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Whether you’re delivering good news or bad news, you can go about it gracefully or not. This rings true no matter what announcement you have to make to your team or to an individual; as a mindful leader, part of your job is good spoken communication, especially when you have to address many people at the same time or deliver bad news, such as someone being let go. But how can you make sure you’re doing your best to communicate well? Here are a few tips with mindfulness in mind.

 

There’s a lot to be said for nuances such as tactfulness and subtlety. However, these small aspects may not be noticeable without a certain degree of self-awareness and mindfulness already present. Also, some news is sensitive or difficult to divulge, so how do you best handle that as a mindful leader?

 

Being Honest When it’s Difficult

 

Sometimes the news, announcement, or conversation you have to have is not one that you’re looking forward to. Whether this is because of what you have to tell this person or how you have to tell them doesn’t matter; a difficult conversation is a difficult conversation. Use these pointers to maintain your courage and remind yourself of the bigger picture; the greater good.

 

·         Take a deep breath and maintain your calm. Reactions can be unpredictable, and your staying calm will encourage the other person to handle the news gracefully, whatever it is.

·         Be sensitive to this person’s needs. Even if you can’t meet them, you can be understanding of them.

·         Respect their privacy and deliver whatever news you need to in private. Never confront someone in front of their coworkers as this decreases employees’ respect for you and damages their trust in you as well.

·         Be patient. You may be waiting for the right opportunity to tell someone something; that’s okay, but make sure you’re not falling into a habit of procrastination because you’re losing your nerve to tell them the truth.

·         Follow through. Again, don’t fall into the trap of procrastination and make it a habit; the sooner you can deliver the news, the better, and everyone will then be able to move on.

 

If you need to make an uncomfortable announcement to the entire office staff, there are a few things that you should remember as you go about planning your wording.

 

·         Be direct but gentle. A difficult truth is much easier to accept if the person telling you this truth uses some sensitivity and empathy. Be honest and loving at the same time.

·         Keep things as simple as possible, on a need to know basis, so to speak. If people have further questions or need more details, instruct them to email you with questions or speak to you directly.

·         If comfort is needed, don’t forget to provide it. Receiving bad news is much easier if leadership makes it a point to be supportive. This may mean having a therapist on staff for a few months to help people, depending on the situation.

·         Encourage everyone to be supportive of one another and work together during difficult times. This fosters a supportive work environment that will serve everyone well for years to come.

·         Prepare for people to be a little off balance for a while. Depending on the severity of the news and how everything is affected, this may take differing amounts of time.

 

As always, continue leading mindfully!

 

 

For more information on the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:

http://www.mindfulnessfederation.org/

Superficial honesty for the sake of impressing people versus deep-seated honesty for the sake of doing the right thing. This is the difference between being blunt or straight forward and being rude. Serving a purpose versus being mean or nasty is another big difference between the two. Once you begin to pick up on these nuances, you will be able to let go of all of those nasty remarks that someone saying them claims are a “blunt” opinion. “I tell it like it is,” they might say. Truly honest and genuine people don’t feel the need to point out their own honesty. Let’s explore genuine honesty a little more by going deeper within.

 

When you speak, you know how you feel about what you’re saying. If you feel like you aren’t being genuine, then you probably aren’t and you should remember to be yourself. Everyone else is taken, after all.

 

This idea of being yourself comes much easier to some people than to others, and to really be good at it, you have to have a fairly high level of self-awareness and emotional intelligence, also known as EQ. In order to get to this level of self-awareness, you must first be at peace with yourself. This basically means that you have to accept yourself for who you are in order to get to a point of loving yourself, and once you get to this mindset, being genuine and honest but kind will come easily to you.

 

How to Cultivate Confidence Through Self-Acceptance

 

1. First, you have to take some time to get to know yourself. What do you believe in? What are you afraid of? For? Against? What are your core values? Get to know yourself by journaling and meditating daily. Learn about yourself without judging. Appreciate the way you look in the mirror.

 

2. As you continue to learn about who you are, take some time to work through the aspects of yourself and your behavior that you have trouble with. What do you beat yourself up for? Why? Is this really a legitimate mistake or are you just beating up on yourself because of conditioning? Evaluate your core values and accept the person you are, even if you feel that you need to improve your habits or lifestyle. Only by accepting yourself for who you are can you truly begin to become the greatest version of yourself.

 

3. Feel the feelings that are brought to the surface and then let them go. This is your emotional system working through various baggage you’ve held on to, and unfortunately this purge is a necessary step toward fully accepting yourself and reaching your inner calm.

 

4. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. You may find that the purging process leaves some aspects of your life in upheaval or chaos; it will be okay. The more comfortable you are with living in the unknown, the more peaceful and perceptive you will be about what you are going to do.

 

5. Settle into your inner calm. It is very likely that you’ve glimpsed this mindset before, where nothing bothers you, problems are effortless to solve, you’re at peace with every outcome, and you begin to understand the interconnectedness of all things and events: the bigger picture.

 

Once you develop your confidence, you will probably notice that life just gets easier. You’re no longer trying to impress others, so your true, genuine opinion comes out effortlessly and always with kindness and constructive comments. You don’t feel the need to tear anyone else down because you realize that everyone serves an equally important purpose no matter what their talents.

 

No one ever said that honesty had to be brutal all the time. It can be kind and compassionate while still delivering an important message, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking that honesty equals being mean.

 

 

As always, continue leading mindfully! To learn more about the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit:

 

http://www.mindfulnessfederation.org/

 

 

Being a mindful leader encompasses certain skills that are also required for being a good parent. I wanted to take a moment to discuss this with you today because Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and just as it’s important to respect your leaders and parents, it is also important to show them you appreciate them. Even the best leaders and parents make mistakes... after all, they’re only human. And whether they show it or not, they have moments of self-doubt, anxiety, and fear.

However, for those of us who have learned that failure can be the most valuable teacher available, the fear of failure has been whittled away over time. The same is true for parents; those parents who go into the process of teaching and raising their children filled with a fear of failure often don’t realize that they may actually be hurting their children and ingraining that same fear in them.

That’s not to say that parents and leaders alike don’t have some anxiety, doubt, or worry hiding behind their confident smiles. The trick is to have absolute faith that, even if you fail as a leader or parent, it is not final. Nothing is written in stone, and lessons can be learned from failure that could never be learned without it.

Five Tips for Failing Forward in Parenting and Leadership

1. Focus on the lesson. Whether you stumbled over your words during that important presentation in front of the board or completely overreacted to something your child said or did, it can always be rectified. Maybe not immediately in the moment, although that is a possibility if you think on your feet but in the future. Practice your presentations and get more comfortable with speaking in front of people. Talk to your child and apologize for overreacting; if he or she feels that you are unapproachable or will “freak out” whenever something important is brought up, your child may never open up to you about anything important again.

2. Remember that we’re all human and therefore imperfect. I even want to say we should go as far as embracing those imperfections; what better way to develop genuine confidence? Making peace with your imperfections ensures that they don’t evolve into insecurities. Your children, employees, or those whom you mentor may have put you on a pedestal; however, the sooner they realize that you are, in fact, only human, the sooner it will inspire them to go forth and be their best without feeling pressure to be perfect.

3. Honor and cherish your humility. In other words, don’t be a sore loser... or a sore winner. Your grace in the face of failure speaks volumes about you, as does your grace in the face of success and accomplishment. Bragging obnoxiously or throwing your achievements in someone’s face only serves to make you look bad, and suddenly your bad attitude outshines any significance your success may have had. Why destroy your accomplishments with a bad attitude?

4. Arrogance, ego, and a need for control or power don’t serve anyone in the long run, whether you’re a leader, parent, or mentor. How many times have you ever heard an employee say, “My manager is on a power trip. It’s wonderful!” or an adult child exclaim, “My parents thought they knew everything, but they’ve been wrong more often than not. Of course, they’re still in denial, but it’s the best parenting technique in the world!” It’s so much easier to admit when you’re wrong, ask questions, or apologize for one faux pas than for a lifetime of them.

5. Let go. Allowing your employees, children, and those whom you mentor to make their own mistakes is a priceless teaching tool that will help them much more effectively than taking over when things look difficult or scary. I know this can be especially challenging for parents because your emotional involvement is so deep and you don’t want to see your children get hurt; however, you must remember that they are individuals, too, learning to make their own way in the world.

Children are children for technically 18 years of their lives, but to be generous, let’s say 25. If the average lifespan is 75 years, this accounts for merely 1/3 of their lives... as humans, we spend the majority of our lives being adults. The better we can teach our children from an early age, the more self-sufficient they will be as adults. And yes, of course, they may experience failure, mistakes, heartache, and loss... but a child who has never experienced anything will be ill-equipped to deal with anything as an adult, not to mention dealing with the emotional repercussions of whatever life might want to throw at them.

For those whom you mentor or serve as a leader, the same is true. Exchange the word “child” for “employee” and “parent” for “leader.” The principles are very similar.

This brings me to May’s theme for the Mindful Leader blog: Failing Forward. Stay tuned on Tuesdays this month to read more about failing forward, its value, and how you can incorporate tips, tricks, and tools into your mindful leadership style to make the most of failure and inspire those around you to do the same.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Thursday, 12 February 2015 00:00

Build Resiliency for a Better Life


As the New Year hits, most of us turn to recapping the year behind us, then setting goals for the year to come. Goals are fantastic as they help us set a direction. If you don't know where you are trying to go, how do you ever know if you get there?

When I think about resiliency as a goal, I think of being resilient as building a better foundation, so that we are more able to adapt, flex, and grow through the things life brings our way. Being resilient means demonstrating our ability to effectively and easily navigate our lives.

We have all heard the motto; "It is not what happens to us, but how we respond that matters." I am forever working to increase both my own and my children's level of resiliency. I want us to be prepared for those times when we may be knocked around, or even down. I want us to get back up, dust ourselves off, and have a reserve of energy to make what we want happen.

If you wish to take a look at your level of resiliency (or how well you bounce back), try taking a look at some of these aspects of your life.

  • How healthy are the key relationships in your life?
  • Are you able to nurture a positive view of yourself?
  • Do you accept change as part of living?
  • Do you see crisis as an insurmountable problem (perhaps it is part of our journey)?
  • Do you know your goals and continue to move towards them by taking decisive action?

Try to slow your pace a little. Stop, look, and listen, so that you understand what is really happening vs. what story you have built around the situation. The story is not tangible but will drive our emotions and therefore our actions. Be deliberate in the things you focus on.

Resiliency is a great goal. With a little focus, you can build it and be a better person for having it.

All the best!

Find out more about Jenna here.

 


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© 2015 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.



Wednesday, 20 August 2014 15:55

The Art and Beauty of Perseverance



per·se·ver·ance
noun

Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.


You must persevere! This is what I and many others are told when we hit rough times in life and in business. This is easily said by many, well executed by few.

 

Perseverance means different things to different people depending on upbringing, generational differences, overall outlook on life, etc., etc. While I believe it to be true that we should stand tall in the face of obstacles in our path to freedom, success and happiness, I also believe we must utilize a higher-level perspective of these issues. We need to employ own inner wisdom (which we frequently ignore), along with a trusted outside source, and attempt to get some distance from the issue or problem so as to decide if it is worth persevering for. As my friend Robin Rose often asks her audiences “What do you really want?”

 

I got the opportunity to learn this lesson in my own life and business. I will be eternally grateful that I did not get the very thing I was spending the energy to persevere through a few years ago, when I was in a different industry in a horrible economy. At some point I knew it was time to end the pointless perseverance and focus on getting through the upcoming changes that needed to happen so I could focus on building the life and business of my dreams.  It was not easy. I was warned by some that I should stick in out. Listening to my inner voice (and some excellent coaching around what I really wanted out of this short life)made the decision easy.

 

Then came the hard part. The fear. The concerns about stopping what I was doing. Taking the risk to do what I wanted to do. All the emotional, mental, and physically draining things I had to do to prepare and move ahead, were beyond overwhelming. There were many things to test my perseverance - family issues, partnership issues, and money issues, to name a few. Then there was the unexpected loss of support from some friends, whom I thought were true friends. In reality, they were only my friends when it benefitted them. Once that benefit went away with the changes I was making they no longer needed me. I am not going to lie, that one hurt.

 

If you are not happy. If you are searching for something. If you need to change your life and/or business. If you desire to reinvent yourself, I say DO IT!

Below are a few tips to get you started.

 

  • Be thoughtful about your process. It does no good to constantly make changes for the sake of change.
  • Create a plan. Make sure it is what you want and then begin executing that plan. This step alone may take months or even years. Don’t be intimidated, just begin and commit.
  • Hire a gifted coach as your trusted advisor. It is important to have someone who hears you, challenges you, and holds you accountable to your plans. (Make sure your coach has a coach!)
  • Spend time alone each day in quietude. Envision what your life will look like when you fully implement the changes for which you have persevered. Statistics have shown the most successful executives spend 20% of their week envisioning the next level for their organizations.

 

This is a subject that needs much more discussion based on where you are and what you want from your life. It is meant as a discussion starter so please share your thoughts, and stories about your own times of perseverance. It could be invaluable to someone who is unsure of what to do next.

 

If you are persevering just for the sake of it,  the time is at hand to decide on the changes that will bring the outcomes for you to live the happiest, most productive life you can. You will still have ample opportunities to use your perseverance skills. Only this time, those hard-earned skills can be in alignment with what you truly want. To quote Stephen Covey: “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” 



Find out more about Scott here.


 




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© 2014 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.

 

Monday, 11 August 2014 13:28

Why Aren't You Listening to ME?


A theme has popped with my clients this week and it is all about communication. 

As human beings we find ourselves in constant relationship with others.  Many times those relationships are thriving and sometimes they are clearly not. 

When you bring this dynamic into the workplace, or our homes, we find ourselves in constant tension between two ends of the spectrum. We don’t communicate well at all or we have a wonderful level of communication.  No matter where you find yourself on this spectrum a few things are important to remember.

  • We all hear things differently.
  • We all see, hear, and feel things through our own lens of perceptions.
  • We all want to be seen and heard.

So many times we try to communicate solely to get our point across. On the surface this seems reasonable but in reality this is the root cause of much misunderstanding. 

If we spend our time communicating to another based on how we like to communicate, we are missing the boat.  We may be talking but who’s to say the other individual or group can hear us at all?  We keep talking around the subject trying to get our point across... with no success. 

The issue with this type of communication is that it is all about us!  WE are so focused on what WE want to say, WE forget that there’s more than one person involved. 

Instead, work on considering who you are speaking to and how they will hear what you have to say. Think: How do they like information presented? 

  • Are they facts and figures individuals who would prefer to have information presented to them on paper, maybe in a graph? 
  • Do they respond to brainstorming with you and talking things through? 
  • Do they want to make decisions quickly and take some form of action without much chit chat?
  • Do they like to have time and space to consider all of the alternatives after the conversation has occurred?

Everyone will be different. Pay attention and observe how your audience, big or small, naturally enjoys communicating. Follow their lead. You will see, feel, and hear amazing shifts, and ultimately… communication success.

 

To your continued success!

Find out more about Jenna here.

 


Are you ready to boost your career...and earnings? Coaching skills are the answer! Gain these skills with this program:

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© 2014 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.

This episode of the Coaching Crucible training is about employing sound business fundamentals to grow your business, no matter what market you might be in. Gary Henson, from BusinessCoach.com, and I presented a version of this to thousands of professionals at the World Business and Executive Coach Summit earlier this summer. I hope it serves you well!

Warmly,

Drayton

You can find out more about me here.

Here's the link to the complimentary video training on our special YouTube Channel:  


*Due to the amazing demand for the complimentary public service training we do each month, we have created a YouTube Channel where you can access all of the previous training webinars dating back to 2012. These are all complimentary. Please subscribe to our channel so that you will be notified automatically when we post new videos. Enjoy!

You can register for future Coaching Crucible webinars here.

*************************************************************************

Please join Gary Henson and me as we take on the biggest issues in the coaching industry. This is a free public service program we offer each month. It is lively, provocative, and packed with helpful information!



Thursday, 17 July 2014 16:48

Five Generations of Challenges


Are you aware that there are now 5 generations in the workforce? Do you know how this impacts your business? 

Never in history has there been a more complicated time for business leaders to deal with the most expensive and important asset in business, human capital. The instant information age has not provided a tidal wave of solutions to problems in the workforce and has sometimes created false beliefs about people, expectations and experience.

Facts:

  • Never in History has there been 5 generations in the workforce at the same time!
  • Never in history has there been a more influential generation then the Millennials or if you prefer, Generation Y.
  • Never in history has there been so much danger in losing institutional knowledge in organizations as generations retire and others advance.
  • Never in history has there been a better time to connect with, and create success from so many different viewpoints on life and business. We need only listen…

We are living in a very dynamic age. Instant information, instant gratification, and real time details being posted to the world in life and business. This is vastly different from how previous generations were raised. The adjustments the older worker needs to make to the impatience from a younger generation create a turbulent devils punchbowl of misunderstandings, communication barriers, hurt feelings, perceived and sometimes a real lack of respect and disconnect.

For business leaders, human resource people and department managers trying to keep it all together between these different factions is becoming more challenging each day. The hours spent on keeping these generations working as an effective team is becoming so intrusive to the core focus of a business that many of these business leaders are not sure what the main focus of their job really is any more.  This is no longer a distraction it is a very big issue that is here to stay. It is becoming the new normal.

Currently, in late 2014, the Millennial generation is the largest demographic at 27% of the workforce in the United States. This number is expected to be 50% by 2020! This coupled with Baby Boomers retiring at a rapid pace, and advancement expectations of many Millennials that are not realistic in the minds of many business leaders is creating a tidal wave of problems on an epic scale. Not only is this an issue in the U.S. but for every country on the planet. We must acknowledge the fact that our lifestyle is changing, business models are changing and we as leaders must change. We must be able to communicate these changes and what they mean, with respect to each generation and its contributions to the world.

See the chart below to orient yourself to the ages of each generation. This is a general guideline and many studies show a slightly different span of years to depict the different generations.

  

 

Silent Generation

Baby Boomers

Generation X

Generation Y

Generation Z

Birth Year

1922-1945

1946-1964

1965-1978

1979-2000

2001-

Age in 2014

92-69

68-51

49-36

35-14

13-

 

Coaching conversations, coupled with a mindful follow up process, are the best steps toward building bridges between generations. Ignoring these issues is the best way to burn those bridges which will cost your business dearly.


Find out more about Scott here.

 




This program will help you become an even more valuable performer!

     
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© 2014 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.

 

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 16:23

Why is this Happening... AGAIN?!

How many times have you said that in your life?


Perhaps it was around relationships, friendships, health, or work. 

Do you ever find that in one, maybe two, areas of your life you seem to see the same pattern happening? 

Most of us have patterns in our lives - good, bad, or indifferent.  In fact, most of us could be called robotic by nature.

We as human beings move through our lives both consciously (which means in a state of awareness) and unconsciously (which is based on what we’ve memorized or are conditioned to do). 

We become robotic when we are moving through life unconsciously, destined to repeat some of the same experiences over and over again. 

Here are some statistics from the latest research in neuroscience:

  • We work unconsciously (robotically) 95% of our day.
  • We work consciously (deliberately) 5% of our day.
  • We have 60-70,000 thoughts per day.
  • 90% of those thoughts are the same ones you had yesterday.
  • 70-75% of those thoughts are negative.


Think about it. How do you start your day?  Do you have the same basic routine or rhythm to how you get ready?


So why do you ask: Is this happening AGAIN?! 


Because you’ve created it!


Human Beings act based on their conditioning, we become reliant on our experiences. Our minds by nature are repetitive.


In fact, most of our experiences are created to emotionally reinforce the personality we have become so accustom to.  When we are not aware of the stories we have, and the thoughts we create, we will never create a new future.


So what do we do?

  • Start small. 
  • Change things up a little with your routines. 
  • Change your morning routine.
  • Listen to a different radio station.
  • As one of my dear friends likes to do, order a different type of coffee every time you stop for one. 


By creating different experiences you will interrupt the unconscious programming and start to experience things differently. 


Different experiences create different outcomes.


Every step you take towards awareness is a step in the right direction.


Start small and go experience the life you really want! 


To your continued success!

 


Find out more about Jenna here.


 


Are you ready to boost your career...and earnings? Coaching skills are the answer! Gain these skills with this program:

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© 2014 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.
Friday, 25 April 2014 12:34

Is Stress Ruining Your Life?

Click here for more information on the Stress Slayer Program

After 27 years in business I know how imperative it is to consistently fine tune your offerings for what is relevant for your clients, you and your business. Working as an Executive Coach the needs landscape is constantly changing. Through listening to the needs of our clients we change what we offer in our suite of services accordingly.  One area that is a constant and is consistently on the rise in the world is stress in life and business.

Stress is like an odorless gas. It seeps in and slowly begins to asphyxiate us. Before we know it the symptoms of stress show up in our relationships, work quality, and our physical body. We treat these symptoms in a variety of ways from medicine, to escapism and everything in between.  These treatments however do not take care of stress itself as the core issue.

My colleagues Drayton Boylston, Jenna Forster, and Greg Styles and I at the Executive Coaching University have committed to taking on this stress epidemic. Each of us has our specialties in coaching clientele ranging from high level executives, business owners, women in business, high performance athletes, engaging the millennial workforce and serving fellow coaches. The brain trust at ECU is constantly seeking ways to serve the highest number of people, for the greater good of all, in areas that have the most impact in behavioral change, for the best results in life and business.

Consider these facts:

  • 85% of ALL illness is stress related
  • Depression is projected to be the #2 killer by 2020
  • Managers and executives are 40 times more likely to suffer from heart issues
  • 75% of people wish they had another job
  • 80% of people NEVER use their greatest gifts at work
  • Stress related illnesses are costing organizations over $350 billion a year

 

By attacking the root of this stress issue we are helping our clients find:

  • Peace and relaxation
  • They are enjoying life and work again
  • They are feeling healthier and more motivated
  • Their relationships are stronger with family, friends and co-workers
  • They have discovered “Me Time” in each day
  • Our business leaders are seeing an increase in moral, productivity, and profits

 

Over the next few months we will be offering a one day Oregon Stress Slayer Workshop and a Colorado Stress Slayer Workshop to kick off our dedication to increasing the happiness level in our clients, by reducing stress in our lives and businesses through mindfulness. We want to lessen this common link of stress and replace it with higher quality of living for you! Keep watch for other offerings as we continue to serve the greatest number for the greatest good through coaching. Take the time to invest in yourself and join us to help reduce your stress. It may just save your life!

 

To register for the workshops in Salem, Oregon or Denver, Colorado click the links above. For more information about other locations and dates or to bring us into your organization or city please contact us here: 1.800.251.1696 or email us.

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