October 2006

As a business coach, the first question I always ask my clients is: What do you want?

And lately, the answer I hear most often is related to trust; we want our bosses and colleagues to trust us and we, in turn, would like to trust them.

The dictionary defines trust as having confidence in the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something. In common usage, the word trust refers to a reliance on someone or something to fulfill a promise. For the purpose of this argument we have identified three kinds of trust. Confusing these three kinds of trust can lead to disappointment and misunderstanding.

The first kind of trust can be called Transactional Trust and is seen, for example, when ordering coffee in a restaurant we trust the waiter to bring us coffee and not tea.

Transactional Trust is based on mutual self-interest and involves acting according to a common agreement. This kind of trust is the backbone of our personal and professional lives. Every company’s success is dependent on how much it can trust its employees and to what extent its employees trust its management. Transactional trust is about relying on someone or something to fulfill a future promise, provided that it has been clearly communicated in advance. Transactional trust is largely performance based, involves an agreed-upon exchange and is measured by an outcome. When this promise has not been fulfilled, we have a valid reason for taking action to rectify the situation.

The second kind of trust can be called Inner Trust.

It is not based on future performance, but on how a person lives in the present moment. Inner trust is the willingness to be in the moment without worrying about the outcome. It concerns trusting our ability to find our way through life’s challenges even when we are confused. We can experiment with inner trust when we live in our own hearts and minds without the interference of the past or the future. Inner trust is about knowing that life will unfold the way it is supposed to and being at peace with the result.

Why do we often feel betrayed when others behave differently from what we expect? If the betrayal is not the result of a broken agreement, it can be called Demand trust.

Demand trust if often viewed as a form of aggression because it tries to force what can only be given freely. Demand trust is imposed upon us: I trust that you will meet my needs. I trust you to change. I trust you to be someone other than you are. Demand trust is often triggered by excessive fear or neediness or a manipulative personality. While it is easy to know the pain of being subjected to demand trust, it is not easy to recognize when we have unconsciously become the perpetrator and have used trust as a weapon to get what we want and to protect our own needs or insecurities. If you recognize demand trust for what it is, you can either remove yourself from the situation or you can shift it to a form of transactional trust, meaning to subscribe to a common agreement.

When a challenging situation arises we can reconcile both transactional and inner trust within our lives by applying the values with which we want to live and understanding our true motivations.

Which Trust do you want to experiment with on a daily basis?

Join the Bohemian Toastmasters for an Open House

Professionals and business owners and face a continuous flow of ideas, messages, and information from their customers, suppliers and from within their organization. The new Bohemian Toastmasters club provides the tools that will enable you to become a more effective communicator and to build leadership skills to formulate, express, and promote your ideas successfully to others – superiors, business partners, colleagues or even a lending institution to whom you want to sell your business expansion plan.

Join Bohemian Toastmasters for an Open House on Monday October 23rd 2006

Hotel Hoffmeister, Pod Bruskou 7, Prague 1 at 18:30 until 20:30

Come see what Toastmasters can do for you.

October 2 WIB Women in Business Dinner
October 23 Bohemian Toastmasters Open House (http://www.praguespeakers.org/events/)
October 24 Leadership Challenges Power Lunch: The Right Brain Experience
November 21 Leadership Challenges Power Lunch: Ethics and Integrity

Executive Coaching: A Leadership Development Tool for Top Performers by Gayle Lantz

“Coaching” used to be a popular approach for derailing executives or professionals whose performance needed a lot of work. Got a problem? Get a coach. However, increasingly, coaching is being sought by some of the most successful executives in their field – those who want to get even better at their business game. So the new thinking is…Got a goal? Get a coach.

Executive coaching has evolved quickly over the years. Some consider it a field in itself; others consider it a form of consulting. There are many interpretations for “executive coaching”. No matter how you define it, coaching can be a useful tool for executives who want to develop as leaders.

Rather than debate the definition of coaching, it’s more important to consider the type of coach and approach that’s most appropriate for you given the results you want to achieve. Some executives have difficulty articulating concrete desired results, but a skilled coach can help. Often executives simply haven’t taken the time to slow down and think things through.

Coaches come in the form of business professionals, psychologists, trainers, consultants, authors, etc. They come from all walks of life. Some are tough, challenging and direct. Some are sensitive, encouraging and indirect in their style. Some impose a particular process. Some are more flexible.

A consultant with expertise in communication may focus on executive coaching that emphasizes presentation skills. A fashion consultant may offer executive coaching with an emphasis on professional appearance. Other executive coaches focus on leadership skills or business strategy. The approaches are as varied as the professionals who deliver coaching services.

Selecting a Coach

Ultimately the most important factor in selecting a coach is the coach’s track record and his/her ability to establish the kind of relationship with you that helps you achieve results.

Senior leaders who have few peers seek out coaches to discuss business and professional goals. It’s a decision that should not be made lightly.

Coaching relationships can be structured a variety of ways. Consider whether you want to work with a coach in person, by phone or both. Know what’s most important to you in selecting a good coach.

Finding the right fit is everything. You’ll know you have the wrong fit if you feel you’re wasting your time, dread your coaching conversations, or focus on issues that aren’t directly relevant to your goals. Listen to your instincts and find the best fit.

Coaching Issues

With the complexity of issues that challenge executives, there is never a loss for discussion topics between a coach and client. Below are a few of the issues that many of today’s top-performing leaders discuss with their executive coaches:

  • Staying focused on top priorities
  • Increasing accountability for follow-through
  • Building skills in particular areas (such as communication or decision making)
  • Dealing with organizational politics
  • Thinking strategically
  • Handling stress & avoiding burnout
  • Managing teams & dealing with sensitive personnel situations
  • Influencing others
  • Negotiating
  • Brainstorming new ideas/creative thinking
  • Personal career planning
  • Life-work balance issues
  • Establishing clear goals and action plans

Success Factors

In addition to finding the right coach, here are a few success factors to keep in mind for those who engage in a coaching process.

  • Establish clear guidelines for the relationship and coaching process on the front end. Don’t make assumptions.
  • Share feedback. If something is not working, discuss it.
  • Acknowledge progress and successes along the way. This helps build momentum.
  • Involve other stakeholders if necessary. In some cases, others in the organization can participate in the process to share input and feedback.

Executive coaching is not for everyone. It’s only for those executives who are highly motivated, who are committed to leadership development and who want to engage in the process. Expect a minimum commitment of six months to a year.

Company Sponsored Coaching Programs

Many more companies now recognize the importance of promoting coaching within their organizations. Many have formal coaching programs that include internal and external coaches. Organizations that sponsor coaching programs need to be diligent about connecting the benefits of coaching with business results in their organizations. Without a results focus, organizations run the risk of promoting coaching for its own sake – a “campaign for coaches,” instead of solutions for executives. Coaching is simply a means.

Corporate initiatives that mandate or roll out a coaching program too broadly jeopardize the effectiveness of the program. Often those who need coaching most are least likely to be open to the process, but top performers are always looking for a leading edge. Finding the right coach can be the leading edge you need to succeed professionally.