One of my coaching clients recently shared some CDs based on this question. He provoked me. And I loved it.
Take this quiz:
1. I watch the evening news (despite its focus on violence and deprivation)
2. I listen to negative feedback from customers more than positive feedback
3. I regularly focus on the positive qualities of my life, and state them as choices
4. I agree that over 70% of people are motivated by fear
Now pause. And notice what you are feeling or thinking…
Who/What do you listen to?
If you listen to negative messages you will see the negatives.
If you are reading this blog, then you probably want to see positive results.
Here are three favorite resources: Martin Seligman’s research into Learned Optimism assures us that those who learn to be optimistic can have tremendous health and professional benefits. And Marcus Buckingham’s research at the Gallup foundation in Significant Strengths found that individual and team success is a result of intentional focus on your strengths.
In 2008 I attended a 3-day coach certification program lead by iPEC in Chicago. The gist of the content was to introduce the relationship between anabolic energy (positive, constructive, healing and growth-oriented) and catabolic energy (draining, destructive, potentially toxic.)
We have choices: to live anabolically or catabolically.
And we all know that who we listen to effects how we think/act. Examples abound, from talk radio to war-based propaganda to marketing.
A better question may be: Who/What do you CHOOSE to listen to?
Some people wake up and intentionally:
- spend 30+ minutes in yoga, or regular exercise
- spend 10+ minutes in prayer, or reading uplifting material such as “Success” magazine
- spend 20+ minutes writing expressions of gratitude in a journal, or love letters to family, or paint a gift
Throughout the day some people intentionally:
- begin every conversation by asking, “Is this a good time for us to talk?”
- end every conversation with a specific, genuine compliment
- maintain a list of the 5+ daily calls to friends or positive people that they make
- create a better future by focusing on HOW to make someone feel better, be more productive, own a success, etc
So, who/what are you CHOOSING to listen to?
This morning one of my coaching clients was struggling with 1) a new manager, 2) a new role, 3) a former manager who expected him to continue doing the old work, 4) former colleagues who were not aware that his billable hours were now charged to a different business line. He was distracted.
We all get distracted. And the results are evident in 1) sloppy or inadequate work, 2) poor self care, diet, health, exercise, etc…
So what do you do to make smart decisions?
The Importance Screen is a great tool for sifting through choices. Just as you sift sand through a screen before creating a cement foundation, this screen is a simple way to gain clarity.
The team at Stephen Covey’s “Five Disciplines of Execution” developed this screen: Importance Screen v2.0
You can use it as a template and design your own.
1. Start by listing the individual and team goals that you think are important… get it “out of your head and onto the paper.”
2. Note that some goals have a net negative effect (-1) and assign a number to each goal in each column, then add them
3. Trust your “gut instinct” so that it “trumps the data.” We buy on emotion. And we rationalize using techniques such as this Importance Screen. Let it be predictive. Not descriptive. Use it to develop your 90-day plan, rather than explain your past 90 days.
4. Tweak these headings to suit your scenario right now.
Oh, my client? He stated that one takeaway from our session is that he will complete this Importance Screen within 48 hours, send a copy to me for review, then send a copy to his new boss when developing his 90-day plan. If he needs to use it as a reference when talking with his former manager, then he will have this tool, “in his back pocket.”
So, how might you use this Importance Screen?
And if you have shared this Importance Screen with others, please comment below on how you have done so…
There are 2 kinds of coaches in the marketplace. Those who 1) work based on value and those who 2) work based on hourly transactions.
(And perhaps a third kind, who are aspiring coaches or underemployed.)
The value of performance based coaching is based on transformation. Too many people, such as HR professionals, regard coaching as a transactional event. Yet coaching cannot be billed hourly. That is unethical. It leads to inflated billing, inaccurate expectations, or time waste. Can you imagine how long a transactional coach might have to “work with you?” It may be years! Instead, if the coaches goal is to help someone change beliefs or behaviors, then the coach should be paid based on results. The value is not time spent, or wasted. The value is results. I do not understand why any professional would suggest billing hourly.
Instead, we use internal champions to 1) show the value of coaching, 2) sell the value of coaching.
Here is a representative dialog thread. It led to a meeting with the next buying agent, and a 12 month engagement.
Thanks. I am not suggesting it’s not fair & know that Lou has direct experience in this sort of thing. Just instincts, and they may surprise me. I may continue with coaching even if they don’t fund the shadowing. I’ll follow-up with you after I can get in touch with Lou.
From: Doug Gray [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: RE: next steps: performance based coaching
Good morning (Champion),
Welcome back from your well-deserved spa time.
1. There is nothing more important than driving employee engagement/ response. What gets tolerated causes emotional responses and delay. You have an urgent need.
2. This proposal reflects a fraction of your value to the company. Assuming a 10:1 ROI, these numbers are more than fair.
3. I remain glad to speak to Lou, or anyone at any time.
Respectfully, Doug Gray, PCC
To: Doug Gray
Subject: RE: next steps: performance based coaching
Sorry Doug – I didn’t get a reply from Lou on the message I sent him before vacation. (I kind of have a problem with that). Have 1:1 with him tomorrow, but to be honest, not sure they will fund this expense.
As we discussed on Tuesday, September 6, here is a proposal with 3 options. We have an opportunity here to create significant change/ impact…
We have tentatively set aside Tuesday, October 4 as the first day to meet/ observe your team in Atlanta. Please let me know which option you would like, by Friday Sept 23, so that I can submit an invoice.
(In the interim I certainly hope that you can enjoy your well deserved vacation time!)
I look forward to helping you apply/extend your leadership skills to your team.
Here are at least 2 questions for you:
1. What does your team need?
2. And how are you being a champion?
Naturally, I urge you to contact me ASAP so that we can discuss your needs.
I have been thinking about our conversation all day and have some initial thoughts,
1. Change starts with the overwhelming BELIEF that you DESERVE a better life/ desired change.
2. That idea may sound cyclical, or odd, but it is overwhelming to me at times. And I see it in the most difficult coaching clients too. It requires you to adopt some beliefs. And frankly, that is the hardest step.
3. IMHO, many people were raised to believe many limiting beliefs about money, wealth, deserving a rewarding career, health, you name it. My family of origin caused me to change many beliefs. I have struggled. My coaching clients struggle. You may not struggle, I understand.
4. As a gift, I have just ordered you a book that has helped me a lot. And I enjoy giving it to many clients. It is called “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind”, by Harv Eker. He claims that he can predict anyone’s financial or career future after 2-3 minutes of conversation. His experience is that we all have financial blueprints about wealth and opportunity and success.
5. In graduate school I learned how these can be re-programmed. Thankfully. The brain is elastic. It cannot separate “I am stating that I deserve a new career” from “I deserve a new career.”
6. So, a coaching question to explore may be, “What would it take for me to BELIEVE that I DESERVE a better life?”
7. Coaches help people change. There are three well-proven steps that help all of us move from 1) awareness to 2) constructive action, to 3) individual and team accountability. Our beliefs are a choice. I have changed. You can change too.
Here are some options for your consideration. I am willing to:
1. Talk daily for 30 minutes as you define your passions and next career
2. Meet weekly directly, or over Skype, or on the phone, to do the same
3. Provide best of class articles on career search, etc,
4. Provide assessments to help you assess your strengths and consider next steps
5. Steer you toward digital resources, essential networks
6. Share the above with your wife
7. Be a coach at times
8. Be a friend at times
9. Be uninvolved at times
10. Something else/ any combination of the above.
So, what would you like to do next?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are commonly used metrics for a business. You may use quarterly returns, cash flow, % new sales, #of clients retained in your daily life. Accountants and MBAs are taught to master these. As if they were gospel.
But they are not gospel. They are a choice.
What if we these KPIs were only metric among several?
1. Posted on the door of my home office are two examples of alternate KPIs. One is a list of financial metrics by month (e.g. revenue, expenses, investments, monthly gross, bank balance, and % of 12 month goal.) That visual keeps me focused on business. And it teaches our high-school aged daughters something about business. The second list is called “Passionate Actions.” These are the reasons why I work. Listed monthly are the family trips, personal trips, adventures, life decisions in the past and in the future. I update both lists quarterly, or so. Together, these KPIs keep me focused on 1) the top line, 2) bottom line, and 3) key lines.
2. According to recent articles in Fast Company and the TED community online, there is a new KPI being adopted in several countries in Northern Europe. They measure Happiness. As a social construct. And as a material currency. Details are at http://blog.ted.com/2006/09/26/happiness_exper/ Can you imagine using a Happiness Quotient, HQ, as a measure of your personal success? Makes me wonder if we are missing this KPI in America. The health and social benefits of happiness as a choice are well documented. The alternatives are even better documented (e.g. depression, violence, poor health and diet…)
3. Alienation. Anomie. Social Isolation. These are not commonly discussed points at your local breakfast Rotary Club, or while watching your kids play soccer. But these are social facts in America. Especially for men, who are being replaced by women throughout every business segment in America. These people may be too sad to talk. They do not easily build relationships. So, perhaps we need to adopt radical new KPIs such as “The number of direct conversations with people per day. The quality of conversation per day. The number of hours helping others per day.” Relationships define business success, and psychological health. We know that those who live longest have a strong social network. Hmmm… solopreneurs are not the only ones who need to guarantee social contacts. Look at any coffeeshop or bookstore or library for examples of lonely people. Watch how many fathers are at school bus stops, or PTA meetings. Scan any online dating company. Did you know that you can now “Rent-a-Grandma” to watch your children? Makes me wonder what would happen if we were to create KPIs around constructive social relationships.
Like many readers, I have shelves of books on Success. I regularly send subscriptions of Success magazine to my most engaged coaching clients. Creating “success” is a work in progress, and the metrics define the outcome.
What if we were to adopt a new view of KPIs?