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!

Leadership Performance Improvement Strategy

Golfing at the Sandhurst Golf Club in the outskirts of Melbourne. Can you spot what I'm doing incorrectly?

 I play golf. I'm not great; I'm not in the league of the great Jason Day! (Great #golf)

So, when I have the opportunity, I ask my Golf Coach (aka husband) to play a round of golf with me to enable him to observe my every move! I'm fueled by feedback - anything to improve my enjoyment of the game.

How many times have you played and wondered why you keep making the same errors?  Oh, it's so frustrating! When you play golf, in particular when you tee off, there are twenty plus considerations to ensure you're ready to hit the ball. So, by the 9th tee, I was finally getting my swing right although you'll see something wrong in my photo.  Can you spot it?

Likewise, when you lead, communicate and  be visible to your colleagues, team and clients, you need to be conscious of the consistency in the messages you are conveying - whether they are verbal or non-verbal. Any inconsistencies will be spotted and keep the grapevine and social media airwaves busy.

In my golf, a slight adjustment to the placement of my arms made a huge difference to the direction of my ball ... it went straight! The 'golf coach' reminded me three times until I was consciously aware of the required change.

We all need a leadership performance improvement strategy if we are to increase our effectiveness in our game - that game being any aspect of your business and the roles you place in life.

I specialize in leadership performance and recently I challenge my client to change her approach  to her 'Monday Morning Message'  - rather than email we've moved to the 21st Century and created videos - short, sharp, simple and stating her intent for her week. Bam! What a difference it made - people were actually watching the message and commenting.

Today is the day to consider what your Leadership Performance Improvement Strategy consists of - is it your meetings, your one-on-ones, your 'small talk' or how you provide feedback?

Drop me a line and let me know what you're focusing on. I'll hold you accountable!

What difference do I make?

I've just completed a program of coaching sessions with a client and my coachee's unsolicited feedback, at the end, was positively heartwarming.

As we lead others, we unconsciously go about some of our activity and don't realize the difference we make with others. 

Taking time to have conversations, following up with the odd electronic message to check their well being or progress with a challenge/issue/matter demonstrates that you care and want to see a difference in their lives.

While working with a group of people yesterday who were interested to understand how to coach others, it was unanimously agreed that leaders can and should help others reach their potential and achieve the difference in their performance.

Maybe you need to stop and think hard to answer this question: What difference do I make? It's one of many questions that we need to consider and answer as leaders.

That's OK.

The important piece of this equation is connecting with your purpose in life. Why are you here? Knowing your purpose engages you with the difference you make in others' lives.

Share this question with your team - it makes for a reflective discussion.

Check my ideas on Coaching and connect with me to discuss further.

 

Who's in charge of your Professional Development?

Last week, I worked with an amazing group of women - they were from the Not-For-Profit and Local Government sectors participating in Leadership development. Putting their sectors aside, what they concluded and what was of great interest to many was their hunger to understand how to go about accessing Mentors & Coaches for their  Professional Development.

It was apparent that not much discussion or knowledge was available in their workplaces and it was their pro-activeness that drove this discussion. Here's what we discussed:

Mentors

Mentors can be in the same workplace, sector, industry or can be from an entirely different industry, however, if we're discussing Leadership, it really doesn't matter where they operate or have operated - they could be retired.

Mentors can be assigned or better still, should be found or referred to you. Search someone out who you admire or someone who's recommended to you given past 'mentoring' experience.

They can be from the opposite gender which provides many benefits: gain a different perspective, leading & influencing men and women is different, get into their heads and understand how you're so different in the business world.

Be greedy and seek out several Mentors! One who has had experience with the issue you're navigating, someone in the same industry and someone who's a respected leader.

Should you pay a Mentor? Absolutely! You're tapping into a massive amount of tried and tested experience and advice. Unless it's a 'once off coffee chit chat' or a pro-bono package/arrangement then you'll definitely want to pay for this type of Professional Development.

Coaches

The market is saturated with Coaches. You need to find someone who you respect and hopefully they come with recommendations and references.

A coach's skill is to guide and challenge you to find the solution you're seeking. They may have no experience with your industry, sector or goals/ideas - their craft is to get you thinking, reflecting, talking, visualizing, planning and action.

Alternatively, you can arrange and complete peer coaching or network coaching. By creating a small network of trusted allies, you can coach each other to seek out ideas and solutions.

Should you pay for a Coach? Oh yes! You're first session will be the 'trust, respect & relationship tester'. And from there your selection of the Coaching Package will determine the investment. And, that is what it is, an investment in your career.

Coaching requires discipline and accountability. If you're prepared to be answerable to yourself and a Coach and do what you've not currently doing then get a Coach.

How do you do it?

I recently met with a 'Mentee' and she commented "how do you do it?" - "a businesswomen with a young family". It stopped me in my tracks, as I generally wonder how others do it!

We all have the same number of hours allocated to us and for some reason, some do it while others watch you do it!

From my observation it comes down to: choice and the techniques, processes and approach we take to accomplish what's on our list.

Choice is the mental piece - it's the tough one to crack. Do I choose to get up early, go to bed early, watch TV until midnight, go to the gym during my lunch break, eat a carrot rather than a donut etc. It's the continuous conversation in your head which is either connected or disconnected to your values and drive.

The techniques, processes and approach is all skill based - learnt with experience. For example:  writing goals, prioritising activities and creating a plan are second nature for those that regularly practise. My approach involves talking, asking and testing ideas - then writing it down and acting on ot! It works for me!

The main point is, if it ain't working for you and you're not doing it - then ask for help. Get a Coach, a Mentor, seek someone out whom you've observed 'doing it' and question them - "How do you do it?"

I host a Women's Business Network in my suburb; we have our own private Facebook page and meet regularly to discuss our business ideas & issues. I'm in another network with four other women and we're always asking "How do you do it?"

Don't stop asking!

 

I MOACH. DO YOU?

I Moach. Do you?

At times I find myself becoming impatient when I’m 'Coaching'; I just want to tell the ‘Coachee’ what to do! And when I 'Mentor', I can see that the Mentee is struggling to understand their own Drive, Values and Motivation.

So, I popped Mentoring, Coaching and a flavouring of Facilitation into the blender and voilà, I created Moaching! Some of you will say, “That’s not new” and I say “Hooray for you”. However, some of you need a little hand with mixing and appllying these practices.

Here’s a snapshot of the elements. Try it out. If not, shout and I’ll help you out!

When you Moach, use the TORCH Model:

TALK – lead the conversation to uncover drive & motivations

OPPORTUNITIES – explore what’s on your Map and in your Mind

RISKS – assess the probabilities & possibilities of your decision making

CHOICE – make a choice & be Accountable

HOW – discuss how do you make it happen?

I consider your role as a leader to hold the torch, shine it on the many paths and help decisions to be made out of the choices which takes them to their destination.

REAR-VIEW MIRROR

We’re at the end of another month – Yikes! A short one, but, that was expected.

I’m not sure about you, but I like to look back and check what I’ve achieved, completed, started, failed at (miserably) and like most Practice operators, check the bank balance!

If we look in the rear-view mirror, we can review the facts, analyse the consequences of our choices – a key component of the following months planning.

If you can identify the quadrant of activities that really accelerated your effectiveness and increased the outcomes, then repeat that in March. The tough task is agreeing with you, your team and partners, is what to stop – the quadrant which is occupied with time-wasters, inefficiencies, repeat offenders and zero dollar earners.

I’ve marked a couple of hours in my calendar today to evaluate the month of February 2013 and to review my current plan and activities for March 2013. I want to be ready to wake tomorrow and be in a position to ‘just do it’!

If you are staring blankly at this screen and thinking “easy for you Louise”, then maybe you need a Coach, a Mentor or even some tough Skills Coaching. People who can do it, have done it and in business to support you to be more effective.