Coaching Tips on Effectiveness

Or how to focus on what matters to YOU.

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Your hardships are your lessons

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Let me share two stories with you:

One of the persons most dear to me in the world has serious issues. She believes that she means nothing as long as she can’t have the man she loves. Who left her about half a year ago. She is paralysed by suffering and cannot move her life an inch. And nothing will change, until she will chose to change.

I have a colleague who’s very action oriented. She can’t stand people who are resistant to change. Ironic or not, she will change her job soon enough, and one of the people she will have to work with is one who is rather conservative and detail oriented. She’s in for a hard time.

What do both have in common?

Both have a barrier that they’ve set to themselves. One of them is “I can’t do anything”, the other one is “I need to get something done”.
And both have a lesson to learn.

It is said that the hardships you get in life are your lessons. They will keep coming back to you until you’ve learned your lesson.

How does this work?

Your mind has  patterns. It creates millions of canals through which synapses form. Practically, these canals are the way you keep reacting to certain stimuli. And if you keep reacting in the same way, you’ll keep getting the same results.
Think about the recurring issues in your life.
What pattern can you see around them?
What behaviour of yours keeps repeating?

I am very fast. I am so fast, that I tend to hit the reply and send button without thinking much about what I type in between. This caused me serious trouble one or two times.
So, ironic or not, I got a job where I’m involved in extensive sensitive communication. I now have to think through messages and procedures, and carefully analyse possible implications. Nightmarish at first, but a good education for my buzzing self.

What you have issues on is precisely what you’re going to have to work on.

You may decide to postpone this, but you’re in for a long and hard journey. These lessons are going to return to you until you take the challenge and accept what they have to teach.

Practical self – work:

  • Think about the most annoying person you’ve had to deal with.
  • What are 2 things that you can’t stand in this person?
  • Now, can you name one more person who has the same characteristics, and who showed up in your life previously?
  • How did your behavior influence the relationship with this person?
  • Is there any part of your behavior, that, if changed, would make a drastic improvement?
  • Can you make this change?
  • As of when?

Written by effectivenesscoach

November 17, 2009 at 8:08 pm

The Knowing-Doing gap

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I registered into Stumble today. And my first reaction to it is “Whoa! so many blogs…so much information!” I clicked “Self Improvement” and began reading voraciously.

Then I stumbled upon a Dale Carnegie excerpt from “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and remembered Eddie’s mention about people who read too much about Personal Development. “You meet them 2 years after and nothing’s changed about them. Except that they know 2 more quotes from Dale Carnegie. ”
(by the way Eddie Ezeanu’s perspective on readers and doers on Personal Development is here).

But as Dale Carnegie himself puts it “Common sense is not common practice”. There’s all these blog posts and articles around, all of which tell you “10 ways to improve this” or “5 simple steps to that”…and when you read them, they seem so natural, like “How didn’t I think of that?”, “Oh I will try that as of tomorrow.”

And how often do you, actually?

That’s cause it’s easier to acknowledge an idea, and accept it. From accepting, to  internalizing and changing something, it’s a larger step. If we could all change so easily.

I’m now using more my coaching abilities. I write and read a lot on personal development. Did it ever occur to you, when you buy a new car, that you start noticing that model of car everywhere on the street? That’s what I get now. It seems everyone is now into personal development. Everyone’s training to be a coach.
There’s this abundance of resources around us. All of them are pulling us towards living our potential, being more fulfilled.
And yet, in the same society that offers this abundance of resources to grow personally, there’s so many people trapped, feeling exhausted, feeling robotic. The gap here is between knowing the resources are there, and actually using these resources.

My personal belief is that the ones who’re offering these resources are the same people who’re trying to break free.

Go, Freddie, tell’em!

The Knowing-Doing gap resides between when you say “Oh yeah, this is so interesting. I could do that.” and saying “Let’s do it now.” Freedom lies in actually making the choice. Taking the first step to change.

What can YOU do to break free?

Written by effectivenesscoach

November 8, 2009 at 6:59 pm

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


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This is a first step towards a more balanced – and happier – life.

For whom?

Well, for you of course.

What’s Effectiveness?

Simply put, it’s doing the right things. If what we learn in everyday Time Management classes is “how to make your daily to do list” or how to make order out of chaos, Effectiveness is “what to put on top of your to do list, and how to scratch out the rest”.

Being effective means being lazy enough to do little, but smart enough to do what counts.

What makes you happy?

How about doing more of that?

That’s what this blog is about. To start with, I will share a little of my own experience.

80/20 Living

There’s a brilliant book by Richard Koch, called 80-20 Living. The 80/20 Principle refers exactly to that – Effectiveness. Or how to do more, with less.

What if you could apply this to your everyday life? Take the shortcut route to what matters most?

Breakthrough Idea no. 1 – how to make money

One of the most important breakthrough this book brought to me was on money. Considering the crisis and tomorrow’s uncertainty, this is a matter of concern to all of us.
I had been thinking about buying a house for a long time. I had considered several options and always hit the brick wall of credit. I hate credit. I hate being at the mercy of  a bank and having to pay monthly installments for the rest of my life. But this seemed to be the only option.

The effectiveness principle of Mr Koch says the following:

There is no mystery about how to make money. It does not require a top paying job or luck in the lottery. The answer is simple and a bit boring: Save and invest ten percent of your income, before you receive it, by having it channeled automatically into a savings account. Do this now. It is the only reliable method and, thanks to the miracle of compound interest, it never fails. If you don’t do this, forget about making money.

With some simple calculations, I realized that by saving enough for the next 6-7 years, I could afford a house, full down payment. Now that…is a different perspective.

Enjoy effective living – and if you want to be coached on it, email me at

80/20 Living

Written by effectivenesscoach

August 7, 2009 at 6:43 pm