Coaching Tips on Effectiveness

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Freedom is Letting Go

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Two days ago I moved into a new apartment – and I wrote about the hassle it brings here. But there are also some benefits to moving. And I believe that’s why I love travelling so much. And why other people roam the world with their whole lives packed in a caravan.

Once you let go of what you own, you become free.

In the book Presence, sociologist Otto Scharmer tells how he found his new life meaning after a fire that destroyed his home. As a young boy, he was called from school because of a “terrible accident” and ran to find the last remains of his house burning. “As I gazed deeply into the flames, the flames began to sink into me”, he says, realizing that he is not his house, nor his belongings, but simply is. It took Otto a painful, life changing experience, to realize this.

When your world shifts, you need to change perspective.

Often we are forced to experience this, by deaths of loved ones, accidents or events that change our environment. But a smaller scale experiment can bring you closer to yourself.

1. You are not your job.

Your job is a name on your business card. What is it that you do, that creates meaning? I found myself fortunate enough to realize I could be anywhere, coaching. I would need nothing but a laptop to connect to the Internet. Heck, I don’t even need the Internet if I have people around. The value to them is my job.

2. You are not your belongings, nor your clothes, nor the place you live in.

As I stopped 2 days ago, to eat, between two trips moving boxes, I realized I don’t have anything with me (but my wallet and phone). And I didn’t miss anything. I was exhilarated. Hours later, finding myself in a room of boxes, I found that rather than being happy that I had everything I needed around me, I was annoyed. Annoyed that they were cluttering up the space. I didn’t need half of them. So I started throwing stuff away. Make an inventory like Dani here on her Positively Present blog. You will find out that you don’t need half of the stuff you own. Give it away. You will feel lighter. Most of what I truly cherish is in a bunch of notebooks I’ve written across the years. The rest is in my head. Cicero was the first to say “I carry everything I have with me”, and he didn’t carry any bags.

3. You are not the people you spend time with.

While moving, I spent time only with my life&apartment mate. And obviously, I had no access to Internet. I have no phone at the new apartment. And I limited my mobile calls to a minimum, cause I was busy. I don’t recommend this as a long term solution, cause social networking does make you feel good and lifts your spirits. But do, do, do try to keep away from time to time. Strip yourself from all unnecessary things you’re carrying around with you. Some are physical. Some are relationships. Some are thoughts you never wanted to admit, but keep coming back. Let them go. Take a trip somewhere. Take just your backpack. Why do we feel the need to pack so much when we leave home? In order to be really free, we have to let go.


Written by effectivenesscoach

December 1, 2009 at 7:44 am

Too many things, too little time

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In his book (reading now) “Getting things done”, David Allen says that if we were to list down all the things – literally ALL the things – we should do, we would get to about 300 hours worth of time spent.

Our time belongs to everybody else. And in every day’s battle, we push for a little autonomy.

Therefore, here’s some food for thought:

Life’s too short to try to do everything. Think about what matters.
Do ONLY the things you want.
Do only the things you choose to do.

Do you know what these things are?

Do you know WHAT you want?

It’s not the “everyone’s coming to get me” feeling that creates frustration. It’s not the “I have too many things on my plate” that bothers you.

No, what creates frustration is the fact that you’re not clear on WHY you’re doing them.
Knowing the long term purpose of what you’re doing now, crystallizes a future. This future is your choice, and only yours.
The fact that YOU have made this choice, creates fulfillment.

Ultimately, I think that’s what we’re looking for:
– having a purpose
– knowing that we’re consciously moving towards that purpose, and not dragged away by the world around us.

You may not be exactly doing the job of your life right now, but put it in perspective – what about doing this job creates fulfillment to you? Maybe it’s the prospect of being promoted, to manage others. Maybe it’s about earning more money to build a nice house to grow your kids in. Maybe it’s about learning more about the field you’re in, before opening your own business. All of these are fine. But what’s your end purpose?
Where are you headed to?

Written by effectivenesscoach

November 2, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Time Management tips from an ebook

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I delivered a “Time Management” training last week, and when preparing, I stumbled across this great book on Time Management for creative people from Mark Mc Guinness.

No matter if you’re working in Advertising or Marketing, you sure need your time to think. And if, like me, you’re working in an environment where 20 minutes of uninterrupted work is a rare bliss, you’re going to need the tips in this book.

Some ideas I found useful:

1. Ringfence your creative time. My best time is in the morning. I get lots done. So, I book 2 chunks of time: Early morning 6:00 to 7:30 when I do research, read and write, and from 9:30 to 11:00 at work, when I work on my long term projects. The key word here is discipline. Also, creating rituals around your creative time ( I use my special blend of coffee, cocoa and amaretto syrup – yum 🙂 this gets me in the right mood for work)

2. You need to install a buffer between other’s demands and your response. The most interesting concept here is “Do it tomorrow” by Mark Forster (there’s also a book by the same title). It says that anything that comes into your “IN” tray should be packed, bundled, and solved tomorrow. Benefits? Tons. Realistic-ness? So-so. But I would give the idea a try, especially since I get annoyed at the ton of emails, tasks, projects, reports that come with an “ASAP” tag, and when finally solved, they’re not needed anymore.

3. The buckets concept – get one or max 4 buckets in which to gather everything – and he means everything that comes to your to do list. Then go through all your buckets at least once per week and sort through them, choosing priorities and putting them on your agenda.

Resources – the “Do It Tomorrow” book by Mark Forster, the “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, tons of blogs, links and tips at the end of the book. Thanks Mark!

Written by effectivenesscoach

October 25, 2009 at 8:13 am

Trust and group coaching

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We all had challenging presentations to demanding audiences. While preparing, it’s easy to go into the “ready for battle” mindset rather than the “win-win” one. And, personally, I’ve had clashes that started from scratch just because I entered them with the wrong mindset.

Rejection mainly comes from doubt. In a group situation, doubt is contagious. It is squared and then multiplied to the number of persons in that group. Doubt causes questioning and challenging, which causes re-work (not to mention emotional damage!).

What are the causes of lack of trust (=doubt or interference) in group work? Think about the most difficult team training or presentation you delivered. Do you recognize some patterns?

  • fear of ridicule
  • fear of being dominated
  • pursuit of personal agenda
  • distrusting each other’s intentions
  • absence of agreed ground rules
  • beliefs and positions (“this is how things should be”)

So I decided to change something. I started looking at why the group would trust me. And how I can capitalize on this trust. So I switched into the “coaching” minset. I gave them the credit of having good intentions, and I went into the meeting with my own good intentions.  And what happened? The group responded constructively with:

  • listening and desire to understand
  • challenging constructively
  • requesting and offering to support
  • flexibility
  • accountability
  • care for each other.

In the end, I believe that the mindset with which you go into a discussion can radically change the outcome of that discussion.

Ask yourself:

  • what do I have to offer to this group?
  • what vision do we share?
  • what trust do they have in me? how can I use/increase that?
  • what trust do I have in them? how can I use/increase that?
The above are inspired from coach Myles Downey‘s book “Effective coaching” and the chapter on Team Coaching.

Written by effectivenesscoach

September 29, 2009 at 1:36 pm

The speed of trust

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In the past weeks I’ve started to experience the speed of trust.

I work in a company that’s invented and innovated some of the best things in the world today – products that make our life easier, business tools that have been voted best in class. I work with some of the world’s best people, and I learn daily from them. Yet, although one of our values is trust, I am every day amazed by how much we verify and align and pre-align things, before putting them into practice. And after putting them into practice, we go back and verify again if we were right.
Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we based ourselves on trust?

Stephen MR Covey (the grass-cleaning son of Stephen Covey) says in his book “The Speed of Trust” that there’s a hidden variable in business, one that’s so important we tend to lose sight of it:

“Whether it’s high or low, trust is the “hidden variable” in the formula for organizational success. The traditional business formula is:
(Strategy x Execution = Results).
But there is a hidden variable:
(Strategy x Execution) x Trust = Results.
A company can have an excellent strategy and a strong ability to execute; but the net result can be torpedoed by a low-trust tax or multiplied by a high-trust dividend. This makes a powerful business case for trust, assuring that it is not a soft, “nice to have” quality.”

So if we trusted each other, I say, we would spend less time on checking up what the other did, and start acting.

I would keep a safe level of  “pre-alignment”, so that we still have a buffer and not go into separate directions. However, where does the balance lie?
I am pretty sure that there is a space for more trust in each of us’ business, household, or relationship.

How’s your level of trust in others?the_speed_of_trust

I invite you to do a check. Have people rate you on how trustful you are. Inlcude family, peers at work and business partners. You may find out new things about yourself.

Written by effectivenesscoach

August 29, 2009 at 6:53 am