We have many forms of social media that keep us busy (sometimes we are just busy being busy, don’t you think?).
Are we trapped inside our specialisms? Be that social groups, teams, pockets of knowledge, companies, organisations, universities, colleges, parliaments, media itself, banks, hospitals, schools, bowling clubs and more ? Are we in our own little tribe?
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking Fast and Slow) says we are ‘blind to our blindness’, we fail to see risks and opportunities that when we think about them later (oh hindsight) we know that we could have done things differently.
Why do we do this? What do you think? Communication between teams, societies (be those clubs or cultures) is patchy. Are we all too busy nowadays using social media to say what we want to say and not listening to what others are saying or even, not saying? Or are we reading between the lines to understand from our own reality? Is it just at work or is it also out there in society that we live and work in silos? Be those organisational silos (ivory towers/own realities) which Gillian Tett speaks of in her book ‘The Silo Effect’ or our own individual silos?
As a group or as an individual we like to fit others into labels, slots, or pigeon holes. We tend to understand from our own reality, from what we know and believe to be true from our own experience, or what we have learned from others in order to fit in (or not).
As human beings we do have an innate need to ‘get the world to fit’ to our own reality and many of us naturally seek out those people and those things that match our own reality. But do we listen and look at how people and systems interconnect with an open mind? Do we ask ourselves how people connect with us and to us? Do we examine parts of life we don’t want to talk about because they don’t fit with our reality, because we find them dull, boring or even off-limits?
Do we listen carefully to what other people say and check if what they say also fits with what they do? Do we check that what we say fits with what we personally do? Or do we dismiss people out of hand because they don’t fit with our reality?
I’m curious what you think about the above comments and how you communicate with other people. Please share or comment here and if you would like assistance or tips or suggestion on how to improve communication and understanding. Please contact me.
Contact me Rosie O’Hara via the Developing Works website, or telephone +44 (0)7796 134081, +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004.
If the answer is no from you or someone else and possibly this may be some of those people we categorise as Millennials (if you read my articles or online comments frequently you may be aware I’m not really into labels) you or they don’t know where you or they are going in life or at work it can be difficult to start. This doesn’t mean you need to have a goal or objective in the sense of a smart goal as stuckness can come from confusing advice (see more on this below) or the person can’t currently ‘see’ what the end is – there is a technique for that click here.
At times as someone recently admitted to me they couldn’t do what they wanted or what they were asked to do or set a goal because they really wanted to leave the job they were in. On the other hand those of us who know where we are going have a clear focus on that and can at time appear to trample over everyone else to get there. It can also be that you know what you don’t want, what you want to avoid. That’s okay a good coach can help you work with that without requiring you to turn it into something positive immediately.
For those labelled Millennials friends are their source of advice (but that’s not exclusive this will apply to some people of all ages), their reference point, these friends are generally important for helping them make decisions as is the plethora of online (mainly) media, where your friends may be people you have never met face to face (so they may not always be genuine). At times if input from friends (or people he/she knows) is missing the person may find starting difficult. It might be useful to work on how the person knows what to do/what is right when those sources are missing.
Recognition and appreciation from friends is important. Presented with all of the 21st century choices and alternatives and the opportunity to be creative is what keeps most young people going. Creativity comes in many forms and for those older ones amongst us creativity was often frowned upon unless you were in an artistic profession or you are someone who thought to hell with it, I’ll think outside the box anyway. There was always only a right way to do things in previous decades. Finding another way of doing things is often the best incentive for younger people nowadays and also for those of us needing or wanting to find the thing makes our heart sing.
The problem with this can be that distraction or diversion leads us to somewhere else and therefore even though started the project in hand s not completed. It might then be that deadlines are not met at all at times, at others dependent on the individual’s subconscious (LAB Profile©) patterns, deadlines are only met at the last minute.
How do you get people with these patterns to do something?
First tell them why what you have might be useful to them, their career, their company, or their friends.
Then tell them what it actually is you want them to say. Next say how this can be done and finally tell them what completing or doing this will say about them to others i.e. ‘Petra you mentioned that …. is important to you, something came to my mind that you might like. Have you noticed how many people are ………. It seems there are several alternatives open to you (name those alternatives or if you are watching the person and they appear not to like this suggestion or they actually say they don’t like the suggestions then say ‘first you do … then .. and ultimately to complete you…)
Finish with ‘You know you are really great at ………. and others will appreciate you for doing that’.
I hope you found that useful and if you would like to know more please contact me.
Tel. +44 (0) 7796 134081
Check out my website http://www.developingworks.com
It was Confucius who said ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’. If you’re a leader however it maybe that there are times when life and work seems hard when directing your team or your business and it might be that you question your enjoyment.
For a business or organisation it may be that whether a person enjoys leading or not is irrelevant as long as results are achieved. For your staff (and customers/clients/stakeholders) it matters a great deal. As human beings we tend to see the world not as it is, but as we are[i], therefore when we are unhappy, out of sync with the direction we need to go in and getting our message across to others (i.e. a difficult message such as redundancies) we can see others as being obstructive, when in fact they like us are having difficulty with the message received.
Not only are those we are leading or managing affected, it can affect our family, friends and social life and our own health. We struggle to pretend to be engaged or committed when are delivering a message we don’t really believe in. We become incongruent.
When we are congruent, our response fits with the stimulus (question, event etc.) and when we are incongruent our response does not fit with stimulus (question, event etc.). Our tonality, physical responses, don’t fit with the verbal response. We leak this out to other people, we cannot not do that.
Think about a member of the family you know when you ask ‘Do you want sausages for tea?’ or ‘Can I change the TV channel?’ Although they say yes, we know from looking at them or the tonality that they mean no.
We have no control over other people’s responses, but we can manage, listen to, notice, watch out for and feel our own responses and do something with them.
So if we are incongruent towards those we lead, they will notice. It might not be immediate, but they will notice. So when we smile, it’s good to mean that smile. A smile is worth a thousand words, as are the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and some of those old fashioned things like opening doors for people, picking your litter up and putting it in a bin yourself, helping others with simple things like carrying and lifting. All of these are part of customer service and customer satisfaction. Oh yes and it is ‘your job’, ‘your response-ability’ because if it involves your company, your ‘face to the public’ – it speaks volumes about you and if or whether you care.
Try spending more time talking to staff and clients/customers/stakeholders to find out how change is affecting them and consider what you can do to improve both your and their situations. Learn to understand others better and how to improve getting your message across more effectively so that you and others feel better.
‘Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers, it is about being open to all the questions.’ Earl Gray Stevens
If you’d like to know more about career management coaching and how the LAB Profile® might help you in your choices ,contact me Rosie O’Hara the Developing Works website, or telephone +44 (0) 7796 134081, +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004.
[i] Variations of this phrase are attributed to the Talmud, Anais Nin and also Stephen Covey. Variations are also used in the personal development world and Quantum Mechanics might even play a role here.
Any company or organisation requires strong management to create direction, to engage staff in the vision and mission of the company or organisation.
Good management fosters commitment, ensures productivity is met and makes the strategic decisions around the future of the company or organisation enabling everyone to meet the joint goals effectively for the company and in a way that is workable for the individual
Large corporates have management teams, for SMEs it is just as important to have talented people who take on management duties. For business owners or entrepreneurs the danger can be to spread yourself too thinly because it’s your vision and only you know how to do ‘this’ (your vision) properly.
One choice to ameliorate this is to bring in external people who have experience as well as skills to strengthen the management team and improve the company’s competitive advantage. When making this decision experience is important. In my role I come across many graduates who tell me they are floundering due to lack of experience – coaching externally can help them with these issues, as they are more likely to admit their weakness in confidence to a person with no vested interest in the company.
Alternatively assessing the skills and competencies of existing staff and coaching or mentoring them into a new role will work towards building a robust management team.
Whatever choice a business owner or HR department makes both the candidate and existing staff will need careful mentoring or coaching. This mentoring or coaching can be carried out internally by senior management or the company owner to ensure that those who have been there since the beginning (or for a long time) and are extremely good at what they do, do not feel undermined. Should this not be possible for the owner of an SME due to time restraints or for practical reasons or in a large company where impartiality is required then working together with an external coach is probably the best option. A good coach provides a sounding board and will help the individual clarify and question their judgment, as well as guiding the to manage and work with others.
At times dependent on a person’s previous role models, perceptions, possible insecurities etc. their behaviour when brought into an existing team or promoted from within the company can lead to friction. Coaching or behavioural change work will help with this creating an environment where everyone performs at their best.
It is important to assess the time/cost factor for building your management team, in terms of do you carry out coaching or mentoring internally or do you bring in an external person. Whichever choice you make the value of retaining your internal knowledge base weighed against the potential loss of information that all good employees keep in their heads is never quantifiable until lost.
Team building is important so that they not only understand one another’s strengths and weaknesses but also so that they have the skills to cope with these too. Whether these skills are new behaviours or influencing skills.
Working on how the team works together as well as their individual wants and needs is vital for cohesive team working. Part of this is ensuring that they complement each other in respect of skills and experience and behaviour patterns. That they are capable of working together and taking and giving instructions where necessary. How they cope with stress. How they are motivated. The right mix is vital, a mix made up of individuals who understand the challenges faced by the business and who support one another honestly (instead of shrugging and say ‘oh he/she is like that, there’s nothing you can do).
I’d like to hear or read what others think of this post and whether you agree or disagree with and if you have any questions please ask.
If you’d like to know more about career management coaching and how the LAB Profile® might help you in your choices, contact me Rosie O’Hara the Developing Works website, or telephone +44 (0) 7796 134081, +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004.
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you
If you trust yourself when all men doubt you
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master
If you can think and make thoughts your aim
If you meet with Triumph and Disaster”
Rudyard Kipling wrote these words in 1895 to his son John in a form as if it was fatherly advice, but they were written in tribute to Leander Starr Johnson, originally from Edinburgh (more about him click here).
Kipling’s words work equally well today, when there are downturns in markets and people lose their jobs we tend to panic and at times wonder if there’s a better option out there. Whether we allow ourselves to be influenced by other people and what they believe and tell us or whether we decide for ourselves based on what we know and believe to be true.
What’s missing at times is a prepared objective and for a short period of time sitting back, thinking about how we can avoid problems and then with our objective in mind setting up a plan that we then put into action.
Sitting back and asking ourselves what we really want is not a complete waste of time. It helps us to focus and think so that we don’t end up in a job that is potentially flattering but then becomes a waste of time, in that we become frustrated.
When we are clear about what we want we notice that other people appreciate us more. We get recognition for asking for our needs to be met.
We can first look at the choices available to us and then choose a couple of options to work with. (Knowing that could go back to the other options, but as a start it’s good to be clear about just one or two options at the most.
After all when we are good at what we do, letting others know clearly will enable us to do what Kipling said over one hundred years ago that still holds true:
‘If you can keep your head’ – stay calm,
‘… trust yourself’ – in spite of what others say that might make you waiver,
‘… dream and not make dreams your master’ – not let endless options and possibilities, the ‘ifs’, the ”buts’ stop you from acting.
When we do all of those (with a little help if necessary) then we will get through trying times and carve out a new career or a new business or simply stay afloat and happy in trying times.
If you’d like to know more about career management coaching and how the LAB Profile® might help you in your choices ,contact me Rosie O’Hara the Developing Works website, or telephone +44 (0) 7796 134081, +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004.
Some suggestions –
When times are tough, and maybe there are even more tough times ahead but before you look towards cutting your spend on areas such as learning and development. Perhaps stop and consider that investment in coaching is perhaps an essential for a business particularly during this period.
There’s a need to adapt and respond quickly to changing business needs – often requiring you to change or adapt the way you work. Regardless of whether you are an employee or your lead your own organisation be that large or small.
Do you use situations like this as an opportunity to learn and move on to greater success? If your answer to those questions is along the lines of ‘never’ or ‘not often enough’ then maybe now is the time to put yourself and your business in a position of strength.
Coaching will help you develop skills and give you the opportunity to practise, as well as giving you the time to review the current situation, looking at what you have learned and evaluate ideas which you may have previously dismissed.
Coaching can help understand and work with the behaviours that will work positively for you through the tough times. Giving you a fresh perspective on problems and focusing on what is important for both you and your business. An experienced and qualified coach can help you evaluate actions you have in mind, and through skilful questioning of your language enable you to look at a range of alternatives. You then use your own and your organisation’s resources to the best advantage in a changing environment.
Our own experience of dealing with setbacks can be the crucial thing that holds you. Your coach will enable you to build on your resilience (even if you doubted you had any) and to improve and toughen your approach to taking tough decisions. – you can start to change the outcome of these challenging situations.
What others say about coaching please click here
It’s probably something you never gave much thought to.
I recently came across a post from one of my contacts on LinkedIn it said –
‘Hostile listeners are often on the left of the speaker and concordant ones to the right. At a table, change positions to neuter conflict.’
I wondered if the person posting had come across this an exercise that I taught first to teachers and trainers and then to children and then back to business people – here are two versions below – perhaps you’d like to try it out and let me know what happens?
Checking your Approachable Side
Few of us are aware that we have an ‘approachable’ side, and the implications this can have for conversations with others. This approachable side also applies to learners too. We have a ‘better / preferred’ side for taking on learning.
This is a fun exercise with huge implications we have found.
Are you more approachable from one side than the other?
A remains standing on the spot
B thinks up a question and asks the same question from three different positions
A’s task is to notice the differences in his/her response and feelings to the question.
B approaches A from A’s left, stands still and asks a question “Could you do me a favour and lend me some money?” B gives A time to notice and fix A’s immediate response.
B moves away and approaches A from the right and repeats the same procedure.
Finally B approaches from the front.
Give feedback away from the spot on which A was stood. What did A notice, what did B notice and what did C notice? Carry this exercise out for all three participants.
Debrief – will this have an effect on where you might stand / sit in the classroom (and at meetings as well). Notice – are there sometimes pupils (people) with whom you have difficulties? What would happen if you moved or asked to sit somewhere else?
and with children we used this version
Checking your Approachable Side
Working in three
Person A remains standing on the spot.
Person B thinks up a question and asks the same question from three different positions, such as ‘can I borrow your pencil?’ (Make it a realistic ask or it won’t work).
Person A’s task is to notice the differences in his/her response and feelings to the question.
Person B approaches A from A’s left, stands still and asks a question “Could you do me a favour and lend me your pencil?” B gives A time to notice A’s their immediate response.
B moves away and approaches A from the right and repeats “Could you do me a favour and lend me your pencil?” B gives A time to notice A’s immediate response.
Finally B approaches from the front and repeats “Could you do me a favour and lend me your pencil?” B gives A time to notice and fix A’s immediate response.
All three of you get together away from the spot on which A was stood and talk about what you each noticed. What did A notice, what did B notice and what did C (the person watching) notice?
Carry this exercise out for all three of you.
Notice – are there sometimes people with whom you have difficulties? What would happen if you moved or asked to sit somewhere else?
So you know the John Lennon line ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’? I’ve learned in life to become really good at avoiding things or planning for doing something different. These so-called ‘opportunities/challenges or whatever, let’s face it when you’re running a business and who knows what else they are just a bloomin’ nuisance .
You know the situation – you knew exactly (more or less) where your life was/is going. You’ve done all the planning, all the strategy stuff and ……………….. well a multitude of things can happen, or may happen and sometimes they do. Or sometimes it’s just one simple thing that upsets the apple cart so to speak.
Client cancels, car won’t start, child throws up (sorry), child comes out in spots – school/nursery says sorry must stay at home, client goes bankrupt, loses funding (let’s be topical here), your partner is arrested, someone dies (ok it’s getting worse), partner breaks leg as you go on holiday, you miss the ferry coming back, next one is 2 days later, you find out you have cancer – you know those things some peple seem to take in their stride !
There are options:- headless chicken syndrome, sit down and cry (quite good for a minute at the most – trust me), scream, shout, blame someone else (worst one I think personally – trust me they won’t sort it out).
Being in a good and useful state is something I talk about a lot in my work. After all we can ‘get in a state’, and mostly we say things like ‘look at the state of him or her’, ‘why did you get yourself into that state?’, ‘what a state you’re in!’ So in the UK (because in the US and perhaps other countries a state is a place in which you live, so you could change state;)) and in the training we provide (you can find me at http://www.nlphighland.co.uk for more info) we encourage people to find a good and useful state.
When you have a moment think of 5 separate times in your life when things have been going really well ,and for each one think of a label. Do it one at time – here are some suggestions Confident, Peaceful, Courageous, Enthusiastic, Motivated, Excited, Powerful, Focused, Blissful, Empowered, Successful, Relaxed, Loved, Joyful, Healthy, Humorous or anything else you like.
Thinking about each time separately so for example Confident, think about that time see what you’re seeing, hear what you’re hearing, and feel how you’re feeling when you are confident then and when you have all of that in your mind and body; press on a point on your collar bone and ‘anchor’ that confident state.
Do the same thing for each of the 4 other ‘states’ you choose and press on or ‘anchor’ on the same spot. Then briefly think of something else like doing the dishes, just briefly. Then press on your collar bone again in that spot and notice what happens. If you need to, repeat the process until it’s all really powerful and now you have an unobtrusive ‘anchor’ for a ‘good and useful state’ that you can use anywhere at any time.
So if ‘life get’s in the way’ again, – press on your collar bone.
1 You chose the wrong coach
Coaches deal with different aspects of life and work. (Did you ask yourself ‘do I want someone to offload all my worries to and to be listening and sympathetic ear and say there there’ or did you ask ‘do I want someone to motivate me? Or did you ask ‘do I want someone to help/guide/assist me in my career or business?’ Different coaches deal with different aspects.
Did you ask ‘do they have business experience?’ What kind of training do they have? ‘Are they recommended?’ Notice when you initially meet them do they carefully question how you say what you say or do they rephrase or paraphrase your language and you’re too polite to comment.
2 You relied on the coach to tell you what to do
The only person in life who is in charge of you is you. You are ‘driving your bus’. Admittedly there will be times in everyone’s life when we want to give and or abdicate responsibility. Ultimately you have to make your own decisions without hearing from someone who tells ‘oh that happened to me, what I think you should do is….’ Incidentally ‘should’ is about the other person about how they think or tell you what to do. You will most probably ultimately find that what you should do (according to them) was not the right thing to do.
3 You weren’t in the right place at the time
Coaching is not intended to resolve the deeper underlying issues that are the cause of serious problems like poor motivation, low self-esteem and poor job performance.
When we go into a coaching relationship we do that in the belief that we are self-aware and a ‘whole person’ and that we have chosen coaching because we don’t require a therapeutic intervention. It can be that even with underlying issues we will experience success within a coaching context even without resolving the underlying issues. If we become ‘stuck’ and the coaching is not achieving desired results, then a therapeutic intervention may be necessary for me to move forward and achieve your goals. Therapeutic interventions are not coaching and even coaching using NLP is not therapeutic and as a coachee you need to be clear on that.
4 You didn’t like the task you were given. If you and your coach agreed that you would do certain things by a deadline and you didn’t like what you agreed. Then there are options:
A. Life got in the way
And it does, tell your coach and re-arrange the deadline. Be aware – if you keep on changing your coaching dates – do you need to ask yourself ‘why am I allowing this to happen? After all the most successful people in life juggle things, work through things, overcome obstacles, ask for help, delegate and more.
B. Say you didn’t/don’t like it and then talk that through with your coach. Your coach
Your coach offers you a supportive and motivating environment to explore what you want in life and how you might achieve your aims and desires and fulfil your needs. There is no such thing as failure in life and your coach’s job is to enable you to get to where you want to be.
C. Give up and say coaching didn’t work for you
If you choose this option perhaps ask yourself how willing you are/were to commit and if you are prepared to make changes to your behaviour(s). When we stay the same so do other people. Or other people actually become worse because they will tire of our behaviour.
Bear in mind when you change your team or change your job you will still take you with you. We have to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’.
Sometimes we get in our own way with our beliefs. Discuss this with your coach, be open and honest with your coach (and yourself). Say what didn’t work and get them to assist you to get to where you want to be. The coaches job is to assist you commit to action and be a sounding-board for your experiences.
D. Ask your coach to help you
If you coach has additional qualifications such as NLP, CBT etc. they are in a position to assist you but you both must agree that this is what happening. Or get your coach to recommend you to a qualified practitioner or find someone who someone else recommends, in that they have worked with them.
E.You didn’t like the fact that your coach asked you to set goals/outcomes/objectives.
In the coaching sessions you and your coach will generally be more concerned with the practical issues of setting goals and achieving results within specific time-scales. Coaching allows you the personal space and support you need to grow and develop. Your coach’s key role can be in assisting you to maintain the motivation and commitment needed to achieve your goals. However they aren’t there to ‘kick your butt’ or be ‘on your case’ every day. If you think you need that then there are behaviours and beliefs that could do with changing on your part.
Only you are in charge of you and only you will do what you agree to do with yourself.
If you’d like to know more about coaching with me Rosie O’Hara please contact me via the Developing Works website, tel. +44 (0) 7796 134081, +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004.
In the last post I wrote about staff not taking initiative when a customer has a problem, of following a policy or procedure. ‘Company rules are…’, this is our policy on complaints’, ‘please read this and write into our head office’. The latter often heard at airports when the passenger with the problem wants and possibly needs a result – now.
An unhappy customer becomes impatient and is frustrated, they can get louder than usual (and don’t always realise this). They no longer care about rules and procedures, ‘gimme a result – now!’. Telling them what to do is a red rag to a bull. The worst case scenario is that they will rehash old wrongs.
And what do companies and those who train people in customer service do? They teach employees to be calm, to say phrases such as: ‘if you shout at me I will terminate this call,’ ‘don’t raise your voice at me.’ Such actions merely light the fire under the potentially explosive situation. Even if the customer appears to physically walk away, they will remember. They will remember every single thing you and your organisation ever did wrong and the experience will imprint on their memory and they will tell other people.
Two solutions – as a customer it really helps to say ‘I’m sorry to bother you, but could you help me please.’ This is so disarming to most people they will help you. Even the most intractable and jobsworth people will listen and often point you in the direction of a colleague who is known to be helpful. Taking on some of the blame yourself really helps. It might not be what you really want to do, but it can help.
When you’re providing the customer service, being aware of how the customer is reacting using appropriate LAB Profile® Influencing Language is really appropriate, useful, customer friendly and will get you repeat business (at times there are customers however who make their own completely internal decisions and cannot be retained – they are a minority).
The customer knows he or she is right, it helps therefore if you are in customer service to get the aggrieved customer to listen to and understand you, start where they are – ‘I know this must be really awful for you ………..,’ ‘you may want to consider’, ‘this may be in your best interest,’ ‘may I make a suggestion?’
They want you to break the rules for them, your policies and procedures are not of the slightest interest to them. They want you to do something now. And you might well be surprised to find that at times when you’ve agreed that the situation is terrible, and used some of the LAB Profile Internal Influencing Language you may want to consider, this may be in your best interests, may I make a suggestion?. You might be surprised if you say to this upset customers, whilst I can’t get you on a flight right now, I can get you a meal to begin with (and let them know you’re not supposed to do, it’s breaking the rules just for them but you’d like to help) and I can arrange for you to use a phone privately and I can locate your luggage and I can help you to find some accommodation. Then it’s highly possible that the upset customer will calm down and will listen to you and later will let everyone know how well their problem was treated.
Don’t just believe me, try it out for yourself or ask me for some info or clues on how to find out more about this. There are tools and a tried and tested methodology.
Rosie O’Hara is one of the UK’s foremost Trainers and Consultants of the Language and Behaviour (LAB) Profile®, Words that Change Minds. Her background is in mechanical engineering and the German language – more information on uses of the LAB Profile® for Team Building, HSE, Management, Negotiation, Market Research, Recruitment and in Executive Coaching and more contact Rosie on 07796 134081, 01224 900748, or 01309 676004 or take a look at the website click here