Archives For coaching

“Expectations” is one of my favorite topics.  Today, please enjoy the lessons of expectant leaders, from leader and guest blogger Dave Bratcher. 

rearview 300x250 3 Lessons of the Expectant LeaderEver wonder why performance is not at the level you expected?

We often look through the rear view mirror to analyze our performance.  Just as the mirror suggests, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”  They are closer because the one who is responsible for setting them is the same person looking into the mirror.

Have you ever been perplexed as to why some team members are not performing at the level you expect?  What about your own level of performance?  Do you know what your boss or clients expect from you? Continue Reading…

iStock 000010331854XSmall 101x150 Mentoring Moments:  Just in Time SupportSomeone asks you to be their mentor.  You’re not sure you can commit. It’s a lot of time, and you’re already overloaded.  Plus you’ve mentored in several formal mentoring programs and it felt forced and awkward.

Formal programs can stifle a good relationship.   Even organic relationships can lose steam with too much structure.  Worse, many connections never start for fear of commitment.

Mentoring Moments

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” -Phil Collins

Instead of saying, “yes! I’ll be your mentor,” or “I’m sorry, I can’t at this time,” how about a simple, “I’d be happy to talk with you.”  Keep it natural.  Find time to connect.  Figure out why they thought of you.  Help where you can.  Connect them to others who can support.  If it makes sense to set a follow-up, do that.   Don’t get stuck mentoring past helpfulness.  Growing leaders can benefit from a series of mentoring moments with a broad spectrum of leaders.  You will learn from these moments too.

Tips for a Making Great Mentoring Moments

  • Ask lots of questions
  • Work on a specific skill
  • Pull out the answers
  • Provide information and encouragement
  • Help them ask “why?”
  • Dust them off when they fail
  • Encourage self-reflection
  • Serve as sounding board
  • Remove obstacles
  • Uncover resources
  • Create additional connections

10 Mentoring Moment Sentence Starters

  • Have you thought about…
  • What do you think would happen if…
  • Why do you think that happened?
  • Who should you involve?
  • When is the best time to do this?
  • Why are you pursuing that approach?
  • Which are the most important goals?
  • What will happen next?
  • Why does that make you so angry?
  • Who can help?

 What makes for a great mentoring moment?

See Also:
Won’t You Be My Mentor
Nemesis Mentors
Don’t Get a Mentor
Speed Mentoring

frontlinefestival 300x300 Frontline Festival April 2013:  Feedback and Coaching EditionThis month’s Frontline Festival is all about Feedback and Coaching.  I am delighted by the outpouring of submissions.  It’s an amazing line-up.

Courageous Feedback

Lolly Daskal, encourages us to take some risks in giving feedback in her post, We Need a Courageous Conversation  “In most organizations, and in our relationships, we’re all so busy being polite with everyone that we’re either not aware of the breakdown, afraid of the breakdown, or avoiding it altogether. We kid ourselves into thinking that if we don’t deal with it, maybe it will go away.  When we fail to engage and say what we honestly think and feel, our business performance will suffer. When what “goes unsaid” is not being said, our relationships will fail.”   She offers, 10 approaches, my favorite is number 7. 

Blair Glesser takes a different stance in, Honestly Speaking, encouraging us to think well about if, when, and how we should offer feedback.  She concludes, “Often the whole issue of whether or not to be honest dissipates when you tune in and connect with your heart. Your heart knows exactly what needs to be said and when, and it never is about the shallow stuff. Its feedback is always geared to bring more love to yourself, your loved ones and the world.”

Susan Mazza wins the prize for the post that made me cry (I won’t tell you why, just read it).   In The Ultimate Source of Empowerment .  “People always have a choice even if they do not see that they do.  A critical role of every leader is to bring people to choice.”

Encouraging Feedback

Dan McCarthy gives fantastic advice on encouraging feedback in, 10 Ways to Get More Feedback (and 5 Ways if You Can’t Really Handle the Truth).  The best part is the 5 Ways to protect yourself against unwanted feedback.  “I once had a VP tell me “I hate feedback”. I had to admire his honesty. Actually, a lot of us do, we just won’t admit it. So, if you really don’t want to find out about your weaknesses, and would prefer to keep your head blissfully buried in the sand, then use any or all of these 5 methods.”  Perhaps you know someone who needs this post.

David Dye shares 6 practical ways to encourage more feedback from your team in his post, 6 Ways to Not Walk Naked Down the Street.  I can’t help but wonder what search terms brought folks to that title icon wink Frontline Festival April 2013:  Feedback and Coaching Edition  The best point, “It may take time, but if you begin asking for the truth, showing gratitude for input, and responding to it, you will earn trust, gain credibility, and have the information you need to make the best decisions.”

In her post, What it Means for Leaders to Show Up, Wendy Appel explains that encouraging feedback starts with how we “show up.”  Ask yourself,” how do I show up?” Am I present?  Do people feel and experience my availability to be there for them or am I distracted, on to the next thing, focused on what I want to say; the point I want to make, forcing an outcome I think is best?…”  I like this one because it’s advice packaged for daily use.

Robyn McLeod. of Chatsworth Consulting asks Are You Getting Honest Feedback?  And then, offers 4 Ways to ensure you receive it.  “To get the feedback you need, you have to encourage and invite feedback from others so they know it is OK to be honest with you. This ASK FOR IT model offers tips on how to do that”


Dan Rockwell shares 3 reasons you need a “coach” in 5 Sure Fire Ways to Spot a Great Coach, and then teaches us how to know one when we see one.  Great, practical advice.   A must read.  My favorite, “Your ideas seem right because they’re yours – you need tough questions.”  Dan’s got good ones.

I love this practical post from Jennifer Miller, Should You Give Advice or Coach?  “Giving advice is saying what you would do. It makes the conversation about you. Coaching helps people decide what they are going to do which is a far more powerful outcome.”  The best part, she tells us how to do it.

Brian Smith shares Leadership Lessons:  When Mistakes are Made Create a Teachable Moment.  Although I might debate his reference to a roast beef sandwich as a healthy choice, his metaphor works.  The best point, “You need to be able to separate the act (What the person did) from the person they are. (You’re OK; it’s what you did that isn’t.)”

“Being a good coach means putting others before yourself and always making decisions for the good of the team.”  Here are a few tips from Tom Walter in his post, How to Be a Good Coach:  Tips for Employee Focused Leaders.  Some practical, easy to apply principles for front line leaders.

 How to Give Feedback

In his post, Give Frequent and Useful Feedback, Wally Bock advocates for frequent feedback.  “Problems are like dinosaurs. They’re easy to kill when they’re small. But if you let them grow up they can eat you.”  Don’t make feedback a once-a-year event. Make it frequent. Don’t make it an ego trip. Make it helpful.

Eric Dingler shares How to Make Feedback a G.I.F.T. by making it Genuine, Immediate, Friendly and Tailored.  You’ve got to read his list of very practical suggestions.  Eric’s posts are always actionable.  His approach works.

Jon Mertz shares a sentiment I am considering painting on my office door, “Life is too short for unproductive drama and spoiled relationship,” in his post Go Hard on the Issue, Soft on the Person:  5 Leadership Ideas.  He shares 5 practical tips to make that happen.

Jonathan Green, AKA Monster Leader, shares how to coach to REALLY tough conversations in his post, Dude You Stink:  Coaching to Odor Issues.  I know this guy.  If you had to have anyone tell you that you smell, you would want it to be him.

This one’s fun and powerful.  Ted Guloien of MU Field Management Research shares Giving Performance Feedback on American Idol.  My favorite point,  “Concentrate on and attend to the other person, and not so much on your own feelings, fears or anxieties about providing feedback.”

Alli Polin explains why we all hate performance reviews in her post, Performance Reviews Don’t Have to Suck.   My favorite thought,  “They suck because they’re more about process than the person.”  Often true.  Alli shows how you can do it better.

Feedback doesn’t work in shallow relationships.  Joseph LaLonde explains that it starts with building real communication in his post, The Power of Real Communication.  “It involves taking the time to get to know the employees. Finding out their dreams and passions. If things are going well at work. If their job is still fulfilling.”

Recognition as Feedback

Tanveer Naseer  asks Are You Following These 3 Rules For Giving Feedback?  He also shares the how to use the recognition more strategically as feedback.  My favorite line, “feedback should make you hungry to achieve more.”  Let it be so.

Greg Richardson highlights the importance of substantive recognition as a feedback strategy in his post, On Recognition.  The best point, foster peer recognition, “Receiving tangible recognition from a peer can be much more meaningful for many people than anything a manager can say.”

Personal Feedback

Peter Friedes shares an activity and an opportunity for a free assessment to help work with your blind spot in, Find Your Blind Spot:  A Self-Reflection Activity For Managers

Jesse Lynn Stoner, asks a vital question in her post, Are You a Team in Name Only?  “Do you really want a team?”  A great example of feedback using provocative questions.  Ask tough questions gets to root cause.

In his post, Start With the End in Mind, Mark Miller encourages us to look 30 years out to plan for success in 5 key areas of our lives (he’s also looking or a clean “F” word that means influence if you have any suggestions).  He suggests you spend an 8 hour day planning (and giving yourself feedback) on how you’re doing in each of these areas as you make your plan. 

Chery Cegelman writes  Leaders are You a Candle or a Beacon?  She encourages us to be in a constant state of self-feedback, “As you think through the meetings you have scheduled this week…  Do you need to be a candle or a beacon?”

logo 150x150 Frontline Festival April 2013:  Feedback and Coaching Edition

Next month’s Frontline Festival’s Topic is Trust and Transparency.  Submissions due May 10th.  The Festival will go live May 17th.

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iStock 000014512836XSmall 225x300 5 Indications the Feedback is Not About YouHave you ever received frustrating feedback? Have you ever wanted to shout, “are you freaking serious?…” “Have you looked at the impact YOU are making?”  “I don’t want to roll like you…” Continue Reading…

They say “feedback is a gift,” but much of the time it does not feel that way.

So, what was different this time?

F12 Hank and Singing Bear1 300x200 The 3 Gifts:  Grateful for Growing

It was a cool, crisp night.  The warmth of the make-shift spotlight was both frightening and friendly as I stood ready to give my final speech at the SCORRE conference.  Frightening because my own expectations were high, and I knew the feedback would be deep, direct, and dead on.   Friendly, because any feedback would be delivered with generosity and compassion.

I had come to this conference to hone my speaking.  What I had not anticipated was how much I would learn from experiencing and watching the coaches coach.  By the third day, I began taking as many notes on  how the coaches were giving feedback as to what they were saying.

What was it about their approach that made it both compelling and easy to hear?

Why was I so thirsty for more?

How was it that my group full of experienced speakers were transforming into magnificent motivators before my eyes?

and mostly… Continue Reading…

iStock 000019827119XSmall 235x300 A Question of Intimidation:  Questions that Shut People DownQuestions are powerful.  They can motivate, and inspire deeper thinking.

Great questions empower.

Questions can also intimidate, frustrate and shut down people down.

The most dangerous are those where the leader already  “knows” the answer… and is looking to see if the person will “get it right.”  Closed ended questions can have a similar impact, if the leader only wants to hear “yes” or “no.” Continue Reading…

This is a guest post from Jonathan Green.  

Jonathan is a culture evangelist who focuses on leadership development behaviors and communications strategies.  His expertise is service models that provide world-class experience.  He has worked in a variety of verticals including Finance, Utilities, Tech, and Telecom.  Green has spent the last seven years working for a large Telecom provider and thoroughly enjoys the fast paced and ever-changing environment.  Check out his blog at

iStock 000009529654XSmall 200x300 Snap, Crackle, STOP   Whats Your Brand?

Have you ever thought of yourself as a brand?

Most people associate brands with companies, services or products– but don’t always stop to think about their personal brand let alone how to build it.

As individuals, we actually have much more at stake as our brand is being observed, assessed and judged on a regular basis.  In my work with young leaders, I carve out time out to help them consider their brand… and to be deliberate about enhancing promoting it.  The key is simplicity.  Break it down into manageable parts.

1 – Image

2 – Behaviors

3 – Attitude Continue Reading…

suninhands2 100x150 Saturday Salutation:  How She Began

Saturday Salutation

My day began well.  I met a fantastic woman at a call center recognition event.  She shared this great story… which I humbly share with you.

Everyone kept telling me that I needed to be more confident, to be the expert for our customers.  But the problem was I just wasn’t feeling confident. And…I didn’t think of myself as an expert. Continue Reading…