Is your coach fully committed?

In talking with new clients their number one complaint about previous consultants is that they feel neglected.  They feel their coach is not committed to them and that they have not been able to establish that one on one trust that they seek.  Coaching is a privilege and we do not take it lightly here at MCDA.

Coaching is a focused two-way communication, a meeting of equals challenging assumptions and listening intently to each other.  Coaching happens in both formal and informal conversations, short or long, scheduled or unscheduled.

A coaching conversation is not merely a chat, a mere exchange of opinions or advice. It is not where people trade rumors, gossip, play political games, or network.  A coaching conversation is one where you intend to listen carefully, understand needs, and fully commit to help people succeed. People should come away from the conversation inspired, empowered, engaged, and equipped with the necessary mindset and tools to be better and do better.

Coaching is a special opportunity. It involves the extension of trust from one person to another at levels and in ways rarely seen in other areas of personal and organizational life.

Being someone’s coach is both an honor and a responsibility. It balances both individual advocacy and confidentiality with honest and transparent inquiry.

Coaches are not there to consult, advise, or tell others what to do, but rather to help them on a road of insight and discovery by using a series of powerful coaching questions.

Do you have that employee that you just want to scream at? Are you frustrated?

I went home last night just pissed off at the world.  I have an employee that is under performing, and causing a lot of headaches in the office.  Employees are growing frustrated, I am growing frustrated, so now what?  I had to sit back and remove myself as the leader of the organization and really think about how I would tell a client to handle the situation.  I woke up at 4AM this morning with a blog idea…so here we go.

Are you frustrated with an employee or multiple employees?  Fire them, write them up, scream at them, demoralize them and see if that helps your business.  The problem may be you, not them.  What you thought I was going to automatically be on your side as a leader?  Come on now.

You need to remember that employees are your business, and keeping them motivated has a direct reflection to your own bottom line.  It is harder to do nowadays.  Most surveys are showing that 70%+ of employees claim to be disengaged at work.

But, as humans, we get fed up with the people working for us.  We expect them to have the same drive and energy for our business as we do, even though they don’t own the business.  And we may despair that we can’t control them, “fix” them or at least mold them into something closer to what we want.

Don’t despair.  Often, it is the owner, not the worker, who is the biggest problem, and a few personal changes can go a long way toward improving the staff morale and their engagement – and keep you from getting frustrated by the people you manage.

Here are a few ideas, take a look and see what you think.

Identify what’s most important.
Often when managers find themselves frustrated with employees, they begin to focus on small things rather than what really needs to be accomplished. While small things can become big problems, it’s important for business leaders to be clear with themselves about big-picture goals. Take an employee who is chronically late. You might feel that needs to be addressed, because you believe in punctuality. Now say that same employee is also your top salesperson. Should you work about the clock, when clearly the job results are helping you?  This is a slippery slope because it could also send the wrong message to other employees, so beware.

Set expectations.
So many managers I coach express frustration over what their employees “lack.” But, when I ask them whether they themselves have set expectations for their workers, they almost always admit they have not. You can’t expect your employees to be mind-readers (I am guilty of this) While it’s incumbent upon employees to communicate with each other and with managers, it’s equally important for managers and business owners to set measurable expectations and clearly communicate them to employees.

Hold yourself and your employees accountable.
Lack of accountability creates bad habits and mediocrity. If employees are not meeting expectations that have been clearly defined, it’s imperative to address that immediately. If you put it off, you run several risks. The employee’s habit might be harder to break later. You will create a bad office morale situation by letting one person “get away” with something. And you can cause mutual resentment that can be toxic, particularly for a small business. What’s more, you have to lead by example. Admit your mistakes and hold yourself accountable. True leaders are not afraid to admit when they’re wrong and that organically commands respect.  I have to thank my mentor Mr. Suheimat for teaching me this skill very early on in my career.

Be more open with feedback.
Employers and managers commonly use annual reviews as the only forum for providing feedback to subordinates. Yet, formal yearly reviews are just that — a formality. The most productive feedback to employees is more organic and ongoing, where a job well-done is acknowledged and weak performance is addressed in real time. Again, this is a chance to lead by example by asking for feedback from your own employees. Few managers think that it’s a good idea to solicit ongoing feedback from workers for fear it can break down the structured organizational hierarchy. However, managers have the ability to set the tone of how feedback is offered and received. Implementing a common practice where feedback is offered in a professional manner and for the sole purpose of increasing productivity for optimal results instantly raises the level of internal communication and mutual respect.  I would also recommend that you set up 121 meetings with your first level managers.  This is a great forum to both provide and receive feedback.

The next time you feel yourself getting frustrated or downright pissed the F off…take a deep breath and reflect on a couple of these ideas.  Shoot me a note with what worked for you and what didn’t


Rejected! Do you see rejection as a gift?

You have been rejected, damn, life is over!  WRONG.

What would life be like if you could truly believe that rejection is a gift?  It would dramatically improve your lifestyle and success.  Why you ask?  Because rejection forces us all to see what we are doing wrong and make an adjustment to get a better result.

Use rejection as a measuring stick.  It is merely a signal that our efforts are falling short of the desired outcome.  If we can program our minds to think this way, we will eliminate all of the emotional nonsense that stops us dead in our tracks.  Misplaced emotion is simply allowing assumptions, most of which are false, to run our lives and force us to make decisions based on wrong information.  Ugh.

When people reject us, they are not saying anything personal so don’t take it that way.  All they are saying is the value proposition you are putting forth is not worthy of their taking a risk to say yes, at this particular moment in time.  So they opt to say the answer of NO RISK, “NO”.

Do not take this personally, clear your mind and evaluate the situation and empathize with the person you are trying to influence to understand what they are looking for.  Then simply re-evaluate your message and look at ways for enhancing the power of it so that you can transform that NO into a YES!

Yes, it really is that simple to overcome a rejection and turn it into a positive experience. But only if you are willing to look at rejection as a gift.

Share an experience where you have faced rejection, re-evaluated the situation and turned a NO to a YES!

The battle between fear and motivation

Has fear ever gotten the best of your motivation? When this happens it can be very frustrating and disappointing. No motivation means little or no action. The end result is likely to be that another goal falls by the wayside.

No matter how much you want to achieve your goal the lack of motivation will eventually cause you to lose your focus. This is especially true of epic goals that require consistent effort over an extended period of time.

The battle between motivation and fear

You don’t have to allow fear to hinder your actions, undermine your motivation, or derail your goals!  You see, fear and motivation have something in common. They are both energy. So, with a simple shift in perspective, you can transform the fear energy into courage, motivation and optimism. Then you can use that positive energy to your advantage.

When your trying to achieve a major goal it can be very easy to feel like you are not making any progress, no matter how hard you try. Focusing on the finish line in the middle of a complex process can be discouraging. Then the fear that you may be putting out all this time and effort becomes fear of failure and motivation goes out the window. So, how do you change that fear energy into motivation and enthusiasm?

5 life skills for recapturing your motivation

1. Change your focus. The first thing you want to change is how you analyze your progress. Instead of thinking how far you still need to go, look at how far you’ve already come. From that new perspective, it is easy to see that yes, you are indeed making progress. Once you see how far you’ve actually come, your fear of failure will seem unfounded.

2. Divide and conquer. The next step is to figure out what the significant milestone are on the journey toward the accomplishment of your epic goal. Each of these milestones represents significant progress and reaching them will build your motivation and further dispel your fears.

3. Celebrate your victories. As you successfully complete each milestone, celebrate your victory as if you have just completed a very significant goal, because you have. By focusing on these smaller, more manageable, secondary goals, it will be easier to acknowledge your accomplishments and maintain your motivation.

4. Approve of your accomplishments. With each success, give yourself some well deserved approval. This is a powerful way to boost your confidence and ramp up your motivation. We all thrive on approval, especially our own. Receiving approval for a job well done is both gratifying and motivating. So, be generous when it comes to acknowledging your accomplishments, even the small ones.

5. Feel the momentum building. Each milestones you reach adds to the forward momentum. In turn, the forward momentum fuels motivation. Now there is a sense of anticipation that you really will accomplish your desired outcome, and that feeling is verified every time you reach another milestone. At this point fear has been replaced with motivation and excitement, and all evidence points toward your inevitable success.

Reclaim your motivation and excitement

As you can see, there are proven ways to shift your energy from fear to motivation. By applying these five simple life skills in the right order you set the stage for sustained motivation and the successful accomplishment of your goals.

Run, Forrest, Run!!!!!!!!!!!!

As we are set to close week one of November, my brain has been fixated on the holidays.   Thanksgiving is right around the corner, Catherine’s obsession with Black Friday, Christmas, and of course the New Year.  With the new year comes the one thing that I hate the most, a New Year’s resolution.  I am working on mine for this year and I want to do something different from years past.  But, I was reflecting back to one I did a few years ago with a buddy of mine, a Half Marathon.  I have to admit as bad as it sucked running and running and running, it was a positive in the end.  So with that, I encourage all of you to think about signing up for one.

Here’s why I think you should:

  1. You will lose weight.  I know that weight loss is on many people’s mind during this time of year. It is better and more healthy than a crash diet. I have seen people lose 20-30 lbs just training for the half marathon.
  2. You will get in the best shape of your life. Even if you are not exercising right now, you still have plenty of time to get in shape before you do a half marathon.   You begin by walking. Some people chose to walk the race itself. Regardless, you will be surprised at how far you can come in just a couple of months time.
  3. You will feel more energetic and productive at work. This is a benefit I didn’t expect when I first started. I thought regular exercise—especially training for a half marathon—would sap my energy. It had exactly the opposite effect. I am never more focused and energetic than when I am in the middle of training.  Why I don’t keep training is a mystery to me.  I need to kick myself in my own ass.
  4. You will have a positive way of dealing with the stress in your life. The stress of life takes its toll. The economic realities of the past couple of years hasn’t helped most households. Training for a half marathon will give you a positive outlet for your stress. You will even sleep better. Guaranteed.
  5. You will have an incredible sense of accomplishment when you finish. There’s nothing like crossing the finish line after running 13.1 miles, especially if you have never done it. The feeling is exhilarating. You will feel rightly proud of yourself.  That is right after you feel like dying at the finish line.
  6. You will gain the confidence to take on other challenges. This is one of the main reasons I love to run. It gives me the opportunity to tackle my biggest challenge—me. If I can overcome the mental obstacles I encounter on the way to the race, I can put those skills to use in other endeavors.  I say it all of the time to the people around me, your mind is a powerful tool.  Use it to overcome the physical aspects of the task, let your mind control it, be tough and persevere.
  7. You will provide an example for others. True leadership begins with self-leadership. When you lead yourself, you inspire others to want to follow. Maybe it’s a spouse, a close neighbor, or a friend, or one of your children. They need to exercise, but they don’t have an example to follow. You can be that example.
  8. You can help raise money for a worthy cause. You can research various charities in your area that will gladly have you run on their behalf to raise money for a cause.  13.1 miles to help an underprivileged child, feed the homeless, etc.  A couple of hours out of your life to make a change in someone’s life forever….

Convinced yet? If you want to run, I suggest you look up the Jeff Galloway method. It’s specifically designed for beginners. You can find his various training schedules here. It basically involves a program of walking and running. It allows you to incrementally improve over time without killing yourself.

Gossip, Gossip, Gossip – Why can’t people just shut their trap?

Let’s face it, gossip runs rampant in just about every workplace, right?  I swear that sometimes it seems as if people literally have nothing better to do than gossip about each other.  They talk about the company, they talk about co-workers, and OF COURSE they talk about their managers.  They can frequently take something that is a partial truth and turn and twist it into a whole speculative truth.

One of my favorites is when employees gossip about the amount of money they are making, and more often than not, they do not tell the truth.  So, unhappy coworkers storm down to the Human Resources office asking about their pay and how to get more.

Let’s face it, you have to expect a certain amount of gossip; people want to know what is going on at their workplace, and they like to discuss work issues.  The key to this is to know when the gossip is out-of-hand.  You need to take action if the gossip is doing the following:

  • Disrupting the work place and the business of work
  • Hurting other employee’s feelings (We can go into a huge HR debate here but we will skip it….this time)
  • Damaging interpersonal relationships.
  • Injuring employee motivation and employee morale.

If you find yourself having to address gossip frequently, you way want to take a step back and take a hard look at your workplace to understand consistent themes in the gossip.  Is it possible that you do not share enough information with employees?  Is it possible that employees don’t trust you and that they are afraid to ask about important things?  Just something to think about before you completely fly off the handle.

If gossip hasn’t been managed in the past, the gossip tends to become a negative in your work culture.  With that being said, don’t let negative gossip go unaddressed.

Managing gossip is pretty simple, just manage it as you would any other negative behavior from an employee.  I encourage you to use a coaching approach whenever possible to help the employee improve their behavior.

But, when needed, gossip management starts with a serious talk between the employee and the manager or supervisor.  if the discussion of the negative impacts of the employee’s gossip has no effect on subsequent behavior, begin the process of progressive discipline…you know the routine – Verbal, formal write up, suspension, termination.

If you assertively deal with the gossip, you will create a work culture and an environment that does not support gossip.  It will keep more employees happy and on-board with you and your organization.

Keep this in mind…

“Who gossips to you will gossip of you.”

How to get crap done when you are a busy person

I have 2 criteria for everything I do:

1. Does it move my life forward?
2. Does it move my business forward?
Now some of you do not have your own business, but what you can relate it to is, Does it help my career go forward?
If the answer is no, it doesn’t go on my calendar.
If the answer is maybe, IT’S STILL A NO (until it’s a yes) and it doesn’t go on my calendar.`
If the answer is yes. . . well, PERFECT!  It makes the calendar…BOOM
AND. . . I don’t have a 300 line long to-do list anymore. In fact, I don’t even have a to-do list anymore. Because this concept gives me freedom to only DO what ignites a fire within.
For the past couple of years, I have been teaching this simple system to clients and colleagues and during that time, I’ve seen them go from completely lost, floundering, not knowing where the hell to start to actually completing things, having a sense of fulfillment, thriving, and (my favorite) HAPPY.
We tend to get so caught up in doing what everyone else is doing, a lesson we learned not to do way back in 1st, 2nd grade!  We get so caught up in believing everything has to be done a certain way.  That systems have to be complicated and stressful.  That we are somehow doing it all wrong.
We get caught up in thinking we have to be perfect or right.  That we cannot make mistakes.  That we have to be the superhero in every situation.
And so we go around trying to impress the hell out of everyone…and most importantly, we go around trying to impress ourselves.
Well now is as good of a time as any to say…FUCK THAT.
What I have learned is that in order to DO what ignites me up effectively, I must be ruthless with my boundaries and what I take on.  Sometimes I still fail at doing this….Sometimes I still fail at the whole damn thing!
The key, is to have a framework in place, that solid foundation. so that when something comes along, instead of being a
complete derailment in your life, it is simply a little speed bump that you can handle with grace and ease.
If you would like help or would like to learn more about this quick and very simple system, call us today and one of our consultants would be glad to assist.  You call would definitely make their list for today, helping others is what ignites all of us at MCDA.