Brenda's Blog

Overcome the “virtual mental barrier”

From executive coaching clients, I’m hearing phrases like, “Connecting with clients via video is just not as good as in person!” and “Video is definitely second best to communicating with clients live!” I encourage them to get over this “virtual mental barrier.”

If we believe video is second best to in-person, we’ll prove ourselves right — we’ll subconsciously discount it and not bring our best selves to remote conversations. Click on the video below, reframe your thinking, and embrace video as a powerful tool with many strengths and advantages.

The true meaning of lines on faces—and how to use them to connect with others

As we connect virtually with people across the world, we are often getting a closer look at others’ faces than we might get in person. This offers a fantastic opportunity to learn and practice a new skill that can help you better understand people and to connect with them instantly: the epigenetic approach to reading faces.

Ever wonder why someone has lines across their forehead, or lines that come down from the sides of their cheeks, or why some people have two vertical lines in between their eyebrows? None of those lines are caused by aging (cue sigh of relief!) Instead, they are all due to “epigenetics” – how your life events are captured and reflected on your face. Watch this short video I made about this eye-opening, simple-to-learn skill, and uncover the easiest way to making instant and better connections with anyone, anywhere.

P.S. It’s fun, too!

What are YOUR constants?

In the midst of all that is going on, it’s easy to fall into drama and “what if’s.” Instead, during this week (which is International Coaching Week) I’m encouraging clients to focus on what is certain and stable, the constants in their lives that will never change.

What are YOUR constants – your what “is?” And which of the two is getting more attention from you these days—what “is” or what “if’s?”

Advice from Brenda in response to COVID-19

As part of the GlobalGurus COVID-19 relief initiative, I was asked to create a video to offer one piece of advice for this unusual experience we are going through. Here is my 2-minute response. Let me know what you think but, more importantly, what advice would YOU offer?

The World Cup of Leadership

Due to COVID-19, we are experiencing the “World Cup of Leadership.” Leaders are being called into action, tapping into all past coaching, learning, and leadership courses to try and figure out what to do–at a time when it’s not clear what to do. The current situation is so unprecedented that there are very few prior experiences to rely on.

So Harvard Business School profs have been running a series of leadership webinars and, as an alum, I’ve really benefited from participating. HBS has made these recordings public: https://lnkd.in/fsVtPEF.

Short of time? Here are a few key takeaways–I hope they are helpful!

– Resist the pressure to provide quick answers. Everything is continuously changing, so decisions you make today may turn out wrong tomorrow. Take time to think.

– Communicate, communicate, communicate! It’s an incredibly uncertain period, so those you lead need to hear from you.

– Be brutally honest about the reality of the situation, but also share a rational basis for hope. Provide a story, a narrative for how to make our way through this.

– Pace yourself. There is no confirmed end in sight, so consider this a marathon rather than a sprint. Practice good well-being.

I don’t see the world falling apart…

“The world is falling apart!” someone told me recently. I respectfully disagreed, pointing out that I actually see us coming together:

  • Companies are donating resources to help create and deliver vital PPE and medical supplies to places that need it most.
  • People are proactively social distancing and staying home to do their part to prevent spreading this virus.
  • Families are spending more time together: indeed, some executive coaching clients tell me they are eating three meals a day with their children and spouse, for the first time in years.
  • Through posts on social media, people are spreading positive notes to lift spirits.

What other unifying actions are you seeing and experiencing? I’d love to hear!

The easiest and least expensive way to motivate employees

In the midst of challenging times, people need to be encouraged, motivated and inspired. And that holds true whether you are connecting with team members face-to-face or remotely. How do you do that? In this short-duration video, get tips and tricks about the easiest and least expensive way to motivate others, not just during tough times, but all of the time.

What additional ideas for motivating others can you share? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What you focus on grows

The World Health Organization recently stated that “our greatest enemy right now is not the #coronavirus itself. It’s fear, rumors and stigma.”

It reminded me of this quote from a 9-year-old son of a friend … so true, isn’t it?

COVID-19 challenge: How to lead remotely, maintain productivity, and avoid “social isolation”

Corporate clients across the world are working from home due to quarantine or as a part of their company’s Business Continuity Plans. Without the conveniences of a “real” office and having no in-person interactions with colleagues, working from home can present leadership challenges and take a hit on productivity. It can also leave you feeling a bit “isolated.”

Below are some actions Executive Coaching clients are taking to successfully lead organizations from remote locations.

I’d love to hear additional suggestions you have for this list. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

  • Honor your regular work rhythm: Establish work hours at home as per your norm.
  • Clarify up front with key colleagues and team members how you will communicate while working remotely. Which medium works best based on what you are trying to accomplish? Phone, video, WhatsApp/texting, emails…?
  • If you do choose to email team members, send a few points in one note, rather than sending an email each time something comes to mind.
  • Avoid “complete” isolation—stay as connected as you can by liaising with at least two people per day via phone or video.
  • Designate a specific space in your living quarters where you will work.
  • Have open, honest conversations with household members to establish “new rules of the game,” asking their help to honor your workspace and allow you to have focus time while you are there.
  • Thank your family/household members at the end of each day for having given you that focus time and for respecting boundaries. (*If you want to learn more about the importance of thanking and acknowledging others, read fellow coaches Chester Elton’s and Adrian Gostick’s new book called Leading with Gratitude.)
  • To keep things personal, set up a rotating “virtual coffee meeting”: you and a colleague each grab a coffee in your respective locations, then get on a video call together. Rotate your virtual coffee buddies regularly, inviting one or two key team members per day. Make sure to talk about things outside of work, too.
  • Build a sense of “we’re in this together.” Take advantage of today’s great video chat capabilities (Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, etc.) and host a full-team meeting once every 2-3 days.
  • Ask team members to share photos of their at-home work environments, and provide tips and tricks to make each other’s home work spaces better. This helps to build bridges and improve engagement (and have a bit of fun) when everyone is working from different locations.

Brilliant gesture of customer care during COVID-19

I received this brilliant gesture of customer care today: a letter from Shangri-La Hotels, extending my current frequent-stay status until the end of 2021. Like so many of us, I am not traveling right now due to the Coronavirus, so the chances are low of my being able to maintain that level. What a smart, loyalty-building move that makes me feel valued as a customer. I tip my hat to the Shangri-La leadership team! (And I wonder if other hotels – and airlines – will follow…?)

As a business leader, how will YOU™ keep your customers engaged and loyal to your brand, even if there may be fewer touch points than normal right now?