Triangles - Don't Get Sucked In

Three’s a crowd.  It’s as simple as that. 

Picture the scenario that we have all experienced….your peer/coworker is behaving in a way that is hindering the progress of a project you are working on.  You have tried to drop some hints or work around him but to no avail.  What do you do?  Do you go to his boss?  Do you go to HR?  I mean, this person is REALLY not getting the picture and you KNOW they should KNOW how their actions are affecting you and your team right?

You’ve reached your tolerance limit so you go to your coworker’s boss.  You have just entered the “triangle zone” my friend.  You have “triangulated” the issue by involving a third person who is essentially not directly involved and it doesn’t even matter that it was “the boss” that you involved.  Now the situation becomes more complex as a third person’s style, opinion, position, etc. comes into play.  The dynamics have just increased twofold. 

The situation I have just describes happens all the time.   The ramifications that ultimately result from this triangulation are like ripples in a pond.  They effect the future of your relationship with your coworker in a negative way.

Direct confrontation.  Does that sound scary to you?  Ok, let’s define confrontation before we go any further.  By confrontation, I do not mean stepping up to your coworker and saying “You are messing my stuff up dude!”  NO!!!!  I mean honest, respectful, direct communication.  Remember, your coworker may not even be aware that what they are doing is having such an ill effect on your world. 

If you don’t know how to have an honest, respectful, direct discussion where you both walk away feeling better than you did before the conversation while still accomplishing your goal, then contact me.  I can help you with that.  I have many ideas and easy ways to communicate effectively!

I Want To Find My Passion….But HOW??

I hear this all the time.  “Vicky, I hate what I am doing right now.  I want to find my passion and make a living doing it but I don’t know how.  I know things that I like in life but I don’t know how to find my true ‘passion’.”

 

I believe people “think” about this topic all the time.  For example, “I’d love to start a doggie daycare business because I just love dogs!”  They ponder this thought and talk to themselves about it. The thought stream may go something like this….”I’d love to start a doggie daycare business because I just love dogs!  If I could go to work and be with dogs all day long, I would be in heaven! Hmmm I wonder how much that would cost? I would need a building, insurance, employees, customers, etc.  That’s WAY out of my financial reach. Never mind….it would be cool but there’s no way.”

 

Sound familiar?  Just insert “your dream here” right?  You know what the problem is? It’s all thoughts and no action!  And by action, I don’t mean to run out and start looking for doggie daycare real estate.  I mean, have you ever spent time working in a doggie daycare? Have you volunteered in your spare time or tried it part-time?  Have you spoken to people who are in the business? Just taIked to them? I mean “physically”. The answer is probably no. Herein lies the problem.

 

Finding your passion is more physical than mental a lot of the times.  My opinion is to spend time DOING and less time thinking. In every aspect of your life, are you truly engaged in what you are doing at that moment or are you going through the motions?  Here’s what I say….try things! Physically try things! Take note of your gut while you’re doing things. What is it telling you? Is it pulling you in and making you feel like there is no place you’d rather be at that moment or are your actions forced?

 

Get involved.  Recognize things that you talk about a lot, want to learn more about, or share most often with others and physically try them!  Recognize themes in things you choose to read, buy, look up on the internet, click on in social media, etc. Physically search for opportunities to observe, taste, touch, learn, etc. about those things.  Guess what? Opportunities emerge. You meet people, you learn about yourself, you gain experience. People love to tell you about their passions so just by engaging people in conversation will bring tons of information.

 

Sometimes, we just have to learn about ourselves….what we like, what we don’t like.  That only comes from experiencing loads of different things and “feeling” what lights our fire….what gives us this physical feeling in our belly.  Here’s the surprising part….it’s probably not what you think! Just because your degree is in accounting doesn’t mean you can’t be a career coach (that may be a personal reference).

 

Try things….try them and do it with 110% enthusiasm.  Do it like it’s your job….then decide if you want it to be.

Believe In Yourself!

I just finished a really great book entitled The Confidence Code written by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.  It addresses the issue of women and confidence.  The book was both eye opening and jaw dropping at the same time. 

Without being a spoiler, I can tell you that Katty and Claire write about whether confidence is something we are born with or something we develop throughout life.  They site scientific studies, interview hundreds of people from all different disciplines.  They approach the subject from a scientific perspective, a psychological perspective, and from a social perspective.

The crux of the book describes the differences in “perceived” confidence between men and woman.  It talks about the little voice inside women’s heads that whispers “you’re not good enough” when, after examined scientifically, YOU ABSOLUTELY ARE!  This is an insightful summer read and I highly recommend it.

Copy of Believe In Yourself!

I just finished a really great book entitled The Confidence Code written by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.  It addresses the issue of women and confidence.  The book was both eye opening and jaw dropping at the same time. 

 

Without being a spoiler, I can tell you that Katty and Claire write about whether confidence is something we are born with or something we develop throughout life.  They site scientific studies, interview hundreds of people from all different disciplines.  They approach the subject from a scientific perspective, a psychological perspective, and from a social perspective.

 

The crux of the book describes the differences in “perceived” confidence between men and woman.  It talks about the little voice inside women’s heads that whispers “you’re not good enough” when, after examined scientifically, YOU ABSOLUTELY ARE!  This is an insightful summer read and I highly recommend it.

Who Says You Can't Coach Your Boss?

So you’ve been trained, molded, managed, taught, and directed about how to “coach” your direct reports. Your company has led you through seminars, presentations, role-playing, and many other mediums to help you understand the best practices as they pertain to being a good coach and mentor for your team. And as a result, you’re good at it! You’ve mastered it! Your team is successful and motived and more importantly, they’re getting results! Fantastic!

 

    What about you? Are you working for a boss that is a great coach? Does she motivate and inspire you? How is your relationship? At what level do you truly communicate? Do you work as a team?

 

    These questions, while simple, are not always easy to answer. It’s complicated right? Yes. But, if you know a few key tricks of the trade, you can actually make huge changes in your relationship with your boss and in your overall career.

 

    The concept of “coaching your boss” or “managing upward” has been the subject of much debate over the last 10 years at least. Every expert puts his own spin on how this process should look. I believe it comes down to 7 very actionable points with #7 being the absolute most important so if you stop reading right now, skip to #7 and read it!

 

    Coaching your boss shows initiative when done correctly. It shows thoughtfulness and a professional curiosity that can only be embraced by the people at the receiving end. The key to coaching your boss is asking the right questions that are relevant and insightful.

 

    Coaching your boss is NOT “getting your boss to do what you want”. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Coaching your boss is a way to find a connection between you and she, establishing trust, and working toward a common goal in a way that suits both of you. The critical first step is to meet your boss “where they are” and walking the path together. This means you have to understand what makes her tick, how she likes to receive information, and how she likes to communicate.

 

    In short, here are the 7 steps that I believe have brought me the most success:

 

1.   Understand your boss’ style and DO WHAT WORKS! How does your boss like to be approached? Can you just pop in or is a scheduled meeting more her style? Does she like a weekly meeting or a casual lunch twice a month? What about time of day? Is she more receptive in the morning or in the afternoon? This simple first consideration already sets the stage for good communication.

2.   Don’t try to change them. Don’t try to make your boss like what you like. If you prefer to tackle big issues in the morning and she prefers afternoon, it may be best to schedule afternoon meetings if you want to be more successful in your conversations.

3.   Focus On What Matters. Use your strengths and don’t be afraid to reach out for support on things that may not be where you shine. This speaks to efficient execution. Ask for priorities and focus your discussion on them.

4.   Be a Problem Solver Not a Problem “Stater”. Have you ever been in a meeting with a person who keeps restating the problem over and over? How frustrating is that? State the problem along with well thought out, proposed solutions. This saves time and shows you have put some consideration into a resolution.

5.   Stay Calm and Stay Positive. Listening is much harder than it seems. Truly hearing what the other person is saying is almost a lost art. Most people are trying to compose their rebuttal in their head instead of really listening to the other person. When someone feels like they have been heard, the relationship grows and so does trust. Placing blame detracts from getting the job done and only makes you look like a finger-pointer….no one likes a finger-pointer!

6.   Support Your Boss. Do this even if you are working on a project that doesn’t necessarily make you shine. 

7.   Use the ASK ASK ASK technique. This is the most important item. If you take nothing away from this article, I want you to read this section carefully. Ask questions.....and no, I don’t mean obvious ones. In observing some of the most successful people I know, I noticed one commonality and that is they are not afraid to ask questions! I mean ask insightful questions. Ask questions with the intent to truly understand your boss’ perspective. And, if you feel like there is something you want to state, ask yourself if you should ask a question instead. For example, “That’s interesting, why would you say that?” or “Tell me more about what led you to that conclusion. How do you envision my team and I playing a role in that? Is there a back-story that would help me pull all this together? How do you think I performed in that project?”

 

WARNING----some of these questions may lead to constructive feedback….that is good! If you accept it positively this can only make you grow as an employee, a leader, and a person.

Hiring a Coach is Not Just For Executives

When you think about career coaching, do you think it's only for high profile executives who work for huge companies? Think again. This is simply not so. Career coaching benefits anyone who wants to further their career, change their career, or simply get more out of their current career by making positive changes to create happiness and fulfillment within themselves.

 

With so much talk about positivity, there is nothing more positive than investing in your own happiness and success. Sometimes risk-taking is scary. Change can be scary. But, without change you better be happy with where you are because it will remain status-quo.

 

Do You Love Mondays?

Yeah…I didn’t either until I decided to seek the advice of a career coach. Everyone deserves to have a rewarding, fulfilling career. If you don’t wake up on Monday and say, “Today will be magnificent!” then you may want to ask yourself a few simple questions:

1. How do I feel about my career?

2. Do I love going to work?

3. Do I think there is something better waiting for me out there?

4. Am I fairly compensated?

5. Am I actively working toward my short and long-term goals?

6. Does my career bring me fulfillment every day?

If you are not excited about the answers to these questions, insert career coach HERE! Someone who listens to everything you say and feel about your current situation and then offers a different perspective or viewpoint may be all you need. Have you thought about that?

People in your inner circle are too close to offer objective input. They are too close to challenge you, to ask you the difficult questions.

The relationship with a career coach is a short-term way to unwrap your potential and help your achieve success (whatever that looks like for you).