June 26, 2014 / Leadership

Ask Mariposa | My Performance > My Confidence

Ed asks: I’m a senior executive with a track record of high performance.  My performance levels have led to interesting career growth opportunities as well as increasing amounts of responsibility over the years.  Given all I’ve achieved, my peers and colleagues believe I have a high level of confidence.  But, the truth is, I don’t feel that way inside. I wish I felt as confident as my performance indicates it is. What steps can I take to work on closing this gap?

Eric Nitzberg, Executive Leadership Coach, responds:

Your confidence levels have not become a barrier to performance.  However it will take some work to unwind the stories you’ve been telling yourself over the years about your limitations.  One way to start working on this is to recognize when your internal narrative is at play.  When you are in situations when you are feeling unsure, what are you thinking?  How does your body feel?  Begin to notice what transpires in these moments, and write them down.  Once you’ve identified your internal narrative, you can work on interrupting these habitual responses with more positive experiences.  Reflect on prior successes when you’ve overcome similar feelings and have pushed through to positive outcomes.  You can also try positive affirmations to change the narrative in these moments, as well as any meditation or mindfulness technique to get centered.

Somatic work might also help you embody your own leadership.  Work on getting more into your body to feel and experience your own strength.  Practice several ways you might walk into a room, perhaps to give a presentation.  Observe the sensations in your body and where you feel them. Notice your posture.  What feels good to you?  Meditation or mindfulness practices can help with this as well.  Practice tightening and relaxing your body while you sit with your eyes closes and notice what you feel.  The idea is to consciously embody the strength that resides within.

You might also want to watch Amy Cuddy’s 10-minute TED talk, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. In this talk, you’ll learn how standing in a confident stance even when you’re not feeling confident can impact success.

Good luck!

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September 5, 2013 / Coaching Skills

Learn the Skills of “Assess” for Effective Leadership Team Development

Developing your leadership team is best done through effective and frequent coaching. We recently shared two ways rapport benefits leadership team development through coaching.  And establishing rapport is the critical first step in our In-The-Moment Coaching model.   So what happens next?

Understand the problem that needs solving.  This occurs in the “Assess” step in our In-The-Moment (ITM) Coaching model.  Here are three reasons leaders who learn the skills of Assess are highly effective at leadership team development through ITM Coaching.

  • They understand they aren’t on point to solve the problem.  Assess is exploring another person’s perspective on a situation in order to understand the current frame and uncovering the most important problem that needs solving right now.  Once it’s uncovered, the leader’s job is to help him/her arrive at a solution to address it.  This is “teaching others to fish,” which boosts the level of motivation, accountability, and engagement in taking action.
  • They open up thinking with strategic questions.  The key to successfully assess is through the use of open-ended questions.  Leaders who allow open-ended questions to emerge from a place of curiosity rather than a defined set of questions receive more information that helps them set the problem.
  • They pick up on nuances by staying present.  In Assess, the leader’s job is not only to ask questions and listen, but to notice how the situation is being described, the other person’s reaction to it and motivations.   Specifically, they are listening for specific word usage that implies constraints on thinking and views on others.  By staying present in the conversation, leaders are able to pick up on these cues, ask the right questions and quickly set the most important problem that needs solving.

Successful leadership team development through ITM Coaching relies on learning how to stay in Assess versus solving others’ problems for them. For more tips to help you do this and other how-to’s on ITM Coaching, download the free Executive Guide to In-The-Moment Coaching.

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August 30, 2013 / Coaching Skills

Two Ways Rapport Benefits Leadership Team Development

Want to get more from your leadership team? Then coaching effectively and often, especially with our In-The-Moment Coaching model, is an indispensable skill for you. Establishing rapport is a critical component to building relationships with others and it is a prerequisite for a successful coaching conversation.

Here are two ways rapport benefits coaching and thus leadership team development:

  • It creates trust and safetyRapport connects through “sameness” in language, tone and behavior, thus calming the mind.  Match your body language, voice quality, words and sense of urgency with that of another to establish this “sameness.” Strong differences in behaviors and speech can elicit a fight, flight or freeze response – not what you are looking for.  Instead, matching cultivates trust and safety so the mind is primed to explore ideas and solutions.
  • It requires your presence.  You have no shortage of distractions:  text messages, emails, people queuing up at your desk.  To further cultivate trust and safety, you must clear those distractions – such as silencing/closing your device or moving to a non-distracting locationin order to be fully present in the conversation.  Once established, maintain rapport in coaching (or any) conversations to maintain trust and safety, allowing the mind of your team member to open up to new possibilities.

Rapport is the critical first step you must master in a leadership team development skill like coaching.  For further tips on establishing rapport and other how-to’s on In-The-Moment Coaching, download the free Executive Guide to In-The-Moment Coaching

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May 21, 2013 / Ask Mariposa

Ask Mariposa: How to Coach Someone Who Doesn’t Want to be Coached

Saul asks: How do you coach an employee that doesn’t want to be coached, but is part of his PDP obligation to be coached for 4 months?  What power suggestions or questions would you use in this situation to motivate behavior or start thinking about the pressure to change?

Tawny Lees, COO of Mariposa responds:

Hi Saul,

Tough situation! As a coach, you know that openness to the coaching process is a pre-requisite to it being effective. So hopefully you can enroll this employee before committing to the engagement!

I suggest you start with open questions and deep listening to truly understand the resistance. “Tell me about you…tell me about what’s going around here…tell me about this PDP plan…”

Often the resistance is fear of the unknown, and an assumption that the coach is working for “others” who have an agenda. Establish rapport and explain the coaching process/relationship (including confidentiality) using positive language like “you and I would focus on what’s most important and helpful for you” or “clients use me as an objective sounding board as they work on their goals and tackle tough problems.” Address any specific objections, questions or worries. Your objective would be to help the employee see that you are there to help him/her be successful. Period.

If/when you see an opening, you could try specific questions about goals and begin motivating. Here are some ideas:

  • “What are your toughest challenges right now?” “What would it be like if you were able to handle those with more ease?”
  • “I find most people like to continually grow and stretch themselves. Tell me about anything at which you are currently trying to get better?” “What benefits would come from getting better at ____ ?”
  • “What could we work on that would have a big impact on your career/work life?”

Good luck! Let us know if we can help further. More on rapport and assessment questions can be found in our ITM coaching model.

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May 10, 2013 / Blog / Coaching Skills / Influencing Skills

The Power of Matching

200021828-001In his book To Sell Is Human, Dan Pink writes about the importance of attunement as part of selling, whether the selling is formal (actual sales) or less formal (influence and persuasion). One approach to attunement is matching. By subtly matching body language, tone of voice and choice of words, you can create greater attunement and more trust with people you talk to. Dan points out—and there is research behind this—that people’s mannerisms automatically attune when they feel connected to each other.

If you watch friends talking over coffee, you’ll see similar movements happening at the same time. Similarly, studies have shown that if one person at a table reaches for a glass of water, it’s more likely that someone else will also reach for a glass of water—if not at the same moment, then soon after. We match each other because we are social animals, and it’s one of the ways that we stay in sync, that we feel safe and connected.

I often talk to clients about matching to build trust and communicate more effectively with diverse stakeholders. You can match in three main ways:

1.  Body language.

2.  Vocal inflection.

3.  Word choice.

Read More on Eric’s Blog

Matching is also a powerful part of Mariposa’s In-The-Moment Coaching model. For more on this model, visit our ITM Workshop and read our article on ITM Coaching in Action.

About the author:

Eric Nitzberg, is the Principal of Sierra Leadership and an Executive Leadership Coach for Mariposa Leadership, Inc.

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April 4, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: 3 Tips for Developing Leadership Influence

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Andrea asks: I am not in a formal position of power but lead several cross-functional projects and collaboration is critical to our goals.  How can I develop more leadership influence?

Susan Bethanis, CEO of Mariposa responded:

You are smart to be thinking about developing leadership influence skills, even as an informal leader.  Cross-functional initiatives, flatter management structures and virtual teams which sometimes include third parties have become the norm in business today.  Understanding how to influence others is a skill that when honed, serves company goals and your career.

Here are 3 tips:

  • Consult and Pre-Sell.   Meet with stakeholders to share your ideas on achieving a desired outcome.  Solicit their reactions and ideas as well.  By inviting input and balancing it with advocacy, resistance can be minimized while gaining buy-in.
  • Know Your Audience, Tailor the Message.   Develop clear and compelling messages rooted in short and long-term requirements.  Research your stakeholders’ needs and tailor the message based on their interests.
  • Establish Behavioral Rapport.  Match the pace and volume of your speech with that of your stakeholder.  Avoid matching negative emotional states.  Be conscious of your body language, including posture and facial expressions, as unintended non-verbal cues can undermine effective communication of your message.

Want more?

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March 21, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management

Ask Mariposa: Criteria for Coach Selection

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John asks:  I’m thinking about working with an Executive Coach.  What criteria should I use to select the right coach for me?

Susan Bethanis, CEO of Mariposa responded:

No doubt, executive coaching is a powerful process for overcoming barriers to achieving your personal and organizational goals.  The process is cumulative and builds over time through cycles of appreciation, observation, feedback, option generation, practice, problem solving and action.  Developing rapport with your coach is important to the coaching process so selecting for chemistry, in addition to background experience, is key.

Your coach should both challenge and support you.  As you interview a potential coach, consider the following:

  • Is the coach creating a safe and confidential environment for me?  Can I trust this person?
  • Does he/she understand the issues?  Is he/she credible?
  • Is his/her approach sound?  How will my progress be measured?
  • Is his/her communication style compatible with mine?

Besides chemistry, also consider relevant industry knowledge, client successes, prior corporate experience, and education and certifications as they relate to your coaching goals.  You’ll discover each coach offers a unique perspective based on the sum of their experiences, and this experience contributes significantly to the coaching process.

For additional perspectives on preparing for executive coaching, read the Mariposa article, When Bad Coaches Happen to Good People, and HBR’s blog post, Before Working with A Coach, Challenge Your Self-Assumptions.

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February 19, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management

Ask Mariposa: Team Listening Skills

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Drew asked:

The CFO of our company is technically fantastic at her job, yet I am hearing from her team that morale is down because she is not that open minded and doesn’t listen well. What are some things she can do?

Barbara Baill, Senior Leadership Consultant responded:

Drew,

It’s great that your CFO has the technical component of the job down.  Next, she needs to understand that the leadership components of her role are equally important. This is a common challenge for many who come to a leadership role through their technical expertise.  Daniel Goleman, famous for his research in emotional intelligence, has identified that emotional intelligence is critical to effective leadership (refer to HBR, “What Makes A Leader”, Daniel Goleman, November-December 1998).  He has identified five components for emotional intelligence for effective leaders:  self-awareness, self-regulation,  motivation, empathy, and social skills. It sounds like your CFO could benefit from developing the capacity to show more empathy and build more rapport (social skills) with her people through active listening.

Your coaching of her will be key to her continued growth as a leader. Specifically, first give her straight and compassionate feedback. Appreciate the value of her technical expertise to the business. Second, explain her next opportunity for growth is as a leader of her team. As part of this, she will need to spend more team listening to her team in a way that they feel heard and appreciated. “Expert” executives often feel that their job is to have all the answers. You will need to coach her that her job as a leader is broader than that. It begins by having an engaged and empowered team.  The first step in that process is listening to the team, building rapport, and only then, will she be able to motivate them towards a common goal. Through your coaching, you will be increasing her self-awareness as you help her to develop the leadership part of her role.

This is a great opportunity for the two of you to work together to enhance her contributions to the overall business and become an more effective leader.

For more resources on developing leadership skills, refer to previous Ask Mariposa blogs.

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