Tis The Season To Be Coached

The Guardian newspaper‘s Work blog has published the dilemma of a 23-year-old who seems to lack focus in his life.  Follow the link above to learn more.

I think everyone could benefit from self-awareness about what is the best life they could be living.  I have Tweeted my view of the situation, based firmly in my approach to coaching.

Regardless of the life stage you have reached how much improvement in your professional or personal situation do you want to achieve next year?  What support could a coach provide for you in 2014?

If you are ready to make the progress you deserve get in touch with me, before 24 December.  I’m here to help.

Lighting Up The Future

A match flame

A bit of illumination (c) R Dennison October 2013

It almost goes without saying, that work plays a huge part in most people’s lives – and according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figure there are 29.87 million people in work in the UK.

However the days are long gone in which employees started work with an organisation in their 20s and stayed there until retirement four decades later.

Even a thorough PEST analysis of the political, economic, social and technological climate now could not identify the sort of jobs that will be the backbone of the economy in 2053 .

If only there was some way of being able to light up the period 40 years ahead, and know what make a future career meaningful and exciting.

I would argue (based on the people I have coached) that self-knowledge can help light up that darkness.  If you are supported in developing an understanding of: the qualities you value; the skills you offer; and the work you find stimulating you are closer to where the next few steps in your career might take you.   Having some light shed on the future makes it seem less uncertain.

The Guardian’s Work Blog sets out the quandary quite neatly.  The discussion below the line is useful too.  My comments are shown under the name RogerAD.

What’s Next?

Choosing a Slice of Life (c) R Dennison October 2013

Choosing a Slice of Life (c) R Dennison October 2013

Would it be great to be 25 years old again?  What if you could view the rest of your life as you did then, with every possibility still open to you?

Life would be the most delicious treat, a cake perhaps from which you have only taken one slice.  You could then make positive changes whose impact would be felt over the next 50, or 60 years.  The rest of your life could be incredibly memorable.

A query in the Guardian Work blog explores the territory of later life choices, from the vantage point of someone at the age of 55.  He is trying to find his occupational passion to improve the final part of his working life.

It makes sense to ask ‘what do I want to do now’, since the latest Office for National Statistics figures show a man of 55 can expect to live for another 12 years.  Life expectancy for women is slightly longer.

The question is, if you have the choice, what should you do with the remaining 20 per cent of your life?

You can see the below the line comments if you click the link below.  My views are shown there (I’m Roger AD) and you can see them on Twitter too (where I am RogerD_said)

http://www.theguardian.com/money/work-blog/2013/sep/23/job-inspires-passion

The Magic Management Pill (Doesn’t Exist)

Magic Management Pills (c) R Dennison July 2013

Magic Management Pills (c) R Dennison July 2013

I wonder how many people managers have wished for a daily pill they could take to make leading their teams easier or at least painless?

 

Sadly there is no substitute for the confidence that comes from practising regular and effective people management.  Leaders ‘To Do’ lists can include a mixture of practical, stretching and contradictory objectives, such as: delivering high quality outputs; exceeding customer expectations; satisfying formal obligations to staff.  The trouble comes if people management is too low on the list of priorities.  Quality outputs only come from motivated people who are supported by their leaders.

 

The complication is that members of staff come to work with their personal and family situations in tow.  Sometimes those factors can get in the way of team performance.  An advice piece in The Guardian newspaper’s work blog explores that complicated relationship.  See what you think of the options available to the manager.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/work-blog/2013/jun/28/how-manage-colleague-personal-traumas

Follow The Leader?

Leadership  Display (c) R Dennison June 2013

Leadership Display (c) R Dennison June 2013

Let’s assume you have an organised approach to planning your life and you are pretty content with things at the moment.  You have a happy home life.  You are good at your job.  Family and friends sustain you.  What could be the only cloud on your horizon during the working week?  How about the attitude your boss displays towards you?

The Work section of the Guardian newspaper regularly features descriptions of bosses who aren’t effective leaders.  They aren’t helping to solve problems, since they are busy creating them.  Here’s an example.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/work-blog/2013/jun/07/how-delegate-responsibility-remain-successful

Others are reported to be less than effective as they are: leaving new recruits to fend for themselves; stringing staff along in periods of restructuring; and in one recent example, oversharing details of an individual’s personal life after being asked not to

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/work-blog/2013/may/31/how-stop-boss-mentioning-sexuality#start-of-comments

It seems that there is a real gap into which development opportunities could fit.  Those opportunities would help people-managers become more competent leaders and more confident in delivering better results through people.

His or her goal could be as simple as, ‘Listening carefully to what colleagues want and, where possible, helping them achieve good results afterwards’.

Perhaps a degree of empathy would also help.  If the boss was to ask herself, ‘what does my leadership style feel like to my staff?’ they might be able to fine tune it to better effect.  Here’s an interesting reflection on the role of empathy in the workplace from the BBC.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20257373

The relationship a leader has with colleagues isn’t like the one with family, or friends.  However fine tuning the relationship by: listening carefully; supporting consistently; and being more self-aware, it can still be a respectful and productive one.

Another Thought About Bullying

 

A Glass Broken (c) R Dennison 2013

A Glass Broken (c) R Dennison 2013

I posted on the subject of bullying recently and co-incidentally the Guardian has just featured the topic too.  Their timely illustration (of the impact of workplace bullying) appears in the work advice section.  A reader’s letter recounts the difficulties linked to working with someone whose behaviour sometimes involves bullying.

 

Most people would recognise that typically the atmosphere in the workplace can combine both positives (interesting tasks) and negatives (challenging people).  Most people accept that sometimes their job can seem like the proverbial half-empty glass.

 

The Guardian’s advice-seeker has spent time trying to talk to a supervisor who can tackle the bullying issue.  The supervisor hasn’t grasped the situation successfully.  For the correspondent their glass is not half empty.  It is actually broken.

 

Reading between the lines the correspondent seems to have a narrow set of options.  Option one, they put up with the situation (more unhappiness for them and for the bully).  Option two, they start looking actively for other jobs they could be doing.

 

There is a crying need, I think, for coaching support to be made available to managers on this topic.  Bullying makes workplaces unproductive, creates stress and wastes time.  Managerial support would equip supervisors with the empathy, people skills and confidence to sense bullying is occurring, intervene firmly to end it and leave a climate of zero-tolerance afterward.  Hopefully this kind of learning is going to become commonplace in future and bully-friendly environments a thing of the past.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/work-blog/2013/may/10/how-deal-with-nightmarish-colleague

 

Mind Your Language

Logo of the British newspaper The Guardian

Logo of the British newspaper The Guardian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe it is just me.  I can think of many issues in the corporate world that might be worthy of ridicule.  I wouldn’t poke fun at language that potentially helps bring thousands of people together into one culture across several different sites, and perhaps different time zones.

Sometimes though language can obscure meaning, or be quite passive-aggressive when it is used strategically (I’m thinking of some of the Public Relations flavoured speech of the character Stewart Pearson, in Armando Iannucci’s comedy The Thick of It).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/organgrinder/2010/nov/01/stewart-pearson-thick-of-it

Anyway, here is the list of scorn-worthy corporate buzz words , proposed by Steven Poole in the Guardian newspaper this week (provoking more than 1800 below the line comments):

–       Going Forward

–       Drill Down

–       Action

–       End Of Play

–       Deliver

–       Issues

–       Leverage

–       Stakeholders

–       Competencies

–       Sunset

None of these is out and out offensive to my mind (as long as they are not strung together thoughtlessly in the same Bull S$!t Bingo-worthy sentence).

Mind you, if I was coaching someone who had ‘issues’ with an option they wanted to take I might have to stop and check what exactly that meant for them.  Otherwise the list is fairly innocuous.

Luckily ‘Kicking This Into The Long Grass’ and ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ don’t feature in the top ten, as those do sound too jargon-like, even for me.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/apr/25/top-10-worst-management-speak