Why Innovative Businesses Offer Coaching for All Professionals

Coaching Has Power

Competition drives businesses to innovative—but innovation isn’t just for the products and services they market. Innovation also includes how companies get the product to market. With “people operations” being a large cost to the bottom line, businesses are looking for ways to reduce pay or get more productivity from their employees. With change comes opportunities as well as challenges. With a changing mix of generational work preferences and soft skills, business leadership should be asking how the increase in remote working, competition for talent, and managerial coaching will affect their profitability in the future.

Remote Working

In more recent history, the open-floor plan with cubicles and few closed-door offices exploded throughout corporate America, touted by consultants as the next best thing to sliced bread as far as office design went. C-Suite took their bait on the selling points of innovation and productivity. How that concept passed any reasonableness test still baffles me today, but it’s easily explained as a cost reduction exercise in rent per employee under the disguise of collaboration. Open floors drove people to mediate their circumstances by either working from their home office or donning headphones to block noise and distracting hallway conversations. I would argue that employee collaboration took a step back, as technology allowed employees to work more remotely and independently.

Some employees who enjoy the freedom of working from a home office express feel less connected from their co-workers. Without face-to-face engagement, relationship bonds can weaken, and in many cases, remote employees never forge a relationship with new employees. Remote staff have limited opportunities for casual conversations in the break room while grabbing a cup of coffee or in the conference room before a meeting. Connection is built in small interactions over time and keeps the team accountable to each other.

Generational Work Preferences

Technology has enabled people to isolate themselves while working remotely. Even when a boss requires an employee to work in a cubicle, email and SharePoint allow one to communicate without a verbal conversation. Need to learn something new? YouTube probably has an instructional video.

Effective communication requires one to use all parts: words, tone of voice, and body language. Did you know that words comprised only 7% of the message? How much is lost in translation when one primarily uses email and other forms of word-based technology to convey messages.

A teacher recently shared that with every incoming 4th grade class, the students resist more and more when asked to work in groups. They beg to do the assignment by themselves. What happened to the days when the teacher announced a group project, and the kids responded by raising their hands and pleading who they could work with. Are soft skills under attack and underdeveloped based on the technology advances?

Managerial Coaching

Technology has also shifted the responsibilities of supervisors by pushing more administrative duties onto their plates. Managers had to make room for these tasks, and in some cases, even added work assignments to the mix for the sake of increased productivity. What would you think was prioritized out of their day? If you answered, “time coaching their team and helping their direct reports be successful,” you’d be correct. Managers would like to spend 25% of their time coaching, yet many have no time left over other than to make sure the work gets done.

A Professional Coach Is One Solution

How will businesses respond to the changing work climate? They can certainly restructure work and put coaching at the forefront of a manager’s responsibilities. Given the prolonged impact of technology, some managers have never developed the skill of coaching or perhaps need a refresher. A professional coach can help a manager learn to be a better coach for his or her team.

A second option is to make business and leadership coaching available as an investment for all professional employees. In the past, coaching has been reserved for top executives, but the benefits of coaching can be leveraged at any level so long as someone wants to be coached. Many employees like the confidentiality afforded in a coaching relationship and feel less vulnerable asking for help from a coach as opposed to their direct manager.

Coaching Can Be Justified

Companies offer tuition reimbursement, training, and other educational options as a benefit to attract talent. Many also budget for personnel development. How much does your company spend per person on employee education and training? Coaching can be a value-add to this portfolio. Personalized coaching is a win-win and can be a company differentiator in attracting top talent, because it sends the message that we value you and want to invest in you if you are willing to invest in yourself.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

 

 

Why You Should Take the Myers-Briggs Preference Test

Myers-BriggsYou may have heard people share their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) 4-letter code and wondered (1) what would it measure about me and (2) how could I use the information. MBTI measures how a person prefers to (1) take in or gather information, (2) make decisions and come to conclusions, (3) direct and receive energy, and (4) organize and approach the world. Although people routinely choose behaviors opposite of their natural preferences, knowledge of preferences can explain the source of personal satisfaction and discord among colleagues and family. The power of preferences allows people to make more informed choices.

What Does MBTI Measure?

MBTI measures aspects of your core personality and how you are naturally wired, independent of your circumstances and environment. With four pairs of opposite dimensions, there are a total of 16 personality combinations. The four opposing personality traits are:

Extroversion (E) – Introversion (I)

[where you get your energy]

Sensing (S) – Intuition (N)

[how you take in information]

Thinking (T) – Feeling (F)

[how you make decisions]

Judging (J) – Perceiving (P)

[how you approach your world]

These four dimensions are used to create your 4-letter preference code. MBTI is a reliable and valid instrument where 2/3 of all people have the same letter designation when they retake it more than once. [Note: I have taken the MBTI in my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s and self-validated as an ENTJ each time.]

How Would I Use My Results?

People use their MTBI results to improve individual performance as well as to work more collaboratively in teams. MBTI can be helpful in a variety of life situations:

  • Work Style
  • Decision-Making
  • Reaction to Stress
  • Communication Style
  • Leadership Style
  • Approach to Change
  • Team Style
  • Conflict Style
  • Career Preferences

With greater self-awareness and understanding of your personal preferences you can:

  • Improve communication and teamwork as you gain awareness of the personality differences you see in others
  • Work more effectively with those who may approach problems and decisions very differently than you
  • Navigate your work and personal relationships with more insight and effectiveness
  • Understand your preference for learning and work cultures and the activities and work you most enjoy
  • More successfully manage every day conflicts and stresses that work and life can bring
  • Achieve greater satisfaction by choosing a job or career that aligns with your preferences

How Can I Learn My Results?

A Certified Myers-Briggs® Administrator can send you a link to take an online survey after determining what report would be of most interest. After you take a 20- to 30-minute survey, the administrator will receive your results, schedule a coaching session to unpack your report, and help you determine how you might want to apply the knowledge.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com or by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com

Global Leadership Summit 2018: Rasmus Ankersen’s Leadership Points on Complacency

Success - Comfort Zone signpost isolated on white background

Where is Nokia now? At one point it owned nearly 50% of the global smartphone market share. What happened? Did they get complacent? At Global Leadership Summit, Rasmus Ankersen shared several leadership points that may challenge your beliefs in what contributes to success and the role complacency has in business outcomes.

  1. Companies keep themselves relevant and fresh by keeping complacency out. When an organization becomes successful, its fight isn’t necessarily with its competitors but with itself to remain relevant. Sandi asks,Are you fighting complacency? If not, should you be?”
  2. Outcome Bias: The assumption that good results are always the outcome of good decisions and performance, and “everyone” gets what they deserve. Sandi asks, “Are you overconfident in what contributes to your results?”
  3. Success has a huge amount of randomness. Luck is turned into genius when leaders mistakenly confuse good market conditions for good leadership. Sandi asks, “Are you confusing your abilities with luck?”
  4. Never blindly trust success. Treat success with the same skepticism as failure. Sandi asks, “Are you questioning how you became successful? If not, should you?”
  5. A performance center should not be designed for comfort but for hard work. When organizations become successful, sometimes comfort becomes more important than improvement. Sandi asks, “How comfortable is your office environment?”
  6. When organizations become forces in their industry, they should rethink their purpose. By expanding their world, they will make themselves smaller. Sandi asks, “How can you redefine your market or competition in a way that makes you seem smaller?”

Fighting self-complacency when you’re a large competitor in your industry is difficult. Think about AT&T who hesitated to make the transition into cellular telecommunication. If they hadn’t bought Cingular Wireless when they did, they might have ended up like Nokia. My leadership challenge is to “lean into the discomfort,” and never assume you’re as good as you think you are. A heavy spoonful of humility will keep your mind sharp.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

What I’ve Learned from Coaching

Sandra Dillon: May 27, 2018


humanity.jpgPeople sometimes ask me what I’ve learned from my coaching practice. Although the list is long, what has most surprised me most through my professional journey is how each of my clients has drawn me closer in seeing the spirit of humanity—the fullness of what it means to be human.

I was called into this profession after decades of achieving my own personal success in Corporate America, and now I’ve entered an era where I’m purposeful helping others be successful in their relationships, work, and purpose. I’ve had the thrill of directly impacting the bottom line and now have the opportunity to affect not only my client’s lives but those of their colleagues, families, and generations to come.

Coaching helps me suspend judgment, see different worldviews, and understand the breadth of human struggles. Coaching helps me see the full definition of what it means to be human. I’m honored to see the struggle, not the facade the client may present to the world.

My clients help each other without ever having met. I sit in the middle of humanity and see lives unfold, strategies implemented, and the feedback from the world build my own database. Without revealing names or circumstances, I have perspectives that challenge faulty thinking and can share successful client strategies that may help the next client.

People tell me my coaching has been a priceless gift. They’ve been able to be authentic, known, encouraged, challenged, inspired, and see their lives change for the better. What my clients may not realize is that I too have received a priceless gift in return. My clients learn from me, and I also learn from them.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, business, and life coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

How Can Coaching Help You?

Sandra Dillon: May 25, 2018


GreatnessFrequently I’m asked what I coach on. The simple answer is quite a lot, although that’s probably not a useful answer. Most coaches focus on a niche market and clientele, and as a former business executive, who specialized in business development, marketing, and sales, I fully agree with this strategy. However, I’ve taken the road less traveled by offering a diverse range of coaching services based on my unique skill set and passion to see people grow across all dimensions of their lives. I’ve coached people in:

  1. Leadership
    • Improve ability to influence colleagues’ performance at all levels and across generational cohorts
    • Develop managerial coaching skills for coaching direct reports and teams
    • Identify and overcome personal barriers to performance
    • Cultivate stronger relationships
    • Improve communication and conflict resolution skills
    • Manage through a crisis
    • Build teams with the right skills sets and behaviors to succeed
  2. Career/Job
    • Select a job or profession aligned with preferences and strengths
    • Create a powerful resume and LinkedIn profile
    • Prepare for a job interview
    • Lead effective meetings and projects that delivers results
  3. Life
    • Create a personal, value-driven vision and mission
    • Identify core values and strengths and use for purpose and success
    • Establish and drive on meaningful goals
    • Balance work and family
    • Handle difficult situations
    • Navigate through different seasons of life (young adulthood, empty-nester)
  4. Business
    • Create a compelling vision and mission
    • Develop strategy and winning execution plans
    • Build and lead teams that deliver results
    • Identify and expand brand awareness
    • Prioritize and manage time to focus on the right things
    • Enhance productivity with limited resources
    • Develop sales and negotiation skills
  5. Financial
    • Create short-, mid-, and long-term financial goals
    • Learn budgeting and financial skills
    • Understand money mindset and how it influences decisions
    • Build a personal budget, develop execution strategies, and be accountable
    • Plan for retirement
  6. Marriage/Premarital
    • Learn effective tools to communicate and solve conflicts
    • Understand how different spousal personalities mesh and work together
    • Define and meet marriage needs
    • Blend families successfully

When clients engage me as a coach, they learn and practice new skills, competencies, and behaviors that translate into other life areas as well. Many of my clients see a holistic life improvement, even though they may have initially focused their efforts in one specific area. For example, relationship strategies in how to lead people at work are transferable to family life.

My clients have said I’ve changed their life for the better. What can I help you with? I welcome a conversation, so you can share an area you want to change. We can talk about an approach and how to get from here to there. Although I live in Houston, my clients live across the country. Skype is a wonderful tool for coaching. Don’t let distance between us stop you from getting the coaching you want.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and life coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com or engage her as your coach by reaching out for a conversation at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com

Self-Leadership: Have You Prepared Yourself to Lead?

Sandra Dillon: February 9, 2018


“Leadership” has become the new buzzword with people aspiring to be recognized as a leader either informally or by having leadership positions and titles? People are judged more than ever on their leadership skills. I overhead someone say he didn’t get a management position, because he didn’t have enough leadership skills. He then followed this comment with, “How am I supposed to get leadership skills, if they don’t give me the position?” What some fail to realize is that leadership skills are easily developed and honed without having a title or assigned power. Leadership is about influence, and the first step is preparing yourself to lead well before trying to lead others.

How does one prepare for leadership? The first and probably most important step is self-examination. Most people think they are good at sizing up other people and fail to realize they don’t have the same ability to accurately size up themselves. We use a different leadership-underconstruction2lens to judge ourselves than we do others. People are programmed to see themselves in a more positive light than they are—perhaps this is a design of self-preservation.

When you look in the mirror, what do you think people see? We must get honest with ourselves, so we can work on our deficiencies, play to our strengths, and be the best version of ourselves. If you struggle in trying to see yourself in the way others do and want to take steps toward improving your self-leadership, below are options to help you get that accurate feedback.  [Note: Receiving feedback is hard, even when it’s for our own benefit.]

  1. Ask trusted colleagues, friends, and even family what habits and traits you have that are causing more harm than good. How do these attitudes and behaviors affect your relationships? If you can’t think of any people that you can trust with these questions, what might this say about your leadership?
  2. Review your interactions at work, home, and within your community. After each encounter, critique yourself on what you did well and how you could do better? Identify areas of specific improvement even if incremental. What words could you have shared or action taken that may have resulted in a more favorable outcome for all involved.
  3. What are your strengths and weaknesses? If you have a difficult timing thinking of these, consider taking the Clifton Strength Finders survey.
  4. In your area(s) of weakness, have you made a commitment to improve? Likely a weakness will never become a strength, but can you shore up your weakness so it doesn’t cause undue hardship. If you can’t improve it, can you cover it in a different way such as partnering with someone who has your weakness as a strength?

Leaders know the grave responsibility that comes with leadership and caring for the well-being of those they lead. Leaders are gifted in different ways, and although no leader is perfect, he or she knows his limitations and ensures others get the best of what he or she is capable.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

Leadership: How to Influence People and Outcomes

Sandra Dillon: January 25, 2018


leadership is influenceThere’s a reason why Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People has been in print for over 80 years. Its longevity owes itself to the timeless understanding of what drives human behavior. With leadership synonymous with influence, leaders should embrace Carnegie’s (1964) principles in how to (1) handle people, (2) make people like you, and (3) win people to your way of thinking.

In my experience, 20% of business success can be attributed to knowledge with the balance to a person’s skill in implementing Carnegie’s techniques—meaning 80% of business success comes from how you lead yourself and engage with others. Many of these learnings come from Carnegie asking himself three questions after every encounter:

  1. What mistakes did I make?
  2. What did I do that was right, and in what way could I have improved?
  3. What lessons can I learn and apply in the future?

If you’re able to master Carnegie’s key principles, you’ll likely find yourself in the top 5% of those who can influence people and their circumstances. Below is my winning summary of Carnegie’s best.

Successful Techniques in How to Handle People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. Instead try to understand people and why they do what they do. Humans naturally have prejudices and are motivated by pride and occasionally vanity in their words and actions. Criticism only puts a person on the defensive, incurs resentment, and causes him* to justify himself.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation. A strong human need is the desire to feel important which is why people crave appreciation, especially from their superiors and those whom they respect. Be careful with flattery—otherwise known as counterfeit appreciation—which comes across as insincere.
  3. Focus on what the other person wants and show him how to get it. Unselfishly serving others brings enormous advantages to the relationship.

Six Ways to Make People Like You

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people as opposed to trying to get people interested in you. Help others in ways that require your time, energy, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness.
  2. Smile, smile, and smile. Your smile is a messenger of what’s inside you, and it has the power to brighten someone’s life by conveying “I like you” or “I’m glad to see you.”
  3. Remember a person’s name. A person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound to him. Use it generously, and spell it correctly.
  4. Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves. Ask people a lot of questions and validate the stories and words they share in conversation.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. Talk about the things the other person treasures most.
  6. Make the other person feel important. When people believe you sincerely think of them as important and appreciate them, they will respond positively to you. Reflect on something you can genuinely admire and then recognize them for it.

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. Avoid an argument. You can’t win an argument, because if you lose it, you lost it, and if you win it, you lost it. Why? Because someone who has lost an argument feels inferior, has his pride hurt, and will ultimately resent the triumph. The only successful way to change someone’s mind is to help him come to that conclusion himself. It’s better to manage a disagreement by trying to see the other person’s viewpoint, look for areas of agreement, and encourage him to think over your ideas.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions and never tell them, “You’re wrong. You cannot change opinions when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings.  When you hurt someone, they’re not receptive in listening to anything you have to say.
  3. If you’re wrong, admit it clearly and quickly. Stating those words clears the air of defensiveness and helps solve problems.
  4. Begin any controversial conversation in a friendly way. As the old saying goes, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
  5. Get the other person saying, “yes, yes” immediately. Begin a conversation by emphasizing the things in which you agree. Several initial “yes” responses keep the listener moving in an affirmative direction.
  6. Let the other person do most of the talking. Think the 80/20 rule—the other person talks 80% of the time and you only 20%. Let them talk themselves into what you want them to do. [Note: This one is difficult for the extrovert.]
  7. Let others feel that the idea is theirs. Suggest, suggest, and suggest. Then let the other person think about it so much that he thinks it’s his idea.
  8. Try to see things from the other person’s point of view even if the other person is wrong and doesn’t think so. By validating the other person’s viewpoint, he will likely have a open mind to hear your ideas. [Note: Validating is not agreeing.]
  9. Be sympathetic to the other person’s desires. Validating someone even if you don’t agree will go a long way in keeping emotions in check and leaving them with a positive feeling towards you.
  10. Assume the other person operates with noble motives. People will react favorably toward you when they believe you consider them honest, upright and fair.
  11. Dramatize your ideas. Stating the simple truth may not be good enough. You may have to make the truth vivid, interesting, and dramatic in order to get the other person’s attention.
  12. Throw down a challenge. People have a competitive spirit. If you want to get things done, stimulate some competition and tap into to people’s desire to excel and prove their worth.

Practice Makes Perfect

A leader’s job often includes setting people up for success by helping them change their attitudes and behaviors. Carnegie’s (1964) suggestions to accomplish this are simply stated:

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
  5. Let the other person save face
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement
  7. Compliment the very trait in a person that you want him to live up to
  8. Use encouragement and make any fault seems easy to correct
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest

With over 30 recommended behaviors, a person may feel overwhelmed on where to start. I would suggest rating yourself on a scale of 1-10 on how well you perform on each behavior. Select three behaviors that you are committed to improve upon and brainstorm specific approaches or words that will produce a more favorable outcome. Changing behaviors can be difficult at first, but repetitiveness turns new behaviors into old habits.

In my opinion one of the most impactful behavioral changes you can make is to remove one word from your vocabulary. What word? The word “but.” “But” negates everything that was said before it and closes down the conversation. If you replace “but” with the word “and,” you’ll see a dramatic difference in where the conversation goes. Don’t be discouraged when you realize how difficult it can be to remove that conjunction from your sentence structure. New habits are right around the corner.

Reference

Carnegie, D. (1964). How to Win Friends & Influence People: The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success. New York, NY: Gallery Books.

*He and him also refers to she and her. He is used as opposed to he or she to make it easier for the reader.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

People Operations: Are Your Work Rules Benefitting Your Bottom Line?

Sandra Dillon: January 17, 2018


What would happen in your company if tomorrow the Human Resource Department was replaced with a People Operations Department? One answer: leadership might be taking the first step in transforming the culture by changing the labels and the rules by which it hires and engages its employees. It might be taking on some of the be

Work Rules

st people practices that Google has innovated and field tested within in its own company.

Laszlo Bock, former SVP of People Operations, takes you on a journey of failures, successes, and celebrations within Google, as leadership tried to attract the best talent and ensure all its employees succeeded. The results? Hundreds of accolades including #1 Best Company to Work for in the United States and in 16 other countries. If you lead a business or any organization, you’ll want to study and learn from Google who delivers the latest research blending human psychology with behavioral economics.

Bock (2015) shares the people strategies and tactics that leadership can use to lead their employees and teams to higher engagement, productivity, satisfaction, and reward. Google’s stated mission is to organize the world’s information, and in this case, they decide to design, collect, organize, and interpret data using its own 55,000 employees spread over more than 70 countries. Several of the more well-known business conclusions Google was able to prove:

  • You can learn from both your best as well as your worst employees,
  • You should only hire people who are smarter than you in some way, no matter how long it takes to find them,
  • You shouldn’t rely on your gut but use data to predict (Some may consider this one controversial).

The three Google lessons that are not mainstream business thinking but may make a difference in how well your company performs include:

  • Taking away managers’ power over their employees: Hiring, firing, promotions, and salary actions should be done by a committee using transparent data with managers only held responsible for coaching their direct reports to succeed in their work.
  • Paying unfairly because it’s the fair thing to do: Employee performance typically does not follow a bell curve, but a power curve. Your best employees should be rewarded multiples over your average producing employees.
  • Giving your employees more freedom than you’re comfortable with: Trust your employees more.

You might be saying, “These concepts would never be put into practice in my company.” That may or may not be true, but the challenge for all leadership is to be thoughtful enough to make the hard decisions that can champion change and spur their employees to collectively produce at the next level. You’ve likely heard the old saying that idiocrasy is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. How does your organization need to change in how it leads people to get better results?

Is now the time to learn from actual field results and try to see how these concepts can work in your organization? I encourage every employee, supervisor, manager, and leader to pick up this book and find one or two concepts, rooted in research, that can be applied in life and in business to engage others more.  It’s easier and cheaper to learn from the successes of others who have paved the way.

Reference

Bock, L. (2015). Work Rules: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You live and Lead. New York, NY: Twelve Books.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales. She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.