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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: www.JoshHMiller.com | 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.

finding purpose

How I Literally Fell Into Coaching & Found My Purpose

*This article was originally published and featured on ThriveGlobal.

Dedicated to anyone who believes there is more to life than working in a job that doesn’t fulfill their purpose or passion.

There I was, hustling out of my well-paying big shot advertising office – ping-ponging around the crazy rush hour traffic of other zombies in a hurry to go nowhere and start their weekend while leaving their offices and worries behind them. I understood the game, hell – I grew up in Manhattan and learning to dodge people on the sidewalks was nothing short of running tire sprints at an NFL combine, however, today would be different – I just didn’t know it yet.

As I stepped foot onto the sidewalk, my eyes were tired from staring at my computer all day and what would normally feel like a quick hop into traffic felt more like jumping onto a treadmill while it’s going 8mph and oh yeah, someone else is already on it.

As I jumped into my place with the moving crowd, I must have lost my step or simply decided to blink longer than a second because the next thing I knew, I was knocked in my shoulder, twisted around and fell square on my face.

There I was laying face down on the cold non-forgiving midtown cement of a 6th avenue sidewalk rush hour while people aimlessly walked right around me. It’s as if you put a rock in front of a line of ants and they just effortlessly split up in two directions to avoid the obstruction and then reconnect after reaching the end of the block.

Down but not out, I slowly got up only to realize I was tasting something gross and it wasn’t the NYC streets. It was blood, dripping from my broken nose. I immediately did what anyone would do in that situation…I made sure I didn’t break my phone (sarcasm heavily implied). Then I did what most people “should” do, which was assess the real damages.

Before I could even touch my nose, an angelic voice behind me asked if I was okay. Clearly, I was dazed and partially confused because last time I checked, the only angels I remember in New York began with Hells or Guardian. Either way, this woman (who we will call Sonya) grabbed my elbow, helped me upright and suggested we call an ambulance to get me to an ER as the break looked bad to her – and felt worse to me.

There were no cabs and this was pre-Uber (…I know tell me) so we found a place to wait as the sun was setting and a slight chill was in the air. The only thing that kept me warm was the conversation. You see, Sonya had chosen to stay with me until the ambulance arrived as I was in no condition to head home. Apparently, I was also in no condition to challenge her intentions of being a good Samaritan.

What started as a normal conversation would quickly shift to something much greater. You see Sonya was an executive coach and although I had no idea what that was, I would soon realize it was what I was meant to do in the world – I just had no idea yet.

We spoke for close to 45 minutes before the ambulance arrived and when it did, I thanked her profusely and asked if we could continue the conversation another time so I could better understand what she did, who she was and see if this was something I could do. We exchanged numbers and she told me that I could contact her anytime.

Upon exiting what would be a 4 hour ER visit, I quickly texted Sonya – thanked her again and asked if we could meet the next day to continue our conversation. She quickly said yes and before I knew it, it was Saturday and there I was bandaged, broken nose sitting at a small wobbly table at Starbucks. We huddled in the corner and for me, it felt like we were trading top secret information from a movie. The experience was intense and exhilarating. I was so focused and present and every word she muttered was written down on exactly 17 little square napkins. I was getting the roadmap to finding my purpose.

Our time together was nothing short of a magical and as I sat there for what felt like an eternity, hanging off my seat listening to every word – I realized that had she did not stop for me or I told her I was okay and to leave me alone – none of this would have happened.

As we wrapped up, I thought to myself – out of a city with 8 million people in it, what were the odds of this one person stopping for a complete stranger and how that one conversation would change my life forever. Without her, I would never have found my purpose, passion, and the pursuit of empowering others to be as happy and successful as they deserve.

  • I believe there are no accidents in life, only opportunities. 

And to grow you have to be open to the opportunities which often are disguised as breakdowns. For me, it was a literal one but it doesn’t have to take a broken nose, a broken heart or a broken promise to find yours.

Keep your eyes open, watch your step and who knows – you may just run into your Sonya when you least expect it.

The floor is yours: Has one conversation ever changed your life – if so how?

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

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

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

gary vaynerchuk

Gary’s Words, My Thoughts & One Month. Here’s What I Learned

I always look for inspiration in random places. I’ve found in doing this, I push myself beyond what I believe and know to be true and begin exercising new beliefs and habits that undoubtedly bring me closer to who I am at my core.

I’ve always found a lot of what @Garyvee discusses in terms of his belief systems growing up to be on par with my own and I often listen to him to speak while driving to my office or at the gym. I would have moments where I would be thinking “this guys in my head” or “how did he know I was thinking that?”. It was spooky but also really cool.

I thought about the movie Being John Malkovich and this got me thinking…

  • What if Gary was in my head?
  • What might my life look like?
  • Would I be deaf from him yelling at me 🙂 or fueled ready to take on the world?

So, I did what any normal person would do, I decided to take on one of his quotes every day and apply it in my life to see how I could absorb the essence of his words and passion.

I decided I needed some ground rules to follow. I created the following because I knew I could keep them in place and hold myself accountable:

  • “Be Inspired” by the quotes that really light me up (and in some cases I took on more than one).
  • “All In” or nothing, adopt the mindset of the quote 110%.
  • “Act As If” Gary was screaming this in my head on a loop.
  • “Be Coachable” and allow myself to be with what shows up in the sense that it’s only a quote and I have to do the work, there are no magic pills.

Here are the quotes of his I chose to take on and what I learned each day about myself, life & others:

“No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story.”

  • This is so true, I realized that I spent a lot of time believing no one wanted to hear my story until I began listening to those who were. Once I “got that” it became increasingly clear that my story resonates with others and to not withhold something that inspires them to be the best version of themselves. Takeaway: You are entirely up to you so be the best version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else. Authenticity is priceless.

“Stop doing shit you hate.”

  • I thought working in advertising was my life and a great paying one at that until I discovered my true calling as a coach. As soon as what was fun and creative became boring and tedious, it was time to move on. Takeaway: If you hate what you do it will ultimately show up in your results and performance. Find what lights you up and follow that until your hearts content. The money will follow you where you go.

“We are in control of the one asset that we all give the most f**ks about, and that is time.”

  • Growing up in New York, f*ck was a noun, adjective and verb – meaning it was a mindset and way of life. Where you put your focus and energy is where your actions will take you. Takeaway: Stop giving others control over your beliefs. They are yours only. Being influenced is okay but being infiltrated is not.

“Family first. Nothing else really matters.”

  • As a husband and father of two, I am fiercely reminded of my commitment to who I am for them and who they are for me. Takeaway: Never get lost in yourself and forget those who are there now (or where there then) to support you and love you. Having all the success in the world is meaningless if you have no one to share it with.

“Cash is oxygen. You can make the greatest cup of coffee, the greatest sneaker, the greatest TV show, or the greatest work of art ever, but if you can’t sell your product you are out of business.”

  • I meet people all the time sitting on the next Shark Tank invention but don’t know what to do or how to sell their product. When I started coaching eighteen years ago the question was “how do I sell a service that isn’t tangible?” and the answer lied not in the service but the experience. Takeaway: It doesn’t matter if it’s 140 characters, a 3 second video or YouTube video – find what medium works for you, your product and most importantly your customer. Sell a solution not the product.

“Success in general is a well-balanced blend of luck, DNA, confidence, and hustle.”

  • It’s taken me a good amount of time to get to where I am today and none of it came it easy. There was (and continues to be) late nights, weekends, early mornings and yes, luck, hustle and confidence building from the wins I created and the loses I endured. Takeaway: Never be quick to confuse luck with being fortunate. Luck is random and mostly out of our control, whereas being fortunate can come from hard work which creates opportunities to you (by you).

“Care immensely or die!” 

  • Passion is supremely underrated. I look at what I have achieved and it wasn’t schooling or friends or outside circumstances that was the common thread, it was my passion and drive. Without that, it would have been placing a peg into a round hole. Takeaway: Find your passion no matter what. Once you do, it will fuel you for a lifetime – more than coffee anyway.

“You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it.”

  • My coach once asked me if I would do something (that I did) if I was Starbucks or Nike and it always stuck with me. Thinking of yourself as a brand (with all of its extensions) forces you to think big(ger) and explore possibilities that you may not have considered before. Takeaway: It’s too easy to follow the crowd versus your heart, especially with social media but don’t believe what you see, read or hear. Spend more time making a name for yourself and less time making other people famous.

“Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless.” 

Growing up in NYC was the best education I could ever had hoped for. With all the schooling, I have been fortunate to attend, none of it would matter if I was passionate about what I do day in and day out. I have met more unhappy executives, leaders, and celebrities who are miserable because they work doing something they don’t enjoy but stay for the wrong reasons. Takeaway: Get the skills because you need them, but look to align those skills towards something you are passionate to take on.

“Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, what do I want to do every day for the rest of my life…do that.”

  • Spending mindful and quality time with myself has been something I practice for many years. Since I first started coaches training many years ago, I was forced to look deep within myself and pick apart what I needed to become the best version of myself. It’s been one of the best lessons and a journey I continue on till this day. Takeaway: Get real and I mean in a way you probably haven’t felt or experienced before. Spending quiet time with yourself is critical to reset and listen to what’s inside. Unplug each day and start focusing on what’s important inside.

“The truth is that finding happiness in what you do every day is so imperative.” 

  • Every day I wake up feeling grateful and being grateful for what I have created in my life and for my amazing family. Do I have everything I want? No but I do have everything I need and that makes me happy. Takeaway: Sometimes finding happiness doesn’t require searching externally but rather internally. Being in a state of gratitude can improve the way you and your life show up.

“You didn’t grow up driving…you figured it out.” 

Life is all about figuring things out. So much of what I learned about myself, others and life in general came from taking the time, being patient as well as persistent until I got it. Takeaway: The expression, “All good things come to those who wait” has always been missing something for me. I believe it should be, “All good things come to those who wait but it comes quicker to those who are persistent and committed to figuring it out.”

“Time – the one asset none of us are ever gonna get more of.” 

  • Probably the one topic I speak the most on. I learned how precious time is when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. That’s the day the game changed. That’s when I learned that we all have 24 hours and it’s not just what you do with it (in terms of actions) but mostly your “relationship” to the hours we are allotted. Takeaway: Life is short, we all know that so why spend one second doing anything that doesn’t serve you, your life and your overall happiness? Tell the ones you love – you love them.

“All your ideas may be solid or even good, but you have to Actually EXECUTE on them for them to matter.” 

  • A great idea is only as good as the person behind it and the people behind the person. I learned early on in my entrepreneurial career to surround yourself with the best people possible not just the ones available otherwise execution isn’t a possibility. Take away: If you truly believe in an idea and want to make it a reality, then take that same belief and find the right support structure which will bring it to fruition.

“Love your family, work super hard, live your passion.”

  • This one truly speaks for itself. I personally love the order in which it’s stated. Family first and from there, work hard (and smart) and you will undoubtedly live a passionate life. Take away: It’s easy to be grinding, hustling, working etc. and forget about those who love and support you for whom without them, you may not be doing what you do or working where you work. Take the time to show them the love.

“I’m just always looking forwards. I spend very little time, looking backwards” 

  • This completely resonates with me – as a coach I get this completely. Coaching is spent only looking at the past in terms of how to move forward. I do spend certain periods of time when I need to if I find the answers I am seeking aren’t in front of me. Take away: Looking at your past mistakes can prevent future ones as well as learning what to avoid moving forward. The key is to not set up shop there.

“Effort is grossly underrated.”  

  • History is paved with success stories not from the smartest or richest or even best looking people but the ones who gave it their all. The grit, grind and hustle from these people instilled a belief system so strong success was the only option available. Take away: Typically the point at which you are about to give up is the point in which to double down your efforts. On the other side of a breakdown is always breakthrough.

“You can market your ass off, but if your product sucks, you’re dead.” 

  • Sell solutions not products – This saying has always stuck with me since my days working in advertising. Never overhype something that isn’t worth it, especially if it’s your first product launch. It’s sometimes impossible to recover from a fall of great heights. The more money and effort you put into the marketing should be equal to or more than your products capabilities and potential. Takeaway: Take the time you need to perfect your product/service. The marketing is the easier part of the equation. Focus on the “what” first and the “how” will follow.

“Legacy is greater than currency.” 

  • I thought about this one for a bit and where I landed was that work to make a name for yourself so you no longer have to introduce yourself. Sometimes it takes age and hopefully wisdom to realize that everything you do and say leaves a mark on others as well as your own reputation. Take away: Pausing to think about the actions you take can be the difference between the legacy you want and the fallacy you create.

“I hate how many people think “glass half-empty” when their glass is really four-fifths full. I’m grateful when I have one drop in the glass because I know exactly what to do with it.” 

  • I firmly believe being grateful for what you have and focusing on that is way more important of a habit to adopt then most people realize. Whatever your morning ritual maybe – think about including some gratitude into and your perspective will shift dramatically. Take away: Whether the glass is half full or empty, the key to remember is that you can always refill it.

“If you live for the weekends and vacations, your shit is broken.”  

  • When I was younger I totally bought into this but as I’ve matured what I have openly realized is that if you are living for the weekends, then you aren’t living – you are existing. Take away: If you find being in the present moment isn’t possible (especially with work) then you should seriously consider the work you are doing and where you are doing it.

“You need to spend all of your time and energy on creating something that actually brings value to the people you’re asking for money!” 

  • As I stated earlier, sell the solution not the product. It takes a lot to ask someone for any amount of money so make sure you have a compelling case to share as to why you need their financial support. Take away: Learning the art of selling is something so important and something that’s not readily taught in school. That means selling your ideas as well as yourself.

“Stop whining, start hustling.” 

  • Throwing a pity party and being a victim in life is something we have all done. We even got dressed up and ate the cake. Take away: If you are going to be a victim and whine, do it and do it 100% but intentionally choose a time in which the party ends and you clean up. Setting boundaries around what we do (and act) helps instill accountability and maturity.

“Know the philosophy, know the details, and ignore everything in the middle.” 

I struggled with this one, I won’t lie. For me, I took away that it’s about doing your homework and understanding the context, the why and why not for any product or service or meeting you have to attend. Take away: Nothing can shortchange the time needed to prepare for life. Give yourself what you need to make sure you can sell yourself and your product as well engage with others on various topics.

“We only get to play this game one time…one life.” 

  • This is by far on of the better quotes and sentiments I have read. There is only one true certainty in life which is the moment we are born, we begin to die. Now before you go off on me for that statement, think on it for a second. Life is what you make of it and the clock starts ticking the moment you arrive – it doesn’t stop. Take away: There is no dress rehearsal, this is it – this is the big show now get out on the stage.

“Whether you’re 9 or 90, stop trying to fix the things you’re bad at, and focus on the things you’re good at.” 

  • I believe you need to focus on the areas and things that derail you in life but I also subscribe to focusing on and leveraging your strengths as a way to level up. Take away: I highly recommend Strengthsfinder over many of the hundreds of assessments that exist. Understanding what you are innately gifted at gives you the precise area to focus on.

“A penguin cannot become a giraffe, so just be the best penguin you can be.” 

  • I will never be Tony Robbins or GaryVee and I wouldn’t want to be. I also won’t be 6’3″ but that’s a different story. The point is, work with what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t. Aspiring to be like someone else is normal and can be motivating but never let it hijack your own sense of self. Take away: When you focus on you (in all aspects), you become a more authentic version of what you aspire to be.

“It’s easy to dream about it … Much harder to execute it ….Work!” 

  • There’s simply no substitute for hard and smart work. That said, it does start with a dream and a vision and sometimes that part is the most challenging. Executing against a clear vision will always prove to be a more rewarding experience versus winging it and just grinding it out. Take away: There is a big difference between being in action and being productive. Remember, a rocking chair can be in action but gets nowhere.

The floor is yours: Where do you find your motivation?

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

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

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

blank canvas trap

The Phrase “It’s A Blank Canvas” Is A Trap. Here’s Why.

Skies the limit.

Feel free to do whatever you wish.

It’s a new role so we are open to fresh ideas.

It’s wide open, we are looking for you to tell us.

Sound familiar? These are just some of the many phrases associated with the phrase “it’s a blank canvas” when a recruiter or hiring manager tells you about a new opportunity.

Exciting…yes. Blank canvas…not so fast.

It sounds great if you are a commissioned artist about to take on your next masterpiece or a toddler with a bucket of finger paints, but if you’re anyone else – be cautious of this phrase and here is why:

  • The term “blank canvas” implies many things, potentially too many things. It’s a statement that on the surface sounds amazing but having the opportunity to do whatever you want almost sounds too good to be true and that’s because it is.

When it comes to working in a company or organization, they aren’t simply going to give you the keys and say good luck. That doesn’t happen to even the smartest, highest paid and most well like CEO’s. Even if it’s their company, they still are accountable to others. Short of a recruiter or hiring manager handing you an actual blank canvas, you should pause and re-think the statement.

You see the problem isn’t the statement itself but rather what you aren’t saying when you hear it.

Opportunities are what make life special and that’s where you can grow and learn. The key is making sure the opportunity is one you wish to take on and one that’s going to work for you.

Maybe Milton had the right mindset when it came to opportunities. You see, most people when told “it’s a blank canvas” immediately fall into one of two mindsets:

  1. Wow, this is amazing – think of all the possibilities.
  2. Oh my, that could be too much, too big or too vague.

Neither one is better than the other as it solely depends on the person and the opportunity. However, there is a third mindset which I believe is a combination of the above and what you should really be thinking:

It’s not what’s on the canvas that you should be considering or worried about but rather the size of the canvas itself.

Think about it for a moment:

  • The canvas represents the opportunity.
  • What goes on the canvas are your talents, skills and vision.

You want to be asking (and thinking about) these questions:

  • What type of support will I have to achieve this masterpiece? Even the most tortured artists had an assistant, a muse or a helper. Who will be yours?
  • When is this canvas supposed to be completed? What’s the realistic timing around the “ask” and the deliverable. Do you know what the expectations are around this deliverable?
  • What’s the value of this completed piece of work? Many times, organizations aren’t clear on what they need or asking for and it’s your job and responsibility to dig into the details and find out. Does the company truly value the type of art you are going to create?
  • Where will the finish piece reside? No one likes to pour the heart out on to a canvas only to have the completed piece sitting in a dark warehouse, safe and wrapped up from daylight only to hang around (pun intended) for a rainy day.

Final thoughts: If you don’t have the right size canvas to support your talents, passion and the accountability for the opportunity – you will most likely be frustrated. Have you ever seen a 4×4″ Jackson Pollack? Me neither. That’s because his style rarely if ever was meant for such a small canvas. In your career and in life, make sure the size of your canvas matches both your vision, skills and style.

The floor is yours: What questions do you ask when new opportunities arise?

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

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

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

direction

A Coaching Culture: Why Leaders Struggle As Coaches (Part 3)

Often times when leaders struggle as coaches it’s due to their environment and not their aptitude or attitude. In fact the most common question I get from my corporate clients:

  • How can we create a coaching culture?

Many organizations have tried to crack the code on this and some have been successful and others have failed miserably – mostly because they tried to copy the other companies who got it right (enter the slippery slope of benchmarking). Herein lies the paradox of creating a coaching culture.

People sometimes think it’s as easy as A (your company) + B (get coaching) = C (have a coaching culture) when in fact there is much more to consider before creating any type of substantial change(s) to your organization or it’s methodology to learning, performance or talent. But by looking at the definitions of each, one can see the complexity.

Corporate Culture Vs. Coaching

Corporate culture refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature. Corporate culture is rooted in an organization’s goals, strategies, structure, and approaches to labor, customers, investors, and the greater community.

Coaching however, typically refers to methods of helping others to improve, develop, learn new skills, find personal success, achieve aims and to manage life change and personal challenges. Coaching commonly addresses attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge, as well as skills, and can also focus on physical and spiritual development too. Furthermore, coaching is:

  • According the ICF – partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. 
  • Coaching may refer to different types of personal development delivery, for example: The process, or augmentation of, teaching or training or mentoring within organizations and the provision of a specified personal development (or ‘coaching’) service by a private individual or small company.
  • Coaching may have different degrees of formality and structure, for example: Coaching can be very informal and very loosely structured, or quite formal and heavily structured, and anything between these extremes.
  • A coach could be a manager, supervisor, co-worker or an external trainer or consultant working for a small or large company

Coaching is by definition, obtuse or broad whereas culture can more easily be defined.

To add another layer of complexity lies in how or what you are actually defining as a “coaching culture” within your organization. We all know how critical a healthy culture is. Just Google it (which I did) and you will get over 8,000,000 hits on the topic and articles from Inc., Entrepreneur and Forbes all agreeing on the same thing – it’s important. Now add the coaching piece and what happens?

One article from Forbes said this:

  • A coaching culture simply means supporting your employees so that they learn new skills and become greater assets to the company. (A management culture that emphasizes training, regular feedback, and opportunities for growth creates a more engaged and energized workforce.)

Although I believe this definition works on the surface, it obviously doesn’t speak to the complexity of “how” you build out the coaching culture itself. So, let’s do a deep dive into how you set this up and what you need to know.

How To Create A Coaching Culture

If you believe you are ready to build a coaching culture, then following the right steps is key, and asking the right questions is critical. Here are the best building blocks I could find in my research that encompasses everything you should consider:

Perform a coaching culture assessment: (questions to consider to understand your org health and audience)

  • How well is coaching understood and integrated into performance and talent management?
  • What competencies does the organization need to develop within five years?
  • How well is coaching embedded in the policies and procedures in your organization?
  • What behavior changes and performance improvements are most needed now?
  • How effective are your internal and externally sourced coaches?
  • How does coaching support the achievement of your organization’s objectives and outcomes?

Address resistance to change:

  • Getting curious about the positive intentions underneath the resistance to change is where coaching comes in. Naming the fears and normalizing the emotional impact helps people feel understood. They get a sense that they are valued and once they experience the power of coaching, they become the ambassadors for a system-wide coaching culture. Add coaching skills to any change initiative and the resistance actually fuels the process.

Consider external coaches at first:

  • Research shows that 35% of new executives fail within the first 18 months.3 Many of these failed leaders state that they did not know how to get the support they needed. Executive coaches have the tools to support successful transition to a higher role.

Develop internal coaches:

  • By training internal leaders to coach, you create a more scalable, sustainable and robust approach to driving change. Because they understand the organization’s culture, landscape, and interests, internal coaches significantly increase retention, engagement, productivity and performance.

Expand leadership capacity:

  • Leaders who receive coaching are more likely to be promoted, create work-life balance, and develop their successor. People become even more valuable when they become internal coaches, and more valuable still when they are selected to teach coaching skills throughout the organization. In addition to expanding leadership capacity, coaching impacts how people run their meetings, organize their time, and interact in daily conversations.

Align policies and procedures:

Creating a coaching culture is much more than just getting people to do a lot of coaching. To ensure the development of a coaching culture, a policy review is crucial. Which of your HR policies are already conducive to creating a respectful, energized, coaching culture and which need revision. Places to consider:

  • Performance Reviews: How are coaching skills reinforced during performance reviews? What support do managers need to give inspirational feedback, share power and increase active involvement?
  • Key Competencies: What competencies does the organization need to develop within the next 5 years to reach their goals? How are coaching skills embedded in each of the competencies?
  • Diversity and Inclusion: What policies ensure all people have access to coaching and development opportunities?
  • Reward System: How does your reward system support coaching and collaboration rather than internal competition?
  • Job Descriptions: Do your job descriptions state explicitly that coaching, mentoring and developing people are part of everyone’s job description?
  • Selection and Promotion Criteria: How does the selection and promotion criteria reinforce the coaching culture strategy?

Evaluate the program and measure the results:

The investment in coaching is increasing, but few organizations formally evaluate the coaching process or identify the return on investment. Some expected outcomes of creating a coaching culture are:

  • Expanded leadership skills are developed
  • Key challenges are addressed collaboratively
  • Coaching empowers people to take responsibility

To assess how well the organization has created the ideal culture and accomplished the desired goals, tailor your metrics to your organization to include:

  • Changed behaviors: competency development, relationship building
  • Achievement of goals: personal, team and organizational objectives
  • Expanded creativity: product or service development
  • Improved service: customer satisfaction, industry leadership
  • Leadership and Talent Development: can be measured in terms of increase in promotions from within, lower recruitment costs, increased employee retention, filling the pipeline for succession planning
  • Relationship building: can be measured in terms of increase in loyalty, expansion of networks, sharing on social media, increase in recommendations and testimonials.
  • Employee engagement: can be measured in terms of reduction in turnover, absenteeism, safety incidents, quality defects, shrinkage and grievances.

 

To Consider (& Do) Moving Forward

Here is a great summary of sorts from a Forbes Coaching article on what to remember, do and consider when implementing your Coaching Culture.

  • Lead By Example: If you think your team could benefit from coaching, engage a coach for yourself. Find someone who delivers exactly what you are hoping to provide for your team.
  • Ask Your Employees The Right Questions: A coaching culture encourages employees to learn from their experience by exploring the right questions rather than telling them what to do and how to do it.
  • Start At The Top: Start by teaching senior leaders a few coaching basics — listening, asking questions, encouraging others to reflect and develop insights before taking action. 
  • Bring In Training: If you are going to successfully integrate coaching into your workplace culture, you must engage expert coaches to train individuals at all levels of the organization in coaching practice. 
  • Just Do It: Coaching is a way of being, and as such, you can’t simply integrate it. You just have to understand what it is and do it. *I personally love this as it’s 100% true.
  • Make Managers Accountable For Developing Employees: Create a coaching culture by tying this activity to the company’s mission, and hold every manager accountable for coaching employees to help them master their jobs and learn new skills
  • Ask More Questions Than You Answer: When someone asks you what to do, ask them what they think will work. Ask how they came to that conclusion. 
  • Be Clear And Strategic: If you don’t already have a clear definition of what coaching is, you need to have one so everyone in the organization is in sync with what it means, especially compared to mentoring, training, consulting, etc. Then, ensure coaching is not an “ad hoc” activity, but is truly integrated into your overall talent management strategy.
  • Live What You Claim: Ever joined a company that claimed they had an open-door policy but that door was always closed? To cultivate a coaching culture, you need to create a workplace that walks the walk.
  • Have Lunch Bite Drop-In Sessions: Teach people how to be with one another and listen through short introductory coaching lunch drop-in sessions. 
  • Gain Buy-In And Practice: Coaching is real-time development by all team members to all team members. It’s about practice, not perfection. Start asking questions to help individuals gain more insight on what happened and how they can handle it next time versus just telling them what to do.

Final thought: The key to success of any coaching cultural initiative is the selection of the appropriate behavioral change models and best-practices you choose to support your organization’s specific needs. The new culture should be a continuation of sorts and a representation of the organizational attitudes, and beliefs of the company itself. It won’t be easy and in fact could be slow. Building out, in or adding to – this type of culture will require a clear commitment, a clearer vision and a committed group of leaders. It’s completely doable, just remember to do “your companies culture” and not your neighbors.

The floor is yours: What do you think is possible in creating a coaching culture?

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

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

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

Vegan Leadership: A Raw, Organic & Gluten Free Article.

Throughout time, successful leaders have demonstrated an undeniable appetite to learn and lead others. So naturally, when it came to writing another article on Leaders and Development, I wanted to look at one area that is rarely if it all ever discussed…

Their actually appetite or to be more specific – being a vegan.

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure vegan leadership was a real thing outside of my interest of clean eating and developing leaders. What I was looking for was the connectivity between success, successful leaders (in life) and what they eat. What I found is in this article.

Being a vegan brings with it a whole slew of commentary and confusion around: what it is, why people choose it and what’s possible from adopting a vegan lifestyle. Here’s what I uncovered:

  • The common misconceptions of being vegan
  • The benefits of eating vegan
  • Foods that can boost your leadership

Eight years ago, I decided to change my eating habits and adopt a clean(er) eating mindset. Since then my overall health and wellness has soared to new heights. I have grown to both appreciate and understand what organic and raw living can do for your life both in and out of the workplace. Along the way, I’ve probably made over 2,500 green juices and have heard just as many jokes about doing it. Although labeling people is never a good thing, just for today – we are going to remove labels as it pertains to food and discover the vegan leader.

Vegan, Vegetarian, Raw & Paleo

I am incredibly fortunate to be married to a registered and certified holistic nutritionist who along the way has helped explain and define many of the confusing claims that exist so in the spirit of paying it forward, below is a breakdown of what you need to know. I realize there is a lot of (mis)information out there so I thought creating a comparison chart would be the easiest to follow. The same information below can be found here.

The last thing I want to include here are three popular terms that readily gets confused and misplaced when speaking to others about food, diet and overall nutrition and that is:

  • plant-based diet is a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetableswhole grainslegumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products. Ideally, the plant-based diet is a vegan diet with a bit of flexibility in the transitional phases, with the goal of becoming 100 percent plant-based over time.
  • Raw vegan: This is a vegan diet that is uncooked and often includes dehydrated foods.
  • Flexitarian: Yes this is a real word. This plant-based diet includes the occasional consumption of meat or fish.

The Benefits Of A Vegan Lifestyle

The benefits to a vegan lifestyle are plenty but let’s pull back a second and simply recognize the importance of a healthy diet in the first place. It’s commonly recognized that what you eat impacts your mood which in return will impact your thoughts and subsequent actions. In the case of respective leaders regardless of what industry, this couldn’t be more important – with the amount of critical and strategic thinking that has to take place daily and sometimes at a moment’s notice, skimping on nutrition is something not advised.

There are probably too many benefits to name from a plant-based vegan diet but it’s most notably considered to reduce the risk of the following:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Prostate and Colon cancer

Vegan diets on a whole can be a healthy option for anyone of any age assuming they first speak with their doctor. The key is that vegans (as well as people on other specialized diets) need to pay close attention to their food intake to avoid specific nutrient deficiencies.

The Connection: Food and Leadership

The connectivity to what you put in your body and how it performs has been studied for decades. As well all know, leadership doesn’t stop in the workplace but carries over into our personal lives but also into other arenas – literally and figuratively.

Here are some vegan athletes you may know who have done quite well for themselves:

There a few good articles out there regarding the connection of food and leadership but the one I enjoyed reading the most came from the Harvard Business Review. It goes on to say that:

No, it’s not awareness we need—it’s an action plan that makes healthy eating easier to accomplish

Whether you wish to explore being a vegan or not, the article goes on to lay out some sound strategies that anyone can adopt.

  • TIP ONE: Make your eating decisions before you get hungry. Studies show we’re a lot better at resisting salt, calories, and fat in the future than we are in the present.
  • TIP TWO: Instead of letting your glucose bottom out around lunch time, you’ll perform better by grazing throughout the day. Spikes and drops in blood sugar are both bad for productivity and bad for the brain. Smaller, more frequent meals maintain your glucose at a more consistent level than relying on a midday feast.
  • TIP THREE: Make healthy snacking easier to achieve than unhealthy snacking. Place a container of almonds and a selection of protein bars by your computer, near your line of vision. Use an automated subscription service, like Amazon, to restock supplies. Bring a bag of fruit to the office on Mondays so that you have them available throughout the week.

The article discussed how through one study, participants reported their food consumption, mood, and behaviors over a period of 13 days of eating fruits and veggies to be happier, more engaged, and more creative.

Final thoughts: If you are vegan, then I invite you to check out this networking site for vegan professionals http://veganleaders.com/resources/. Yes, you heard me correct – it’s exactly that. It’s filled with some great resources and what appears to be a respectable group of individuals from Fortune 500 companies around the world. If you’re considering shifting your eating habits and methodology, before you go off and buying that Groupon Juice Cleanse – speak with your doctor first to see if moving to a specialized type of diet is right for you. Playing a sport (like the athletes I mentioned) can be fun but playing with your health can be risky. Avoid the trends and speak to a professional first.

The floor is yours: How does diet impact your performance?

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

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

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

Why Leaders Struggle As Coaches. It’s Not What You Think.

For some, managing others is a welcomed challenge and a true calling but for others, it’s a chore and a cavernous time suck. There are many facets to managing employees but todays focus is on coaching and when it comes to this skillset, the divide grows greater. The reason for this gap lies squarely on their shoulders or should I say ears and their ability to listen to their people versus just “hearing” them.

I am referring to a specific type of listening. Not the type of listening that involves a lot of “aha..,yes…I see…gotcha” but the type of listening where one pays close attention and listens for the content and context simultaneously. This article will break down the following:

  • Why listening is a critical component to success
  • The difference between listening and hearing
  • The benefits of developing your listening skills

NOTE: For the sake of this article, I am not using the term “coaching” in the context of a certified and trained coach but rather using the basic fundamentals of coaching to improve employee performance.

I have been working with, and developing leaders for the better half of my professional career and I can see and say without any hesitation that honing your listening skills is vital if not critical to being successful. We live in a world that is evolving so fast and since we are always on the go, what used to be considered conventional conversational exchanges has transformed to 140 characters or less with a variety of emoji’s leaving much to the imagination. That said, when you do have the opportunity to speak with someone live (and preferably in person), the ability to listen and “get” the other person is invaluable to both your employee and yourself.

The Importance Of Listening To Others

Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. It’s how we make sense of, assess, and respond to what we hear. Listening is key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, communication erodes, a breakdown general ensues and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated. Listening is a “soft skill” that is embedded into the most relevant qualifications employers look for in candidates. According to a Fast Company article which cited a 2014 Multi-Generational Job Search Study, employers in today’s modern workplace are looking for:

  • Communication skills and “emotional intelligence”
  • Solving problems
  • Positive attitude and ability to work in a team
  • Being dependable and getting the job done
  • Coaching coworkers
  • Being creative and innovative
  • Developing new work processes
  • Taking initiative

It goes on to say that: one quality that all of these have in common is listening, specifically active listening. Active listening involves being present in every conversation you have. Listening with undivided attention communicates respect for the person with whom you are speaking. 

Listening Versus Hearing

Many people (not just leaders) confuse great hearing and memory for actual listening. It’s a common mistake the dupes one into thinking they are actually present and able to coach someone. The truth is, listening and hearing are so different that it’s going to require some unpacking.

  • Listening is defined as the learned skill, in which we can receive sounds through ears, and transform them into meaningful messages. To put simply, it is the process of diligently hearing and interpreting the meaning of words and sentences spoken by the speaker, during the conversation.
  • Hearing is the natural ability or an inborn trait that allows us to recognize sound through ears by catching vibrations is called the hearing. In simple terms, it is one of the five senses; that makes us aware of the sound. It is an involuntary process, whereby a person receives sound vibrations, continuously.

The styles and methods of listening run the gamut but a popular one when it comes to coaching others is called “active listening” which requires concentration and presence with the other individual. Active listening is a key element in making the communication process effective. Regardless of the style, the process of listening involves five stages: receiving, understanding, evaluating, remembering, and responding. An effective leader and listener must hear and identify what’s being said toward them, understand the content while evaluating or assessing the message and respond (either verbally or nonverbally) to the other individual. A process that happens rather fast but fear not, here is an excellent chart which further explains the differences:

The Benefits Of Better Listening Skills

Regardless if you’re coaching another person, honing your listening skills will pay dividends in and out of the workplace. Some of the benefits include but are not limited to:

  • Expands capacity and knowledge
  • Intensifies successful conversation
  • Can save time and money
  • Allows better negotiations terms
  • Helps to detect and solve problems quickly
  • Promotes respect and trust
  • Provides new points of view and perspectives
  • You might learn something yourself
  • Create stronger bonds and relationships
  • Builds patience and tolerance

To help you get started, this Forbes article lays out six ways in which you can begin engaging with your people.

Final thoughts: Regardless of whether you are a leader coaching an employee or simply someone looking to support a friend or loved one – listening will always be the foundation for a successful outcome. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “Speak in such a way that other love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you.”

The floor is yours: How do you hone your listening skills?

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

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

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

4 Harsh Truths About Self-Help. Brace Yourself.

The self-help industry is mired in promises of enlightenment and quick-fixes, so much so it brings in over $10 billion dollars a year – yes that’s with capital B. As a society, we are primed for developing ourselves both personally and professionally and this is good thing. Being the best version of ourselves is one goal and aspiration that can be a self-rewarding process but what happens when it doesn’t go exactly as planned?

There is so much information out there it can be utterly confusing for the best of us to navigate as to how to begin, what we need and where to find. Take a deep breath (and say “OM” for extra credit) because I am going to break this all down and let you decide what’s best for you. This article will cover the following:

  • What is “self-help”
  • The pitfalls of self-help books
  • The realities of personal development & what you need to know
  • How to move forward

I have spent the past 20 plus years developing myself and others. Along the way, I have worked with coaches, therapists, by last count – read over 90 plus self-help books, meditated with monks, practiced mindfulness, read blogs, listened to podcasts, studied NLP, tried hypnosis, studied psychology, practiced yoga, attended too many seminars to count, walked on coals (which I don’t recommend) and my personal favorite, an eight hour sweat lodge and guided meditation. To say that I have tried a lot would be an understatement but with all of these experiences, am I any better for having done it? The answer is yes but admittedly this is a lifelong process and the road to enlightenment has been bumpy at times which is why I wrote this.

What Is Self-Help?

Webster’s states it’s the action or process of bettering oneself or overcoming one’s problems without the aid of others; especially: the coping with one’s personal or emotional problems without professional help.

The challenge I have with this definition lies in “without the aid of others.” Last time I checked, most of the people who I know, worked with or spoken to have interacted with someone at some point in their self-help journey. Ideally, the definition implies that you (i.e.: “self”) are doing it all alone but you don’t have to and that’s the point.

Where is it written (no pun intended) that you need to figure it out all by yourself?

That is why “books’ happen to be the quickest resource for those truly looking to do it all on their own. The challenge with this avenue is that not all books are created equal.

Not All Books Are Created Equal

There are so many books in this genre (624,000 to be exact upon last Google) so if it feels like there is a new book coming out every day promising you how to quit your job, make millions, better your sales ability or increase your happiness etc. – you would be right. Some are written by Ivy League professors while others are by the person down the block no real credentialing in the space but a simple story to tell. Understanding who is “selling you something repackaged and over hyped” versus “practical and obtainable” can be mind numbing but is 100% worth your investigative efforts. To name just a few would be a disservice to the many that are true staples in supporting and bettering people’s lives. I am currently reading an excellent book called “Happy Is The New Rich” by Tank Sinatra. An easy read that doesn’t push a complex theory or model, but instead takes you on a colorful journey through his personal experiences and learning. Should this sit on the bookshelf next to Chicken Soup for The Soul or The Secret? Maybe, it’s not for me to decide and that’s the point. It’s entirely up to you. A book can be a powerful tool but it ultimately comes down to:

  • Why are you reading it and what are you seeking to gain from the experience?

Once you have the answer to this question, I would imagine you are ready to dive in but not so fast. Here are the highlights from the exceptional article by Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst which breaks down what you need to know before purchasing that book:

  1. Check out the author’s credentials.
  2. Think of the book as your therapist.
  3. Look critically at the quality of the writing.
  4. Decide whether the book will motivate you. 
  5. Don’t be afraid to give it a critical reading.

I highly suggest reading her full article to fully understand the importance of this topic.

4 Realities To Self-Help

  1. Take It Personally (& be responsible): To often we enter into things with a half-ass attitude and full amount of skepticism. The skepticism is okay (to a degree) because you are most likely navigating unchartered emotions and areas in your life that you have either neglected, denied or simply didn’t know existed. Either way, this “is” a personal journey and with that comes the responsibility of taking control of your actions and reactions as you press forward. It’s normal to be scared but it’s never okay to be irresponsible and careless in your process to learn. Speak up and reach out if you need additional support but don’t take down something that may not have worked for you but is working for someone else.
  2. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable: Life’s learning and development takes place outside of your comfort zone. The level of uncertainty when exploring the outer banks of what you know to be true can make the bravest person hide like a turtle in its shell. The amount to which you can be with the unknown and your current breakdown (/situation) will ultimately dictate the level and degree of your breakthrough. What we resist, persists.
  3. Do it for you first over anything else: Wanting to change for a loved one or for a job is noble and commendable act but the truth is, if you aren’t clear on why you are doing it for yourself and the potential benefits it will bring to your life then the likelihood of this journey ending short is quite possible. Take care of yourself first, before you try to help others. Seriously, this isn’t you being narcissistic but rather responsible. William Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” Your greatest responsibility is towards yourself first.
  4. Take your time (you will need it): Anyone who claims to have a quick fix is selling you snake oil. Personal development in the form of self-help is a marathon not a sprint. Sure, you can run a marathon with a sprinters mentality but pace yourself otherwise you will run out of steam and ambition. If you’ve gotten to the point of realizing you need help, kudos to you! Personal development can take many forms such positive or negative but as long as you keep going, you will grow, even if you hit a road bump along your way.

How To Move Forward

Before you rush to the bookstore, pack your bags for a weekend retreat or sign up for that Groupon Mindfulness Class, I would encourage you to pause and ask yourself the following questions (which I found here)from Deepak Chopra. I feel these are both powerful and pertinent to this topic:

  • Who am I today?
  • Where am I heading?
  • What do I want my future to look like?

He goes on to state:

  • These are not abstract or airy-fairy questions. Self-help exists to offer a new direction but can only happen when the old way of thinking and acting gives way to the new. Old habits and conditioning need to be transformed, and that isn’t possible except at the level of consciousness. “Who am I?” really means “How do I see myself?”
  • Self-help doesn’t work because you found a wise, all-knowing teacher or a quick fix for a tough problem. Self-help works if it wakes you up, either a little or a lot. The best way to wake up is to know who you are, where you’re going and what the future could be. Present reality is the foundation. The future is a vision open to all possibilities.

Final thoughts: We all want to improve certain areas of ourselves and create the best life possible. The reality is that (lasting) change can be challenging because we have conditioned ourselves and developed strategies and habits that are core to our being and don’t always serve us the way we had hoped. The good news is that even the most stubborn, deeply ingrained behavior can be transformed. It will require both effort, persistence, openness and courage but it is possible to help yourself.

The floor is yours: Where do you find the best resources for self-help?

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

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

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

analogy

Why Successful People Use Analogies And So Should You

Mastering the art of the analogy can save you time, money and resources which is why successful people use them daily and understand their importance, influence an impact in the workplace. This article will breakdown what an analogy is, how it’s used and what to watch out for when applying them in the workplace.

Life is littered with memes touting one analogy after another but not all analogies are created equal and successful people understand this. Some focus on life, while others use technology, food or sports. Take a look at some of these:

  • Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
  • Repeating mistakes is like tripping over your own feet: avoidable with a little attention.
  • I feel like a fish out of water.
  • Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process.
  • This is about as useful as arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
  • The day is moving slower than a snail moving backwards on a turtle moving forwards.
  • Hope is like flying. You can’t see what keeps you going, but you know it’s there.

Got it? Lets move on then…

Analogies can help people make sense of technological change and other innovations. Using them effectively relies on recognizing both their benefits and pitfalls.

No one was better at this quote than the late great Steve Jobs. He coined the phrase “desktop” and made that synonymous with Apple computers. It’s become such a part of our daily vocabulary that an actual desktop can now only be associated with computers and not an actual desktop – I digress.

The Anatomy Of The Analogy

According to Wikipedia, an analogy is the “process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject … to another particular subject.” In other words, an analogy compares one thing to another. Analogies often take the format that “A is like B” where “A” is an unknown abstract concept and “B” is something known, which is often something concrete.

A good analogy surprises you by connecting two things that you normally wouldn’t have associated together. A good analogy also provides real, applicable knowledge beyond the entertainment value.

Analogy Vs. Metaphor

There’s no doubt that many people (including myself) get stuck from time to time regarding the difference between the two. It’s a common mistake but one that should be clarified to avoid confusion of your audience and the potential poor perception of yourself. Here is the best (and easiest answer) I could find:

Analogies: compare things so that you can see a relationship between them. There are many ways to do it, but the key thing is comparing one thing to another.

Metaphors: do this by saying something “is” something else.

  • That test was murder.
  • The company was a sinking ship.
  • The campaign is a dumpster fire.

So, analogies are comparisons, and metaphors are ways to make them.

The Benefits Of Using Analogies

Analogies can be an incredibly powerful tool, especially when it comes to teaching, and learning. Some of the many benefits when using analogies appropriately:

  • Speed Up Comprehension & Reduce Learner Frustration
  • Provide Visualization That Boosts Retention
  • Can Easily Become Interactions
  • Provide Role Reversal That Produces Empathy
  • Change Perception

How To Create An Analogy

I never thought about what it took to create a good analogy until I researched and wrote this article. There are a few different theories on “how” to create one that will be both powerful and impactful. Here is what I believe the easiest to understand and utilize – it’s called the “mapping technique” and it looks like this:

Here is how it works from the original article:

  • Map the characteristics between two domains and see if there are sufficient relationships to make it work (shown below). Then assess the differences between the target and the analog concepts and address the shortcomings of the analogy. Finally, evaluate the new representation.

How To Use Analogies At Work

According to an MIT article, many leaders use analogies to explain some type of change or potential transformation (context withstanding) that’s happening within their team or organization:

  • Change itself is not the culprit, but rather how organizations perceive and cope with change. Both people and organizations rely on analogies to help them comprehend change, including the meaning and potential of new technologies, systems and processes.

When looking to use or create an analogy in the workplace, it’s important to remember the following:

  • Be sensitive to what metaphors and mental imagery you use (i.e.: Sports analogies can be great but not if your audience doesn’t know or understand the sport in question).
  • An analogy can have a property that is indirectly misleading. The property may not be a central point, but it might inadvertently cause an incorrect understanding.
  • Don’t buy other people’s analogies hook, line and sinker (including this one) and consider finding alternative metaphors. Be creative and explore based on what outcome you are seeking and who you are speaking to.
  • Recognize that most analogies and metaphors highlight aspects of the problem that are valid and deserving of attention.
  • If no single analogy works, be open to using more than one but use your discretion so as to not confuse your audience and ensure they complement each other.

The floor is yours: What’s the best analogy or metaphor you’ve ever heard?

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

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

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

How To Create Your Own Luck (Rabbit’s Foot Optional)

Whether you’re a Duck, a Coin, a Lady, a Star or a bowl of Charms, it’s safe to say that Luck comes in many forms.

The real question is, “does any of it really work and is it possible to create your own?”

Sure, there’s your iconic rabbits foot, four-leaf clover, and the ubiquitous horseshoe – all have been sold to us as a way to increase our luck but does it really work? The sports industry in particular is cloaked in this type of folklore and some of the most famous athletes have been well documented touting their pre/post game rituals. To name a few:

  • Michael Jordan. While leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships during his legendary career, the five-time MVP wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform in every game. Jordan led UNC to the NCAA Championships in 1982 and believed the mesh marvels brought him luck.
  • Serena Williams. The superstar believed much of her winning ways are the result of closely followed routines such as bringing her shower sandals to the court, tying her shoelaces a specific way and bouncing the ball five times before her first serve and twice before her second.
  • Patrick Roy. Perhaps the greatest goaltender in the history of the NHL, Patrick was a firm believer in the power of superstition. Before every game, the former Montreal Canadian would skate backwards towards the net before turning around at the last second—an act he believed made the goal shrink. 

These athletes all have one thing in common, they believed in certain rituals and that these rituals could bring them good luck. The real question is: what is luck? Is it some kind of natural law? Does it exist but we can’t see it?.

The Truth About Luck

The truth is that while everything happens by cause and effect, it is all so complex we can only reliably predict so much. Yet this doesn’t stop us from trying to create and predict our own luck. We think that if we can tell what is going to happen then we will be able to act in ways to our best advantage. Many people actually use luck as an excuse to explain their failures or shortcomings (i.e.: bad luck). Luck, then, is nothing but an explanation we give to the good and bad things that happen around us and we use as a way to give meaning to these events.

I read a fascinating book on this topic when researching this article called Chase, Chance, and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty, by Dr. James Austin where he states there are actually four types of luck:

  1. The first is completely impersonal; you can’t influence it.
  2. The second is a certain [basic] level of action “stirs up the pot”, brings in random ideas that will collide and stick together in fresh combinations, allowing chance to form. You bring events together to form “happy accidents”. This favors people who try lots of new things, since they have more attempts. Think about a scientist in a lab, furiously conducting different experiments.
  3. The third is where chance presents only a faint clue, the potential opportunity exists, but it will be overlooked except by that one person uniquely equipped to observe it, visualize it conceptually, and fully grasp its significance. This type of chance is the result of your background knowledge, an old memory, an observation, or a new combination of ideas (similar to the Medici Effect).
  4. The fourth is the kind of luck that develops during a probing action which has a distinctive personal flavor. Follow your instincts and your passion. Your personal perspectives, lots of life experiences, and unique lifestyle can combine to produce this type of chance. It’s the most rare, unpredictable, form of chance.

Mr. Jefferson may have actually been on to something here. According to a recent HBR article, adopting the right attitude may be the key:

  • It starts with having the humility to be self- aware, followed by the intellectual curiosity to ask the right questions, and concluding with the belief and courage that something better is always possible (optimism)

The good news is that there are proven and practical ways to increase and create your own luck and although it may involve “some” work, it doesn’t involve being a famous athlete.

I researched this topic for a month straight and although there are countless articles on this topic from places like Inc., Fast Company, Medium, The Muse etc., the best and most practical advice (in my honest and humble opinion) comes from this yahoo article and best-selling author Marci Shimoff.

  • Take Responsibility: The starting point in this process is shifting your mentality from victim to victor. “The victims are the ones who think, ‘Life is going to happen to me and I’m either going to be lucky or unlucky,’ and that is just not true,” she says. “But the victors wake up each day and say, ‘I am going to make my life and create what I want.’”
  • State Your Intention: Shimoff has a “power formula” to manifest positivity in your life. Step one: Be clear on exactly where you’d like to see the luck revealed. “If you want luck in your career, what would that look like to you?” asks Shimoff. “Remember that things always happen twice — they happen first in the mind, and then they happen in reality. Intention is your vision.”
  • Show Your Attention: The second step involves putting your energy — meaning your thoughts, words, feelings, and actions — behind your intention. “The feelings are the real juice behind it all.” She states, “If you can’t feel the way you would feel as if you’ve had a lucky life, then you won’t be able to manifest it.”
  • Live with No Tension: This step tends to be the most challenging for people living in today’s society because it’s about “arriving” at a place of relaxation. “The goal is to not be attached to the outcome,” she explains. “When we’re happy for no reason, when we have an inner sense of peace and well-being, it opens the spaciousness for the luck to come pouring in.”
  • Express Your Gratitude: “Feeling grateful for what you have helps the door to luck open wider.” Even though you may crave a new job, a bigger paycheck, or to be in a romantic relationship, be thankful for everything and everyone in your life at this moment. “When we ignore or dismiss what we already have, it shuts down the pipeline to more good coming in.”
  • Stop Overanalyzing: Do yourself a favor and fight the urge to dissect every aspect of every situation. “All of us overthink choices that lie ahead,” says Bob Miglani, an executive at a Fortune 50 company and author of “Embrace the Chaos.” “Thinking is important, but often we let our minds direct us forward.” Your best bet: Stop thinking, and start feeling. “Lucky people seem to lead from the heart, not from the head,” he says.
  • Let Go of Past Failures: Learning to dust yourself off from previous setbacks and disappointments will also increase your odds of catching some lucky breaks. “The biggest way we block our luck is by lack of forgiveness,” explains Shimoff. “Holding onto resentment, grudges, and anger cuts off the flow of luck coming to us. No matter what someone’s challenge may be — finances, relationships, health — one of the first things I suggest is to practice forgiveness.”
  • Embrace Your IQ: Being a member of Mensa will not increase your chances of opportunities landing in your lap. In fact, “lucky people admit they’re not smart,” Miglani says. “They become smart by trying and reading. They ask questions, welcome new ideas, and toil away at their craft day in, day out. And they recognize that happiness and success in life comes from constant learning.”

Final thoughts: Stop knocking on wood, crossing your fingers and pulling apart wishbones hoping for your luck to change – it won’t. The truth is, the lucky ones in life know deep down there is no random luck and that it starts and stops with their intention to choose, think and act differently and so can you.

The floor is yours: Do you believe luck plays a role in someone’s career?

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

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

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