Liv Boeree a famous Poker player and her excellent TED talk explained how we quantify our thinking which gives us more precise language.
We use estimate words rather than defining what we actually mean. I will “probably” meet you for a drink. Instead we could talk in numbers “There is a 60% chance I will meet you for a drink”.
We often talk about a “gut” instinct however the reality is that you need slow careful analysis. Your gut does not park your car or end your marriage. Behind your gut is slow careful analysis as to whether it is doable based on size or financial implications, all about numbers.
When we are successful we might say we were lucky however if we go into the next project with just luck, we would fail. We have strategic edge based upon our skill level which will be calculated by the number of times you have practised deploying that skill, again all about numbers.
As a poker player Liv Boeree leaves us with three summaries:-
- Your gut is your friend and so is a cost benefit analysis
- Success is sweetest when you achieve it across a large sample size
- The future is unknown but you can dam well estimate it
Coaching is … a process that enables learning and development to occur by the coach asking powerful questions which leads to different thinking and ultimately different performance. The coach requires a variety of styles and skills and techniques that are appropriate for each session.
Mentoring is… helping an individual to make significant changes in their work or thinking. This can often be done remotely or face to face. Mentors look at the big picture and with no vested interest and can make bold suggestions.
Coaches can have first hand experience of the line of work or they can be a qualified coach from outside bringing new thinking in.
Mentors are normally more experienced or skilled in the field of work they are advising on.
Line Managers can use coaching techniques whereas the best mentors often have no prior relationship with the mentee.
Coaches ask powerful questions and don’t give advice, and the mentor provides direction and advice.
Mentors and coaches provide a neutral sounding board and total confidentiality, they are both invested in assisting an individual to reach their goals.
Coaching is about learning rather than “teaching” it is much more ask than tell. The insight gained by working with a coach will lead to enhanced effectiveness. Mentoring is helping individuals to develop their career by drawing on their own experiences.
Working with a coach and mentor can lead to new thinking and an enhanced performance.
We all have a brand whether you are consciously aware or unaware it is there. The more aware you are that it is there the more you can make it work for you.
At the very heart of our personality are things that we value in life. This is often the very reason “Why” we do what we do. Simon Sinek’s brilliant book “Start with Why” says it is not what we do or how we do it, the best start is the “why”. This is the very core of your brand, why you get up in the morning and why you wear that particular jacket.
If we internally know the route of our decisions in life we start to form a frame of reference, for people to associate with. These are not just external indicators as to whether you are smart or casual in your dress sense, but the more fundamental character traits, are you reliable and honest. Leading brands are very clever at having clear frames of reference, what do they want to be known for e.g. are they a family product, healthy, original taste etc…
People will make assumptions within seconds of meeting us. So how do we ensure we project our personal brand. We need to sit down initially and think why do we do what we do and what does that tell us about our frame of reference. The two combined give you an idea of what packaging/clothing compliments that brand.
Personal branding is not just when you meet some-one face to face. Our brand now extends to our social media, so if you want to be taken seriously having a beach shot on your LinkedIn profile will not match your brand. Look at your working environment an extension of your brand, how does it look? Is it efficient, a word you had in your frame of reference, no-one would really like a perception of messy.
The word “professional” is very over used and what we really are trying to define is an effective personal brand. Think about the memory you leave in people’s minds – “What shadow do you cast?” and remember it is not just the first time you meet them, you will leave that memory/shadow it is all the time.
If anyone tells you to do anything you want to resist. Recently some-one told me to do something and I was in a volunteering capacity and I was incredibly resistant. Asking for help and support always gets a better response.
A potential Client was explaining a team member’s response to attending a team meeting. The employee had called a colleague and said they would not bother coming back to the office to come to the weekly meeting. The Manager was obviously irritated and asked the colleague to phone them straight back and tell them they had to attend.
I asked why as the Manager they had not made the call. They could have asked
“Why do you think that your attendance at the meeting would not add value?”
The brain always has to answer a question, and questioning the value they would bring to a meeting is far harder to excuse yourself.
Ask not tell leadership style is much more empowering. Whenever a team member comes to you with a problem the best approach is to always ask them what they would do first rather than offer out a solution.
Another example is a request for holiday during a busy period, instead of an immediate no, ask how they think the company will survive with their absence. Asking is all about pushing responsibility and getting the brain to work for itself.
Telling some-one not to be late, will make the serial offender repeat their actions. Asking them what they think they can do to ensure they are on time, makes them do the thinking.
Ask not tell is more empowering to you as leader and to the recipient.
It is so easy to focus on the here and now and not have those big conversations that can change the direction you are currently focusing on.
To ensure that the discussion is effective you have to set the scene and provide a framework:-
- Meeting booked in the diary well in advance
- A theme agreed being long term discussion on growth, business improvement, expansion anything in the future…
- One to five year time line
- Everyone given time to prepare
- Suspend judgement during the meeting to ensure that there is free thinking
- Discuss points in agreement and ones in disagreement
- Use structure by using the boxes below to guide the discussion and to create a strategy
Use a facilitator to ensure that you stay on track and that you have the tools and resources that will ensure open discussion.
It is true that daydreaming and being bored can ignite our best thinking. I have always had my best ideas in the shower or on that walk in the sun.
Manoush Zomorodi author of “Bored and Brilliant” explains in her Ted Talk how boredom can lead to brilliance. She asks the question imagine if you never got bored. Some of your best ideas come from, folding the washing or walking to work. We enter a default mode, the brain goes from conscious to sub conscious. The brain begins to create different connections, even tapping into autobiographical planning.
Good boredom is staring out of the window when the mind can get into the default mode. Bad boredom is when you are multi tasking, checking your phone whilst staring out the window or on that beautiful walk. Everytime we look at that phone we are depleting the neurological resource we have. Even chilling out on the sofa while watching TV and checking email is still bad boredom. The purity of the chill is the good boredom.
Doing nothing is being creative, and boredom can lead to brilliance.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on creative thinking or 1:1 coaching firstname.lastname@example.org
Facilitating a meeting is to take a complex situation and make it easy for a team to see it simplistically.
True definition of facilitation is as simple as “To make easy”.
It starts with a good brief, clarity on what the purpose of the meeting is and expected outcomes. From this initial discussion the Facilitator can then design an event using tools and exercises that will fit around the objectives.
The structure and tools are designed to create collaborative contributions. They must be varied and interactive and to anticipate different energy levels.
The tools and techniques can range from an initial ice breaker to set the tone and rapport of the day. Flip charts around the room to ensure movement, card sorts and post-its bringing colour and vibrancy to content.
The Facilitator will ensure that the day is kept on track from a time and agenda perspective.
There must be ample opportunities for joint problem solving and lots of discussion. To ensure that items are always relevant it is wise to create a car park flip chart so that you can say:- “That is really good point however can we cover it separately and therefore put on the car park”.
Neutrality is really important and is often best achieved if the Facilitator comes from outside of the company.
The Facilitator is there to make sure that you get the most out of your team members and have relevant actions and outcomes.
Please do get in touch for nuggets to facilitate your next meeting. email@example.com