Brenda's Blog

All articles from the 'Coaching' Category

Honored to be one of Thinkers50 World Leaders in Coaching!

I’m excited to share that I have been selected as one of the inaugural Thinkers50 World Leaders in Coaching! This award is named in honor of Marshall Goldsmith, to recognize his extensive contribution to the world of Executive Coaching.

This award will be celebrated in London at the bi-annual Thinkers50 gathering, which recognizes extraordinary management and business thinking.

The picture below was taken at a coaching conference a few years ago where Marshall and I were both keynote speakers. (It was so nice to be able to share with Marshall a copy of one of my books that he had endorsed.)

The surprising truth about sitting “idly” at work

Thinking strategically is a critically important skill that must be developed in order to get promoted to higher levels of an organization … but most aspiring leaders don’t take time to do it. In this video, I share a client’s story you might relate to and emphasizes the importance of occasionally “doing nothing” on the job. Watch to find out why!

What helps YOU feel inspired and creative?

I’m writing my next book, and I tend to write best when I’m near water. So, while searching for a quiet space with water nearby, my husband found this wonderful location. Here’s the view from my latest “writing perch” where, for the next 11 days, I will let creativity “flow” (every pun intended!). Would love to hear what inspires YOU!

Are you doing enough of “this” to build your inspiring leadership brand?

This year marks 25 years since I moved overseas. It was 1994, and although I was still fairly young in my career, my employer Procter & Gamble (“P&G”) had asked me to move to Warsaw, Poland where my mission was to help establish and grow leadership brands for the company in the newly opened Central European region. The Berlin wall had fallen only a few years before, so all eyes were focused on that critical part of the world.

I had been warned that living in Central Europe back then was going to be challenging (for perspective, part of my expat package was flying to Frankfurt so that I could buy canned goods, clothes, etc.). But I had no idea of the difficulties of one particular aspect of living there: How problematic – and expensive – it would be to connect with others. A phone call to my family in the U.S. cost me $4.50 USD per minute, and there was no spontaneity to business calls – they had to be scheduled days in advance so that the line could be put through by an operator.

Fast forward to 2019 and, as a human race, we are more connected today than ever in the history of the world. We live on a truly hyper-linked planet and, thanks to modern technology, those connections actually cost very little, or even nothing at all.

So, we are connected, for sure… But are we really connecting? And what is the impact of that on your brand as a leader? More importantly, what can you do about it? That’s the subject we’ll explore in this blog post.

One additional point worth sharing on the topic of connecting:  Read below “A fascinating new way to connect with others at a much deeper level” for a surprising approach to relate to people. I only learned about this in the past 2+ years, and I’ve found it to be a true game-changer in terms of better understanding colleagues, bosses, direct reports, clients, and loved ones, too.  I hope you will find it as amazing and impactful as I have. 

Finally, I want to stay connected with you! In addition to remaining in touch via this newsletter, here are some ways we can connect via social media:

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Are you doing enough of “this” to build your inspiring leadership brand?

We are living in unprecedented times. We are more connected now than ever in the history of the world. In the last 20 years alone, our ability to link to people around the globe has exploded. 

  • Through the internet, we can text/chat, join groups, or email anyone in the world.
  • Cellphones allow us to talk to anybody anywhere, no matter where we are.
  • Social media allows us to stay completely up to date with what is happening with friends, family, college pals, and colleagues.
  • Not only can I stay in touch, but where I used to pay $4.50 USD per minute to make a phone call from Poland back to my native U.S., smartphones now make it simple and accessible to connect with anyone – even for free – and use video while I’m at it. That would have been unimaginable not all that long ago.

So, it really is miraculous how modern technology allows us to be connected, isn’t it? But, in the process of all this … how much are we really connecting?

I was shadowing a meeting at a client site a few months ago. Seated at the back of the conference room, I couldn’t help but notice that, when participants of the meeting showed up early, instead of using a few minutes to talk with their colleagues, everyone was checking emails on their phone or texting – no one spoke to each other directly. I see this in our personal lives, too. Recently while out at dinner, there was a family of four (mother, father, son and daughter) sitting at a table not too far away. The parents were both scrolling through their phones and the two children were playing games on their iPads. Not a word was being said to each other.

I’m not judging here – I’m simply observing – and honestly, I’ve found myself doing this on occasion, as well. (Maybe you, too?) As a result, when clients ask me for advice on how to build a more inspiring leadership brand for themselves, I encourage them to return to the fundamentals and focus on making authentic connections with others.

To bring this topic to light, I developed a series of videos sharing some powerful coaching tools to help YOU™ connect better and become a more inspiring leader – whether you are leading yourself or others. I’ll be adding more videos to this series over time but, for now, the first few videos cover the topics of:

A fascinating new way to connect with others at a much deeper level

There is one tool in particular that I share in this series that deserves a special shout-out. I only discovered this myself a little over two years ago, but it has helped me to build instant and more authentic connections. It’s surprising, unusual, yet incredibly powerful – and it’s written on your face.

To find out more, watch this video:

Click here to find out more about The Power of Face Reading

The rest of the story…

To cap off my experience of working in Poland, I ended up living there five years in total, and to say I gained a lot during that time would be a major understatement (I also met my husband there, a fellow American who was also working in Warsaw at that time.) But one of the key learnings I took away was the importance of staying connected – truly, genuinely, authentically connected. It’s a message that applies to our world today and that will likely continue to apply to our world in the future as well.

What will you do in the coming month to foster deeper connections? I look forward to hearing about it.

Busy? Here’s a great way to stay connected!

I’m working on my next book right now, so my free time is quite limited. But I hate turning down “let’s get together” invitations that come in from friends and colleagues. My solution?  “Virtual drinks.” Agree on a date and time, send a video call invitation, we each show up to the call with a drink in hand – and voila!  We can take a break and connect for about 20-30 minutes or so, without having to leave the office.

If you’re strapped for time, too, and haven’t reached out to key contacts in a while, try a virtual drink – it’s a great way to stay in touch!

Clients often ask me, “How can I demonstrate greater Executive Presence?”

Does this cartoon seem familiar to you?

Clients often ask me, “How can I demonstrate greater Executive Presence?” My response: Be PRESENT. Be in the here and now, not agonizing over a situation from the past or anticipating what might come in the future. This applies to most situations: attending meetings, presenting, giving feedback, and when you’re at home with family or on vacation.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – how do YOU stay present throughout your day?

In Hong Kong this week to do two of my favorite things – speak to audiences and coach executives.

As a frequent traveler, I am often asked how to stay mindful and maintain wellness during business trips. One thing I do is wake up early and take a moment to pause and appreciate the surroundings. Here’s the beautiful sunrise that welcomed me this morning!

How do you navigate office politics and still stay authentic?

Very few leaders like dealing with organizational politics, but learning to successfully navigate through it is key to success in the work world. In this video, excerpted from an interview with Forbes contributor, Caterina Kostoula, I share a simple yet effective way of managing the seemingly daunting “office politics maze” while helping you to remain authentic and get more done on the job.

Hilarious memory from our wedding day!

Hilarious memory from our wedding day: The limousine driver got lost on our way to the reception, so we had to do a pitstop at a Gas ‘n Shop in order to ask for help (no GPS back then!) The second photo is of me getting directions from a local. Fast forward to today, and the third photo is of the beautiful bouquet Daniel bought for me yesterday for our 21st wedding anniversary!

What is imposter syndrome, and how do you avoid it?

Whether or not you’ve heard of “imposter syndrome,” I hope you find this video helpful. Excerpted from an interview with Forbes contributor Caterina Kostoula, I define this common challenge that many leaders experience. I also share effective yet simple approaches that many clients have used to successfully lead themselves out of this leadership-brand-busting mindset. Video Link