Posts Tagged ‘coaching skills for leaders’

Six Ways to Focus Your Career in 2012

January 2, 2012

New Year, fresh start! For those of you who have career advancement on your mind, the Globe and Mail published an article called Six Ways to Focus Your Career in 2012″ — offering tips on how to take action to advance your career. 

I was invited to contribute one of the tips. I recommended leaders (of all ranks) learn coaching skills. I do a lot of work in this arena — teaching leaders a variety of coaching skills — via workshops, webinars, and directly coaching leaders. No longer can a leader get by just on technical/functional smarts. They need to inspire, grow, invest and develop their people to bring the team and organization to excellence. Unfortunately for too many, the rise to leadership came without any guidance on how to coach/lead others. If you have your eyes on a bigger game this year, make sure you add ‘coaching skills’ to your learning agenda this year. And of course, check out the other very worthy tips from others in the Globe and Mail article!

Warning: shameless promotion coming up! You can read what people have said about my workshops, presentations and coaching  in this area in my “Workshop Testimonial” page  and “One-on-one leadership coaching testimonials

To a TGIM work+life in 2012!

Eileen

Back to TGIMWORKLIFE homepage

Advertisements

It’s Mental Health Week. How Are You Feeling?

May 5, 2009

It’s Mental Health Week in Canada. How are you feeling?

A survey released yesterday confirmed what most of us already know. The recession is taking a toll on our emotional wellbeing.

No wonder. People are either overworked (the survivors) — or have no work at all (unemployed). The stress is hitting folks on all levels: Emotional, financial and physical.

overwhelmed

The Desjardins Financial Security National Health Survey sponsored by Desjardin and the Mental Health Association revealed that as a result of the strain, absenteeism and disability are on the rise. Presenteism too — that’s when folks show up but aren’t really engaged and giving it their best…in some cases they barely even give it anything at all. 

Bad for people. Bad for business.

Michelle Nowski from Desjardin Financial Security says: “By investing in their workers, companies are investing in themselves. A mentally healthy workplace typically has fewer disability claims, lower absenteeism and better productivity,” said Nowski. “It really becomes a partnership between employees and employers because employees also have a responsibility to manage their health and stress levels.”

Well said. I agree the accountability is on both sides. Employer and employee — each have enormous stake in keeping their employees hearty, resilient and well.

There are many ways to help employees and employers deal better with the uncertainty and challenging times: communicate often and meaningfully; allow for some flexibility (i.e. perhaps some telecommuting, etc); foster team spirit and a sense of community at work; show acknowledgement and appreciation for the hard work people are putting in — and generally find ways to be supportive to colleagues, direct reports and anyone you are connected with in your work and life.

Another powerful strategy  is to develop coaching skills in leaders (see last post). Having a coaching culture at work with leaders as ambassadors of a positive culture with an appreciative approach to work and developing people -not just pushing projects – can go a long way in good and tough times.  I do a lot of work in this area.

AND…Never before has fluency in emotional intelligence (EQ) been more important. Empathy, Optimism, flexibility, perspective, resilience, independence and teamwork…..equally important for employee and employer….for the leader…and the worker bee.

EQ fluency (for individuals and organizational cultures) and coaching skills for leaders:  These are the areas that I focus on in my coaching practice at Big Cheese Coaching. Yes, a resounding self-promotion (but hey, personal marketing is ‘it’ in today’s economy).

If you are wondering how you can shore up your own EQ or help those you work with cope better with stress and pressure associated with work and life — get in touch! As well, there are and will continue to be resources here with tips and strategies. So stay in touch…

To a TGIM work-life (in all economies)

Eileen

BACK TO TGIM WORKLIFE HOME PAGE

Coaching Skills for Leaders (workshop)

April 14, 2008

I’m getting ready to deliver a two-day workshop at ProjectWorld’s conference this Wed and Thurs. Held in Toronto, it’s called, “Coaching Skills for Leaders” – This conference is targeted specifically to project managers and business analysts — but the content of my workshop is relevant for all leaders. 

Why coaching skills for leaders? Well as articulated in the promo piece (which I wrote:)…..”Technical skills alone just don’t cut these days. Nor is managing projects enough to succeed. Leaders must inspire their people; develop, support and engage them to actualize their potential to meet employee, team and organizational goals. Thus coaching skills are fast becoming a highly valued area of competency for leaders in today’s fast-paced, competitive and continuously evolving world of work.” 

Read here for the full description of the workshop.

Know anyone who’d be interested (think there are a few spots still left)? Or perhaps to bring this kind of learning into your organization? If so, get in touch!

To a TGIM work week!

Eileen

BACK to TGIMworklife Homepage

Ask the Coach: What to Do With a Poor Performer…

February 18, 2008

Here’s one of my latest “Ask a Coach” columns published in CA Source, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) online newsletter. If you have a question of your own, please send it to me — see Coaches Corner for options on how to connect.

 Q. I’m in a difficult situation. I hired a fellow about a year ago who came with excellent referrals and a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the role. He (let’s call him “John”) seemed to have all the technical skills for the job and for the first six months was doing great. His work was good quality and he seemed to be getting on well with the team and was gaining their respect. Then things changed. For the past six months his work has become increasingly sloppy. He’s been late on a few too many occasions and just not on the ball in many respects. On several occasions I have communicated to him – often through email — that he needs to shape up. He needs to bring his work and behaviour back up to standard. I’m at the point of not knowing what to do. I don’t really want to let him go but if things don’t change, I may have to. How do I handle this?

A. I understand how disappointing it can be when an employee doesn’t seem to be living up to their potential or worse, is underperforming. While I also understand that quality work and dependability are important, I wouldn’t give up on him too quickly. He has shown in his first six months that he is capable of performing at that standard, and so I wonder if something has changed in his personal situation that is impacting his work. I encourage you to explore that further before making any concrete decisions.

In addition to being accountable for the quality of work (in your department), a big part of a leader’s role is about managing, developing and supporting the people who work for them. Rather than judging John’s work in isolation, a more productive place for you to start would be to try to understand what’s going on with John — i.e., what’s underneath and influencing this shift in his behaviour. With that understanding, you’ll have a better sense of what to do next either in terms of supporting him and/or making other decisions.

There are probably many ways to go about this. Here are a few thoughts:

Focus on the person, not just the work and start with an appreciative stance of John and his potential
In considering the situation, make sure you are reflecting on John as a person and not just on his current performance. Remind yourself of his attributes and character before he started to slip. Sometimes things happen outside within lives that unfortunately do impact our performance at work (e.g., a marital issue, health problems).

Employers that attract, retain and engage top talent find ways to be supportive of their people during tough moments. If you can understand John’s situation more fully, you might have a broader range of possibility to work with as you deal with the performance issues.

Have a conversation with John directly
Email isn’t the best way to communicate at this point. I’d recommend you have a direct conversation with John, ideally in person. It will allow for a more productive exchange. Acknowledge respectfully that there continues to be an issue with his work but focus the conversation more towards gaining an understanding rather than further admonishment — i.e., ask questions that illicit understanding about his situation and emotional mindset.

Establish Trust come from a place of empathy and inquiry rather than judgment
If John is to open up about any issues, he needs to feel safe in the conversation (and overall relationship) to disclose.  Empathy is an important attribute in leaders. While he may not disclose the minute details of his situation (nor is he obligated to), it is important that he feel safe to share at a high level what he is going through (if that is the issue). The kinds of questions you ask — your tone and your listening — will be very important in this conversation.

Communicate from an appreciative stance of who John is and his potential
If John is going through a tough time, it might be helpful for you to remind him of his strengths and character when he is at his best. From there, perhaps the two of you can work out what he needs to get back to that place. Focusing exclusively on what’s wrong can be very demoralizing.

Tread sensitively, respectfully and honestly
Whatever John’s situation is, it is important to handle this sensitively and respectfully. It’s also important to be upfront and honest if there are implications related to his employability. Balancing all this will take skill — and might be an important time to test your leadership communications ability.

Consider who else can support this situation
Depending on what transpires from your preliminary conversations, you may need to enlist the support of others in your organization. For instance, HR may be able to provide guidance, counsel and additional support (e.g., EAP programs).

Ask yourself: what kind of leader do you want to be right now
The exact steps you take can’t be predicted until you know more. But the most important question you can ask yourself at this stage is: What kind of leader do I want to be right now? What parts of your own character strengths do you want to bring to this situation? If you found yourself in a situation like John’s, how would you want to be treated?

I’m confident that if you bring yourself fully to the situation, in both heart and intellect, you will handle this situation well. Good luck to you both.

 —

Back to TGIMWORKLIFE home page