31 May

Can you coach your subordinates?

Quite simple, the answer is no you cannot coach your subordinates. Why, you may ask?

A coaching relationship is seen as an equal partnership between two people and unfortunately whichever way you dress it up, you and your subordinates within the business environment are not equal parties. You are their boss.

It is therefore recommended that you take on a mentorship role, which is the type of relationship which works extremely well in this type of situation as the mentor’s job is to impart their knowledge, experience and learnings onto a less experienced mentee. The relationship is equal in respect, but not in status.

If however you want your team members to engage in a positive and impactful coaching experience then you must accept that you are not the right person for the job and that a colleague from another department or an external coach should be earmarked for the job.

You may have the most genuine of intentions to enter the coaching relationship completely open, unbiased and non-judgemental. You may even verbalise this genuine intent to your subordinates. However, a positive, trusting coaching relationship starts with the coachee feeling completely free to talk about their own experiences, feelings and goals and unfortunately doing this with their boss is not a winning formula. In their eyes, you are not an equal or an unbiased objective voice. They see you as the boss, the person who completes their performance appraisal. The person who they seek advice and guidance from during challenging times. You may merge some coaching techniques into your management style, which is extremely commendable, but it doesn’t make for a coaching relationship.

You may disagree, so for arguments sake let’s turn this scenario around and answer these questions.
1) How comfortable would you feel if you were being coached by your boss?
2) How truthful would you be about how you felt if you were coached by your boss?
3) How would you feel about your relationship with your boss outside of the coaching relationship? Would you be able to draw a clear line between boss and coach?
4) How truthful would you be in the coaching session, if your boss was your coach?

Remember, coaching is not about what you or the business wants for the coachee or what you think is best for the coachee. It’s about them and what they want. Doing what’s best for them, may just include the option of bringing in an external coach.

26 Apr

What it takes to be a Leader

Throughout history there have been some exceptional leaders, Ghandi, Churchill, and Nelson Mandela are a few that come to mind. All these great leaders have stood out over the decades and have mastered the art of leading a group of people, where in some circumstances have had to lead in the most harrowing of circumstances. What was the reason that people chose to follow these great leaders?

There has been extensive research completed by many universities and organisations over the years to try and pinpoint what exactly are the traits or qualities of a good leader. The research has apparently come back inconclusive. As you can guess, every exceptional leader who has stood out in a crowd has come with a different background, value system, experiences and character. Unfortunately there is no such thing as one neat little set of leadership traits. If you had to compare Ghandi and Churchill, these two men were polar opposites in their leadership styles, even missing a few key leadership traits some would say. However, they are still regarded as great leaders of our time.

There are however two traits that do rise above the countless leadership traits that we see on personal development lists and job description requirements and those two are as follows.

  1. Good leaders have the ability to adapt to their circumstances: A leader is someone who can assess and acknowledge the environment for what it is. Expecting the environment to be perfect for their unique requirements would be an impossible ask. Good leaders can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a situation as well as identify future opportunities.  Never wishing what could be, but knowing what the results will be into the future. Good leaders truly believe in the vision themselves, so much so that their passion and motivation for achieving their vision shines through in all that they do.
  2. Good leaders understand the need for building relationships: Leaders understand that in order to reach the ultimate vision they need the people around them to firstly buy into that vision. Once that has happened only then can action plans be  executed.

How do you get people to follow you or buy into the vision? Well, this could be the place where some of the other important traits come in. Good leaders know that it’s not about spitting out orders and expecting results. It’s ultimately about building relationships. What are some of the characteristics of a strong relationship? What should a good leader be practising everyday?

  • Respect: Earning respect from the team by practising active listening, being accountable for one’s actions, practising what they preach and  stepping up and leading from the front.
  • Empathy: Taking the time to understand the team and how they view the situation. Considering their feedback and suggestions to make them feel part of the process.
  • Loyalty: Being honest and open with the team builds loyalty and trust.
  • Treating everyone as unique: Good leaders take the time to get to know the individual team members. Their style, strengths, challenges, personal goals and dreams. The leader will help each team member to grow, develop and reach personal goals whilst working towards the business vision.

Do you have these leadership traits? If not, what do you need to do to develop them?

26 Jan

What does it take to build a sustainable business?

There is no such thing as a silver bullet strategy when it comes to business success , that being one action or activity that will miraculously build a successful business. We all intrinsically know this, but yet, so many business owners set themselves up for failure and disappointment by taking on for example the mindset of, “If I just do this one promotion, then everything will be fine.

Not to put a damper on your efforts, but sometimes we do need a reality check. One of the key components of achieving one’s goals is that you must be realistic, very simple. If you want to build a sustainable business and avoid being a one hit wonder there are a few key components you will need to ensure are part of your business structure and business ethics.

Vision and mission

Before you excitedly start setting business goals, think about what your long term vision is.  What is your ultimate goal and how do you want to be seen in five or ten years time? Once that has been defined then confirm your mission statement.

Completing your business vision/mission statement shouldn’t be done begrudgingly, rushed through or be viewed as an afterthought. Put the time aside to build this part of your business. Why? Your vision and mission are your guiding lights whenever a business decision needs to be made. They keep you focused in good times and very importantly  they guide you when times are tough and there will likely be many tough times in your business. Therefore, establishing strong, powerful and bright guiding lights makes good business sense.

Courage, resilience and grit

In my opinion these are probably some of the most important character traits to have when running a business . Having the strength and courage to pick yourself up after failure will turn you into a survivor. If you have the ability to do this, you can achieve anything. These character traits do not always come easily and we are often only asked to prove ourselves when we have already fallen on hard times. No opportunities for test driving these qualities.

To boost these character traits it is advised to have a solid business plan and a business purpose that is true to your values. It can be tricky and extremely demotivating to be courageous if you don’t really believe in your purpose one hundred percent.

Support

Being a business owner is not for the faint-hearted. So make sure you have a good strong pool of people you can call on during the tough times. This can take the form of business partners, family, friends, mentors, coaches or professional networking groups.

Support is also good to have in times of success, sharing your wins with your support network can be extremely rewarding.

Consistency

Consistency in business builds trust and loyalty with your customers. Whatever your business goals are make sure you are consistent in your delivery, follow through and follow up. Customers will very quickly look elsewhere if you are inconsistent and unreliable.

To make sure you are consistent in your business, always have a plan. Yearly, quarterly, month, weekly and daily. There is much to be said about the saying, “proper planning prevents poor performance”.

Business success will be different for every business, depending on what the end goals are, however one thing that all businesses have in common, is the need to achieve the goals.

So, when you are planning your goals for the year or quarter ahead, also think about these  components. Do you have a strong vision? How courageous are you and how would you persevere during tough times? Who is your support network and do you operate your business in a consistent manner? Some food for thought.

26 May

What makes a good coach?

Recently I was asked “What makes a good coach?”

There are literally a hundred different answers to this question. There is also no exact right or wrong answer, as it depends purely on who is asking and what they are actually looking for in a coach at a particular time.

Different characteristics will mean different things to different people. Certain personality traits may be higher on your list of importance when it comes to selecting a coach than on someone else’s list. However the one trait that I believe everyone should see as key to what makes a good coach, and that should be on the top of everyone’s list when in the coach selection process, is trust and the coach’s ability to instil trust into the coaching relationship. Here is why I say that:

  1. Trust is first and foremost the most important component of any part of the coaching relationship. The coaching partnership is built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect.  Without trust, there will be no true relationship and the coaching results would most probably be poor.
  2. As a client you are trusting someone to keep your coaching sessions private and confidential.
  3. As a client you are trusting that the coach has got your best interest at heart. There shouldn’t be any hidden agendas or commission kick-backs down the line.
  4. You are trusting that the coach is holding a non-judgemental safe space for you to work through your goals. You need to feel comfortable in your coaching sessions with no fear of being judged.

So the next time you are investigating the services of a coach, don’t just think about what personality traits would work well for you. Ask yourself two vital questions. “How will this coach instil trust into this potential partnership?” and  “Can I trust them?”

Need professional coaching assistance? Contact Nicole nicole@tikumu.co.nz

02 Jun

Do you practise Grudgeology?

There are many positive traits, skills and abilities any good leader will have or want to acquire over their lifetime. One distinguishing quality that definitely stands out for me and that I believe separates a true leader from a “wanna be” is something I learnt from my seventh grade history teacher.
Miss Sandrock was a peach of a women, but everyone of us knew to never cross the line with her. I was never quite sure why, but it was either out of respect for her or the fear of been turned to stone by one of her stern looks.
The difference was was that she never held a grudge. So if you were called out for any transgression whilst under her watch, you knew that once she had had her say it was water under the bridge and life as you knew it went on. You even received your jelly tot quote from her at the end of the lesson.
 How refreshing it was to know that your teacher would not hold onto your mistake and at another completely unrelated occasion embarrass you by bringing it up to remind you of your erroneous ways. How liberating it was to know that you would not be judged or tainted by your error of judgement.
 As a business owner or manager do you believe that you are able to let things go and to not hold a grudge against your team members mistakes? Can you deal with a team member’s transgression and move on or do you store your teams faults and hit the replay button the minute you want the upper hand with them?
You might think its a good idea to have history on someone’s performance and behaviour. It is, but there is a time and place for this type of information. It’s important to understand that everyone is human and people make mistakes. Performance records are good to keep on file for those serious incidents when someone is continuously under performing or damaging your business and for the benefit of the business needs to be exited. However random mistakes should never be thrown into people’s faces or used as leverage against them. This type of management style will only damage your team morale and trust.
 Acknowledge it, deal with it, let it go and move on.