Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When not to coach

While I promote coaching as an exceptional method to build competency, there are times when it is not appropriate to coach. Watch this video for a few hints:

(some material sourced from Dennis Kinlaw's Coaching for Commitment)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Law of Diminishing Intent

"We intend to take action when an idea strikes us. We intend to do something when the emotion is high. But if we don't translate that intention into action fairly soon, the urgency starts to diminish. A month from now, the passion is cold. A year from now, it can't be found.” -- Jim Rohn

What ideas do you have right now? What are your dreams? Start today! Want to run a 5K someday? Go for a walk today. Want to be a better communicator? Start writing now. Want to know your kids better? Sit with them when they do their homework tonight and listen to their concerns and ideas. Start right now -- don't let that great idea turn cold.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

There are physical, emotional, intellectual, and character strengths. Do you know your character strengths?

Often we are told what our intellectual strengths are early in life: you're good in math, you're a good reader, you're quite the musician. We're told what our physical strengths are: you're flexible, you've got a great throwing arm, you're nimble, you've got great rhythm.

But, what are our character strengths? Are we industrious, socially intelligent, curious, prudent? And what is the value of these strengths?

To best utilize our strengths, we must identify them and then develop them. Identify your character strengths with the online test at www.viastrengths.org.
  • From the top 10, choose the 5 that best fulfill the “Strengths Criteria”
  • Choose one character strength and for the following week use the strength in a new way every day
  • Each night, briefly describe how you used your strength in a new way today and how you intend to use the strength in a new way tomorrow

--from UPenn's course Positive Psychology, 2009

Friday, October 8, 2010

Play to your strengths

"The real tragedy of life is not that we don't have enough strengths. It's that we fail to use the ones we have." -- Buckingham and Clifton

Many of us spend enormous energy fixing our weaknesses and the weaknesses we perceive in others -- our direct reports, our spouses, our bosses, our children. There is much more to be gained by enhancing and then playing to our strengths. Figure out what everyone around you is best at and then put them to work on that -- utilize those strengths and both you and others will gain. And be far more content in life!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"I'll just explain why it's necessary"

. . . the answer most people give when asked how they will persuade someone to make a critical change. And yet:

"Two years after receiving coronary bypass surgery to save their lives, 90% of patients are back to old behaviors." -- Dr. Edward Miller, Johns Hopkins University*

Can you imagine a more persuasive argument for changing behavior? "Change your behavior or die"; yet, it doesn't work!

Explaining is not persuading. What else can you do to persuade others to make needed changes?

* as quoted by David Maxfield in his program, Influencing for Change

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Human potential is underrated

My son's class learned about Stanley Milgram's famous "shock" experiments, where nearly 50% of subjects were willing to shock another human being to death because a man in a white lab coat told them to. My son is exceedingly upset about the baseness of human nature.

Here's what I tried to tell him today, summed up much better than I could do by Abraham Maslow:
"“If we want to know how fast a human being can run, then it is no use to average out the speed of a ‘good sample’ of the population; it is far better to collect Olympic gold medal winners and see how well they can do.

If we want to know the possibilities for spiritual growth, value growth, or moral development in human beings, then I maintain that we can learn most by studying our most moral, ethical, or saintly people.

On the whole I think it is fair to say that human history is a record of the ways in which human nature has been sold short. The highest possibilities of human nature have practically always been underrated"

We have to look at our best to see what we can be; perhaps we can look at the worst we can be so that we know what to avoid, yes. But, don't forget to also look at what we humans can do in the face of adversity. Don't forget Lincoln, Gandhi, Dr. King, Mother Theresa, Moses, and others who were the change they believed in the world!