Blog

2017

Happy New Year!

Many of you will be reading this on your first day back at work after a break for Christmas and the New Year. It’s a time for New Year’s resolutions and other plans and I would like to suggest that you add “coaching people” to your list if it’s not already part and parcel of what you do. We can see coaching as a task or an event; something that needs to be planned and scheduled. There is nothing inherently wrong with this and much good coaching takes place in just this sort of context but to limit coaching to

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A very merry Christmas to you all

A very merry Christmas to you all!

To all our clients, friends and colleagues This year we have decided once again not to send out Christmas cards. We will donate what we would have spent to our chosen charity the Grace House Children’s Hospice appeal. I’ll take this opportunity to thank you all for your ongoing support and interest and I hope that 2017 provides opportunities for us to work together and do good things. I wish you and your families all the very best for Christmas and the New Year. Matt

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Internal Interference – A cause of yet more problems

Internal Interference – A cause of yet more problems

A typical list of sources of internal interference would likely include the following: Previous negative experience Negative expectations Negative self-talk Fear of failure Previous negative experience My first assignment as an independent consultant was a disaster. I was asked to facilitate some sales training for a group of sales managers from a major airline. I misjudged the ability of the group and was ill-prepared to answer their questions. I got my timings all wrong and my sessions overran leaving my co-facilitator some serious remedial work to rescue the project. Some months later I found myself assigned to a similar project.

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External Interference and the problems it causes in coaching

External Interference and the problems it causes in coaching

In my last post I introduced Tim Gallwey’s simple equation for coaching for performance: POTENTIAL  = Potential – Interference Previous posts have dealt with definitions for potential and performance so let’s now turn our sights on interference. Let’s talk firstly about what I call external interference. By this I mean the things that go on around us at work which may make it difficult for us to work near to our potential. Once again we’ll refer firstly to a typical list of such things produced by the many people I have asked to consider them: Management Restrictive policies and procedures

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What does Coaching for Performance actually mean?

What does Coaching for Performance actually mean?

In my last few posts I’ve suggested our job as coaching managers is to convert as much potential as possible into performance, but of course performance means different things to different people. An actor will have a different view to an athlete and a team leader may have a different view to a team member when it comes to defining performance. Work based performance In the world of work it seems that performance usually amounts to being about one of five things: Increasing revenue – sales or other income streams Providing an excellent service Reducing cost Increasing or maintaining quality

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Self-fulfilling prophecies and why they matter when coaching

Self-fulfilling prophecies and why they matter when coaching

Researchers refer to three kinds of self-fulfilling prophecy, one of which creates a negative result. The Galatea effect The Galatea effect refers to self-belief, the idea that if you believe you can succeed you will. High-performers in any field and blessed with strong self-belief. They trust themselves to succeed, take an optimistic view of most situations and see ‘failures’ as learning opportunities. When coaching someone over the long term you’ll almost certainly want to help people access this state of mind, but it may take some time and patience if they’re carrying a lot of negative baggage. In which case

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A little bit more X and Y

A little bit more X and Y

I have written before about Douglas McGregor and his Theory X and Theory Y suppositions about management behaviour. (See My Coaching Philosophy) According to McGregor, Theory X Managers take the view that people: essentially dislike work and will avoid it all together if possible are motivated only by money or fear need discipline and constant supervision can’t be trusted avoid responsibility lack loyalty and commitment lack creativity – accept in finding ways to avoid work! Let’s just stop for a moment and consider how a manager would treat people if she held this view. I think it’s likely she would:

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What percentage of people's potential do you see at work?

What percentage of people’s potential do you see at work?

I have asked this question dozens of times at seminars and training courses and have yet to get an answer of 100% or even close.  Most responses come in the 30% – 60% range suggesting that there’s a lot of ability out there that remains untapped. That’s a pretty strong business case for having effective coaching at work I would suggest. After all, you pay for 100% potential, but how much do you actually get? But how do people even form a view? On what do we base our estimates? Asked to justify their answer people will point to a

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Coaching is an idea whose time has come

Coaching is an idea whose time has come

The challenges have never been greater for anyone who must achieve results through people. Ferocious change, flatter structures and new technologies have all conspired to render old style leadership by command totally irrelevant. If we continue to attempt to solve 21st Century problems with 19th century solutions, the chances of failure are high. Organisations are finding that the tired old rhetoric of ‘people are our greatest asset’ really is true. Install a new piece of equipment or IT system and your rivals can have the same in place by the following month. Secure some capital and you’ll likely find that

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How I discovered the joy of coachin

How I discovered the joy of coaching

I am obsessed with work. I realise in making this claim that I risk alienating those followers who have worked long and hard to bring a little balance into their own working lives and those of their colleagues, so let me qualify the statement. I am not obsessed with working. I believe that for the most part people spend too many of their waking hours in factories, shops and offices and that many of these hours are not really productive. There is a difference between business and busyness. Throughout Europe and perhaps the UK in particular, this is further exacerbated

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Successful Coaching

Was your coaching a success?

Warning! Coaching is about people not numbers. You will never be able to prove beyond all doubt that coaching is the sole cause of any performance improvement. To try to do so will prove exhausting and you are better off spending your energy on coaching more people. Notwithstanding the above you may want – or be asked – to show that your coaching has been successful. This short section will provide some basic pointers and you can then do further research if you wish. The ultimate type of evaluation is known as ‘Return on Investment’. Here we are trying to

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Cultural considerations in coaching

Cultural considerations in coaching

I was once running some training in Kenya for Kenyans. I became exasperated that getting the delegates to come back to the training room after coffee breaks and lunch was like an exercise in herding cats! Some would wander back into the room and then wander out again to speak to someone else, others would be on their mobiles and seemingly quite reluctant to finish those conversations. When I stopped to think about it I realized that I was experiencing a cultural difference. My Anglo Saxon culture had taught me to operate through time. In other words to be always

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