Powerful Questions

  Powerful Questions  Brilliant thinkers never stop asking questions.   Questions are such a powerful way of learning and connecting. They

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Our Work with NGOs

  Photo: Dr. Talemoh Dah engages with global colleagues from Nigeria over Elluminate Live! platform   Over the last four

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Tuning In: Improving Your Listening Skills

Plenty of programs teach people to speak—but few train them to listen.

Even before the age of digital distractions, people could remember only about 10% of what was said in a face-to-face conversation after a     brief distraction, according to a 1987 study that remains a key gauge of conversational recall. Researchers believe listening skills have since fallen amid more multitasking and interruptions. Most people can think more than twice as fast as the average person talks, allowing the mind to wander.

The failure to listen well not only prolongs meetings and discussions but also can hurt relationships and damage careers. However, it is  possible to improve your listening skills—first, by becoming aware of the ways you may tune others out.

Some people are busy thinking about what they want to say next. One salesman repeatedly urged a customer to set a meeting with company decision makers, says Paul Donehue, who coached the salesman. "The customer said yes, and the salesman said again, 'If we could just schedule that meeting.' You could see that he totally missed it," says Mr. Donehue, president of Londonderry, N.H., sales-management consulting firm Paul Charles & Associates.

Others listen only long enough to figure out whether the speaker's views conform to their own, says Bernard Ferrari, author of "Power Listening" and dean of the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School, in Baltimore. Still others interrupt to spout solutions—often before the problem has fully been identified, Dr. Ferrari says.

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How do you Measure the Return on Investment for Coaching?

So how does one measure coaching ROI? This has been a popular question since way back when coaching was formally established. However, until recently, the quest to effectively measuring coaching ROI has been an ever elusive and sometimes even likened to trying to “measure snowflakes”. This slippery nature of coaching ROI is partly because there are so many variables and elements at play. Measuring the impact of soft skills on business is always a challenge—human relationships are complex and so many factors affect the bottom line.

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Action Planning in Action

One of the things that makes a coaching exchange unique is that there is, and always will be, a request for taking action by the coach to the coachee. Without this, it’s just an interesting conversation.

Seventeen years ago, when I began my coaching practice, I realized the best way to grow my business, which happen to be doing something no one had ever heard of or had any experience with, was to coach as many people in impromptu exchanges as often as I could so they would become evangelists for coaching. One of the first people I tried this with was a good friend who had become a brainstorming and downloading partner with me in my previous business. We’d often have lunch or get together for drinks and spend hours exchanging ideas for each other’s business and download problems we were having with our businesses. It was always very stimulating and interesting as we both understood one another’s world and the ideas flowed fast and furiously. But as interesting and stimulating as the conversation was, very little stuck when it came down to actually doing something about it because there was always something missing from those conversations.

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Strategize ; “The smart way of getting somewhere with the least amount of effort or cost.”

Developing efficient, supportive and enjoyable strategies to help people achieve their goals is what is key to providing value in coaching. Most people really want and need a strategy to make what they are wanting to accomplish/achieve/solve/create happen. Just recently I was speaking with a client who discovered a critical lapse in communication by her team. They implemented a fundamental change but forgot to communicate it to the key stakeholders! The change was a good one but they just forgot to tell people before they made it…sound familiar?

There was a huge missed opportunity to celebrate the very positive change along with so many other pieces. So, what was she to do? We talked a bit and then focused on what opportunities were present and what strategy she could put into place that would support an even bigger change initiative. By the time we were done, not only had she come up with a way to solve this that would be empowering for her team, but she came up with two key strategies that could profoundly strengthen herself as a leader, i.e. collaboration and innovation.

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Requesting – The opportunity to ask the World of your Coachee!

Many people who learn coaching skills are under the false impression that they should never ask anything of the coachee but simply let them come up with what they are willing to commit to….WRONG!! Requesting is one of the 5 Core Coaching Skills in our 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™ because there are many times when making a request can catapult the coachee to a whole different level or at the very least accelerate movement thru a particular challenge or issue.

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The Spirit of Making a Request

I have a request of you – in the next 72 hours you find a hidden talent in three different people. Then make a request of each person to exploit the hidden talent in a way that dramatically supports his or her personal and/or professional growth. Do you accept this request, reject it or would you like to negotiate it?

The art of making a request is one of the 5 Core Coaching Skills within our 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™ framework. Of the five coaching skills we teach, I find that it is the skill of making a request that people latch on to because, I believe, of the power that a request holds.

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About Coaching Out of the Box®

We provide programs and resources for individuals and organizations wanting to learn transferable coaching skills in a simple, engaging and experiential way that can be used immediately in the work they do.

All programs and products from Coaching Out of the Box® are developed by ICF Master Certified Coaches who are leaders and pioneers in the field of professional coaching. Our development team is comprised of several global coaching educators who have trained thousands of professional coaches on every continent and have largely contributed to the spread of coaching around the world.

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Practicums; An Inside Look

A coaching skills practicum is really a laboratory where those who are coaching can experiment with what they FEEL is right versus what they THINK is right. It allows them to test their own natural style of coaching and try things they may not normally risk in other coaching situations. From there, feedback and course corrections are offered to help the coach take the coaching deeper, broader and farther. Without supervision and feedback on their coaching, coaches begin to operate in a vacuum. Habits can be formed that keep the coaching solution/performance focused and at a surface level. While this can be productive and effective, coachee’s will be missing the real power of coaching which is evolution focused and elicits sustainable and pivotal change.

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“Trust Me!”

“Self-trust is the first secret of success”. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to trust ourselves. Trust that we will make the right decision. Trust that under pressure we will do the right thing. Trust that when placed in a difficult situation that we will be able to cope. Trust that we will say the right thing at the right time. Trust that our coaching skills are good enough or that we are good coaches.

Key to building self trust is listening to our gut instincts; that little twinge deep inside that indicates the best direction or the thing to say in that moment. In coaching, when we ask the question that our gut is telling us to ask, 9 times out of 10 it is exactly what the coachee needs to be asked.

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Trust Is The New Currency For Business Today With Stephen M.R. Covey

I had the pleasure to sit down with Stephen M.R. Covey last week to discuss the importance of trust and how it can cut through the noise and clutter in today’s economy.

Here is a short clip after our interview which appeared in the Telegraph Journal May 17, 2012. (full interview below) (Sorry for the wobbly camera at the beginning, either to much coffee or my nerves getting the best of me.) 🙂

Sponsor I mentioned

Coaching Out of the Box® – 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program™ is the training programs of training programs for business executives and managers who want to enhance their coaching skills and build TRUST within their organization. Find out more about the training.

PS - Don’t forget to check out the UNB Fall Seminar, FranklinCovey’s Leading at the Speed of Trust on September 20th.

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“You Rock! No, Really!”

“You can do it! I believe in you!”

“Hey Jim, job well done on that project!”

“Wow! What an awesome insight!”

Aaahhh, words of encouragement. One of the many highlights of being a coach is genuinely encouraging our teams and individual coachees. In doing so, we get to be their cheerleaders or champions for their cause (minus the pom-poms and short, shorts), witness their faces light up, or hear the lift in their voices when told that what they are doing or who they are is really awesome!! What could be better? Seriously.

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