Category: Coaching

Appreciation Exercise

Learning/Application: Appreciation/ team building

No. Of Participants: 6 – 12

Duration: 30 minutes

Location: Indoor

Checklist Of Items Required:

  • Paper
  • Pen

Procedure:

  1. Make the participants sit in a circle
  2. Give all the participants a sheet of paper; and keep one with you as well.
  3. Ask each participant to write their names clearly at the bottom of the paper
  4. Ask each person to pass his or her sheet of paper to the person sitting on the left hand side.
  5. Instruct everyone to write a sentence at the bottom of the sheet, describing what they like most about the person whose name is written on the paper
  6. Ask each one to fold the paper in such a way that the comment gets covered.
  7. Have the paper passed again to the person on the left and have that person add a comment, fold the paper to cover it and pass it again to the person on the left.
  8. Do this until each person gets back the sheet of paper with his or her name on top.
  9.  Ask each person to read the sheet silently and highlight the comments or facts he liked best.
  10. Then ask the participants to stand up and say aloud the strength he liked using positive words like “I am…”

Debriefing Notes:

Have the participants express how they feel in the midst of such positive feedback and contrast it with how they normally feel working with the same people. Use this activity to help people learn how motivating positive feedback can be. It is also a good method to motivate people to work on developing more positive qualities and also fills the group with mutual goodwill.

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Conducting Training Programs

Studies on instructor effectiveness show that two important aspects have the greatest influence on how well trainees learn: structure of the training and skill of the instructor. Especially when it comes to leadership training, where your aim is to get people to introspect, accept weaknesses, find their strengths and work towards improvement.

How You Conduct The Training Is As Important As How Well You Plan It

1. Set the Tone

Have participants introduce themselves, use icebreaker activities that make it fun to know about each other and get people to relax and enjoy being at the program. Introduce yourself after the participants have finished, and speak a little of your experience with leadership training, but do not try to hog the limelight with a lengthy list of your accomplishments.

2. Introduce the Time Table

Explain the structure of the training program so that participants know the topics you will cover and how the sessions are paced. Set clear objectives and ask if there are other specific aspects the participants wish for and if feasible, try to include them in the next day’s program. This is important because the actual needs of the group may differ from what their supervisory staff thinks they require.

3. Remain Attentive

4. Pay attention to the information you gain about participants as the session progresses. Observe them to see what works best, try to analyze their learning styles, find out their interest levels and use all this to fine tune aspects of the training. If you sense energy levels or interest in a lecture flagging, be prepared to launch into an activity or announce a short break or an energizer.

4. Review Each Session

Get the participants to contribute their ideas on the content they learned during a session. This helps them reflect on what they heard or understood. Ask them to evaluate what worked for them and what did not. Use feedback forms if necessary if you sense that participants will be more forthcoming with their views away from the public eye.

5. Conclude Positively

Tie together the final views of the participants with the objectives of the training specified in the beginning. Find out if everyone agrees that the objectives have been achieved. Suggest ways in which the learning can be adopted in practice. Have the group set personal goals for how they will use what they learned during the training.

Delivering a leadership training program can be difficult because you can never fully prepare for the unexpected happenings during a session. Yet, with a little flexibility and empathy, you can tide over these, to experience the sense of fulfillment that comes from a job well-done.

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Employee Engagement Levels

In any working environment, there will always be the active workers who take up tasks with enthusiasm, and are immensely involved with the work they do. Unfortunately, such employees are fast becoming a rarity as we find offices being inundated by people who do not really care about their job, but simply carry on mechanically doing things. At the other extreme, we also find some employees who are bitter and cynical, who are bent on sabotaging any good intentions of their colleagues to contribute actively to the organization.

How committed and involved employees are with their organization and the level to which they identify with their organizations mission and values is measured as employee engagement. The international consulting organization Gallup carried out a survey to study employee engagement at the work place and on the basis of these results, classifies employees into three categories: the engaged employees, the not-engaged employees and the actively disengaged employees.

1. Engaged Employees

These are the employees whom every organization counts on to deliver, time after time. The reason – they put their heart and soul into their job and are passionate about the work they do. Most importantly, such employees feel a sense of ownership about the company, which makes them want to help it grow.

2. Not-Engaged Employees

This category of employees sees the job as a continuous cycle of tasks to be completed as specified, without venturing any interest or enthusiasm. Whether out of frustration because of poor leadership or due to communication problems with their colleagues and managers, or their expectations not being met, such employees do not contribute anything beyond the bare minimum at their workplace.

3. Actively Disengaged Employees

Unlike the not-engaged employees who exhibit indifference, this category of staffs make it a point to be vocal about their unhappiness at work. They show their negative attitude through their speech with coworkers, and are generally recognized as trouble-makers by their supervisors. They oppose new initiatives and ideas, and try to prevent other employees from being actively engaged with the organization’s work, posing a threat to smooth working.

Gallup’s poll showed that the vast majority of employees fall in the not-engaged category, followed by the engaged category; the actively disengaged were a distant third. However, these figures can vary across organizations and if you are looking at growing your business and retaining employees for long enough, you need to find out ways to ensure that most of them remain truly engaged.

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Engaging Employees

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More On Leader As Coach

Most executives begin their career from a professional role, focusing on their areas of expertise. However, as they grow, the emphasis shifts from doing things themselves to getting things done by others. As leaders, they need to keep their view firmly on the goals, and periodically take stock of where the organization is on this journey. Sadly, a lot of leaders have an unflinching vision of their journey’s end, but fail to pay attention to the means of getting there: their employees. The concept of a leader as coach revolves around paying equal – if not more – attention to the emotional aspects of guiding employees.

Why be a Coach?

As a leader, you need to be connected to the pulse of your people. Getting work done through employees is not just about giving orders – it includes an entire spectrum of activity ranging from providing guidelines, following-up, observing performance, handling conflicts, providing feedback and analyzing results. When you adopt the leader as coach attitude, you do all of these with an emotional intelligence that draws the best out of your employees.

Important Qualities for a Leader as Coach

  • Leaders who are coaches possess certain qualities, of which the most important ones include.
  • Strong communication skills – not only do they communicate with clarity and empathy, they also possess the ability to remain silent when others speak, and listen actively. They are capable of hearing what the speaker expresses through his words as well as body language.
  • Positive attitude – they view all interactions and situations with positivity. They are not prejudiced, and keep an open mind, always focusing on finding something to appreciate and value in an employee even if it may differ from their personal opinion. They provide feedback in a constructive manner that helps the employee to view his shortfalls with positivity.
  • Commitment to growth – their own as well as that of employees. They seek to learn from situations, and share this learning unhesitatingly with their employees, often in the role of a mentor or teacher. They look for the hidden potential and talent in others and seek to make them aware of it, guiding them to acquire greater knowledge and skills.
  • Employees gain inspiration when they see their leader as coach, especially if the leader continually strives personally to attain high standards of performance. Such a leader inspires by not only his words, but also by his actions, and thus, is more likely to ensure organizational goals are met by empowered and engaged employees.
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The Myth Of Multitasking

Say you are checking and editing an important report, when you receive a phone call you just have to take. What do you think is the wise thing to do: stop reading the report and concentrate on speaking or continue reading as you engage in conversation? Depends on the time available, some people will answer. When you have a lot of work to do and limited time to do it in, it is tempting to try and do more than one task at a time. Recent research however indicates that people who multitask are more likely to lose the time they seek to save.

The Journal of Experimental Psychology published by the American Psychological Association recently carried the findings of research on multitasking. The researchers found evidence that people trying to multitask are unable to concentrate beyond ten minutes at a time on a single task; this, they say, can cost the company anywhere between 20 and 40 percent of its financial inflow.

How The Brain Works? 

The computer was built to make work easy for humans but now it looks like we are out to compete with this device, trying to handle many different activities at a time. It is easy for your computer to process your download, play your music, alert you on a friend’s tweet and search for information simultaneously. Unfortunately, the human brain does not function in this way.

When you focus on one task, an impulse reaches the concerned part of the brain, which then results in a command being sent to the neurons responsible for executing that action. If the midst of this process, you shift focus, the brain has to move its attention from this task to the second one.

Which means it disengages itself from the first task. Add a third task in the midst of this, and it means yet another change in the working of the brain. The result: a loss of time in coming back to a state of readiness to handle the previous task.

As David E. Meyer, Ph. D, one of the scientists in the study quoted above says, “Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes. Disruptions and interruptions are a bad deal from the standpoint of our ability to process information.”

What this indicates is that multitasking is indeed a myth, propagated by the desire to get more done in the limited time on hand. The reality is that to be able really get work done efficiently, you need to concentrate on one thing at a time, and block your brain from distractions that only interfere with its ability to do its job.

The article is written by Akash Chander, Principal Coach, The Orange Academy. Life Coaching,Executive Coaching,Leadership Coaching – www.executivecoachingindia.com.

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Creating A Coaching Culture

Each organization has an explicit culture which they follow. The organizational culture is nothing but a set of unwritten rules, norms, values, behaviors and practices which the employees adopt and follow automatically. The performance of the company is highly impacted by the organizational culture since it involves the teams or employees behaviors, values, norms and practices that directly impacting work performance and customer satisfaction.

In today’s highly competitive business environment, organizations are seeing the need to change their cultures into high-performance cultures, customer-centric culture, employee-engagement culture, team-based culture, etc. In order to achieve cultural change in an organization, the answer is narrowed to one single professional intervention “coaching”.

Coaching is a specialized profession which when engaged into an organization achieves strategic objectives and produces business results. A research by Center for Creative Leadership found that creating a coaching culture increases employee engagement, job satisfaction, customer happiness, work performance, collaboration and team work and employee morale. A coaching culture is created by employing business coaching, executive coaching, leadership coaching, sales coaching and leader as coach programs.

How to create a coaching culture in an organization

by employing different kinds of coaching is stated below:

1. To create a coaching culture, coaching should be implemented in all the sectors of the organization such as departments (including     HR), teams and LoB’s. Coaching should be kept as a secret engagement by the company executive. Though confidentiality is an important aspect of coaching practice,

2. keeping coaching secretive by the top executive without introducing all the departments and, teams of the organization will not widen the benefits of coaching wholly and will not create a coaching culture.

3.To create a coaching culture, coaching should flow in all directions up, down and lateral. Coaching should be implemented for all employees, teams, managers, directors and executives. This in turn will enrich coaching communications, learning, problem solving, ongoing support, team performance, etc.

4.Once the organization learns to practice coaching in terms of open dialogues, safe feedback techniques, after action reviews, share ideas, wisdom, knowledge and best practices across organization, share candid concerns and point of view, then a coaching culture is created and sustained in the organization.

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Why Coaching Fails

Coaching can fail for various reasons. For instance, when coaching is implemented in an organization and if an employee is recommended for coaching, the employee may be engaged in a coaching activity out of obligation rather than a free choice. Under such circumstances, the coaching activity fails because coaching relationship works on the principle of choice and not as a prearranged program for the coachee. Research states that the coaching relationship works successfully when the coachee has opted for the coaching activity out of his/her own free will. Hence it becomes essential for the coach to evaluate the context, condition and the appropriateness of the coaching activity when implemented in an organization.

The coach will evaluate with regard to who is being coached?

Who is paying for the coaching services whether the employee or the organization? And if the organization is paying for the services of a coaching activity for a team or individual, has the team or individual understood the right context of coaching? Subsequently, the coach ensures that the team or the individual is willingly indulging in the coaching activity considering it as a necessary developmental resource.

Another reason why coaching can fail is due to the absence of clarity with regard to the coaching contract. Though most of the coaching contract is formally written, there are certain specifications which need to be included such as provisions for confidentiality, frequency and length of coaching services, method of communication between the coach and the coachees, fee structure, method of billing, etc. If clarity is missing in any of these specifications it can affect the coaching activity.

Coaching Activity

For instance, if parameters of disclosure are not documented clearly in the coaching contract and if the organization head wishes to know the discussions that happened under coaching sessions, then coaching activity can fail.

According to Natale and Diamante (2005) confidentiality is strictly maintained in a coaching relationship and is not revealed even to third party who is sponsoring the coaching activity except with regard to information that is against the law. Though these are mandatory principles of coaching, they should be specifically mentioned in the coaching contract in order to avoid misconceived perceptions with regard to parameters of disclosure. Mentioning specific parameters of confidentiality will give the coachee an assurance that the discussion under coaching sessions will not affect his/her employment with the organization and promotes greater sense of transparency which can enhance the coaching outcome.

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Coaching Can Support Organizational Change

Change is mandatory for growth both professional and organizational. Without organizational change business life will not move forward. Whether employees realize it or not organizational change happen at a regular basis in terms of change in processes, reporting structures, mergers, acquisitions, introduction of new line of products or services, tools and technologies, developmental activities, business initiatives, etc. Organizational change requires adjustments by employees in moderate or significant terms and it affects the way work gets done by a large number employees.

While change in the organization keep occurring it causes discomfort and disruption to the employees resulting low productivity and morale and low job satisfaction. Why does this happen? Because most of these organizational change are large-scale such as mergers, redundancies and down-sizing. Employees may feel fearful or anxious by such changes. Besides some changes do not have any impact on the employees professionally or personally and they see it subjectively. The impact of these kinds of changes on employees is never discussed and individuals find it difficult to see organizational change as positive and prospective.

Business leaders observe that large scale organizational changes do not achieve business performance and results. One of the essential things that business leaders fail to focus is how to bring about changes that will be effective, drive performance, and derive business results. Change is essential in every aspect of workplace environment not just large scale organizational changes, right from the way things get done, the way teams are managed and the way  communication takes place which results in employee-buy in, high performance, commitment and loyalty.

To bring about an effective change in an organization, a perfect agent of change is essential. An executive coach is an expert change agent. He/she is a catalyst for change for they understand the very nature of change (based on neuroscience perspective), human behavior and the initiatives that drive change in human beings. Executive coaches work on behavior based and brain based coaching. They can affect change at various levels in an organization right from organizational culture, structure/ processes, individual and team levels. The change which they inculcate is something that is real, measurable, effective and sustaining.

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Get The Best Out Of Coaching

Business owners hire an expert to provide their organization with business coaching. Often, they believe that once they take this step, everything else will be managed by the coach, and they expect results to start showing immediately after the sessions end. However, it is important to remember that the coach does not have a magic wand to wave and set things in order. Often, the outcome of a coaching program depends on how prepared the client is to receive and adopt the insights he gets. Here are a few tips on making the most of a business coaching program.

Get into Learning Mode

Often, we tend to get so full with the sense of our own importance that we waste a lot of time and energy in impressing the coach with our achievements. While there is no taking away the credit due to you, it is important you remember the coaching session is for you to learn something new. Your aim should be to uncover something you did not know, or discover the potential latent within you. This is going to be possible only if you practice active listening and introspection and ask questions to clarify points that are confusing.
Maintain Discipline
1.Business coaching is a process that depends to a large extent on your wholehearted participation. The coach will make every possible attempt to guide you and provide direction to your thoughts and plans. But ultimately, whether you benefit from these sessions or not depends entirely on your hard work. Be punctual in attending the sessions, do your homework as prescribed by the coach, perform the tasks he sets you in an active manner, systematically follow the steps he lays down, and keep track of your progress as he explains.
2.Communicate Openly
Some things may be difficult to admit, but you will get nowhere by trying to hide things from your business coaching facilitator. The more open you are in your communication, the more likely you are to make the necessary transitions in your thinking and actions. Listen to feedback attentively, even if it is something that is not very pleasant; dealing with these issues is crucial if transformation has to occur. Ask questions in a sincere way without fear of appearing foolish; it is better to learn the answers from someone you trust than make mistakes that will cost the company dearly.

3.Business coaching is a challenging process that can help you identify your blind spots and force you to move out of your comfort zone to lead your organization ahead. By discussing things openly, and being willing to learn or unlearn, you will find that this coaching for which you spent a small fortune more than justifies the expense.

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