Get to know those you lead.
I had a lovely conversation with one of the sponsors of the Soft Skills program this weekend. It was around spotting someone's real ability, something that is unique to them. This reminded me of something I used as a teacher to get the best from my students. We know we're all unique, but those of you who lead or have responsibility for others, do you know what really makes them tick?
"The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (poet)
When I was young, Multiple intelligences were all the rage, It was theorized that people (in this case students) were smart in so many ways, recognizing this, we then attempt to reach the student in a different way.
At work, how often have you heard the same rhetoric and thought, " Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result!"
Tip of the week, "Try something different"
If you get a chance this week, try one or more of these skills and see which resonates with your charges. You may find, they suddenly come to life.
The "multiple intelligences" our people have include.
Verbal/linguistic: These people are stimulated by written and spoken words. They have skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing, encoding, and decoding language
Logical/Mathematical: These people are stimulated by patterns, relations, numbers, and symbols. Their skills involve problem-solving reasoning logic numerical skills
Visual/Spatial: These people are stimulated by color shape and distance their skills include a good sense of direction, architecture, painting, sculpting, arranging, and decorating
Musical/Rhythmic: These people are stimulated by rhythm pitch and timbre. Their skills include composing, performing, appreciating, and recognizing music
Bodily/Kinesthetic: These people are stimulated by bodily cues. Their skills include dancing, catching, throwing, jumping, and handling objects. They move with grace and precision
Naturalists: These people are stimulated by flora, fauna, rocks, and clouds. Being outside. Their skills include a green thumb, animal husbandry, discriminating, recognizing, categorizing, and analyzing
Interpersonal: These people are stimulated by desires, motivation, and the feelings of others. Their skills include an accurate social map, empathy, the ability to organize and lead groups, understanding the connection with others, conflict resolution, and census-seeking skills
Intrapersonal: These people are stimulated by emotions, impulses, moods, and deeper thoughts. Their skills include self-knowledge, accurate self-concept, evaluation, self-direction, and impulse control
I know there may not be an opportunity to utilize all of the above, but you know your people, what have you spotted and thought, "how could I use that to help develop them?" These may just help.
Any questions please reach out. For schools, I have activities to develop these skills in the students. For the workplace, this is about recognizing what will get the best out of your team members.
The beginning of another week, these weekends seem to fly by too fast. I hope yours was productive and you made time for yourself.
This week I am happy to share that I have all the feedback and analysis from my soft skills program that was run as part of the Junior Leaders After School Program which was coordinated by the YMCA.
The students, facilitators, and coordinators all agreed that the Soft Skills program was well received and a valuable experience in preparation for future, new, and existing employees.
One of the biggest things that I took from this, and most people know I will do anything to empower the youth of our great nation, was that actually these skills of Communication, Active listening, Teamwork, Collaboration Responsibility, and Accountability (there are 12 we cover in all) are also of immense value to those who have been in employment for a good period of time already. People who are considering their personal development could do worse than developing their soft skills.
in fact, this little quote is so true, and we, at every level should take note.
"Soft skills get little respect but can make or break a career:" -Peggy Klaus author and Executive Coach
Teaching students, even the basic understanding of soft skills will give them the EGDE they may need when it comes to running groups, being part of a school committee, preparing for transition into higher education or work, and of course, making outstanding contributions to our society.
I could go on about the importance of Soft Skills, in fact, I do when delivering this program. but i won't today as I know you have work to do. Instead, I will leave you with our tip of the week to ponder.
"Focus and highlight the Soft Skills that are fundamental to your day"
If customer service is your thing, how clearly are you communicating, how well are you listening to your clients? If you run a small business, these are important too along with teamwork and collaboration. How good are the links between your stakeholders? Finally, my favorite subject, teachers, creativity is paramount for an engaging lesson, dig into your resources and enjoy the risk of creativity.
Remember "there is no I in team", so reach out to your network for support.
I hope you have a great week, focussing on improving your Soft Skills
Supporting Stressed out friends
I don't know about you, but these weeks coming to the end of the year, are getting very busy. With this in mind, I thought it would be prudent to bring up one of my favorite topics.
We should all be mindful of the stresses the holidays bring to families. Whether it'll be financial, family matters like presents for the kids or the thought of having to spend an elongated amount of time with the in-laws (I'm sorry), these are all things people who are normally relaxed, are beginning to think about. How do you as their boss, friend, or regular acquaintance navigate this?
Before I give you a thought on how to support this situation, I would like to share this quote, which I often say to clients.
“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” ― Roy T. Bennett
Creating a positive from a challenge is always a consideration and a good way of turning stress into a controllable setting.
So, to help you with this, practice mindfulness. “Mindfulness is an awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” It helps you accomplish more things at work and enjoy more of your personal life.
Here is a good mindfulness exercise for you to practice this week.
Listen when people speak. Really listen
How much of what others say do you think really gets through? How often do you find yourself consumed with thoughts or seeking distraction while someone else is speaking? Listening is a great anchor to mindfulness. Whenever you're in a conversation, aim to pay closer attention, make eye contact, and ask questions to fully take in what the speaker is saying. You’ll gain more insights and form a deeper bond.
In coaching, this practice is a cornerstone to our client’s successes, and I believe it can make you much more supportive.
Here is your tip of the week
“Respond; don’t react. Listen; don’t talk. Think; don’t assume.”
Give it a go and let me know if it has an impact on your week. Remember; “Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.” Amit Ray
Be ready to spot and support a stressed colleague, it'll help you have a great week
Take care of each other.
Ask the right type of questions
This week I would like to share with you, 5 different types of questions. We all know that the questions you ask, are not always for you to get the correct answer. Sometimes they are for your team, students, or even relatives to be able to gain insight if needed.
Being questioned is something that can challenge and clarify your own thinking in a way that moves you forward. If you are asked a powerful question in formulating your response you will often be thinking of the issue in a completely different way.
think of how many times you've heard yourself answering a question and thinking I never thought of that before
It was the Romanian French playwright Eugene Lonesco who once wrote;
“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question”.
As a coach, my job is to ask questions that will elicit insight, and new thinking, and challenge limiting beliefs about oneself.
So here are my top five types of question
An open question is one where there is no right answer. It will not be a yes or no answer as the answer should be far longer than the question. An open question should interest and stimulate the person, getting them to think deeper than they do usually.
Instead of “Do you think we need to change a few things to make this relationship more productive?” Try: “What do we need to change to make this relationship more productive/positive?”
2. Challenging questioning
Questions that challenge the learner will lead them to make progress and uncover layers of their issues or situations that are below the surface. In answering challenging questions, a person would develop a greater awareness of the issue and build a different perspective.
If I wasn’t here, what would you do? Or, if you were me and someone came to you with the same problem, what would you say to them?
3. Visionary questioning
Visionary questions are literally questions that prompt the learner to see what they are talking about perhaps, once again, with new eyes. If you are asked a visionary question, yeah huh you will be asked to use your imagination and picture what you are thinking about.
“So where do you see yourself in five years?” or “Imagine in three months from now all obstacles are removed and you have achieved this task, how did you get there?”
4. Exploratory questioning
Exploratory questions are going to encourage people to be more reflective in exploring the topic. In this instance, they may be given something to go away and think about, especially if you are dealing with Performance Management or identifying strengths or areas for development.
“What motivates you?” or “What does it mean to be successful in your job”
5. Powerful questioning
Powerful questions can really get to the hub of a problem and our best used when the person seems to be at a dead end, or if it seems like the real issue is being disguised. They are short and cannot be avoided. They will demand an honest and truthful answer and will go beneath the surface and probe what the person knows already and uncover endless possibilities.
“What do you want to happen?” Or “What are you not saying/”, or even, “What is the real challenge here?”
Picking the right type of question for the situation does take practice, but we can all improve our conversations with good questioning.
I like the idea that as a leader, it is not your role to take on board the tasks your team struggle with, but to help them to overcome their challenges themselves.
So, my tip of the week for you to consider practicing this week is;
“Ask the right questions to help your people learn”
School returning, start right
It is that time of the year when most of us have to play a part in the return of students to school. So today, I have my 5 top tips to help facilitate the smooth transition back to school. No, let's make it 6 then we can have 2 for each of the shareholders, students, teachers, and parents.
I love the quote for this week it sums up exactly how schools can create success for all their shareholders, it goes like this;
"Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved". Mattie Stepanek
As a former teacher and pastoral lead, I would go on and on about working together for the betterment of -mainly-the students, but in all fairness, when it worked all parties felt the benefit. I would talk in assemblies, at parent evenings, and at team meetings about the tripod of Students, Parents, and teachers all working together.
My philosophy was always that students spend six hours a day, some 1,200 hours a year, in a classroom with their teacher each year. When parents and teachers work together, students will have a positive and successful school experience — educationally and socially. It takes effort, but make sure you establish a cooperative relationship.
Here were my main points.
Whether you are talking on the phone, emailing, or sitting face-to-face with your child’s teacher, make sure communication is positive and upbeat. Negativity helps no one. Even if you are not getting what you think you or your child deserves, negotiate positively.
When communicating with your child about school matters, keep them positive, if a child thinks you don't agree with something at school, they will share it at school and that may lead to further challenges. with this.
This would be part of creating boundaries with your children, which we all know can be difficult at times. If you would like a template to support you with this, I have linked one for you free of charge here Setting boundaries with your teen
As early as possible do a get-to-know-you exercise with your form class. This is so simple but effective' Create a template with 5 questions for the students to answer about themselves. I used questions that included, "Whom they would like to make most proud?" and "My perfect career would be" etc. This information I and my tutors then used to support their progress during the year as well as share this with other teachers that may find them a little challenging. Here is a link to a template here. Simple "getting to know you" template
Please be careful when asking students to talk about their holidays, where they went and what they did. Not all students will have had the luxury of a nice holiday in a faraway country. There will be those who either went without or stayed local. For them, they may see it as an embarrassment, this would not be the best way to start the school year. We all know how cruel kids can be.
Plan carefully and set routines, put space aside in your room for your study resources, and create a homework timetable., This allows you to make time for computer games and other hobbies. If you learn to create boundaries now, it will be a lifelong skill. As would, create routines for getting up, having a good breakfast, leaving on time, completing homework, and of course a consistent bedtime for the well-needed rest.
Make friends with a variety of people, the more personalities you know, the more you will learn from them. Do this by joining different study clubs, representing the school with sports, or joining the student voice committee. This will also help you build the soft skills needed to prepare for the working environment, in time.
I hope you find value in these tips for the return to school period, I am sure there will be a time when you may need to refer to them.
So, as you can tell the key word here is Communication. Parent-teacher relationships only work well if a teacher not only puts in the effort to respond to your concerns and questions but also reaches out to share concerns and compliments with you.
With this, I would like to share my "tip of the week" which is
"Teacher or parent, make contact and introduce yourself, start right"
Ask for Support
This week I have a small number of quick questions for you to consider.
This week I would like you to consider two things:
Whom can you help to go further?
Whom do you need to help you go further?
We all need support at times, there are not many people who can say they made it to their version of 'success" all by themself.
This week's Tip of the week is, "Don't be afraid to ask for support"
Think of how you can maximize your potential and that of those around you.
Be More Decisive
I hope you had a restful weekend.
When was the best time to make that critical decision that would have an impact on your life prospects? Some would answer back when deciding which subjects to study at school. Some would say the time when I had to decide which college or university to go to or whether to go at all. Still, others may say it waited until the day they knew where their passion lay. All this tells us that it was always, yesteryear. that time back in the day when they really wished they made that decision that would have improved their prospects.
Just last week, I had three different people say three different things that made me promise myself to share this thought in my tip of the week.
The first one was, "I wish I had started coaching earlier in my career". The second was "I know I have to invest in myself but, I am not sure if I can afford to do this right now", and the third was. "I want to do this but finding the time will be an issue".
Decisions are part of everyday life and we as a people build our levels of success by these decisions that impact our lives.
George Herbert the great Welsh poet once said,
"Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right.' Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along".
My role as a coach is to support my clients and give them the very best service as and when they need it, at their pace and with the focus purely on their needs and wants. Each one of us has a default future that will occur on its own if our life does not change. When they come to me they are wanting their life to change.
We all have it within us to make our personal situation better than it is, it is about making that change now and not wishing we had made better decisions back in the day. It is about being decisive today. You know what you are thinking so.
My "Tip of the Week" this week is
"Be more decisive to improve your prospects now"
Just remember this
"The best time to plant a tree, was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.
Remember the first time THAT person said "I believe in you" remember how it felt? I imagine as you remember, a little smile appears, and so it should, it made you feel good. So my question is "what are your beliefs about yourself? How are you making yourself feel good?
Today I want to very quickly talk about unwanted self-beliefs and how you can change any disempowering beliefs, that have stuck with you over the years. There's a big difference between simple beliefs like, "life is a struggle" and life is what you make it" or "I'm not good enough" and "I can do it if I try hard enough".
Tony Robbins once said "all personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs" and this I genuinely believe in.
As a coach, I ask my clients to get clear about their beliefs, remembering they won't all be negative. They will have hundreds of them swirling around, but only a few of them will be shaping the way they live their life.
So to keep this brief here is a little exercise I would love you to find the time to do this week. Now please have fun with it, it is not often we sit and reflect on such things.
As a coach, these are the ones that I would work with the ones I'll help you to eliminate while strengthening and reinforcing the empowering beliefs and adding fresh ones that support you in your goals
They do this by taking each belief and replacing it with the opposite belief but this is just the start of the process. For example, "I'm too old to get promoted" could be changed to "I have enough experience to do a good job"
This exercise is a great start to changing your beliefs, but as I always say, each journey needs a first step.
This week's tip of the week is as follows: Try to catch any negative beliefs about yourself and repeatedly tell yourself the opposite.
If you can start this process, your world will start to have a brighter outlook.
Let me know if you need any support.
We all know that things are tough at the moment, the petrol prices, the utility bills, what to do with the kids during holidays, even what the hell are our politicians doing?
However, I would always encourage my clients to remember this lovely quote from Philip Reiter
"A positive mindset brings positive things"
So this week I am happy to share something I found whilst doing a little research for one of my "Student Coach" courses, that fits beautifully into what I try to infuse into your week.
Here are 10 ways to make a real difference to your outlook
This week my EDGE Coaching tip is to "Share a positive outlook"
If you do nothing else this week, it'll always be nice to, “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou.
Have a great week
Look behind you
Just a very quick note today.
Every once in a while I encourage my clients to look behind them, not at what they missed or could have done.
More so to remind themselves of this beautiful quote;
"You may not notice it today. You may not notice it in a week. But one day you'll be able to look back and be amazed at how far you've come"
This week my Tip of the week is "take time to appreciate how far you have come"
Richie Forde, Performance Coach and the Founder of Edge Coaching Services.