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Truth Statements by Jason Selk

“I just can’t catch a break this year.” This is exactly what an NFL coach was saying to himself through the first few games of this season. Although it was certainly true—the coach seemed to be on the wrong side of luck—continually saying, “I just can’t catch a break this year” only contributed to more of the same bad tidings.

Yes, it’s true. Continually focusing on the negative actually creates more negative. That’s expectancy theory. Expectancy theory states that whatever you focus on expands. The great thing about expectancy theory is that it works every bit as well with the positive as it does with the negative.

Truth Statements

Truth statements are a great way to get your mind working in your favor. Anytime you find yourself with a re-occurring negative thought, that is a signal that it is time for you to develop a truth statement.  A truth statement is a statement that contains as much or more truth than the re-occurring negative statement, but rather emphasizes strength or something positive.

For example, after a tough loss, the NFL coach decided to begin telling himself, “Even in tough times, I find a way to win. I am at my best when the pressure is on.” The coach told me that he must have repeated his truth statement 300 times or more in the week leading up to the next game.

Another client who happens to be going through a divorce couldn’t shake the thought, “I am a total failure in life, and I will never let myself fall in love again.” Every time she thought about the divorce, she felt worse and worse about herself. With the help of her truth statement (“When I’m ready, I will find love. I am a beautiful, warm, and caring person, and I am very lovable.”), she began to gain back her sense of self.

The Two Keys To Truth Statements:

1. Recognize Quickly. It is important to recognize quickly when a negative re-occurring thought is happening. If you have the same negative thought two times, that means it is time to create a truth statement. The more quickly you can replace the negative with the positive, the better.

2. Be Relentless. You want to use your truth statement relentlessly. No matter how many times the negative thought appears, stop it in it’s tracks by focusing on your truth statement. No matter if it’s 300 or 3000 times in a week, keep replacing the negative with the positive.

Everyone will experience tough times and negative thinking. The most mentally tough people on the planet have learned to replace the negative thoughts with more positive and powerful truth statements. Make the commitment moving forward to use truth statements as a tool for developing your mental toughness.

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“Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions.”

Maria Razumich-Zec

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Showing Up

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Vulnerablility

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“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.”

D. Waitley

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Kim Sawyer: Lead by Coaching – The Missing Piece (Part Four (Conclusion) in the series)

Building the coaching engagement:
In building a coaching relationship, first there is a foundation to set. It all has to do with establishing trust. Sitting down and learning together the information about the employee or person being coached – their story. Building processes of communication and interactions, commitments, ground rules, confidentiality. The relationship has to be built by both people: “What are you looking for? What do I need? How are we are we going to do this together?” Forge explicit agreements; there is no single more critical factor to a successful relationship – of any kind!!

All of this typically happens in the first several sessions of coaching. In the next couple, there is a process of co-creating a developing plan: What needs to be learned? What new skills to be gained, new behaviors to practice? What habits to build or break? What are an achievable number of specific, well-defined growth objectives? And what will success look like in each of them – by when? With all these pieces in place, it is time to shift into drive and engage the whole process – putting it into action. This where results are generated where the real value is created.

The coaching meeting
The fundamental building block of the coaching process is the coaching session, although the most important and valuable part of the coaching happens in between sessions – out on the playing field. Schedule a time to get together for the specific purpose of coaching and nothing else. It’s not about progress reports or day-to-day business dealings; it is strictly focused on your partnership in mutual success.

In order to be successful – especially given that you are not a coach by primary expertise, you must have a structure to the meeting – a recipe to follow. If you are only going to have an hour or hour and a half together, you need to accelerate the conversation to a fairly deep level and collaborative basis, fairly quickly. The place to start is with a “check-in”. A check-in is another ritual – like celebration. Its function is to create a relational and mind space appropriate for and conducive to what is intended to happen in that gathering: “Where are you at right now? What’s your state of mind? What is going on in your life currently about which you have significant emotions? What do you want to have happen here today?”

Then you facilitate the celebration of your coachee’s recent wins: “What are some successes you have had since we met last? What are some things you feel good about?” At this point congratulations and even applause are in order.

With these two first steps, you have gotten connected and co-created a context of success.
The container is now set, so to speak, for the technology of success to be employed. The next step is to have your coachee report on previous stretch actions and action commitments: “How did you do? What did you do? What did you learn? What didn’t you do? What got in the way, and how will you grow from that knowledge?”

And now The Work: here there is an opportunity in the coaching session during which you can dig together into whatever needs working on: “What’s the situation? What do you need to learn and do to succeed in it? What is your strategy going to be?”
Finally you create a new action list to move forward and check out: “What did you gain of value? What do you need? When are we going to meet next?”

It may well be that the last question is the most important. Every coaching session has to end with the firm knowledge that and when the next coaching meeting will occur. Being committed is crucially important. If you make appointments as a leader with your people to coach them, but cancel, miss or regularly reschedule meetings, it’s worse than not having committed to do it at all. It will destroy what trust there is. You have to make the coaching important – to care about it and for it – if you want your coachee to.

In the broader and longer view, one objective of coaching is to produce specific external results. The other purpose, perhaps more valuable, is to produce a better-built employee – with a sustainably expanded capacity to produce results better and faster – evoking enhanced performance and execution.

This is a big deal for you as a leader; you are responsible for something happening in your area of responsibility to your company. So in the end, your job in the coaching process is to align your employee’s motivation to grow and do things with what a company needs to happen for its success. This is what it means to Lead by Coaching.

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Kim Sawyer: Lead by Coaching – The Missing Piece (Part Three in the series)

What coaching does.
The motive power of coaching is action learning. Bite size learning, situationally relevant, put into practice, reviewed for deeper learning and then reapplied to another situation in revised and improved version – a feedback loop. It runs something like this: when something comes up on someone’s job they are challenged by, then as a coach you bring or help them arrive at an idea or method or behavior they need to learn that will help address that. You talk about that together so that they get an understanding of it. They commit to go and try it in that situation. Then you will get together afterwards and do an after-action-review: “How did it go? What worked? What didn’t work? What did you learn? What do you need to do differently? Let’s revise our approach, customize it for your personality and then let’s look for another situation to try again.” Action-learning loops are going on all the time in coaching, often times in a variety of different arenas at the same time.

Coaching also involves evoking – bringing out of people what’s already is in there. Attracting, all of this is about attracting (remember Leadership by Attraction from Part 1?). How do you do it? You do it by modeling. As a coach/manager you have to be walking your talk in a way that wins their admiration and desire to aspire in your direction (remember “being the change”, Axiom 1 of Leadership by Attraction?).

The coaching process is also about seeing the highest and best in people, maybe before they see it in themselves. Then challenging them to dig it out, take it for a few test runs and begin to realize it’s true. Treating them as if they already were that way (remember Axiom 2 of Leadership by Attraction?).

What a coach provides:
I look at coaching as having three primary pillars. These are the areas of value that a coach is responsible to bring to the relationship. These are the power tools of the technology of success.

Knowledge and Resources:
What do your people need to know in order to succeed? Can they come to you as their source? That means you have to spend some time gaining and expanding knowledge that is of contextual value and broad enough to be applicable to different people in different situations.

Where can your people turn to grow and learn as needed? How will they access training, specialists and mentors – resources. That means you’ve got to have some; because rest assured, you can’t provide it all. You have to be building some relationships. This is another reason the network-building process is so important to your success as a leader. You need to be building solid and strategic connections inside and outside of your company with people that have a broad variety of interests and expertise so I can pull from that for your people when they need something specific (Social Capital).

Hence the unavoidable realization that order to be an effective leader-coach you will have to be spending some time outside of the coaching relationship developing some of these things your coachee/reports are going to need. Start today allocating time for gaining knowledge and resources, so that when you sit down with your people you have something to bring to the table. That is one of the things a leader is getting paid to be doing – really.

Awareness and Focus:
Where does your coachee need to focus? Are they paying attention to the right stuff? Are they going in the right direction? Are they getting the awareness of themselves and what’s around them that they need to succeed?

This is about the art of asking questions, about listening fully and openly to their answers. It involves offering thoughtful, challenging and unconditionally constructive feedback. A coach must be willing to tell the truth – to be willing to point out, in a way that leaves them open to hearing, the things your coachee can’t see, the blind spots. As an aside, it may involve gathering feedback from folks around the report, who may not have as a clear perception of themselves as they think they do.

Accountability and Celebration:
Part of coaching is push, part of it is pull. The push lies in encouraging somebody to reach their limit and stretch just a little bit beyond that – AND providing them the various forms of support they need to get through their fear and be successful. Then the pull on the other side is the accountability.
It’s all about the actions: “What are you going to do differently based on this conversation that you wouldn’t otherwise do, if we weren’t having it?” We call these actions “stretch-goals”. Goals because they need to be things that are clearly doable, yet stretches in that they are challenging – just beyond the coachee’s edges. We want to grow their capacity, to push their limits farther out, to help them to get comfortable being uncomfortable – even welcome it. The goal is to create continuous series of successes because each success makes it easier to embark on the next one.

Celebration is a ritual or ceremony about acknowledging the value of something – being aware of and actually experiencing the value of something – feeling it recharge the emotional batteries. There is a tremendous amount of motivation available in celebration; it is another free resource to power up performance and drive success.

We have developed a tool at theWealthSource called “The Technology of Celebration”. It is a practical application of this concept, a methodology. It can be downloaded as a gift from us at our website. The Technology of Celebration

If you can facilitate celebration with the person you are coaching or with your team on a regular basis, you get to unleash all of that power and confidence – peak performance – individually and as a group with your people. The sustainable impact on overall productivity is huge. The financial cost is next to nothing.

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Kim Sawyer: Lead by Coaching – The Missing Piece (Part Two in the series)

Leadership by Attraction.

Most of the models of leadership or management are based upon efforts to change you and what you do. Whether it’s management by objective, Carrot and a Stick, or Persuasion – all of those things are aimed at changing other people. The paradox is: the most powerful way to bring about change in people, lies in not trying to change them. The fact of the matter is, if I am going to spend time and energy on something, I want it to be productive. Why would I devote my time and energy to something I have the least influence over, rather than something I have the most influence over?

And what over do I have the maximum influence? Myself. I call the model of leadership derived from this fact “Leadership by Attraction™.”

If, as a manager, I use good enough tools or intense enough threats or rich enough rewards, I can temporarily get you to move in the direction or act the way I want, as long as the stimuli is being applied. What happens as soon as I turn around and go do something else (like lead)? You go back to doing what you want to do anyway. Actually, who is really leading who in a situation like that? A manager faces backward at his/her people in order to continually apply stimuli.

There is nothing wrong with managing; it’s not a bad thing. Management is necessary and valuable on lots of levels, but a leader needs to be facing forward looking to the future, looking at ways to improve the process, pulling in resources necessary to support its success, surfacing other possibilities, building relationships – that’s what a leader gets paid the premium to do.

So, if I am not going to try to change you and I really want to have an impact, I have only myself to change. And how does changing me accomplish anything with you? You have probably heard the famous dictum from the Mahatma Gandhi, “Be that change that you would have happen in the world,” aka, “be that change that you would have happen in others”. We can look at that as merely idealistic talk; and it sounds like it on the surface, but when I look more carefully at it, there is a lot of practical power in that statement.

I can’t change you, but I can change me. In order to have you help me of your own volition to accomplish something I value, one of the most powerful tools I have is how I show up to you. How do I hold myself? How do I live? How do I do my work? What do I believe in? Do I take a stand for it? Am I willing to risk myself for what I think is right for my people? Am I willing to take risk? Am I willing to make mistakes? Am I willing to be seen, working, growing, and developing in those areas where I stumbled?

All of these things inculcate not just trust, but respect and admiration. Think of somebody that you really, really admire and look up to. When you see them and feel that sense of admiration, what do you want to do? Be like them. It’s natural to emulate; there is inspiration that happens. To inspire requires showing up in a way that stands out, gets attention and makes people want aspire to something better.

And it doesn’t stop there. The other part about me that I can change is the way I treat you. The second axiom of Leadership by Attraction is: “Treat others as if they already were that way”. Regardless of how they are really acting, treat them as if they were the way you would like to see them be.

What happens is usually something like this: they will likely think, “He or she thinks I am really like that? I’ll feel pretty rotten and foolish if I don’t live up to it”. There is a healthy pride that comes, a sense of self-respect and a desire to go above and beyond. Even though their capabilities may not be there yet, they are going to move close the gap. As a rule, most people will tend to respond toward the way that they are being perceived and treated – for better or for worse.

All that said, there is a technology to this Leadership by Attraction – to implementing its two primary principles. (Yes, technology applies to the world of people and the soft stuff, too: Technology is simply a methodology of doing things a certain way to produce certain results.). One of the core processes of this technology is coaching and it is very powerful force for change.

A leader as a coach is somebody who is trying to bring people up, attract and empower them to act in a certain way. (And although it is the gold standard of leadership; at the end of the day, don’t forget that you are still primarily a boss, not a coach).

A good place for us to venture next in discussing coaching might be to define it. “Coaching is the technology of success.” It is about learning and studying, developing and understanding the principles and concepts that are behind people succeeding or not. And coaching involves competency with a set of tools that put these ideas into action to achieve the desired results. It is a very complex and rich multidisciplinary field.

What gets in the way of success? How do I block my success? What is the thinking behind creating success? How do I determine what success is for me verses what it’s not? Is it an authentic goal of my own or is it something I have borrowed or got from someone else? How do I tell the difference? What’s more important? What’s less important? It is part of a coach’s job is to help someone get at that kind of awareness and understanding? The other part is to challenge them to shift into gear and create the success they seek – hence the technology of success.

As a leader/coach, your job is to help your reports define what they think success is – what they really care about, what’s going to make them excited to come to work every day – and then align that with what success means to you in your area of responsibility. Once you have done that, you have set the stage to attract them into a process of self motivated, self serving activity – a process in which they align themselves with what you want them to be up to.

So you see, we are back to Leadership by Attraction. This is how coaching and Leadership by Attraction fit; this is the “why” of it. In part 3 of this blog, coming soon, we will dig into the “how” of coaching as tool of leadership.

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Kim Sawyer: Lead by Coaching – The Power of Building Coaching Into the Relationships You Have With Your People

I am an executive coach. I do what I do with executives and business people as an external service provider coming in to help them improve their game in all sorts of ways. But coaching is not something that is strictly for a professional coach to do with an executive or a client. Coaching is a tool of leadership – a sorely underutilized tool.

One of the competencies consistently scored the lowest on 360° leadership assessments across the board for managers and executives in the U.S. is “Developing Direct Reports”. Everyone is always talking about developing your people. It sounds so good; and indeed, it is a critical skill. But who ever talks about how you do that? What are the tools? What are the techniques? What does it look like?

It looks like coaching. It is about building and integrating a formal coaching relationship into how you manage your people. So let’s talk about coaching as a leadership competency. That is because coaching is a key component of true leadership.

We’ll start by discussing Leadership. What is it? The conversation about leaders has been going on for a very long time. Countless books have been written about it. Similarly endless are the various and usually complex definitions of a leader. But in fact, it’s a simple answer:

A leader is someone who has followers.

That may seem ridiculously obvious you at first glance, but it implies an entire framework of thinking and activities – a paradigm. There are volumes of information conveyed in that statement. If I don’t have people voluntarily, choosing of their own accord to follow me, I am not a leader. Period.