So happy to know that others are living happier lives!

Earlier this year I wanted to order some flowers for Mother’s Day. I contacted the best person I know for arranging flowers.

‘I can’t do it because I’m now abroad studying interior design!’

I was pleasantly surprised, ‘how come?!’

‘It’s because of you!’

‘How’s that?!’ I was baffled.

‘Yes it’s the coaching we did!’

I remember she used to work as an analyst and did flower arrangements as a side gig. She was a creative who found herself in the wrong place. She had chosen a ‘good’ career according to definitions held by society. I gave her a taster session of career coaching. I asked her what she’s afraid of about making a change, what would be the minimum she would have to live on, what could be the worst that could happen. She didn’t seem to want to make any changes in her life even though she didn’t seem happy.

We hadn’t been in touch since. I didn’t think the coaching would lead to any change because coaching is not the same as consulting / mentoring / training, which are mainly knowledge transfer. Coaching is a process in which change and growth happens over a period of time.

‘You know the testimonial you asked for a while back? Sorry I haven’t done it yet. Can I do it now?’

‘Yes of course!’

I’m glad to know she took charge of her life and pursued her dreams! This is why I love my job! Changing lives!

#CreateHappiness #OwnYourLife #CoachingIsGold #HeightenedAwareness #ShiftYourMind #WhatIsCoaching #DemystifyCoaching

Is coaching for people who are not good at their job?

Last week I met up with an old friend from school. She asked me a question that got me thinking!

‘What do you do now for living?’

‘I am a coach. I help people gain confidence and find ideas to deal with their challenges at work.’

‘How does it work?’

‘They usually come to me because they heard about me from a friend or a colleague. It maybe because they want to feel more comfortable dealing with their boss. Maybe they want to feel more at ease when they present to the big shots at work. Maybe they want to figure out how to handle a difficult employee. Maybe they want to work out how best to get buy-in. Maybe they feel they can be more effective in their job but don’t know where to start..’

‘How long is the program?’

‘Depends. Each individual is different. Usually any lasting change requires at least 3 months. If they are busy, they may go for a session once a month, and use a package over a year. If they have a challenge they urgently want to manage like getting a job, they may use a package in a month. I had a client who didn’t have a job so she finished a package in a month! But another client is a busy executive so he only shows up every 2-3 months.’

‘Does it mean that coaching is for people who are not good at their job?’

That’s an interesting question! I never thought about it that way! It’s also interesting that someone from outside the industry got that impression.

‘Actually my clients are usually very talented, committed to self improvement and eager to learn. They are usually above average performers.’ Admittedly this is also my preferred demographics..

Her question got me thinking.. What kind of people usually go for coaching?

I realised, ‘they also have a sense of awareness that they deserve and can have a better state – that they could be happier, or more confident, or more effective.’

‘Coaching is also driven by the individual. They have to want the change. They’re the one who initiates it. And at least for my clients, they often pay out of their own pocket. No one is pushing them to do anything different in their life. So they have to be self-driven and motivated enough.’

Thinking about it reminds me of an article I read about coaching – that it should be given to the core 60% performers!

#WhatIsCoaching #DemystifyCoaching

I should also be more confident!

It’s been almost 2 months since I heard from my client. At the back of my mind I thought, ‘maybe she’s not finding value in our sessions.. Maybe I’m not doing such a good job..’ I was secretly worried.

I wanted to know the truth, so I texted her to catch up two weeks ago, but she never replied. I mustered my courage yesterday again. She replied!

She asked, ‘how many hours have we got left in a package?’ I cringed, my imagination ran wild, ‘oh no! She wants to cancel! She wants a refund! She wants to know how many painful hours she still has to stay with me for!’ I wanted to talk to her to find out what she really has in mind.

I took on a new client at the beginning of this year. She’s a young professional who works one of the most famous companies in the world. She’s got high IQ & EQ, is a learner, eager to improve herself, and hardworking. The problem is that she is critical of herself and therefore doesn’t think she’s any good.

I asked, ‘can you talk?’

‘Yes.’

Good.

‘How are you doing?’

‘Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ve been so busy doing lots of interviews. It’s also been very busy with my job!’

Oh no! She doesn’t need me anymore! She’s dealing with her challenges on her own!

‘Oh that sounds great!’ I tried to stay poised.

‘Yeah! And I have got news for you!’ I’m going to get a promotion as a manager!’

‘Really!? That sounds amazing!’

‘Yeah, I’ve been busy doing lots of interviews inside my company and outside.’

‘That’s really good to know! For a coach, the best thing is to know that a client stopped needing the coach, because that means you are capable of handling all challenges and you have grown. So I’m so happy to know that you are facing the interviews by yourself, feeling confident enough to deal with them!’

‘Yes, the 2 or 3 sessions I took really helped me gain clarity and awareness of myself.’

‘That’s great! Yes, the coaching is driven by you so if you don’t have any particular challenges you don’t know how to overcome by yourself then there is really no need to keep it up. How happy are you with your life now, from 1 to 10? If 10 is “I’m perfectly happy”?’

‘I would say 9.’

‘That’s great! I’m also curious – in your intake form, you said you would like to better understand your career path and what would be a good direction for you, whereas you have been applying for more jobs in your area. So how about that?’

‘I decided that I should give it a try before deciding that this is not the right path for me.’

‘Oh that’s great insight! Well done on taking this proactive step!’

Now it makes sense why she hasn’t been in touch! From this episode I learnt that I should also be more confident about my ability! If I don’t hear from the client, it is probably because they don’t need coaching anymore and I should be glad!

#ChooseConfidence #FeelEmpowered

Did you ever get angry that somebody never did the work because you never asked?

I got a phone call the other day from my manager, ‘Coby is a mess! He is not pulling his weight! It’s so hard to get him to work! It’s impossible! It’s like pushing a big rock!’
‘What happened this time?’
‘I asked him for a proposal and he still hasn’t sent it to me! It was 24 hours ago!’
‘When did you agree when he will send it?‘
‘I asked him to do it when he’s free. I said it’s no rush.’
‘Oh maybe that’s why! If you say that then he will not prioritise this task.’
‘But he said he was going to do it last night!’
‘Okay let me talk to him to see what he’s up to and why he’s not sending you the work.’
I called Coby, ‘Sal said he’s waiting for a proposal from you?’
‘I asked him when he needed it. He said, “No it’s not urgent! Don’t worry! Do it only when you have finished your other work!”
‘He said you were going to send it to him last night?’
‘I asked him if he wanted it last night and he said no, it’s not urgent.’
I called Sal back immediately, ‘Hey Sal, maybe you can try to be more direct next time about when you want something? If you say “later”, “no rush”, then he will understand “no rush”. He can’t second guess you. If you want it immediately, he wouldn’t mind, he’ll do it, but he has to know that. You can’t blame someone if they didn’t know, can you?’
‘But Vivian sends me work immediately whenever I ask for it.’
This was interesting. It seems like some leaders, like Sal, can feel embarrassed about asking others to do things, so they are not being specific. They think they are being nice by saying, ‘oh don’t worry! It’s not urgent! Do it when you have time!’ Like Sal, they also assume that if Vivian works in the style they prefer, i.e. responds immediately, then others would do the same. And when others don’t, they are assumed to be lazy. Instead, these leaders create problems for themselves because things don’t get done.
Do you sometimes send mixed signals and then find your reportees don’t do any work, while thinking that they are lazy? Did you give them specific deadlines and set clear expectations? Did you tell them when?
#RememberTheWhenBesidesTheWhy #HeightenedAwareness #CommunicationCoaching

A little story about Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.

Unknown author of condensed version of Charles Osgood’s –

A Poem About Responsibility.

I’m reading Scaling Up, the chapter about People, and this story came up.

What’s your experience? How did you deal with it? Do share!

Did you know you can ‘choose’ to be confident?

‘I feel bad when I speak mandarin with my customers. It’s not good enough.’

‘First off, How do you decide that your mandarin not good?’

‘I can’t do the whole call in mandarin. I’m speaking 80% mandarin and 20% English.’

‘What happens in the call? How much do your clients understand?’

‘They understand.’

‘So what’s the problem?’

‘I wanna speak better mandarin. I wanna do my calls in mandarin 100%.’

(Well now that we know what she wants, we have a target, it’s easier!)

‘What would it give you if you did the calls in mandarin 100%?’

‘I’d be more professional.’

‘So how can you prepare for the words you don’t know how to say in mandarin?’

‘I can look them up before.’

‘How would you know which words you don’t know?’

‘..’

‘How about if you try what you learnt recently? Film yourself giving the presentation in mandarin, during which you have to use words that you may not know. And when you have to speak in English, take note of those words?’

‘True. That’d help!’

She’s noticeably happier.

‘What have we just done? What’s the process we just went through?’

‘Break down the paradigms. Evaluate their objectivity. Analyse their validity. Then identify what we want. Look for actions to get what we want. This helps us focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t do, so naturally we would be happier coz we are faced with the question of possibilities, not limitations!!’

Wow. Client came up with the profound realisation! #SelfCoaching!

Change the limiting paradigms to new paradigms.

You choose to be confident!

#ChooseConfidence #CoachingIsGold #HeightenedAwareness #ShiftYourMind #CommunicationCoaching #WhatIsCoaching #DemystifyCoaching

How can you be sure the reality you perceive is ‘real’?

Continued from previous conversation:

‘You can try to be more positive and appreciate others. It’s the way you look at the situation. You forget the good things he does. For example, you once told me he filled in the insurance claim form for you, coz that’s what he’s good at. He doesn’t read about the trip because he’s not good at that. He picks food and put food in your bowl. He knows your favourite part of chicken and put it in your plate. Actually he’s really good to you. You just don’t remember the good things. At the dinner in the restaurant, he said we should wait for you to order. He waits for you to make decisions.’

‘Well..’

‘I said, “let’s order the fried rice.” He said, “let’s order the preserved meat rice instead. She likes that.’

‘It’s because he wants to eat that too! Not because of me.’

‘At Christmas dinner he put the wings in your bowl.’

‘Well.. that’s the least he can do..’

What does this show? It shows that we can choose to reject reality and project our own interpretation onto reality, which effectively dampens the way we see life! It shows that we can choose to be happy, if we choose to remember the good things that happen in our lives! It shows that happiness is a choice!

#ChooseHappiness #HeightenedAwareness #ShiftYourMind #CoachingIsGold

Do you ask for what you want? Are you sure?

‘He treats others better than he treats me. He puts me in the last priority. I do everything in the house.

I have to make the bread. Look I’m at home all day making the bread. Everyone is out! I’m always serving others. No one serves me!

I have to look up the route of the trip. I brought books back and he doesn’t read them.. I’m always doing al the planning!’

There’s no stopping! She goes on and on! After a while it was obvious that she’s just venting.

It suddenly came to my mind that this shows the problem of some of us.

It’s the way we ask for what we want.

We think we are asking for what we want, but the way others perceive it isn’t the case. They think we are complaining and moaning. They just switch off.

We nag. It’s not constructive!

How can you shift your language to make things happen?! Rather than focusing on what you are not happy about, how about what you want? Or have you forgotten to think about what you want? Next time you’re unhappy, how about stop, breathe, think for a second, ‘what do I want?’?

#CommunicationCoaching #CoachingIsGold

Are you also making this mistake and wasting your networking opportunities?

In a coaching conversation:
‘What did you talk about in the meeting with that new contact?’
‘He gave me advice.. he was like a coach.. he said I had to sell myself better.. he said I had to be clear about my career path.’ (Sounds like he wasted the meeting. The reason to meet wasn’t to get mentoring! It wasn’t to get advice! Pity. It was a promising lead. In the company he wanted, in the area he wanted, in the profession he wanted.)
‘What was the purpose of the meeting?’
‘It was so that he could give me advice on my past interview experience, because I applied for a few jobs in his area in that company but never got anywhere further.’
‘You only have one objective in every meeting. The objective is to let the other person know about who you are and what you can do, so they can tell other person about you. For example, I have this pen in front of me. If I don’t tell you about it, are you going to be interested in it?’
‘No.’
‘Because you don’t know what it can do. How about if you tell me about something that you love? Somewhere you love to go, something that you love to do?’
Silence.
‘You just told me you love scotch. Which is your favourite?’
‘Balvenie!’ (This time he took half a second to come up with an answer!)
‘Why?’
‘It’s delicious, it’s smooth, you can drink it without ice. It’s sweet but not
too sweet.’
‘How easy was it to tell me about it? How much did you feel like telling me? From 0-10. 10 is “I wanted to tell you”, 0 is “I didn’t want to tell you.”’.
‘11!’
‘Then it sounds like it’d be easy to talk about what you love, instead of thinking you have to sell yourself? How about if you tell me what you love about sales?’
‘It’s about winning. It’s not just about knowing what your customers want, but what your competitors are telling them. It’s about building a good relationship with your customers, gaining their trust, so they will give you intel to help you make a more attractive proposal.’
‘Great! Tell me an example when that happened.’
‘I had a client who worked with a partner who’s much smaller than us. They were 3 times cheaper. The client said “we are only a small local bank. We have no money.” Well they are still a bank and I know they had to update the infrastructure. I brought in different resources to put value-add in our proposal. I knew there were price pressures from the CIO, so I set up a meeting with the architect to explain why we’re giving them all the additional elements. In the end they said “this is the last time we’re paying this much.” But we still managed to sell them 3 more projects.’
This time, he told a great story! First time! Usually it’s so hard it’s like getting blood out of a stone! This time, it draws people in! He was excited and natural! He was being himself, unlike the other times! I was excited!
‘That’s a great story! Don’t think of it as a story if that’d make life difficult for you. Just think about sharing an example! This is what you have to do in every meeting. You are just talking, having a chat with a friend, not “selling”! Thinking that you are selling only stops you from being able to say anything at all!’
He nodded in agreement.
‘What did you learn from this story telling experience?’
‘That I have to focus on talking about what I love, so I can let my passion out, then make an impression.’

Try this and make every networking opportunity a success!

#CoachingIsGold #HeightenedAwareness
#ShiftYourMind #CommunicationCoaching
#WhatIsCoaching #DemystifyCoaching

Is this also stopping you from being able to share ideas and grow?

In a coaching session last week:

Client: ‘I feel nervous in presentations.’

Me: ‘What do you say to yourself during a presentation?’

After a long silence, she said, ‘I ask myself “is my English good enough..? Am I clear enough? Oh I forgot the word.. Oh am I using the right word?” Today I wanna talk about whether I need to take English class.’

‘There are a few things. First, when you say ‘I didn’t go to an International school. That’s why I don’t have a natural accent.” is this a problem or a solution?’

‘It’s neither.’

‘How about if I say it’s a fact from the past that we can’t change anymore. That’s why we’re upset when we think about it. It does nothing but drains our energy. Instead, how about if we focus on what we can change?’

I probe further, ‘How do you decide your English is not good?’

‘I don’t use fancy words. I receive emails from colleagues and they use fancy words. That’s cool. When I see the new words, I look them up, write them down, so I can use them next time.’

‘Right! Sounds like you are doing the right thing already!’

‘True.’

‘What evidence do you have that shows that your English isn’t good?’

‘Eh…’

‘Sounds like you have none? What evidence do you have that shows that this thought might not accurately reflect reality?’

‘My customers know what I’m talking about. My colleagues have said I’m good.’

‘That means this statement “My English isn’t good” isn’t true?’

Silence.

‘And how did you decide that fancy words means you are an effective communicator?’

‘…’

‘What’s the percentage of people who you work with, or your clients, is native English speakers?’

‘1%..’

‘If you used fancy words, how many of them would actually know what you mean?’

‘…’

‘If you were them, and you spoke with someone who used big words you can’t understand, how would you feel?’

‘Embarrassed..’

‘What would you really care about if you were your customers?’

‘That they go through what I need quickly. Direct and simple. I have no time.’

‘Yea!’

‘Actually I use simple English.’

‘And how has it worked?’

‘It’s easy to understand.’

‘So what’s wrong with that? Why do you have to copy others? Why can’t you be yourself?’

‘…’

‘Do you still think you need to take English class?’

‘No.’

What’s your experience? What’s stopping you?
#HeightenedAwareness #ShiftYourMind #CommunicationCoaching #EmpowerWomen #DevelopWomen #ChooseConfidence #CoachingIsGold #WhatIsCoaching #DemystifyCoaching