My office is on a 3rd floor of my house.
Thirty years ago, the homeowner of this house was irritated when her neighbor built an addition that blocked her view of the ocean.
She was mad. Very mad.
She built up.
Now there’s a view of the ocean.
And I’m in the trees with a lot of birds.
Look at what I saw this week:
2. Red Bellied Woodpecker
3. Northern Cardinal
4. Baltimore Oriole
So many birds! With different sounds and different activities.
Not that different from employees or coaching clients.
Everyone is different!
So it’s important to adjust your approach and style to the specific employee or client.
The biggest key to that is listening deeply to people and their concerns. I find coaching to be a deeply creative process. I don’t have the answers. But I do listen creatively to provide relief to clients so they take action they didn’t see to take before we started talking.
People are extremely talented, perceptive and smart. If you listen creatively, you’ll see something new and be able to help in ways you didn’t anticipate if you went into the conversation with the answers.
Imagine having big welts on your leg but you never saw anything bite you?
Welcome to the world of No-See-Ums. Here are some internet descriptions:
I’ve noticed another No-See-Um that afflicts business owners and professionals. We “No-See-Um” our accomplishments or progress.
We are much more proficient at noticing what we didn’t accomplish, what’s missing, what hasn’t gotten done, where someone might have been critical of us, or anything else in the negative arena. We-See-Ums!
By stepping over what we’re accomplishing, we negatively impact our feelings of success and connection with others. We feel worse basically.
A lot of this is family and cultural conditioning. We are trained to notice what is wrong, what is missing and internal conversations of shoulds and self judgement. A lot of us think we won't be motivated if we don't criticize ourselves. Not true!
You can break this pattern but it takes practice.
One practice I use is to capture accomplishments as I go through the week and write them down. Otherwise, they disappear. No-See-Ums. Then at the end of the week I can see progress and appreciate my efforts and success.
Even better, share your accomplishments with others. The accomplishments will expand and you'll be able to appreciate yourself more.
Business owners don’t have a boss to tell them “Good job! Progress!” So it’s an important piece to put in for yourself. Try it and watch what happens to your energy and fulfillment.
Start to See Ums, and I promise you won't have painful welts to endure for a week!
If you'd like to connect, schedule some time here.
A perfect Saturday morning for me is drinking coffee, appreciating my view of the Atlantic, and listening to Hillbilly at Harvard from 9-1 EST. I love the music, the wacky lyrics and best of all -- the host Cousin Lynn. He just says whatever is there, whenever it’s there and it doesn’t seem to matter that he’s broadcasting across the World Wide Web (which he likes to say).
Cousin Lynn communicates in a way many people do.
He just talks. He’s on the radio so it is a monologue and not a dialogue. I call it “mind on broadcast”.
That’s great for a quaint radio show, but it doesn’t work well in communication.
If you’d like to increase your impact of your communication, consider these two important points before opening your mouth:
It seems so simple but you’d be surprised how little people do it. Especially when it’s going to be a difficult conversation. If it’s a challenging conversation, we often are uncomfortable and get the attention on ourselves, not focusing about the other person at all.
I find even consultants and coaches don’t have this skill down. I was at a consultants’ meeting a while back and consultants would broadcast their thoughts on the subject at hand, talk on and on, and seem to be unaware that people had stopped listening. I wondered if that works when they’re consulting with a client. This week I published my thoughts on raising the bar on the coaching industry on Medium.
If you want to increase your impact in your communication and your influence in your organization, let’s talk. You can schedule a complimentary session here.
Someone starts a business that serves people well. It grows. And grows. The business owner is working faster and faster, and longer and longer hours. Pretty soon, she forgets why she started the business in the first place. The pleasure is gone. The fulfillment is missing. Maybe she tries to hire a few folks to help, and it doesn’t go as planned. She starts to give up, or just keeps trying to work faster, more, better.
This is a very familiar scenario to most business owners.
A key focus at this stage of business is to learn to replicate yourself—or as potential clients who called me said “Help! I need to clone myself.”
The challenge is that you’ve learned to do what you do over time. It’s natural to you, even obvious and bit automatic. You may forget that it wasn’t when you started out.
So how do you develop others? You can’t inject them with your experience from the last 5 years. A lot of it you don’t realize you have inside of you.
That’s where coaching and talking with others come in. You need to extricate the gold out of you so it can be replicated. You need to learn to produce results through others vs. doing it all yourself. It’s a tough shift for many business owners. How do you keep a pulse on their business and let go of some of what you’re doing and tactical stuff? How do you create a plan to develop others that is chunked down, clear, specific, and replicable over time AND where the employee feels supported, appreciated, and not overwhelmed while they learn? The plan also needs to involve a lot of dialogue, examples and practice with employees.
That takes time, darn it, something you don’t have a lot of. But every minute you invest here will free up hours for you later, if you do this well.
This is one of my favorite processes to engage in with business owners. They start to own their value and what they’ve accomplished, which helps them both increase their prices while also developing others and their employees’ careers. The business grows and gets past the bottleneck: YOU. It becomes fulfilling and exciting again as you can be more creative and strategic.
If you’d like to talk about how to take your business to the next level and remove the obstacles that are getting in the way of growth, schedule a strategy session with me here.
Like my clients who are approaching their fifties and after, I find myself drawn to contribute all I've learned over my career to my field.
The psychologist Erikson points to this in his theory about psychosocial development. He talks about the stages of care (40-59) and wisdom (60 and above) -- and the desire to contribute back to others in these stages.
It's not infrequently I hear horror stories about experiences with coaches. I believe this is a conversation that is important to have for both coaches and clients.
Today I published this article on Medium which you can read it here. And follow me on Medium if you like. I'm just starting this conversation. I have a lot to say about it!
I heard about Mud Season before coming to Maine. Through my first winter on the East Coast, I felt like I've been experiencing Mud Season every other week or so. But now, for real, a small waterfall begins at the top of my path to my house that funnels into a pond at the foot of my front steps. The rocks I put in as stepping stones are now submerged. Hmmm.
I left that shopping cart out in the yard a couple of months ago and it's been frozen to the ground ever since.
I love little challenges and learning new things.
Recently I've been learning about podcasts and have been on a couple. Here's one where I talk about my journey as a business owner [Listen here].
Something else I have learned about and loved for 30 years is sales. I know, weird, right? I've always told clients that sales is the best personal development course there is. There are your money issues, relationship issues, power issues, confidence issues and more -- all wrapped up into one great little subject!
I'd love to share what I've learned about sales over my career with other coaches and consultants. I'm thinking of offering a Sales Beta Group for Coaches to help others grow their businesses through creating strong relationships and high value with clients. If you are a coach or know of any, I've created a short survey to see if this offer is of interest. I'd appreciate it if you'd share with others. Participate in the survey here.
Thanks for helping me market my services from my muddy [and beautiful] little island.
When I arrived on Peaks Island, Maine last spring and went to Hannigan's grocery store [a glorified 7-11, I thought, in my Portland, Oregon foodie snobbery], I laughed aloud at the tagline on their truck:
I snorted to myself, "I beg to differ."
But last week, when the wind chill of 17º below, I was setting out to go to my knitting meet-up and grocery shop in town. I walked half a block and decided to go to Hannigan's instead-- then back home where I had heat and a good book.
When I saw that tagline on the truck outside the market, I said to myself . . . "Damn straight."
Our perspective can change a situation in a freezing rain flash.
And that perspective is everything. You can change a situation just by how you look at it, your interpretation or opinion.
Alas, it's hard to look at things differently if we're just listening to our thoughts in our own head.
I've noticed when clients reach out for help, they often wait too long before they do so. I ran that idea by a couple consulting clients this week, and they had seen the same thing in their industry. We tend to be so independent, thinking "I can solve this!' If people had reached out sooner, they would have created a new approach to a situation that they hadn't thought of before. They might not have become quite as frustrated for as long or the situation might not have become worse. Progress would be faster.
If you find yourself trying to change a situation but getting frustrated instead, please schedule some time here. We often need an outside perspective to approach a situation in a new way, creating different results.
Walking to the ferry this morning, the man who owns the nursery on the island said "Hi, Kerry." I replied, "Wow, you're good at names!" He said, "I try."
Coach that I am I think..."He doesn't just try. He does it!"
After a conversation with a client last week when she said she was "trying" to do something that she actually was doing, she sent this picture:
We often create our experience with our language and what we say, but we don't notice what we're saying. We might say "It's going to be a rough week" and voila -- we create it! Our language is more powerful than we realize. It's worth being aware of what we are saying both to ourselves in our heads and aloud to others.
I saw a weather forecast for Maine that called for "thumping snow" last Sunday. I'm glad I was able to do more than try to shovel!
We looked at integrity as the First Secret Ingredient for an Innovative Company Culture. If you're engaged in an active practice of looking to see how your actions line up with your commitments, you're on the right track!
But how does that create an innovative culture?
One book I read had some great examples:
"When we say our people matter but we don’t actually care for them, it can shatter trust and create a culture of paranoia, cynicism, and self-interest."
It's hard to be innovative when we're in that kind of culture! In one example from the book, Bob Chapman was walking by a locked inventory cage which he did daily so it was invisible to him. Because the company had a principle about trusting their employees, he thought "How is this locked inventory cage consistent with our value of trusting our employees?" [That is often the case with inconsistencies with our values. They're so accepted and normal to us; we're not looking at our environment with fresh eyes. But he saw it that day in a new light by looking from the company values].
He had the inventory cage unlocked on the spot.
That's integrity and being in an inquiry about your values. It's continually asking yourself, "Where are we in integrity and where are we off track?' It is also a powerful communication to others in the organization demonstrating you're serious about your mission and values, and you'll make the hard decisions to get aligned even when it's inconvenient.
We all know that actions speak louder than words. This is how you give your mission and values power to impact people's engagement and actions in your organization.
If you'd like to learn to have your company mission live in your organization, please schedule some time here. Your mission and values are critical to your business success, talent retention, employee satisfaction and customer retention. You can leverage them to create breakthrough innovation in your company.