Circle of Influence and Circle of Concern
Steven Covey gave us the circle of influence and the circle of concern. Simply put (he says), there are two types of issues in life – those we can influence…what to have for dinner, how to solve the problem of the lost keys, our children’s behaviour, planning our household expenses, planning our year, and those we can’t…world peace, our bosses behaviour, how to solve the problems of the universe. In each of our lives there will be many issues that come up that we can influence and also many that come up that we have no control over in the present moment. The advice Covey gives is to focus on the things you can influence (be proactive) and don’t worry about the things you can’t. Many of us though, focus on the things we can’t influence more than the things we can. When we do this we are being reactive and are using up a lot of energy for very little gain.
So how can you make sure you focus only on the things you can influence? Doing the following exercise will help.
To find list all of the problems or issues you have right now and cut round each one – you will now have lots of single issues on little bits of paper. Now draw 2 circles one inside the other on a big piece of paper. The inner one is the circle of influence, the outer, the circle of concern.
Now put all of the issues you can do something about in the inner circle and all the issues you can’t do something about in the outer circle. Now focus all of your energy on addressing the issues you can do something about. As you do this you will find that in the end you begin to move more issues from the outer to the inner circle. You will have begun to increase your influence by being proactive.
Find Out What Others Think
As you begin to work on the issues you can do something about, for each issue work out who are the key people impacted by this issue. For each of these learn their perspective – these people are your stakeholders.
Find out what your stakeholders need to know or want to know, what do they want or need to have or do – what are their goals, what do they need you to do – what do you need them to do? To make the most of these conversations make sure you plan them (see previous blog post: How to make the most of meetings or conversations and achieve the results that you want).
Set Clear Goals
For each issue, set clear, Specific Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely (SMART) goals (blog on goal setting coming soon).
Make sure that you acknowledge and celebrate achievements along the way however small. Each one is a small step towards increasing your influence – look back often to see how far you have come and acknowledge what you can now influence that you couldn’t before.
Strengths Finder Assessment and Feedback
Doing Strengths Finder coaching has enabled me to see how I can make the most of my natural abilities. The test itself outlined 5 particular strengths but it was the coaching that meant I now know how to actually utilise this information. It is going to help me a great deal when it comes to my academic life and in particular how I can study in the most effective way. The coaching helps access the key to knowing your strengths and Deb has helped me devise a plan of how I can move forward with these skills. Her work with me has been vital to the Strengths Finder process and I would absolutely recommend the coaching as vital to finding your strengths.
Family Harmony Workshop for Parents
The course gave a great framework to build a more harmonious family - I find it difficult to explain to my teens why I don't like their behaviour but with this toolkit I am able to articulate this easily and less emotionally, resulting in better communication and a less charged atmosphere. Thanks Deb for the lifeline
Team Building Facilitation and Coaching
As a new Manager to a newly formed team of eight staff, I engaged Deb to facilitate our first team planning day. The objective of the day was to identify a shared vision and to start a process of strategic planning for the next three years. The day was a great success and set the team up with greater clarity of purpose and a framework for future planning.
Deb demonstrated a great understanding of the team, its context and challenges. This was due to her careful and thorough planning and reflections prior to the day. Deb managed the varying levels of engagement among the team exceptionally well; she did this with the establishment of clear ground rules and a sense of trust and respect. Deb listened actively and regularly questioned for greater clarity before reflecting on the team’s contributions.
We ended the day with a clear vision that was shared and in which all members felt they had an investment. Deb followed up regularly after the session to check in on progress and to provide advice about next steps. We were extremely lucky to have been able to work with Deb at this important stage of the team’s development and I would not hesitate for a moment in engaging Deb again.
Angela Hehir, (Manager)
Business Leadership Coaching
Debra's help in getting me to focus on the strategic direction of my business and my work-life priorities has proven invaluable. She has the ability to ask simple questions to create greater clarity and focus in both work and personal goals. Debra is a great listener, follows up on her clients and creates a great support base for her clients through recommending network groups, courses and reading material. For those who want a leadership coach that goes that extra mile,
I highly recommend her.
Yvette Audet, Sport & Recreation Management Services
360 degree feedback and Mentoring
Debra provided feedback on my 360 leader/manger profile. I have taken this style of development tool on two prior occasions and found the feedback underwhelming. This time I found that Debra has an empathetic and approachable feedback style. Previously I have felt very much that I was being placed in a stereotypical box.
I liked Debra,s approach and understood more that the outcomes of the survey reflect a favored management leadership style and this could be flexible. Debra is able to draw out your thoughts on how you feel others perceive you rather than preaching which was a great attribute.
We talked about the outcomes and the way forward and I was left with a comfortable feeling that I could achieve my higher aims. Debra provided positive feedback and kept in contact after the initial interview. Her trouble in organizing some key topic papers and net links was commendable. I hope very much to take Debra up on some future mentoring and would highly recommend Debra’s leadership skill set to you.
Professor Tim Lyons, Newcastle
Concrete personal career goals
I have appreciated my coaching sessions this year more than I can say. Deb has challenged me at every turn which I have loved, making me work hard to find my own solutions during an extremely professionally challenging year. This has been extremely satisfying.
I also now have concrete personal career goals and a plan on how to get there – non existent when I started coaching and really not something I consciously thought I needed. As a consequence I feel more focused and motivated for the next year and beyond.
Finally I would have to say my coaching session with Deb have been an absolute lifeline for me this year, keeping me on track, helping me to grow and learn and ultimately make a monumental shift in my approach and style as a leader. I am very grateful for her time, patience, humor and professionalism – I am certainly am better leader thanks to coaching with Deb.
Bernadette Hollis, Sydney