Category Archives: Coaching

How to Avoid Blank Stares From Your Customer

About a year ago, I was facilitating a workshop at a client site. During the event, I used an image of chain links in order to highlight the steps of a process.

Blank stare

The Best of Intentions…

The graphic was intended to convey a message of strength, confidence, and simplicity of the process I was presenting. When the event was over, one of my friends at the organization started talking with me about the image.

Self-Coaching and Culture

Over the past year I’ve been doing a series of video-conferences with a distributed management team on topics related to communication, feedback, leadership, and coaching, and last week we wrapped up with a session on self-coaching and organizational culture.

The condensed deck above is from our final session, with the exercises and other material removed, leaving only the slides related to the concepts I discussed.

4 Ways to Get People to Stop Talking

A few weeks ago, I released an article on 4 Ways to Help Others Be More Concise with strategies to help us all to improve verbal efficiency within our organizations.

Stop Talking

But what do you do when an individual simply won’t shut up? That’s the question one of my colleagues says he’s asked more these days than anything else.

It’s a topic to approach thoughtfully, since lots of us work hard to get people to talk more in the workplace. That said, this is a real obstacle for people who regularly interact with someone who simply doesn’t know when to stop.

The Little Recognized Secret of Success

This past weekend, my wife Bonni, her parents, and I saw Tony Bennett perform at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Concert Hall

He is 88 years old and still performing regularly.

It’s not just his age that’s impressive. He’s had chart topping releases in each of his six decades of music (including his new Cheek to Cheek* album with Lady Gaga).

New Post at HBR: The Marshmallow Test for Grownups

The Marshmallow Test

As adults we face a version of the marshmallow test nearly every waking minute of every day. We’re not tempted by sugary treats, but by our browser tabs, phones, tablets, and (soon) our watches—all the devices that connect us to the global delivery system for those blips of information that do to us what marshmallows do to preschoolers… Read the rest at HBR.

Get Behind This to Motivate Your Team

My first full-time job was with an education company. I oversaw both the instructional services that the kids in our program received as well as the business aspects of marketing to the community.


Since it was a membership program, we grew concerned when kids failed to show up for their after-school lessons. When a child missed lessons for a few days in a row, we reached out to their parents by phone.

Missed lessons were often a beginning sign of a bigger issue: the child struggling with the curriculum, the family having budgetary concerns, or simply a lack of commitment with the program. Either way, difficult conversations often emerged during these calls. So, I did what any reasonable person would do when they don’t want to do something.

The Communication Funnel

The communication funnel is a concept I regularly discuss with coaching clients, most of whom are senior leaders in constant contact with their direct reports and/or managing virtual teams.

We prioritize immediacy and convenience in our communication, so we start with the fastest and easiest channels at our disposal–text, chat or email. But these channels lack bandwidth, so they’re poorly-suited to conveying nuance and complexity.