Category Archives: Uncategorized

Effective-Communication-for-effective-coaching

Effective Communication for Effective Coaching

Communication is our first act of interaction when meeting people. Communication builds and maintains friendships and is the glue that binds relationships together. Communication is essential for us to achieve what we want out of life. In a coaching or mentoring relationship, open and effective communication is a must. It is the inherent foundation upon which the whole relationship grows and develops.

Successful communication is a two-way process, sending as well as receiving. You must first present your ideas in a form others can understand and then listen to others to understand how your message is being received. This mutual understanding is necessary if the purpose of any communication is to be achieved.

In other words, effective communication is a process that involves 5 basic steps:

The speaker must:

  1. Identify a meaning they want to express
  2. Code that meaning into words and non-verbal cues

The listener must:

  1. Accurately receive, or hear, the words and non-verbal cues
  2. Decode the meaning of the words.
  3. Respond to the speaker in a way that indicates accurate understanding of the message

In coaching conversations it is critical that both parties are on the same wavelength and understand each other because we don’t all feel, think or speak the same way. People have different values, views, expectations, opinions and prejudices based on their past experiences, education levels, political viewpoints and cultural or economic backgrounds. When you send information it won’t necessarily be heard the way you intend. People hear what you say through filters and will interpret your message in a way that is meaningful to them and makes sense from their perspective.

Always be aware and sensitive to possible filters that will influence your individual. Plan the message you want to convey, ask questions that aid clarity and understanding and provide feedback for reinforcement. Feedback achieved through effective questioning helps you check the listener’s level of understanding. Feedback given and received is the catalyst for making appropriate adjustments in the communication process to ensure you achieve mutual understanding as you strive to identify and reach important goals with your individual.

To progressively strengthen the coaching relationship and to achieve the greatest value and meaningful communication from coaching sessions, coaches must listen attentively and use empathy to understand the other person’s message. As a coach, making the effort to understand your individual’s feelings and beliefs doesn’t mean that you have to accept or agree with his or her point of view. Undoubtedly, you have heard empathy expressed in the saying, “Put yourself in the other person’s shoes”. Through exercising empathy we show others that we understand and appreciate them. Empathy is the ability to look at a situation from another’s viewpoint and understand that person’s feelings and beliefs.

Check out LMA’s Above the Line Coaching and Mentoring course to explore these concepts in more detail and to further develop the coaching and mentoring relationship.

Develop-your-skills-to-develop-your-people

Develop your Skills to Develop your People

In business today, coaches or mentors are being increasingly used in performance management strategies to facilitate workers to perform at higher levels. The coach/mentor primarily acts as a guide to help clarify and articulate the individual’s goals. They work by encouraging the individual to achieve tangible results, whilst helping them learn through self-directed motivation. The context of the relationship is therefore results-oriented and involves goal setting to encourage behavior change and personal transformation.

Current research shows that the vast majority of leaders and managers are already acting, either formally or informally, as either or both a coach or a mentor. This amplifies the importance of developing sound skills in these leadership areas.

PERSONAL QUALITIES

To be an effective coach requires adoption of an ‘Above the Line’ approach. Accepting personal responsibility, being focused on goals, solutions and results, whilst maintaining a positive attitude will enable you as an ‘Above the Line’ coach. You can achieve this by framing goals, discussions and action plans in a positive, future-focused, solutions-based way. Always encourage the individual to look at their situation with a possibility mindset.

As a successful coach you will need to harness and develop the power of your emotional intelligence. This concept demands that we know ourselves in order to know how to best engage and relate to the individual and their emotions.

COMMUNICATION

Successful communication is a two-way process, sending as well as receiving. Coaches need to have well developed and well practised listening skills, as a large amount of time in sessions (typically 60 – 80%) is spent actively listening to the individual. You must first present your ideas in a form others can understand and then listen to others to understand how your message is being received. This mutual understanding is necessary if the purpose of any communication is to be achieved.

To progressively strengthen the coaching relationship and to achieve the greatest value and meaningful communication from coaching sessions, coaches must listen attentively and use empathy to understand the other person’s message.

MOTIVATION

Self-discovery and self-learning will be central to the individual’s motivation towards their goals and objectives. By showing the individual that you believe in them and their abilities, you can help them learn to become more self-motivated as they experience the progressive achievement of their action steps and goals. Successful coaching and mentoring is built on a foundation of inherent belief in others and their potential for personal development and growth. Successful coaches and mentors see people in terms of their future potential, not their past performance or present skill levels.

Are you a good manager?

To explore further competencies that are crucial to being a great leader and manager, take LMA’s complimentary DIY Leadership and Management Competency Analysis. The comprehensive report will outline the benefits of targeted leadership and management development activities to yourself, your team and/or your organisation.

How-to-create-a-positive-work-environment

How to Create a Positive Work Environment

An employee’s motivation to work is heavily influenced by his or her environment. The core underlying human need to feel safe, reassured and appreciated means leaders and managers must work to create safe and secure work environments for their people – not only physical safety but also personal and emotional safety, as well as a sense of being valued. Creating a positive work environment energises and enables people to perform at a higher level and will yield far better results for your company and employees.

ENGAGE AND SUPPORT YOUR EMPLOYEES

Today more and more organisations are developing and implementing formal programs for both coaching and mentoring to support their performance management and performance improvement endeavours as well as their talent attraction and retention activities.

Supporting your employees through interaction and encouragement in the form of coaching and mentoring aims to bring about some kind of positive change to your working environment. Acting as a role model for the individual and believing in their strength and abilities can have a strong positive influence on those around you and can change a person’s career and life for the better.

PROVIDE LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES

The opportunity to learn, grow and develop professionally is a key factor for prospective and current employees and essential in the retention of top talent. Helping your employees to plan short and long- term goals focused on achieving results and professional development, will create positive actions and outcomes. Subsequently monitoring their progress can be particularly beneficial for the individual.

As the individual’s needs determine the goals and objectives of the coaching relationship, employers must ensure that they understand their individual’s needs. This enables them to assist in the establishment of realistic goals and objectives, supported by an effective plan of action for the relationship.

CELEBRATE WINS AND SET NEW GOALS

A great way to create a positive work environment is to acknowledge the work of your employees. Whenever your employee achieves an action step or focus goal, it is important to recognise their accomplishment. It also instills the notion that hard work is appreciated and encourages other employees to strive for the same recognition.

Remind your employees of all the hard work they have contributed to achieve their desired goals. However, it is also critical that you re-focus their attention towards the next action step or goal. Sometimes people lose focus and motivation shortly after the achievement of a significant goal.

SET THE TONE

Inspiring and reassuring your employees will motivate them to make the necessary changes and develop the required skills and qualities to achieve their goals. Developing your own understanding and awareness of human behaviour stimulates you to grow and utilise more of your own potential. As a result you will achieve your own personal and professional goals whilst helping the people you manage to grow and achieve their own goals and ultimately set up an ideal working environment.

Understanding and improving your team’s working environment is critical for companies operating in a highly competitive global economy. Providing an engaging experience will help organisations succeed in attracting and retaining highly skilled, engaged employees. Similarly, a strong employee experience also drives a strong customer experience. It is a real win-win all around to be striving for a positive environment in the workplace.

What are you doing for your employees to create a positive working environment?

6-steps-to-dealing-with-Customer-Complaints

6 Steps to Dealing with Customer Complaints

In an ideal world, your customer service skills mean that there are no complaints. However, it’s important to be prepared to handle them if they should occur. Strong customer-oriented professionals have a positive attitude towards complaints. They see them as an opportunity for improvement and a chance to rebuild and strengthen the relationship with the customer. Research tells us that less than 5% of unhappy customers will make a complaint. Most of the 95% who will not complain, will stay away and will tell others of their problems. Apply these customer-orientated tips in dealing with complaints to create a positive outcome for all involved:

  1. Listen actively

Allow the customer to explain the problem as they see it. Ask open questions to ensure you understand their concerns and that the whole problem is on the table. Allow the customer to let off steam if necessary and don’t take this personally. They will feel better and you may pick up valuable clues as to the real issue. Repeat back what you have heard to check you have heard it correctly. This also demonstrates that you are taking the complaint seriously.

  1. Apologise and empathise

To the customer, you are the organisation. Apologise promptly and sincerely on its behalf. Even if you are not responsible for the problem, you are sorry that it has happened. Show that you recognise and understand the customer’s feelings. Use the customer’s name frequently to connect with them at a personal level and choose words that accurately reflect their mood. Don’t react emotionally, make excuses, blame the customer or others in the organisation, bureaucratic procedures or suppliers. Remain ‘Above the line’ at all times. The customer is not interested in your problems or excuses, just the solution. Recognise that through your attitude, you can affect the customer’s behaviour.

  1. Take responsibility

Use positive language, focusing on what you can do rather than what you can’t. Take care not to over-promise. Involve others if you need more authority to solve the complaint. If possible, offer several solutions and involve the customer in choosing the right solution for them. Stay calm, positive and in control of the situation. Remember, always take a complaint professionally, not personally.

  1. Thank the customer

Complaints are your opportunity to improve and to strengthen relationships. A sincere expression of appreciation to the customer will reassure them that you are taking the matter seriously, that you value their custom and that you welcome their feedback.

  1. Follow it through

Set the action plan in place immediately and check that it is completed as promised. If you have agreed to a deadline, stick to it. Keep your customer informed along the way. Share the experience with others in your team so that they can learn and develop their own skills in dealing with complaints. Use the complaint as a catalyst to suggest or set in place systems, policies or actions that will prevent the problem occurring again.

  1. Go the extra mile

Look for further opportunities to prove your interest in your customer by providing a little more than they expected, try to think outside of the box when coming to a solution for the customer. Follow up to check that they are happy with the resolution of the issue. Keep in touch through letters and emails to ensure the relationship continues. See complaints as an exciting opportunity to improve performance at all levels and to reduce complaints in the future.

Most organisations have a formal procedure for handling complaints. Ensure that you are aware of these procedures, or work with your team to prepare one if it does not exist. Whether you are the first point of contact, or become involved at a later stage, the most important ingredient to success is your attitude in handling the complaint. Bringing an ‘Above the line’ approach to the process, communicating with empathy and by applying the following steps, will ensure that a positive outcome can be achieved for all concerned.

The-Key-Qualities-of-a-Customer-Service-Superstar

The Key Qualities of a Customer Service Superstar

Multiple research reports show that customers were willing to spend more with a company that they felt provided an outstanding customer experience and excellence in customer service. Good customer service will elevate your organisation, while bad customer service can really set back your company’s reputation and profits. There are certain attributes and qualities that set excellent customer service employees apart. Identifying and developing the following traits is the quickest way to becoming a customer service superstar:

Patience

Patience is a virtue. We have all heard that saying before. It is also an attribute that those highly skilled in customer service constantly demonstrate. Staying patient with an indecisive or difficult customer demonstrates very clearly that each and every customer interaction is important and valued. Take the time to truly figure out what your customer’s needs are and respond in a patient, friendly and efficient manner. Remember, customers prefer to receive competent service rather than feel like they have been rushed out the door or off the phone!

Attentiveness

Attentiveness is the ability to be observant and alert and to pay close attention to someone or something. Attentiveness in customer service means really listening to customers, being alert to buying signals and non-verbal cues and observing their actions and reactions to comments or products. To deliver and exceed expectations you need to pay attention. Attentiveness is providing the sense that the most important person in the room is your customer. It means being present and thinking about the real meaning behind their words. This helps to provide a relevant and informative response or solution. Showing care for every customer will provide a positive outcome every time.

Tenacity

Tenacity is the attribute of persistence, determination and perseverance. It is a quality displayed by people who just won’t quit. This attribute is important in every role and endeavour in your personal and working life. Being willing to do what needs to be done, to resolve any issues and not take shortcuts is a key attribute displayed by tenacious customer service professionals. Many memorable customer service stories tell of a single employee who was willing to go the extra mile to help someone out. Many of these stories are told in the context of the huge impact the individual effort had on the business and on the customer.

Willingness to learn

A genuine willingness to learn is another key attribute required by all client-facing employees. We are all working in a rapidly changing workplace that requires constant learning and upskilling. New learning could relate to new systems, technology, products and services. It could also relate to changed policies and procedures and updates to legislation and regulations that are relevant to your industry sector. Consider every learning and development opportunity as a way to increase your personal intellectual capital.

Development opportunities can also come from customers. Not only is it important to be attentive to individual customers, it’s also important to be attentive to the feedback that you receive. Rather than looking at this type of feedback as a negative, you should view it as an opportunity to find out what is not working, what you could do better or how you could improve the customer experience. Honestly reflect on their feedback and consider how you can apply it into improved personal performance.

Staying calm

There are a lot of metaphors about people who stay calm such as ‘keeps their cool’ and ‘staying cool under pressure’ but they all represent the same thing – developing the ability to stay calm and even influence others when things get a little hectic. The customer service professional knows that it is not helpful to get rattled during busy times or to let an angry customer force them to lose their cool. In fact it is their job to try to project efficiency and capability in the interest of achieving a desirable outcome for the customer.

When it comes to providing outstanding customer service, it’s the people who make all the difference. While it certainly takes time, training, practice and dedication to become a superstar in customer service, it doesn’t have to be that hard when you know where exactly to focus your efforts on. Check out LMA’s Exceptional Customer Service course to further develop you or your team’s to become customer service superstars.

Developing-a-‘Be-of-Service’-Attitude

Developing a ‘Be of Service’ Attitude

“Customer Service is not a department. It is an Attitude.”

Multiple research reports show that customers were willing to spend more with a company that they felt provided an outstanding customer experience and excellence in customer service. Learning more about the skills, attributes and knowledge required to become customer service professionals is only one part of your development journey. This effort will only pay dividends when you also develop your genuine ‘be of service’ attitude. Excellence in customer service is actually 80% attitude and 20% skills and knowledge. The right attitude provides you with the approach you need to use your skills and knowledge to your full potential.

Further develop your ‘be of service’ attitude by applying the following strategies to customer interactions:

Have Confidence

Projecting confidence gives the impression that you are able and willing to help a customer. Confidence comes from ‘knowing your stuff’ and believing you will be able to tackle any challenge that comes your way. For customers, competence is a signal that lets them know that the person they’re working with has the requisite skills and abilities to complete their transaction or resolve their issue.

Think Positively

Our thought process and how we choose to think is reflected in our attitude. Every situation or moment has dual ways to look at it. It is up to you to choose how you would like to react to the particular scenario. Even if the situation is challenging and taking a toll on your patience, you will have to try and find out the tiniest positive aspect present in it. Setting the tone for a positive interaction can help to guide the way to a successful customer experience that will result in a favorable outcome for your customer.

Keep an Open mind

Being open-minded typically makes us more adaptable to a unique work environment or a challenging situation. It gives us the ability to consider alternative approaches to problem solving, to take risks and look for opportunities. Taking the time to consider all possible outcomes of a situation, the good, bad and in-between allows us to reframe the situation and think about it with an open mind resulting in a positive solution for the customer.

Take Ownership

Bring an ‘above the line’ attitude to all of your customer interactions. This approach means taking personal responsibility and ownership, being proactive and solution focused. Consider the difference between a customer service representative who takes no responsibility and one who acknowledges the concern and communicates a willingness to find a solution. We all know which person we would rather deal with and we also know which interaction will enhance the customer experience.

Remember, attitude is everything and whether your attitude is good or bad, it is this attitude that people are going to remember more than anything else. The good news is that you control what attitude your customers will remember. With a genuine ‘be of service’ attitude you are able to make full use of your skills, knowledge and attributes to meet the needs, wants and expectations of each one of your customers.

Can you can implement some of these strategies to develop the right attitude for business success and a ‘Be of Service’ attitude in the workplace?

Importance-of-Effective-Communication-and-Relationship-Development

Importance of Effective Communication and Relationship Development

Leadership roles vary considerably, with variances in titles, organisational structure, industry type, working environment and a myriad of other differences that exist in our workplace today.  However, even though the titles and position descriptions may vary widely, in reality there is one common denominator and responsibility for all leaders.  They all depend upon the fundamental need to work with and through other people.

Generally, leadership involves gaining commitment from those you lead so that they understand their part in the overall vision of the organisation and are committed to achieving its success.  Leadership involves the ability to communicate, to persuade, to encourage and to inspire people to take meaningful and productive actions.  Leadership involves developing trust through positive and open relationships.

Peter Drucker said, “Leadership is not rank, privilege, title or money.  It is responsibility”.  To achieve the best results with and through others, all leaders must be willing to take on the responsibility of developing effective communication and relationship development skills.  Leaders who develop these skills and work effectively with and through others, produce the most outstanding results.

The importance of effective communication across all levels and organisations has never been as profound as in today’s fast changing diverse and multicultural workplace.  Effective communication and relationship development is the lifeblood that flows through the organisation’s arteries keeping it functioning, healthy and alive.  The pace of modern business means that people are sending and receiving more messages, instructions and other types of communication than ever before.  People are also under greater pressure to understand and implement new processes and changes whilst being expected to fulfil higher standards.  At the same time team structures are changing frequently, requiring new team member to be brought up to speed as quickly as possible and new relations developed for optimum performance. Customer relationships can also be made or broken by communication.

You and other members of your team and organisation share a unique relationship based upon common goals for the organisation.  Effective communication binds all of the members of these complex relationships together enabling everyone in the team to achieve the desired outcomes.

Constructive communication and persuasion saves time and effort, encourages co-operation and reduces stress.  Developing these kills enables you as a leader to prevent difficult situations, communicate team goals, foster self-esteem, generate mutual respect and enrich the relations that underpin a positive working environment conducive to high performance.  In other words, good communication and relationships improve the productivity and performance of the team.

On a personal level, communication is the first interaction when meeting new people.  It builds and maintains relationships.  In fact, the quality of communication is typically the underlying reason for all relationships succeeding or failing.  Communication is the glue that binds friendships together and fosters caring family relationships.

The fact that organisations require effective communication skills from all leaders and managers cannot be over emphasised. 

Everything they do involves effective written and verbal communication with others at all levels within the organisation to achieve a number of primary objectives:

  • To gather information
  • To impart information
  • To provide instruction
  • To provide data throughout the various levels of the organisation
  • To provide feedback
  • To praise and discipline
  • To train
  • To control
  • To enable emotional expression
  • To engage, empower and motivate

As a leader consider the impact your communication has on the relationships within your team.  Engaging and motivating your people to perform at their best requires meaningful communication.  However, the first step in developing effective meaningful communication is to understand that it is a two-way street and, as the leader, you must be sensitive to and aware of other’s needs and perspectives.  Too often, average leaders adopt the approach that “people need to do what I say as that’s my role”.  In today’s world, where employees are volunteers, they choose to work within organisations where they are both wanted and appreciated, that old school attitude barely achieves average results.

Successful leaders of today are sensitive to the needs of their people, understand what motivates them and use their communication skills to align the needs to their team member’s goals with the goals of the team.  They know the value of building respectful and positive relationships.

During the September to December 2018 quarter, The Leading Edge will provide tips and ideas on how our readers can develop their leadership through improved communication and relationship development.

I encourage all leaders to set a goal to commit themselves to improve their communication skills and build stronger and more positive relationships at all levels.      

Grant Sexton
Founder and Chairman

Malala---Growth-Faculty

An Evening with Malala Yousafzai

Leadership Management Australasia is delighted to partner with The Growth Faculty to bring the world’s youngest ever Nobel Prize winner, equal rights and education activist, Malala Yousafzai to Sydney and Melbourne, each for one night only.

Malala will take audiences inside her remarkable story;

“I had a choice: I could live a quiet life or I could make the most of this new life I had been given. “Malala Yousafzai

At age 11, Malala began her campaign for the rights of girls to receive an education, blogging about life under the Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat Valley Her story continued after surviving a targeted attack by the Taliban at just 15 years old.

Now a student at Oxford University, Malala continues to fight for the education of all children, all over the world.

Hear Malala’s inspiring first-hand account of life as an activist, student and the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Don’t miss an illuminating and mobilising evening with Malala.

BOOK SYDNEY – 10th DECEMBER

BOOK MELBOURNE – 11th DECEMBER

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What game of thrones can teach you about Leadership

The world of game of thrones is full of murder, lust, betrayal, and child assassins. The list goes on, but it can also teach us a thing or two about good vs. bad leadership.

SPOLIER WARNING

People are loyal to authentic leaders and brands

The Starks have ruled the north for generations, and people respect them, even when the flags are torn from Winterfell. “The North Remembers”… It ends up putting the Starks back in power.

The same can be said for leaders who show their people the same level of respect and courtesy that they expect to be given. Good leaders are authentic and supportive. But they also display unwavering honesty, ethical behaviour and sound decision-making with their team’s best interests at heart. Strong leaders also are transparent and trust their employees enough to share candid feedback and updates. Behind authentic brands are passionate leaders and dedicated people – staff who feel the company is on their side or that the organisation is a worthy cause will go to bat for the team and the organisation.

If you’re not adaptable, you will die…or not succeed.

Stannis the hard unbending ruler knows this best – “the iron throne is mine, by right”. If you’re so set in your ways that you can’t adapt, your people will lose faith in you.

Most bad managers, get what’s coming to them.

Ok, this varies in the world of Game of thrones but it’s become truer as time has gone on.  Take Joffrey for example, he survived for several painfully cruel seasons, but the people in power noticed his shortcomings and well… We know how that turned out.  Managers who rule with an iron fist will not gain any longevity from their staff or gain any new loyalty.  Unless a manager is willing to take advice from all facets of his “army” he may end up on his knees waiting for the axe to drop for all his sins.

Haters gonna hate – keep doing what’s working

Danneris Stormborn has faced opposition for the entire show, but damn can she inspire people. There will always be individuals that doubt you, but don’t let them overshadow the millions of others who support you, and readily join your cause. Danny spends her time on the most important tasks at hand rather than spending time on activities that don’t suit her cause, she even delegates in effective ways to those who can handle the workload (Tyrion).  Knowledge is power

The smartest people on the show have traditionally pulled the strings, Tyrion, Littlefinger, and Varys, have always found a way to get what they want in Westeros.

“Fight every battle, everywhere, always in your mind.” – Littlefinger.  Never underestimate the power of knowledge.

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L.E.A.D Survey 2018

Following the Leaders or Leading the Followers

Developing Effective Leadership in the 21st Century

New information to help leaders understand what is expected of them in their roles and how best to identify and develop future leaders with confidence and success.

The Whitepaper delves into the most profound issues to emerge from this wave of the L.E.A.D. Survey, issues that implore leaders and managers to invest the necessary time and energy to understand and leverage the leadership potential that exists within their organisations.

Download the L.E.A.D. Whitepaper to view the issues, needs and expectations of over 4,000 employees, managers and business leaders.

Use the form above to download this handy resource, feel free to share it on social media.

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