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

Joe Navarro: A Big Sign of How Well Your Presentation is Going

As one of the original founding members of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Program, Joe Navarro mastered the ability to read nonverbal body language. When he retired in 2003, he discovered his expertise and skills could be taught, to benefit everyone from professional poker players to executives who wanted an extra edge. Since then, he has authored numerous books, including the classic What Every BODY Is Saying.

Here, a brief excerpt from Joe’s Social Capitalist interview with Tahl Raz. What’s the first clue that you have lost your audience?

Go to any conference where the students, the workers, executives, whoever, don’t like the speaker, and all of a sudden you’ll see that they begin to put an object on top of themselves—a briefcase, a purse, a laptop. But when they’re in the presence of somebody that they enjoy, they begin to unveil themselves by getting rid of these objects. So, there’s lots of behaviors that show, I’m really interested, I’d like to get to know you more, I’d like to get closer to you, and so forth. And a lot of that has to do with we begin to show features of comfort in our forehead, our eyes, our face, and so forth.

So during a presentation, keep an eye on the audience to see if they begin to unveil themselves and settle into the topic. For more great insights on nonverbal cues, read the entire Social Capitalist transcript: Social Capitalist – Joe Navarro. Click here for the audio recording.

You’re Invited: Keith Ferrazzi and LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman LIVE

Join Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, in conversation with Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn and author of The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career, at this month’s Social Capitalist Live Event, Tuesday, June 12 at 12:30 PM ET (NOTE UPDATED TIME!)

Register here for the live Webex event!

During the lively, 45-minute discussion with audience Q&A, you’ll learn:

  • The backstory: how and why Reid launched LinkedIn
  • How thinking like a Silicon Valley entrepreneur enhances success in any career
  • How Reid personally leverages his LinkedIn page
  • The keys to maximizing your network literacy, the ability to conceptualize, access, and benefit from the information flowing through your social network

…And much, much more! If you can’t make it, register anyway – we’ll send you a recording and transcript afterwards.

What people are saying about The Start-up of You:

“The Internet has fundamentally changed the architecture of business and society. This terrific book shows you how to live, learn, and thrive in a networked world.”

“Crammed with insights and strategies to help each of us create the work life we want.”

“…start with an idea and work over your entire career to adapt it into something remarkable. This book distills the key techniques needed to succeed.”

See you there!

The Ups and Downs of Workplace Flexibility

Since 2005 the percentage of employers allowing (at least some) employees to work some of their regular paid hours at home on a regular basis has increased from 34 percent to 63 percent, according to the 2012 National Study of Employers.

In this Glass Hammer article, Day-to-Day Flexibility Increases, While Career Flex Drops, the cost of such a change is questioned. Although there is an increased amount of flexibility in the daily lives of employees, in regards to time and location, it seems harder to incorporate more long-term changes.

A lot of the flexibility comes down to the technology advances that we have seen in last couple of decades. Due to the fact that most work can now be done virtually, productivity isn’t harmed in this process.”On the other hand, companies do not seem to be acknowledging the importance of retaining long-term, experienced employees who may need to decrease their work-schedule for a more extended amount of time due to personal pulls,” the author writes. Continue reading

7 Ways to Develop Employees into Digital Storytellers to Boost Their Skills AND Your Company’s Resources

Guest post by Halelly Azulay, TalentGrow

Developing motivated, competent employees is critical to the success of every organization. However, most managers today find themselves both time-bound and budget-strapped. You can’t really send employees to training or online classes for every development need. Did you know that organic development opportunities can be found all around your workplace?

One creative and immediately available way to develop your staff outside the training classroom and “outside the box” is to turn them into what I call “Digital Storytellers”: send them on roving reporter missions. Let them digitally capture (by audio or video recording) hot stories from the frontlines, from customers, or from star performers, about difficult challenges they’ve overcome, or about workarounds and new ideas, and share them with the rest of the organization.

Here are a few ideas for content to get you started:

  1. Peer Stories. Peers feature their peers’ stories of success, lessons learned, problems solved, questions and challenges they want input about, gratitude, quandaries, and other “teachable moments.” Continue reading

Take on Your Professional Goals

Prepare to break the ceiling on your professional goals using the mental and physical strategies and tactics of the U.S. Navy SEALs with the transcript and audio from Mark Divine’s Social Capitalist interview.

Mark Divine, CEO of SEALFIT, NavySEALs.com, and US CrossFit, is the leader in providing civilians with mental toughness training and Navy SEAL-level fitness. His insights into elite fitness, elite teams, leadership, mental toughness, and warrior spirit development were developed during his 20 years as a SEAL and business leader, 25 years as a martial artist, and 15 years as yoga practitioner. Mark is also a former adjunct professor of leadership at the University of San Diego, and a co-founder of the Coronado Brewing Co.

During the interview Mark discussed how to: Fine tune teamwork and accountability to drive excellence; forge the mental toughness that creates strong presence and leadership; maintain your “positive charge,” not just emotionally, but physically; and to develop your inner “corporate warrior” to excel in all areas of your life.

Click here for the audio and transcript.

I’m a Fraud – Are You?

I interviewed corporate-trailblazer-turned-business-owner Patty Azzarello this week for the Social Capitalist (transcript to come soon!) and I particularly loved this quote:

“People who achieve success are willing to be scared and uncomfortable to do it. If you try to build your career and be comfortable and confident that you know everything along the way, it just takes too long. You just cannot get there. What I realized is that all executives are bluffing. This actually came to me through an executive coach. I was confessing, ‘You know, I feel like I’m going to get found out, because I don’t know everything.’ And she just laughed at me. She said, ‘Patty, every executive in the world feels the same way.’ And I was like, ‘Really?’ And then I realized, ‘Man, is that ever true.’”

I think this is particularly great advice for women. As Jodi Glickman, another previous SC guest, once told me, “Women tend to round down. Men round up. It’s time to round up.”

In other words, sometimes it’s OK for a little bit of confidence to float the gap between our expertise and our vision. We don’t have to have done something 100 times already to feel we have the right to stand up and say, “I can do this.”

When your work takes you to new places, you’re not a fraud. You’re a bright, intrepid do-er who can roll with a hefty dose of learning. The key is to make sure you’ve got the tenacity, the persistence, and most importantly, the right partners, to follow through with excellence.

Sara Grace is myGreenlight’s Program Director.

Don’t Start A Business Without Answering These Questions

A Forbes writer recently developed 23 questions to isolate “the fundamental reasons for success and failure” for anyone “trying to make money, create a job, or get a better one.” The focus, however, really seems to be on what it takes to start your own business.

Five of the 23 are questions focused on relationships and your network:

  1. Who is my role model?
  2. Do I have the right people?
  3. Am I outsourcing the right tasks?
  4. Do I have the right customers?
  5. Do I have a good lawyer?

I especially liked the author’s comment about the importance of having the right people in your corner: “Having the right people also includes cultivating outside advisors whose opinions you respect and who aren’t afraid to share them—assuming you’ll listen.” Straight out of the myGreenlight playbook.

What questions would be on your “must answer” list for an entrepreneur about to take the leap?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Cool New Apps to Fuel Your Job Hunt

One of the places where past investments in social capital pay back major dividends is when you are in the market for a new job. Having an inside connection at any company can up your chances of finding out about new opportunities early, and making sure your credentials get in front of the right people. Luckily, there are an array of tools emerging to make the entire process more efficient, and yes, even enjoyable.

You are probably already familiar with the ways that LinkedIn can help uncover connections you didn’t even realize existed. Whether you find job postings right on the LinkedIn site or elsewhere, a quick search to see if you have someone on the inside at your dream company should be part of your application process.

To take your LinkedIn profile to the next level, check out Re.Vu - a cool way to create a visually appealing storyboard of your past experience. To see what I mean, check out my Re.Vu page. Their site pulls your history from the LinkedIn site and gives you lots of options to add more information to flesh out and portray your past in an engaging way. My favorite part? The time graph of employment history – my past has never seemed so exciting. Sharing your Re.Vu site is more efficient than carrying around paper resumes and easy for friends to pass along on your behalf. Continue reading

Identify and Uplevel Your Social Identity

This week’s Social Capitalist Tip is from Master Certified Coach Leah Grant, who serves as a myGreenlight coach.

Social Identity is how well you are known and how you are seen by others. Social identity is important because it is about who you are with people.

When being considered for promotions and projects technical excellence is only one piece of what’s being considered — the other component is your social identity.

After working with hundreds of professionals in the myGreenlight program, I have recognized three main types of social identity:

  1. The Recluse — This person keeps their head down, is technically skilled and does great work. They only reach out to those people they must have contact with to complete a project. When they communicate they stay away from all personal subjects. The Recluse may get put on teams for their abilities, but they are often passed up for promotions and really great projects because no one knows who they are and they haven’t taken the time to get to know anyone else. Continue reading