March 2005

Thank you for reading the March 2005 L’Epée Coaching & Consulting Newsletter.

I wish you a blissful and prosperous Year of the Rooster

Many of you probably made several New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of January or perhaps at the beginning of the Chinese New Year. For those of you who are determined to follow through with your goals in 2005 and are resolved to make them a reality, the following coaching tips will help you succeed.

Be committed

Are you intellectually or emotionally committed to succeed? Unless you have an emotional reason for achieving your goal, it won’t happen.

Be clear about what you want

Being able to envision your achievements clearly will look like will help you follow through with your resolutions. Remember the acronym SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and with a Timebound. By making each goal a SMART goal, you will better be able to determine when you have achieved the goal.

Be practical

By being practical, I mean choosing a realistic number of resolutions. It is better to have three realistic goals rather than ten idealistic ones. By overwhelming yourself with too many goals, you’ll end up dispersing your energy so much that you will not fulfill any of them. I suggest that you focus on a maximum of three goals or three key concepts with more specific mini-goals for each theme.

Take action

Psychologists tell us that typically it takes 21 repetitions before something becomes embedded in our psyche as a spontaneous habit. Be aware of this fact and make sure that you give yourself 21 opportunities to take action.

Ask for support

Research also shows that even the best-intentioned and most-motivated people need the support of others to follow through with their goals, regardless of how responsible or proactive they may be. Share your goals with a friend (one person for all 3 resolutions, or 3 separate people, each holding you accountable for one resolution).

How committed are you to make your dreams come true?


March 2 Toastmasters in Prague
March 7 WIB – Women in Business dinner at Mlynec
March 9 Toastmasters in Prague
March 16 Leadership Power Lunch: Networking Part I
March 23 Toastmasters in Prague
March 30 Toastmasters in Prague
April 4 WIB – Women in Business dinner at Mlynec
April 14 Leadership Power Lunch: Networking Part II
May 19 Leadership Power Lunch
June 16 Leadership Power Lunch

Communication Tip of the month: I will not take NO for an answer

“Impossible. Our organization is too young to undertake this kind of project. Why don’t you get the other guys to handle it?”

I couldn’t believe my ears!

Although I have been living in the Czech Republic long enough to be familiar with what many westerners have come to identify as typical Czech behaviours, my role as a business coach is typically to help my clients deal with frustrations at work rather than having to deal with these frustrations myself.

However, when the issue of organizing a group event was raised at a recent meeting of one of the networking groups I belong to, I unexpectedly witnessed classic Czech passive resistance and negativity.

The issue at hand was how our Prague group could organize a national event on behalf of its parent organization. Before anyone had a chance to even think about the proposal, two Czech women immediately began firing off excuses to get our group off the hook, thereby dodging our responsibility.

Being French, and therefore loving a good debate, I broke all my own rules about dealing with Czechs and confronted these two women about their negativity head on. I knew my behaviour might be perceived as offensive by some of the other people attending the meeting, but I also knew that I had to get everyone’s attention to make my point.

I always believe that a positive attitude has a better chance of motivating people than a negative one, and I also believe that no one should give up before having had a chance to exhaust all the possibilities that are at their disposal. And I also believe that when one joins any group and agrees to be part of a team, he/she has the responsibility to support the group’s goals and objectives.

So when I heard the suggestion to abandon our role in organizing this social event before having even made the effort to make it happen, I became angry and expressed my anger in the only way I felt would work for the benefit of the group: honestly, directly and sincerely. I countered the women’s further reactions by reiterating my position and urging the group to work together to explore all the options creatively before giving up on the idea.

To my relief, I felt that most of the group members welcomed and supported my reaction. If they didn’t necessarily agree with my style, they understood my intentions. And more importantly, they also felt relieved to hear that although the Prague group might not yet be very experienced and competent in the area of event planning and organizing, we could at least give it a go and see how well we do.

As a coach, I help people find and use their own resources to achieve their personal and professional goals. As much as I respect the way Czechs think and behave, I am often frustrated by their often negative reaction to a new challenge, often writing off an idea as not possible or too difficult to be handled. If you know what you want and understand how to attain it, anything is possible.

Yours truly,Karin