Everyone Needs a Coach

The Peter Principle states that we’re all susceptible to the inevitable fate of failing to meet the high expectations of our organizations and those expectations we put on ourselves. As we rise in all areas of our lives, we enter new territory that will require skills and/or experiences we may not possess. As Marshall Goldsmith so eloquently put it, “what got you here, won’t get you there.”

Aiming for the next rung of any ladder in our sights requires considering how we will condition ourselves for that journey. I’ve yet to hear any gold medal athlete brag that they trained themselves. Homage is always paid to the coach who was charged with laying down the work plan that would allow them to increase their skills and acknowledge and work around their weaknesses in order to achieve their best. Getting to gold medal status in our business and personal lives requires similar effort. A guided plan paired with constructive and instructive encouragement from a coach.

According to the International Coach Federation, the worldwide revenue produced by coaching is $1.5 billion (USD) per year and growing. It seems the word is out on the value coaching can bring to our personal and professional lives, so the next question is: How do you select the coach that has the right qualifications to get you from here to there? Here’s the thought process that could get you a win along with some personal insights from my recent selection of the coach pushing me through my wins.

It all boils down to relationships: Rapport is probably the most important factor to effective coaching. Next to the relationship with your significant other and certain family members, this is going to be the most intimate relationship in your life. If you can’t see yourself getting vulnerable with this person, think twice. Do your due diligence and interview more than one person. As you do, pay attention to the following in your initial contact and decision making phase. How are their interpersonal skills upon first contact? What does your gut instinct about this person tell you?  How are their verbal and nonverbal cues matching up? Are they listening to you? Do you feel accepted in their presence? How vulnerable are they with you? Do you have similar value sets?

I didn’t even know I was looking for my coach Doc Barham. We were connected through social arbitrage by a mutual friend who thought we should know each other. After our first interaction, I remember thinking, I like the way he thinks. When he invited me to an initial discovery session a couple of months later, we very easily shared conversation and hit on common values, passion points, and mutual interests. By the end of the hour, I knew without a doubt that this was the guy to guide my journey. Continue reading

Is My Business School Equation Balanced?

About six months ago, I wrote about pursuing my MBA. At that point, I was still undecided. Now, I’m back with an update.

Initially, I wasn’t sure if going back to school was worth it. So I started thinking about it in terms of cost. As an economics major, I decided that maybe I could write an equation to make sense of everything. Sometimes simplifying complicated thoughts can help. So here’s my theory.

I should go back to school if Benefits > Costs.

I had already listed the plausible advantages of going to business school in my last post:

  1. To get a stronger foundation in my knowledge of business.
  2. Professional/career development – both in the theoretical and practical sense.
  3. My personality type – I’m a more risk-averse person, so I would be less interested in blazing a new trail than working my way along a traveled, yet still challenging road.
  4. Having specialized knowledge in an area of interest to me (a Master’s degree)
  5. A new engaging and challenging experience.

Now I listed costs: Continue reading

Special Announcement for myGreenlight Members

Community Roundtable Call

The Community Roundtable will bring together five community members around one business topic to assist each other in creating solutions for their current business challenges. The topic for March will focus on building relationships in sales.

Members of the roundtable will each have the opportunity to submit their most challenging issue related to the topic and their best set of resources to address the challenges of other members.  The call will take place on Tuesday, March 27th at 6:00pm EST on WebEx.

To be considered for one of the five positions on this month’s Roundtable, email me at ksprings at mygreenlight.com the following:

  • Submit a short professional bio.
  • A paragraph explaining why you want to participate.
  • One question that you want to put on the table related to the topic.

Participants will be selected based on the best mix of professional backgrounds and challenges in order to maintain a diverse set of perspectives and experiences for the group. If selected, participants will be required to:

  • Submit 3-5 resources one week prior to the meeting to help address the collective questions of the group.
  • Participate in the one hour 15 minute call on March 27th.

All Roundtables will be recorded and transcribed for members’ future use.

Course Intensives

Are you behind on a course? Trying to get ahead in a course? In need of coaching through a course? If any of these fit where you are in the myGreenlight program, one of our upcoming Course Intensives is for you. Between April and May, I will be coaching small groups through courses in an effort to:

  • Provide a one-on-one coaching opportunity.
  • Facilitate connections between community members.
  • Gather feedback on our newest course, the Learning Action Plan.

Participants must agree to:

  • Complete two lessons per week over a five week period between April 2nd and May 4th.
  • Participate in weekly coaching calls.

Weekly coaching calls may take place on a weekend or evenings to accommodate all group member participation. Groups will consist of 3-5 members.  Members may only participate in one Course Intensive at a time.

If you are interested in participating in a Course Intensive, email me at ksprings at mygreenlight.com by March 15th.

Solutions for Six Common Networking Challenges for Introverts

Welcome Tip of the Week readers! I’m Kibibi Springs, myGreenlight’s Community Director.

Here’s the transcript of Nancy Ancowitz’s Social Capitalist Skills Session with Tahl Raz – enjoy!

Also, read Tahl’s blog about being an introvert here.

The Social Capitalist Skills Sessions are 30-minute recorded chats focused on helping listeners master specific skills and disciplines in the relational and social arts. myGreenlight members have access to our full, searchable library of previous calls.

While you’re here, we’d love suggestions for future Skills Sessions: What would you like to learn from myGreenlight? We are constantly developing new content to directly meet the needs of our members.

Take Control of Your Inbox – What Deserves your Attention?

This morning I woke up and checked my email, as I generally do. And in my personal email inbox I found exactly 4 new notes. And they were all from actual people.

Sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it? Like going to the mail box at the curb and finding only handwritten letters. The stuff of fairy tales.

But this was real. The side effect of a New Year-inspired effort to rid my inbox of all of the various unread subscriptions that have been cluttering the scenery for far too long. Fifteen (15!) versions of Living Social, daily sale flyers from every store I have ever visited, LinkedIn updates from groups I visited once – all gone.

It was cleansing, to say the least.

It was hard to cut the cord on some of them. Several of the newsletters contained some excellent content. Some of the reminders are truly valid and useful. I do enjoy a good sale, or half-price rock climbing expedition (not that I’ve ever been on one – but the idea is attractive.)

The problem is that in the midst of the cluttered heap of spam and bacn (better than spam, not as good as personal email), it was impossible to focus on anything at all.

Things feel strangely empty in my mailbox – like the living room now that the holiday decorations are put away. But the space makes it so much easier to focus on actually reading the things that made the cut.

I am vowing to be more judicious about what I sign up for going forward, although it is challenging to control my desire to know everything all the time. But as with most things, it’s better to focus on a few things that matter instead of being distracted by endless options clouding the scene.

How do you manage information overload and decide what gets your attention?

Mini Mission Monday

First things first.  Happy 2012!

In honor of the introduction of our 3rd Core Course – The Learning Action Plan – today’s mission is all about planning your personal development for this year.

Your Mission:

Identify one thing you want to learn this year.  It might already be a resolution, or just a thought in the back of your mind.  Write it down and spend 30 minutes researching ways to move the needle on that learning objective.

Possible options:

  • Identify an on-line course
  • Sign up for a live course – continuing education, a seminar, a workshop
  • Find a book – buy it or go get it at the library
  • Ask around in your network for ideas
  • Find a mentor/accountability buddy to keep you moving

12 Months to a MIT Degree

With independent learning on the brain, so to speak, as we finish myGreenlight’s Course III (the Learning Action Plan), we came across this blog and thought it was interesting enough to share. Scott Young is currently undertaking what he is calling the “MIT Challenge”, wherein he is independently completing the coursework from the 4-year MIT Computer Science program and plans to complete all of the material within 12 months.  The vlog here where he reports on his progress to date gives a really interesting perspective on the benefits of goal-directed, independent learning.

Check it out.