This blog reflects ideas I've stumbled upon in my executive coaching practice helping clients deal with opportunities and problems.

Petition Yourself With Prayer

I’m reading a wonderful novel where the main character is a Bishop in the Church of England. It’s got me thinking about prayer which is something I’ve never thought about before, except to avoid it.

I’ve discovered that one the many types of prayer is to petition God for something you want. For example, “God, please end war.” or “God, grant me the courage to face up to my fear of public speaking.”

The first of those two examples is something totally out of the petitioner’s control. The second of the two examples is something the petitioner can participate in by learning about where courage comes from and techniques to face difficulties. I’ve often thought that people who say a petition prayer like the second example before they go to sleep might engage their subconscious to work on the subject while they sleep.

I have a client right now who has a big need to ‘let go’ of the effect another person’s personality has on them. My client’s prayer could be “please help me find the shield to ignore x’s behavior, to just let it pass like a ship in the night.” Developing that prayer and repeating it when needed could be a powerful reminder to my client of what she must do. It will certainly augment the coaching discussion we had.

Can you think of a petition prayer you might be able to use effectively for yourself? I’ll be interested to hear any of your good ideas.

Posted by Jerome Shore

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15 January 2015 ~ Comment

Get what it’s like to be them

An executive coach needs empathy to see the world as their client’s do. It’s not just “do this, do that”.

Behavioral ecologist Jakob von Uexküll invented the notion that while our immediate environment is what it is – each of us sees and senses it differently depending on many factors, physical and psychological intertwined, not surprisingly.

Take the example of a woman walking her dog on a downtown street. While the woman will notice and react to things that interest and confront her; people, store windows, hazards in her path. The dog, differently, will revel in the wide variety of smells on fire hydrants, coming from restaurant exhausts and emanating from the sidewalk. Each could be floating in their own ‘bubble’ along the sidewalk one above the other.

This notion of seeing the world as if you’re in a different ‘bubble’ also helps hunters. Imagine hunting a bear thru a forest. It would be best to get in the bear’s head; understanding how they think and react to every stimulus. That would certainly be better than using your own experiences to judge what the bear will do. Likewise a coach who helps a client based on their, the coach’s, experiences, is not doing it right.

So I’m motivated to understand what my client is feeling. I want to know what makes them confident, scared, anxious, happy, etc. etc. etc. It’s hard and rewarding work. You can try it in many conversations you have.

You can have anything you want, as long as you’re willing to pay full price.

The title is a motivational quote that I discovered recently. A similar quote I’ve been using for a long time is; ‘you can have anything you want, but not everything you want’.

What does is mean to have ‘anything you want’ and what does it mean to ‘pay full price’? Two good questions.

Helping my clients understand what they really want is ongoing. One of the earliest revelations of my coaching practice is that it takes time to figure out exactly what one’s goals are. One good way is to think about both ‘outcome goals’ and ‘process goals’. Outcome goals tend to be relatively static. People are generally committed about their outcomes three years out. It they want double their income today, they’ll want double their income two years from now. On the other hand how they get there, their process, tends to be a moving target.

Process goals are what people want to accomplish day to day along the way to their desired outcomes. These daily goals are measured repeatedly. They can be adjusted from day to day. More hours can be invested. Experiments can be tried. Accommodations can be made. Sacrifices will be suffered. And for people who don’t get exactly what they want the reverse is true. Measuring can be ignored; hours cut, adjustments avoided, experiments left untried, needed accommodations not made and sacrifices not suffered.

So to determine the full price you need to know all the process goals that you must achieve. And you have to be prepared to modify the list as times goes by. So the full price includes time on task, adjustments, experiments, accommodations, sacrifices and much more. The next time you meet someone who is really successful try to get to know the full price they paid for their success.

You may have a role model you want to emulate. It would be good to get to know the full price they paid to become your role model. Often reading biography helps here.

Posted by Jerome Shore

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14 November 2014 ~ Comment

Your Two Inboxes

Working with a client the other day I came upon a novel solution to his time management problem. My client is a busy junior lawyer in a mid-sized firm. He reports to a number of partners who delegate work to him and as well he services a number of the firm’s clients independently.

His problem is how and when to focus on his own priorities when he has so much responsibility to others. It’s very motivating to have another person organizing your workload and urging you to get their work done first. We all want to satisfy our clients and bosses. But how are we to be motivated to tackle our own priorities. In this case marketing himself to get his own long term clientele, not to mention issues of work life balance.

I suggested he initiate a two inbox system and have a policy as to when each took priority. The simple way of looking at this is that his lunch hour has become his marketing time. He’ll keep a separate to do list [an ersatz inbox] to keep him planned and organized. We even changed the time of our marketing coach sessions to make them a lunch time activity.

As a junior he won’t be able to focus on his marketing inbox everyday that he wants to. Emergencies and important distractions will arise. The key to success will be to focus on those days when nothing interrupts. Those dedicated time on task hours will pay handsome rewards.

Posted by Jerome Shore

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27 October 2014 ~ Comment

Your New and Improved Goals

Something I often find with my executive coaching clients is that their goals become more tangible as we talk about them repeatedly. Today for example I was with a client for a second meeting. The goals discussion at the first meeting went pretty well and produced motivating goals. But that was not enough.

In the second meeting we talked about goals again and made one excellent improvement. We devised the strategy to make my client’s work life harmony goal more achievable. Now my client wants to earn hours to use away from work as well as income. Earning hours by delegating is the tangible way to get what she wants.

The outcome goal for my client will be more mountain biking while the progress goal [what she can do daily] will be delegating. Each time she delegates another task that she had been doing until now she will earn more hours to take her bike for a ride.

Posted by Jerome Shore

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13 October 2014 ~ Comment

Time Management Tip from Grade School

Do you recall your early days at school. You had a schedule. Typically it had about 35 periods per week. Maybe something like seven one hour periods per day for all five days. Every hour you refocused on a new activity.

I’ve had lots of success using this concept with my executive coaching clients, especially those with busy schedules.

What I do is get them to schedule all of their important but not urgent activities for the week. These include briefing their assistant, marketing time, delegation time, focus on what’s most important time, focus on what’s less important time, exercise time etc.

So a typical day might look like this for a manager or professional.

7 – 8 a.m. Workout [or end of day]
8:45 to 9 a.m. Brief assistant on day’s priorities
9 – 11:15 a.m. Focus on what’s most important [meeting, doing]
11:15 – Noon Delegation activities
Noon to 1 or 2 p.m. Marketing* [leaves room for lunch marketing or planning]
1 or 2 p.m. to 1:15 or 2:15 p.m. Brief assistant on priorities
1:15 or 2:15 p.m. to 4 p.m. Focus on what’s most important
4 p.m. to end of day Focus on what’s less important

I’ve had clients tell me this kind of discipline was a game changer for them.

A general rule is that there will be days when emergencies arise and get in the way. That’s OK. It how you do on days when no emergencies arise that will provide the game changing payback you want.

* Let’s define marketing as client generation if that’s needed or team/relationship building if that’s what’s needed.

Posted by Jerome Shore

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17 September 2014 ~ Comment

What’s on Your Won’t Do List

I’ve written about Time Management several times in the past. Here is the first post on the subject.

One of the ways I coach Time Management is to suggest my executive coaching clients have an A list [most important, do it first activity], a B list [less important, do it after all the A activities are done] and a C or Won’t Do list which are activities you want to avoid doing at all. Creating a Won’t Do list and adding to it can be very profitable.

This article is about another kind of Won’t Do list. The kind of Won’t Do list a successful emotionally intelligent person keeps. I think you’ll find it interesting and helpful.

Posted by Jerome Shore

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19 August 2014 ~ Comment

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