Keep the Fire Burning!

Achieving Goals

So you want to be coached?

Working with an executive coach is not for the faint of heart. In fact, if you’re going to get the most out of the experience, it can be both exhilarating and exhausting. In a great coaching relationship you confront truths about yourself that are often hard to see, you learn how to be uncomfortable and still do what needs to be done, and you exercise muscles you never thought you had. You also walk away with a much deeper connection to your authentic self, greater self-confidence, and an exciting vision of the impact you want to make for those around you.

In my executive coaching practice with high potential leaders, I get to learn first hand what truly makes a difference between the leaders who meet the goals they set for our coaching work, and those who miss out on the opportunity.

On the surface these leaders have a lot in common. They are all senior leaders in Fortune 500 companies. They are smart, ambitious, and committed to their careers. Their companies want to invest in their growth. The coaching process we work through is similar.

Yet, across hundreds of coaching hours with these leaders I’ve observed five practices that truly make a difference in whether leaders meet their goals or not. Those who do transform themselves, progress rapidly in careers, and transform the organizations they work within (one of them is on Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women list). The key variable that makes a difference is not me (the executive coach) at all. It’s the person being coached and what they practice.

How to Network with Authenticity

Networking-Event-ConnectingI was doing a speaking engagement recently on the topic of leading with authenticity and a woman walked up afterwards. She had a dilemma. She wanted to be able to leverage her network to grow her customer base but felt inauthentic asking her network for help.

A lot of women leaders I meet have good networks but they have a hard time calling on their networks to help them. Why is that? They say it feels “icky”. They feel like if they use their relationships to help them in their business or careers they are being inauthentic. I believe there is a gender expectation that we all need to become more aware of. The gender expectation is that women are supposed to be caring, cooperative and relationship-building – for the sake of relationship-building. Thus, often when a woman wants to leverage her network for advancing goals, it causes her to feel “icky”. On the other hand, many men are happy to use their networks for mutual benefit. They benefit by networking “strategically”. This of course, has nothing to do with authenticity. It has everything to do with the unconscious gender expectations we take on. Authenticity is about connecting with values and a sense of purpose that inspires each of us rather than conforming to gender expectations of who we should be.

So I decided to talk to my good friend Kathy Hatala, SVP at Speakeasy, who is masterful at the art of building and leveraging relationships and doing this with great authenticity. I certainly learned a lot from her in this interview. I hope you do as well.

My Audacious Dream – Dorie Clark

DorieClarkAs I started 2015, I decided I was going to do a little experiment. Instead of making new year resolutions, I was going to dream audaciously! In fact I was going to share my audacious dream with everyone on social media. It was an experiment in courage. It was also an experiment to see if we could start a movement of people dreaming big and out loud. Dorie Clark is a friend, acclaimed author, and fellow movement-maker. She took me up on the challenge. She has a brand new book out this week called Stand Out. In this blog post she shares her dreams for 2015 to inspire us. Dorie has a powerful dream to help people share their best ideas with the world. Read on about Dorie’s daring dream.

Achieve Goals With A Quick Tool

GoalsHave you given up on a goal that’s important to you? I have a confession. It is early in the year and I’m already slipping on some of my new year goals.  According to research, only 70% of new year resolutions survive the first two weeks of the year.  Why? Because we don’t follow through on the actions we’ve committed to.  I found myself slipping into the same “bad” habits after the initial enthusiasm wore off.  So, I found a simple exercise that led to some pretty extraordinary insights about how I was getting in my own way. Here it is.

A Quick And Easy Guide to A Leadership Journal

JournalWe all live in a 24/7 world with more things to do than time to do them.  In our culture we often confuse activity with productivity – leaving us stressed and frazzled.  I will go out on a limb and say that 50% or more of our activity (certainly mine) is unproductive. What if there was a different way? It’s called a leadership journal, and I recommend it to all my executive coaching clients. The Harvard Business Review has quoted research that shows performance improved +18% when people had a chance to reflect on their learning.  Here is how to do it in 10 minutes or less.

My New Year Resolution: Focus on Practices

New Year ResolutionsSetting New Year resolutions? I am. I’m a pretty goal-oriented person. I love to set goals. I even track them on a weekly basis.  So, then I wonder why I didn’t meet them.  The fact is research has shown that 88% of New Year resolutions don’t get met.  So this year I’ve decided to do something different.

As I sat to ponder the goals I didn’t meet (lose the 10 lbs I am perpetually trying to lose, make progress on the book I’m writing, be more present for the important people in my life), I felt a bit of shame.  Here’s a leadership coach who helps others achieve their goals and can’t quite get there herself.  So I decided to do the exercise of celebrating goals met, examining unmet goals, and capturing what I learned.  Here’s what I discovered about why I didn’t achieve my goals.