Archive for March, 2012

25 Years of Deliberate Practice!

I frequently discuss deliberate practice as the key to success. I’m happy to report that my wife Karen and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this month! A successful (thriving) marriage is a result of many deliberate practices like forgiveness, compassion, support and unconditional love. But I have to say, one of my most treasured and effective deliberate practices in my marriage was suggested by my coach at the time, Steve Hardison. Steve said simply, “ask her how you can be of service to her.” He further explained true service is about giving, it’s not about “commerce”. In other words, don’t provide service with a mindset of, “if I do this for you I expect you to do this for me.”

Those words of wisdom shifted my mindset. It reoriented my conversations with Karen. How can I make your life happier and more fulfilled? What else can I do for you? How else can I serve you as your husband? I truly believe that Steve’s coaching made a huge impact on our marriage. Thank you Steve for that great coaching!

The same concept could be used in most relationships and especially in leadership. How can you serve your team and your organization? What would happen if you asked you key partners in your life; how can I serve you? How can I make your life better?

That’s what is referred to as servant leadership a term coined and defined by Robert Greenleaf.

When you can really take a servant mindset with others it will propel your relationships effectiveness and satisfaction to a new level.

Thank you Karen for a wonderful 25 years and looking forward to the next 25 of serving and supporting each other!

Opportunity to Sharpen Your Coaching Skills

If you were learning how to become a master carpenter, you would see every job as a chance to learn something new.  It is the same in coaching.  In fact each situation you put yourself in that really challenges you will only accelerate your development as a coaching leader.  You might make a mistake or two, but we are not practicing to be heart surgeons here!

If you stay focused on individual and team performance and have a genuine desire to help people grow and succeed, people will want to work with you as you hone your skills.  I probably make a rookie coaching mistake or two along the way, but no one ever lost their trust in my commitment to help them succeed.  Trust is key.  Trust in yourself and trust the process of coaching and you and your team will grown and succeed.

  • Posted by Pete Walsh
  • Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
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Do Not Wait Because…

Do not wait because you are not confident how the coaching will turn out!

Undoubtedly, the number one thing I hear from leaders as to why they did not coach someone, even though there was an obvious opening for coaching, is the following: “I was not totally confident as to how it would turn out.  I was afraid I would not do it (the coaching) right.”  Even as a Master Certified Coach, I am never sure how any coaching interaction is going to turn out.  That is half the fun!

Time and Place

Remember the old sayings, there’s a time and place for everything.  While it is best to err on the side of being very active in your coaching, great coaching leaders are smart about when and where to coach.  Too much of anything can overwhelm and annoy people.  The brain has limited capacity for learning, so do not overdo it!

As a rule of thumb you should be actively coaching on a daily basis, but make sure to pick the most productive coaching opportunities in the day.  The most productive opportunities are:

  • High payoff or cost to the organization
  • A new skill you have been wanting the team to learn/see in action
  • A bad habit you have been trying to eliminate

One of the faults I see in leaders is not coaching, letting too much time pass, and then figuring the lesson has passed.  There is a shelf life to coaching opportunities.  If you see one of your key team members drop the ball or you see a great coaching moment, it is not helpful to point it out to them three weeks later.  It is much more helpful in direct relation to the time you meet with them.

Obviously, if people are in meltdown, major crisis or under a lot of stress, it may not be the best time for coaching.  But conversely, that does not mean you have to wait a week to coach them, you might wait an hour or a day.

  • Posted by Pete Walsh
  • Monday, March 19th, 2012
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“Openings” for Coaching

When we teach our coaching leader course, we help leaders be on the lookout for openings for coaching.  Those are the moments where the coaching leader sees an opportunity for a “coaching moment.” As you develop your coach’s eye, you will start seeing openings for coaching everywhere you look! The most common openings for coaching are:
 
  • Performance shortfall
  • Breakdown of some kind
  • Attitude or behavior not in alignment with stated values of the team
  • Someone not performing up to their potential

Experienced coaching leaders have a knack for picking their time and knowing when to take the opening to coach and assist people to reach the next level of success.

  • Posted by Pete Walsh
  • Thursday, March 15th, 2012
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Coach Early and Coach Often!

There are many ways and places to coach, but I want you to err on the side of over-coaching, not under-coaching. Repetition is the key to success. Every time you coach, you are building your coaching repertoire and muscle. Every time you let coaching slip by, you are sending the wrong message to your team that it is not important. Coaching happens in thousands of conversations over the course of a career. The greatest coaches are coaching almost all the time. There are probably a hundred opportunities to coach in any given day and you want to find the right places and the right times. As coaching becomes an integral part of your leadership style, you are always thinking about openings for coaching; what is the gap, what is the skill, what is the practice, and how can the team’s performance improve? 
  • Posted by Pete Walsh
  • Thursday, March 8th, 2012
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Ready, Set, Go!

Until now, I talked about why you should coach. You have been prepared to become a coach. You have been given a coaching process and now what happens? Nothing. Truthfully, too many times leaders know they need to coach, they understand it is the right thing to do, but they are very reluctant to go out and coach.
 
The reluctance is because most leaders are highly successful, confident people with many years of experience. Who wants to go out and look bad in front of their team? Nobody!
 
If you bring the twenty qualities of a coaching leader, plus a little common sense and a willingness to learn, you are not only going to be fine, you are going to be surprised with the results you and your coachees will produce in a short amount of time.
 
 

 

  • Posted by Pete Walsh
  • Friday, March 2nd, 2012
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