WHAT'S YOUR PROVOCATIVE QUESTION?

WHAT’S YOUR PROVOCATIVE QUESTION?

What do you collect?

I’ve met collectors of shoes, cars, houses and recipes! I simply or crazily collect questions.

Great questions can: transform a superficial conversation into an extraordinary relationship; unlock the real you … someone whom you thought you really knew and questions can elevate your happiness (think: Will you marry me?)

I glean questions at every opportunity. I record them, highlight them in a book, send myself recorded messages when I hear questions and their answers – quite alarming when I think of it!

So, it was very exciting to be handed a book which was filled with questions. That’s a Great Question, written or should I say, collated by Greg Bustin, provides on a platter, hundreds of tried and tested provacative questions, categorized into themed chapters – handy if you’re coaching others or as I found myself, using it as a self-help coaching book. Don’t be fooled thinking it’s a one hour read!

This book is your ideal, end of year practical exercise to prepare for 2017. As Greg suggests, take yourself away from your normal space; go hiking, block out a day to work through this book. Surprisingly, I am still reading this book today (Sunday) as I have found myself continually stopping in search on the answers.

In my business this week, we completed a mini-skills session with a client – exploring a couple of models to coach staff. I am always amazed how people come to realise how powerful a conversation becomes by using great questions to dig and discover.

Greg says that using questions effectively is like a dance. I agree. It’s not a checklist. It’s a conversation which you can exercise your lead but it’s about two people committed to working together. Whilst it might not look like Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers on the dancefloor, it should feel like a performance (of achievement).

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers - Courtesy of DHC Treasures

I couldn’t decide on a favourite question to share; so I’ve selected a few from a few of the thoughtfully categorised sections of the book. Use these on yourself and be surprised how time consuming it can be truthfully respond.

Purpose

If our company did not exist, what would the world be missing?What gives me a sense of certainty?

Values

What’s one principle I wished everyone practised?

Goal Setting

If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I do?

Trust

What am I kidding myself about?

How do I respond when I place my trust in someone and they let me down?

Communication

If a stranger walked in and asked any employee about our vision, mission and strategy, what would they hear?

Leadership

Do I behave differently in the office than at home? If so, in what ways? If so, what causes my behaviour to differ from place to place?

Time Management

If I tracked my time in 30 minute increments for a month, what would I find? Is this how I should spend my time?

Talent + Teamwork

Who are five people I spend most of my time with? Are they helping me or holding me back?

What am I doing to help make this job the best job my people have ever had?

Customer + Prospects

What memorable experience are we creating with our customers?

Making Things Happen

Do we measure the things that are important to us?

Are we having fun? Am I having fun?

Accountability

Whose job am I doing today? (I do like this question.)

Blue Sky

What would I do if I didn’t work?

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. – Albert Einstein

 

The book provides tips to help you coach others effectively, how to structure your questions, which words to never use and rules to abide by to establish a trusting relationship where private information is shared.

My greatest tip for you is to use the book on yourself first. Leadership works well when there is authentic self-awareness. Let this book be your gift to others by getting yourself ready for an awesome 2017. Alternatively, gift yourself a Coach for 2017 and get in contact with me to discover your best self.

 

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!

EGO - YOUR ENEMY?

Is Ego your Enemy?

In the ‘70s, Skyhooks, an iconic Australian band, had a hit song, ‘Ego is not a dirty word’. So iconic, that the mere mention of the word “Ego” sends the Australian (of my era) mind into a lyric mode. (Am I right?)

I grew up believing that Ego wasn’t a dirty word however in recent reads, ‘ego’ has raised its head as the culprit and the demise of so many known identifies. Ego caught my eye while book browsing and this week I read Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday, a New York media columnist, reformed workaholic and historian.

To be told that ego is the enemy, the reason for so much sadness, failures, and unfulfilled dreams, proved a challenging read. However, as I flicked through the pages, it proved to be an interesting, informative and I must say, influential read. If a book can change your view on a matter then it’s been a worthy read. I was really challenged by this book’s content– more so than any other book I’ve read during my self-imposed reading ‘challenge’. Ryan’s style is sophisticated, yet soothing with so many stories and his blatantly biased beliefs.

With his rich source of historical stories and fact, I found the read a most educative read – it’s saved me reading 20+ historical books – learning about his choice of individuals who have either suffered their own demise of egotism or mastered a humble life. I feel most informed about; Aristotle, Churchill, Machiavelli, General Marshall, Howard Hughes, Genghis Khan, Benjamin Franklin, Katharine Graham, Angela Merkel, Malcolm X, Steve Jobs and Adam Smith.  

Chancellor Angela Merkel is sober, when far too many leaders are intoxicated - with ego, with power, with position.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is sober, when far too many leaders are intoxicated - with ego, with power, with position.

The ego we see most commonly goes by a more casual definition: an unhealthy belief in your own importance. Arrogance. Self-centered ambition.

The book is organised into three sections: Aspire, Success, and Failure. Purposely designed to heighten your awareness when ego will plague you, encouraging you to start your training to suppress ego and to replace the temptations and cultivate strength. In other words: be humble in our aspirations, gracious in our success and resilient in our failures.

I would expect that my many extroverted mates will be intimidated with the views scattered through the book and suspect that 51% of the population, the introverts in our world, will agree with the populated world of extroverts who are overly noisy about their passion for sharing in their egotistical manner!

WHEREVER YOU ARE, WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING, YOUR WORST ENEMY ALREADY LIVES INSIDE YOU: YOUR EGO.

I found myself sinking into thoughts of the past, using this new Ego lens to view people’s performance, behaviours and management of matters. Ego has taken the paramount place in guiding their choices and humility has been left behind.

I suspect that this book would be a great gift for that person who’s Ego needs taming or needs some training.

I’ve been following Ryan on Twitter for the past week and he shares an abundance of historical quotes.  This is evidently his style as the book is saturated with wisdom and challenging thoughts. To master our greatest opponent, our ego, let’s contemplete these thoughts:

·        Passion typically masks a weakness – it is a poor substitute for discipline, master, strength, purpose and perseverance.

·        We tend to think that ego equals confidence, which is what we need to be in charge. In fact, it can have the opposite effect.

·        Pride blunts the very instrument we need to own in order to succeed: our mind.

·        Passion is form over function. Purpose is function, function, function.

·        What is rare is not raw talent, skill or even confidence but humility, diligence and self-awareness

·        The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong.

·        Talk depletes us – while goal visualisation is important, after a certain point our mind begins to confuse it with actual progress – the same goes for verbalization.

·        The only relationship between work and chatter is that one kills the other.

·        If you start believing in your greatness, it is the death of your creativity.

·        Only when free of ego and baggage can anyone perform to their utmost.

·        When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real.

·        It is poise, not pose.

·        One might say that the ability to evaluate one’s own ability is the most important skill of all. Without it, improvement is impossible.

·        Don’t allow your ego’s noise to indulge in games – ignore the noise, don’t allow it to distract you. Restraint is a critical skill.

·        Man is pushed by drives but he is pulled by values.

·        Disease of Me – after a team starts to win, the simple bonds that joined the individuals begin to fray – people calculate their importance.

·        Silence the noise around you; ‘go into the wilderness and return with inspiration, a plan, perspective and an understanding of the larger picture.

·        Creativity is a matter of receptiveness and recognition. This cannot happen if you’re convinced the world revolves around you.

·        Power doesn’t so much corrupt: that’s too simple. It fragments, closes options, mesmerizes – clouds the mind precisely when it needs to be clear. Sobriety is a counterbalance, a hangover cure – or better, a prevention method.

·        Ego can’t see both sides of the issue. It can’t get better because it only sees the validation.

·        Vain men never hear anything but praise.

·        Not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.

A great metaphor is shared regarding training to master your ego. Training is like sweeping the floor. Just because we’ve done it once, doesn’t mean the floor is clean forever. Every day dust comes back. Every day we must sweep. (Every minute of the day and then sweep again.)

If you struggle with the discipline of changing your behaviour, it's worth considering asking for guidance. Get in contact with me to help you with your ego.

I’m looking forward to my 20th book which I found in my library – it’s by Donald Trump! 

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!

An Exercise For Goal Setting

An Exercise For Goal Setting 

How regularly do you review your goals and determine if they are achieved?

I met with a client yesterday, the final session of a coaching contract relationship and it was fabulous to sit and listen to her review - she read through each goal and I heard “done” so many times!

Over ten months, each goal had been approached, planned, implemented, behaviour changed or strategized and feedback noted.

Whilst I’m blowing my trumpet, it highlights the role of a leader, mentor or coach in helping people, in a support capacity to work towards achieving their goals.

The first activity I ask my clients to do is start thinking of endings to these statements:

·         I wish I …

·         I’m hoping I ….

·         If I had the opportunity, I’d …

·         People often say that I ….

·         In my perfect world, I ….

Once we discuss this information (a good warm up exercise), we then start discussing real goals! Knowing the response to these statements, we can quickly cut through the crap!

Getting to goals is helped by working in time zones.  I like working with 30, 60 and 90 days to get into the habit of breaking the goal into a project.

So, have a go at thinking of your responses to these five statements. It's a good warm up exercise to get your mind activily thinking of goals. 

(And I don’t want to hear “I don’t have goals!” That’s hogwash! We all have dreams, aspirations, hope & desires.)