Category Archives: coaching

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exceptional talent

Exceptional Talent Is Based on Real Skill and Art

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Skill building is life-changing. That is a fact, not an opinion. Are you developing exceptional talent or simply staying the same?

You can learn how to use a wrench, create a formula in an Excel spreadsheet, or improve your mental outlook and focus. Any or all of those may alter your future outcomes.

Change is often about learning. You can change your attitude, change your focus, and change your future.

When people excel in a career field, an athletic endeavor, or even in self-management, it is because they’ve realized that learning creates more value.

The talent you build becomes your own personal masterpiece.

Exceptional Talent

Have you ever wondered why someone speaks without a filter? On one hand they may be angry, or happy, or simply do not care. On the other hand, they may not realize how their actions, behaviors, or words influence others.

They need to build some of their essential skills. What some people call soft skills or real skills. They are essential and soft because they are hard to measure or test, and they are real because they are needed to survive in any social climate.

Exceptional talent is often observed as art.

The water color painter, the architect, or sculpture designer. All artists.

It is also true for the workplace leader, the innovation expert, and business strategist.

Don’t forget about the masterful work of the peacekeeper, the communicator, and the energizer.

All of this work, created by people, require real skills and the composure of art.

Your Masterpiece

You’re going to need to be at the top of your game to standout.

Exceptional talent is built by learning more about what makes your work matter. It matters when it is observed by others as useful, valuable, or attractive.

Every skill you build is a contribution to your masterpiece.

If you stop studying and stop learning, your work of art stops too.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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viable audience

Viable Audience and Your Next Career Move

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Wishing for a promotion? Looking at new options? Perhaps you just want to be the absolute best in your current role? Think twice about what is trendy or flashy and consider your viable audience.

Here is why.

Trendy, flashy, or doing something the way it appears to sell at the employer across town may not matter very much. Surfing LinkedIn, searching Indeed, or posting your discontent on Instagram probably won’t result in anything positive.

Choose Your Audience

Too often people try to go for the biggest viable audience. They consider that all of the organizations must be searching for someone who fits all the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the advertisement they just read.

The truth is, when you say it politely, that employer likely just borrowed the job advertisement from the closest job ad they themselves just read. It is the same, or very similar.

It appears everyone wants nearly the same thing. They offer X and provide Y. They are growing and care. So they say.

That’s what they advertise.

What is behind the veil?

Smallest Viable Audience

What do you want for your career? What makes you the best candidate?

Mainstream, fitting into the average and being just like everyone else probably will make finding the right opportunity nothing more than a gamble.

Who is your smallest viable audience? Not the largest, the most flashy or trendy, not all of the employers in the ocean of opportunity.

What employers really have the niches where you shine? Are you promoting and growing the things that make you unique, or do you find yourself trying to justify your abilities in areas where you are weak?

Sometimes you just need a job. It’s true, and understandable.

Your next career move though, it should be something more than that.

If you want it to be.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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Planning tomorrow

Planning Tomorrow, and Every Day After

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Does your day start with a plan? Will what you do today include planning tomorrow?

You can plan for tomorrow or you can make part of your daily routine planning tomorrow.

Perhaps there is a difference.

Jobs and Careers

When someone starts a new job, begins a career, or finishes their primary education, they may need some tools.

One person may need a laptop, another a tool chest with relevant hand tools, and still others will need a uniform, appropriate footwear, and some personal protective equipment.

Having the tools is part of what is needed to operate within that system. It doesn’t mean the system will work or will last. It means at some level you are prepared.

Another level of preparedness is knowing how to actually use all of the tools.

Having a laptop doesn’t mean you can create elaborate formula’s using Microsoft Excel. It doesn’t mean you can update or create a website. Simply, you have one of the tools of the trade.

What is next for your life or career? Do you have a plan?

Tools, Trades, and Professional Careers

Many people move about their career carrying a tool chest.

They have some education and they have experience. Those credentials don’t always intersect. A degree in accounting may not matter much if your daily job is creative advertising.

The average job doesn’t have a very long shelf life. The average career is longer, yet still not always permanent.

If you feel uncertain about this, ask a typesetter, switchboard operator, or your local video store owner.

Why do so many people view it as they are all set, they’re completely prepared, now where is the work?

Planning Tomorrow

Planning tomorrow means that you’ll have the tools and the work. You’ll have accountability and reasonable expectations for your future.

It’s hard to know for certain.

Consider what you do know.

Tomorrow will be different from today.

Plan appropriately.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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one chance

Just One Chance To Tell Your Story

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Actually, there are many chances but there is only one first chance. If you had only one chance, what would your story be?

Your resume might be a story. Perhaps you tell a story in the job interview. Your reputation is a story and so are the things that keep your friends interested in what’s next.

Your life is full of stories.

There are the stories that you tell yourself as you start your day, the story in your mind before the meeting, and the story you consider as you check your progress on your goals.

Everyone around you has a story too. Some will listen to yours and some only want to tell their own.

The news media has a story. So does the politician, the financial analyst, and the meteorologist.

For every person what happens next depends on their story.

Perhaps the life lesson is to learn how to listen to your own story.

One Chance for Your Story

It is possible that you could tell a better story? How would that shape what will unfold for you tomorrow? What about overmorrow?

The story that you tell depends on you. If you want a better story can you create one? Do good stories lead to more good stories?

When you care about your story it may be important to consider how you’ll tell it better. What will make it more powerful with greater impact. Will it be a catalyst for others on a similar quest?

If you care about what happens next it might be wise to listen to your own story.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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navigating Difficult People

Navigating Difficult People Is Seldom Easy

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Have you ever faced the challenge of navigating difficult people? What did you do?

Workplaces are filled with challenges. They’re also filled with emotions, bias, and mistrust.

A Few Basics

There are a few general practices that can help guide people in most situations. One of the first and perhaps the most fundamental is to recognize that it is often your own behavior that you can control, not the behavior or personalities of others.

There is a difference between navigating peers and navigating your boss, or perhaps even the boss of your boss.

What about all of the picky people, the perfectionists, or the boundary busting critic?

Then there are the annoying people. The loud, the rude, and the obnoxious.

When we recognize that we have a choice for how we react to every situation it makes navigation a little easier.

Some of it is based on your own expectations.

What are the expectations of others? Are they too high, too low, or inappropriately aligned for the circumstances?

Once again, each person has some ability to gauge their actions and reactions.

Navigating Difficult People

A picky person may feel difficult, yet when we realize and develop a greater understanding of their expectations, their values, or beliefs, we can better navigate. We can change our interactions and lower our expectations on his or her behavior.

On the other hand, a truly difficult person may enjoy being difficult.

If you suggest blue, they want green. Show them green, and it should have been orange. Tomorrow or next week, it all changes.

In some cases, you have a choice about who you interact with, in other cases you must find a way to navigate when interaction is required. Even when it is uncomfortable.

Improving your own situation starts with thinking about the choices you’ll make and how you’ll choose to interact.

Having big expectations for others that they should change is probably unrealistic.

You can change, just don’t expect it from others.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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untaught lessons

Untaught Lessons Are Not a Life Event Label

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Learning from experience is what many people enjoy the most. In some circles it is identified as experiential learning. Can you learn from untaught lessons?

Untaught suggests that it wasn’t scripted. It still, perhaps, could have happened in a classroom only it was a by-product of the instruction or lecture not necessarily the actual content.

Often people believe that experiential implies hands on. Such as a mechanic uses a wrench to loosen the bolt.

Experiential learning at its root is developed from reflection. When you reflect cognitively on the content, an outcome, or even the lecture, you are experiencing it.

What we learn becomes part of who we are. Often people become a label.

She is a teacher, dentist, or a welder. He is a carpenter, a salesman, or a project manager.

The labels often become applied as a result of formal studies. The degree in accounting makes her an accountant. It’s a life event label. She studied accounting and is now an accountant.

What happens with all of the untaught lessons?

Do you learn something from the by-product or residue of intentional learning?

Untaught Lessons

At the end of formal training sessions sometimes an instructor may ask, “What did you learn?”

For the individual there is reflection. For everyone else in the class there is reflection and an opportunity for learning from thoughts shared.

In many cases we experience or reflect upon what we choose.

When we make a mistake, we can learn from it. When we have some success, we can learn from it.

In life it is often our reflection on lessons that have the greatest impact.

Untaught lessons may not provide you with a life event label. Yet, life events may teach you a lesson.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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responsible coach

Responsible Coach And The Engaged Trainee

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Are you a responsible coach? Are you serving as a mentor, a coach, or a teacher?

In your workplace role do you find yourself feeling responsible to help guide, motivate, or teach others?

Professional coaches spend decades honing their craft. They are in it to make a difference. Much of their inspiration develops from seeing the results in others.

Is it possible that the coach cares more than the trainee?

Making a Difference

Both formally and informally many workplace professionals find themselves assigned to help others. Is it working? Are you making a difference?

It is difficult to feed those who are not hungry. You can set a table full of delicious and nutritious food in front of them, yet, they’ll not indulge.

Is the food terrible or are they just not hungry?

It is true for most things in life. As a general rule, people will only participate fully when they feel the need or have the desire.

Someone who doesn’t want to learn, or see a need to learn, probably won’t learn very much.

Weight loss, exercise, or healthy eating, will mostly come from those who have some desire or a feeling of necessity to create the outcome. Very limited desire yields very limited results.

A Motivation Coach

Can you motivate as a coach? Absolutely, you can. The question often becomes, “For how long?”

Remove the stimulus and you may see the results dwindle.

One role of the coach is to help the person stay accountable. Yet, you likely cannot provide oversight every minute, of every day.

Often, this circles back to the trainee having or developing some level of self-motivation for the cause.

It seems that there must be a level of commitment from the trainee.

What is the responsibility of the coach?

Responsible Coach

Remember that coaches often gain their own satisfaction or inspiration from helping others succeed. A coached person or trainee who lacks the commitment to the cause may not accomplish much.

The responsible coach may show the path, guide, teach, and even motivate. Yet, they can’t be held accountable to helping someone who consistently fails to do their part.

Be a good coach. Be a good trainee.

A responsible coach won’t waste his or her time.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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better boss

Finding a Better Boss Depends On Your Navigation

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Could you benefit from a better boss? Better than what?

Many career minded individuals feel frustrated with their boss. It may be because the boss supplies what feels like meaningless work. Perhaps he or she is too commanding, or is too close-minded. There may be more than a dozen other reasons.

The reality is that you always have some opportunity to shape your own future. That includes your interactions with your boss.

Opportunities Not Dead Ends

People sometimes suggest to me, “It must be nice to be your own boss.”

I’m typically quick to reply that at any given time I may have ten, twenty, or even fifty bosses. My clients are my boss.

Certainly, I have some ability to say whether I want that relationship or not.

It isn’t much different from traditional workplace roles. In a general sense, you work where you work by choice.

You’ll have things you have to do that perhaps you don’t enjoy. There are rules to follow that may not be your rules. There are organizational politics to navigate. And, work that may not always feel rewarding, efficient, or effective.

As for my job, it still has similarities to most jobs. You can make appropriate effort, or feel like a victim.

You can help by playing the role that needs played. That may be doing something creative, something necessary, or something monotonous.

Perhaps, you will also find opportunities to help by making suggestions. Have you ever considered doing it this way?

Not everything will be thought of as useful. Not everything will be welcomed with open arms.

Better Boss Navigation

There are at least three paths for your navigation.

  1. The boss (or client) welcomes your advice and that makes things different or better.
  2. You remain appropriately persistent. Eventually your contributions achieve a breakthrough and seem to matter. See number one.
  3. You pack up your toys and move to a different sandbox.

A fourth, alternative path, is to accept everything as is. Remember though, that is your choice.

Sometimes the best way to help yourself is to help your boss. Whether it is one boss or many, you have the choice for navigation.

There are trade-offs everywhere.

Choose the navigation that fits you best. Blaming the boss isn’t a solution.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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another candidate

Sorry, We Selected Another Candidate.

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Many people have heard these words, “Sorry, we selected another candidate.” The truth is, more people hear these words when compared with, “You’re hired!”

Jobs advertisements are everywhere. Hundreds and thousands of people applying. Often there is only one position, maybe two, to be filled.

Therefore, it is safe to say that most people won’t get the job. It is also true for the promotion.

Selected Another Candidate

Those applying often think about what it will feel like, how their family and friends will respond, and that satisfactory feeling of being chosen. There are opportunities that might change your life, your standard of living, or your ability to provide something more for your family.

All of it is often washed away in the moment you get the news.

Being the successful candidate means you’ve won. For the unsuccessful it is a loss.

That is exactly why it is so important to consider how you will navigate your loss. Will you blame someone else? Will you retreat back in to your shell and never take the chance again?

You certainly don’t want to create a self-fulfilled prophecy to lose, yet the statistics are almost never in your favor.

Navigating with Grace

Preparing to lose gracefully will create more opportunity. Being unprepared and losing without grace does not.

Remember all the basics. Reflect on what you’ve learned, what you can improve upon, and focus on how you might make some future changes.

Most of all, remember that persistence is enemy of complacency. Slowing down or doing nothing won’t help. You can’t coast because you’ll never coast uphill, only down.

Enter to win. If you don’t, be sure to lose with grace, dignity, and style.

Your next opportunity is waiting.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace mentoring

Workplace Mentoring Should Be About Learning

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There are several choices we make during workplace mentoring. We can do only show and tell and encourage people to memorize the steps or we can invite them to learn more too.

Technically, there is a significant difference between mentoring and coaching. Although the words are often used synonymously, they are different. Professional coaches spend decades honing their craft, mentoring is different, it is much more about show and tell.

There is still plenty of opportunity for the mentee. An opportunity to learn more about the process and procedures, as well as developing a deeper understanding of the how, the why, and the purpose.

When employees connect with the sense of purpose, they are much more committed to their job role. Not only are they more motivated, they are also more loyal. 

Memorize or Learn?

People can memorize the lyrics to a song yet they don’t necessarily learn something new.

We often put things into our memory. We may memorize features about our car, the software we use, and the menu at the local diner.

All of this is not necessarily learning.

Learning is more involved. It was why you had to learn more about math and not just memorize your multiplication tables.

Workplace Mentoring and Learning

When workplace mentoring takes mentees to a more advanced level of learning, not just memorizing, it benefits everyone. Just like in math class, they may seek only the answers, but learning the how and why will help with knowledge transfer and inspire a commitment to action.

You may be a mentor or mentee, learning more will always provide a deeper and more impactful experience.

It is likely much more than just a job.

For everyone.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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