Tag Archives: Executive Coaching

Want to be more successful? Listen to audiobooks.

happyaudio

There is a quote, which is often attributed to Mark Twain, that goes something like this:

A person who doesn’t read has no advantage over one who can’t.

The truth is that most of us don’t read very much at all. And for those that do, a lot of that reading time is spent with newspapers, magazines or miscellaneous work-related papers and articles.

Most people don’t read books. Most business people don’t read enough books. Yet, if you ask them, they will admit that they should read more. Common reasons that business people will give are not having enough time, not knowing what books to read and not finding books that interest them.

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Two questions you need to ask yourself every day

question

Q1: How would you like to feel when your work is done today?

Got it?

Q2: What actions could you take now to maximise the likelihood of feeling like that?

The answer to Q2 will probably include stuff you don’t feel like doing now.

You have two choices: face up to what you need to do  & do it now OR think about it but do something else.

So, how do you think that latter option will make you feel?

The underrated value of quitting

I quit!!

There has rarely been a better time to quit. Everything appears to be changing. And changing faster than we ever expected. Old models are crumbling. Some new ones are emerging. There’s a lot of chaos in between.

If you have been worried about the social impact of quitting, then maybe this is as good as it gets. With the impact of the economic recession now at its peak, behaviours and expectations have changed. Displays of wealth are embarassing. Frugality is the new chic. Austerity is the new religion. Or so it appears at this point, at the turn of the year, indeed the decade.

But what is it that you should quit? In The Dip: The Extraordinary Benefits of Knowing When to Quit and When to Stick, Seth Godin asks whether you are in a ‘dip’ or a cul-de-sac. And his message is simple: if you’re in a cul-de-sac, it’s time to quit; if you’re in a dip, keep going.

Most of us probably have some dips and cul-de-sacs. We are irrationally compelled to have more than one. We need to figure out which is which. And we need to do it quickly.

Many business people are hanging on. Hanging on for the recession to go away. Hanging on until the good old days come back. If you’re hanging on for the return of 100% mortgages, you probably don’t need to be told that’s a cul-de-sac. And you do need to quit.

But some are surviving. They’re making progress, albeit modest progress. And many may not be realising financial gain. And their biggest question right now is: am I in a dip or a cul-de-sac?

culdesac

The good news is that quitting the cul-de-sacs gives you more energy to push through the dips. As Godin says, we can’t be the best in the world (our world) at everything. The world needs us to be the best at something though. There we need to dominate. Elsewhere, we should probably leave.

You may well be working on your plans for 2010. You’re probably calling it a strategy. How many of those plans involve continuing down a cul-de-sac? Be honest. If you can’t, ask others. Ask your boss. Ask your customers. Ask those who won’t tell what you want to hear.

Here’s a great question: if we could start all over again from January 1st, how would we do it? Knowing now what we do, what wouldn’t we have got involved in or started?

Got the answers? Great.

Quit the cul-de-sacs. Embrace the dips. What’s stopping you?

The elasticity of time

The_Persistence_of_Memory

Even though I use a quote from Albert Einstein elsewhere on this site, this post is not an exploration of his theory of relativity!

In recent weeks I have experienced both the total relaxation of holidays and the hectic busyness of a very full work schedule. Every day that passed apparently had the same number of hours on the clock. But it certainly didn’t feel that way.

The clock ticks at the same pace all the time. Each day comes and goes. The sun rises and then sets. Newspapers land in the stores with a new date.  Yet, time can feel so elastic.

On some holidays, with days of unstructured relaxation lying ahead, time can appear to be infinite. And many of us will tend to act as if there is an unlimited supply of time. But the clock is ticking at the same pace.

When we are under pressure, facing a deadline, or have over-committed ourselves, it feels like time is in very short supply. We work to maximise the output of every single minute. Yet, the clock is ticking at the same pace.

From working closely with people in our ‘Overcoming Procrastination’ workshops, I have noticed that our varying perception of the value of time can lie at the root of many non-productive behaviours. Why do we treat our time as being precious and valuable one day, yet the following day act as if it is a commodity with an infinite supply?

Finding a more consistent or level balance on how we value our time can be hugely effective in helping us get into a productive mode and ultimately, achieve our targets and goals. If we can find our optimal ‘sense of urgency’ and ensure that it is sustainable, then we will have developed a very productive habit.

The ‘sense of urgency’ label may have become a cliche in many business circles but I think it accurately captures a critical point of human behaviour. Of course, it’s easy to abuse the concept, especially in corporate environments where ‘sense of urgency’ is measured as a required competency. I have seen many expend a lot of energy in creating a storm of dust but ultimately achieving very little.

So, here’s a key question: what is the optimal level of urgency that gets you moving on what you need to do but doesn’t tire you too quickly?

In recent months, I have developed the habit of a daily reflection, mostly completed before I begin my work. At present, I reflect on four points under the heading of ‘sense of urgency’:

  1. My time is not infinite
  2. Today will never come again
  3. Now is the time to act
  4. I am at my best when I move with purpose

What works for you when you work to arm yourself with your optimal sense of urgency?

Coaching with Aodan Enright

Coaching with Aodan Enright

Get out of the office, and make meaningful and sustainable progress.

Work worth doing rarely comes without challenge. As intelligent, and ambitious, human beings, it’s perfectly normal to get stuck along the way.

Great coaching can ensure that you stay in contention, allowing you to do your very best work, while feeling well in yourself.

Aodan Enright is a highly-respected coach who has thousands of hours experience in working with professionals from different backgrounds: multinational executives to freelancers, ambitious employees to business builders.

Aodan’s coaching approach is a little different from the norm. He gets you out walking, away from the office and the frenzy of the working world. You’ll enjoy the change of scene, and find that you see your situation in a fresh light. And afterwards, you’ll leave with renewed focus, and clarity.

Aodan specialises in working with people who:

  • are looking to thrive in large organisations
  • are on the journey of building a successful business
  • work as freelancers or service providers

Aodan’s style has been described by his clients as compassionate, insightful and enjoyable to work with. His primary coaching qualification is an Advanced Diploma in Business & Executive Coaching from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, and has continued to develop his coaching capability through his work with Smarter Egg.


Contact Aodan now – without obligation

By Email: aodan – at – smarteregg – dot- com
By Phone: +353 (0)86 608 9498

A strictly limited number of slots are available each month, with sessions available from €200+VAT.

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What clients say about Aodan’s coaching:

“Aodan has the ability to make you ask yourself the tough questions and supports you while you figure out the answers together. There’s no buzz-word bullshit, just solid thought out advice and you always feel that he is listening and genuinely interested and concerned”

– Ernest Cantillon, Entrepreneur

“Aodan has an uncanny way of getting to the kernel of what challenges people most.  He does this in a very gentle and kind way which allows people to be honest but not too hard on themselves. He creates a safe space where individuals can face the challenge of change in business and life head-on, and provides the structure for them to navigate through.”

– Barbara Nugent, founder EQ.ie

“Aodan has an ability to bring you to a clear conclusion yourself by taking you through an issue/challenge you are facing step-by-step, and taking the fear out of the unknown for you. For example, you are facing a tough challenge ahead and it’s scaring you but he puts various what-ifs and scenarios to you that make you see it in a different light – as an opportunity for change rather than a big problem to overcome. But he makes you feel like you came to the conclusion all by yourself!”

– Julia Lynes, founder EazyCity

 

The Accountability Partner

In my ongoing battle with procrastination,  I have learned how powerful accountability can be.  When you have someone else holding you to account for getting something done, the game changes. You may not necessarily be successful or get everything you want done but you certainly will behave differently. And the chances are that you will make more progress. For procrastinators, anything that helps you make progress is worth giving a shot.

My favourite application of this idea is as practiced by Marshall Goldsmith and he shares the concept of his ‘Nightly Follow-Up Routine’ in his outstanding book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. He has a coach that calls him every night, no matter where he is in the world, and asks him the same thirteen questions; the questions themselves are diverse, covering exercise, diet, sleep, work habits and being nice to his family.

I spoke about this very idea last week during a coaching session and committed to giving it a shot for myself. For many months last year, I used an ‘end of working day’ review list where I recorded answers to questions on how productive my day was, how much progress I had made on key projects etc. But it had mixed success. Most days, my answers were pretty good but on the days that they were not, I didn’t really do much to ensure the following day would be significantly different. So, it’s here that the partner comes in. We do behave differently when we know we’re going to have a conversation with someone at a given point in time. I guess some elements of our egos are fired up and we work to make sure we feel good during those conversations.

Ivan Misner, the networking maven, blogged on this very topic today. He provides a very useful list of questions that helps identify who might be potential candidates for the role. He seems satisfied with a weekly check-in; presumably the questions will be very different from Marshall’s personal list.

I have my partner selected and confirmed (no Senate hearings required). Now, I’m working on my question list…