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I presented this material about the potential for coaching to help leaders positively influence workplace culture at a recent conference. I would love to know your views and experience of using coaching in culture change.
Looking back on the wonderful leaders I have worked with it is clear that every single one of them know what they stand for as a leader. What I mean by that is, they know what kind of workplace they are aiming for and how they want people to feel about it. They know the standard of service and the results they expect to be delivered and the behaviours that will support that. They know what their values are and are uncomfortable when they are violated.
However, many leaders have difficulty articulating this standard. This is problematic in leadership because if you can’t express where you are leading people too, why and how you expect them to get there, all you can do is tell people what you don’t want.
Similarly a lack of awareness of purpose, beliefs, values and goals, if it occurs in our personal lives can limit us from reaching our true potential. It can create in us the habit of moving away from what we don’t want rather than towards what we do. For example, you may be stuck with beliefs that are no longer relevant. You may be living incongruently with your values and feeling uncomfortable, out of sync. You may be going round and round, rather than moving forward and if you are not true to your purpose you may feel a lack of satisfaction. All of this could have a negative impact on our wellbeing.
The good news is that creating self awareness around this is not hard. It is likely your values and beliefs have always driven the kind of work you have done or are attracted to, the battles you fight, or would like to, the friends you choose and what you spend your money on.
Identifying your purpose is a bit more difficult, but for all of this work luckily there are many books, courses and coaches around to help.
Once you have created your personal purpose, values, beliers and goals, it will be easier for you to create your leadership standard too.
I would love to know your thoughts and experiences on this.
If you would like to find out more about coaching or our online courses for women, give me a call on +61 421 775 924 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have failed this week then I congratulate you! If you have been challenged, have failed, been rejected, feel as though you are just not good enough, then you are out there giving it a go, whatever ‘it’ is for you. You are not just waiting for good things to happen to you, you are taking control and taking some risks to achieve your goals. That takes courage and demands respect.
Two things about this interest me about how women do this, how you do this?
I would love to hear your insights about this – please comment in the box below and let’s have a conversation!
Steven Coveys 5th habit is ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood’.
He says this because “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are or, as we are conditioned to see it.”
We all tend to make meanings of everything we experience as they relate to us. This is understandable, and very human. We have so much information to deal with all the time and this shortcut saves our sanity. It is especially important however, given that we have this tendency, for us as leaders to recognise that the meanings we make of what people say and how they say it, could be different from what they intended. This is because humans tend to make assumptions about what we hear, what we see and what we perceive to be true.
These assumptions can make it difficult to reach a shared understanding about anything, to solve problems, resolve conflict, build relationships and work as a team. I was chatting with two members of a highly functioning team recently and one their core communication strategies is to challenge their own assumptions. It’s a great strategy. One that is so simple and also incredibly difficult to consistently practice. It requires a high level of emotional intelligence and can be split into four parts:
To challenge assumptions we must notice that we are making them. We have to understand ourselves and acknowledge that we all make assumptions, often unconsciously for a lot of the time. We assume people’s intentions, meanings, motivations, thoughts and moods. It saves a lot of time. We couldn’t spend our lives clarifying everything otherwise!
But sometimes we must interrupt this pattern and this is where EI comes in. We have to build our noticing muscle around the assumptions that we make. If we think we have detected an assumption, then we must challenge it.
When you notice you may have made an assumption, ask yourself: “What am I assuming here?”, “How do I know I’m right?” “Where is the evidence for this assumption?” and “What other explanation could there be?”
This puts you in a good frame of mind to be curious and seek evidence for your assumptions
Clarify what you heard or saw to make sure you understand what the other person meant: “you said…did you mean… by that?” “I think I heard you say… is that right?”
Of course when we are having conversations like this we have to really listen to the other person, as opposed to thinking about what we want to say next (we all do it so we might as well admit it!). Rather, try to focus on what they are saying and be truly curious.
When you have sought to understand where someone is coming from, you will be able to respond in a more empathetic way. This will help you to create an environment that invites respect, collaboration and more authentic ‘real’ communication. It’s a win/win for everyone.
Photo: my dog Kim 🙂 Bubbles not real!
Covey, S. R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People . 1989, NY: Free Press.
]If you would like some help refining your communication skills, please give me a call or email for a 30 minute discovery session to get you on your way and see if leadership coaching is right for you
This is an interesting quote, it could mean one of two things. Either you are maintaining the status quo, you are not implementing change, you are indeed letting it be. This could be because what you are doing or saying, or how you are being is working for you and those around you. Or, you are ignoring the negative things you are thinking, doing, or experiencing. Either way, the phrase ‘let it be so’ implies a lack of reflection and a lack of movement. It is a passive mindset, on the one hand in a place of comfort and on the other one of discomfort.
Movement and growth is important though, whatever the situation because a lack of growth will in the end, result in discomfort and poor wellbeing. In essence if you stay long enough in your comfort zone, it will will begin to feel as though you are trapped there.
Moving from a Place of Comfort
If you are in a place of comfort, it is important to regularly connect back to your purpose, to what’s important to you because if you lose sight and feeling around that, you will no longer feel comfortable, you will be stuck. To get yourself moving, celebrate the achievements that got you to this place. Now create some goals for the next stage of life, work/career, family and/or community – whatever it is that connects with your purpose. Importantly, notice when you have reached these goals, celebrate and make new ones for the next 3 to 5 years. Repeat.
Moving from a Negative Place
If you are experiencing negative thoughts and emotions as a result of the situation you find yourself in, it is probably time to make some changes to your mindset. I read this quote by Eckhart Tolle in this Inc article yesterday 2 Remarkably Powerful Mindsets to Move You Through Difficulty (link below article). It resonated with me, so I share it here.
“Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here-and-now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences.”
If you choose to make some changes, the same process applies as for moving from a place of comfort. It might however be more of a challenge:
If you would like some help give me a call on 0421 775 924 or email email@example.com and we can make a time for a 30 minute discovery session, no cost, no obligation, to set you on your way and to see if ongoing coaching would be helpful for you.
2 Remarkably Powerful Mindsets to Move You Through Difficulty
As we head towards international Women’s day I have been thinking about and am grateful for how much I have learned from so many women across my life both in person and through books. These quotes are by women I admire and would someday love to meet!
“Keep your eyes Open. Listen. Follow your curiosity. Ideas are constantly trying to get our attention. Let them know you are available.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic (2015)
“Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (2013)
“Perfectionism is self destructive simply because there’s no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal.” – Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let go of Who You Think You Are Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (2010)
“The knowledge you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive”. – JK Rowling’s commencement address at Harvard (2008)
“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time. Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” – Brene Browm, Rising Strong (2015)
Our Inner World and Self-Leadership
“The way you tell your story to yourself matters” – Amy Cuddy, Presence: Brining Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges (2015)
“…you simply need to learn to live with the inner voice of self doubt but not be held back by it, to hear the voice and not take direction from it.” – Tara Mohr, Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Vision and Make Things Happen (2014)
“What you intend, you create”. – Laura Berman Fortgang, Take Yourself to the Top (2005)
“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality” – Classics Greek author Plutarch via JK Rowling at her commencement address at Harvard (2008)
“The choices you make will determine how quickly you move toward the top and how quickly you get there.”
– Laura Berman Fortgang, Take Yourself to the Top (2005)
“We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.”– Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (2013)
“Women who lead, read” – Laura Bates, Everyday Sexism (2014)
On Leading Others
“This is something I know for a fact: You have to work hardest for the things you love most.” – Carol Dweck, Mindset: How You Can Fulfill Your Potential (2006)
“In most cases being a good boss mans hiring talented people and then getting out of their way. “ – Tina Fey, Bossy Pants (2011)
“Treat people like family, and they will be loyal and give their all.” – Arianna Huffington, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder (2014)
“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (2013)
“Everyone shines, given the right lighting.” – Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2012)
“Lift as you climb” – Margie Warrell, Fearless, Sydney, December 2016
Thank you for reading this article. If you are interested in knowing about my online courses on leadership for women or leadership coaching, please get in touch via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you tend to begin the year with some resolutions, some great ideas or some things in your mind you want to achieve and before you know it it’s June? Time can go by so fast and without something to aim for and focus on, we can forget to work on the things we want to be different in life, family or work.
Have a go at the following exercise. It will help you to think about the future in a way that enables you to create it rather than let it happen to you.
Brainstorm or Mind Map
Think about where you want to be in 12 months’ time? What do you want to be different in December 2016 and how? Think about this for yourself, your, work, family, community? The list goes on. Brainstorm on a piece of paper everything that you think of.
Now choose up to three the things on your piece of paper that are achievable and really compelling to you
For each of the things you have chosen think about the purpose that you want it – what will it give you and what will it be like if you don’t achieve it?
Now for each go through the following process:
Imagine you have achieved the things you want. Get a pen and some paper or your journal and write down the answers to the following questions – write the first thing that comes into your head for each of the questions.
Remember to use positive language and write what you want rather than what you don’t want.
Where are you?
What and who do you see around you?
How do you look?
How do you feel?
What are you doing?
What are other people saying to you?
What do you want to be telling yourself?
How have you failed and what did you learn?
What have you achieved and how?
How have you celebrated your successes?’
Now you have your answers, close your eyes and create a picture in your mind how it will be for you in December 2016. Make sure it is a beautiful, vibrant and exciting picture of what this future looks like for you. Choose colours that increase the feelings you want to feel, make it moving or still, framed or unframed as you need, to increase those feelings. See yourself wearing the clothes, doing the things you want to do, hear the sounds associated, smell the smells, immerse yourself into the compelling and exciting future that will be yours – feel the excitement and satisfaction of achieving your goal.
Now go back and write a description of each of your goals that is SMART – that is
Specific: what exactly will you achieve
Measurable: how will you know you have achieved it
Attractive: do a check to make sure it is compelling for you
Realistic: is it possible to achieve within the timeframe. If not, break it down into smaller goals
Timed: make sure you put the date including the year by when you will achieve it.
Now tell at least one person what you are aiming for. Choose someone who will check in with you and ask them to do just that.
I created this list full of the most amazing articles books and videos for a group of Women leaders. However, they are great for all. They are all written and spoken by women and men I admire. Enjoy!
50 Motivational Quotes From Disruptive, Trailblazing, Inspiring Women Leaders. Article
10 Podcasts that will make you a better leader. Article by Melanie Curtin
The power of vulnerability, Brene Brown. Video
Your body language shapes who you are | Amy Cuddy. Video
Men Can Improve How They Mentor Women. Here’s How
Jim Carrey’s Revelation – Inspiring Message. Video
Simon Sinek: How Finding Purpose Increases Sense of Fulfillment. Video
Torben Rick shows the hidden aspects of workplace culture using an iceberg as a metaphor. That is, the mission, goals, vision and values of an organisation is above the water – this is the way we present how we do things around here. The things hidden under the water though, influence how things are actually done around here. These include personal values, beliefs traditions and assumptions to name a few.
Drawing on Torben’s work and also on Steven Covey, family culture can be viewed in a similar way. We create our family culture often organically without much thought as to how we got here, what we each bring to the family dynamic and where it comes from. We tend not to choose what we as a family stand for and how we want to be because it has always been that way – perhaps never spoken but assumed, known and accepted as it is.
Similarly to the workplace, the things we assume and accept without question, often unconsciously, can influence our expectations and behaviours. They can impact for example, the way we express emotions, how we celebrate, how we have fun and how we manage conflict.
By having conversations within our family about our history, what we stand for and where we are headed, we can begin to uncover some of our assumptions. We can also celebrate where our traditions come from, decide the behaviours we want and build a foundation that supports us and helps each of us grow. We can create a way of being together that we all want and that we all understand and share.
As children enter their teen years and are creating their own iceberg, this becomes especially important. A shared understanding of our family culture, what we stand for and how we want to be, gives them mutually agreed boundaries around behaviour and conflict management and supports them towards their independence.
Create a shared understanding: suggested questions to ask each other at dinner or at a time when you are together.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments
If you would like to know more sight up for my self paced, on demand, 6 hour parenting course Parenting for Family Harmony
References and Resources
Marcia Carteret, M. (2015). Culture and Family Dynamics | Dimensions of Culture. [online] Dimensionsofculture.com. Available at: http://www.dimensionsofculture.com/2010/11/culture-and-family-dynamics/ [Accessed 10 Mar. 2015].
Steven Covey (1997). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families: Simon and Shuster
Successfulculture.com, (2015). What Is Your Family’s Culture? | Successful Culture. [online] Available at: http://successfulculture.com/what-is-your-familys-culture/ [Accessed 10 Mar. 2015].
The Art of Manliness, (2015). Fathering With Intentionality: The Importance of Creating a Family Culture. [online] Available at: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/07/22/family-culture/ [Accessed 10 Mar. 2015].