Category Archives: Coaching

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.

Quality

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.

How To Navigate When You’re Flying Blind

Bonni and I have started checking out local preschools for our son to attend next year. It’s a blessing and a curse that there are tons of options in our immediate vicinity.

Flying Blind

Like most parents, we’ve spent time researching and visiting schools in preparation for where we’ll send our kids. After a few weeks of this, I found myself with more questions than I had before we started.

Fortunately, an old friend of Bonni’s is a preschool director and offered to share some of her wisdom with us. We had dinner recently and she asked us lots of questions and then shared her experiences.

My Favorite Piece of Advice…

W.C. Fields

…comes from the wonderfully cantankerous early 20th century actor W.C. Fields:

I don’t have to attend every argument I’m invited to.

We’re so quick to assume that if someone has an issue or a dispute or wants to pick a fight with us for some reason that we’re obligated to reciprocate. “We’ve been invited to an argument,” we say to ourselves, “and it would be rude to decline.”

We would do well to reconsider that logic.

Do This To Be The Leader People Remember

Awhile back, I was having a chat with a client that I’ve always liked and respected. We got to talking about her career trajectory and she was telling me about the best manager she’d ever had.

Give attention

Her first manager was someone who was kind, consistent, and most importantly, made time to coach her to be a more effective professional.

She mentioned being particularly impressed with the time he spent a few times a year to meet personally and provide her with some coaching. She was even more grateful for it now, since she had since worked for several other people in the industry and realized how rare it was for a manager to provide the kind of personal attention he did.