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Give The Gift of Great Feedback

Feedback is a giftI adopted a great belief from my husband; “feedback is the breakfast of champions”.  At first, I didn’t “get it”, but I have learned that receiving feedback is a powerful gift for personal and professional growth. I have also learned that giving feedback effectively is an important leadership skill that leads to powerful working relationships.

I did not always share this perspective. For many years feedback (a.k.a. criticism) was something I dreaded and avoided. I didn’t want to hear it and I definitely didn’t want to give it. However, I am pleased to report that I have moved from being a feedback-avoider to recently being crowned the “Feedback Queen”.

Leaders who give effective feedback experience less stress and conflict, their teams are more productive, their company morale strengthens, and their relationships at home with their spouse and children improve dramatically. Given the huge difference effective feedback can make, it makes sense to share the secrets of effective feedback with you now…

Secret #1: Feedback is about behavior, not your judgment of it

This is the first and most important consideration that makes or breaks effective feedback delivery. Often our decision to give feedback is triggered by feelings of anger, frustration, hurt or annoyance we feel towards another person. These feelings are triggered when someone does something and we judge or interpret the actions negatively. We make up a story about what the other person’s behavior means and we react to it with defensiveness, annoyance, anger or even sarcasm. Giving effective feedback relies on our ability to separate the other person’s actions (facts) from our story (judgment) of the facts. With this clarity, our own heated emotions usually dissipate and we are better prepared to give effective feedback.

Secret #2: Feedback requires timing

Give feedback any time someone says or does something that affects you, positively or negatively. Most of us avoid giving feedback and hate receiving it because it’s only offered when something negative happens. A great way to learn effective feedback delivery is to practice giving it during the good times! When your staff member says or does something that makes a difference in your day (i.e. takes initiative to send out some billings so you don’t have to), give feedback (according the steps listed below). Tell that person what a difference his actions made for you.

Secret #3: Feedback is about creating mutual understanding

Giving effective feedback is not about seeking agreement from another person, it’s about helping someone hear what we have to say without him defending himself, dismissing the information or making a counter-attack. Our emphasis is on understanding each other better. Remember, we all wander around the world, experiencing it from our own perspective. We forget that we all have different and unique ways of experiencing situations and events. Giving feedback helps others see better how their words and actions affect the people around them, which uncovers blind spots and helps them decide whether or not they want to change their behavior.

4 Steps for being a feedback Queen (or King):

Step 1: Ask permission

No matter what your relationship is with the feedback recipient, sincerely ask if you may, “offer and idea”, “thank you for something” or “clear an issue”. Asking permission demonstrates respect for the other person and paves the way for their openness to hearing what you have to say.

Step 2: Share your intention for the feedback

Why are you offering this feedback?  Is your intention to strengthen the relationship? Do you need to get an issue off your chest? Do you want to help someone improve his performance? Being clear about our intention, and sharing this, increases our chances for success and continues to keep the recipient open to hearing it.

Step 3: Describe the facts

Facts are words said and/or behaviors demonstrated (not our judgment of them). Spoken and written words that can be quoted are facts (i.e. when you said…..). Actions that could be videotaped are facts (i.e. when you sent the invoicing out without being asked). Facts not our judgements (i.e. when you were rude to me yesterday…). Describing the facts of the situation helps the recipient understand specifically and clearly what the feedback is referring to. By eliminating our judgment of the facts, emotion is removed and we reduce the likelihood of provoking defensiveness.

Step 4: Describe your feelings or story about the facts

Explain how the other person’s words or actions affected you or the story or judgment you made up about their behavior. It’s important to stay accountable, take ownership and use I-language (this will help decrease defensiveness and maintain receptivity in the listener). For example, we might say to a business partner, “when you told me the other day that you made this decision without talking to me, I felt disregarded. Making these kinds of decisions without me feels disrespectful and does not feel collaborative to me”.  The recipient of this feedback might not like hearing it, but chances are he will be more open to hearing the message and willing to stay engaged to solve the problem.

Are you ready to step up your leadership?

Feedback is a tremendous gift we can learn to give others. Creativity, connection, collaboration, productivity, innovation, and problem solving all improve when companies give and seek out meaningful feedback. And these improvements foster accelerated progress in business and in life. I challenge you to become the Feedback Queen or King in your business!

To Step Up your leadership abilities, call Laura Watson at: 877-669-8684 for a free coaching consult. You can also email her: Laura@VentureCoaching.ca

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc., and was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching , and Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they create success without sacrifice! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your business and personal growth.


Prevent Conflict and Stop the Power Struggling

How to have effective relationshipsWhen my daughter was 3 years old, her personality and individuality really started to shine. This is a nice way of saying she didn’t always do what I wanted her to do and we were power struggling with each other. Said most accurately, however, I admit that I was one who was power struggling, she was just being 3 years old.

 

One day, during one of our power struggles, I had a moment I will never forget. I was trying to make my daughter do something (I can’t even remember what) and suddenly I heard my father’s tone and words coming out of my mouth. I stopped cold. What a flashback! I couldn’t believe what just happened. I knew I was not parenting effectively in this moment and I knew that over time, power struggling was not going to be a long-term, effective relationship strategy. I needed to do something different.

This “aha” moment was the catalyst that sent me on the hunt for new interpersonal skills. It helped me find the book that changed my life. While browsing the library shelves shortly after my epiphany, I stumbled across Parent Effectiveness Training, by Dr. Thomas Gordon. The title resonated with me because I knew I wanted to be a more effective parent. Little did I realize this book, combined with conscious, consistent application of its tools and skills would transform my parenting, my marriage, my coaching and the lives of my clients!

Leader Effectiveness Training Changed My Life!

Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) and its business counter-part Leader Effectiveness Training (L.E.T.) discuss how many of us use power to get what we want in our family and work relationships. We use power because that’s what we learned at home, growing up (ever heard the expression “my way or the highway”?)  These books show how using power is ineffective and how it damages our personal and professional relationships. And then the books teach us what to do differently. These books brilliantly coach the skills needed to create happy, healthy, effective relationships at home and at the office!

I liked P.E.T so much, that 1 week after reading it I enrolled in a certification program so I could teach it. Since then, I taught hundreds of parents, business owners and leaders how to use these essential relationship skills.

Repeatedly in my business coaching sessions, my clients share challenges they experience with business partners, team members, clients and family members. Everyone wants to improve their relationships they just don’t know how. I regularly advise my clients to read P.E.T or any one of the spin-off books; Leader Effectiveness Training (L.E.T.), Sales Effectiveness Training (S.E.T.) or Be Your Best. The results are amazing! Their lives and businesses are more successful and satisfying when they learn and apply new relationship skills.

My daughter is now 21 years old. She has a playful personality and she is a strong, independent thinker. We respect each other, listen to each other and communicate openly. I feel blessed to have such a great relationship with my daughter and I’m thankful that I woke up and put the effort into learning and practicing how to be effective.

How could your life and business be different if you did the same?

 

Laura Watson is President of Venture Coaching Inc., and was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides Business Coaching, Life and Leadership coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they create success without sacrifice! Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support to accelerate your personal and business growth.


Conceive And Acheive

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, often spoke about how to achieve success. His books are a must read for any business owner or corporate leader! Don’t let the date of the material turn you off (it was originally written in 1937). The book was revised and updated many times because the message is still relevant.

The main message: “What we can conceive, we can achieve!”

This is a great video of Napoleon Hill talking about the success secrets he learned from Dale Carnegie.

Success is all based on what you think. Enjoy!

To learn more, call Laura Watson toll free at: 877-669-8684 or email her at: Laura@VentureCoaching.ca

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc., and was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides leadership and business coaching programs to entrepreneurs. Venture Coaching provides the tools, process and support for new awareness, new choices and new results.


Are You Sabotaging Your Staff?

Louise is the owner of a retail clothing store. She has 1 store manager and several girls working in the store. Today’s leadership coaching session started off with Louise complaining about her manager’s poor performance. Louise was thinking she needed to “fix” her manager or let her go due to poor performance.

Louise’s goal is to have her manager, Sue, be independently operating the retail store. Louise thought Sue would take the reins as long as she felt supported and reassured by Louise. Louise’s frustration was that no matter how much reassurance she gave Sue, Sue kept asking questions and needing help, despite being on the job several months. The ongoing help Sue requested was not getting Louise the time freedom she was looking for and Louise was extremely frustrated.

Once I probed into the details, Louise and I discovered that Louise was actually sabotaging Sue’s success.

We discovered that when Sue comes to Louise with questions, Louise tells Sue what to do because Louise is not fully confident in Sue. We realized that Louise’s practice of giving Sue the answers was keeping Sue dependent on Louise and was undermining Louise’s goal of having Sue be confident and independent.

We framed the situation as follows:

Telling someone we believe in them puts a small deposit into the confidence “bank account”. But when we turn around and give that same person the answers to their questions, or tell them “just do it this way” (because it seems faster and easier to do so) we send a message to that person that we don’t really believe they are capable. This message withdraws “confidence capital” from the account for both parties. Over time, this behaviour of giving people answers actually sabotages their personal growth and success and keeps them dependent for the answers.

Asking questions that help the other person find their own answers, then letting that person put her solution in place to test the result, puts a much larger deposit into the confidence bank account for both parties and is an investment that pays higher returns over time.

Are you sabotaging or supporting your staff?

 


NOW Is The Time To Do

Richard Branson was posting recently about the importance of making lists and resolutions and there was an overwhelming response from people keen to reach their goals in 2016. It’s great to see such enthusiasm – and practical planning – for making positive changes from people all over the world.

Planning is extremely important, for any adventure in or out of business. But even more crucial is the will to simply get out there and do something new.

Dr Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, said: “All human beings are born as entrepreneurs. But unfortunately, many of us never had the opportunity to unwrap that part of our life, so it remains hidden.”

He touches upon the potential within us all to bring new ideas to life. For those of us fortunate enough to have the chance to see their dreams come to life, it is foolish to waste our opportunities.

Another perceptive point comes from Seth Godin. On his blog, he wrote about the challenges of initiating any project. “Not enough people believe they are capable of productive initiative. I don’t think the shortage of artists has much to do with the innate ability to create or initiate. I think it has to do with believing that it’s possible and acceptable for you to do it.”

As Mr Godin suggests, it is absolutely possible for you to create, to take chances and to allow your ideas to flourish. While he is referring to artists, the same applies for the art of business.

“Now is the time to do” doesn’t just apply to starting businesses. It applies to relationships, to fitness and all aspects of your life.

Nobody else is going to start and grow your business for you. 2016 is the time to put your ideas into action. Now is the time to do.

If you’re feeling stuck in your current initiative or if it’s not unfolding the way you want it to, working with a business coach can help! A business coach will bring fresh perspective and enthusiasm to the table, while helping you plan your next steps and holding you accountable for following through. If you’d like to experience, first hand, the benefit of coaching, click on the Contact Us link for a sample, FREE session!


Taking Care Of Business: maximize performance in business and life

Entrepreneurs are famous for ignoring their health! When I start working with clients, many are exhausted, frustrated, anxious and even depressed. They’re not sleeping well, they’re living off coffee and take out food, they’re drinking to get to sleep at night and forget going to the gym…who has time for that?!

One of the things I work to help my clients realize is this, there is no business without you! If you don’t take care of your health, your performance suffers and your business suffers!

Jack Groppel is an expert is maximizing performance in business and life. He’s also the author of The Corporate Athlete. Watch this video to learn more about the importance of self care and then check out the book.

Corporate Athletes don’t try to decrease stress, they increase their capacity for stress. This is how we grow personally and professionally. If you’re ready to take on being a corporate athlete physically, mentally and emotionally, start with this great book!


Buyer Beware! How To Choose a Business Coach

“Hiring a business coach is about trust and fit” Laura Watson

15 000 new coaches enter the profession every year. Do you realize that coaching is an unregulated profession and anyone can call themselves a coach, whether or not they have training or adhere to any professional guidelines or ethics?

Investing in your coaching is an important decision. Watch the video to learn what to expect and for tips on finding the right coach for you.

If you’re considering hiring a coach, I’d be happy to speak with you. I’d like to understand a bit about your situation and goals so we can discover whether or not there’s a fit.

The call is FREE, so there’s no risk for reaching out. Just click on the banner to the right, fill in the contact form and let’s have a conversation!

 


Winning Gold In Business: plan performance like an Olympian!

Carla Macleod is a defense woman for the Canadian women’s gold-medal winning hockey team. I met her at a luncheon where she was speaking about what it takes to be successful. Here are the strategies she shared for winning gold in business.

#1: Hope is not a strategy

Hope-fingers-crossedCarla first fell in love with hockey as a teenager. She played hockey endlessly, hoping of one day getting onto the World Cup team. Carla had passion for her sport, drive, determination and a willingness to play hard. She thought she had all the necessary ingredients for one day making the team. Carla caught the attention of the World Cup coaches and was considered for the team twice. And twice she was passed over. Carla learned that hard work and hope is not enough to achieve success. She realized she needed to set an intention and support it with a plan.

Many business owners start their business because they are passionate about something. They work hard and they hope for success. Unfortunately, this strategy often leads to exhaustion, burnout, estranged relationships, financial ruin and shattered dreams.

#2: Set an intention, within your control, and set a measure of success

Business SuccessA few years later Carla was chosen for the World Cup Hockey Team, and then she was training for the Canadian Women’s Olympic Team. When Carla shared her story about preparing for the Olympics, she said the team set an intention not to win gold, but to be the best prepared team amongst their competition. They set this intention because they knew they could control the outcome of preparedness. Carla reminded us that in the end, hockey is a game and that winning can go either way based on the referees, the skill of the other players, and feeling “on” or “off” any particular day. Many of those factors were beyond their control. What they could control was their training and how well prepared they were, physically, mentally and emotionally for the game.

Setting an intention means setting a goal, with a plan for execution. What’s your intention for your business in the next 3 months? 6 months? 12 months? What’s the most important business project you need to focus on? How will you measure success of this intention? What action steps will you take to achieve the goal?

#3: Develop new habits

time-for-changeTo prepare for the Olympics, Carla and her teammates adhered to a grueling training schedule. The team members were brought together in an isolated location for their coaches’ version of “Olympic Boot-camp”. The training program was designed to help every member of the team develop and strengthen excellent habits.

Many entrepreneurs exhibit destructive habits (often stress-coping mechanisms) that sabotage success. In regards to the intention you have set for yourself, what new habit do you need to develop in order to achieve your intention?

#4: Get support

get-supportA fundamental element of Carla’s success and the success of the entire Olympic team, was that the girls had support. I’ve talked with many Olympians and every one I’ve met has been extremely grateful for the support they received from family, friends and especially their many coaches.

Why do so many entrepreneurs think they have to go it alone? Elite athletes tell us time and again that success does not happen in isolation. It happens from enrolling others in supporting us, and our vision.

Who will you ask to support you in achieving your stated intention? Do you need a mentor? A consultant? A coach? What kind of support do you need? Do you need fresh perspective? Or accountability?

#5: Manage yourself effectively

personal-mastery-yodaCarla, high performance athletes and successful entrepreneurs know that the most challenging and powerful key element to success is learning to master your self. Learning to master our internal mental and emotional game makes all the difference in achieving success! Roadblocks are going to show up as we pursue our intentions. When we hit these walls, it’s easy to step down, play small and sabotage our best-laid intentions. Mastering how to lead our selves separates the elite performers from the wanna-be’s.

#6: Stay committed to your intention

CommitmentCarla had a one-time goal of playing in the Olympics. She committed to working hard and getting support for a set period of time, and she won gold. Entrepreneurs; your Olympics is your business, and you live it every day for years and decades! Your success will be determined by your commitment to the intentions you set, the habits you develop, the support you seek and the coaching you invest in to master your internal game and keep you stretching to new heights.

 

Plan your performance like an Olympian and may you win gold in business and life!


Stop Self Sabotage Instantly!

The #1 Way To Stop Self-Sabotage And Be Effective In Life And Business
One of last week’s coaching sessions focused on the important and common issue of self sabotage. I started a coaching session with a client by asking Bill (not his real name) how he was doing. He said, “fine” with a tone that told me otherwise. When I challenged Bill he responded, “you’re right, I’m frustrated, irritable and having bouts of uncontrollable rage”. Then, with a chuckle, he tried to make light of his coping strategies of “driving like a maniac (140 km.hr) to meetings” and his plan to drink 40 oz of whiskey on the weekend (instead of his usual 26 oz). It was clear. Bill was stuck in a downward spiral of self-sabotage that was putting him, his business and others at risk. He needed to switch out of his destructive pattern and back into his constructive patterns again. Bill even knew he was in a downward spiral, he felt out of control and he didn’t know how to switch back again.
How many times has this been you? How much time, energy and money have you wasted being stuck? How many relationships or partnerships have you damaged? How many times have you realized you’re in a downward spiral and you don’t know how to get out?
Getting unstuck is a skill we can learn like any other. First we need to recognize the pattern, know what to do when it happens and then apply the skill. And, just like learning yoga or golf, it’s easier and more effective the more we practice. In order to help Bill get “unstuck”, I introduced him to the “switching model”.
The Switching Model:

 

 

Original Source Of Model: Personal Best Seminars
Understanding The Switching Model:
The Downward Spiral:
Everything starts with an EVENT. The downward spiral is triggered when we resist the event. Our resistance leads to an automatic negative emotional reaction. This reaction is based on some limiting beliefs we hold (whether or not we are conscious of them). We react with some automatic behavior (ie. defensiveness, anger, confrontation, drinking) that leave us feeling worse. The downward spiral has begun. We feel stressed, irritable and out of control. This downward spiral is our self-sabotaging pattern in action.
This spiral typically keeps spinning and we can sabotage our selves for days, weeks and months. This spiral keeps looping around and down until the negative feelings eventually dissipate over time. Meanwhile, we feel miserable, we lose sleep, we over eat, we over-react to people (damaging relationships) and we often use vices as coping mechanisms. A lot of time, money and energy is wasted while reinforcing the limiting beliefs that started the cycle in the first place.
Constructive Pattern:
Getting unstuck requires us to return to the event. The key now is to see the event merely as words or actions with no meaning attached (ie. not our judgement or the meaning we assumed). When we do this, we can see the event as being neutral. We can accept the event for merely being an event, with no meaning attached and we can initiate our constructive behavior patterns again. It’s important to remember that we may not always be able to control the events around us, but we can always choose how we respond to them. Once we shift ourselves back into a positive place of choice, we feel in control, confident and calm. We resume being productive and constructive.
Once Bill reframed his interpretation of the events upsetting him, he reaped the benefits immediately. His rage and frustration dissipated, his creativity opened up and we created a plan together for how he would approach an important meeting that afternoon. In a follow up call, Bill felt excited for hosting a successful meeting, he had not received any speeding tickets and he enjoyed his weekend with his family.
We all have an amazing ability to choose how we view events around us and choose how we let them affect us, destructively or constructively. A key role of a professional coach is to help people develop mastery over the ability to apply choice. When we apply the power of choice, the average destructive to constructive cycle-time shifts from days to minutes or even moments. Less time, energy and money is wasted and the positive impact can be huge!

Laura Watson, ACC, MSW is President of Venture Coaching Inc., and was a finalist for the 2010 Canadian Coach of the Year Award. Venture Coaching provides leadership and business coaching programs to entrepreneurs so they can love their life and business! Venture Coaching provides the tools, processes and support to accelerate your business and personal growth.


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