I’m wondering if you can give me some advice on managing my boss. I am really into trying to build on the positive with employees and I spend a lot of time in our staff meetings trying to give credit where it’s deserved and cast management decisions in a positive light. However, my boss tends to follow up my comments by saying something that sucks all the positivity out of the room. He is a really good guy and I don’t think he realizes the does it, but he speaks badly of former and current employees to me with the office door open so the people who sit nearby can hear. He also acts like employees can’t be trusted. We recently participated in a top 100 Companies to Work For survey, and people came to me and asked if I wanted us to win or if I wanted them to be honest. Of course I want honesty, but it concerns me that they would ask. Also, I recently conducted a peer review wherein employees were asked to finish the following statements about each of their peers: please do more of this, please keep doing this, and please do less of this. The response for my boss was overwhelmingly to stop making negative comments and treating employees as if they are expendable. I’m nervous to bring this up with him, because I don’t think he even realizes he does it, but I feel like there is a consistent pattern wherein he negates praise or recognition with a small but cutting comment.
When some people hear the word mindfulness, they immediately dismiss it as some esoteric Eastern meditation practice or New Age mumbo jumbo. However, mindfulness is an important ability to work on for coaches – or anyone else.
First, let me clarify what I mean by “mindfulness.” There are multiple views of what mindfulness is and is not, but in the most general sense, we can think of several levels of mindfulness, ranging from a basic level of awareness up through the sharp internal mental focus of a longtime meditator or yoga practitioner. For our purposes here, I am referring to a more open-minded awareness of others and of the environment itself, rather than awareness of one’s own internal processes and thoughts. Internal mindfulness is certainly a great topic, but it’s one for another day.
The following is a guest post from Tom Maher “the Musician’s Coach” who we met at the recent ICF conference. No more introduction needed, this blog post will give you a great sense of the man behind the “heels”!
If you haven’t met me before, let me introduce myself. My name is Tom Maher and I am a professionally trained and certified life coach. I also professionally impersonate Paul Stanley of KISS in KISS Tribute Bands. Some would think this is an unusual combination, but for me, it works.
I was recently asked how I can be authentic as a coach when I spend so much time being someone else, or “inauthentic”. I told them that no matter how much of Paul or Paul’s mannerisms I try to emulate, I always make sure that I am shining through that trademark star.
When managers take the 5/5/5 Coaching Skills Training Program from Coaching Out of the Box® there is often a lively discussion about where the line is between managing and coaching. So I’d like to take a minute here to give you my take on this.
Professional coaches are trained to step away from their own agendas and assumptions in order to coach most effectively. They hold an open space for the people they are coaching to discover their own resourcefulness by supporting and encouraging them to reach deep into their own wisdom and creativity to discover answers and solutions for themselves. Managers usually don’t have this luxury. They have deliverables that must be met and must manage performance to meet them. This almost always means there is an agenda for the manager when they enter into performance conversations. So if this is the case, why should managers even go to the trouble to learn coaching skills?
Recently our core team met in Toronto and sat down to define our overarching vision. We had an amazing time and this exercise reconnected us to the power of coaching and to what we’re most passionate about. Together we agreed on our vision: Every human spirit ignited. Igniting spirits is what got me into coaching so many years ago. Our team is absolutely passionate about mobilizing people and getting them focused on moving forward and making progress.