Categories
Coaching

Dancing Through Life

Those who don’t try, never look foolish.

This piece of wisdom is certainly true, but will never enable you to achieve your potential.

If you coast through life you’ll live forever in your comfort zone. You won’t take the steps that you need to move into a space of learning and you won’t grow and develop.

When it’s easy, it might feel great. You are able to succeed at things you set your mind to without any effort because they are within your capabilities.

To grow, you must stretch yourself. You need to find moves that are beyond your current capabilities. Dance through them. Celebrate the successes and review your missteps.

If it’s perfect the first time, it wasn’t really a stretch. Don’t let easy get in the way of great, and make the mistakes you need to reach your full potential.

Categories
Coaching

Just try it

For those of us who are safe and secure enough to be able to reflect on the future, now is a time where you have the freedom to try things in a different way to how you might usually approach them.

It’s important to act compassionately and with empathy. Don’t get fully caught up in the place you are coming from, be considerate of who else you are working with and their current situation.

In these times, a lot of your old rules of thumb may not hold true. Contacts may be more amenable or open to opportunities. Others may be closed down and unable to act. A digital solution might now be feasible when it wasn’t before. It might be the right time to offer something for free, or to charge quite differently to how you may have done so in the past.

With this uncertainty, it’s difficult to predict an outcome. The best thing to do is to find something to try, and to learn from. If you want to achieve, then try the simplest possible thing. You’ll discover something that takes you a step closer to success, you’ll have learnt something valuable and you’ll have started on your path towards lasting change.

If you want to figure out the simplest possible thing for you to do, then get in contact and we’ll discover it together.

Categories
Book Review Leadership

Drive

Daniel Pink’s Drive is a short and punchy introduction to the truth of motivation. It cuts through the traditional ideas of ‘carrot and stick’, to look at the intrinsic factors that encourage us to do a great job.

If we’re leading or coaching people, then the thoughts outlined in Drive are a really strong way to open them up to the best chances to grow, achieve and succeed in their endeavours.

This is most especially important with the changing nature of work. As we move away from the algorithmic world of the 20th century, where output and effort were easy to measure, and into the heuristic world of the creative modern workplace, then we must change our approach. When the outcomes you strive for are not easily linked to the outputs, then rewarding people becomes a more complex problem.

Firstly, we must provide the environment for the intrinsic drive to come to the fore. So long as people have their basic needs met, and can see that they are compensated fairly when compared to others, then we can unlock their true potential.

The three strands that form this motivation are Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose.

Autonomy is the power to choose your own goals, to determine how you will achieve them and to make commitments on your own terms. In a commercial context, they must of course be aligned to the needs and goals of the organisation, but beyond that the more power of choice you can give, the better the outcomes will be.

Mastery is the recognition that the journey is often the valuable thing, rather than the final reward. It’s the idea that the goal medal is recognition for great achievement, rather than the goal itself. In seeking mastery you are always looking to learn and improve, and to get better at your craft.

Purpose is the knowledge that your efforts are building towards something greater, whether that’s an endeavour to build something great, or to create a positive change for the future.

If you can give these three things to a group, then they will become engaged, effective and solve problems far beyond their apparent capacity. As leaders, it’s our role to find ways to extend access to these opportunities. As coaches, we might encourage our coachee to find these opportunities themselves.

In the book, we are given a range of techniques to try for ourselves and our organisations, and some tools to check-in on how we are doing. You can pickup the ideas of Drive in a very short period of time, and then return to the resources again and again as you develop your own approach. It gives you a list of over a dozen books for further reading, with brief summaries of each. This is a great springboard for continued learning.

Very much recommended, a great read and an excellent investment of your time.

Categories
Coaching

Intro to Coaching

I’ve recently been giving an “Intro to Coaching” workshop to current and aspiring People Managers. It’s a great way to focus down on what’s really important, and to figure out ways of sharing that with people in a compelling and engaging way.

I start off by breaking down some of the theory of coaching for performance, what it is, and also what it isn’t. Then we move on to some tools and techniques that you can apply in a coaching situation. Finally, we look at how you can apply them in the management context, in the few minutes here and there which are often all we have to spare in the busy day-to-day.

This is a forty-five minute blast of content, it sets some groundwork and gives ideas for future practice.

For the rest of the workshop, we break into small groups and practice applying the techniques and tools we’ve just learnt. This practical session is by far the most valuable time. Once you have the tools, then using them is the only way to get good. This is as true of coaching as anything else.

In the practical session, we have a coach and a coachee, and a supervisor watching to provide feedback. After a ten minute session, the supervisor provides feedback and the coach reflects on what went well and what could’ve gone better. Once this is done, the group swap roles and go again.

I’ve had great feedback from a wide range of people, from those who’ve benefited from a concentrated refresher, to those who’ve encountered these ideas formally for the first time and to managers who have never reflected on their approaches before, and learnt so much in the process.

For me, sharing these approaches with more people is incredibly rewarding. It sharpens my own thinking and practice, whilst giving so many people a great grounding in the world of coaching and a springboard to the start of their journey.