Posts Tagged ‘coaching leader’

How do we expect politicians to get along when we can’t get along with our own families?

office-675868-mThe politicians have reached an impasse and have decided to allow the federal government to shut down because they can’t find common ground.

Quite honestly, this sounds like some family businesses I come across.  Because of their own style differences, as well as differences in values and approaches, these families decide to not work with each other.  Instead of shutting down the federal government they shut down the family business.

Politicians come from lots of different backgrounds and geographies and can’t get along.  That’s not that great of a surprise to me to see them at an impasse. It is a surprise to me when families who have grown up with so much in common, can’t find common values and common ground to keep the family business alive.

I appreciate strong-minded people, but I do not appreciate people who can’t find ways to find common vision and win-win situations.

Sure, in a few cases the differences are so stark and unfixable that the family business should probably be sold or shut down.  But in many cases, there is so much good and so much potential if people with strong egos and unbending ideologies would just step back for a moment and focus on what’s good and be confident that they could craft a win-win situation and avoid all the damage caused by the zero-sum win-lose politics.

Look at this week’s political fiasco and compare it to your own perspectives, mindset, and willingness to find the win-win in your own family business.  Don’t create scenarios in which you have to shut off the lights in the family business just so you can be right!

Research Studies Prove Practice is the Key to Greatness

Since Professor K. Anders Ericsson of Florida State University’s groundbreaking research in 1993, many scientists have been able to prove that practice is what makes some people better performers and produce the highest results.  Research indicates that across a board spectrum of activities, from medicine to performing arts to sports, people who are the very best at what they do practice more and practice differently than anyone else.

The research focused on something called deliberate practice.  Deliberate practice has a few key characteristics:

  • The practice is detailed about specific techniques
  • The practice was designed to produce a very specific result
  • The practice involved stretching past your current capacity

When I first read about the idea of deliberate practice, I thought it scientifically and empirically validated the very essence of coaching.  As an Executive Coach, I have been focused on helping business leaders identify and practice the specific skills and attitudes they must master to become the best leaders they can be.

The deliberate practice idea also supported the notion that if these leaders could learn how to effectively coach their teams using deliberate practice, they would have a proven recipe for competitive success.  The coaching leader idea now had the statistical support and evidence I needed to sway the logical, numbers-driven CEOs.

Deliberate Practice – Emotional Self Control

Take a breath!


Just a friendly reminder to take a breath and get control of your emotions before they take control of you. Decide who is running the show, you or your emotions. Lack of control can derail your career and affect your relationships outside of work.

Mom’s old adage of “think before you speak,” definitely applies here. There are times when we all wish we had taken a breath before commenting in a meeting, replying to an email, or venting at the water cooler. Just like any other acquired skill you have to practice this so that when faced with a challenge you are able to take a breath and make your Mom proud of the way you handled yourself!

Breakdown Breakthrough

Every breakdown is a great opportunity for coaching and for a breakthrough.  Coaching leaders see it that way.  So certainly, every time there is a breakdown there is an opportunity for coaching.  Remember, “time and place.”  Pick the right time and right place to coach around the breakdown.  As an old saying goes, “In your greatest challenges, come your greatest opportunities.” Always see breakdowns as an opportunity for coaching and a breakthrough.

A breakthrough can be one of those “ah ha!” moments where you see the light bulb go on.  Your coachee is suddenly and permanently altered in a good way; they have a new perspective or a new way of relating to someone or something.

It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect

I can’t emphasize this enough!  Do not wait to start coaching until you think you know how to do it “just right.”  Trust the coaching process.  Your early attempts at coaching will surprise you in their effectiveness.  As successful business leaders your inclination will be to avoid being an unskilled novice.  Fight that inclination!  The only road to mastery is through the rocky roads of new skill building.  Every coaching interaction will be building your experience, competence and confidence.

Considering hiring a coach to “coach the coach.”  That’s me!  Set up structures within your company so that you can have others be a second set of eyes and ears for you regarding how your coaching conversations went.  Make some notes, practice being a detached observer, and you will get a sense of how you did in coaching.

In coaching school, we do three-way coaching.  So you could even have a colleague sit in while you are coaching, or you could have a peer or even a teammate give you feedback about your coaching.  The bottom line is, the only way you are going to become an effective coaching leader is to practice.

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 Coach Pete
  • 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 Coach Pete
  • 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 Coach Pete
  • Thursday, March 15th, 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 Coach Pete
  • Friday, March 2nd, 2012
  • Comments Off on Ready, Set, Go!