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    Conversation Advantage™

    Last month I attended an amazing workshop on how to have conversations that reflect the changing universe at work.

    Based on the work of Melinda Sinclair and Dorothy Greenaway, two outstanding experienced coaches:

    “We are in the midst of a big shift in the world of work: a shift away from old style command and control towards a new, more collaborative way of working: the C Shift.”

    And…”Collaboration is at the core of how work gets done.”

     The programs are the result of their extensive work on conversations that can be reviewed in their recently published book, The Leadership Coach’s Advantage. This is one of the best, most effective, straightforward, easy to read and use how to’s I have come across on any subject, underscoring  just how powerful it is for leadership coaching.

    The book is available on Amazon, click here to review and purchase.

    But more on the program. The C shift is moving from our old ways of leadership:

    Command, control, comply, correct, coerce, conform to…

    Connect, co-create, contribute, common good, communicate, collaborate

    “Effective conversation is essential for good collaboration. Without high levels of Conversation Intelligence™, it’s simply not possible to have the kind of collaboration needed to succeed in today’s workplace. “ Embedding the new C’s into our own coaching conversations moves us toward Conversation Intelligence™.

    Here’s what you and your staff and employees (yes the program is pertinent to everyone) will take away from the program:

    • A conversation model that will change the way you do conversation
    • A practical toolbox to help you raise your conversation game
    • An engaging and interactive experience that fosters learning and application
    • A heightened awareness of where your conversation skills hit the mark and miss the mark
    • Skills and practices guaranteed to raise your Conversation IntelligenceTM

    The Conversation Advantage™ program engages participants in a learning experience that helps enhance Conversation Intelligence by fostering shifts on multiple levels:

    Intention:

    Explore what shifts in intention you can make to strengthen your conversation effectiveness.

    Attention:

    Learn how to direct attention in conversation for better focus and results.

    Behaviour:

    Discover what the optimal mindset is for effective connections and conversations.

    Mindset:

    Gain concrete, practical ideas for behaviour shifts you can make to get better conversation outcomes.

    Skills and Tools:

    Practice new skills and learn how to optimize their use through attention tools that can guide your approach.

    So what does all this mean for you and your business?

    •  Shared understanding
    • Greater trust
    • Effective collaboration
    • Better alignment
    • Stronger relationships
    • Smarter decisions
    • Better results

     

    For me, I was struck by a couple of things.

    • The way Melinda and Dorothy elegantly made the topic, exercises and learning practical, down to earth, immediately applicable and fun.
    • The way in which I was able to shift my conversation to the new C’s.
    • The enormous help the book has been in continued practice and learning.
    • The integration of what I already know with the new.
    • The power of paying attention to what is drawing your attention.

    But hey, don’t take my word for it. Go to http://peopledynamicslearning.com/ and check it out for yourself. Try out a program. Buy the book.

    We are offering this state of the art program everywhere the Conversation Advantage™ program makes sense which means pretty much everywhere.  Stay tuned.

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    Tapping into Capabilities

    In a recent conversation with a client an awareness was experienced that had me realize this may be important. See what you think!

    The client, reflecting on relationships at work, mostly from the perspective of what had changed, asked himself these questions…how was I going to manage people, how was I in relationship with people, who on the team were actually trying to sabotage our efforts, how was I failing?

    During the conversation, with encouragement, the client mused on strengths, purpose and most importantly values.

    The results were enlightening.

    Some of you may recognize the Awareness of Self triangle…see below.

    The focus on reconnecting with or remembering strengths, purpose and values reminded the client of not only who he was but who he wanted to be and what was important in his life.

    By getting a handle on these big picture pieces he was able to tap into his capabilities in a much larger way. Here’s one example.

    He rediscovered his value around family that he had been ignoring or setting aside in the illusory quest to “get ahead”. Just reconnecting with this value changed his entire mindset and the resulting impact was spending more time on weekends at home with those that were most important to him…getting more balanced in his approach to life and work.

    And here’s an interesting side benefit. His mindset around work suddenly changed as well. He went from the judger approach of “what’s wrong around here and who’s at fault” to “what’s right around here and how can we make it better”.  By being in a place where he could tap into his capabilities he was able to get creative, remember he had lots of skills in leading people and was able to deal  with all of the issues on the team in a direct and sensitive way. In the absence of purpose, strengths and values he could not see beyond the problems. When that happens we start to make things up…and they usually bear no relationship to reality!

    The takeaway…create a structure that helps you remember who you are!

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    At least I have my legs…a story about mindset

    Have you ever had one of those days that starts out with one thing after another going sideways and you haven’t even had breakfast? Well I had one of those starts to my day recently. I was surely feeling quite annoyed and sorry for myself all at the same time. Yet the day had a very big insight for me – one that truly effected my mindset.

    The day was a Friday, the last day of a week of teaching for Adler at the University of Western Ontario. The course was the second week of the Adler program, Coaching in the Context of Work. From the moment I awoke that morning I was in high gear to have a great day with a very fun  group and I knew I would be heading home later that day.

    As I am heading out the door of my hotel room, I noticed that the rain that had been forecast for the day had turned to snow and I mean snow, 15 to 20 cm of the thick wet stuff. OK< so I’m driving to the school today instead of walking, no big deal, all is well. Or so I thought!

    Then in the next hour, what unfolded felt like one test after another.

    I get to my car in the hotel parking garage, loaded my luggage, got behind the wheel, pushed the starter button and nothing. The battery was dead. So I called for service and along with all the other weather challenged people out there, was put on hold. The cell signal in the underground garage was not strong so of course I lost the signal a number of times and keep getting shunted to last in the queue of those on hold. I decide to head back into the hotel.

    Nice try Sue; you need a card key to re-enter the hotel from the garage and I had already checked out!

    I checked out the garage and finally found a staff person who opened the door to let me back into the hotel. I walked up to the main floor because, of course, there were elevator problems. Finally made the front desk and asked them to call me a cab. By the look on their faces I knew this was not going to be my best choice as people were lined up knee deep to get taxis to the airport and elsewhere and the cabs were having a difficult time even getting to the hotel.

    I told them about my dead battery and my predicament about getting to the classroom on time. One staff member offered her jumper cables and another offered to call Dan, the Mr. Fix-it Guy at the hotel. Things were looking up! Dan and I got to the car and of course my vehicle was facing the wrong way in and the cables wouldn’t reach. What next!

    However, Dan offered to drive me to the university; I was so elated I could have hugged him. How’s that for service? So off we went. I gave Dan my car keys so he could direct the tow service to my car in the hotel garage.

    I arrived at the classroom with 10 minutes to spare. One student had already gone off the road on her way in, yikes! She was all right but would not be joining us for the day.

    The group was very gracious about allowing me a couple of minutes to get some breakfast after I relayed the details of my morning to this point and of course my description of how cranky I get when I haven’t eaten.

    So, it’s now been an hour seen the ordeal began and the real lesson or “learning” was still to come.

    I was crossing the street to Tim Horton’s to get something to eat when I came across a man in a motorized wheelchair, stuck in a snow bank at the edge of the sidewalk unable to get through the wet snow. I stopped to give him a hand and  was joined by 2 other good Samaritans. After some pushing and pulling we were able to get him dislodged and on his way.

    Surprising, one of the men who helped get the wheelchair unstuck and was going in the same direction as me said, “I have to get going, I can’t waste another moment here – at least I have my legs.”
    Wow, I caught my breathe and was about to say something rude and sarcastic but in the moment said instead, ‘here’s the good news, you stopped and helped us get the gentleman unstuck.” He mumbled something and continued on his way.

    So as I continued through the snow to get in line for breakfast, I realized that a dead car battery meant nothing in comparison. So I celebrated the fact that at “least I’ve got my legs”.

    The lesson being that I could have continued throughout the day feeling sorry for myself as I did at the start of the day yet my encounter with the wheelchair bound gentleman changed my entire perspective.

    Ever had an opportunity to get nudged into a change of perspective?

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    Coaching, Self Care and Choice

    There was a great insight this week during a coaching interaction about how we are choiceful human beings and how important it is to be aware of our choices.

    The client ( a coach as well) in question was feeling “stuck” around an issue where she really wanted to make a different choice and get out of that seemingly endless loop she was experiencing.  It was funny how this sense of “being stuck” was showing up in the life of one of her own clients as a perfect mirror for her about self care.

    Self care and in some cases extreme self care is critically important. The analogy for us is always reflected in the demonstration at the beginning of an airplane flight. You know the one…the importance of applying the oxygen mask to yourself before trying to be of assistance to anyone else.

    How is it then, that when faced with a similar choice we fail to remember our name must be put at the top of the care list? When it comes to taking the kids to hockey practice, to music lessons, getting groceries or any other of the endless tasks on our list, we experience temporary amnesia about who comes first. And we are not talking about being frivolous about our wants.

    We are talking about remembering that our lives count and at the end of the day if we are running on empty (gas or oxygen) we can unconsciously begin to resent all the other choices we made that left us feeling so depleted and leaving us at less than our best.

    So the next time someone asks, “How did you take care of yourself today?” what will you answer?

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    Complete The Old-Create The New

    Happy New Year !

    As we move into 2011 we want to share with all of you an exercise we recommend to our clients. The exercise is called Complete The Old, Create The New. It’s an opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments from 2010 and get complete with those things that may have fallen short of our intentions.

    The second part of the exercise allows a look ahead to 2011 and what we what to achieve in the coming year. By imagining or seeing our intentions as being complete at the end of the year they become real and infinitely more possible.

    So find a quiet spot, have some fun with the questions and enjoy the opportunity to design your own desired future.

    We will be right along with you as we do our own reflections on 2010 and look at our goals for 2011.

    Sue and Hugh

    Complete the Old ————— Create the New

    Step One
    A) wins, successes and breakthroughs in the past year
    B) losses, disappointments and breakdowns in the past year
    C) reflect on what it means to be complete with each item. Incompleteness holds us back from taking on the next exciting opportunity.

    Step Two
    Looking over the past year, what are the 5-7 lessons you have learned?

    Step 3
    Imagine one year ahead, and write a list of all the wins, successes and breakthroughs for the coming year. This is about what you want the year to be and what you are creating.

    Step 4
    Name the year to reflect your journey – e.g. Year of the Galactic Explorer.

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