Brenda's Blog

All articles from May, 2016

An Excerpt From My Next Book, Leading YOU™

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My new book, Leading YOU™, will be released before year’s end. You may have read another one of my books, Would You Want to Work For YOU™?” which focused on the top 15 damaging behaviors I see when coaching leaders of others. Well, this new book – Leading YOU™ – outlines the 15 damaging self-leadership behaviors I regularly see and offers tried-and-true tips, tools, and techniques to help correct them.

One key skill that almost all of the world’s top leaders have in common is powerful self-leadership. They have learned how to rein in their least effective traits and harness their best attributes to their advantage. After all, great success isn’t just about leading others. It’s first and foremost about leading yourself.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, read the excerpt below!

“Keeping Your Eye on the Target: What’s Your End Game?”

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.”
-Laurence J. Peter, author of The Peter Principle

These are interesting times in the lives of business leaders. Technology is changing the game every day, finding a new job can be difficult, and the international economic climate is as fickle as the weather in London. If you are like most executives, it’s hard to find the time to sit down and contemplate where your career is going. But how can you be a good self-leader if you don’t know exactly where you are leading yourself to?

It takes time and conscious effort to focus on your future, and most executives I’ve worked with have found that it’s just easier to live from one moment to the next rather than make any kind of plan. But the truth is, if you don’t make the time to determine your future, who will?

You’re no longer at a level where you can leave your fate to “the powers that be” at headquarters or to your immediate boss. If you wait for something outside of your control to change, you could end up waiting a very long time. So, in reality, there is nobody better than you to look at the big picture and set the direction for the next move within your career.

Take my client, Scott, as an example. A very successful lawyer in a large multi-national firm, Scott hadn’t taken the time to look at his career in a “big picture” way. Don’t get me wrong – he was progressing up the ladder, and quite nicely at that – but not in a strategic way. He was simply moving along from job to job. He had no long-term perspective because he had gotten too caught up in each position’s “specific set of responsibilities” and only focusing on how to move forward to the next one. He had never thought about how each job could actually position him for much longer-term success.

Scott said to me (and I hear this a lot), “The truth is, Brenda, I’ve just been lucky all my career. The companies and opportunities have simply come to me; I didn’t need to plan or strategize.”

If this sounds familiar to you, I understand why. Early in your career, it isn’t unusual for the next opportunity to just land in your lap. You produce, you deliver, and that results in more jobs, opportunities, and choices that appear on the horizon.

But as you move up the ladder to increasingly senior positions, the sheer number of jobs at that level diminishes. It becomes important to shift from being reactive – simply choosing from among the various positions that come your way – to being proactive. When you’re proactive, you ask yourself important questions that can change the trajectory of your professional life for the better: What do I want long-term? Is my current position likely to lead me there? In order to reach my long-term goal, what makes the most strategic sense for my career short-term, medium-term, and long-term?

Click here to read more.

What Do All Great Leaders Need? An Objective Perspective

It’s that time of year again when the world celebrates International Coaching Week, which is next week, May 16-22. It’s exciting to see how this relatively young profession has grown by leaps and bounds! If you’ve worked with a coach, you will hopefully have experienced what a difference coaching can make, both in your career and in your personal life.

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The original definition of the word “coach” is a vehicle – usually horse-drawn – that took someone  from one place to another. More and more people around the world are recognizing that this is metaphorically what they can gain from an executive or leadership coach as well – a means of getting from where they are now to where they want to be.

Statistics bear this out: In a study of 370 participants who had worked with executive coaches, the group went from the 50th percentile in performance to the 93rd percentile. Amoco Corp./BP evaluated the impact of executive coaching over a ten-year period and discovered that managers who were coached received 50% higher average salary increases because their performance was so much better. So, there is a lot to celebrate this week, if you ask me!

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What do successful leaders Oprah Winfrey, Jack Welsh, and – yes, even Donald Trump – all have in common? They each credit a part of their success to having had a good executive coach at some point in their careers. Let’s face it: When you reach a certain level, it’s hard to get an objective perspective. Everyone you turn to for advice has a hidden agenda. No matter how hard they may try, these stakeholder perspectives just can’t help but be “biased.” This includes your spouse, your children, your boss, your Board of Directors, your subordinates, and your peers.

This is where an executive coach comes in. There’s an unfortunate myth that coaching is only about “fixing problems.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Coaching isn’t consulting, counseling, or therapy. It isn’t about regretting a past that cannot be changed. It’s about focusing on a future that can be changed. Executive coaching helps leaders who are already successful overcome any roadblocks in their way to achieving even more in the future. Many of today’s organizational leaders understand that the skills that enabled them to be in their current positions may not be enough to advance their careers or even keep them competitive at their present level. Here are just a few of the top reasons that executives turn to coaching:

  • Drive peak performance
  • Develop stronger, more inspiring leadership skills
  • Transition successfully into a new position
  • Help high-potential employees succeed
  • Foster better self-leadership behaviors
  • Learn to influence without direct authority in today’s matrixed world
  • Strengthen conflict management skills
  • Find a truly objective sounding board for ideas and issues
  • Successfully implement a specific new strategy, vision, or direction
  • Reduce / better manage stress
  • Improve time management and work / life balance
  • Create a more positive workplace environment
  • Achieve greater overall business success

An executive coach is a skilled professional who develops an ongoing relationship with you and focuses on helping you take action toward your stated goals. A good coach doesn’t provide solutions. Instead he/she draws out solutions from you. As an already successful leader, this helps you achieve positive, lasting changes in behaviors so that you can transform yourself and your team, ultimately leading to better overall business results.

Finding Your Coach

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So, how do you find the best executive coach for you? First and foremost, do your research. Search the internet, and/or look for certified coaches. Interview a few coaches until you find one who feels right. Ask to see training certificates and testimonials. Talk to past clients, if possible, and request a free trial session. A coach may be very talented, but the chemistry between you needs to be spot-on in order for you to achieve your goals.

Make sure you get a good return on your investment. Two large-scale independent studies among thousands of executive coaching clients across the world reported that the return on their investment was anywhere from 600-700% of the cost of the initial investment. Nonetheless, take the time to quantify the results of hiring an executive coach.

If you do the research and find an executive coach who is a good “fit” for you, the benefits can be life-changing. In honor of International Coaching Week, why not try it for yourself?

Celebrate International Coaching Week with Me in Person!

If you’re in Singapore, come to the International Coaching Week events which will be taking place May 16-20! I’ll be giving the keynote speech to kick off the all-day Symposium on the morning of Wednesday, May 18 – “Value in Coaching: The Choice is Yours” – followed by a full day of enlightening presentations. The evening ends with a dinner with Marshall Goldsmith (who endorsed my book Would YOU Want to Work for YOU?). It should be a great event!

To find out more and buy tickets, visit this site, and choose “Wednesday May 18” in the drop-down box.

I hope to see you there!