Posts Tagged ‘coaching’

Family Business Pyramid of Success

Sometimes I feel like Indiana Jones when I’m coaching and navigating my way through family business dynamics. There are hidden obstacles and traps around every corner!

I’ve been looking for the treasure map, the one diagram that would spell it all out – show us the way, keep us on track.  Of course there isn’t such a thing, but it hasn’t stopped me from looking!

One of the things that I came across in my travels was UCLA basketball Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.  I was drawn to Coach Wooden for a number of reasons; the simplicity of his message, the focus on effort and accountability rather than trophies, and his genuine and humble approach.  If you want to get the essence of John Wooden you can watch this short Ted talk. 

In 2010, I decided to follow his lead and create my own version of the Pyramid of Success – this time for family businesses.  What I like about the pyramid is that the lower blocks build the foundation for reaching the higher blocks.

Over course of this year I’ll be writing in detail my thoughts about each of the blocks in the Family Business Pyramid of Success™.

I want to highlight one of Coach Wooden’s core principles because it is a core principle of my business coaching. Wooden cited an idea from philosopher Cervantes that stuck with him.  “Cervantes said, ‘the journey is better than the end.’ ”  Wooden said that when you get to the final destination it can be a bit of a letdown.  He said that in working with his basketball players he felt that the practices were the journey and the game was the end.  The journey was the best part.

It’s the same when I look at the family business experience.  In my working for 16 years with my family business there were tremendous challenges, frustrations, excitement and disappointment.  When the business was sold, I began to realize that working at Walsh Bros.  had taught me so many things about life and who I was as a leader, a businessperson and a human being.

A family business provides unbelievable opportunity to find out who you are and who you want to become. The family business is a broader expression of who you are as a family.  Don’t be overwhelmed when you become frustrated and disappointed – see those challenges as an opportunity to be in the journey.  The journey is the best part.

Thank you for being here, and practicing to reach your potential.  I hope you’ll read these posts and apply yourself to the Family Business Pyramid of Success™.  Please give me feedback about this process and let me know any other way I can be a better coach for you.

Click here to get your copy of the Family Business Pyramid of Success ™.

Please be sure to forward this to anyone who might be looking to be successful!

  • Posted by Coach Pete
  • Thursday, January 24th, 2013
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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!

“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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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 Coach Pete
  • Thursday, March 8th, 2012
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Coaching Pitfall – No Patience to Allow Coaching to Develop, “It Takes Too Long” Attitude

I hear this from a lot of leaders.  I believe this is the wrong way of looking at it.  Yes, it does take you a few more minutes to coach than it does to manage or to just do it yourself.  Remember, coaching is about building capacity in others.  The investment and time you make on coaching should pay major dividends down the road.

Coaching is not a quick fix. It is a mindset and general philosophy about leadership and business. If you do not have the patience or fundamentally do not believe in coaching, do something else.

Coaching Pitfall – Keeping Poor Performers

One of the cultural contexts of our country is loyalty and fairness.  Both of these are wonderful qualities, but as we get into the ultra competitive world we are in today, we may not have the luxury of keeping poor performers.

This person has been with the CEO from the very early stages of the company, they are now one of our most long-term and loyal employees, but for any number of reasons their skill set and ability has not kept up with the complexity of the company or the competitive market. The company has tried to coach the person. They may have even tried reassignment, but this person is not able to perform at a level that is required today.  It is time to manage this person out of the business.

Deliberate Practice – Reflection


Shut off all of your electronics and take some time to REFLECT on what you have accomplished in 2011 and set some goals for 2012.  Really reflect on what you did well and where you have room for improvement.  Don’t take the easy way out and say that you did everything well in 2011 and there is nothing that you should work on in 2012.  You and I both know that would be a LIE!!!  Is that really how you want to start out the new year? If you really want to challenge yourself, go a step further and ask a co-worker, friend or mentor to hold you accountable on what you have committed to for 2012.

Rocky had Mickey in his corner. Who do you have?



I just realized business leadership today is a little bit like a 15 round heavyweight boxing match.  It’s very difficult out there right now in the business world.

I’m a little bit like the guy in the corner with the stool and the bucket as a support for the prizefighter.  Many times coaching is about teaching leaders a new technique, but sometimes it’s just about providing some real time performance feedback and support.

Like the executive teams that participate in our quarterly leadership workout, we might just provide them a safe place to sit down, catch their breath and get a pat on the back.  I might tell them “keep your hands up… keep leading with your left hook and you’re doing great out there.” (About as much as I know about boxing!)

Leadership right now is what my client Eric Scollard calls “hard rock mining.”

So consider this deliberate practice… have someone in your corner who you can go to on a regular basis, if nothing else, to get to sit down, take a break, cool off and get some positive and objective feedback.

It’s tough out there.  Good luck.

A Partnership Like No Other

Coaching is a very unique and special partnership.  As a manager, people know that you are fundamentally trying to get them to be in compliance and produce certain results.  But, as a coach, there tends to be more of a feeling of partnership towards your mutual success and development.  That partnership creates a different energy and willingness to be open to new ways of looking at things and being taught.  That new energy is usually based upon trust and is the foundation for the whole coaching relationship.  When a manager shifts their energy to that of a coach, it can make all the difference in the world.

  • Posted by Coach Pete
  • Thursday, September 9th, 2010
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Lou Holtz On “Why Coaching”

Lou Holtz, the famous Notre Dame Football coach, did a wonderful job of answering the “why coaching” question: 

He writes, “Coaching gives one a chance to be successful as well as significant.  The difference between those two is that when you die, your success comes to an end.  When you are significant, you continue to help others be successful long after you are gone.  Significance lasts many lifetimes.  That is why people teach, people lead, and why people coach.  As I leave the field of play, I enjoy the feeling of being a winning coach.  But more important, I hope that I have been a person of significance in the lives of those young men.”

Coaching creates a stronger and deeper connection to people and their willingness to work hard and stretch for extraordinary levels of business results.  But, as Coach Holtz says, “Even more important is that I believe the impact you have as a coaching leader runs deeper and wider into how people live their lives and in turn impact others.”