessions when you set specific goals that you can measure, do the activities or “homework” and be prepared for every session.

Here’s our SPARK approach to get more out of your coaching experiences.

Set Your IntentionsWhen you set goals you gain clarity on where you want to go, what you want to achieve, and why!  You can also measure your progress along the way.
Prepare and PlanCome to each session prepared.  This way you and your coach will know what needs to be discussed or tackled during the session.  A focused session is a productive session. You will want to be clear on what you want to achieve, what help or feedback you need and what is needed to take the next step.
Accountability As you implement your action plans, you will need to be accountable to yourself and the goals you set. Your Coach is there to help you stay on track and offer insights, brainstorming, support, encouragement and more.  Change happens when you “step up”. Bring your questions, concerns, challenges to each session so you can achieve a breakthrough and activate the next steps.
Review & RejigAs you work with your Coach, change happens.  Our on-going sessions offer support as you make any necessary adjustments in your action plans. Our collaborative review process will offer insights and feedback, to keep you moving forward.
Keep Focused & On TrackDay to day operations can challenge the best of us and lead us astray. Most coaching sessions result in “homework”.  This is your responsibility to get completed before the next session.  We offer a framework to maintain a strategic focus on deliverables and outcomes. I recommend you participate fully in all tools and resources to really reap the value and benefit of this coaching process.

If you have an employee who could benefit from coaching, or if you yourself want to be a stronger leader, better boss or have a more successful business, an Ignite Business Assessment session is a complimentary call.  Each 30 minute call can identify your top priority and actions that are right for you.  Book your’s now!

Your Numbers Tell a Story

Fiscal Year End…
We all face this fact of business whether we want to or not.  I have been working on my year end for the past few days.  No major surprises, no gasps or frustrations.  Why?  I have made tracking my financial results a weekly routine.


Do your Numbers Cause you Stress?
In my book “The Winning Way“, I share three key attributes for good leaders.  Knowing your numbers was one of those attributes!  Why?  Your numbers tell you how you are doing and can provide great feedback when you are looking ahead.


I regularly work with entrepreneurs and businesses who are “financially challenged”.  In other words, they avoid their books (accounting records) because they
  • don’t like what they seeBudget Expenses
  • don’t understand what the numbers mean
  • don’t have a good record keeping system so they can’t track them if they wanted to.
If you feel this way you are not alone.  Having acknowledged this fact doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.  When you put your head in the sand your fiscal responsibilities and the numbers won’t go away.


End the Number Phobia

I encourage you to eliminate the numbers fear factor.  Your numbers offer valuable insights into your business and how to lead it into a more profitable territory when you leverage this information when making key decisions.

Numbers can be your best friend if you are ready to end that “financially challenged” feeling.   Regardless of how you track your revenues and expenses, on a spreadsheet or a software program like Quickbooks. these 5 small steps can help you ease into positive financial oversight.

1.  Look at your revenues for the week
2.  Look at your total expenses for the week.
3.  Did you earn more than you spent?  If yes, you made a profit  If no you lost money.
4.  Now identify 2 -3 small action items you can take right away to improve your revenues for next week.
5.  Recognize how these small action items made you feel.  Are you more empowered? Why /why

Getting comfortable with your numbers can take time… be patient.  If you want to build systems to grow your business, I recommend that you book a complimentary Ignite Business Assessment session.  Together we will identify your next key steps.


3 Steps to End Procrastination

Go Confidently QuoteHave you ever wondered why some things are so quick and easy to accomplish while others just feel insurmountable before you start, and so simple once they’re done?   Delay tactics become very imaginative when we see that task on our list that we don’t want to do.

Rarely is the time you spend trying to avoid doing a particular task substituted with another high priority productive task.  For example, you have to do follow-up phone calls with prospective clients.  You’re not sure if they will say “yes” and so you delay making the calls so you don’t have to hear “no”.  Instead of making those calls, and potentially adding some new clients who will pay you money, you rewrite your list of things to do, delete emails from your mobile phone, grab another cup of coffee, walk the dog, or daydream.  You get the idea!

Why do you procrastinate?

Procrastination is an automatic habit that causes us to needlessly delay timely, relevant, priority activities to another day.  The good news is that as a habit, it can be changed.  The challenge is that procrastination is a reinforced habit, meaning we don’t always experience the unpleasant outcomes of our choices/actions.  We often beat ourselves up because we delay action on a task or project.  Inaction is not necessarily procrastination as long as what you are doing is as important as the task you are delaying.

Interestingly enough, procrastination is on the rise.  Is this because our world is racing by and we just don’t have enough time to complete everything we want to do?  Or, is this because we have too many distractions, between email, the internet, meetings, games and social media?  Researchers at the University of Michigan suggest a change in society’s philosophy from one focused on hard work and prosperity to a more socially focused philosophy underpins this shift.

Brian Tracy, in his best seller “Eat That Frog” offers 21 habits that you can change to stop procrastinating.  A strange title for sure until you read the book.  Tracy explains, “…your frog is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on…the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.”  Tracy also contends that if you are faced with two frogs, you should ‘eat’ the ugliest one first (the biggest, hardest and most important).  You should tackle your major task first thing in the morning (without taking a lot of time to look at it) to reach high levels of performance and productivity.

Here are 3 key changes you can take today to move your projects forward.

  1. Prepare Before you Start
    Planning and preparation are a key steps in getting more in less time and achieving better results.  Planning helps you get clear on what it is you have to or want to achieve and the steps that need to be taken.  Assemble all of the necessary tools and resources to do the job at hand quickly and efficiently.  Create a good work environment for yourself, including the right lighting, a comfortable chair, and a tidy desktop.  (This is my biggest challenge for sure but I keep working on it).  A few minutes of preparation will help you tackle things more easily.
  2. Plan 3 Priorities Every Day. 
    At the end of each day, take the time to review your day and set the top three priorities for tomorrow.  Setting your daily priorities will help your focus and will help reduce distraction until they are Journal 2012completed.  This is one habit I learned early on when I was in Food Services.  A disaster could occur at any time.  When you set your priorities for the day in advance, you can deal with the unplanned and then quickly refocus on your priorities.  This has saved me more often than I can count.
  3. Allocate Blocks of Time
    Do you try to multitask?  I used to multi-task all the time but found that details would fall through the cracks.  Now, I block time to complete a task.  This isn’t fool-proof but it definitely does improve efficiency.   When you block time, you are able to focus and complete high quality work.  Multi-tasking causes you to be more fragmented and this makes your task more difficult (easier to procrastinate on). Tracy states “one of the keys to high levels of performance and productivity is to make every minute count.”  He adds “Pyramids were built one block at a time.  A great life or career is built one task, and often one part of a task, at a time.

Procrastination is a habit.  Like any habit you can learn new ways to overcome the process and change the outcome.  Your change affirmation is….. Don’t Delay, Do it Today!

To your success, one task at a time!

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