Gremlin! You Mean You Lied To Me All This Time?

You see, I’ve had this Gremlin for a companion, lo, these many years. He tells me I’m not creative. I’m many other wonderful things, but I’m not creative! AND I BELIEVED HIM!! I admit it, I did.

I spent years taking coaching training programs and courses, certifications, a leadership program, and had several wonderful coaches who encouraged me in every way possible to dump that Gremlin. And many friends who have told me ”what do you mean, you’re not creative!?? That’s clearly not true, look at this, that and the other thing you created!”

But did I believe them? You guessed right.

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Better than Resolutions?

Behind every New Year’s resolution, resolutely made, and all too frequently broken, are a host of good intentions! What propels us to resolve to make these resolutions, year after year? Why are they so hard to keep?

We make them because there’s something seductive about the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new. We are drawn into musings on our perceived failings or weaknesses, and at the same time inspired to be a more perfect person in the future.

Yes, the freshness and promise of the coming year! We so want to make amends. The changes we truly want to incorporate into our lives dangle tantalizingly in front of our eyes. We know we can do it!

So we resolve. To quit smoking, to be kinder to people, to be more organized at work, to clean out the basement, to exercise, to socialize with friends more often, to keep in touch more frequently with those who have moved away, to speak our mind forthrightly, to contribute to those less fortunate, and on and on. And some of us–succeed in keeping some of our resolutions.

Unfortunately, for most of us, a month or two down the road, many of the actions we started out doing with such determination and promise, have fizzled out and are soon forgotten. Our resolutions are once again in the realm of good intentions.

What happened? When you think about it, a resolution sounds so final. It implies completion, finality, a “done deed”. But the reality of making successful, lasting change is that it requires more than a promise, a prayer, and a post-it note on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror.

There must be, and there is, another way to become the best we know we can be.

That way requires courage, planning, wrestling with internal demons, inspiration, support, and championing! It requires encouragement from a partner, devoted friend or coach, when we are straying from the path, and also when we progress in small ways towards the goal. And celebration when we get there!

Resolutions are often lonely battles with ourselves. It’s tough to change habits, behaviours, and ways of being, all on our own. Getting help along the way can make the difference between an unfulfilled resolution – and one successfully carried out!

So don’t give up on the desire to change, to grow, to be your best self! Look to a supportive spouse, sibling, offspring, friend, and/or personal coach who is devoted to your winning that war with yourself. They can make the difference between a resolution and a reward!

Moving Past Blocks to Creativity and Productivity

I’ve had a remarkable year (well, 11 months to be accurate).  I’m only realizing it now.

Besides coaching many wonderful clients this past year, I’ve been on a learning and discovery journey as I engaged in and completed Marlena Field’s Legacy Program in Body Mind Spirit Coaching.  I know my clients – and hopefully my family and friends as well – will be the beneficiaries of all that I have absorbed and integrated from that experience.

I started a newsletter – Tips, Trends & Tidbits: For Developing Leaders – which I have been publishing faithfully almost every month (though once only in the summer and once in the early fall). I discovered that I do enjoy putting that out to the world.

And now I have designed and written an e-course called ”9 Savvy Steps to Success in Career and Life” that I am going to make available free on my website (and if you are already receiving my newsletter, I will make available to you as well).

It feels SO good to be creative and productive.  It feels great to get past the blocks that kept me from expressing myself in this way all these years.  (The exceptions are my website which I mostly wrote myself, and this blog, which although I started it several years ago, have only written in sporadically or in spurts).

I’ll let you know when my e-course is ready to roll.

So…. does anything resonate for you in this post?  Are you being blocked from expressing yourself creatively?   Or has it always flowed for you?  Or have you been blocked but moved past it?  How did you do that?

I’d love to hear your answers… or your curious questions.

A Focus on Transitions – the Centrepiece of Change

There’s something about the end of summer and the impending arrival of Fall that really resonates for me, and I suspect for may of you. It’s part regret (that the days are becoming shorter), part satisfaction (for having revelled in all that summer has to offer), and part eager anticipation of the opportunities that miraculously seem to appear when September arrives.

A friend (who pays attention at many levels to what is going on around her), mentioned, as we sat under a magnificent apple tree on an indolent, warm Sunday summer afternoon, that the past few months have been for many people she has observed, a time of transition. And I thought how true that was for me, for family members, for a number of my friends, and for many of my coaching clients.

And her remark got me thinking about transitions – and about what a valuable platform that is from which to view the role of coaches and other helping professionals who work  with people and organizations in these times of incredible change.

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Can a Manager Coach?

Managers in many organizations today are expected to ‘coach’ their employees. Can a manager be a coach? Well, yes … and no. Look for an excellent manager or leader and for sure that person will be using the skills of a coach to help their staff define and achieve their goals in alignment with the organization’s vision and direction.

Many good managers instinctively know, or have learned, how to make coach-like behaviour part of their management style. How do they do this? By listening acutely, questioning, challenging, supporting, mentoring, offering problem solving assistance, and providing non-judgmental feedback. It comes naturally to them because they care about their employees, believe in them, and create the conditions for their success. They understand that optimising people’s potential and performance is their role.

Coaching is essentially a people skill, and people skills are hugely valuable and valued in organizations, so it makes sense for managers to hone their ability to coach effectively.

But is a manager or a leader in an organization a coach in the same sense as a professional coach brought in to work with individuals in an organization? I would say not.

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From Doing to Being: A New Leader’s Checklist

Taking on a new, more senior leadership role is like charging directly into the fast lane on a super highway. Eyes focused and intent, hands gripping the wheel, senses alert, adrenaline pumping. The new leader has hit the road and is ready to take on all challenges. This leader knows what to do. But does she or he know how to ”be?”

I asked a number of my current and former executive coaching clients what it was like for them to make this transition, and what tips they had for others about to do so. Here is a compilation of their reflections and my observations.

An Expanded View

The first thing apparent to leaders in new roles is that they are looking at a larger landscape than before. What that means is:

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Organizational Coaching – A 21st Century Approach to Creating Extraordinary Results

How Coaching Fits the World of Work

It’s no surprise that successfully running any business demands a multitude of talent, diverse skills, vast energy and more time for leaders than seems to be available in a day. And for small business owners in particular, it’s daunting to ‘grow it alone.’

In fact, the challenges in organizations of any size today are immense, and call for new ways to maximize performance. That’s one reason why coaching has become a cost efficient and effective way of helping people, and their organizations, grow, and achieve remarkable results.

Professional coaching is mushrooming throughout the world, with numerous training schools, university and college courses, and certification programs being developed at a rapid rate. The International Coach Federation (ICF) has now accredited hundreds of educational programs, and estimates that there are currently more than 25,000 coaches in 124 ICF chapters worldwide who are ICF members.

Coaching, as described by Robert Hargrove (author of Masterful Coaching, Extraordinary Results by Impacting People and the Way the Think and Work Together) ‘unleashes the human spirit and expands people’s capacity to achieve stretch goals and bring about real change.’

The obvious analogy with sports is not accidental. Coaches help others focus on a goal, stretch beyond their comfort zone, learn new ways of being and doing, and achieve results that amaze themselves and those around them.

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