What Does It Mean to LEAD?

What Does It Mean to LEAD?

Anyone who is in a position of “leadership” has no doubt at one time asked themselves this question.  Just because a person has a leadership position does not mean they actually know how to lead, and we have all experienced one of these individuals during our professional careers. Over the course of my professional career, I have read hundreds of books on leadership, heard thousands of hours from speakers and experts on this topic and experienced my share of good and bad leaders.  Leading to me is “OPPORTUNITY.” 

Each morning a leader has the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those they lead.  Being a leader is about the opportunity to “serve” those who look to us as leaders.  Serving is just the tip of the iceberg.  Just below the surface is “our character.”  It is tough to live out a false character or wear a mask every day.  Our character is based on our values and our beliefs.

My professional business tag line is:  “Know what you believe and why you hold that belief.” I still remember the day and the client when this sentence came out of my mouth during a coaching session in the form of a question.  I asked my client this:  “What do you believe about “X”?”  The client’s eyes widened, and their mouth fell open, and there was a long, long period of silence.  Then I very carefully asked:  “Where did that belief come from?”  For a coach, this was one of those once in a lifetime moments when a huge light bulb went off in my head that I had hit on a “GOLDEN QUESTION” which unlocked my clients and still does to this day.

Keeping up a false belief, and actions become exhausting, and cracks begin to show.  Our character shows up in our “behavior.”  Haven’t you ever wondered why there are people in positions of power who are known liars, leakers of sensitive information, and spreading untruths, and still they hold places of leadership?  [I am not talking about a politician here, but rather about those in leadership in business.]

If you are not currently leading in your professional life, how would you like your leader to lead you?  This is a clue as to how you should lead when you do get into a position of leadership.  Developing relationships with your team requires you to listen.  Listen to learn not listen to reply.  Spend time with those you lead and get to know what is their specific learning type, response type, how broad is their bandwidth, what is going on in their lives outside of work and so on.  If you lack in some specific knowledge or skillset, wouldn’t you love for your leader in investing in your professional development?  Sure you would.

A leader must also be able to course correct, develop new methods, develop their own leadership and this is hard.  A leader has many things pressing in on them daily, but these things are vital to keeping up with the fast pace changing technology and the global business environment we all work in.

For many leaders it is just about the numbers, the financial bottom line; however the bottom line, the numbers, and goals cannot be met if those driving toward them do not have or do not share the vision of those leading.  I once had a mentor retort over and over; the time to have your map is before you go into the woods.  How true that statement is.  You can’t ask “Siri” or “Google” your way to a prosperous bottom line.

Every business has an example of a great leader in that niche.  Research and read about how they view their leadership role.  Each one if they are transparent enough will acknowledge their personal bias, how they compensate during times of stress, they know their strengths and weaknesses, how they value or do not value results over relationships, where they look for people to fill the gaps in their own areas of weakness, and they know they must be consistent with their practices as a leader, how they measure people and success as well as being the pentacle role model for what they want to see in those they lead.

Okay, so what about how you led today in the business world?  What did you model for those you lead?

Author, Janice Bastani, is a certified executive leadership coach and holds many credentials in the coaching arena: Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation, Energy Leadership Coach, Emotional Intelligence Coach, Global Group Coaching Coach, NeuroLeadership Coach, Certified John Maxwell Coach, Speaker, Mentor & Trainer.

Janice holds certifications to give and debrief Energy Leadership Assessments, Level One DISC assessment as well as being a Trainer with the DISC Personality Profile, Emotional Intelligence Assessments, Personality Profiling, along with several others in her faith ministry for Spiritual Gifts, and Strengths Profile. She is a founding member of the John Maxwell Team. Janice holds a BA in Journalism. Learn more about Janice at www.janicebastanicoaching.com 

Conflict Coaching

Conflict Coaching

It’s inevitable. It’s part of the human experience. It arouses strong emotions.

We’re talking about conflict, of course. As coaches we are good at managing and coaching our clients through conflict (aren’t we??).

There are many ways of dealing with conflict, of course, and we all have our preferences. Some tend to avoid it at all costs, often at their own expense. Others become quite aggressive and can damage relationships in the process. Still others tend to roll over and accommodate, failing to get their own needs met in life.

First, conflict is not bad. It is a natural occurrence. As noted earlier, it is part of the human experience. It’s how it’s managed that makes the difference.

Selecting the best approach to managing conflict depends on the situation, and the capabilities and awareness of the individual. There are times when it is best temporarily avoided, at least until emotions calm down. Other times we need to step up to an aggressive approach. And sometimes it’s best to compromise (give a little, get a little), or accommodate (if we know we are wrong or it really doesn’t matter much). And then, of course, there’s the win-win, Getting-to-Yes, collaborative approach to resolving conflict.

The best among us flex, stretch themselves out of their comfort zone, and adapt the approach to the unique circumstances of the situation. Conflict is addressed effectively, in a healthy balanced manner without damaging relationships and without giving up on our own needs.

Handling the inevitable conflicts that arise in life is a topic that frequently surfaces in coaching. Proactively and consciously identifying a path to managing conflict is a powerful first step, an authentic one. Supporting our clients as they sift through the various ways of dealing with conflict themselves is just one of the key coaching skills so worthy of exploration and growth in your coaching journey.

Dr. Laura Belsten, is Dean of the Graduate School of Coaching, a Master Certified Coach (MCC), and a national leader in the field of Emotional Intelligence. Personal Power is one of the twenty-four key competencies of the Social + Emotional Intelligence Profile ™.

“But I don’t have time to coach them!”

“But I don’t have time to coach them!”

It’s time to put the biggest obstacle to coaching your team to rest. During a study to determine how — or even IF — managers matter, Google’s people analytics team identified eight key behaviors demonstrated by the company’s most effective managers. Can you guess which leadership skill is right at the top of the list?

“A good manager is a good COACH.” (Project Oxygen)

(See “An Open Letter to All Leaders” for the rest of the eight key behaviors)

In fact, many more businesses are getting the message that coaching skills can boost both a manager’s effectiveness and their employees’ engagement, and are including ‘coaching’ in managerial and supervisory job descriptions.

That’s a giant step in the right direction because coaching is a unique set of communication skills that, when mastered, deliver a double benefit: these powerful skills both build positive, respectful relationships AND empower teams to get the work done. When employees are coached well, and then feel valued and inspired, they’re much more likely to show up every day willing to do their best work.

If you oversee the work of others, you’re probably already familiar with coaching as a powerful relationship management skill. And if you’re a busy leader, careening from deadlines to crises and back again, you’re probably thinking one of the most common Yeah, buts:

Yeah, that’s all well and good, but I don’t have time to coach my team members!

It’s a general misconception that coaching a direct report has to be a scheduled, sit-down, lengthy, in-depth meeting. If that were the only way you could coach an employee, of course it would be difficult to work that into your already packed schedule every time an employee had an issue, question, or needed clarification.

The good news is that coaching your team members to be more engaged, self-sufficient, and responsible doesn’t have to take any more time than you spend with them right now — if you do it right.

Here are just a few of the many ways you can get more done in less time — and save your company money — when you integrate powerful coaching skills into the regular conversations you have with your team members every day:

  • You can eliminate a lot of the back-story, the emotions, and the “noise” that typically clutters and sidetracks effective communication at work
  • They will feel more inspired to collaborate with you and the team when they feel heard and valued
  • You can “cut to the chase” and get to the heart of an issue or goal faster, so you can get to the solution and the action sooner
  • They will listen to you more openly and be less resistant to your guidance when you share your own thoughts and expectations respectfully
  • You can reduce costly delays and mistakes caused by miscommunication, personal agendas, and assumptions
  • You can leverage “corridor coaching” to build deeper connection, rapport, and trust with your team members
  • You can stop micro-managing your team and start focusing on your own work more when they feel empowered to be more self-sufficient

When you model respectful and professional communication skills, your team can bond more quickly as a drama-free, cohesive, co-creative, and collaborative unit.

If you truly want a high performance team that gets along and gets the work done, you don’t have time NOT to coach them!

Author LAURIE CAMERON, founder of WakeUp! Enterprises, is lovingly dedicated to spreading massive amounts of respect, kindness, and compassion as far and wide as she can. Her path to accomplish this is to teach the power of coaching to as many people as possible because it’s a unique communication tool that both builds positive, co-creative relationships AND gets stuff done. http://wakeupenterprises.com/

In her 18+ years of coaching hundreds of clients and training over 1000 professional coaches, she firmly believes that everyone can benefit from learning and mastering coaching skills. She is available for individual and small group coaching skills training, and mentor coaching for leaders who coach their teams.

Laurie is a senior faculty member at Coach Training Alliance, and is a Certified CTA Coach. She is also a Master Certified Opposite Strengths® Executive Coach, a Master Certified Relationship Coach with Relationship Coaching Institute, and a Certified Master Mind Facilitator.

She currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for Mentor Me, a youth mentoring organization in Northern California, and treasures the time she spends with her 15-year-old mentee. Laurie is very active in the Petaluma Area Chamber of Commerce, regularly volunteers her time at numerous non-profit organizations in the community, and she loves living in the Petaluma Gap.