Tammy shares tools that empower you to design your own fresh perspective, an action plan for today that will change your tomorrow.  "It's all in how you look at it."

Tough Questions...Clear Answers

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Got Job Satisfaction? Some questions from the Coach may help you know.

Today I heard from three friends whom I have not heard from in a very long time. One, is a franchisee of a struggling company I used to coach for, and the two others are employees of an Organization I left for coaching, who live in different parts of the state.

Interestingly, they each had very similar things to say about the current status of affairs. They are feeling drained, broke, busted and disgusted with the current events in their jobs.

What I found to be intriguing, was two fold, 1) I heard from all three on the same day, and 2) their stories, while brief, are very much the same. Even though the come from very different job environments, two work for the 'man' and the other works for 'self,' and they are all wanting to seek something else. The stories were parallel on all levels. Without respect of gender.

Now at first glance it might seem like the 'grass is always greener' scenario, but not this time. Each individual is feeling devalued, mistreated, manipulated and simply disrespected for the effort and work they put in. Something unfortunately, not uncommon amongst our employees/teams when leaders and organizations lack good communication.

My three conversations today got me thinking. First, it was confirmation that I am coach! I love being a resource for people. Second, I know these three people are not alone, the only thing they have in common is that they know me. That's it. And then last, how do we allow ourselves to get to this point of feeling like it's the point of no return?

To answer that is actually quite simple. We need to have a flag pole in our life that we use to run our dreams, goals and happiness meter up against. It is beneficial for our well-being when we can identify the flags or potholes that may derail us and impact our job and life satisfaction.

Do you know and clearly see the warning signs for unhappiness? More importantly, do you know what to do to change in order to get to satisfaction? Consider this.

On a scale of 1-10 are you satisfied with your job? If you ranked that on the low side of below 4, you may want to consider getting some support around the conversation of what will it take to be an 8 or even a 10. Mastermind groups are a great way to help get clarity and build a trusted board of adviser's around you for support and breakthrough.

If you scored 5-7 on the scale, ask what will it take to make it a 9 or 10? You are on that teeter-totter of life at that middle of the ground marker. It could go either way and depending on what your goal is, will depend on where to focus your energy. You might consider getting clarity around vision and purpose, when you know that you know that you know what you were created for, every choice you make wants to align with that hope in knowing. You won't settle for middle ground.

Now if you are in the smaller percentage and scored an 8 or higher - Way To Go! My encouragement for you is to consider what will keep you stimulated? What's next for you? Challenge yourself to figure out what would hit the home run for you in your career right now.

Coming next week-just for women! 52 Exquisite Self-Care Tips Booklet for the Professional Woman. Buy it today!

Monday, September 28, 2009

7 Lessons Learned from a Chick Flick

Spending the day reading, surfing and watching movies proved to be a little frustrating, and enlightening, with a good deal of laughter.

Most women love their chick-flicks, we get lost in the romance and the drama, they allow for our minds to wander for a few hours. What we don't usually talk about though are the lessons to be learned from those very movies.

While many aren't much better than a weekday Soap, when we look we can find some nuggets to last a lifetime, grow a business, and improve relationships. There are always great shopping Do's and Don't too!! I have gathered my "lesson's learned list" just to prove my point.

7 Lessons Learned from Chic Flicks can even be applied to business relationships.

Don't take yourself too seriously. You will notice there is always the woman who takes herself far too seriously. Like the sister in Jerry McGuire, she was so wounded and hurt that she couldn't allow anyone else to enjoy a moment of bliss. I mean, who wouldn't want to go on a date with Tom Cruise right? It wasn't until the sister had been proven wrong that she could accept "she" might be bitter and that "might" be getting in her way. In business when we take ourselves too seriously, chaos and resentment can manifest in various ways. It is important to have someone around you that keeps you firmly grounded in vision and purpose, as well as someone who will name the pink elephant in the corner of your world.

Crying is actually good for the soul. There are too many movies to reference where tears are a plenty. But the ones that really stick out are the ones that use the tears as a refreshing cleanse. Sleepless in Seattle is a good one for that. Remember when Annie and Becky were sitting on the couch watching An Affair to Remember and they just started crying over the ending of the movie? The same movie they had watched a bazillion times! Then what did they do, they brushed it off, felt better for it and that was that. At times we just need to allow the tears to give us that refreshing cleanse, for clarity and for rejuvenation.

Laughter is always required. Think Steel Magnolia's for a moment. That scene at the cemetery when Charisse made fun of Ouiser and told M'Lynn to 'hit her' just to feel better? It is a perfect example that even in our most painful moments, an infusion of a good laugh can set us right side up. We can get far to down and frustrated in our business with all the changes that are coming at us, it is important to keep people near you that make you laugh. It can set you on the right side.

When it feels like you are pushing a boulder, stop pushing. There are times in life and business when we try to push forward on a project or relationship and it feels like we are pushing a boulder. We press forward to make things happen in our life and yet we can't quite cover enough ground. Just like Frances in Under the Tuscan Sun, she left her life in the states to pursue something else in Italy only to find that her pushing and pressing was pushing back, or following her, depending on your perspective. It wasn't until she stopped pushing that she found what mattered most. In business and life when we push and push to get to what we think we want, sometimes the greatest reward comes in simply stopping, and allowing what will be, to be.

It takes truth, integrity and authenticity to move ahead. Sometimes in business we can start to feel that everyone around us is moving steadily ahead of the curve. That our connections, intentions, strategy and marketing are just always lagging behind the others. But there are always three key ingredients to moving ahead in the world and we learned them from Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing. Johnny was authentic with all people, what you see is what you get, he always operated with integrity, even when people were making assumptions and he told the truth, even when it was easy not to. What he ended up with was his self respect fully intact. The one thing no one can take away from you unless you give it to them. Who have you given sanction to in your life and as a result, lost what's important to you?

Running away solves nothing (but always have an exit strategy). Have you ever felt that you just wanted to bolt from a room? When have you been left standing holding the bag only to find out that it was filled with really stinky stuff? Hurts right? In the movie The Wedding Date we watch as Kat runs from a betrayal of her past only to ultimately run head on into the root of the betrayal. Interestingly, in that moment of deepest pain, she finds her strength and personal power. Kat moves from victim, into woman with grace and confidence as she gets clear that all the running was not taking her anywhere. Running wasn't the answer, and it never is. While it is beneficial to have an exit strategy, you never can run very far without running into that which most haunts you. In business if we have a strategy of running when the going gets tough, we are resigning to failure. Face your fears and hurts head on, you will be better for it on the other side.

People always catch a fibber. There really is nothing worse than a tangled web of lies and untruths. I believe people have a root-level desire to trust others. And when people who tell even little white lies breach the trust factor of relationships, it makes it hard to want to do any kind of business or relationship. Unfortunately, just like in the movie Catch and Release we can find ourselves in the midst of someone elses lie, a story for the benefit of someone else. But the truth always come out and can have devastating affects on those we love. While we can talk ourselves into believing that the little untruth is justified, it is key to remember for business and life in general, even little white lies can have a catastrophic outcome. And, the fiber always gets caught in the end. How do you want to be remembered?

The next time you watch a great tear jerker, or sentimental chick flick, consider the lessons you can take away to better yourself, grow your business and share a good laugh with a friend.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

3 of 3 Mistakes Managers Make - Lack of Communication

Third common mistake (or pitfall) managers make: lack of communication and acknowledgment.

People don't need to be praised all the time to do good work, but they do need to know that they are appreciated for the work they are doing. That comes in the form of good communication at all levels and setting precedence for acknowledgment for the small and big stuff. As the old saying goes - Words are powerful, use them wisely. They can build up a team and tear down a team, all in the same breath.

This is perhaps the most common mistake I have seen as an Executive Team Coach. It is most typically seen in environments where there are a lot of changes happening. Most commonly this appears when there is a large change initiative. People (leaders) get moving so fast, and expecting the same from their teams, that they are not clearly or frequently communicating.

One Director of a large government run agency continually ran into opposition and resistance from staff – people were downright obstinate and unwilling to get along or move toward the needed change. Post taking the cross departmental temperature, we discovered that staff were feeling coerced and in the dark about what was expected.

We worked together with the director and small group of staff on opening the lines of conversation, from the director’s office. After a few short weeks of concentrated communication strategy involving emails, state of the union blog posts and audio recorded messages to all staff, we saw a shift in attitude.

More over, we saw a 43% increase in performance on average across the state and exponential willingness to take action toward the change initiative that was coming from the director’s office.

It was key for this director to learn that taking time to talk – good, bad or ugly, was more important than trying to push people to do what he wanted or to protect them from the truth. The truth may be hard to tell sometimes and our employees would rather hear it, than fallacies.
Our employees want the acknowledgment that they can handle the hard stuff (good, bad and ugly) and by being open with communication, we tell them we trust them.

A good manager is one who knows their place on the team is equal to the sum of the whole, holds their team as capable, powerful, resourceful and creative while communicating openly and acknowledging the small stuff along the way. A good manager builds a sense of trust and collaboration as they also acknowledge their own fault line (because, we all have one.)

Coaching Questions:
How do you react to having to share the good news?
What about the bad news?
What methods of open communication do you currently employ?
When have you taken the communication ‘temperature’ of your staff?
What is the action step you are prepared to take to open up communication?

2 of 3 Mistakes Most Managers Make - Micro Managing

The second post of three on the mistakes managers make from an excerpt written for CEO Russia magazine last winter.(note: you will need a translator for article) While these mistakes may seem basic, they may seem like a novice mistake, they are actually quite devastating to an organization. And, even novice to veteran managers committing them.

When these mistakes are not caught early, they can derail the best of intentions and actually send someone who has natural ability to lead, just needs some tender, mentoring care, back to the file ranks of time-clock punchers. It can be catastrophic to the human potential of our leaders.

Second mistake: micro-managing and holding things so close to the cuff that they squelch creativity and self-motivation toward desired outcome. Constant hovering, checking in, nagging, questioning and reworking the work of your team creates a real sense of apathy in all. Folks don't want to work hard if they are just going to be corrected, redone or rejected for not doing it 'right.'

One executive in an institution for higher learning was having difficulty with the direct reports being accountable to what they had committed to doing. This executive was so on edge with his key leaders within the organization because their lack of follow-through was putting him on the hook with the board of directors. When we dug into the challenges through coaching and got past the finger pointing, the core of the problem became evident. This leader realized that they were not lifting up their team to execute efficiently and effectively; in fact, they had placed such restrictions on them that they were paralyzed as a whole.

The cause, this executive was not letting go of the ‘how things get done’ and was not allowing their people to creatively solve problems together.

When this executive noticed how their own insecurities were leading to the failure of the team, it was merely putting action steps in place for course correction. We pulled the leadership team together for a retreat to clear the air, set new ground rules and working guidelines.

Several months post retreat, the team is working more cohesively, they are their own (collective) accountability force that is producing great results.

It became an environment where people no longer wait to be told exactly what to do; they are free to take lead on executing the deliverables. The team collectively looked at what refinements could be made for the overall accountability model within the organizational structure, which resulted in streamlining services, ultimately saving jobs and increasing enrollment.

Coaching Questions:

  1. What has your experience been with 'micro managing?'
  2. How did you course correct?
  3. What environment are you creating as leader?
  4. Who have you asked for support from to gain clarity on the reality of your managing style?
  5. What is your call to action from this post today?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

1 of 3 Mistakes Most Managers Make

In this series of three blog posts, we will cover the 3 mistakes mangers make. Whether a new manager or seasoned, each of these mistakes can have devastating effects to the team as a whole and to the future of the manager. Each mistake has simple actions steps for ease in correcting however, may require the support of a skilled coach or mentor.

Mistake Number One: Managers forgetting that they are part of the team. There is more power in a 'We' environment than a 'Me, My or I' hierarchy. Good managers forget about self and focus on the good of the whole to empower and lift others up for success.

This is a common mistake among young or newer managers.

While coaching a new manager that had only managed workload and not people, this was a very real scenario. With no training or mentoring, they were thrust into managing a team of 8 people for a mid-sized company, the highest producing team. Continually this manager referred to the work the team had done as ‘the work I have done’ and that reference to ‘me vs. we’ tore at the psyche of the team and each individual who was a part of it.

Ultimately, the team began to sabotage the manager just to get proper acknowledgment. This is common when the members of the team have been in the trenches or with the company longer than the manger.

When mangers go to that selfish focus, it is often a direct assault on each individual member of the team. And, when not corrected quickly, they can retaliate strongly. The members of this team began to stall on completing projects, no-showed for meetings, and started taking their offense to the president of the company (and anyone else who would listen) with a complaint against the manager.

The solution agreed by all levels of leadership and team was to provide the manger with an executive coach to identify areas for improvement and expansion of capacity. The leadership presence that was needed by this young manager would in theory be gained by providing coaching, training and mentoring.

Over a series of weeks, this manager learned their own qualities and areas for improvement, ultimately discovering that managing people was not one of them. Just because they knew the work, did not make them a manager of people, they were not the right person for the job.

Fortunately, this manager self-selected out of that position with the company and made way for someone with the management quotient necessary for the teams success to lead. It was a win-win for all, the team went on to increasing productivity and performance in operations by 67% within two-months after the shift in managers.

Coaching Questions:

  1. What is your company's procedure for promoting managers? How has it worked in the past?
  2. When you consider the I, Me vs. We factor in managing, what side of the pendulum do you reside?
  3. How is performance measured in your organization on the Human Side of the equation?

Monday, September 21, 2009

2 more reasons to bake cookies for the team

In the last post we shared two of the four reasons that executives, leaders, and business owners would benefit from baking cookies for the team. Not only is it encouraging to others and acknowledges effort, we know it supports connectivity and even shared vision.

When leaders work to collaborate, share and connect with their teams, they build a sense of common vision and unity among the tribe. While leaders may have great demands placed on them, that their teams don't know about, sharing time to give back can co-create a sharing of the proverbial burden. It gives the image that we are all in this together and 'I' (as leader) appreciate your efforts toward 'our' (as team) success.

The remaining 2 reasons for leaders to bake cookies and share them with the team, really speak to the soul of the team. Now while you may not don the tie and apron for the effort, the gesture alone speaks volumes.

Consider these two reasons as a plug to step outside what may be your comfort zones and try these on for size. Just like baking, it takes a clear recipe for success and the following may be just what your team needs to go to the next level.

Reason #3 - Nourishes the soul. While there may be no true nutritional value in your cookie recipe, the value to the soul factor is priceless. Showing the team that supports your vision that you care so much, to take the time to actually bake cookies, provides nourishment that does not have a rating scale per say. It elevates the soul level of the team to a place that can only be measured by output and communication levels. The team will pick up and move and you will likely be surprised how much you learn from sitting down with them, sharing cookies.

Reason #4 - Calibrates the team. Our teams can get out of sync pretty quickly if we aren't careful. The folks that work with you to create those extraordinary results, can get out of alignment just like the wheels on your car. Far too many leaders take the approach of a heavy hand to put things back in order. Unfortunately, that is a short lived and detrimental approach to the long-term success pattern of your team. Finding something that creates an openness for sharing and infuses a bit of fun into the day, brings the team together into alignment. Now, you still want to have a strategy in place for maintaining/sustaining that alignment and that may best come from an outside source to put it in place. The bottom-line is that to have a well aligned team, you will need to calibrate on a regular basis. Bringing everyone to the table to share some cookies can be just the infusion of fun, a simple antidote with great rewards.

To learn more tips and strategies for building a successful team, you may want to sign-up for our Ezine or to receive recipes for crowd pleasing cookies, click here.

Whatever route you take in an effort to build a stronger team, do what you can to find the support to remain consistent and thoughtful with your approach. Leaders have people around them to be the boots on the ground and get the work done, our teams need leaders that encourage, support and calibrate to sustain success.

4 Executive Reasons to make Cookies for the Team.

When was the last time you enjoyed a fresh baked cookie? Not one you bought at the local Starbucks (although, their Oatmeal Cookies are great!), one that you made with your own hands?
Better yet, when was the last time you made cookies to share with your team?

Looking back to days of childhood past, do you recall how good it felt to come home from school to fresh baked cookies and a glass of milk? If your mom wasn't the June Clever type, worry not. Take a stroll down memory lane to a time when you enjoyed sharing a scrumptious, ooey, gooey delightful treat warm from the oven. Now catch a hold of that feeling it stirred inside. Got the picture?

As leaders, you demand a lot from those around you. Your expectations for top performance are set high and while that is necessary for the business demands, what are you doing to encourage the heart of your team? What have you done lately to stir a feeling of delight in the team around you?

When you are looking to boost productivity or roll out a new project, it is key to have mind and hearts prepared to receive and move. The next time, try baking the team some homemade cookies, you might just be surprised what you get on the other side. Today we'll share just 2 of the 4 reasons to make cookies for your team. We want to set you up for success, consider these tips as two keys to your teams success.

Reason #1 - Acknowledges you notice. Just like when you were a kid and mom made you your favorite cookie, those we lead on a day to day basis want to feel that they matter. They want to feel that we appreciate the little and the big things. Nothing says 'I see you' better than a homemade cookie on a whim.

Reason #2 - Encourages the heart. Accomplishing extraordinary things in organizations is hard work. To keep hope and determination alive, leaders recognize contributions that individuals make. In every winning team, the members need to share in the rewards of their efforts, so leaders celebrate accomplishments. They make people feel like heroes. (Kouzes/Posner)

Later we will go over the remaining two reasons to make cookies for your team. If you don't have a recipe to dive into in the kitchen, just sign up here to receive two of my favorite cookie recipes, they always work for me when I am in the mood to bake.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Well-Kept Secret - This Coach wants YOU to Know About!

As a business coach, I often work with clients around the topic of getting seen and celebrated in the marketplace. As we work with developing marketing strategies or communication plans, one of the tools that I often refer people to use is DIY Publicity Maven, Nancy S. Juetten.

One of the single best investments that you can make in your business right now, is to engage with Nancy at one of her Publici-Tea Events. You will walk away with tips and strategies that you can implement immediately into your marketing strategy and start producing results.

"Folks continue to rave about the value and the impact these events have on their growing businesses, and I can't wait to share the information with even more publicity-seeking business owners who are finally ready to get known for their winning ways through the power of free publicity!" Nancy Juetten, founder of DIY Publici-Tea and author of the Media-Savvy-to-Go toolkit.

My friend Nancy's next event is scheduled for Friday, October 16, 9:30am and she is hosting it at the lovely Seattle Design Center!

To learn more about Nancy's products and event, or to sign up, please follow this link. Take a tip from the Business Coach and take the time and make the investment to get Seen, Heard and Celebrated in your marketplace!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

4 Coaching Tips to Help When It's Time to Let Go and Move On!

Ideas are for a season - businesses are too.

Recently I heard a story of a business owner with a really great idea. Their idea was so good, they just knew that it was going to revolutionize their SOI - Sphere of Influence. As they nurtured their idea to reality, they were met with severe opposition, at every juncture. Yet the opposition or resistance was not something they viewed as reason to stop moving on their idea.

How many of you know that there are times when being met with an opposing force can actually be good for your idea. It can help you gain clarity around what you are doing and what the outcome may look like. But the question is, do you know when it is time to let go of an idea because ideas can actually be for a season?

Depending on how you answered that question will tell you how to proceed through this post. Knowing with all clarity when an idea may be for a season is key for knowing when to let go and move on. It is in the times when we keep pressing in and forward on an idea, without calibrating our steps, that can cause serious wheel spinning. What is significant is increasing one's ability to identify when letting go is actually more beneficial than hanging on. Even if it is more than an idea, it's a business, or partnership, or employee.

Once you have identified that letting go and creating a plan for moving on from your idea or whatever it is you are hanging on to is your next best step, here are 4 coaching tips to help you.

Tip #1 - Make your list. Write out the pros and con's to moving and/or sticking with it. Attach your feelings and emotions to the list - how do each on make you feel? When we clearly know the "why factor" and the feelings it evokes, the letting go can be smoother.

Tip #2 - Write an Affirmation. We know that affirmations are powerful as we move toward the changes we want to make in our lives and businesses. Much research has been done that supports using affirmations daily increases our self efficacy. Well using affirmations can be powerful for the things we 'don't want' just as they are for the things we 'do.' So, write an affirmation the supports your transition and say it two times a day.

Tip #3 - Acknowledge the work you have done. Often times when we make a decision to let go of an idea and move away from it, we leave out acknowledging the many hours and work that went into it to this point. When we set aside self-promotion and advocacy for a dismissive attitude or simply just by ignoring our efforts, we aren't gifting our mindset with the opportunity to celebrate, even failures. There are learning opportunities everywhere, even in our failures or course corrections. Don't deny yourself that gift by neglecting to honor your work.

Tip #4 - Make a To-Do list. Now that you have your Pros and Con's, Affirmation and Acknowledgment, it's time to make your list for next steps. It's the "what will I do differently" list. The one that will help move you to the next level in your journey. Remaining open to possibility in this transition is so key to the success on the other side of it. Most successful people fail many times before they hit their stride. By letting go of an idea, partnership or even business is not the end,it is only the beginning. And as we do at new cross-roads, we gain clarity around what to do next. It starts with a list which turns into an agreement and an action plan for the future.

By applying these four tips to your transition, you will navigate well through the ever changing waters. Sometimes it takes going back and reassessing multiple times, writing new affirmations and keeping up to date on your list. And when you are faithful to the process, you will feel more in control of the change happening around you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

#1 Tip with 7 Coaching Questions to Identifying the Root of Your Fear

Recently I have heard many conversations still happening around Fear and Business. As a business coach, I am continually faced with inquiring with clients around the root of their fear. While the word fear we all know is False Evidence Appearing Real, the feelings it causes are very real.

Fear in our day. Fear in our business. Fear in our family can be very scary. It can give a sensation that feels paralyzing to some and creates a sense of powerlessness for others.

So, what do we do about that? Well, it starts with understanding what the root cause for your fear truly is. Not what you think it is. Not using it to point fingers or blame someone else. Not what others have attached to you. Get to the root cause for you. That can be done in a number of ways, and not until we identify it, can we remove it.
Let's get started.

#1 Tip to identify the root of your fear using powerful coaching questions. Print these questions off and partner with a trusted colleague or friend, someone who challenges you to go bigger in life. This person is your mentor or even a champion for your success, the key is, they don't let you get away with stories. Sit with them and ask them to ask you this series of questions.
Q: What does the fear look like, right now - name it, detail it. (Ask What Else until you run out of things to say on this question.)
Q: How does it make you feel, in your head, heart, shoulders and even chest?
Q: What do you when the fear arises? (Ask What Else until you run out of things to say on this question.)
Q: Think of a time in the past, before this fear, how were you different? How was the situation different?
Q: What has changed? (Ask What Else until you run out of things to say on this question.)
Q: How would your life/business be different if this (fear) wasn't in your way?

At this juncture, journal and reflect on your answers. Notice what you have given sanction to in your life, thoughts, words and actions that may be limiting you and your ability to grow. Then have your partner ask this final question.

Q: What are you willing to do to begin to create/design/live the life and business that you want, without that fear? Pick one thing today and agree to check back in at a set time to celebrate the wins and set more intentions for change.

This process can take an hour or a day. It takes whatever time it needs to take. I invite you to try it out as you commit to uncovering what the root to the fear is and get it out!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Power to the Peaceful

Two words that don't seem to blend well together are Power and Peaceful. In business and leadership we don't often see those two in harmony or stride. In fact, one tends to dominate the other, any guesses which one?

But in the world of ease and self care, we do hear a lot about the power of peace. There are festivals that celebrate living in the power of peaceful. There are books and retreats and a host of other indulgences to support finding balance. So what happened in business to create such an adversarial element between the two essential life qualities?

Why do we have to choose one over the other in leadership? What has created this adversarial positioning in politics and business? How can we make achieving power and peaceful a 'both and' versus a 'one over the other?'

In my tips booklet 52 Exquisite Self-Care Tips for the Professional Woman, tip number 21 is one of my favorite and I think it blends power and peaceful nicely. Tip # 21: Give Yourself a Time Out! With a cup of tea in hand, find your favorite place to cop a squat and be intentional about breathing in and letting go. Do this just 5 minutes a day.

When we take time each day to breathe in what is good and exhale the strain of what is pressing us down, we find balance within to walk in full strength. Ultimately submitting up under power and giving in to our inner peace. This is true in our business world too. Taking in the fullness of peace and letting go of need for control, or anxiety, balances us out. Ultimately giving power to the peaceful in our world.

Coaching Question: How might you be curious with Power and Peace in your world?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cross Polinating for Success- Bees Do it, How About You?

Have you found it is easier to promote other business people's services over your own? Do you find that you bumble for the words to explain fluidly what you do when you can talk for hours about the success rate of your colleagues? How do you feel about selling your services to potential clients?

Well if you answered yes to either of those questions, relax, you are not alone. Recently I watched as I talked to Coaches, Consultants, Professionals and Entrepreneurs and asked questions about how they promote their business - 4 out of every 5 people were stumbling for words. They were self conscious and nervous about "doing it right."

When asked to give a win or celebration for what they were up to in business, most couldn't find an answer. And, when asked how they felt about selling their services, nearly 100% said they didn't enjoy it - "it was the necessary evil part of doing business."

On the reverse, when the same group was asked about a colleague's services, hands down each person could celebrate and acknowledge and sell the services of their colleague with grace and ease. Astonishingly when asked the inevitable "why" the answers were just as clear. "It's easy to talk about what 'they' do, it's not me talking about me." Are you in the same boat? Can you talk about others successes better than your own?

So what to do. Well, I have come up with a solution to get beyond the centuries old challenge of selling our goods and services with confidence while earning a sustainable income. Easy, just Surround Yourself with others who can sell you and you can sell them! It's called cross pollinating and it's really simple and a lot of fun.

The strategy is simple and sweet like honey.

Imagine the power in having a group of colleagues who are evangelists for you and your business out promoting and selling on your behalf! Imagine if you had 10 evangelists and each enrolled one client contact and that 10 turned into new clients. Imagine what you could do as an evangelist for another person's business? What might that contribution look like for their business? The cycle goes on and on. They share about you, you share about them and what we have are success stories all around us.

Remember, we have the power within us to grow and prosper other people's business and they have that same power working on your side! Take the time today to identify your team of evangelists and start spreading the good news and allowing them to do the same for you.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

3 simple steps to Master the Mindset

Mastering our mindset is perhaps on of the greatest success strategies I know in working with executives and business leaders. It is also one of the most challenging things to do. Why is that?

Well, working with clients at all levels of management and business success I have noticed a parallel. It is the same parallel that our mastermind group members experience and even my friends.

Our mindset motivates and activates us toward success or failure.

The very thing that gets in the way for so many people is the thing that often is ignored or put on the shelf for later. Mindset. It is also (I believe) one of the most powerful tools we posses. When we take off the blinders, lift up the headphones and move away from the screen, we begin to engage in a new way. It is at that moment a person really begins to channel the power of their mindset into defining their success. It requires commitment to the process and a bold willingness to try on something and even uncomfortable to move toward mastery.

So, how do we engage with our mindset for our advantage? Here are 3 simple steps to get you moving in that direction.

Step 1: Get the Picture. When we have a clear picture of what we want, where we are moving toward or the end result of our goal, we have a greater chance of achieving it. Identifying that image and getting a tangible reminder to go with it helps to keep it very present and top of mind. The awareness the picture creates supports the action.

Step 2: Affirmation - Affirm where you are going, not where you have been. Once you have identified your vision, gotten the picture and created that tangible piece to hold onto, use your words to affirm the outcome. Focusing on where you are moving to and what it will feel like to be there will draw you closer to your success. Speak your affirmation as if you have already received it, that is the key to successful affirmations.

Step 3: Dispute Negative Nellie - You may live with these people or work with them on a daily basis. You may have a committee in your own head at any given time. We know that we become most like those we spend the most time with, so if you are hanging with negativity, it's no wonder your mindset is set toward the opposite of what you want to achieve! Try this instead. When the negative word or even thought comes up around your situation or goal, take back the power and shout it down! Then follow it up with your affirmation. Remember, words are powerful, use them wisely.

It is important to take the temperature how you view your world and the fears or successes that drive you. When you do, you will get a clear picture of what might be getting in your way to success. That very picture in turn can be used to shout down the negativity and fear. By stomping it out and speaking what you want instead, you will begin to move closer to what you want.

For more on the Power of Mindset, you can email me to receive your free copy of the audio file on the subject.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What's your perspective on change?

At all levels, making career transitions can be among the most challenging to navigate. I know this personally because about 5 years ago now I embarked upon a major career change of my one. Leaving what many perceived to be a "secure" job with government for the Private Sector and Entrepreneurship. It left many people wondering and doing a bit of head scratching, truth be told.

People could not get their head around why I would leave a job like I had for something so unpredictable and solely reliant upon, me.

Looking back now, I see that the transition that I made was not only for me, it was for who would be come my future clients. Interesting perspective right? Most change really is easier to handle and balance out when we look at multiple different perspectives. It is how we handle the decision process, in general, that makes up how we navigate change. Let me explain.

The perspective that I held closely on change was and is a very positive one. I believe that change, when planned and thought out can be very good. I also believe that those changes that catch us off guard can be equally as (if not more) gratifying. It is the frame of mind we look at the situation with that counts. Getting locked on to the way it "was" or "should" be can derail us real quick and in a hurry.

What works well, whether change is handed to us or we seek it out on our own, is to know the strategy necessary for the smooth transition. That comes from knowing and understanding your heart motive during the transition. While it may be handed to you without choice you can transition through very easily when you know what is important to you. Seeking ways to find the opportunity in the midst of transition will give you a greater sense of efficacy in the midst of sometimes challenging circumstances.

Coaching Question: How do you handle change? What has derailed you in the past with transition? What commitment are you willing to make to yourself in support of smooth transitions?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Part 2 - 4 steps to Avoid Communication Breakdown

How are you doing today with your Communication Strategy? What progress have you made with the two tips provided to support you in avoiding a communication breakdown?

Yesterday we covered some good points on things that get us into communication breakdown. We also addressed 2 of the 4 strategies to help in avoiding a breakdown all together. So today, not only will we finish the conversation around the 4 tips, we will dig deeper on ways that two-sided communication works best.

Much has been written about how people communicate. There are books, courses, online seminars and teleseminars on the subject for personal and business communication. So, with all the information available to help us, why do so many people struggle and complain that communication is the #1 issue at work and home?

A bottom-line answer might be - People Don't Listen.

In our effort to be more clear, to have more engaging conversations, many people have stopped listening to each other. They are busy spewing words of discontent, frustration or blame all the time ignoring what the other person on the end is saying. Both people throw their hands up and walk away feeling broke, busted and disgusted with the encounter.

The next time, try engaging in a listening exercise. Start with saying 'Here is what I heard you say,' and wait to see if you are on point or missed the mark. Remove the emotion from the equation and just allow the words to tell the story. You will be surprised at what the words tell you.

Try applying these next 2 steps (3 and 4) in the communication process. They will not only help you in saying what you need, but support you in hearing what needs to be heard.

3) Ask for what you Want - We have all heard the expression Assume nothing, it only makes an A_ _ out of U and Me. Well, with communication that is typically spot on. When we make assumptions that the other person understands, knows what we need or gets what we are saying, 9 times out of 10 we get in trouble. That is because we are leaving a lot to chance or often filling in the blanks instead of stating what we want or need. In your next communication challenge, try stating clearly your intention, right upfront. Bottom-line your need and be open to listening to the other person. If you don't ask for what you want/need, no one else will either.

4) Be willing to say 'I am Sorry' - Perhaps the most powerful word in the dictionary (in my opinion) 'Sorry.' And perhaps the most misused word in the world, sorry. That powerful word can be used to build up and to tear down if not used carefully. It is amazing that so many people don't know how to use it or use it with care. It is not a word to hold us in a victim mode, nor is it to be used freely in every other sentence. It is a word that when reserved for those moments in time when we truly have missed the mark, erred in judgment or mistreated another person. It also has the power to heal and restore quicker than anything else. If only people really knew how to use it and use it well our teams, families and world would be a better place.

With communication it is quite simple, always remain open to the possibility that you may have made a mistake and be willing to say so. Then ask for what you want, use your I words that support your refined motive as you listen with a heart to know more.

And remember, communication is a two-way street. There is the sender and receiver and they have shared responsibility and access to the collective success.

Coaching Question: What one step will you begin to apply today to support your communication success tomorrow?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

4 Steps to Avoid a Communication Breakdown-Part 1

We have all been there. In the middle of what we believe to be a good conversation, expressing our side, giving our input and right before our eyes something explodes. It leaves us wondering, 'how did this happen?'

The scenario is not uncommon. It happens in our relationships, it happens in our offices, with our friends and family. It happens on the phone, it happens at the grocery store and even driving our car. Whether we are communicating verbally or in writing, a communication breakdown can happen at any moment.

In a work setting, many people just think that by ignoring the breakdown, the problem will miraculously go away. Others feel hopeless that no matter what they try, nothing will work and they are left to feeling defeated with no control. Some may take on the challenge of addressing the breakdown upfront only to retreat to their corner when met with opposition.

In a family or personal relationship, often times our communication strategy is to simply get what we want with least impact as possible. But what happens overtime is that we stop talking all together because the path of least resistance only creates avoidant behaviors.

While communication is an art form in and of itself, it is not as difficult as some believe it to be. The key to good and clear communication is to always be willing to speak on the side of truth. Often times the age old adage that Less is More rings true with how we communicate. Our emotions can drive the tone and flavor of the simplest of messages leading to total upheaval in our work and family.

To assist you in developing a new strategy that supports good communication, we have outlined 4 easy to implement steps that you can start using today. Today we will detail the first two of the steps to support you in transforming the way you communicate.

1) Identify your Motive - Just as you do when you get in your car to drive, you have a motive and a plan of where you are going, and how you want to get there. The motive is key to the success of your trip, it impacts the choices you make and the outcome of the effort. Communicating is no different. You have a motive, whether clearly identified or not, and you will have an outcome. The success of the trip is also impacted by the choices you make. Good and bad, right and wrong. The key is understanding your motive in such a way that the plan or course you choose toward your outcome is the most efficient and effective. While you can't always avoid the speed bumps or pot holes, you can make course corrections and adjust your speed to ensure a safe arrival.

2) Speak from a Place of I not U - With your motive clear, and your plan mapped out, it is always best practice to speak from that place of I - not YOU. That means we choose our words, just as we do our course of action, carefully. We focus on explaining what 'I understand,' or 'I need,' or why 'I am confused.' The party on the other end of the communication will most always receive what you are saying more openly when you aren't pointing a finger at them. When we use words that focus on fault finding and blame, asserting that 'you did this' or 'you don't understand,' we put people on the defensive. Recovering from a defensive stand is one of the most difficult communication barriers to overcome. By keeping the focus on what you need, want, understand and desire - the you is on you, not them.

Tomorrow we will cover the final 2 of the 4 steps to avoiding communication breakdown. With these simple to implement steps in your toolkit for success, you will most assuredly see marked improvements in your relationships at work and home.

Coaching Q's: What is your communication strategy? On a scale of 1-10, how successful do you feel with your communication skills? What (if anything) do you want to change about that?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The 4 reasons that got me to Yes!

Today a message caught my attention on Facebook that I couldn't walk away from. It was a simple call to action, the very type that I use with clients all the time. A clear invitation that when put to action will produce extraordinary results.

So, what was the invitation? "New Post: 30 day Blogging Challenge - Are you in?" That was it. One bottom-line question for a bottom-line girl. I clicked on the link provided by the author Sandra Martini and read with excitement. Before I got to the end of the post, I knew my answer was a clear YES. It was just the thing I wanted for inspiration and motivation for change.

So this, the first post of 30 in 30, is simple and to the point. And in the momentum the invitation has created, it leaves me wondering one thing. When something moves you to action, how quickly do you actually take action?

Today my quick, inspired action was because of 4 little things.

1) Three words - One big question: "Are You In" caught my eye and caused me to click on the link provided to find out more. That simple question made me want to say yes, even before I read the entire invitation.

2) A Blogging Challenge has always been something I wanted to do and trying to blog for 30 days in a row sound like a fun place to start.

3) Reminiscent Inspiration from my favorite movie of the year, Julie & Julia. I left that theatre with tears glistening on my cheeks at the realization of a dream dismissed. My heart is to shift perspective and challenge assumptions while inspiring bold conversation - the best way to do that in the age of technology, be a voracious blogger. Time to pick up the dream and play.

4) Right Place, Right Time. "30 Day Blogging Challenges are a great way to get in the habit of doing one ordinary thing each and every day which moves your business forward." This was the sentence from Sandra's blog that had the greatest impact on getting to my YES. I am always seeking ways to 'move forward' in life and business, here is my newest opportunity.

I invite you to join me on this journey for 30 days. What will it take to get you to YES?