2014

Are You Preparing for an Even Better Year?

Have you ever been looking forward to grabbing a coffee with a friend only to end up listening to him or her complain about work? Or, maybe you’ve been the one dominating the conversation with work issues?

How did the conversation go? Did it help either of you, or did it just feel better for a while without changing anything?

Sometimes it’s great to just vent a little with a friend, get a few things off the chest. Maybe you weren’t even complaining; maybe you were just musing about “how great it would be if….” Often though, a coffee chat with a friend doesn’t solve the problem. It feels better for a bit, but eventually reality is still there.

At this time of year many of us make resolutions — we’re going to hit the gym, we’re going to eat a little better, drink a little less, find a little more time for ourselves or we’re going to tackle those challenges that are holding us back at work. Unfortunately, often sometime in January many of us succumb to habit and go back to our old ways.

If you’ve decided this New Year’s your going to tackle a work or career challenge, a coach can help you solve the problem or achieve the win that you’ve been looking for. A coach will help you figure out how you’re going to do things differently this year, and get you through that danger period when most of us fall back on old habits — and you won’t have to burden your friends over coffee!

Whether you want to score a promotion, reengage a team, find your inspiration again, increase sales or launch a new product, a coach will help you get it done.

So, how do you choose the right coach for you?

At Padraig we recommend you talk to several coaches, to get a sense of their approach and personality. First though, you should ensure they are a certified coach. There are, regrettably many people who call themselves a coach who have neither the academic training, nor the certification. At Padraig all of our coaches have masters level education specifically in executive coaching, and all are certified by the International Coach Federation (ICF). Whether you work with us, or anyone else, we strongly encourage you to only work with a certified coach.

As you talk with a few certified coaches, we suggest you start by thinking about the kind of coach you want. Ask yourself whether you want a coach who will help you:

  • Brainstorm strategies;
  • Support, encourage and validate yourself;
  • Gain insight into who you are and your potential;
  • Paint a vision of what you can accomplish (and then get there);
  • Remain accountable to yourself, checking in on your goals;
  • Explore and remove blocks to your success; Identify or design action steps;
  • Work through self-improvement programs together;
  • Take 360˚ Assessments (what your peers and staff see), or
  • Something else?

Remember it’s OK to have more than one of these goals but it’s not OK to keep them to yourself! Share what you want with your prospective coach, and you’ll more likely find the right coach for you.

Next, ask your chosen few coaches about their experience. Have they had their own leadership experience? Have they worked with leaders at your level before? At Padraig some of our team have great experience working with senior level C-suite executives (and Deputy Ministers or Assistant Deputy Ministers in government) while others have tremendous experience working with new leaders who are starting their first role as a leader of people.

Ask a few more questions of the coaches:

  • Do they have a strong confidentiality policy?
  • Do they have other coaches who mentor them?
  • Do they have their own coach? (IE. Do they practice their own approach?)
  • Do they occasionally have their coaching audited to ensure they are doing their best?
  • Are they results oriented? Do they insist on identifying goals before beginning and then measuring progress against those goals?

You might also want to discuss whether the coach has experience in your field but we offer a caution on this one! Consider whether a coach without experience in your specific field might be a better thinking partner for you than someone who has “grown up in” your field. For example, we currently have numerous clients in the healthcare sector and several of our coaches are trained in “LEADS” (a leadership program that was created in Canada and has been implemented in healthcare organizations across the country), yet only one of our coaches has actually worked in healthcare. A number of our individual healthcare clients chose us specifically because we are able to bring a fresh perspective to their thinking, we can challenge them with different points of view and help them become more creative in their problem solving.

Next, be sure to ask for references. Good coaches will have current and previous clients who will be willing to share their experience with you so you can choose the right coach for you. Ask the references whether the coach digs in deep and gets to the root of struggles and challenges. Is the coach naturally talented in encouraging ideas and deeper thinking, or do they follow a scripted approach?

Ask about prices. Obviously, you want to be sure you can afford your coach. You should expect to pay $300 to $500 per hour (or $600 to $1000 per month) for a good leadership coach or executive coach. Many coaches will bill by the hour, some will bill by the month or by the contract. You should expect to see many times return on your investment.

Padraig Coaching & Consulting Inc. provides Executive Coaching and Leadership Coaching on a retainer basis, we do not charge by the hour. That means we don’t charge for each meeting but rather we charge a flat fee for a fixed period of time (for example a 6 month, 9 month or 12 month contract). During that time we will meet with you in person or by phone or videoconference for one-to-one coaching sessions once every two weeks, on average. If an extra session is required, that’s no problem — we don’t add to your billing — it’s all part of our retainer. In addition, you may contact your coach at any time during the retainer period, to ask follow up questions, seek “laser-focused coaching” for a few minutes by phone for a new issue, or to simply engage around a challenge. Again, it’s all included in our flat fee. We will often leave clients with questions to ponder between sessions, sometimes we might recommend a reading or a challenge. It’s all included in our fee. We don’t bill you for time here and time there. Our goal is to ensure you have the full support you need from your coach, with certainty up front on the cost.

Finally, ask for a short introduction to their coaching style. At Padraig we are happy to provide a complimentary 30 minute coaching session by phone to prospective clients. You won’t necessarily solve the world’s problems in half an hour, but you will get a good sense of the coach’s focus and their ability to help you zero-in on your goals and challenges.

So, what’s the coach’s question for today — the last day of 2013? We have two of them and they’re simply this — what do you want to achieve in 2014? And, what are you willing to do to get it?

Executive Coaches and Leadership Coaches help leaders see things from a new angle and increase their own success. If you are interested in how a Coach can help you think bigger, see things differently and find new routes to even greater success, give us a call toll free at (855) 818-0600. All six of our internationally certified executive coaches are happy to take inquiries and we offer a 30 minute complimentary, no obligation coaching session by telephone, if you want to try it out.

Click here to schedule your complimentary session.

Care to share your resolutions for 2014? Do you have some good questions to ask a prospective coach that have helped you select the best coach for you? Why not share them with us and our readers by commenting below!

Is perfection preventing progress?

Have you ever avoided doing something, because you figured you wouldn’t be good at it? Is perfection preventing progress?

For many years my mantra was “If I’m going to look bad doing it, I’m not going to do it.” That seemed to serve me well — I had a successful career, people admired my abilities and my confidence.

Unfortunately it also made me seem intimidating (people rarely saw me mess-up) and it made me uptight and it prevented me from finding joy in new things (which is one solid reason why I still have never tried downhill skiing)!

It seemed like a good mantra at the time, after all who wants to be seen doing something badly? It has only been in the last few years that I’ve come to realize the answer to that seemingly rhetorical question is — “people who accomplish great things.”

You may be familiar with Brené Brown — she was, until relatively recently, an unknown Ph.D. at the University of Houston studying shame and vulnerability. She is an engaging speaker who put herself out there, just a little bit, and gave a local TEDx talk in Houston about those two topics – vulnerability and shame.

She explained that her years of research had shown her very clearly that those who allow themselves to be vulnerable, those who don’t allow shame to hold them back are those same people who live whole heartedly.

They are the people who achieve things they didn’t know they could achieve, because they allowed themselves to try.

I’m paraphrasing here but essentially they didn’t seek perfection, they simply sought to try. They went for it. It was only after learning her own message, and coming to terms with it, that Brown shared her message in a tiny, regional, TEDx talk. That talk has become the fourth most watched Ted Talk of all time with nearly 12,000,000 views. That’s right twelve million.

If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to check it out (the link is at the bottom of this message).

The reason I’m telling you this is because I suspect I’m not alone in allowing my desire for perfection to prevent me from achieving things. Sure, I increasingly try new things.

Some things I try are pretty big things – I started a business after 20 years as a public servant and one year ago today I incorporated that business and engaged five exceptional coaches to join me on this journey.

And some things I try are relatively small things – I respond to government proposals when that little voice inside my head tells me I’m not as good as the big guys, I walk into giant rooms at conferences and networking events, alone, and start meeting people.

But, there are still days where

Perfection Prevents Progress.

It took me six months of talking about it, before I hit “send” on the first of these blog e-mails. I was frozen, thinking, “what if people don’t appreciate what I have to say?”

I’ve spent the last four months “thinking about” a webinar series I’m planning to launch – but not quite doing it – because I worry it won’t be perfect, because I balk at allowing myself to be vulnerable and try something new.

You’ve probably heard someone ask, “If you could succeed at anything, what would you try?” I think that question is a cop-out. If I knew I would succeed, I would try everything! The question should be “even if you weren’t sure of success, what would you be willing to try?”

So our coaching questions for today are: “what are you putting off that could be worth trying, even if you might not succeed? What is preventing you from trying it?” and “What would it take to let go of your vulnerability and dive into it?”

Here’s the link to Brené’s TedTalk: CLICK HERE

At Padraig we use engaging, curiosity based questions in all of our coached programs.

If some of this resonated for you, I would LOVE to hear about it. Please share a few comments below.