Archive for Coaching


Nuts and Bolts of Change: A Few Simple Rules and Reminders

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You can build something with a few nuts and bolts…

Recently a colleague of mine made a comment that with all the changes going on in her organization she needed to learn more about Change Management.  In an effort to help, I dashed off a quick note with a few things to bear in mind when dealing with change.  To me, while there are many theories, approaches, methods, and tools, for every day needs we can really boil things down to a few “nuts and bolts.”  Rules and Reminders that if we all kept these in mind, would make things run a bit smoother.

  1. We all have only so much capacity
  2. Inform, don’t overwhelm
  3. Engage, don’t dictate
  4. Focus on the right problems
  5. Provide support
  6. Listen
  7. Less can be more
  8. Treat people with respect, as we would want to be treated
  9. Sh** happens (deal with it as best you can and then move on/let it go)

These really are the fundamental nuts and bolts.  Each can be unpacked in detail and explored in depth with theories, psychological profiles and all the rest.  But does the “every day person” really have time and mental capacity?  Do they need to know the details (see rule #7)?  Yes, there are times to employ a Change Professional but there are also fundamentals that it would benefit the whole if each and every person in an organization could bear in mind.

As I pondered some more on this topic, I realized that I have touched upon these themes before:

I’m sure if I looked further in my Archieves I would find these themes time and time again. 

Hope this short list helps.  What other Nuts and Bolts can you share?

My thanks to Nancy, for getting my brain going. 

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The Benefits of Simplification

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Today I read an article by a colleague, Patti Johnson, titled “Why Stepping Back and Making It Simple Solves Everything.”  While I do not completely agree with the title, I absolutely do agree with the premise.  We need to step back and simplify.  While I don’t believe it will solve everything, I do believe it will help – in many ways.

Work, life, business and even relationships have all become increasingly complex.  Often times significantly more than they need to be.  We work to “manage” life, rather than simply living it.

I believe that there are many drivers for this – some intentional, many unintentional.  Most of us do not create complexity “just because,” but as a result of other drivers, including:  thoroughness, lack of analysis, focus on the wrong issues, disconnects in strategy, fear of failure, desire to “get it right”, and concern about perceptions, to name just a few.

I could write a bunch of additional words here but in an effort to simplify, I’ll simply leave you with some questions to ask yourself (yes, pun intended).  Over the next week ask (possibly repeatedly):

  • Why are you doing that task?
  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • Are you seeking to “hear” and understand or are you busy talking?
  • What would happen if you didn’t do it (process, task, activity)?
  • Is that REALLY what would happen…?
  • What can you do to simplify not just your work, but your life?
  • Have you sat outside in nature lately, just being present in the world?
  • Have you walked barefoot in the grass or on a sandy beach, grounding yourself?
  • Do you really need that suit, dress, piece of furniture, car, or is it actually a want?
  • How come we often teach children about the differences between want and need but forget it ourselves?
  • What does reduce, reuse, recycle really mean to you? 
  • Could it mean more than that?
  • Can you get by with less “stuff”, rather than more?
  • What might you get back if you simplified your life?

Simplification isn’t always easy.  In fact, it can be darn hard.  It can take guts, sweat, a few tears, and facing our own fears.  But in the end you might find that you have given yourself something very important.  Perhaps a closer connection with yourself, your family or friends, more free time, more money back in your pocket, less stress at work, or even a new respect for nature and the circle of life.  You might find a bit more peace in the midst of the chaos we call life.

May you find ways this week, month, and year to simplify your life.  I think it’s time to go work on simplifying mine.  Peace my friends.

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5 Key Questions to Gain Insights

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Use these 5 Key Questions as a compass to direct you on the best way to expend your energy.

Today, it’s short a sweet.  5 Key Questions to ask:

  • Are we doing the right things?
  • Are we doing them the right way?
  • Are we getting them done well?
  • Are we getting the benefits?

When the answer to any of these questions is No, the next Key Question is

  • WHY

Sometimes, Why needs to be Why, Why, Why.  You need to dig to get to the root problems, issues, and causes, not just the surface symptoms.

Answering each of these questions will take a bit of time and analysis, but the insights can be invaluable.

When looking at personal issues, not business issues, all you need to do is replace the we with I…

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How Do YOU Define Success?

Today I read a blog today by a colleague of mine Marta Steele about Successful vs. Unsuccessful People.  It got my brain going for a bit and I wanted to share.

My initial reaction was that I really liked the list.  The actions on the left, Successful People, seemed to be the “right” actions.  It’s how I like to operate.  Actions that I would also like to see others take.  I’ve included a table below that combines the original list, Marta’s enhancements, and a few others I added.

A few minutes later I noticed something.  These are all ways to THINK or BEHAVE.  They didn’t really explain WHAT success is.  Hum, is that a problem, I wondered?

I also realized that I’ve seen a number of “commercially” successful people – in fact many executives – that constantly demonstrate the behaviors on the right. I started to ask myself the following questions:

  • How does success look from the inside?
    • How does a successful person perceive their actions?
    • How they feel about themselves?
  • How might success look from the outside? The tangibles such as job title, house, car and appearance… What about the “intangibles” from the outside? Charisma?
  • Does the difference (inside/outside) matter that much?
  • Can one be in conflict, feeling internally successful but not externally and vice versa?
  • Might those on opposite sides of this list view each other differently?
  • How would people who demonstrate behaviors on opposite sides of the list view each other?
  • Are individuals on the left more “content” and “happier” than those on the right? My hypothesis is that there is likely a high correlation…

Personally, I try to live on the left side.   It “feels” right to me.  I believe that operating on the left leads to greater success not only personally but for the broader groups and organizations.  I think it also leads to greater personal satisfaction. 

Living on the right can bring short-term success, but I’m not sure it is sustainable long-term.  When you don’t “play nice” and aren’t “above board,” others will eventually opt not to play with you.  Additionally, while it might bring individual success, it will not bring success to the larger group or organization if everyone behaved this way. 

What do you think?  How do you define success?  What actions do you believe lead to success?  Might businesses and organizations operate a bit differently if individuals (especially at the top of the organization) operated on the left rather than the right?

Want to stoke your brain a bit more on the topic of success?  You can read more in a prior article, What Does Success Look Like.  It might just give you a new perspective.

Successful People

Unsuccessful People

Have a sense of gratitude Have a sense of entitlement
Forgive others Hold a grudge
Give other people credit for their victories Take all the credit of their victories
Accept responsibility for their failures Blame others for their failures
Compliment Criticize
Embrace change Fear change
Challenge the norms Want to keep the sacred cows
Operate from a transformational perspective Operate from a transactional perspective
Read everyday Watch TV everyday
Keep a journal Say they keep a journal but really don’t
Talk about ideas Talk about people
Share information and data Horde information and data
Keep an abundance mentality Hold a scarcity mentality
Talk straight Spin the truth
Seek the opinions of those who think differently Surround themselves with like-mindedness
Take the first step to mend a broken relationship Wait for someone else to apologize first
Keep a “to-do/project” list Fly by the seat of their pants
Know when to say no Are addicted to busyness
Keep a “to be” list Don’t know what they want to be
Continuously learn Think they know it all
Evolve Stay stuck where they are
Want others to succeed Secretly hope others fail
Think WE Think ME
Exude joy Exude anger

What Hand Are You Holding?

There is an old song that goes like this:

  • You’ve got to know when to hold them.
  • Know when to fold them.
  • Know when to walk away.
  • Know when to run.

Sometimes, no matter the metaphorical cards and literal money on the table, the right thing to do is to fold. 

If accountability and responsibility do not align with authority and control you will not be able to do what you were hired to do.  In this case, you should fold your hand and walk away. 

Sometimes you run. 

Don’t under estimate how challenging it can be to do this.  Expecially when the anticipated income you walk away from is significant.

What does it take? 

Trust, Faith, Belief.  Trust in yourself, that you are doing the right thing.  Faith that there is a better opportunity awaiting you.  Belief that the opportunity will find you.  You just need to be there to see it. 

You won’t be able to play in that new sandbox of opportunity, where authority and accountability are in alignment and you can make a difference, if you are still sitting at the table, playing the old game.

I’ve put my cards down and walked away, can you?

If you find yourself in this situation, remember you have a choice.  Find your courage and the Lionheart Inside Yourself, to know when it is the right time to leave that game and find another.  I dare you.  I double dare you.  I double dog dare you.


Know Yourself, Available Now

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How Well Do You Know Yourself?

I had an interesting confluence of events recently, one where I realized how things we say really can live on. 

To the right, you will see the back cover of a new book now available on Amazon, Women, Know Yourself by John Agno.  Yes guys, while it may say “Women” in the title, it can apply to you also. 
The Backstory
I originally wrote the statement shown on the right for Carol Roth’s Business Unplugged blog.  It appeared as #5 on Carol’s list of 60+ Unexpected Business Lessons.
For those of you who have followed me for a while, you may remember some of my articles about Carol and her excellent book The Entrepreneur Equation.  She’s the person who dubbed me The Elephant Whisperer.

As I referenced a colleague of mine, John Agno in my statement, I sent him a link when Carol’s list came out.  John parlayed the statement into his own blog article.  Shortly after that, he asked if he could use the quote for the back cover of a book he was working on.  Wow, was I surprised.  What an honor.  Guess that’s one way to get “published” when I’m lagging so far behind in my own writing…

Knowing Yourself

I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing yourself.  The better you understand yourself, the more clearly you will be able to see the world around you as your remove the “lenses” through which you view the world.  You will be better able to make decisions that take you towards the place you want to be in life, rather than moving you further away. 

Hiring a personal coach is a great way to get some help along your personal journey.  If you want to hire a coach, I can highly recommend John.  I value the discussions we had years ago when he was my coach as well as the one’s we have today. 

That being said, I’m happy to take new coaching clients myself.  I give fair warning here, I’ll challenge you with my Lionhearted Coaching.  To quote what one of my client’s said about me, I “tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.”
To start your quest to understand yourself through a book, I suggest you read John’s book “Women, Know Thyself: The most important knowledge is self knowledge.”  It content includes chapters on self-understanding, exploring your signature talents, managing your default behavior, learning how to manage stress, the impact of your personality on others, we get what we tolerate, self-sabotage and we need to change outdated beliefs. 
Want it for free?  (limited time offer)  For Valentine’s day as well as the day after, John is offering this ebook free at   Happy reading.
You can also find a variety of articles related to self-awareness throughout my blog as I touch upon it in a myriad of ways.  You might want to check out articles in the Being Lionhearted, Courage, Personal Skills, Perspectives, or Reflection Categories on the right. 
Regarding my own books, while I dislike New Year’s Resolutions, I did set goals for 2012 which included finally getting my material organized and published.  Now if I could just find some more time in my schedule to do so… 
Cheers.  Be well, healthy, happy.  May you Know Yourself and Be Happy with Yourself. 
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Are you Living or Existing?

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Have you stopped today to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature around you?

Many times we think we are living, but we are really just existing.  We deal with the day to day and it feels like a grind. 

We trudge through our day, doing our work, working on our to-do list (or lists), answering the phone and email, and trying to make “progress”.  But we feel stifled, tired, worn out, stressed.   We’re trying to figure out how to change things but everything we think of feels like too much extra work.

We often look for the big solutions and big changes when the little ones can have the most impact.  A few weeks ago I wrote about the Value of Nature.  How taking a few minutes to enjoy Nature around you can go a long way.  Since that time I’ve made an effort to enjoy my back deck and the woods behind me as many days as possible.  I’ve also made an effort to visit with some neighbors on their back patio.  

Although my life is pretty chaotic at the moment (many major life events going on) my inner peace has been increasing on days that I’ve stopped to check out of work and the digital world and connect with Nature and neighbors.  On the days I haven’t, where I keep my head down focusing on the list, telling myself I don’t have time to go outside, I find my stress continues to increase.

Life’s not perfect, it’s a rare moment that it is.  It is, however for living, not existing.  Instead of a “to-do list” why don’t you write a “do not do list” this week.  Cut yourself some slack.  Get real with yourself and those around you.  Too often I observe individuals living in the in the “digital world” but missing out on the “real world” … and by that I don’t mean the contrived one on TV which isn’t all that real.

Put down the pen, leave the desk, turn off the TV.  Ignore your iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Kindle, and Nook.  Connect not only with others but with yourself as well.  The world will not stop if you ignore the phone, email, twitter, text or chats.  If fact, I believe it would be a better place with a little less of all of that.

Be present with yourself and those around you.  Be real not digital.  Look at your life one day, one experience, one encounter at a time.  You’ll likely be much happier.  I know I am.

Live your life rather than simply existing.  Peace everyone.

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Do you want to drive positive changes around you?  Can one person really make a difference?  Absolutely.  A greater difference than than you might think!

Yesterday I was interviewed for a BlogTalk Radio Show by Heather Stagl of Enclaria.  During the interview we discuss my own personal Change Revolution, how to start a revolution, courage, fear, and other related topics. 

Why does change require courage?  Change is hard!  You might need to rock the boat, rattle a few cages, or eh gads, talk about the elephant (or elephants) in the room!  You need to stand up and be counted.  You need to be open and honest.  You might need to go against convention and cultural norms.  But there may be others just waiting for someone to take the lead.  Can you be that leader?
Is there something that is really bothering you?  Is it something that you can control or do something you need to let it go in order to focus your energy in other, more productive ways?  Might it be something you can start your own revolution about?  Unsure?  Here’s some questions to help think you think about whether to start your own revolution:
  • Do I really care?
  • Why do I care?
  • How can I have an influence on this?
  • What action can I take?
  • What outcome am I looking for?
Did you know that fear can be False Expectations Appearing Real?  Can you let your fear go?  Can you redirect this energy into a more positive direction?

Each day you get a fresh start to decide how you want to approach life and your interactions with those around you.  How do you want to behave today? 

Do you have the knowledge in your head and the belief in your heart that you can make a difference?  You absolutely can.  One person, one interaction at a time.
Want to make changes but need some help?  If you would like help working through your challenges, driving your individual or business changes, drop me a line.  I’d love to help you either change yourself, change your business, or drive your own Change Revolution.  I can provide individual coaching and support as well as spearhead organizational and strategic change efforts.  After all, that is what my own personal revolution is about…driving positive changes in the world around me.   One person, one project at a time. 

Is this a failure or a success?

First a shout out of Thanks to Jim Estill and John Wolforth for taking the time to hit the Comment button and share their thoughts on What Might Happen?  I Wonder…  last month.   This pondering continues on with ideas shared in that last post.  You can either blame it on John or thank him if you choose – this pondering a result of responding to his comment.  It got me thinking about what success looks like.

I believe that success can be a tricky thing.  It’s a moving target and always subject to interpretation.  I’ve also observed that some of the individuals who I think are wildly successful don’t always feel so successful themselves. 

I wonder how often we find ourselves measuring up short – but that is truly only in our own minds.  That we focus on the missteps and the could haves, rather than the did haves and wasn’t that great!

Let’s go to my favorite source, yes Wikipedia, for a definition.  “Success might mean, but is not limited to:

Now let’s look at their definition of failure.  “Failure refers to the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success.”

Hum, if we really think about it, we are in control here.  We define the level of social status, the objective/goal, as well as what failure looks like.  Pretty powerful.

It’s also important to remember that we all define success differently.  What does matters isn’t my defintion, but how you personally define success.     

Sometimes I think we fall in the trap of focusing on the big SUCCESS and we need to focus more on the little successes that we have all the time.  Or that we get ourselves hung up on how others define success and trying to meet their measure of success rather than our own.

I bet if we thought about it hard enough we could find a small success each and every day.  I know that this is something that I personally need to do more of – looking for those small, daily successes.  We often look at our daily failures, why not look at our daily successes? 

For today’s pondering I’d like to ask that you stop and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I think about a failure today?
  • Did I think about a success today?
  • What did I think about this last week?
  • How do I define success?
  • Am I focusing on big SUCCESS?
  • What success(es) did I have today?
  • What success(es) did I have this last week?
  • How might I feel differently if every time I thought of a failure, I stop to also think of a success?

You are the only one that can define success for yourself.  You are in the driver’s seat.  Sometimes success might be about walking away from an opportunity.  Jonathan Field’s recent article Kill It to Build It reminded me of this earlier today.  Jonathan had a business idea but decided to “kill it” as it took him off what he viewed as his longer term path. 

The comments on his post and reactions were quite interesting.  While most were supportive, it was interesting to note the mix of judgmental and non-judgmental.  It made me stop to ponder how he felt after reading all the comments.  If it made him question himself?  I wondered how often we do this to others?

I think of life a both a juggling act and a tightrope walk.  We are trying to find that balance between short-term and long-term personal, professional, and family goals.  Often at the same time.  Additionally we move from one rope to another so maybe we should add in that areal act where we have to also have faith to let go of one bar and trust the other will be there to grab onto.  No wonder it’s often hard to feel a sense of achievement!

I think that maybe we need to adjust that success measure and realize that it’s not whether you dropped a ball or two, but rather you kept the other three, five, or seven in the air.  Not that you fell off the rope, but rather you climbed back up and got moving again.  It’s not that you missed catching the other bar, but rather you had the courage to let go of the first one.  Each and every one of these is a success.

Remember, you define both success and failure for yourself.  It’s something that I too need to remind myself on a regular basis.  I’ve found that there is no tougher judge of what I have done than myself.  Maybe it’s time to cut myself some slack or better yet, reframe how I measure success.  Will you join me?  

May you all be happy, healthy, and find success on whatever path you choose to take in life.   Remember, the power is yours.

What Might You Find if You Stopped to Look? I see a squirrel in the clouds. Did you even notice their shape or did you focus on the path of the dock?

Do you ever stop and think about what you wrote, what you read, how you acted?  If so, do you do so for more than a moment or two?  

No, I’m not talking about that self-critiquing that we can get into – the “what if’s”, “if only’s”, “if I hadn’t” analysis where we might beat ourselves up.  Many of us (myself included) need to do less of that.  Rather, that moment of stepping back from ourselves to look at ourselves and situations from a different viewpoint. 

To think about what we want, how we feel, what alternatives are out there?   That point where we pause, consider, ponder.  That place where we go to say “I wonder” or “hum, what if” or we play with ideas?

Too often we are busy, busy, busy moving forward.  Got to keep moving or I’ll get passed by.  That’s what we tell ourselves.  
You might have been hearing lately that we should stop and make time for strategic planning activities.   Real strategic planning has been getting short changed in our quest for speed – if you haven’t, take note of this advice now.  If you need to, schedule time on your calendar to stop and do some.  
That being said, I believe we need to stop and make time for even more than that.  We need to stop and reflect.  To stop and ponder.  To give our busy minds downtime to process.  Providing a break in the pressure often leads to insights and creative spurts. 
As I was responding to a blog by Sally Hogshead earlier today I found myself in that observational frame of mind, the one that I move into when I’m pondering something.  An outside observers view.  I realized that it’s a state that I move into more frequently than most people do.  One might say that it is the root of my own blogs.  I don’t write about:
  • 7 insights for marketing success
  • advice for the needy
  • 12 steps to getting attention
  • how I succeeded and you can too
Ok, well maybe I do a bit of the last.  The key question is succeeded in what?  I can, and likely do define success quite differently than you do.
What do I do in my blogs?  I ask you to reflect.  To think.  To ponder and find insights.  I’m successful if I’ve made you think, at least according to my definition of success for our time here together. 
Have you noticed that every blog/article/post I have write has embedded questions?
Sure, I give you some information, sometimes a story, but I ask you to think for yourself, do some analysis, do some reflection.  To draw your own conclusions. 
Why?  Because I’ve come to understand that one facet of my Life’s Work or Life Goal/Purpose is to get people to think more.  To raise their self-awareness.  To help people become more authentic.  But how can you do this if you don’t take the time to stop and pause long enough to think?
Are you allocating your time to the right things?  The things you need – not just want, that have longer term value.  The things that relate to your Life, your Life’s work, what you want out of Life.  The Life that passes you by when you are too busy to notice.  Or, are you rushing along so fast, working working working, that you don’t even know what you want from Life? 
What is it that you want from Life?  Do you know?  I wonder…
At this point, I’m wondering why that commercial with the tag line of “what’s in your wallet” (Captial One maybe?) keeps running through my mind.  I’ve heard that phrase in my head at least four times as I’ve typed this.  Maybe it’s because I’m wondering about what’s in your mind.  So,
  • What is on your mind? 
  • Have you stopped to think and reflect lately? 
  • Have you stopped to think about what you want in Life?
  • What do you really want from your Whole Life, not just your Work Life? 

I wonder what you might find out if you did.

I’d like to ask you to stop with me today.  To look at yourself from a different viewpoint.  To think about what you want and how you feel?  To pause, consider, ponder.  To ask yourself “I wonder” or “hum, what if” and played with ideas instead of just taking action.

In closing, I wanted to share something I saved from my friend Jim Estill’s blog.  I think he got it from a book on Reflection, but don’t quote me on that… 

  • “It was said that Thomas Edison would often take his fishing rod, sit at the end of the pier, cast away, and then just sit there for hours.  However, he would never put any bait on his hook.  He didn’t really want to catch any fish.  What he wanted to do was to sit there uninterrupted, just reflecting on the issues of the day, on his work, or on whatever else came into his mind.  He knew that if he looked as if he were fishing, no one would bother him, so he could reflect uninterrupted.  All he really wanted to do was catch ideas.” 

So now I’m wondering…

  • How do you define success?
  • What do want to do or accomplish in Life?
  • What do you get from these ponderings of mine?  Do they actual provoke your thinking?

Will you share your thoughts?  It doesn’t take much, simply click on the word Comments – down there on the right.  Type in that text box and hit that Submit button.  I’d love to hear from you.

Guiding Principles

- Think Holistically
- Seek the Root Causes
- Respect the Individual
- Demonstrate Accountability
- Collaborate with Clients
- Work with Integrity, Always
- Relate to the Business Strategy
- Ensure Alignment
- Demonstrate Responsibility
- Transfer Skills

Thoughts and Quotes