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What You Need to Learn from Rejection

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 07/31/2014 - 08:24

A couple of days ago, Bob* called me and I could hear the excitement in his voice. He had been unemployed for a year after finishing college and had just found his first job. That year had been a trying time for Bob, however, he kept networking, going to interviews and dealing with rejection after rejection. So when he got his job offer, he not only had reason to celebrate, he started his new job having learned three important life lessons:

Persistence pays off. Bob worked hard the year after college painting houses making a paltry $12.00 an hour. He got discouraged and lost his vision at times. That’s okay, because he kept going on even when he didn’t feel like it. He networked, reminded his friends from time to time of his job search, asked for recommendations on LinkedIn, did volunteer work, and refused to quit. There were many days when Bob thought that his hard work and persistence was all for nothing. But it wasn't—it  paid off.

Change happens slowly, then suddenly. I’ve heard many motivational speakers and authors say that “Change happens in an instant.” Yes, I agree. It happens in an instant—but usually that “instant” happens after a long period of not giving up.  We would all like to be instant millionaires. However, we know that the change we want is a process that is often slower than we’d like. The good news is that if we keep at it, we reach the tipping point and then the change happens suddenly. Bob learned that if something was important, if he kept at it, it would happen "suddenly"--after he put in the required time and effort.
The more you put into something, the more you value it. I’m not saying it’s a virtue to make something harder than it has to be--it's not.  However, life shows us that the rewards go to those who are willing to put the time and effort in. If you want to run a marathon, you’re going to have to put in the miles of conditioning and the time it requires. You can certainly go to the pawn shop and buy a medallion some marathoner pawned, but it won't mean anything. To succeed in life, when things get hard for you, remember to keep at it. The more you give of yourself to get what you want, the more reason you will have to celebrate.

*Name was changed.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach

How to Start Doing What You Want to Do

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 07/30/2014 - 08:17

Sometimes, in a coaching session, even my “best” clients lapse in the complaining mode. When that happened recently in a coaching session, I listened fully, empathized with my client and then asked him “Do you mind if I give you a crazy suggestion?  When he gave me the go-ahead, I said, “Great, but first, let’s back up so I can ask you another question. What he had been complaining about was work related, and I asked him, “Why are you working on a project that you say you hate?”

His reply was, “Because I don’t have a choice—I’m the only one who can do this and my boss expects me to do it.” “So,” I responded, “You are doing something you don’t want to do?” “That’s exactly right,” he replied, feeling very understood. “I hate it but I have to do it.” I understood what he meant, but I definitely disagreed with his conclusion. In fact, I don't think we ever do anything we don't want to--even though we might tell ourselves otherwise.  The fact is, if we dig deep enough, we have reasons for wanting to do most of the things we do, all things considered. For instance, I might not (on the surface) want to vacuum my house, but if I really think about it, I do it because I like a clean house.

When you tell yourself you “have” to do something or that you don’t want to do something, you will create internal resistance. After all, who likes to be told they have to do something? We always have a choice—and if we really think about it, we can find the reasons that, all things considered, we actually want to do a lot of we do. If that's so, how should I view the things I don't want to do--at first glance?

It’s much healthier for me to tell myself, “I don’t love doing this, but here are the reasons I am choosing to do it…” Telling myself "I don't want to do this but I have to" is the way of the victim. The other way is the way of empowerment.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach

How to Deal with the "Elephant in the Room"

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 07/29/2014 - 08:25

When I work with senior managers on the topics of collaboration, teamwork and communication, there is almost always at least one “elephant in the room” they need to face. Executives are usually very smart, driven and highly skilled—as far as the technical aspects of their work go. They can talk all day long about projects, budgets, strategy and everything else outside of the "human" stuff.

But when it comes to having difficult conversations, when it comes to potential conflicts or resolving past conflicts, they are just like everyone else—“I’ll bring it up tomorrow.”

Here are four tips that will make having those anxiety producing conversations much less difficult:

Get help to get the ball rolling. If you’ve been avoiding having a talk with someone for the past month, how likely is it that you’re going to do it this week? Ask someone you trust to hold you accountable for doing what you’ve been saying you’re going to do. There’s nothing like making a commitment to someone you respect to get you out of your comfort zone. You might think you shouldn’t need to do ask someone for help, but that’s what friends or trusted colleagues at work are for.
Know your goal.
Your outcome should be to resolve the issue or at least make progress towards that end. Although tempting, having open and honest communication isn’t about proving you were right all along or about “speaking your mind” without any regard for how you speak it. Remind yourself before the conversation begins that your goal is to do the best you can to make progress in communicating with each other. It’s okay if there needs to be more than one conversation—just remember each time what your goal is. Otherwise, we can all let our emotions get the better of us and derail our efforts.
Connect with the other person. It’s challenging to deal with conflict—but it’s impossible to do it if you can’t connect with the other person in some way. Tell the other person up front you respect them and you want to talk about the elephant in the room because you value the relationship and you know they do as well. Let them know that your intent is to listen fully, say what you need to with respect and to work together for solutions that are mutually beneficial. If the other person is reasonable, they will appreciate and respect you for communicating these things and they will be motivated to reciprocate. 

Own your part in feeding the elephant in the room. Since no one is perfect, we can all usually find something to own up to in the conflict. After all, if there's an elephant in the room, we're partly responsible for why it's still there. We can at least admit to that! The more you own your part in what's happened, the more likely the other person will own theirs. If you're worried about what they're going to think of you for admitting weakness, let them know that. They're probably worried about what you will think of them for admitting any mistakes and both of you can laugh about it. That's not a bad way to get started.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach

Are You Too Comfortable at Work?

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 07/28/2014 - 08:40

Whether you feel worried or secure about your career, you need to always answer the question of “How am I doing?” From that vantage point, here are three “career audit” questions to ask yourself:
Am I too comfortable? Even if you are sure your job is secure, professionalism demands that you innovate, improve and increase your value. Have you been improving your skills, taking on new levels of responsibilities and increasing your visibility in both your company and your industry? This isn’t something you do when you are thinking about changing jobs—if you wait until then, it’s too late. It’s about challenging yourself to be your best and to do the best where you are. You owe that to yourself and your organization. However, if you stay on top of your game, and you do need to seek other opportunities, you will be ahead of the game.
Am I marketable? Many people, when they think of how marketable they are, think in terms of updating their resume. You need to think on another level—think about having a marketable product—that product being you. Do you have the education, the certifications, the experience, the references, the network and the self-confidence you need to market YOU, Inc.? If not, don’t panic. Now is the time to assess your marketability and see what you need to have or to do in order to be valued by your current employer or future employers.
Am I passionate? Recently, I’ve talked to three executives about their senior managers. Every one of the executives had a senior manager who performed beyond expectations in key areas—but they had lost their “fire.” All three senior managers did great work, but their hearts weren’t in their work. Does that describe you—and don’t pull any punches here. If so, find out what’s missing for you and how you can get your “fire” back. It might be you’re overwhelmed or underwhelmed—you have too much to do or you aren’t challenged enough in your current role. Whatever it might be, if you’ve lost your “fire,” find the cause and fix it like your career depends on it—because it does.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach

How to Have More Fun

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 07/25/2014 - 08:39

Our community has been enjoying our videos. Take a look at our latest one about HOW TO HAVE MORE FUN.

Video Editor--Chloe Motisi

Are You Stretching Yourself or Pushing Too Hard?

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 07/24/2014 - 08:35

Many women today, myself included, have unusually high expectations of themselves and the people close to them. We are learning how to stretch by challenging ourselves in every area of our lives—with family and friends, at the gym, and on the job. But stretching is very different from pressing ourselves. Stretching is an expansive state that leads to our taking positive actions. However, pressing suggests an unreasonableness, where we are asking too much of ourselves, demanding that we do better, grow more quickly, and too rapidly change our lives…

How can we take little steps towards not pushing ourselves too hard? By becoming aware of when we cross over the line, feel too tense, exhausted, or burned out. And when we are aware of this happening, we must change our direction: Do not work that extra hour or go to another engagement, but go out to dinner with a female friend (or take your husband and child out) or just go home; do the minimum of what has to be done, and go to be early. Remember, no one is keeping score. Also appreciate the special things that are in your life—a caring friend, lovely living quarters, a loving family. By bringing these things to mind, we nurture ourselves. We may even find that the need to press towards gaining another achievement diminishes.

Adapted from Our Power as Women, by Helene Lerner. Conari Press.

Why You Need to be a Power Team Player

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 07/23/2014 - 08:24

This week I am doing training for a world-class company on the theme of "Being a Power Team Player." They know if they are going to continue to lead in their industry, they have to play a bigger game and they have to do it together in ways they haven't even yet thought of. We live in an increasingly complex world where we can have exceptional performers on a team and yet the team continues to be mediocre. That’s why companies today are not just looking for great performers—they are looking for great team players. If you want to be a power team player and help your team do great things, here are three tips:

Be proactive: Leaders go first when it comes to collaborating with others, whether they have a title or not. They’re not just “self-starters”—they also get others going as well. They ignite the qualities of caring, sharing and working with others on their team and throughout the company. Power players are not the norm because too many of us tend to keep our heads down. What about you? How often have you taken the lead to offer another team your expertise, insights and your help in some way? 

Be exceptional: Sometimes it’s all you can do to just keep up with your own work—I get that. I often hear, from the front line all the way up to senior management, “I would like to do more with and for others, but I can only do so much.” That’s common thinking, but that’s not how power team players think and act. Power team players are exceptional because they connect with others, dream with others and challenge others while most say they don’t have the time or the “authority” to do so. To be a power team player, you have to speak up, share your ideas, ask questions, challenge the status quo and in general, inspire others with your team mindset.
Be consistent:
Almost everyone exhibits team thinking and team behaviors—some of the time. Power team players are known for their consistency in bringing others into the conversation, asking for ideas from those who are rarely sought out and for encouraging the silent ones to speak what’s on their minds. Power team players know that most people are not collaborating to the greatest extent they are capable of—and they know it takes time to change thinking and habits. They are patiently consistent with others. And while most are busy with their own work, power team players are getting their work done and communicating, sharing and working with those around them.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach

Why You Need to Make Fun a Priority

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 07/22/2014 - 08:31

Some of us don’t take time out of our busy schedules to play. We may even feel that it’s a waste of time. Unfortunately, we lose sight of our need to replenish ourselves. A woman’s basic needs are not only food, clothing, and shelter, but also caring, friendship, and FUN. Yes, fun works wonders. Fun lightens our burdens, gives us new perspectives, and frees our minds to face ordinary situations with renewed enthusiasm. Here’s a case in point:

Have you ever come home from work feeling so tired that the only thing you were capable of doing was brushing your teeth and crawling into bed? Take this same scenario and add to it a phone call from your best friend, who loves to joke with you. You hear her laugh and your exhaustion goes away. Instead of wanting to go to sleep, you’d rather meet her and go dancing.

Playing is not just for little children. A few good jokes, drinking a cappuccino with a special friend, roller-skating with your children, swimming, collecting shells on a beach—all of these activities can transform exhaustion into energy. We all have a child inside us that wants to have fun, but do we let her come out and play? You know what she’ll do if you don’t! Throw a tantrum in the form of being bored, exhausted, or uncooperative.

Adapted from Our Power as Women, by Helene Lerner. Conari Press.

Why You Need to Receive, As Well As Give

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 07/21/2014 - 08:21

If we want to be happy, successful and to thrive in life, we have to know how to both give and receive. Some are definitely more comfortable with the giving part. However, the more we grow in both graces, the more we experience the flow of life. Here are two tips to help us grow in our understanding of the power of giving and receiving.

What you give comes back to you:

Someone once told me “We should give without expecting anything in return—that’s true giving.” That sounds like a healthy perspective, at first hearing. However, I have a different take on it: I don't think it's healthy at all. In fact, I think we ought to expect a return on our giving. After all, we have needs and desires of our own—if we don’t get them met, what would we give from? It’s fine to give to someone or to some cause without expecting anything back from that specific source—but to not expect a harvest from the seeds we plant is misguided. You can’t give out of what you don’t have. Be a giver, yes, but remember to receive when the giving is coming from the other direction and stay in the flow of the universe.

When it comes, be ready to receive:

There are many people who are uncomfortable receiving a compliment or receiving help when they need it. They don’t want to be in anyone’s debt, so they inadvertently make it difficult for others to give to them. To receive graciously, without embarrassment or shame takes a sense of self-worth. You are worthy to receive—you don’t have to earn that right. I'm talking about receiving things such as love, respect for being a fellow human-being or help when someone offers it. At work, you have to earn your paycheck; that's a given. However, even at work, when we realize we all have strengths, talent and passion and find a place to exercise them, we're eager to go to work and give even beyond what's expected.

Take the “Ready to Receive” Test:

  • If you’re searching for a job, have you let others you know that you need their help?
  • Do you find it difficult to ask for a raise, even if you know you’ve earned it?
  •  Are you uncomfortable when someone says, “Let me pay for lunch today.”
  • If you need to borrow money from a family member or friend; will you ask them without feeling that you’re somehow less than them?
  • Can you open up to others about your fears, mistakes and self-doubts and really hear them when they tell you how much they respect you and what they see as your strengths and gifts to the world are?

-Alan Allard, Career Coach

How to Enjoy Life

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 07/18/2014 - 10:56

Our community has been asking for more videos--this is a fabulous one on how to enjoy life.

Video Editor--Chloe Motisi

What Your Boss Really Needs from You

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 07/18/2014 - 08:22

Many employees wish they had a better boss. That’s understandable, given the not so great state of management in our companies and organizations. But guess what? Most supervisors and managers wish they had better employees. That’s why you hear so much about the dire state of employee engagement—only 30% of employees are truly engaged according to Gallup.

The state of management doesn’t look like it’s going to be transformed anytime soon—and you’re not going to fix the employee engagement problem single-handedly. So what can you do? You can focus on what you can control by focusing on giving your manager what he or she wants and needs from you. Here are three ways to do that:

No surprises. Keep your boss informed of anything and everything that is important for them to know. Your boss doesn’t want to learn about a problem after the fact when you could have told them of a possible storm coming their way. If you keep your boss informed, you will increase his or her trust in you, and as a result, you will have more influence over them. If you’re not sure you should communicate with your boss about something, that’s likely a sign you should. Over time, you will refine your ability to know what and how much to communicate to your boss.

Be sure you know  your boss's expectations. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: the only way you can be sure you know what your boss says is to ask on a consistent basis and get it in writing. When you meet with your boss to discuss expectations, take notes and confirm your understanding as you are listening and asking questions. Afterwards, send your boss an email detailing what you understand the expectations to be and have them confirm or clarify your understanding.

Express your appreciation and respect. From your vantage point, it might look like it’s easy to be the boss, but in reality, it’s not. As a boss, you have to do your work, help your team with their work—and you have to satisfy senior management. Someone, on some level, is always going to be unhappy about something. Your boss needs to hear from you what they’re doing right and what you appreciate about their leadership. A good rule of thumb is he or she needs to hear positives from you ten times for every  complaint or a disappointment they hear from you.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach

Summer Style File

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 07/17/2014 - 08:22

If you have taken heed of my tips and suggestions for must-haves, you have likely been getting the right kind of attention everywhere you go; from the desk to dinner! Here are a few additions to regenerate your old wardrobe and make old looks new again with just a new view on how to wear it. 

A Blazer Vest

This classic double-breasted blazer is the perfect warm-weather layering piece. Wherever you would wear a blazer, substitute it for this sleeveless alternative to give your regular suit and blouse combination just the right finesse without the trouble of becoming too hot in the summer heat.

The White Collared Shirt

In a twist of events, the white collared shirt—a classic office staple—was actually a hot trend on the runway this year (but with an update, of course). Think very crisp, a bit edgier, and a more interesting silhouette. But this souped-up fashion version still works perfectly with your go-to work outfits.

A Flounce-Hem Skirt

The flounce hem gives a ladylike touch to the classic pencil skirt but is still totally work-appropriate. It's a refreshing piece to pair with a collared shirt, light summer sweater, sheath top, or boxy blazer—and, if your office is cool with it, try out some fun colors.

Modern Suiting and a Graphic Tee

A jacket and blazer never looked so...chic. A cropped trouser cut and emblazoned T-shirt give the traditional suit a whole new spin.  Fashion has often sought inspiration from art. Geometric patterns, water brush marks, graffiti, you name it--GRAPHIC PRINTS are back in style. For the workplace; it looks pretty cool to wear this trend with a suit or with jeans and a blazer and heels. Wear your art to work

Black and White

  • Tried-and-true monochromatic always works, but a little detail offers a twist on the classic. Black and white alone or in combination with another color like shown here is a strong and easy fashion statement to stay in trend 
  • Black and white alone or in combination with other solids like that traditional navy suit everyone has tucked in the back of the closet is a strong and easy way to make new fashion statement and stay in trend  with little cost
  • You can also add a bold colored brooch, or statement necklace to elevate the classic pairing.

White on White

White on White isn’t usually considered a reasonable color combination for the workplace, however it does work beyond weddings and christenings. Mix it up a little and try wearing gold accessories with White. It’s a fantastic way to bump up the soft ethereal feeling you get when wearing all white. Don’t be scared to ride on the wild side every now and again!

Next month will be my final installation for the Summer Style Philes then we will get ready for the fabulous transformations in store for Fall/Winter Fashion. Stay Tuned! Keep enjoying summer; it’s almost over.

Pamela Watson is an experienced stylist who currently works as the trend expert for Builders of Style, where she prepares A-list clients for red carpet events, music videos, concerts, and award shows.

What Difficult People Can Teach You

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 07/16/2014 - 08:20

Every company has them and most teams have at least one. Families often have one as well. You know what I’m talking about; the employee or family member that makes you want to walk the other way when you see them coming. Instead of complaining about the difficult person in your midst, why not ask what they can teach you about--you? For example:

You have buttons they can push:

Who do you find it the most difficult to be around? Is it the narcissist who makes sure the conversation is always about them? Is it the complainer who finds fault with the resort the company chose for your team’s annual celebration? Or is it the passive-aggressive person who has perfected his or her tone while delivering the accusation, “That’s not what I meant—don’t be so sensitive!”? We all have buttons, areas of sensitivity that others can easily find and manipulate. Whatever yours is, the difficult person is there to remind you that it’s still there and that they “own” you as long as you have that button.

You have room to improve as well:

There is no doubt that the “difficult” person needs to overhaul their communication and interpersonal skills in the area or areas that make them difficult for many people. But what about you? Have you considered that the difficult person could be viewed as a reminder that you’re not as assertive as you need to be? That difficult person isn’t likely to change, are they? You can either keep letting that person push your button or you can decide it’s time for you to learn to be more assertive and set boundaries with them. The difficult person can teach you, “This isn’t just all about me—you have a part in this as well.”

You have blind spots too:

The difficult person has a behavior (or several) that is so unpleasant that everyone agrees there’s a problem—a serious problem. The bigger problem is they’re oblivious to what’s plain to everyone else! How can that be? The answer is that they’re just like you and me. We all have blind spots. We’re not blind to a horrendous behavior because our behaviors aren’t on that level. Yet, we’re not perfect either. Difficult people remind us that we all have blind spots. We can be like the difficult people and stay oblivious—or we can learn from them ask for some candid feed-back. Just because our behavior might not be a serious problem doesn’t mean we should ignore it.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach

Why You Need to Take Risks, Even When You're Afraid

Submitted by Helene on Tue, 07/15/2014 - 08:28

The Fear Factor

What inhibits you from moving forward? When you identify a goal and take actions to achieve it, you open up yourself to the possibility of risk—getting or not getting what you desire, as well as the consequences that result. It’s frightening to step outside your comfort zone, which is what you are doing when you take a risk. You’ll likely be afraid, but that doesn’t have to stop you from taking action.

As Susan Jeffers, author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, says, “As long as I continued to push out into the world, as long as I continued to stretch my capabilities, as long as I continued to take new risks in making my dreams come true, I was going to experience fear.”
Turn Fear into Excitement

I invite you to shift how you view fear. Did you ever think that when you’re afraid, you are actually excited? Our bodies react to fear and excitement in the same way—a quickened heartbeat, perspiration, cold and clammy hands.

Early on, I remember how I worried after I received a promotion at my first job. I was concerned about my new responsibilities and whether I could handle them. My mentor advised me that I wouldn’t have been offered the position if others didn’t think I could do it, and do it well. She also pointed out that it sounded like I was more excited than afraid. Suddenly, my attitude changed. Her guidance and friendship gave me the permission I needed to feel exhilarated about my new job. Consequently, I was looking forward to moving ahead.

Excerpted from Smart Women Take Risks, by Helene Lerner. McGraw-Hill, 2006.

The Key to Ending Perfectionism, Starting Now

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 07/14/2014 - 08:21

I was having lunch with Jack* discussing a change management project I was coaching him on. He knew I used to be a psychotherapist and he asked, “Can I change the subject?” I said “Yes, of course—what’s on your mind?” Jack told me he had wanted to write a book for the past five years but he kept “getting stalled.” When I asked Jack what that meant, he said “I write a page or two, don’t like it and end up deleting most of it.”

This is what I said to him:

When we say we want to do something and we get stuck, the problem is often perfectionism. It is a way of thinking that becomes a habit and it turns life and work into a series of tests. The test is “Do I measure up? Am I good enough?” Perfectionism makes it difficult to write a book or do anything else. It makes it hard to speak up and be heard (what if I’m wrong?) to set boundaries (what if I’m being selfish?) or to take more risks (what if I fail?)

The cure for perfectionism is simple and hard at the same time: Unconditional self-love. The kind of positive self-regard that says “I love myself no matter what. I may not always love or even like my behavior, but I always love myself—no matter what.” When your self-worth isn’t at stake, you can make a mistake, learn from it and move on. You can write a book no one wants to read and keep writing because you enjoy the thrill of expressing yourself without fear of judgment.

Loving yourself, no matter what, also clears the way for knowing what you truly want in life (not everyone wants to write a book) and it gives you permission to go for it without fearing failure. After all, if you succeed, you’re not going to love yourself more and if you fail, you’re not going to love yourself any less. Loving yourself no matter what is the most powerful thing you can do—for yourself and for others.

Jack was doing what many of us do—he was subconsciously tying his self-worth to how well he could write a book. Instead of loving himself unconditionally and just doing what would bring him joy, he was trying to prove something to himself. Perhaps you do that as well. Why not give yourself what you are looking for first (love and everything that comes from it)and then allow that to inspire everything else you do in life? Practice that and instead of being held back by perfectionism, you will find yourself inspired and unstoppable.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach

*Name changed

How to Embrace Pleasure

Submitted by Womenworking on Fri, 07/11/2014 - 08:05

Our community has been enjoying the series of wonderful quote videos we've been sharing. The newest one is about embracing pleasure. Enjoy!

Video Editor--Chloe Motisi

Strongly Communicating Important Points

Submitted by Womenworking on Thu, 07/10/2014 - 08:18

I received a call this week from a client who is a senior executive in a large company. He was upset because another executive, one of his peers in another department, emailed him with a “complaint.” It seems my client’s colleague had taken issue with how my client had handled something and he decided to express that via email.

You probably know where I’m going with this. You know that if you have something important to say, communicating face to face or over the telephone is the way to go. The written word can’t convey your tone of voice and communicating by email opens up too many possibilities for misunderstandings. Beyond that (as if that’s not enough), emailing doesn’t allow you to gauge the impact of your message and recalibrate when necessary.

Still, every day, this kind of mistake is made, even by seasoned executives who should know better. Why is that? The culprit is our emotions.  When we’re frustrated, hurt or angry, we forget the things we know when our minds are clear. Our emotions cloud our judgment and we don’t hear the alarm going off warning us not to make a rookie mistake. Moreover, when our emotions are running even a little high, we get impatient and want to say what’s on our minds now, not later. We just send the missive off via email. 

But that’s not the only reason even smart people succumb to the lure of communicating sensitive matters via email. Sometimes we’re just plain nervous about saying what’s on our minds in person and we want to take the easy way out. We tell ourselves we’re dealing with the matter and speaking up—and we believe that—at least in the moment. For a little while, we feel brave because we’re insulated from the other person we “just have to say this to.”

I’ve done this before and I bet you have as well. I’d also bet that for every time it seemed to have worked out in your favor, there were more times we just created a bigger problem. The call from my client was a reminder for me: If I have something important to say, I need to give myself and the other party the best chance to have an effective conversation and a successful outcome. That’s not likely to happen if I resort to email. Not likely at all. 

Why You Need to Lead Like a Coach

Submitted by Womenworking on Wed, 07/09/2014 - 08:21

In my workshop “Leader as Coach,” I help managers and executives to think like a coach and instruct them on how to use coaching tools to maximize their team’s performance and potential. You might not be a coach, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think like one and have greater influence and impact on others. Here are three tips for adapting a coaching mindset:

Coaching is about the client, not the coach: If you coached your boss, your team or your colleagues, your job would be to help them achieve their goals in a way that’s faster and easier. How? By asking them what their priorities are and offering to be of help in some way. Even if they don’t need your help right now, they will appreciate your interest and offer. When it comes time for you to be promoted, the connections and good will you create will serve you well.

Coaching is more about asking questions and listening than supplying answers: Instead of trying to dazzle others with what you know, help them discover their brilliance and come to their own solutions. There will be times when sharing your knowledge and offering solutions is appropriate. However, if you really want to stand out, think like a coach and help others think more deeply, consider other perspectives and come to their own conclusions. They will feel empowered and you will build a reputation for helping others develop their potential.

Coaching is all about results: Companies and individuals hire me as a coach for one reason--to help them create greater and more dramatic results. That’s how you should view your role as an employee. You don't get paid to put in eight or ten hours a day on your job. You’re paid to achieve the results that are important to your boss and your company. Find out what your boss’s priorities are (and those of his or her boss) and focus your talent and energy there. Let others complain about what needs to change in the company—while you become known as the person who achieves the results your boss wants.
-Alan Allard, Career Coach

How to Tap into Your Strength

Submitted by Womenworking on Tue, 07/08/2014 - 08:36

Our online community has been enjoying our inspirational videos. Finding your inner strength is a topic you've let us know you're interested in, so we created a new video on the subject. Take a look.

Video Editor--Chloe Motisi

Why You Need to Compliment Yourself

Submitted by Womenworking on Mon, 07/07/2014 - 08:33

Last week, I was reading a book when my doorbell rang. By the time I opened the door, Kelly, my neighbor was walking away. I called out to her and she looked relieved to find someone home—she had locked her car keys inside her SUV while it was still running in her garage. Fortunately, her passenger window was cracked open enough to get a coat hanger inside to try to pull the lock open. Thirty-five long minutes later, Kelly was happily driving off to meet friends for a Fourth of July barbecue celebration.

Kelly was very appreciative of course that I was able to help her and she expressed her gratitude multiple times. As you know, being appreciated and complimented is always nice. But I’m not telling you this story to point out the benefits of hearing positive things from others. The fact is that I had the pleasure of hearing positive words from two people—Kelly and myself. The fact is that after Kelly told me what a great neighbor I was, I told myself the same thing.

Some might think that strange or even a little narcissistic. I think it’s healthy--but I didn't always think that way. Years back, I would have never complimented myself for helping someone out. Doing so would never have entered my mind and it wouldn't have felt normal. What felt “normal” was to criticize myself when I made a mistake. In fact, it was routine for me to notice and point out my faults and shortcomings. But to compliment myself or to say something positive about a good trait or for helping someone out in a small way? No, that would just seem weird.

Why is that? If it seems natural to say affirming things to others, why isn’t it natural to compliment ourselves? It might not feel natural for you to do that, but it’s quite healthy. Here are two tips to make it natural for you to say positive things to yourself:

Give to yourself what you want from others. We all want to be appreciated—it’s a basic need. If you want more appreciation, start by giving it to yourself—on a regular basis. The funny thing is, the more you do for yourself what you want others to do for you, the less you will need it from others. Then, when it happens, it will be a bonus.

Do it even (or especially) if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
You don’t have to tell anyone about this; you can keep it to yourself if you like. When you get more comfortable with saying supportive things about yourself, you will find it to be one of the easiest and healthiest ways to give yourself a boost of positive energy.

-Alan Allard, Career Coach