Mentoring, Coaching, and the Space Between

A recent conversation with a young first-time CEO about executive coaching made me realize that there is still a lot of confusion out there about what coaching is and isn’t. As the leader was trying to answer my question, “What are you hoping coaching will provide you?” His response prompted me to say, “Oh, you’re looking for a mentor.” He replied, “What’s the difference?” What is a Mentor? A mentor is a trusted advisor who shares advice and expertise with someone with less experience in a particular area. The mentor and mentee share a similar journey; one is farther down

Victims react. Leaders respond. Know the difference.

In his book, Triggers, Marshall Goldsmith says a trigger is any stimulus that influences our behavior. Every day at work things can happen that will trigger an intense emotional reaction in us. When we are triggered we have an emotional impulse. As leaders, we cannot afford to act on every impulse. We cannot react. We must respond. There’s a big difference. As leaders responsible for engaging others and leading real change, we must respond to each situation, including those in which we experience an intense trigger, with careful thinking and effective communication. Responding versus reacting means that we feel fully

Hope for Unity, Not Uniformity

There’s a good chance you work for an organization that talks about culture by advertising “ONE  _______ (Fill in Org Name Here).” The goal is unity. Our leaders want us to remember we’re on the same team and to work across function and region. Sometimes, when the call to unity is combined with reminders about shared processes and practices, the call to unity morphs into a demand for uniformity of behavior. That’s a mistake. It may be tempting to want everyone to follow the same process in the same way; it’s just not realistic. Unity does not come about because

What’s good for business? Self-awareness.

Remember the old western movies when the stagecoach driver gets shot and he drops the reins and the horses are galloping wildly toward the edge of the cliff? Someone has to grab the reins to regain control of the horses, slow the stagecoach, and avert catastrophe! Who’s driving your stagecoach? How fast are you going? Are you heading toward a cliff? As we rush headlong into our days we may miss the reality that many of us are doing more at the cost of being less. In the hustle and bustle, we can forget that we are all leaving a legacy. What

Do you dare to lead?

Ultra (beyond usual and ordinary) leadership is the willingness to push toward new horizons. Combine that desire in a leader with the skills to get people to engage and contribute their best, and opportunities abound. Leadership of this type is an heroic act in that it represents a life-long undertaking of a daily experience of pushing past our own limits and the limits presented by the systems in which we work. Every manager has an opportunity to exhibit ultra leadership. Many do not take that opportunity. Author Joseph Campbell wrote, “The hero’s journey is one of the universal patterns through

3 Choices to Decide 2017

We’ve reached the edge and edges are choice points. An edge is the outside limit where something begins or ends. Some are real. Some are imagined. Some are self-imposed. This year-end transition point is an edge. What will the new year bring? It will definitely bring change. In times of change it helps to pause, breathe, and focus on what we control and what we don’t. We are always at the edge and we are always at a choice point. In every moment we face three choices – stay still, go backward, or go forward. Choices one and two keep

Meeting each moment is as easy as A, A, A.

The philosopher Martin Buber said, All real living is meeting. All leading is meeting as well. Meeting the moment. Meeting the person. Leadership is about bringing our best response to each moment and to each encounter with another person. Its about thinking more carefully, feeling more fully, and communicating more effectively. In order to create a positive business result or develop a persons or teams capacity to contribute. We designed our A3 model (Aim, Align, Act) to aid leaders in meeting each moment, each challenge and opportunity, and each person they engage in order to create alignment, build individual capacity

QWERTY Leadership

Ever wonder why your keyboard is configured the way it is? One version of the typewriter origin story is that the letters on the keyboard were scrambled to slow down typists. The earliest typewriters were prone to jamming when used at high speeds. The solution – scramble the letters to slow down the typists who were breaking the machines by typing so fast. The inventor of the QWERTY keyboard typewriter, Christopher Latham Sholes forged a deal with the Remmington company, famous for making and marketing guns. Remmington was able to mass-produce and market the QWERTY keyboard typewriters, effectively forcing all

Is Most Leadership Development Too Little, Too Late?

Based on a comprehensive survey of frontline teams and managers, the Learning and Development Roundtable, a membership program of the CEB found that “more than 50% of front-line managers would rather not manage people and that ‘informal managers’ (rather than formally-designated managers) actually do most of the day-to-day management of frontline teams.” The study also found that 60% of frontline managers underperform during their first two years in a leadership position. No one should be surprised by these numbers, nor by the evidence that they correlate directly to lower engagement and inconsistent performance that translates into lower productivity and increased costs.

(Only) 4 Reasons for Poor Performance (Ever)

No one sets out to fail. No child sets out to fail in school. No employee is intentionally checked out and underperforming at work. Something causes that behavior. If kids aren’t performing in school, there are three possible reasons: a learning disability, an attention deficit, or an emotional disturbance. Find out which one it is and you can help that student learn. If someone isn’t performing at work, there are only four possible reasons ever. If you’re a leader, then finding out which one it is and helping the person to address it is your job. Your first thought shouldn’t