CoachStation: Leadership and Management Coaching

Coaching Leaders: Learning To Lead

Organisations regularly fail to set their leaders up for success. When it comes to development, up and coming managers and leaders themselves are just as responsible and culpable. Coaching provides the opportunity and impetus for growth and change. The statements above may seem confronting, yet the evidence continues to present itself in organisations throughout the world. Few people I know personally and professionally feel that they are supported and developed consistently well by their leaders. Those who do should feel very lucky. Leaders who have sought development and coaching are significantly more likely to engage their team members. Coaching leaders are also more likely to develop and maintain solid relationships and connections with those they work with. This is important as employee engagement rates continue to fall or at best, remain stagnant. According to the recent Gallup State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. The economic consequences of this global “norm” are approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity. Eighteen percent (of employees globally) are actively disengaged in their work and workplace, while 67% are “not Read more about Coaching Leaders: Learning To Lead[…]

CoachStation & Relationships: Leadership & Business Concerns 2018

Relationships: Understand Your Team to Lead Effectively

There is little doubt that being a leader offers many challenges and rewards. Being close to those you lead via proximity and emotionally provides the opportunity to meet the challenges and feel the benefits and rewards.  Leaders who are present and accessible concentrate on more than simply having an ‘open-door policy’. They build relationships and understand their employees as individual people.   As we begin another year, I have found myself reflecting on the past 12 months. There are often trends and themes that emerge when thinking about my clients and the coaching environments I have been exposed to over this period. One of the over-arching themes for last year was the challenge between available time (perception and reality…but that is a different topic for another time) and the willingness/ability to develop effective relationships in the workplace. Initially, too many of my clients view the connections between themselves and their team members as negotiable or secondary to their ‘real work’. Relationships and connecting with your employees is a cornerstone of leadership. They are actually non-negotiable if you truly want to lead.   Being Read more about Relationships: Understand Your Team to Lead Effectively[…]

CoachStation: Employee Engagement Surveys - Fact or Fiction?

Employee Engagement Survey Results: Fact or Fiction?

Employee Engagement surveys are barely worth the time and effort taken to produce them. They certainly have questionable content and value for those organisations who rely on survey results for a genuine view of how employees feel. Big statements, perhaps! But only if you have not taken the time to meaningfully investigate the reasons why employees might feel the need to provide over-inflated scoring that does not reflect reality. Engagement continues to be a major factor in business success and focus for management. We know this topic is big. Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends research (shows) 78% of business leaders rate retention and engagement urgent or important. HR leaders talk consistently about retention issues…and businesses all over the world are trying to build an inclusive, passionate, multi-generational team. In fact…the issue of ‘engaging people well’ is becoming one of the biggest competitive differentiators in business. The change we need to make is to redefine engagement beyond an ‘annual HR measure’ to a continuous, holistic part of an entire business strategy. If your people love their work and the environment you have Read more about Employee Engagement Survey Results: Fact or Fiction?[…]

Leadership: Setting Standards and Expectations

One of the biggest challenges for managers who are learning to lead is developing the ability to set expectations and standards and then hold people accountable to these expectations. Understanding the benefits and why to apply a model such as the one highlighted in this blog is relatively simple, however application, consistency and follow-through can be a challenge for many. Many years ago I was introduced to a model titled SOI assisting to set expectations and assess performance. The model title is an acronym which stands for Standards – Observations – Impact and has been a simple, yet vital tool in my development and that of others in my coaching and leadership development roles. The SOI model has become inherently part of how I think and work with others. Through practice and application it has become an unconscious process focused on ensuring people are clear on what is required; measurement against those objectives; and discussions as to why they are important. Throughout this time and as my exposure and experience increased, I recognised that there were a couple of elements missing in the model that when Read more about Leadership: Setting Standards and Expectations[…]

13 Challenges to the Current State of Leadership

It’s hard to identify why but there are currently major gaps in leadership, in Australia at least. Actually, it’s not that difficult to understand really. The things we want from work are not that different to what we are looking for from life in general. The difficulty is not in the knowing, it is in the application and doing. It seems that employees in the modern workplace are screaming for a certain style and capability of leadership, but current cultures are challenged in delivering it. The current state of leadership is not what is wanted nor required.   This is hard to write and I am sure is difficult to read for some. We wish it wasn’t the case however, no matter who I speak to either on a personal level or within my professional contacts, there is great frustration and disappointment with the current provision of leadership in business. In fact, there is considerable angst about leadership being portrayed in most areas including government at all levels. Statements and feelings referring to disengagement; indifference; self-interest; ego; fear; incompetence; and Read more about 13 Challenges to the Current State of Leadership[…]

CoachStation: Customer 360 Symposium

Customer 360 Symposium: Leadership and Your Customers

Under the remit of my current contracted role as Head of Customer Service for Toyota Finance Australia, I recently attended an event in the Hunter Valley in Australia organised by Ashton Media titled Customer 360 Symposium. The opportunity to mingle and share ideas with like-minded professionals and customer focussed providers was genuinely excellent. There were many takeaways, some of which I felt it relevant to share via my blog as there are key points that relate to culture, leadership and creating an environment that encourages outstanding customer service. I will present much of this as a series of questions, in some cases adding my own thoughts and comments indented in blue font in reply, as applicable. A core benefit of this type of event and my notes below, is the opportunity to be challenged and force reflection regarding our existing processes, practices and beliefs. Hopefully you will also be similarly stimulated. Dr Melis Senova – Huddle Design Has our leadership evolved as fast as our thinking? I am not sure that the issue is how quickly our leadership has evolved Read more about Customer 360 Symposium: Leadership and Your Customers[…]

Leadership and Relationships – It’s the Little Things

In leadership and relationships, it is often the small gestures and words that make all the difference.     I have often been surprised at the number of times I have been reminded of my words and gestures from the past, how they have remained in people’s minds and in some cases had influence in their thinking and on their actions. To be honest, this has not always been in a positive sense, with mistakes and errors in judgment coming back to haunt me at various stages of my life as well. But this blog is more about the positive aspects of our words and gestures. In my last 6 years of full-time work for GE I had the pleasure of working with another leader, Luke, who I was able to help support, influence and develop, as he did me. We spoke about many things and subjects during this time including the importance of connecting with others. We regularly reminded each other of the content of previous conversations and the phrases used, providing opportunity to delve deeper and reflect upon Read more about Leadership and Relationships – It’s the Little Things[…]

Leadership Greatest Hits: 2012 CoachStation Highlights

Like many of you, I have spent some time over the past weeks reflecting on 2012 and planning for next year. As cliche’d as it may be, the years do seem to be passing more and more quickly, although I feel this is a reflection of our lifestyles and a symptom of the modern world. It has been a year of significant change for me, as I took the step to leave full-time employment and work full time in and on my consulting and leadership development businesses, CoachStation and Telework Management. Pleasingly, I have never been so comfortable and content with my current and future work situation. Beyond my family, one of my great joys is writing and I have taken much pleasure from the blogs constructed in 2012. It dawned on me today that if our favourite music artists can take their best songs and make a compilation then there is nothing stopping me from doing the same…any excuse will do! This blog highlights some of the best ‘bits’ as highlighted by my readers and my personal favourite statements Read more about Leadership Greatest Hits: 2012 CoachStation Highlights[…]

CoachStation: HR and Administration

Where is My Team? Remote Management and Teleworking

Teleworking, Remote Management, Virtual Leadership – no matter how it is described, the need to provide leadership outside of the traditional work environment is becoming more prevalent each year. Teleworking and the associated challenges and benefits of leading a team who may not be located in the same site, is becoming more prominent in business as a result of technology, recognised cost-savings and employee attitudes. There are many potential benefits, however it adds significantly to the requirement for leaders to be even more effective in how they operate and to continue to develop new skills within the modern work environment. Leading remotely can add to the challenge of building a team with the structural reality of many modern businesses and organisations requiring distributed or virtual teams. Technology, globalisation, organisational expectations and culture, management and leadership styles, along with many other factors must be taken into account. The leader in today’s environment should be able to strategise and connect, developing and connecting with their team in a meaningful, engaged and results-oriented manner. In a recent article titled Out Of Office, the Read more about Where is My Team? Remote Management and Teleworking[…]

Leading Customer Experience Management

Providing a level of customer experience that ensures your customers ‘feel’ the difference between your business and competitors is crucial to success. A key element to be able to make this a reality rather than a pipe-dream is how many of your employees and particularly leaders ‘live the reality’. Discussing customer experience (CE) as a core part of business culture genuinely reinforces the messages – but not if this is felt by a few, not the many. Effective business leaders should always know that they are building a culture and understanding with all employees that the customer matters. This cannot be achieved through empty words, sound bites or a shallow attempt at driving a customer-centric organisation. CE can be incredibly complex and very simple at the same time. I wonder whether the proliferation of data and new technology is being used to best advantage. Whether we accept the implications of technology and the modern version of customer experience goes a long way to building a customer-centric culture. Taking meaningful steps based on a company-wide strategy that is reinforced through leadership, Read more about Leading Customer Experience Management[…]

CoachStation: Leadership

Roles, Structure and Instinct…Be Like a Bee

In my front garden is a small bush. As we enter the early stages of Spring, it has come into full bloom. The plant is covered in bunches of small, white, delicate flowers. I can see the bush from my office and often enjoy the view of our garden. Under my office window is a bench seat that I made last year using the original wood from a patio that we pulled down in our backyard. It is one of my favourite places to sit. One beautiful Spring day last week I was sitting on the bench watching the bees, literally hundreds of them, flitting from flower to flower. I watched them for 20 minutes or so working very studiously collecting nectar and doing what bees do….and it got me thinking. How different are our businesses and organisations, the expectations of tasks and designated roles to that required of bees? I imagine if I followed the bees back to their hives and was able to peer into the inner workings that I would not see: Ineffective meetings being held with Read more about Roles, Structure and Instinct…Be Like a Bee[…]

CoachStation: Building Leadership

The Current Challenge Of Leadership

People-oriented issues are the biggest factors impacting business success in 2012. A recent report by the business group, SixSeconds, titled The 2012 Workplace Issues Report: Insights On The People Side of Performance seeks to identify the key challenges in the workplace today. The report details the results of a global survey which explores top issues as well as employee attitudes and the role of emotional intelligence in solving those key issues. The findings collate 775 responses from leaders and employees worldwide, representing various levels of employment, industries and sectors. There are many interesting results and data-sets stemming from the survey, all providing depth to the importance of people-related leadership activities. 58% of survey respondents list ‘Leadership’ as the biggest ‘people-side’ issue in their organisation. Additionally, the survey highlights key words that identify fundamental areas of concern for business. The views of the respondents were summarised in the most frequently used words collated from the verbatim comments. In order, they were: Retention Talent Leadership Communication Fascinating results, with these trends and themes entrenched even more soundly in a few of my Read more about The Current Challenge Of Leadership[…]

At Last We’re Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 2)

Is employee engagement relevant in today‘s workforce? Earlier this week I wrote the first part of this blog relating to Employee Engagement. In part two I examine some of the leadership themes, highlights and a few statistics supporting the relevance and importance of engaging employees. A leader‘s ability to consistently demonstrate and apply relational skills has a direct correlation to the level of engagement an individual may feel. Providing genuine leadership is key. There appears to be a gap between what employees state is occurring and what leaders feel they are applying in reality. Data and surveys continually reflect the discrepancy between what leaders believe is occurring and what their team members state. This is often reflected in frequency and quality of the levels of engagement through formal and informal communication, coaching and development opportunities. There are many leadership traits and skills identified in various books and literature. However, a handful of values-based attributes are identified consistently towards the top of the ‘criticality-list‘ i.e. they are identified as a deal-breaker for many employees. Over the past 5 years I have Read more about At Last We’re Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 2)[…]

CoachStation: Employee Engagement

At Last We're Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 1)

Is employee engagement relevant in today‘s workforce? I would suggest more significant than ever with the ‘war for talent‘ escalating, technology providing a seemingly endless stream of information and contact with new job opportunities being more accessible than ever. What is employee engagement? Simply, it is how well an employee is fully involved in his or her role and the desire in meeting business interests, outcomes and goals. Employee Engagement is the extent to which employee commitment, both emotional and intellectual, exists relative to accomplishing the work, mission, and vision of the organisation. Engagement can be seen as a heightened level of ownership where each employee wants to do whatever they can for the benefit of their internal and external customers, and for the success of the organization as a whole…Thus engagement is distinctively different from employee satisfaction, motivation and organisational culture. (1) Although employee engagement has strong alignment to emotional connection and the level of commitment an employee applies to their work setting, clearly there are other variables and contributors. Whilst acknowledging the myriad influences, the key focus of Read more about At Last We're Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 1)[…]

CoachStation: Developing Leaders

Efficiency and Effectiveness – Leadership Impact

Are you efficient and effective in all that you do? I’m not, however a recent experience has taught me more about myself and the importance of these two attributes . Self-reflection, taking into account the many factors that influence us all is important for growth. Taking time to reflect provides a platform for improvement and awareness about what is going well and what you would like to change about who you are and what you do. In my most recent role as a senior leader within a global organisation I had many responsibilities and tasks assigned to my position. I was also in the fortunate situation where, for most of my tenure, I had a high degree of flexibility and freedom in my direction and subsequently, that of my team. Last year there was a leadership change within my team, which had its pros and cons. I had been through leadership change many times before. However, in this instance I did find there was less opportunity to genuinely contribute my ideas and I felt significantly less valued and comfortable in Read more about Efficiency and Effectiveness – Leadership Impact[…]

360 View in 360 Words: Leadership and Influence

To be able to effectively influence others is a key leadership skill. However, like many skills, particularly those involving the art of working with people, influencing can be a challenge. Situations, relationships, cultures and other variables impact your ability to influence. You do not have control over every one of these variables – but you do have control over developing a deeper set of skills in influencing others. Improve yourself through self-development and learn to influence others more effectively in practice. Be aware of your own body language and that of others. The ability to ‘read’ others through what is unsaid can be a powerful input into influencing. Take into account the other person’s perspective. The ultimate empathy position can be found when you step into the other person’s shoes – standing where they stand, seeing what they see and hearing what they hear. Understanding other people’s perspectives and points of view helps you to gain the support of them and reach mutually desirable outcomes. Trust: being trusted and trusting others is a great base to work from. Those who Read more about 360 View in 360 Words: Leadership and Influence[…]

Leadership, Employee Engagement and Customer Service

I attended last years IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney and thoroughly enjoyed the content. I learned a lot. There were many great speakers. Many of them focused on the what – meaning that I learned about tools, measurements, successes through data collection and customer platforms, amongst other aspects. I was invited to this year’s conference, including the opportunity to be a guest speaker during the opening day. I wanted to set a challenge to myself and the attendees with a pitch more aligned to the ‘how’: • How do we achieve improved customer service results? • How do we establish the right culture to balance employee, customer and business needs? • How do we use the extensive quantities of data available to real advantage? • How do we create employee engagement, empowerment and buy-in that means our customers feel the benefit? ============ My presentation was titled ‘Customer Experience Management from the Inside-Out‘ The core theme implies that if we want to genuinely positively impact customer experience and service standards, we must build a culture and understanding that the customer Read more about Leadership, Employee Engagement and Customer Service[…]

Leadership @Customer Experience Management Conference

This week I attended the IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a guest speaker during the Focus Day on Monday and many other speakers have shared their thoughts and presentations over the three days. Although the conference theme was based around Customer Experience, there have been many great quotes and comments regarding leadership, business and culture that are worth sharing. This blog highlights a few of the key points that I felt were most relevant and resonated with my own values and passions. Thank you to all the speakers for sharing! How are you choosing to challenge what has been done previously? Don’t accept the reasonable reasons from the past. Our employees want to know their leaders and what they care about. Gordon Ballantyne, Telstra ============= Leadership cannot be outsourced to HR. Be disciplined: celebrate short-term but don’t forget your ultimate goal. Dirk Hofman, Nokia ============= The empowered customer is now in control of the business relationship. 90% of effort is used collecting and collating data and 10% actually using it – it should Read more about Leadership @Customer Experience Management Conference[…]

11 Key Leadership and Customer Experience Mantras

This week I am attending the IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a guest speaker during the Focus Day on Monday and presented on the subject of ‘Building Customer Experience Frameworks From The Inside Out’. The comments and quotes highlight some of my key themes and concepts that I feel are most important when developing a Customer Experience philosophy and strategy: Unless your business sees Customer Experience as a culture, not a tool, then your customers will feel the pain of what is not being provided by your customer-facing employees. Leaders should create a culture of employee engagement, empowerment and buy-in that ensures your customers benefit. When we get our leadership mantra right…our employees care about their roles and our customers ‘feel’ the difference. The so-called soft-skills that differentiate management from leadership are most commonly the key to driving the change in our employees that we are looking for. Leadership is not a tick-the-box exercise. Effective leadership, relationship-building, coaching, connecting, understanding employee motivations, empowerment are all possible – but they take considerable strategy, Read more about 11 Key Leadership and Customer Experience Mantras[…]

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