Absent Leadership

There are two types of managers when it comes to annual leave: Those who frustrate everyone and those who delegate authority. I have seen numerous instances where all activity and action is suspended because (as the receptionist informs you) “Sorry he/she is on leave at the moment, you’ll have to wait until they get back.”

This is hardly the most productive way to conduct business. Think about it, if you get paid a salary to manage a part of a business and you get paid leave, then the business should be able to operate when you are not there. You are being paid to ensure that happens.

Let’s look at it from two angles. read more …

Coaching Mastery and the art of flying

The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or H2G2 as aficionados call it, is one of the best comic science fiction series in the history of British humour, it is certainly the best five book trilogy ever written. (If you haven’t read it, do so this week.)

Arthur Dent, one of the main characters, is stranded for a time on prehistoric earth. Bored, he finally decides to learn to fly. After many bruising attempts he gives it one more go. As he launches himself off, something distracts him and much to his surprise he finds he is flying.

When not asked later, Arthur repeatedly explains, to all those who are not listening, that the secret is “To throw yourself at the ground, and miss it.”

Mastery in coaching is a bit like that. You spend years learning and practicing techniques, and eventually discover you have to let go. Stop trying to apply technique. Trust your subconscious. Everything you have learned is still in there.

When you relax and listen from your subconscious it with faithfully supply the right question or challenge or observation.

So throw yourself at the ground; and miss it.

Beginners Mind

“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few. ” ― Shunryu Suzuki I have always taught listening with an empty mind is the ultimate skill to be a great coach. As [...]

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In Praise of Middle Management

The two toughest transitions. Middle management often get the blame for things going wrong in the organisation. Silo behaviour happening because department heads don’t play nice with each other; Turf wars; Filtering the flow of downward communication because of lack of clarity; Filtering upward communication to keep bad news from the top and make things [...]

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You Can’t Be a Great Manager If You Aren’t a Good Coach

Excellent article on Harvard Business Review from Monique Valcour. 2 minute read. Some of her key points are: “Managers think they don’t have the time to have these conversations, and many lack the skill. Yet 70% of employee learning and development happens on the job, not through formal training programs. So if line managers aren’t supportive [...]

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On Mastery

Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is true. It is a collection of the author’s perceptions; albeit perceptions that have served him well and in behaving as if they were true providing (in the author’s perception) a useful and productive version of “reality”. Hours do not equal skill. In my forties it was time to remove [...]

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The Mathematics of Truth and Beauty

An all time favourite read of mine is “The Universe and The Teacup” by K. C. Cole. The book is subtitled “The Mathematics of Truth and Beauty.” and in the introduction Dr Cole mentions the symmetry that comes into play in the work of  Emmy Noether and Albert Einstein. Truth and Beauty, she claims, are [...]

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How to get your boss to help you

As an executive coach I have helped thousands of managers, at all levels in companies over the years, to add coaching skills to their toolkit. They all prove they can do it and go back to work enthusiastic to apply the new skills. Yet there is an interesting challenge for them. How to get ongoing [...]

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The 3 hidden traps for a first time manager – No. 1

We promoted him a few months ago, but . . . This is the most common phone call I get from HR. A successful individual has been selected for promotion to manager level for the first time. Everyone has complete confidence and all goes well for a few months. Then slowly things begin to unravel. [...]

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Coaching Mastery and the Art of Flying

Throw yourself at the ground, and miss it. The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or H2G2 as aficionados call it, is one of the best comic science fiction series in the history of British humour, it is certainly the best five book trilogy ever written. (If you haven’t read it, do so this week.) Arthur Dent, [...]

Continue reading...