“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”
– Ferdinand Foch, French soldier and writer
Image from Flickr by mattewvenn.
When I first read this quote, I wanted to dismiss it immediately. I’m a pretty peaceful person and I’m not a fan of weapons. So with some editorial privilege I’ve given myself, I’d like to change the word “weapon” to “force” or even “resource”.
One of the most attractive things about being a coach is that I get to express and tap into the passionate fires within myself and others and help mobilize them in the world to produce positive personal and professional results.
How can you add an extra log or two to your flame (and others’ flames) to have them burn even brighter?
“It is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”
– Ann Landers, pen name used by Ruth Crowley and Eppie Lederer for the “Ask Ann Landers” column
Image from Flickr by EWULibraries.
Consider for a moment that effective parenting is like coaching. Instead of simply pouring ourselves into our children or our clients, we take an inside-out approach to help them discover the wisdom within – and thus help them discover who they truly are. Lessons learned in this manner seem to have a far greater influence and impact.
Just five minutes ago, I received a call from my daughter Rachel, who was finishing her workday serving her clients at 9.30pm on a Friday night. Listening to her go the extra mile to serve others was a very satisfying moment for me as a proud dad.
How can you use your coaching skills to bring out the best in your children, colleagues, friends and even clients?
“Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.”
– Homer, Greek poet
Image from Flickr by goldberg.
To say that we live in an over-communicated world is an understatement. Homer, who lived around the eight century BC, is suggesting through this quote that some words are full of value while others are empty and worthless.
If you had to literally pay the people you met and spoke with today for the value of what they shared, what would that value be? Take a moment to go over some of these interactions in your mind to assess their worth. Which were of least or even negative value, and would have been better left unsaid?
Consider your own communication with others in your world. How often are you sharing pearls of wisdom and value – and how often should your inner thoughts be left unsaid? Imagine the impact on the world if everyone did this.
“People give one another things that can’t be gift-wrapped.”
– Nadine Gordimer, South African novelist
Image from Flickr by kelly.sikkema
Today marks a landmark on The Quotable Coach’s journey. The adventure began two years ago and today we’ve reached the milestone of our 500th post. (We couldn’t find a cake with 500 candles though!)
We’ve only scratched the surface of the nuggets of wisdom that have been given to us by so many insightful and remarkable people of the past and present.
If some of the best things in life are not things, what gifts do you have to give to others in your life?
Please consider sharing the gift of The Quotable Coach series as one option.
With sincerest thanks,
“Of all our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”
– Walt Disney, American businessman, producer and director
Image from Flickr by BigTallGuy.
This morning, following one of my workouts, I received a very nice compliment regarding The Quotable Coach series. The individual emphasized how he enjoyed the photographs that I now include to exemplify the concepts described through the written word.
Perhaps a picture really is worth a thousand words. Considering the popularity of sites like YouTube and Pinterest, I probably should’ve gotten on board from the get-go. I’m learning from you, the readers, how to make The Quotable Coach more valuable. Keep your feedback coming and please share these emails with others who could benefit.
How could you use pictures and other visual media to enhance your ability to communicate with people in your personal or professional life?
A trick I’ve found helpful is to ask someone considerably younger for assistance!
“Wisdom is learning to let go when you want to hang on. Courage is learning to hang on when you want to let go.”
– Mark Amend (attrib.)
Image from Flickr by Martyn Wright.
The coaching process often involves a deep dive into both the inner wisdom and the courage of an individual. Amend’s quote points to two fundamental ways to develop each of these qualities in yourself and others.
Where are you or others being stubborn, closed-minded or even obstinate on an issue, where there is little or no likelihood of a good outcome?
Where are you involved in a difficult or challenging endeavor where summoning the courage to persist will, with sufficient tenacity and persistence, pay off in fulfilling some deeply held value or commitment?
Pick up a copy of Seth Godin’s little gem of a book The Dip. It will help you see opportunities in your life where you should quit and where you should stick.
“There is a world of communication which is not dependent on words.”
– Mary Martin, American actress
Image from Flickr by sneetchbeach
My wife Wendy is a master at reading my non-verbal communication. She has a sixth sense that has the uncanny ability to transcribe my inner voice when I come back with the phrase, “I didn’t say anything.”
Consider the following non-verbal cues that are exhibited by all of us and that can have a significant impact on our most important personal and professional relationships:
1. Good eye contact communicates your level of involvement, interest and warmth.
2. Facial expressions can convey many emotions, including anger, contempt, disgust, happiness, sadness, fear and surprise. What messages have you been sending today?
3. Body orientation can demonstrate attentiveness and openness by leaning in, or disinterest or disrespect by angling away or by crossing your arms or legs.
Ask your family members and colleagues who are close to you for their genuine feedback on your non-verbal communication.
Learning to “listen with your eyes” to non-verbal cues can also help you improve your relationships with others by telling you when they have a question, want to say something, agree or disagree, or are perhaps having an emotional response that may need exploration.
A resource that I have on my bookshelf is Emotions Revealed (www.amazon.com/Emotions-Revealed-Recognizing-Communication-Emotional/dp/080507516X) by Paul Ekmen, which Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point, praises as “a tour de force.”
I was interviewed recently on Michigan Business Network’s “Business Beat” show by Chris Holman.
- What I do as a coach, and the purpose of coaching.
- The importance of focusing on strengths versus weaknesses.
- The key areas I concentrate on with clients: communications, relationship-building, leadership / management, and coaching.
- The current economy and a new focus on entrepreneurialism and “economic gardening”.
To listen to this six-minute interview, simply click the “play” button below.
You can find more interviews with me on the Podcasts and Videos page on my coaching website.
“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
– Stephen Covey, American self-help author
Image from Flickr by Sam_Catch.
Trust is not something that can be built with a quick-fix technique. It is developed through consistent habits in your personal and organizational interactions.
On a 1 = low to 10 = high scale, see how well you personally exhibit the following behavior patterns to glue your relationships together more closely:
1. You avoid hidden agendas and are seen as open and transparent in your interactions.
2. You are sincere, honest, and demonstrate integrity through your words and actions.
3. You focus on giving versus getting, with others’ best interests in mind.
4. You invest your time in others and make their interests your interests.
5. You treat others with respect, dignity, and honor.
6. You take responsibility for mistakes (without making excuses) and clean things up quickly.
7. You are open and receptive to the feedback and contributions that others offer to you.
To dig a bit further into the issue of trust, consider visiting my “Trust-o-Meter” assessment here:
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
– George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright
Image from Flickr by garryknight.
Imagine that you have just had what you believe to be a highly successful conversation with someone in either your personal or professional life. You are absolutely positive that your communication to the other person was crisp and clear in every detail, and that you listened to each and every nuance that was spoken …
… only to find that it was all an illusion.
What went wrong and how can you improve the odds of success in the future?
Try the following four-step technique the next time you absolutely need to be sure that your communication is as effective as possible.
1. Be clear about what each of you wish to achieve before you start.
2. Listen even more intently to be sure you understand what the other person is saying. Be sure to share your understanding before you move on to the other points which you wish to make, by asking better questions that demonstrate your sincere interest.
3. Determine which mode of communication is optimal for results you desire. Today we have email, text, social media, phone, video and of course face-to-face to choose from – all of which have their benefits and their challenges. To increase your odds of success, consider doubling or triple communicating using multiple channels – and pay particular attention to the channel your conversational partner prefers.
4. Finally, take responsibility for all communications being successful by putting yourself in the position of your partner, so that they as well as you achieve the desired results.