Archive for leadership coaching

Executive Coaching: Why Bother? Why Now?

COVID-19 is spiking, Oregon’s Governor Brown just declared a two-week freeze, and businesses are scrambling to determine what the 2021 landscape will look like. Some predict the virus’s spread will worsen and further shutdowns will be necessary, while others anticipate a return to quasi-normality following the introduction of a vaccine. In any case, uncertainty is the name of the game.

As a leader, you need to be prepared for not just the present, not just what’s around the corner, but what lies beyond the foreseeable future. Instead of lamenting potential revenue losses during these fragile times, begin to think of this pause as an opportunity to deepen your and your team’s knowledge, skills, and vision so your company is resilient enough to withstand and even triumph during times of crisis.

To give your organization the best chance of surviving—and thriving—you need to focus on your own growth, sanding down the rough edges while equipping yourself with a toolkit for success.

Co-Active Coaching

Executive coaching can take you there … but not just any type of executive coaching. Capiche leans on co-active coaching techniques like those taught at the Co-Active Training Institute, which emphasize clarity of communication, conversation, awareness-raising, and concrete actions.

A co-active leadership coach partners with you to reveal your strengths and push you toward greatness. Together, you will identify problem areas and strategies for addressing those weaknesses. Be prepared to be inspired—and held accountable.

Are You Ready?

Before you dive in, ask yourself, Are You Ready to Be Coached? Don’t fool yourself—the co-active coaching process is hard work. But that hard work yields exceptional results.

Growth can be painful. It may require you to examine aspects of yourself you’d rather leave hidden. Exposing those vulnerabilities, however, can divest them of their power over you and enable you to rise above them.

Co-active coaching is a creative, experimental process. You need to enter it with an open, willing mind to fully benefit from the experience.

You also need to let go of perfectionism—waiting for the perfect moment to start, the perfect moment to pursue a new idea, the perfect moment to resolve issues that have been festering underneath the surface. The perfect moment is NOW.

What Do You Get Out of Co-Active Coaching?

Honing your emotional intelligence (EI), strengthening your willpower muscle, developing true grit, deepening your humility, heightening your sense of responsibility—all of these occur as part of the co-active coaching process and ultimately result in your becoming the finest leader you possibly can be.

Perhaps the best-known executive coach in the world, Marshall Goldsmith has conducted extensive research on what drives leadership success. As discussed in this Capiche blog post, the level of employee engagement is not the responsibility of the employees but rather their managers. It is when leaders accept that responsibility that their team begins to mirror that behavior back. You need to model the type of person you would like your team members to be.

Is it worth the effort? If you care about your company, your team, and yourself, then the answer is an emphatic “Yes!”

In this Forbes article, business thinker and author Erika Andersen outlines the following benefits of executive coaching:

  1. It helps you see yourself more clearly.
  2. It helps you see others more clearly.
  3. It teaches you new ways to respond.
  4. It illuminates how to leverage your existing strengths.
  5. It enables you to build more productive relationships.
  6. It gives you the tools to achieve what you want.

It’s Time

So you’re convinced. You realize it’s time to stop procrastinating and to commit to co-active coaching. How do you find the right fit for your personality, needs, and goals? Read this blog post for starters. Then contact Chris Cook at chris@capiche.us or 541.601.0114 to schedule a complimentary phone or video consultation so you can discover if she is the right co-active leadership coach for you.

What a Year It Was—What a Year It Can Be

New Years Fireworks

With the holiday season wrapping up and a new year on the horizon, this is the time of year we reflect on the past and set our intentions for the future.

I have a series of reflections I use with my coaching clients as well as for myself. Try them out! Answer where you can from both a personal and professional stance.

Looking Back on 2014

  1. What was one defining moment in 2014?
  2. In what way(s) has 2014 shaped you for the better?
  3. As you reflect on 2014, what are you grateful for and what are you appreciating?
  4. Overall, how would you rate 2014 on a scale of 1 to 10?
  5. What would have made 2014 a 10 out of 10?

Looking Ahead to 2015

  1. As you look ahead to 2015, what excites you?
  2. What are your key goals and objectives for 2015? (or as the book The 4 Disciplines of Execution asks, “What are your Wildly Important Goals?”)
  3. Where and how do you want to stretch yourself in 2015?
  4. What will make 2015 a 10 out of 10 year for you?
  5. What is a possible theme for the year that could serve to lock in a resonant 2015? (Maybe a song, a sports team or a movie—old or new—as long as it resonates with you.)

You may find this is a fun way to spend New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day with loved ones. I believe sharing these reflections deepens their meaning. And sharing your goals and dreams with those you care about provides more of an incentive moving forward.

Let me know if there’s a question you like to reflect on that’s not listed above. This is a process I have been evolving for some time now, and surely there are other reflections that would enhance the process.

Time to Get a Coach?

Perhaps this is the year for you to get a coach. People with coaches are seven times more likely to achieve their goals because of the accountability a coach requires and the support and positive motivation a coach provides.

Give Chris a call at 541.601.0114 or email for a sample session to see if coaching is right for you.

Read our other blog posts on coaching:

Why Coaching, Why Now

The Wall Street Journal reveals that executive coaches report steady demand for their services despite the recession. As the economy begins to bounce back …

Leadership Coaching

As a leader, you want your organization to succeed. You work hard to create a culture of high-performance. You encourage your employees’ happiness because …

Personal Coaching for Leaders and Organizational Development

Personal coaching supports and challenges leaders to maximize their potential, which ultimately maximizes the potential of the people they lead. Our coaching goals are to …

What’s Holding You Back from Reaching Your Potential? How to Find a Coach Who’s the Right Fit

Do you have a goal you want to reach by the end of the year—either career-related or personal? Is there something you want to improve or …

This Is for All the Lonely Leaders: Why Partner with an Executive Coach

Think back on your life. As you were growing up, who nudged you toward greatness? Who gave you gentle support while simultaneously …

Are You on Track to Meet Your Year-End Goals?

Woman Jumping a Track Hurdle

Here are 5 steps to make it happen.

Last month, I read a blog post by my high school classmate Bruce Johnson titled “How to Craft a 100-Day Plan So You Finish This Year Well.” He’s a very smart guy who, as he puts it, has “a business growth coaching, consulting and executive education firm that helps business owners and entrepreneurs like you become great at building a business that’s designed for maximum growth, impact and profitability.”

His post got me wondering what I could do to boost the year for Capiche—my own coaching and consulting firm. I read Bruce’s steps and realized that not only could I do these for my own business, but also that I could help other businesses implement these steps for their success.

I encourage you to read Bruce’s post. I’ve outlined his steps below and added some of my own ideas for #5: Set Yourself up for Success for Next Year. Have a look.

1. Be Clear on Your Starting and End Points.

It’s October. January is less than three months away. What is realistic? What is most important? Focus there. As Bruce reminds us, “Don’t limit your targets/metrics to just revenue. Pick three to five metrics for you and your team.”

2. Go for the Low-Hanging Fruit First.

Seems obvious. We have long- and short-term plans and tactics, and while we need to be working both, at year’s end, it’s okay to hit the short-term plan hard. Typically, this means re-igniting relationships with current/recent clients vs. reeling in that new client.

3. Double the Speed.

I love Bruce’s analogy of the two-minute warning in football or that last leg of the track race. You don’t slow down because the event is almost over—you put it into overdrive to come out ahead. Do the same with your business tactics.

4. Calendarize Your Tactics.

Calendarize? Really? Bruce, is this even a word?! (Just kidding. I looked it up. It is.) In other words, set dates and hold people—including yourself—accountable. It’s easy to blow something off when there’s not a deadline. Time is short. Calendarize every step toward your goals.

5. Set Yourself up for Success for Next Year.

Bruce mentions things like a new marketing campaign, a new product, a new technology issue or capability, hiring or training some new talent, researching a new market or redesigning a new website with new capabilities.

Here are a few other ideas you can accomplish this year to set yourself up for success in 2015:

  • Revisit your organization’s mission, vision, values and purpose. Do your mission, vision, values and purpose still make sense? Do they ring true? If not, it’s time to get clear on what you DO hold true and how you want your business to move forward.
  • Do a brand assessment. Check in to see if you are in alignment with your brand. Are you living your brand? Do all your business decisions align with your brand? Does every action and communication align with your brand? If not, it’s time to get a clearer definition of your brand, which will guide you toward a more focused business strategy.
  • Conduct a perception survey to determine how others view your organization. Talk to key stakeholders (clients, customers, suppliers, vendors, influencers, and your in-house team). Use this information to chart where you are now vs. where you want to go in 2015.

Let Capiche help you with any or all of the three strategies listed above. You’ll be delighted how these simple actions will craft a winning strategy for 2015.

I’ll sign off with Bruce’s signature closing . . . “To your accelerated success!”

How Do You Influence?

Two Men Talking


“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and to influence their actions.” —John Hancock


In the Working with Emotional Intelligence master’s course, we have discussed many different aspects of self-awareness, managing our own emotions, developing empathy for others and using listening skills that deepen empathy and understanding of others. These emotional intelligence competencies strengthen our interactions with selves and others since we function, learn and grow within the context of relationships.

In our everyday lives—both work and personal—we also have the opportunity and desire to influence others to make things happen. This can occur either consciously or unconsciously, and in so doing, we can achieve differing degrees of effectiveness and success.

What can we really do when it comes to influencing others? Will offering advice be effective? What about convincing the other person of your point of view and desired action? What if that advice, point of view and action aligns with your values and not the other person’s values? What if it does? And how can you find out?

This week, my students began by assessing two relationships in their life and their level of influence within those relationships. If you want to play along, here are the questions to ask:

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being very low and 5 being extremely high:

  1. What is the level of trust in our relationship? (For example, this person knows I have his or her best interests at heart; I earned this trust by modeling integrity and ethical behavior.)
  2. What level do I know and understand this person’s values and passion? (This could be about life in general or the situation that you wish to influence.)
  3. Does this person perceive I have understanding, knowledge and competency in the area I would offer influence? (The person knows to ask you for advice or that any advice coming from you is that of a mentor with a great deal of competency in the subject area.)

After identifying these aspects of your levels of influence within the relationship, explore ways you can strengthen your foundations to build effective and positive influence. What actions can you take to move the scale closer to 5? Observe what comes naturally for you and what areas you consciously need to change.

Remember the importance of sincerity and how we are hard-wired to be in relationship. Our brains can filter out “schmoozing” and insincerity that may be used to manipulate instead of influence.

What have you discovered? Please let us know by commenting below.


“Leadership is influence.” —John C. Maxwell


Leaders, Listen Up!

Leaders Listen Up

Human connection is critical for a person’s health and development, starting at infancy and continuing into the workplace. Relationships with colleagues and with the boss matter for creating a workplace where employees come to work ready to contribute and be their best.

We live in a time when we are nearly always “connected.” According to the Pew Research Center*, 75% of people under 30 own a smart phone—and 61% of all working people own one.

So what’s the problem? A Blanchard Companies* survey found that 81% of workers say their leaders don’t listen and 82% say they don’t provide appropriate feedback.

Only 34% of workers meet with their boss once a week, and 28% rarely or never discuss future goals with their boss. Yet 70% wish they did. And 64% of workers want to use meeting time with their boss to solve problems, but 19% report they rarely or never do.

Sixty-four percent of workers say they wish they could talk to their boss about problems with colleagues, but only 8% actually do.

There’s a song playing in my head as I write this. It’s “Communication Breakdown” by Led Zeppelin:

Communication breakdown, it’s always the same.

I’m having a nervous breakdown, drive me insane!

The bottom line is workers who feel connected with their colleagues and leader are more likely to feel good about their jobs, and workers who feel connected to their leaders are more likely to remain in their jobs and bring their A game.

What kind of leader are you?

Sources

*The Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project, June 2013
**The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Employee Work Passion Survey 2013

What’s Holding You Back from Reaching Your Potential?

Woman Aiming at Archery Target

How to Find a Coach Who’s the Right Fit

Do you have a goal you want to reach by the end of the year—either career-related or personal? Is there something you want to improve or change between now and then?

What’s holding you back? Where are you stuck? Why haven’t you been successful in the past? Have you ever considered working with a coach?

You may wonder who exactly seeks out a coach … it’s winners who want even more out of life.

Finding the right coach may not be as momentous a decision as choosing your life partner, but it’s not far off.

As with any close relationship, there has to be harmony. Kindred spirits inspire, but they can also hold you back. You’re not looking for a friend. Or a superior. You want an equal whom you respect and who respects you.

The right coach will connect with you at a profound level while also applying gentle pressure, like the grit that polishes the pearl.

Recommendations from colleagues are dandy, but one person may like sneakers while another prefers combat boots. You have to find the best fit for you. Who’s going to help you climb that mountain?

Do your research and find out what kind of a coach you want. A life coach? A leadership coach? A co-active coach? Are your aspirations professional, personal, or both?

Explore the websites of coaches in your area and see whose philosophy, personality, and attitude resonate with you. Narrow your list down to a few finalists and schedule a free consultation.

When you meet with a prospective coach, pay attention to how you behave and feel. You may find yourself sharing things you’d never expected to tell a stranger during a first meeting. You need someone you can be completely honest with. If you quickly develop a rapport, there’s a good likelihood you’ll be able to establish a relationship of mutual trust.

The coach’s questions may elicit new realizations about your career or life trajectory. Did you come away from that first meeting inspired, with a clearer vision of what to aim for and how to get there? A coach should help you clarify your goals while also equipping you with the tools to reach them.

In Your Executive Coaching Solution, Joan Kofodimos says a good coach will do the following:

1.         Strike a balance between supporting and challenging you

2.         Help create feedback loops with colleagues

3.         Assist with clarifying your true strengths, values and purpose

4.         Provide structure in the development process

5.         Broaden your perspectives

6.         Teach concepts and skills

7.         Maintain confidentiality

8.         Influence how others view you

Keep these tips in mind as you evaluate coaches and try to listen equally to your heart and your head. Ultimately, you’re looking for the person who’s going to push you to greater heights—and depths.

As you seek a coach who is right for you, give me a chance to interview for the position. In celebration of my newly minted coaching certification by the International Coaches Federation and The Coaches Training Institute, I am offering a special discount on a three-month coaching package.

Not sure if coaching is for you? Check out my coaching services for free. In your complimentary 30-minute session, I guarantee you will design action toward the change you desire.  I will help you become clearer on what you want, develop action plans, stay committed to your goals and live intentionally.

As your coach, I will hold you accountable—and that’s a good thing because statistics show people who are coached are seven times more likely to follow through on their plans.

Call 541.601.0114 or email me today to schedule your free coaching sample session and to learn more about how coaching will change your life.

Why Coaching? Why Now?

Fish out of Water

The Wall Street Journal reveals that executive coaches report steady demand for their services despite the recession. As the economy begins to bounce back, those individual and corporate clients say this one-on-one coaching has been instrumental to their career and organization’s success. Flourishing companies understand that coaching is a way to develop and keep their organization’s key talent, which is critical in any economy.

How I Can Help

I am excited to announce that as of June 25, 2013, I am a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach® (CPCC) through The Coaches Training Institute (CTI). Recognized as the most rigorous coaching program in the industry, CTI includes hands-on coaching, ongoing group work and one-on-one supervision of actual coaching sessions. After successful completion of the program (196 training hours and 100+ coaching hours), I passed the written and oral certification exams, earning my CPCC designation! It has been one of the most rewarding learning experiences I have ever enjoyed, and I am already using these coaching skills with individuals and organizations.

CPCC Logo
I’m joining a broad and varied group of professionals. To date, more than 20,000 coaches, consultants, managers and new career explorers have been trained through CTI. Coaches come from diverse backgrounds and careers, including marketers, entrepreneurs, CEOs, accountants, scientists, engineers, dentists, educators, therapists and community leaders.

How Organizations Can Benefit

Major organizations such as Marriott, IBM, Boeing and the EPA have offered Co-Active Coach® training to increase management and employee effectiveness. They recognize the value of coaching in honing leadership, management and communication skills of senior leaders and high-potentials.

How Individuals Can Benefit

You’ve heard it said, “It’s lonely at the top.” By working with a coach, the most isolated executive can explore goals, realities and options with a trusted source—someone who will encourage and hold them accountable for the actions and ways of being they determine will move them in the right direction.

While you’re growing and becoming your best self, a coach is on your side, championing you while believing in your natural creativity and resourcefulness.

The Hard Facts

Data at International Coaches Federation (of which I am a member) states that professional coaching brings many wonderful benefits, including fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness and increased confidence.

The list does not end there. Those who undertake coaching also can expect appreciable improvement in productivity; satisfaction with life and work; and the attainment of relevant goals. Data researched by PricewaterhouseCoopers follows.

Increased Productivity

Professional coaching maximizes potential and unlocks latent sources of productivity.

Improved work performance: 70%

Improved business management: 61%

Improved time management: 51%

Improved team effectiveness: 51%

Increased Positivity

Building the self-confidence of employees to face challenges is critical in meeting organizational demands.

Improved self-confidence: 80%

Improved relationships: 73%

Improved communication: 72%

Improved life/work balance: 67%

Return on Investment

John Schweiger Testimonial for Chris CookCoaching generates learning and clarity for forward action with a commitment to measurable outcomes. The vast majority of companies (86%) say they made at least their investment back.

More information on the benefits of coaching can be found in the ICF Research Portal, including case studies and industry reports.

For more client testimonials, see Leadership Coaching. Contact me at 541.601.0114 or chris@capiche.us to learn more or schedule a free session. I guarantee movement toward positive change in your first 30-minutes.

What’s Your Sign? Let’s Talk Personal Brand

Lifting the Horizon

Here’s an old line with a new twist: what’s your elevator speech—for yourself?

You’ve probably invested weeks or even months defining your company’s brand, zeroing in on the sweet spot that distinguishes your organization from its competitors and then figuring out how to live it.

But how much thought have you given to your personal brand? What makes you stand out from your colleagues? What unique contributions do you make, both to your organization and the wider world?

Brand is central to all interactions—personal, business, online, social media—and is a combination of what you say and do as well as how you show up. And if you never bothered to think about it, your brand may be more accidental than intentional.

Below are some questions that will help you access the core of your being, see yourself as others do and distinguish between what you do and who you really are. Based on this information, you may decide to present yourself a little differently.

What Do You Believe?

It’s time to get personal clarity about your beliefs. What are you passionate about? What inspires you?

Pretend you’re introducing yourself to a new colleague or prospective client. How would you complete this sentence? “I believe …”

If someone asked me that question, I would say, “I believe that finding the positive in people and organizations contributes to a better world. I like to start by helping individuals develop their unique strengths, and this leads to better performance and greater happiness.”

What Taste Do You Leave in People’s Mouths?

Is it sweet, savory, or a pinch of both? Is it spicy or bland, bitter or sour—or perhaps you bring a touch of umami flair?

How does your presence influence others? What do they say about you after you’ve left a meeting? What will they say about you after you’ve left this world?

Whether or not you intend to, you affect others. People often don’t realize the impact they have on others unless it is publicly recognized—awards, celebrity, trophies of one sort or another. Few are aware when they have a deflating, enraging, or otherwise negative effect.

It might help to ask your colleagues and friends to give you an honest assessment of your brand. Ask them to not hold back—it might be tough to hear, but this is an opportunity to see yourself in a new way. If you don’t like what you see, change it.

You Are Not Your Job Title

You are more than the sum of your duties. Your personal brand has as much to do with how you do something as what you do.

When you perform a task, how can someone recognize your hand as opposed to your coworker’s? What are the telltale signs of your role in the project? Why would someone hire or promote you over a peer with similar skillsets?

Redefining Your Brand

You may be at a point in your life when you’re ready to change your brand. How do you go about getting people to take you seriously as y when they’ve always seen you as x?

You don’t want to be perceived as a chameleon, a waffler, or a wanderer. Just because you’ve decided to change doesn’t mean others will understand this is an evolutionary step rather than a screwball adventure.

Perhaps you’re embarking on a new career or starting your own business. You need to craft a narrative that gives people a bridge between your past and present selves. How does your old, familiar brand tie in with your new one? How does it give you an edge in a field that may be new to you?

Frame your story in such a way that your apparent weaknesses become compelling advantages. Say you’re a surgeon turned sculptor. While you may be new to the medium of clay, your knowledge of anatomy and ability to work deftly with your hands will imbue your work with striking accuracy and detail. Put it in a 30-second elevator speech.

Going Up

Here’s my elevator speech: ”I believe that finding the positive in people and organizations contributes to a better world. I like to start by helping individuals develop their unique strengths, and this leads to better performance and greater happiness. Combining my background in marketing, positive psychology and coaching, I help individuals and organizations define and then live their brand—which leads to better health, greater productivity and more meaningful and meaning-filled lives.”

So what’s yours? Please share.

Find Your Brand, Change Your Life

If you need help figuring out your personal brand, consider hiring a leadership coach. Let me give you a 20-minute sample session. Call 541.601.0114 or email chris@capiche.us to find out how I can help you transform yourself—and your world.

What Can a Leadership Coach Do for You?

John Wooden Coaching Basketball

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” —John Wooden 

Think back through your life. As you were growing up, who prodded you toward greatness? Who gave you gentle support while simultaneously challenging you to grow, to stretch? Who offered a candid perspective you could always trust, a wisdom that inspired? Perhaps it was a family member, a teacher … a coach. Whoever it was, your life is forever changed because of their influence.Young John Wooden

What about today? Who fulfills that role for you now that you’re an adult, a leader? So many of us make the mistake of leaving mentors and coaches behind at college. But we’re leaders now, not apprentices. Why would we need a coach?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has an answer: “Every famous athlete, every famous performer has somebody who’s a coach. Somebody who can watch what they’re doing and say, ‘Is that what you really meant?’” He continues, “They can give you perspective. One thing people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them. A coach really will help.” Watch this video to hear more:

 

Even (and perhaps especially) leaders can arrive at a point in their lives when they begin to stagnate, when they stop pursuing their deeper hopes and passions. They may be denying their core desires or may have lost sight of their original dreams.

We all know it’s lonely at the top. Who can a leader talk with frankly? Confide in? Trust? My answer: a coach. A leadership coach can meet you at the crossroads between mediocrity and greatness, emptiness and fulfillment. A coach can help you find your true self, map out your own path toward personal fulfillment and—by holding you accountable—help you stick to that path.

What about you? Are you ready to take the next step? To take your life that’s perhaps not bad—say an 8 out of 10—to a 12 or even a 14? Are you willing to engage with someone who’s going to tell you the truth, no matter how difficult? Who will help you uncover your naturally creative and resourceful self? Are you ready to go to the next level? If so, it’s time for you to discover the magic in leadership coaching.

Chris is available for free 30-minute sample coaching sessions. See what coaching can do for you. Contact Chris at 541.601.0114 or chris@capiche.us.