It’s Okay To Be Bold. Here’s How To Start.

Advancing in your career, let alone life takes a little luck and a lot of work but in the end, you hopefully land where you want to be which is happy and successful.

How you get there is the real question.

We all know the folklore about the famous success stories paved with failure after failure only leading to success but what you don’t hear much about is the actual make up of these individuals – insert definition:

  • adjective: bold; comparative adjective: bolder; superlative adjective: boldest (of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.

According to Costa and McCrae who are known for the development of the OCEAN modelbelieve there are ways to measure one’s openness to things like: ideas, actions, feelings, values, fantasy and aesthetics. Here are their six factors to consider when determining your level of openness:

  • Openness to ideas. Do you like a mental challenge? Rather than reading only popular novels, do you enjoy dabbling in philosophy at least once in a while? Are you open to ideas and solve problems just for the sake of keeping your mind active?
  • Openness to actions. Are you willing to try new things or do you prefer the same-old/same-old? If you’re high on this openness facet, you’re willing to try new foods, visit new places, and perhaps you’re always ready to check out the latest tech.
  • Openness to feelings. At any given moment, can you identify whether you’re happy, sad, or afraid? Do you find it easy to read the emotions of others? People high on openness to feelings are receptive to their own feelings and those of others. If you’re open to feelings, you’re both passionate and compassionate.
  • Openness to values. Do you think that there is only one “right” way to live? Should anyone who commits a crime be punished, or do you think that criminals can be rehabilitated? If you’re open to values, you’re able to see that life is full of gray areas. You also appreciate that other people’s views have validity and are willing to learn from them.
  • Openness to fantasy. Do enjoy imagining possibilities that don’t yet exist? Are you prone to daydreaming? Being willing to engage in mental flights of fancy suggests that you’re high on this openness trait. You like to turn new ideas over in your mind and even if you don’t act on them, you enjoy thinking about them.
  • Openness to aesthetics. If you’ve got free time, would you rather go to a concert or art museum or would you prefer to “veg out”? Is gardening or taking care of indoor plants one of your favorite pastimes?

Being bold can look like a lot of things. Take this quote from Sir Richard Branson. Wildly successful and equally known for being bold and taking risks. It’s served him well and if you look at the factors above mapped against his career success, the OCEAN model becomes a lot clearer to understand.

Call it “hustle”, “grind” (well actually please don’t as I can’t stand these terms) or simply call it being proactive, assertive, fearless or even courageous. No matter the label – there is an art to being bold without being overbearing. In order to move forward in life and get what you want, you will undoubtedly have to move beyond your comfort zone requiring you to take action, be open, be bold and hopefully not brash. Here are 5 ways to do just that:

  1. Speak up & Stand up: The only given if you don’t is that the answer will always be no and the situation will most likely never change. Don’t overthink it and put your fears about being judged to the side. Everyone gets scared but it’s the ones willing to breakthrough it who choose to be bold. Bold people actively express their needs with the intention to have them heard and fulfilled.
  2. Stop apologizing: There is an old expression that says never apologize more than once as it’s a sign of weakness. Never make excuses and own your actions as this shows both maturity and confidence. People who give a lot of excuses are typically fearful of being judged. Bold people understand this and don’t dwell on the negative and look to move forward.
  3. Don’t crumble at criticism: We all know the stories of Oprah, Disney, Dyson, Einstein and so on. If these people gave up on their ideas and pursuits because of public opinion, who knows where we would be today. Bold people know this and keep moving forward without allowing the naysayers to completely stop them in their tracks.
  4. Take measured risks: Bold people know that in order to exercise their courage, they will need to do something they haven’t done before and out of character. Being bold means experimenting. It doesn’t mean being irresponsible, it simply means you are able and willing to see past your current circumstances and open to creating new ones.
  5. Act “as if”: Or as many like to call it, “fake it until you make it.” It turns out there is something real to this. Pretend for a day that you are bold, no seriously try it. How would that make you feel? What might you do differently? Find bold people that you admire, research and study them and examine what and how they do things. Then model them and act as if you, too, are bold. Then when situations arise, don’t act as you would normally but pause and ask yourself what that person would do. Bold people know that this works and in order to grow in this area, it will take both time and putting yourself in new place and situations where you can expriment without feeling judged.

Final thoughts:

One could argue there is a fine line between being bold versus brash and they would be correct. Take our pal Sir Richard Branson, many have called him the latter but in the end, his boldness and of course his heart has won more people over in his achievements. Finding where the line is for you is your mission should you choose to accept it. Just remember along the way to be authentic, be vulnerable, be open to learning from failure, challenge the conventional ways, ask for help and if you do these things, you will undoubtedly begin to trust yourself more and increase your ability to be bold.

The floor is yours: What’s your advice on how to be bold?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership,

Joshua /

Please ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future.

Josh H Miller How Good Managers Become Great Coaches

How Good Managers Become Great Coaches

Coaching is a lot of things, but it isn’t a lot of the things it’s claimed to be:

It’s not a quick fix. It’s not easy. It’s not a magical pill.

AND it’s definitely not about you, the manager.

Successful Managers know unlocking the employee’s potential to maximize their performance starts with listening. Here are 3 reminders to help you get started:

  1. Create a safe space that encourages conversation without judgment or consequences.
  2. Get curious, ask questions, questions open doors.
  3. Get comfortable with silence. If the question seems unanswerable rephrase it and ask again.

I recently wrote an article titled: 14 Coaching Principles All Managers Should Practice where I shared some of my best practices in supporting managers who coach. Here are are a few more critical components necessary to achieve greatness:

Josh H Miller How Good Managers Become Great Coaches

Help people to learn, don’t teach. The most powerful lessons are the ones we learn ourselves. Think about a time when you believed you had an elevating insight only to be told by someone that they have been telling you that forever. Being on the receiving end of being told or given advice can be informative. In some cases, advice can result in change, but it doesn’t inspire taking ownership of making a change. BOTTOM LINE: Guide the conversation, don’t run the conversation.

Personal insight is the greatest empowerment to change. For most people, inspiration to change generates from that eureka moment when they discover what you the coach already know. BOTTOM LINE: Great coaches tell people where to look but not what to see.

Turn insight into action. Insight is more than surfacing a thought. Take that thought apart, understand where it generated, what triggers are running their show and the benefits or not of transforming negative actions into actions for success. BOTTOM LINE: Be curious but also courageous in your questioning.

Forgive yourself. Yep, I said it. Think about it. People are creatures of habit. Most of what we do and say are instinctual, habits of responses and actions we have honed over a lifetime. Often, they are habits formed to serve a purpose that no longer exists. The brilliance of insight is that a new perspective can develop and inspire new actions, replacing old habits with better ones. BOTTOM LINE: Be patient with yourself and the process.

Coaching is 90% attitude and 10% technique.

IN CLOSING: As a manager responsible for developing your team, the main ingredient to a successful coaching scenario is focusing on the person being coached. As important as you may feel, think or be, it’s their story and insights that will drive a successful outcome, not yours.

The Floor Is Yours: What makes a good manager a GREAT COACH?

*Add Your Comments Below*


Let’s Connect: | Follow Joshua Miller For More

Joshua Miller is a Master Certified Executive Coach, creative leader and bestselling author. His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator, supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Please ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future.

The 4 Letter Word Great Leaders Use

You’re ready to address your list of to-dos when unexpectedly your attention is needed elsewhere, or you’re stymied by a problem where you have no solution. Building on feeling frustrated, the internal feeling turns into resentment, anxiety, overwhelm, and ultimately defeat.

Imagine a world without conflict. We could have the solutions to all of our concerns. We could add an extra day to the week or hours to our day. Our relationships would be seamless, and our energies would never exhaust. While this utopia isn’t possible, there is one action that will get you close. Asking for HELP. 

Four common reasons we don’t ask for help:

  1. We may feel we will be revealing incompetency (what we tell ourselves, not a truth)
  2. We may feel judged (what we tell ourselves, not a truth)
  3.  If we truly get the help we needed, we may need to make a change (always a show stopper)
  4. We think we shouldn’t have to ask, (no one reads minds!) holding back quote josh h miller

Successful people privately or professionally understand that asking for help can not only lessen their to-do list but also opens up the possibility of learning something new.

People want to help (even if they are not asking for help). Researchers, scientists, and leaders all agree helping others elevates our need to be purposeful. It is a natural instinct that studies show is present at birth. Asking for help can feel uncomfortable, but it’s a sure-fire way to lessen your workload, get unanswered questions resolved, provide a sense of relief, and propel self-confidence.

Overall if asking for help is uncomfortable, consider the following:

  • No one will think less of you if you are direct and comfortable in your request.
  • Take the guesswork out of it for the other person. Let the person know what you need, set them up to succeed by being direct, and detailed. giving details, trusting them, and appreciating the gesture.
  • Don’t apologize for asking for help Let the person know what you need, set them up to succeed, trust them, and appreciate their gesture.

IN THE END: Admitting you need help, and asking for it, is a triumph that sparks curiosity, creativity, and open-mindedness. It shows a desire to learn and achieve, building resilience, increasing productivity, and emotional stability.

Make asking for HELP your new comfort zone.



The Floor Is Yours: What stops you from asking for help?




Let’s Connect: | Follow Joshua Miller For More

Joshua Miller is a Master Certified Executive Coach, creative leader and bestselling author. His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Please ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future.


Why The Best Bosses Have The Biggest Hearts

People bring a lot of things to work on a daily basis that they probably should just leave at home. For example, personal drama and kids. But there’s one thing that should always be brought to the workplace — that’s your heart. And the best bosses know and practice this.

We always hear about leaders needing to have high EQ and IQ but all too often we forget about LQ.

Yes, LQ, which aptly stands for Love Quotient or what I like to call the heart of this article.

Jack Ma was famously quoted about this earlier this year, saying, “To gain success, a person will need high EQ; if you don’t want to lose quickly, you will need a high IQ, and if you want to be respected, you need high LQ — the IQ of love.”

To clarify…

The Love Quotient is the simple act of being kind towards people.


In the most basic way, the love quotient is about bringing your heart to work and to the people you serve. Think servant leadership, for instance. Servant leaders look to take care of and meet the needs of their colleagues, customers, communities and of course, their employees.

The love quotient is about authentic service and showing up through the lens of vulnerability with the intention to make a difference in the lives of others. Because this, in return, can create deeper experiences for themselves and their employees.

For more heart-centered leadership:

Although the LQ may not be the most scientifically proven concept, it can be qualified, if not quantified, through the eyes and hearts of those they lead. So as a boss/leader, showing you genuinely care must come from their heart. I’m not big on models but here was one that resonated deeply with this topic:


You are human and if you want to lead others more effectively, they must see you as such. In other words, you make mistakes and you have weaknesses. And when your team can see more of the real you, they are more likely to choose to follow.


Often leaders try to be sympathetic, yet empathy is far more powerful. The best leaders “put themselves in the shoes” of others by thinking of similar situations, or sharing their own related situations.


Attitude isn’t about logic, it is all emotion. Therefore, it is OK to be disappointed and frustrated, and showing that to your team in small doses can be quite powerful. But they also need to see your positive passion and belief on display as often as possible.


If you want to lead more effectively, find ways to connect with and get to know more about more of your team members. Remember that your goal isn’t to make friends, but rather to be friendly and genuinely interested in others. While there isn’t a formula, leading from your heart certainly includes building stronger and more lasting working relationships with others.


Trust is both a noun and a verb. If you want to build others’ trust in you (the noun), trust them more (the verb). In other words, to get more of the noun, do more of the verb.

Implementing the Love Quotient

Here are a few excellent ways I found online which you can start implementing with your team today. Check out the full list here.

Look for opportunities to help and support

Make it a habit to look for opportunities to help the people around you. Maybe it’s an official part of your job, leveraging your knowledge and skills in a way that has a positive impact on someone else’s job. Maybe it’s an unofficial role, like mentoring new hires. Or it could even be sharing knowledge and ideas with a co-worker around something in their life that has nothing to do with work.

Communicate healthily

How you communicate is one of the biggest ways to bring your heart to work. Does it open the door to connection and understanding, or does it feed conflict and divisiveness? How well does it acknowledge the shared humanity of the other person? Or does it instead make them an “other” to be dealt with? Would you say that it encourages people to open up and fly, or shut down and protect themselves? What about enabling a healthy resolution of challenges? Or does it pour fuel on them?

Express gratitude. Make it a point to sincerely thank people whenever the opportunity arises. This is a two-way street. The recipient gets the good feeling of being appreciated, and you get to bask in gratitude – a heart-based activity if ever there was one.

Acknowledge others

Likewise, sincerely acknowledging others’ efforts and achievements can be a way to work from the heart. It’s a validating and encouraging practice that requires little investment on your part, but has the potential to make a significant impact for the receiving party. And in the go-go, results-driven environment of today’s workplace, that kind of reinforcement is often all too infrequent.

Show patience

We live in an impatient culture. For that reason, showing patience is a gift of love. Not only does it create more space for your interactions to unfold positively, it also reduces the negative impact of impatience-driven conflict.


You don’t work with co-workers. You work with people. So 0pening yourself to connection with the people you work with takes you out of cogs-in-a-machine mode and creates the possibility of more meaningful experiences.

Final Thought

Love what you do, where you do it and ultimately love the opportunity to make a difference in another person’s life whenever possible. The process begins within yourself because you can’t fake this. So take the time necessary to find the love within and then go out and give that back to your team.

The floor is yours: Should more leaders practice vulnerability?

Have an extra 2 minutes to discover more about yourself? Take the quiz to find out if you’re happy or comfortable.

[interact id=”5b97c86710e74b0014bd0c88″ type=”quiz”]

With Leadership,

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.

His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.

Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).

moderation joshua h miller

Stop Being So Grateful. No Seriously, Stop. Here’s Why.

They say that “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

Who is “they”, and how do “they” know when or what I should be grateful for?

Every day we are forced into believing that we should be grateful for what we have or else.

Else what?

The else of course is looking like…well, ungrateful in the eyes of those around you and we all know that being ungrateful is a fast track to becoming a social pariah.

Gratitude has gone from a meaningful state, to a hashtag filled with memes and overused quotes telling us what we should do, feel and experience.

We live in a world where we are constantly told to be more mindful, more authentic and more grateful…but what if “more” is not the answer.

Being grateful, much like mindfulness and authenticity are all words that come with some mighty small fine print which most people neglect to read.

Throughout my 20’s I wasn’t grateful. In fact, I was pretty arrogant and felt entitled. It wasn’t until the universe showed up, with karma riding shotgun that I learned some tough but necessary life lessons. It’s sad that it sometimes takes us to experience the worst in life before we can appreciate how good we truly have it.

Entire gratitude.

The benefits of gratitude have been well documented and studied for years and for those who practice this, understand that developing a grateful mindset can increase optimism, lessen depression, and create greater happiness to name just a few benefits.

Sounds good right?

I mean, who wouldn’t want to shift from feeling crappy to happy by simply acknowledging their blessings. I know I would.

The challenge lies in how we do this.

Gratitude can definitely help you, but only when it’s accompanied with a healthy dose of self-awareness, a sense of how you are, and knowing where you are in your life.

Let’s call this reality.

I recognized this first hand in my previous career as a global creative director in the world of advertising.

There I was at the ripe old age of 24, sitting in my corner office, making a solid six-figures trying convince everyone around me how happy I was when in reality I was miserable. In fact, I was probably depressed but you would never know it because I was…wait for it…supremely grateful. C’mon, I had achieved what many others might aspire to have, so for me to be anything less than grateful could come off as arrogant or simply ungrateful.

I always used blanket statements with “how grateful I was for my job” even though I was hating every minute of it.

” I was using gratitude as a crutch to ignore what was really going on for me”

It took me a while to see it but once I did, I couldn’t un-see it.

My story is quite common for many others who will misuse gratitude to hide from the truth and avoid making the life changes and tough decisions we know we need to make. I eventually made the tough decision by literally falling into coaching but that’s another story you can read all about here.

We all know that, that suppressing our emotions is never a winning long-term strategy. What’s needed is:

  • A balance of being grateful for what you have but recognizing and honoring what you need.

Here are a few ways to practice being grateful with supporting links so you can get started:

  • Establish a gratitude ritual using a daily journal.
  • Show some self-compassion.
  • Practice random acts of kindness.
  • Tell someone you love them and how much you appreciate them.
  • Stop, pause and notice the beauty in each moment each day.
  • Nurture the friendships you have, good friends don’t come along every day.
  • Smile more often. Science says so.
  • Watch an inspiring video to lift your spirits.
  • Volunteer for organizations that help others.
  • Add to your gratitude list daily, at least one more thing each day.
  • Try to see the positive side in every situation.
  • Commit to one day a week when you won’t complain about anything.
  • Acknowledge those who do a good job.
  • Say “Thank You” more often.
  • Post quotes and images that remind you to be grateful around your house.
  • Recognize obstacles as opportunities in disguise.
  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • When times are tough, notice those who are by your side.

Final Thoughts: There’s no doubt that being (more) grateful can definitely increase the quality of your life. It’s also worth noting that practicing gratitude will look completely different for each person. Some may keep a daily journal, while others use guided meditation and some may decide to follow a self-proclaimed expert on social media. Whatever you choose, I invite you to consume in moderation and remember “more isn’t always better” – sometimes simply being a better version of yourself is all that’s needed.


The floor is yours: Do you practice gratitude and if so, how?


With Leadership, Joshua |


Joshua Miller is a Master Certified Executive Coach, creative leader and bestselling author. His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Please ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future.


Why Being Too Happy Is Bad For Your Career

Being happy may have worked out well for Bobby McFerrin, but that doesn’t mean you should walk around with a “fake it until you make it” mentality.

In life, there are definitely things that we overindulge on that we probably shouldn’t, such as alcohol consumption, working out, social media, Netflix and of course eating raw cookie dough – but what about happiness?

Is it possible to overindulge on being happy?

The short answer is yes.

According to one recent article, too much cheerfulness can actually make you selfish, gullible and potentially less successful. I don’t know about you, but my smile just shrunk a bit. The article clearly compares happiness to food which really makes sense:

Although necessary and beneficial, too much food can cause problems; likewise, happiness can lead to bad outcomes. “Research indicates that very high levels of positive feelings predict risk-taking behaviors, excess alcohol and drug consumption, binge eating, and may lead us to neglect threats.”

We can all thank Shakespeare for coining this now popular phrase “too much of a good thing” from his 15th century play “As You Like It”, but regardless of the century – we find ourselves at the crossroads of a world that’s designed around abundance…including cookie dough.

For help pushing yourself through stagnation:

We live in a 24/7/365 supersized world that forces us to overindulge on everything from technology to food. It’s hard to escape, but not impossible. Studies have shown that too many choices drive us to feel worse and that people who “maximize”—trying to make the best possible choice from a wide range of options—experience greater depression, perfectionism and self-doubt.

What about at work, could too much “happy” in the workplace be a bad thing?

I recently finished the incredible book The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self–Not Just Your “Good” Self–Drives Success and Fulfillment where it states that happiness can indeed hurt your performance. It’s true that a positive culture and work environment boost happiness (ie: Google, Facebook, and Linkedin to name a few), however, there is a downside to all the perks. Studies have shown:

Happy people care less about details, which makes them less persuasive and prone to errors.
Happy people are more likely to recall false facts because they are focused on the bigger picture which lacks important details.

Joyful people might be greater managers, where they are accountable for executing a company strategy, whereas a less happy person could make a great head of quality management, where details are the most critical component.

If you think you’ll just “fake it until you make it” in the workplace, then you would be wrong.

According to the founder of the Emotion Machine, the “emotional labor”, it takes to pretend to be in a good mood can actually be very taxing on your physical and mental well-being, and thereby backfire on our overall happiness. The research reiterates what we previously discussed:

Another meta-analysis of over 3 decades of research found that faking positive feelings at work was associated with lower employee satisfaction and increased job burnout.

A third study published in Anxiety, Stress, and Coping found that volunteers at a call center who were told to “hide negative emotions” had greater increases in blood pressure and heart rate than those told to show their true feelings.

A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology has found that hiding the “real you” at work can hurt motivation and productivity.
It’s not all doom and gloom.

There are a few ways both employees and employers can help balance the happy quotient.

Companies should aspire to create environments that support cultures where employee’s feel they can express themselves freely while being responsible and productive. This opportunity allows for that emotional release (both good and bad) to be aired out and addressed in real time. In the end, if you (the employee) isn’t happy at your current company or in your current role, then consider looking for something else.

Final thoughts: Grant yourself permission to feel less than positive from time to time. Embrace the negative emotions you have as they are critical to balancing the positive ones. Being ridiculously happy all the time is both unrealistic and rarely sustainable. You aren’t going to be Matthieu Ricard, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

The Floor Is Yours: Are you too happy or just too ehh? Take this quiz

[interact id=”5b97c86710e74b0014bd0c88″ type=”quiz”]

With Leadership,

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.

His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.

Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).

3 Reasons Your Company Has A Weak Coaching Culture

Leaders don’t listen.

There, I said it.

Okay, maybe not all leaders – but many of them are guilty of being overworked, under developed and lacking adequate time management skills, which as a result doesn’t allow them take the time to truly listen to their people resulting in some bad habits as a people manager.

So why is this important?

As a coach, you must be able to stay present, engage others through powerful questions and then wait long enough for a response from the other individual. Coaching is not about being right or knowing the answer, it’s about guiding the other person to the place where they can discover the answer on their own. Coaching is not about giving direction, leading the witness or bullying the other person into action.

If a leader doesn’t feel equipped with the necessary skills or training to do this, you won’t be creating a coaching culture…but rather a demanding one.

I’ve been writing about coaching for almost as long as I have been a coach and if there’s one thing I have witnessed, it’s the rise and fall of coaching cultures within organizations. It’s no secret that many companies want to create an empowering and impactful coaching culture but the odds of its success are not always clearly outlined. Last year, in my article “A Coaching Culture: Why Leaders Struggle As Coaches (Part 3)” I wrote about what it takes for an organization to seriously consider building out a coaching culture and the strategic work that’s involved, now I want to discuss “why” it isn’t working out (or working out as well as you would hope).

If you are one of the few organizations whose been trying to stand up a successful coaching culture and has experienced more failures than successes, don’t give up just yet. Although giving up may be the easiest of options, it’s worth first diagnosing what’s blocking your success.

Unfortunately, the decision to create such a culture can stem from a variety of places none of which are ideal if the goal is to create a successful coaching culture. Often times, the directive comes from the top down and the person or persons responsible for carrying out this initiative are either ill-equipped, ill-educated or ill-advised on how to execute effectively.

What comes next is something I have witnessed firsthand and all too often.

An organization sends a group of their pre-selected leaders to a workshop to learn a variation of one of the basic coaching models (usually called GROW) and then expect them to walk away prepared to coach anyone and anywhere. This is both fundamentally wrong and a disaster just waiting to happen. Organizations need to view this type of project like any other change initiative, using a systematic and strategic approach that’s been thought out well in advance and mapped to both a broader vision around the company’s talent development philosophy and roadmap.

“Changing culture is not as easy as changing your outfit”

Some basic questions organizations should consider before embarking on creating a coaching culture:

  • Why do we need this?
  • What specifically are we looking to achieve?
  • How will we know we were successful?
  • How do we know we’ve selected the right group of coaches?

Only  11% of senior leaders actively use coaching despite  70% of organizations claiming they coach their people

Here are three common reasons many organizations fail when it comes to successfully standing up a coaching culture:

The Framework Is Weak. Just as you can’t train anyone to be a coach if they aren’t interested in being one, you also can’t throw any coaching model into an organization and hope it sticks. GROW is widely used as the go-to model for many companies looking to train the trainer or introduce coaching within their functions and culture. The reason is obvious, it’s easy to understand and in theory apply but that’s where it falls apart. More times than not, the tool is introduced with the majority of time spent on what it is vs. how to use it. Having any model with little to no direction on its application renders it useless and potential harmful to others. It’s called coaching, not modeling. The coach is responsible for supporting the other individual’s growth and change, not the model. A good (or even great coach) will be able to see the potential in any model and decide how and when to apply it.

The Coach Is Weak. If your leaders training isn’t great, then don’t expect greatness from your leaders. Common challenges for coaches (at any level) right out of the gate is a common lack of presence. Being present is everything as a coach, and from there is where you (the coach) can actually go to work. When a coach isn’t properly trained, they are going to rely on what it’s comfortable and familiar which is typically the opposite of coaching. I see managers all the time with the best of intentions of actually looking to coach but in reality they are directing, giving advice or sometimes consulting. Coaching isn’t a check mark in a box, it’s a commitment to another person’s greatness to ensure they’re in check.

The Accountability Is Weak. I always tell my clients that the true value of the coaching work we do will come the moment the session ends and you go back to your life and apply what you learned. The same holds true in the workplace. The leader/manager’s duty as a coach doesn’t end when the session ends, in fact that’s when it begins. Holding your coachee/employee accountable to what was covered in the session, discovered through conversation and committed to before the next session is critical. People who receive coaching are usually lacking follow through (amongst some other common blind spots) and the best way to aid another person’s accountability is to demonstrate your own. Being accountable to your employee is about owning your integrity. You can’t expect someone else to follow through if you don’t.

Note: These two reports from HCI and the ICF “Building a coaching culture with millennial leaders” and “Building a coaching culture for change management” are both insightful and packed with incredible data.

The floor is yours: How important is coaching to your companies’ culture?

With Leadership,

Joshua |

Joshua Miller is an executive coach, creative leader and bestselling author. His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies. Joshua is a Master Certified Coach trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).

Please ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future.

Raising Future Leaders

The Best Advice For Raising Future Leaders

48% of the workforce will be millennials by the year 2020*

As a father of two young kids, I know parenting doesn’t come with instructions, you learn-as-you-go, navigating a course of action that hopefully provides a positive outcome. Never considering my training in executive coaching, psychology and organizational development would help me as a Dad; I too prodded along as a parent doing my best, hoping for the best.

I was so wrong! As I realized the fundamentals I used to develop executive leaders are the same as can be used to develop future leaders, I realized the process can start with us as parents, raising our children to be leaders.

Here are 5 valuable qualities of leadership that I believe make it a vital life skill:

  1. A positive attitude: The ability to believe in your own goals and abilities in the face of discouragement from others.
  2. Overcoming adversity: Reframing problems into “challenges” to stay focused and get over, around or through all sorts of barriers.
  3. Perseverance: Sticking to a goal – a training program, work assignment, friendship – is difficult, while quitting is easy. Leaders know when to persevere and when to quit.
  4. Commitment: Learning from mistakes rather than being discouraged by them.
  5. Excellence: Doing the best you can in every situation.

So what about our youngest leaders?

It’s never too early to start developing our next generation of leaders. Below is Part 1 of a (very) long collection of my short thoughts on teaching the fundamentals of leadership as a parent.


The true test of leaders ability lies heavily on how they navigate the unknown and deal with uncertainty. This is a daily risk for all leaders. Children are no different. Kids pretty much assume they can get what they ask for, albeit from incessant whining, complaining or earning it but what about when it doesn’t go as planned? It’s perfectly okay for a child to experience uncertainty or disappointment regarding something they want. Saying no to your child is part of being a parent; learning how to handle the letdown is theirs.

Decision Making

Leaders are asked to make all types of decisions every day, sometimes with little information to go on. It’s a critical skill and a necessity to becoming successful in a leadership type role. Giving your young ones the ability (and opportunity) to choose certain things like their clothes for school or vegetable with dinner begins this process.

Problem Solving

Although as a parent it can be heart wrenching at times to hear your child cry or see them upset but allowing them the space to be with their emotions and then find a way to work through them is truly an essential life skill.

Entrepreneur Mindset

Whenever my oldest has an idea and I can see his creativity is booming, my wife and I give him our full attention and encourage him to think through his idea. Last week he wanted to create a lemonade stand to raise money to buy him something. Being creative and innovative is part of every leader in one-way or another.

Being Accountable

Being accountable is something we all struggle with from time to time but teaching kids the concept of “showing up” is one of the most important life lessons. When my oldest decided one-day he no longer wanted to continue on a sports team he was on, we asked him to think about his teammates and what they may feel, should he quit. The good news is that he didn’t quit and his team went to win the championships.

Being Visionary

Some of the greatest leaders possessed some of the greatest visions. Their ability to see something in a way others couldn’t make them truly innovative. Kids are hardwired to think big and have visions of what could be. If your child sees something or believes in something that he/she wants to create, empower them to move forward.

Speaking Powerfully

The ability to speak powerfully, not loudly is an art. Great leaders understand and practice this daily. As a parent, there are many ways in which you can practice confident communication. We learned early on that going out to dinner and having our kids ask the server directly what they would like to eat or drink helped build their confidence and communication skills.


Sometimes showing up is half the battle while other times it’s the whole thing. Admitting when you are wrong and owning up to something that you are at a fault takes a big heart and strong mind. As a parent, the easiest way to illustrate this lesson to your kids is to model this behavior in front of them. Simply put, admit when you are wrong or at fault.


Final thoughts: Last March, I wrote an article called You Are A Role Model, Now Act Like It and in it I layout the importance of being present around your kids and those who look up to you because in the end, people will remember how you made them feel versus what you did and what you said.

The floor is yours: What’s one leadership quality a young kid should learn & how would you teach them?

With leadership, Joshua | | “I Call Bullshit: Live Your Life, Not Someone Else’s

leadership lego

5 Signs A Leader Should Step Down

We all know the pressures associated with sitting in a position of power, so why is it so many hang on to their “hot seat” well past their expiration date?

History is paved with stories of public (and not so public) figures who where either removed from their post either by force or by their own faith, but no matter how you look at it, all leaders have an expiration date.

Call it ego, call it pride or even call it fear – all of these surely play some role in a leader’s inability to lead effectively. No matter what you label it, that doesn’t answer the underlying question around “what” they can do to avoid a lackluster exit from a seat they once adorned.

One of the biggest confusions surrounding this topic is the term itself…”stepping down” because it’s historically steeped with a stigma of shame or disappointment, in addition to be conflated with similar terminology such as “step aside” or “resignation”. Compared to “resign”, “step down” has a connotation of an amicable parting with the possibility of a continuing relationship. The word “resign” is often used when employee parts employer over some disagreement or other negative cause.

Whether you call it stepping down or stepping aside, there’re some clear signs that the individual needs an adjustment. This article does an excellent job summarizing five common signs to watch out for:

  1. The stress is getting the better of you. There are two kinds of stress – the kind of stress that motivates you to do better and the kind of stress that kills you. You need to identify which kind of stress you’re dealing with. The latter has the ability to physically and mentally exert you. When you realize that your stress is harming your team’s performance as well as your personal life, you need to step down before it completely destroys you.
  2. You can’t give your leadership role the focus it deserves. Leadership is a time-consuming position. If you can’t give all you have to it, it is best to step down. Leadership requires keen awareness of the behavior of those around you, recognizing who needs motivation and direction, and knowing who is doing what and why. If you have other things professionally and personally that require your attention, it is smart to step down before you do more harm than good.
  3. You don’t possess the skills to be a good leader. Sure, you’re amazing at your work. But just because you are good at what you do, it doesn’t mean that you are a good leader too. As a leader, you should ask your team to point out your weaknesses and you should try to better yourself. However, some deficits can’t be overcome, and when those deficits can hurt the entire team’s morale, it is best to step down.
  4. Someone else is a better fit than you. There will come a time when you will have been in the leadership position for a long period and you’ll stop innovating and learning new things. If you think that your position has made you complacent, you should hand over the reins to someone else. When you are no longer challenged by your responsibilities, it is time to look for your successor.
  5. There is no more scope for growth. Have you reached the top of the field in your department with no more room to grow? If you feel like you’ve already learned all there is to learn, you need to consider switching fields to motivate yourself once again. If not, you’ll be stuck in a dead-end job until you retire.

If you’re not sure if your time is coming to an end, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you growing personally? 
  2. Are you putting your needs in front of those you serve?
  3. Have you accomplished what you wanted?
  4. Is this what you want to continue to do for the rest of your life?
  5. Is your passion shifting?
  6. Are you bored?
  7. Are you able to continue to reinvent?
  8. Do you have the energy?
  9. Is a different skill set necessary?
  10. Can someone else do the job better?
  11. Have you groomed a successor and are they ready to lead?
  12. What is best for the organization? 
  13. Are you psychologically and emotionally ready to step down? 
  14. Can you afford to financially step down? 
  15. Can you still do the job mentally as well as physically? 

In short: As a leader, your first responsibility is actually to yourself – but not in a narcissistic and self-indulgent manner. Think of your organization, those you serve and your purpose for being in the role and then take a deep look inward and realistically monitor if you (still) have what it takes to show up as the leader who took that vary seat on day one. I highly recommend Dr. Marshall Goldsmith’s book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful to further your own development while closing any potential blind spots.

The floor is yours: What’s one quality a leader must embody to be successful?

With leadership, Joshua | | “I Call Bullshit: Live Your Life, Not Someone Else’s”



How can one determine if an individual has what it takes for leadership?

There is a myriad of diagnostic tests, profiles, evaluations, and assessments that offer insights into leadership ability, or a lack thereof. The challenge with many of these tools is that are overly analytical, very theoretical, and subject to bias as they put people in colors, codes, boxes, dimensions or simply tagged. The draw to these avenues is quite clear; they are fast and relatively inexpensive. I have nothing against this tactic. I have used many of the assessments.

The easier method for determining if someone is capable of leading is actually quite simple: give him or her some responsibility and see what he or she does with it.

Individuals who are people leaders or leaders of a project will ultimately produce results. One can only hope that the results are positive ones but even so, the key here is learning as to what the individual is or isn’t capable of accomplishing.

Just because someone is in a leadership position, doesn’t necessarily mean they should be. The key is to spot the ineffective leaders so you can course correct as soon as possible. Here are 8 things to take notice.

Lacks Character:

A leader who lacks character or integrity will not last over time. It doesn’t matter how intelligent, persuasive, or charismatic a person is, if they are prone to rationalizing unethical behavior or looking the other way, they will eventually fall prey to their own undoing. Modeling this behavior is toxic.

Lacks Performance:

Leaders are expected to fulfill certain measures. While past performance is not always a certain indicator of future events but is something that should not be overlooked. Someone who has consistently experienced success in leadership roles has a much better chance of success than someone who has not. It’s important to remember unproven leaders come with a high-risk premium but that doesn’t mean they should be counted out. In fact, it may mean they will require more resources in supporting their development.

Lacks Communication Skills:

Great leaders can communicate effectively across mediums, constituencies, and environments. They are active listeners, fluid thinkers, and know when to dial it up, down, or off. Remember that this IS a skill to be honed and developed over time. In fact, many of the most memorable speeches by key leaders had many hours of practice and many people supporting the delivery of their presentation.

Lacks Humility:

A selfless leader is a powerful leader and one who empowers their team and people around them. There is no room for the arrogance of an inflated sense of self. If a leader doesn’t understand the concept of “service above self” they will not build the trust, confidence, and loyalty of those they lead. Simply put; if a leader receives a vote of non-confidence from their people…game over. Situational Leadership is an excellent model to support leaders who are seeking growth and development in this area.

Lacks Flexibility:

Great leaders are fluid and flexible in their approach. They recognize that leading is not a “one size fits all” approach and that to be successful, they must recognize both the temperature of their people as well as the norms of the culture in which they work. “My way or the highway” leadership styles don’t play well in today’s world, and typically produced the opposite results intended.

Lacks Vision:

No vision equals no leadership. Leaders must design the vision. The best leaders focus on leading change and innovation to keep their organizations relevant and thriving while empowering their people and gaining their votes. Leaders who cannot provide direction are spotted quickly. The giveaway is both their inability to communicate their vision as well as the immediate team of supporters they associate with. Communication is a skill that can be worked on over time. However, the vision is conceptualized by the leader in charge. It should be clear enough to ensure a healthy conversation to crystallize the message.

Lacks Commitment:

Leaders fully commit to investing in those they lead. This looks likes supporting their team, mentoring and coaching their team, and they truly care for their team which is visible by their people. A leader not fully invested in their team won’t have a team and will find themselves leading an army of one…themselves.

Lacks Accountability:

Real leaders are accountable both in their actions and non-actions. They don’t blame others, don’t claim credit for the success of their team, and always accept responsibility for failures that occur on their watch. There isn’t too much grey area here. Successful leaders are accountable to their team. Bottom line – leaders must be accountable to their people. If not, their people will hold them accountable.

Find my suggested reading to overcome bad leadership here:

Finding, grooming, electing or choosing leaders or people for leadership roles is not an exact science and even with all the tools that exist – sometimes it comes down to more basic observation than online assessment. You want to make sure that your leaders are honest, have a demonstrated track record of success, well-spoken, committed to serving those they lead, be fluid in approach, possess focus, and have won the trust of the people they are leading.

Have an extra 2 minutes to discover more about yourself? Take the quiz to find out if you’re happy or comfortable.

[interact id=”5b97c86710e74b0014bd0c88″ type=”quiz”]

With Leadership,

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.

His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.

Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).