Tag Archive for: Relationship Development

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 caught up in the ‘doing’ is a major part of the reason why so many of you feel time poor. You must invest to get a return. The decisions and investment made in your employees now has a greater pay off than continuing to do what you have always done…and being frustrated or disappointed in the results.


Relationships matter to all of us, both in and out of work. Being a leader is much more than just possessing the skills and attributes. It is also about being present and personable. Connecting with people is a major strength if you wish to influence and much of leadership is based on being influential. Developing a relationship is not the same as a friendship. It is more relevant to be trusted and trusting; honest and vulnerable; self-aware; respected and respectful; and other related attributes.

This does confuse some people. In fact, I have had discussions with a couple of senior leaders over the years who categorically state that it is impossible to maintain close relationships with those you lead. Maybe, but not always. Oversimplifying or generalising misses the points about relationships needing to be individual and personalised.


 Amongst many important skills, to lead is to influence and inspire. To do so, you need to know more about your team members than you think. You must connect and understand people to make relationships impactful.


To influence and inspire requires a mindset that other’s ideas, opinions and thoughts are at least as important as your own. Understanding people matters. To do this well, you need to know your team member’s as individual people.


Read: Trust – The Cornerstone of Relationships and Leadership


The many, many challenges that can occur in the workplace and within relationships can be best met and overcome through solid relationships. When you trust the message deliverer you are more likely to actively listen and buy into the point being made. This includes those times when the message is a positive one; a challenging conversation; or of mutual benefit. Of course, the need to develop trust works both ways. Essentially, you need to earn the right to have whatever conversation is required. Without a trusted relationship most conversations feel challenging. They can also be stressful and do more harm than good, exaggerating the lack of trust that exists in the first place.


It is difficult to influence from afar. How can you lead and influence people if you are rarely available? If you don’t know each team member personally and are unaware of their motivators, values and similar traits you will miss the mark.


Maintaining effective relationships also helps with decision-making, particularly when considering employees for promotion; assessing performance; or, thinking about filling secondment vacancies. Identification of core employees, their strengths and potential is more accurate and effective when you know your people. The benefits of getting this right are many, for all involved.

Nothing here is intended to replace the foundational work of leadership development. Higher levels of engagement, greater entrepreneurialism, and a more inclusive culture are less quantifiable but no less valuable benefits. (2)

Having the foresight to tackle any leadership needs in a proactive way is the first and best step you can take. A recent survey conducted via SmartBrief shows that leadership challenges are the biggest concern for business people when they think about 2018. Spending an appropriate amount of time focusing on developing the next generation of leaders, before they are promoted is a rare strategy. Yet, it remains amongst the top challenges and concerns for business leaders and owners.

CoachStation and Relationships: Leadership & Business Concerns 2018

SmartBrief on Leadership: Biggest Business Concerns for 2018

Searching for the next generation of business leaders represents one of the biggest headaches for any organisation.


Most, in our experience, rely on development programs that rotate visible high fliers, emphasising the importance of leadership attributes such as integrity, collaboration, a results-driven orientation and customer-oriented behaviour.


Many, understandably, also look outside the organisation to fill key roles despite the costs and potential risks of hiring cultural misfits.

Far fewer, though, scan systematically for the hidden talent that often lurks unnoticed within their own corporate ranks. Sometimes those overlooked leaders remain invisible because of gender, racial, or other biases. Others may have unconventional backgrounds, be reluctant to put themselves forward, or have fallen off (or steered clear of) the standard development path. Regardless of the cause, it’s a wasted opportunity when good leaders are overlooked and it can leave individuals feeling alienated and demotivated. (2)

The relationships that you form with each of your direct reports are central to your ability to fulfil your three core responsibilities as a manager: Create a culture of feedback, build a cohesive team, and achieve results collaboratively. But these relationships do not follow the rules of other relationships in our lives; they require a careful balancing act.


You need to care personally, without getting creepily personal or trying to be a “popular leader.”


You need to challenge people directly and tell them when their work isn’t good enough, without being a jerk or creating a vicious cycle of discouragement and failure. That’s a hard thing to do.

When you can care personally at the same time that you challenge directly, you’re on the way to successful leadership. The term I use to describe a good manager–direct report relationship, and this ability to care and challenge simultaneously, is radical candor. So what can you do to build radically candid relationships with each of your direct reports? And what are the pitfalls to avoid? (3)

CoachStation & Relationships: 8 Ways to Be a Better Leader















  • More productivity, less place

More leaders have teams who are remote some or all of the time. If you have worries about what people are doing when they aren’t nearby, it is time to let that go.

In most cases, people are more productive when they have fewer of the distractions that naturally occur at work.

Focus on your productivity and supporting the productivity of your team, wherever they may be working.

  • More influence, less power

For far too long too many leaders have tried to play the power card as if it was the only card in their hand. There is an inherent power imbalance between you and those you lead, but there is far more to leadership than just using your power.

Focus your development on being more influential; working on skills and relationships with individuals to create an environment where people choose to follow.

This is related to the last item on this list, and it is too important to overlook!

  • More trust, less micromanagement

You don’t want to be led by a micromanager, and neither does your team. While a lack of trust is far from the only reason leaders micromanage, it is often the biggest perception your team has of this tendency. Work to build your trust in your team members – you will be rewarded in many ways, and likely you will feel less need to micromanage too.

  • More coaching, less “annual performance review”

I have far more to say about the annual performance review than can be shared here, but the fact is that you need to coach more frequently. If your organization requires an annual performance review, it will be far easier and far more effective if you are coaching regularly. When you do that, most of the stress goes out of the performance review; and performance will improve and improve sooner.

  • More intention, less routine

Routine helps us navigate our world, but doesn’t allow us to change. Routine is the worker bee of the status quo.

As a leader, you must expect more of yourself and your team than the simple status quo. This means you must be more intentional about what you want to accomplish and about your behaviors and choices.

Don’t rely solely on routine; re-examine them to make sure they are serving your best interests.

  • More “us”, less “them”

I challenge you to change this in your thinking, and one way to test it is in your words. Read your emails, read your memos. Listen to what you are saying. Speak more inclusively and with more personal pronouns. This shows your ownership and shows your team where they stand in your mind.

  • More listening, less talking

You know this is important and it is pretty simple. Talk less. Engage with your team by listening, not by talking. Ask questions, then be quiet. When you listen, you can learn. When you really listen, you show people you care about their message and them.

  • More commitment, less compliance

You want commitment from your team, right? If so, you need to lead differently, be more intentional and focus on influence. (4)


The question remains: how can you genuinely identify the next group of leaders for your business if you don’t have relationships with them, or those they report to?


Personality based decision-making and biased judgment continues to be a major point of failure for many organisations. Additionally, promoting team members based on the fact that they excel in their existing role is often fraught with risk also. But, organisation’s make this same mistake every day.

The importance of relationships cannot be overstated. In our personal and professional lives most of us want to feel connected to people we care about and the things that we do. Our observations working with many organisations and coaching hundreds of people in recent years has highlighted the importance of trusted relationships. So, consider in your team and organisation, how well do you meet this need?



(1) SmartBrief on Leadership

(2) McKinsey: Finding Hidden Leaders

(3) Harvard Business Review

(4) Leadership Digital: Kevin Eikenberry

Effective leaders make shared goals clear. They also clarify the role we each play in achieving them.

Leaders empower their team members and hold them accountable for delivering agreed results.

However, to inspire and empower you must have a connection with your team members…a relationship.

CoachStation: Steve Riddle, Empower, Leadership and Coaching

The words and concept in the heading above could not be clearer. The message and need to establish accountability cannot be understated. Making this real in practice is the challenge.

How many of us truly provide the context and create the environment where trust and accountability are encouraged? Do you empower or dis-empower?

A few weeks ago I facilitated a ‘Lunch and Learn’ session with one of my clients. The session formed part of a week-long focus on leadership. Other speakers included representatives from Blanchard International and BTS Australasia. I was provided with guidance on the session topic, which had to relate to coaching and leadership. We were fortunate to have Max from Sketchvideos recording the key points from each session, as highlighted in the image above.

Many of us have the opportunity to influence, lead and manage people either directly or indirectly every day. Like most leadership and people-related skills, this requires practice and effort. It is important to understand the key points and areas to focus on and practice whilst developing yourself and those around you. In the lunch and learn sessions, I discussed the core traits and skills that the most effective leaders possess and apply every day.

To empower is to provide opportunity for buy-in and success for individual employees and your team overall.

One of the most important, yet often missed elements is to establish agreed expectations and standards. Clarity of expectations provides a greater chance that your team members will complete tasks and actions in an efficient and timely way. It is virtually impossible for an employee to feel empowered if there is disagreement or misunderstanding in what they are expected to do each day. Most critically, clarity allows each person to engage in their roles and hold themselves accountable.

Most managers are more comfortable discussing and holding team members accountable for the objective aspects of their role for example KPI’s; KRA’s; results etc. They are often less comfortable influencing the ‘seemingly subjective’ aspects of the role. As highlighted in the associated graphic, we often do more talking and telling than asking and listening. This is particularly prevalent when managing people, during 1:1’s and appraisal-type discussions.

By telling and informing, the leader is assuming a lot and making it more about themselves. Who’s 1:1 is it anyway?

Too often managers are fearful about how to establish expectations and hold these conversations. Particularly when the goals and standards are seemingly subjective and are less quantifiable. With the right skills and practice, accountability is possible to apply, no matter the details of the performance expectation or requirement.

Once agreed, the commitment to meet the expectation is implicit, whether objective or subjective in nature.

It is worth considering whether this point applies to you? Take a moment to reflect on how often you deliberately focus on agreed expectations. Check in with your team…you may be surprised at the response. Additionally, there are other skills and traits that employees look for in their leaders. The graphic below highlights a recent survey that asked which leadership traits and skills were most important.

Leadership Skills Survey Results_HBR

Whereas, most of them are reasonably obvious, we can all think of manager’s who fail more than succeed in demonstrating the skills through action. The skills can be developed. What is one of the best ways to influence most, if not all, of the leadership skills listed above? Coaching! Being coached and developing others through coaching has tangible and measurable benefits. Many of these outcomes are the skills that our employees are looking for. How do we know this? Because feedback and survey after survey tells us so.

A leader only has to become moderately proficient in most of the skills above to be an effective and productive leader. Perfection across all skills is not required. In fact, it is not possible. However, taking the time and putting conscious effort into growth and development provides many benefits…to yourself and your team. Although, it is worth remembering that knowing and doing are not the same thing! Oddly, they are the same traits and attributes you are looking from from your leaders. Yet, we often see what we provide and what we get in different contexts and degrees of self-expectation.

Genuine progress is made through taking action, developing skills and closing any gaps.

Managers can attest to this experience: You ask an employee to carry out a task that has enough flexibility for creative input. Rather than making their own decisions, the employee comes to you with an onslaught of questions, trying to pin down the exact parameters of the task. You become exasperated, wondering why the employee has to ask you permission for every tiny detail.

This isn’t an unusual phenomenon – it can be difficult to break out of the leader-follower mindset at the workplace. In fact, researchers from Penn State, Claremont McKenna College, and Tsinghua University find that only rare, “transformational leaders” are able to prevent employees from being excessively reliant on their bosses, cultivating instead a staff that feels empowered and self-guided.

Trust and business acumen are some of the cornerstones in building this type of work culture.

We can use this wisdom to train informed and decisive teams that we can trust. (1)

To empower is to provide opportunity for involvement and input into the conversation; understand what matters most to each person; and have a say into the work being performed.

In Eyewitness to Power, David Gergen writes, “At the heart of leadership is the leader’s relationship with followers. People will entrust their hopes and dreams to another person only if they think the other is a reliable vessel.”

There was a time when leaders thought their role was to exert power over others. No longer. Today’s best leaders recognise their leadership is most effective when they empower others to step up and lead. That’s exactly what the new generation of Gen X and Millennials expect from their leaders, and they respond with great performance.

With leadership comes responsibility. As Clayton Christensen wrote, “No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognised for achievement.”

It’s time to lead authentically. You can do so by focusing on empowering others. 

A team of empowered leaders all rowing in the same direction is hard to beat. (2) It is only when we mature and grow as leaders that we realise most people have at least a general understanding of their own performance, successes and future development opportunities. Gaining more context through asking; developing a stronger connection and trust; and setting up the opportunity for more productive relationships ongoing, are all benefits. But, we don’t provide enough guidance through facilitating a discussion to help our employees draw these conclusions. These behaviours are most commonly a result of:

  • Avoidance and fear of our own capability to assist – “I won’t ask the question as I may not be able to do anything with the answer”
  • Prior poor examples, experiences or situations that have created self-doubt
  • Lack of skill and capability to lead
  • Selfishness – simply not caring enough about members of your team to bother (a strong indicator that this type of manager shouldn’t be leading teams in the first place!!)

The desire to build leadership skill takes time…just like every other skill or capability you have developed.

To coach and lead is to empower. But, we all must develop the capability to do this well. The graphic below provides a set of guidelines about how to hold an effective 1:1 and coach accordingly. You will notice there are more questions that statements. Your opinion and view can be fed into the conversation as it develops. Stop and consider whether a question may be more effective and provide greater understanding than a statement would.

Coaching & Mentoring Empower 5 Stages 1017

Giving up control and empowering your team can be a terrifying experience for many leaders. You might feel compelled to watch their every move and peek over their shoulders. But by monitoring someone’s every move, you’re actually impeding his or her ability to grow.

Give your team some space, trust them, and you might be impressed by what they’re able to achieve.

Breaking out of the traditional leader-follower mindset can help you create stronger staff bonds founded on trust, self-confidence, and achievement. When you create room for independent work and decision-making, your team might discover that they’re able to achieve far more than they originally thought possible. Test drive these leadership techniques, and see what your own team is really capable of. (1)

How do you think you might use this information to empower and assist your team?


(1) Forbes.com

(2) Huffington Post

The ability and desire to focus on those areas of our lives that provide the greatest return can often be confusing. Change and growth comes first through understanding and acknowledgement.

When there is understanding, there is the potential for action.

Without understanding and action, it is too easy to continue to do what you have always done. That may of course be justified in your mind, but it rarely leads to progression, growth and development.

CoachStation: Focus On the Inputs
In almost every coaching and mentoring engagement I have taken on in recent years, my clients have struggled to understand the difference between inputs and outputs. In nearly every case, managers and leaders focus on the output, result or outcome and ignore the inputs. So, here’s the big tip:

You cannot change, influence or develop through focusing on a result only – understand the inputs and things that influence the result!

Don’t misunderstand my point. Results and outcomes matter enormously. Measuring our outputs and contributions is key to business. KPI’s, profits, budgets etc are critical to business…they just can’t be changed through themselves. Why? Well for three main reasons:

  1. They are historical, representing what has occurred in the past, hence cannot be changed.
  2. The inputs and things influencing and contributing to the result are what should be actioned and focused on because they can be changed.
  3. Very few people can directly translate the outcomes or result back into how they do what they do every day.

Let me provide more context. Most people, given the opportunity, can develop awareness for what they need to do and why it matters. The ‘how’ on the other hand is more difficult to determine on your own. Training will provide the background and broad knowledge. However, expecting the training participant to take this information and apply sustained change as a result, is difficult if not impossible minus follow-up and targeted support. Without reinforcement and personalisation, training has limited sustainable impact. By the way, I am a trainer and facilitator, so I am certainly not criticising training as a method of development in itself.

On its own and without reinforcement and personalisation, training rarely leads to meaningful action and change.

I am confident that many of you can think of times when you, your team or colleagues have attended training and not done anything different as a result. Crazily, I have even seen some managers send members of their team to the same training programs, year after year, expecting a different result. It rarely makes a difference. That is in fact, a very necessary focus of coaching and mentoring and a major part of the reason I now dedicate most of my time in this area.
My wife, Julie, and I have 3 daughters. Our middle daughter, Charli, plays netball. This year she has been selected in a representative team and will be playing in a State carnival in a few weeks. Based on recent conversations with the team coach, Hilary, I had the privilege in being invited to address the team and parents during one of the team training sessions recently. The key messages were delivered to 13 year old girls. I wanted to maintain their focus and take the opportunity to get them thinking differently. To challenge not only how they think, but where they focus time and energy. The link between netball and life was also highlighted. So, I related the core message to the theme of this blog.

The key is to understand and focus on the inputs, not the outputs.

Influence the many, many things that contribute to the result, not on the result itself.

Ultimately, I broke down the content to a key seven points. Of course, there are more topics that could be listed. However, I feel that the 7 themes highlighted are the baseline for development and growth. These topics and potential actions are as relevant to the young ladies who are in the rep netball team, as to people outside of sport. In fact, they are key to all of our lives in order to thrive (not just survive) in our modern world.
1. Self-Awareness: understanding who you are and how others see you is critical to your success. Too often we live in denial or fear about our performance, capabilities and how we are perceived. Perfection is not the goal. Improvement, increased self-esteem and continued growth are.
2. Communication: the ability to influence others; genuinely listen and understand; succinctly put across your views and thoughts; and, consistently ensure people believe what you say is important.

It is not only verbal skills, but also takes into account your ability to communicate through written means. Less obvious is your body language, pitch, tone, emotional levels and other contributors, but no less important.

3. Relationships: are one of the key inputs and cornerstones to satisfaction in life. In a work and sport context, this is not necessarily about developing friendships. It can be, but is more about building trust and respect, so that an honest and real conversation can be held and heard. Understanding what you value most and seeking insight into other’s values is one good way to develop depth in relationships.
4. Teamwork: has become even more relevant than in the past. Much of our learning, work environments; study and learning options are positioned within teams. The emphasis on individuals has reduced in recent years in the workplace, universities and other institutions. The focus on people collaborating and achieving more as a team, rather than individually, has become one of the big changes to how we operate. Your willingness and ability to meet that need will be one of the measurements of success.

Your ability to relate to others, influence, communicate and work collaboratively will define much of your success.

A very relevant point is to understand that diversity between people is good, when we take the time to understand the differences that exist. Understanding provides acceptance and acknowledgment. A lack of understanding often leads to assumption and negative judgment. It is the difference between thinking: “I wouldn’t do or say that, so you are wrong” to “I wouldn’t necessarily say or do that, however I know you well enough to understand your perspective”. It may feel like a subtle point, but in reality is a powerful difference in how people work together.
5. Capability and Competence: clearly a relevant input into your performance and perception relates to your ability to perform. Contribution to your team is reliant on continually developing competence, skills and capability in what you do.
6. Focus on Strengths: there is much greater opportunity for success when working from those areas that you are most interested, passionate and talented in. These are your strengths. We don’t have the opportunity to ignore our weaknesses or lesser talents. However, when you develop the areas that you care most deeply about and have natural ability in, your exponential growth is assured. Too often we are asked to focus solely on our weaknesses. These are the wrong inputs. Performance appraisals and other organisational tools are often designed this way. It is our role as leaders and people who care to make sure we talk about what is working well, not just the gaps and weaknesses. Strikingly, this type of emphasis assists us to build stronger relationships; trust; self-awareness and other elements detailed in this blog.

A shift in focus and mindset to develop talents into strengths can provide significantly greater returns.

7. Accountability and Action: the absolute key to improvement, growth and influencing the inputs. Willingness to be accountable for yourself and maintain a level of honesty in your own self-perception provides a platform for action. It is not enough to know more. It is always about what you do with this information. Practice does not make perfect. Practising the right thing, the right way leads to improvement and that is enough to enable growth. However, you must make a conscious choice and persist with your goals and actions for this to become more than good intention.
After the mini-workshop with the netball team I was talking with the coaching staff. It is fascinating how relevant these themes are for 13-year old girls and within the workplaces in our adult world. Interestingly, this points to the view that what works best for people, works best for people. Whether that is within families, workplaces, sporting teams or other situations where people congregate, the elements that provide comfort and growth remain similar.
The earlier that you develop and focus on the inputs that develop your self-awareness, relationships, confidence and self-esteem the more likely success will come your way…no matter how you measure success.

The leader and employee in today’s environment must possess a credible and trusted brand, much like a company does.

This is sometimes also referred to as a personal and/or professional reputation. Either way, people see you a certain way based on your behaviours, words and actions. Being aware of this helps you to take control of your brand.

Like culture, it exists whether we influence it or not. Why then, wouldn’t you want to take control of this as much as possible? The benefits of modern technology and Social Media make this easier than in the past. It also provides potential pitfalls and risk. However, your personal brand and the perception you create is more than your Social Media profiles and habits. Your ‘real life’ actions and behaviours shape the perception others have of you. After all, those closest to you are the people who you should be most interested in influencing. Rarely is the depth of relationships online as strong as in person. Sadly, the lines are becoming blurred for many people.

CoachStation: Personal Brand and Leadership

It takes time and effort to develop your reputation built on genuine results, behaviours, skills and qualities that others identify as strengths and positive attributes. This is important for all of us, but is most critical for leaders.

Personal branding, much like social media, is about making a full-time commitment to the journey of defining yourself as a leader and how this will shape the manner in which you will serve others. (1)

Many leaders are already performing well in their roles and have much to offer. Whether people recognise and acknowledge this is another question. Having the knowledge and tools to promote yourself effectively without appearing to be ‘big-noting’ is a challenge for some. I look at this differently. It is not about being a self-promoter. It is more about being comfortable enough in who you are and your achievements so that you can comfortably talk about it. This comfort stems from strength in self-esteem and self-acceptance, amongst other attributes.

Overlooked for promotion; receiving little recognition; difficulty in explaining beliefs, passions or roles, along with other skills are often difficult challenges, but can be overcome. Creating a strong brand can only be achieved through consistent practice and application. This takes effort and accountability. In a blog I wrote previously titled Setting Standards and Expectations, I mentioned the importance of ownership and taking accountability.

Perceptions about self and what we think others believe about us influences much of who we are and what we do.

Each person has their own beliefs and needs and are at various stages of acceptance of their situation, financial requirements and employability. Being clear about what you want from life, including as an employee, helps you to make appropriate decisions. Decisions based on want, values and need and not simply situation and opportunity. Even when current roles appear stable, understanding of yourself and focusing energies on the next steps or options is a worthwhile exercise.

A brand in itself is not the end game. It is a mistake to think that a hollow set of tricks and/or being a good marketer without having the substance to support the brand will work.

This is the same when promoting products, services or people. People see through this kind of facade very quickly, even when we think they haven’t.

What is presented to the world via your online presence is becoming more and more critical to how other people view who you are and what you stand for. It is a wonder to me how many people still struggle with this concept. As important as this is, meaning and substance matters more than merely presenting yourself professionally online. It is how you communicate, manage perceptions, behave, respond, learn about and apply emotional intelligence. A solid social media presence is one aspect, but your brand is more than that.

It also relates to your ability to develop relationships, foster an ability to connect with others and various similar core skills that help you to influence people.

Taking control of and developing your reputation is essential for the advancement of your career and development as a leader. Unfortunately, personal branding has become a “commoditized” term that has lost its intention as people have irresponsibly used social media as a platform to build their personal brand and increase their relevancy. They believe social media can immediately increase their market value for their personal brand rather than recognizing that the process of developing their personal brand is a much bigger responsibility; a never-ending journey that extends well beyond social media.

Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving.

This doesn’t mean self-promotion – that you should be creating awareness for your brand by showcasing your achievements and success stories. Managing your personal brand requires you to be a great role model, mentor, and/or a voice that others can depend upon. (1)

Personal branding is a topic that has been of interest to me for some years. The related concepts and practical elements are consistently discussed topics when coaching and mentoring my clients. Our focus is about what is happening now, how you present yourself in your current role. This is not only relevant and important when you are looking for a new role. Essentially, having a strong brand always matters. I work with people in various industries at all levels of management, yet the branding elements remain surprisingly consistent.

The issues that exist and skills required in modern workplaces are as applicable for entry-level employees as they are for supervisors and executive level leaders.

How you present yourself should reflect what you care most about. This should include demonstrating consistency in values, beliefs and actions. The most effective leaders are those who care about people and are passionate about specific aspects of their role.

If you want to become a person of influence in your industry, realize it usually takes years of experience to earn a spot at the top. “How do you figure out something is your passion? It’s that thing you go to sleep about at night and it’s on your mind. You wake up and it’s still on your mind. It’s like a burning desire inside of you, you just can’t escape it, and you would do it for free simply because you love it.” (2)

At CoachStation we focus on the core elements that can assist any individual to develop a reputation and brand. One that is based on a solid foundation, leading to improved credibility and future success. These topics may be of use to you as you continue to build your reputation:

  1. Investigate why personal branding is important in your business and personal life.
  2. Take control of your brand and reputation – like culture, it exists, so you may as well influence it as much as possible.
  3. Learn the key elements of branding and how to build on them with meaning and authenticity.
  4. Build self-esteem, confidence and authenticity – don’t feel you need to act the part or play a role either in your personal or professional life.
  5. Understand the relevance of Social Media in developing a brand and how to use these tools to greatest effect.
  6. Develop a strong brand that is consistent with what you care about the most and your passions.
  7. Learn how to use the most relevant tools and technology to develop your brand.
  8. Seek understanding why a personal and professional brand is a non-negotiable for leaders and employees in today’s environment.
View your personal brand as a trademark; an asset that you must protect while continuously moulding and shaping it. 

Your personal brand is an asset that must be managed with the intention of helping others benefit from having a relationship with you and/or by being associated with your work and the industry you serve. (1)

The need to develop your brand and reputation is more relevant today than ever. If you don’t take control of your brand it will continue to evolve but not in a way that will add value to yourself and those you care about.

Have you defined your own brand? If so, do you live and  breathe it consistently every day?

Think about what your brand looks like from the perspective of others.

Take action to be accountable in shaping your brand to greatest effect.

As always, the opportunity is yours.




(1)  Personal Branding is a Leadership Requirement, Not a Self-Promotion Campaign: Forbes

(2) How To Create a Standout Personal Brand: Entrepreneur.com


Is integrity a negotiable trait, or is it one of the cornerstones of good leadership?

CoachStation: Integrity and Leadership
I recently met with a client who I have known for some time in a different capacity. He is starting up his own business and it is a very exciting time for him. During our discussion, he made a point to me, that although is not new, in that moment meant so much to me. It felt good to be reminded about what credibility and success, as I measure it, is based on. His statement was that:

Without your integrity, you have nothing!

He is right. I take the view that how we get there is more important than the end result. By this I mean that when we focus on internal, innate and substantial inputs, we have control on the outcomes and results. Integrity is an input and an output. All of our behaviours, values, beliefs and other attributes contribute to the choices we make and demonstrate. These are the inputs. They must be consistent with what we say is important.

People will follow what you do much more readily than what you say.

For as long as I can remember, integrity has been a critical part of who I am and how I operate. My coaching and leadership development business, CoachStation, is built upon this attribute. I know that my client was referring to both points when he made the statement. But, on the drive home, my mind was really working through this point.
How different is that for any person who wishes to be seen as credible, real, authentic or effective? It’s an incredibly important and relevant attribute when influencing. To lead you must be influential. It doesn’t mean you can’t make mistakes. We all do. Integrity, however, provides a platform to always acknowledge the errors. It is linked strongly to self-esteem and self-acceptance, which are built upon how comfortable we are with our decisions and who we are.

Of all the facets of character, integrity might be the most critical.

It builds valuable trust between people – and yet (it may also be) the most difficult to define. I’ve heard many sage leaders say, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching.” That definition relies too much on habit. I can be without integrity, yet trained to behave predictably in a certain manner. There are two critical components of integrity that go beyond just doing the right thing when no one is looking. The first is the adherence to a moral or ethical principle. This isn’t simple compliance to a rule; it implies a philosophical understanding of the reason it exists. The second is the pursuit of an undiminished state or condition. Everyone makes mistakes, so being a person of integrity does not mean you haven’t committed a moral or ethical violation, ever.

It means having the strength of character to learn from those ‘misbehaviors’ and seek continual self-improvement. (1)

It is also related to the point I have made previously, that the best leaders are those who genuinely care about those they influence and lead. To take a position of wanting to give, no matter whether your actions will be reciprocated, provides great esteem and satisfaction. It also leads to a degree of comfort and conviction in how you operate and behave that is difficult to describe, but has much power.
Integrity and honesty are intertwined. Not only, as it is often defined, as being honest with others. It is also about being honest with yourself. When coaching, I find this point to be one of the core deal-breakers for success.

Those who are prepared to see themselves for who they are and challenge themselves to develop, are regularly also people who are looked upon with respect and as having integrity.

The question of what the most important qualities are is something executive and career coaches have been asking for years. While it is assumed a good leader requires a selection of traits and attributes, a new survey has shed light on what single attribute employees value the most. The survey, from Robert Half examined the perceptions of two different groups – workers and CFOs – and while there were some major differences in their responses, interestingly there was one key similarity.

Both groups regarded integrity as the most important leadership attribute with 75 percent of workers believing so. (2)

There are many things you can lack and still steer clear of danger. Integrity isn’t one of them. Establish a set of sound ethics policies, integrate them into all business processes, communicate them broadly to all employees, and make clear that you will not tolerate any deviation from any of them. Then live by them. The key that too many managers miss is “then live by them.” (3)

You cannot set policies that employees need to live by, and not live by them yourself.

That will never work in the long run. 

The thing about integrity is that it is often a key contributor to how people feel about you. These perceptions start with how you feel about yourself…as a leader, employee, person, parent or any other role you have in life. A lack of integrity can be obvious. Maybe it is difficult to describe, however integrity is a worthy point to reflect upon and consider where it sits within your life currently.

Don’t worry so much about your self-esteem. Worry more about your character. Integrity is its own reward.

Laura Schlessinger

(1) Smart Company
(2) Huffington Post
(3) Lead On Purpose