Drive by Coaching

A single coaching session can result in a client gaining clarity and jump-starting into action.

Last week, I participated in a “Drive by Coaching” session” after a former client requested an impromptu MH900310158phone coaching session. Sue [name has been changed to honor confidentiality] had an idea of writing a book. She was excited about the idea and had doubts about who would acknowledge her book. She was unsure if she should move forward with the book idea or if she was just “dreaming”. I heard the passion in her voice and jumped right into coach mode to help Sue gain clarity.

During the 50 minute impromptu coaching session, Sue became clear on her purpose for writing a book, narrowed her focus, identified her target audience, clarified her expectations, and created an action plan. Sue was very excited and could visualize the book and individuals enjoying it. She had a realistic plan and was even more passionate! Whew…! I was impressed in what Sue accomplished in our “Drive by Coaching” session.

Once Sue and I ended the call, I reflected on what caused Sue to accomplish so much during one coaching session. Sue had a general vision of a goal for a book project. However, she was doubtful on if and how she should proceed, which is common among many clients. My role as a coach consisted of the following for the “Drive by Coaching” session:

  • A strong connection (existing relationship with a former client)
  • Actively listening – client does most the talking; recap and summarize what is stated
  • Ask questions related to the alignment of client’s values
  • Ask thought-provoking questions to uncover and increase awareness of the purpose and intention
  • Acknowledge the passion and energy (or lack of it)
  • Move to action quickly, which should come naturally from the client

All Sue needed was a “Drive by Coaching” session to move her forward!

Being Positive in Challenging Situations

Generally, every individual has experienced a professional or personal challenging situation that has sparked negativity or a stifling outlook.

I have experienced several challenging situations that has caused me to spiral downward into a negative, unproductive, and self-pity mentality. Not a pretty picture!!!

It is not fun being around someone who is negative. A negative perspective does not serve anyone. Time will continue to move on as one wallows in a perceived unfavorable situation.

So, what is the key to avoid spiraling downward into negativity? You have a choice! You can consciously choose to think positive about a situation by controlling your emotions, looking for the learning, and creating a productive action plan/strategy.

Depending on the situation, it may take a lot of soul searching, support from others, and aligning your values and passion to gain and maintain a positive outlook. It can be done!!

Below are 6 Questions to ask yourself as you move toward negativity.

1. What is the reality of the situation?
2. What are the facts?
3. What control do I have?
4. What is the learning for ME? (What is my role in the situation? What are the productive and unproductive behaviors?)
5. What would it take to move beyond the situation?
6. Based on the reality and facts of the situation, what is my productive plan of action moving forward?

How will you handle the next curve ball that comes your way?

It’s Not About You! – 5 Questions to ensure the focus is on the client.

The focus of coaching is to serve the client. Serving the client includes listening for understanding (active listening), asking thought-provoking and curious questions that lead to deeper awareness, and challenging current perspectives. It is important to understand the client’s current situation, needs, and goals. The role of a coach is to put aside what he or she thinks is best for the client and focus on coaching the client to identify the best solution.

Below are 5 questions for a coach to ensure the focus is on the client.

1) Are you eager to share a solution or a similar experience?
(A client’s experiences, perceptions, and realities may differ from the coach. Do not assume they are the same!)

2) Are you leading or listening?
(Are you offering suggestions or asking open-ended questions?)

3) Who feels better at the end of a coaching session?
(Are you providing solutions for your client or helping your client identify his or her own solutions?)

4) Are you allowing your client to work at his or her own pace or are you setting the pace?
(Are you tied to a process and prematurely pushing your client to action or allowing your client to reflect and explore in the present?)

5) Are you challenging your client based on his or her needs and vision or based on your vision for your client?
(Are you serving your client or yourself?)

There have been times during coaching sessions that I had to catch myself from eagerly giving advice or sharing my experiences. At this point, I realize I am focusing on me and not the client. Of course, I have good intentions and want to help my clients. As a coach, I know it is not about what I think. It is about zooming in on clients to support, listen, challenge, and encourage based on their goals.

The Ultimate Achievement…Can Become a Reality!

The ultimate achievement begins with a simple goal!

The Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl victory was an ultimate achievement!

John and Jim Harbaugh, head coaches for the Raven and 49ers respectively, began their season with simple goals: To field competitive teams and make it into the NFL Playoffs. These simple goals led to a chance to accomplish the ultimate goal for all professional football teams.

It is easy to set a goal.  The real challenge is the mindset and work it takes to accomplish the goal.

Below are a few questions to ask yourself before you commit to a goal.  Also, ask these questions again 1-2 months later to ensure the goal is right for you.

  • What is the benefit of achieving the goal?
  • What is the goal worth to me?
  • How determined am I to achieving the goal?
  • What am I willing to give up?
  • Is it the right time for this goal?
  • How will I keep myself on track to achieving the goal?

Accomplishing a goal is fulfilling and memorable (and work)!  Just ask the Baltimore Ravens!!

That’s One Perspective…

What’s another?

It is so common to see things through the lens of only one perspective based on personal experiences, backgrounds, and values. “Everyone should see things my way – Right?… Wrong!” I have stated several times, “There are always 3 sides to a story.” This can be translated to “There are at least 3 perspectives to a situation.” Once a person steps outside of his or her own mindset, the situation is broaden to include other possible viewpoints, reasons, solutions, etc.

I worked with a client who believed his manager only wanted to know when the project will be completed. The client experienced several challenges, which he tried to communicate to his manager. The manager nonchalantly acknowledged the challenges and focused on the project end date. The client’s communication was based only on his perspective and as a result was ineffective.

During the coaching session, I questioned my client on how might he communicate the challenges from his manager’s perspective? “How would you communicate from the president’s or another department team member’s perspective who is impacted by the project?” As a result, the client was able to broaden his thinking to create a communication that captured the challenges, the impact of the challenges across many departments, and the possible alternatives and solutions to complete the project by the deadline. The challenges were communicated from different viewpoints (a micro and macro level) to show the impact throughout the company.

Sometimes we get so stuck in our own perspectives that we are missing out on other possible alternatives and win-win solutions!!

Controlling the Negative Self-Talk

Negative self-talk can be very difficult to manage especially when taking on new challenges.

Do you have a negative and self-doubting internal voice that seems to want to take control at times?

My negative and doubting self-talk (Ms. Negative) can be so loud at times when I am stepping outside of my normal character.

I recently accepted my husband’s challenge to attend a two-day motorcycle safety course to obtain a motorcycle operator’s license. Of course, my husband was so excited and thrilled. I, on the other hand, was hesitant, fearful, and nervous. I never operated a motorcycle. So, this was definitely a challenge for me.

Immediately, my negative and self-doubting internal person began to talk randomly leading up to and during the class. I became extremely aware of the negative talk and counter-reacted with positive and confident thoughts as much as possible. Honestly, it was hard to do at times. I would tell myself it would be fun riding a motorcycle. Ms. Negative would laugh and say, “Remember you must learn to shift the gears without stalling. The bike could fall on you as you go around curves and you could get a broken leg, a bad burn, and/or hit your head…”. Ms. Negative was doing her best to get me to quit.

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One Thing at a Time!

There are times when there is so much going on personally and professionally that I am running around in circles, experiencing high levels of stress, and/or staring at the computer screen (immobile) feeling my heart racing. My thoughts are scattered. I vision my thoughts are fighting each other trying to be at the front of the line of my ‘to do list.’ Have you ever experienced this? 

Well, I have been experiencing it over the past couple of weeks. The task of writing this bloImageg, along with other tasks, has battled for first place. Since there is only one day left prior to posting this blog, the task is now at the front of the line standing boldly and smiling!!

Throughout the past few weeks when I realized I was about to “lose it” (not in control), I put my own coaching hat on (since I am a certified coach and between coaching sessions with my own coach) and asked myself, “What is most important to complete right now?” I stated to myself out loud, “One thing at a time!” Then, I breathed!! This is my wake up call! I reevaluated the tasks that needed to be completed and made a conscious choice, let me repeat this…a conscious choice, of what my next action or task would be based on my values and what is most important.

Some of my values conflict with one another such as family, fitness, and producing high quality work. For example, in order to produce high quality work, there are many times I must work on the weekends or long hours to meet deadlines and respond timely to others located in different time zones. This competes with time I spend with my family or myself. I planned to write this blog post over the weekend, but I consciously chose, which was not easy (guilt factor in my mind), to spend time with my family and prepare for several upcoming family events. In order to be effective and create high quality work or have high quality personal time, the focus must be on one task at a time.

It is important to recognize when I am feeling out of control and question “How important is this really and how does it align with my values?” “What is the one thing I need to focus on right now?

So, my suggestion to anyone who feels out of control and stressed at times is to simply coach yourself. Here are a few sample questions:

  • What is the priority?
  • What task is most important to be completed right now?
  • How does completing the task at this moment align with your values?
  • What are you willing to accept?

Also, remember to breathe!!!