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Creating Successful Leaders

Category Archives: Goals

Let’s say you are a company leader who is trying to help their team work together more cohesively and improve communication. Who would you call? Would you search for a trainer? A coach? Someone else entirely?

Though they may sound similar, a coach and a trainer usually perform very different functions. Confusion sometimes arises because people often use these terms interchangeably. However, they are distinct, and a trainer can not necessarily perform the same functions as a coach (and vice versa).

What, then, is the difference between a coach and a trainer?

In most cases, a trainer will work with a team on a specific skill, program, or technique. Training usually has a specific, prescribed program which doesn’t vary much from team to team. Training could only last a few hours (a “lunch and learn,” for instance) or could be performed over several days or weeks.

Coaching, on the other hand, is usually less focused on a specific skill or program, and more focused on outcomes. Want to improve motivation? Or create a more cohesive work team? Or help your people clarify their professional paths? A coach is probably the right choice.

Coaches may be subject matter experts in a certain area (interpersonal communication, self-discovery/awareness, women work teams, etc.), but they can usually adjust their material to fit the specific needs of the group. If they discover that the group really needs to build their confidence before focusing on interpersonal communication, they might focus on that area of improvement first.

When I’m working with work teams as a Licensed Practitioner of Insights® Discovery, I will consider the group member’s personal profiles to determine how best to work with the team. If I discover, for instance, that the group leads with a lot of “red energy,” that may mean I’m working with several strong personalities who may clash at times. If I’m working with a primarily “blue energy” group, that likely means they are data- and process-driven, and will respond well to a data-centric approach. (To learn more about what I’m talking about, please visit this blog post.)

Another example: When I’m giving a “Ten-Minute Leadership Challenge” workshop, I will run through an activity that helps identify which leadership attributes are strongest in the group, and which could use some work. I’ll then put most of my focus on the areas of improvement.

Both trainers and coaches have merit. Depending on the needs of your work team, you may need to hire one or the other. Keep in mind, individual trainers and coaches may toe the line between these two areas, taking a somewhat hybrid approach. It’s always best to do your research and, preferably, talk to past clients before making a decision about whether to hire a trainer or coach.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE

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If there’s anything the last few years has taught us, it’s that life can change at the drop of a hat. Many people had to transition to a work from home environment with little notice, meetings were suddenly virtual, and kids were learning at home instead of in a classroom setting. Now, with the Great Resignation still in full swing, employers and business leaders are having to adapt and adjust to the needs of their teams. Life is fluid, and if you don’t want to be swept up in the current, you need to be flexible and adapt a growth mindset.

The term “growth mindset” was coined by psychologist Carol Dweck, who described two main mindset categories: growth and fixed. Those with a growth mindset often see opportunities to learn, grow, and develop. They believe they can change when they need to and actively work toward making those changes. On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset generally believe they are unable to change, adapt, or evolve. They are more easily defeated by failures, and they tend to firmly resist change.

If you’re sometimes guilty of having a fixed mindset, that’s okay! It is possible to develop a growth mindset. It only takes time, tools, and the willpower to do so.

Let’s talk about 4 ways to develop your growth mindset…

1. Pay Attention to Your Thoughts

We all have an inner voice. It may be positive and encouraging, or it may be telling you things like, “You can’t,” “You’re not good enough,” or “This is just the way things are.” What is your inner voice telling you? If it tends to be more negative and defeatist, that’s a good sign you tend to have a fixed mentality. Once you’re aware of that, you can begin to talk back to your inner voice and begin to take on a more positive, growth-oriented mindset.

2. Reframe Failure

It’s easy to feel deflated by failure. No one likes to fail. However, it is possible to reframe failures as opportunities. Next time you’re faced with failure—a work project that flopped, a client that went with another company, an idea that didn’t get picked up—think about what you learned from the failure. What went wrong? How can you do things differently next time? Use these moments as chances to learn, redo, and move on.

3. Embrace Brain Plasticity

We used to think adult brains were somewhat rigid and fixed, but recent studies have shown that that’s not at all true. The brain is still malleable, even as an older adult. Even those who have experienced extreme brain trauma (such as a coma or major concussion) can retrain and essentially rewire their brains. That is the power of neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to adapt and reshape.

4. Use the Word “Yet”

Next time you catch yourself doubting your abilities or lamenting failure, add the word “yet” to the end of your sentence. For example:

I don’t understand computer coding…yet.

I can’t operate this machinery…yet.

I can’t speak Spanish…yet.

I haven’t reached my sales goals…yet.

This simple word connotes opportunity and helps you get in a positive frame of mind. Instead of feeling defeated, you give yourself a glimmer of opportunity. Maybe you haven’t achieved something yet, but success could be on the horizon.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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If you’re like many ambitious individuals I know, you work hard and follow that old axiom: “If you want something done right, it’s best to do it yourself.” This, however, is flawed thinking. By taking on everything yourself, you’ll get bogged down and caught up in work that may be ill-suited to your talents (and, perhaps, better suited to others). Instead, it’s better for yourself and your career to delegate.

Delegation isn’t lazy. It’s an essential tool for propelling your career, improving results, developing your personal brand, and keeping your workload under control.

The fact is, there is only a limited amount you can do, no matter how hard you work. Because we are not super-humans, it’s essential that we learn to let go and trust others to take on certain tasks. If you’re a perfectionist, you may be thinking, “How can I possibly entrust others with work that I know I can do better myself?”

For one, you don’t know you can do something “better” unless you let others have a fair shake. Secondly, don’t confuse “better” with “different” (others may take a different approach, and that’s definitely not a bad thing). Third, skillful delegation may take a bit of training at first. You might have to teach someone else how to do a certain task, but that’s part of the process. Share your insights, know-how, and expectations. Make it clear that you’re available to answer any questions or provide feedback.

To Delegate, or Not to Delegate: That is the Question

When faced with a new task, don’t just jump into it right away. Instead, ask yourself, “Would this task be a worthy use of my time?” If you continue to accept projects that don’t align to, or properly utilize, your skills, you’re diluting your brand. Perhaps there is someone else who has the skills to do the task better, or who would be eager to develop skills that the task would involve?

Strategically delegating tasks to others allows you to focus on the tasks that reinforce your most vital skills—those you want to be known for as part of your personal brand. (If you haven’t yet considered what your personal brand is, now is the time to start!)

How to Handle the “Who?”

When considering who to delegate to, take into account the following questions:

  • What are this person’s skills and knowledge?
  • Does this person currently have space in their workload?
  • What is this person’s preferred work style?

Once you have decided on the best candidate, don’t forget to document the process. When practicing delegation, it’s extremely important to keep track of your processes to save time in the future and develop best practices that promote clarity and efficiency. Just as you, say, develop practices for hosting a BBQ—send the invites, clean the house and yard, prep the food, etc.—creating processes for sharing tasks at work will cut down on confusion and clutter, and will save you time in the long run.

Your Challenge:

Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload, fight the urge to dive headfirst into your pile of tasks. Instead, assess these projects and consider whether or not some can be delegated to another member of your team instead.

Do you have any helpful tips for delegating effectively? Please share!

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