Coaching

When You Are Advised to Network, But Feel Network-Disabled

“Maybe you need new friends.” Have your parents or other authority figures ever said that to you?

What happened to inspire that advice? Usually, it’s because you told them it was your friends’ idea to do something stupid. When you’re a kid, doing what your friends are doing makes you popular. But we grow out of that, right? Not according to data.

According to data we earn, eat, and generally do what our 5 closest relations earn, eat, and do. 

When I was a recruiter, this was used as justification to always ask top candidates for referrals – good talent runs in packs, apparently. However in the real world working with rising, thriving, and even dying corporate stars, not everyone feels particularly akin to their closest circle of influences. Some even pride themselves on being the black sheep.  For most others, however, being the black sheep is isolating and creates challenges, particularly networking challenges when it comes to making career moves. 

Even though some of these clients were top performers and great team contributors, they shied away from inter-office friendships and social activities. In their private life, they had smaller social circles and preferred low-key, private gatherings to un-traversed, public adventures. 

They were happy to surround themselves with people who know and accept them, introverts and extraverts alike. Not all of them felt the need to change anything until it came time to campaign for a career change (moving up, over, or out.) 

Some coaches I have paid over the years have advised me and many others to cut people out of your life who hold you back or weigh you down. I think this is awful, even dangerous advice. Success that requires you to cut people out of your life sounds too cultish and elitist to me. Yes, sometimes we change and grow, which can cause conflicts with people who have known us as we have been. Sometimes we do outgrow relationship. Sometimes people are genuinely toxic and you need separation. 

Let’s go back to the main point our parents usually got around to making: If your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you?

Friends aren’t the real reasons we stay stagnant in our lives or our careers. Once we get to age 18, family is no longer a reason we can legitimately use to say why we stay stagnant, even if we stay in the same location for their sake. 

Can friends and family influence us? Sure, if we let them, but we let them influence us because, ultimately, we choose. The tighter we make our circle, the harder it is to recognize their influence on our decisions and our path. 

Before I tell you about the light on the other side, I should share with you my personal triumph:

I was severely friendship-disabled during 3-8th grade. I preferred reclusively sitting home and watching television because socializing hurt, sometimes physically. All interactions with peers could easily transgress into a “social suicide” situation. I had to outgrow and overcome this. I did this by diversifying my friend pool. Doing this helped me in multiple ways I could not have expected. It started as a way to have a friend to call when there was drama with my best friend and her other friends. I started doing new things my other “friends” weren’t doing, like tennis camp. I made a friend at tennis camp. She introduced me to other friends, many of whom were going through similar home situations – divorce, shared custody. My best friend could sympathize with this but really didn’t understand like my new friends did. In fact, she and my four other friends from that group still have parents who are alive and still married. 

My new friends shared some of the same anger and pain, and I felt safe talking about it with them. They gave me new ways to deal with it, even how to use it to my advantage. Hanging out with this group changed me a bit – I got/talked tougher and started smoking. My best friend didn’t like the changes so much, but I gained more confidence and stuck up for myself more. This new group also helped me appreciate my individuality. For the most part, I was the “Bomar” of each group, a word we used for studious bookworms who loved to participate in class and generally earned good grades. They didn’t shame me for this like my older group of friends – they admired it. Eventually, I expanded my sphere of influence and even became a “joiner” in high school – athletics, school clubs, yearbook and prom committee, etc.  I also found that my guy friends were a lot more fun with less drama, usually. I spent more time with them and enjoyed being the girl in the group. This came in handy when I started working at a sports apparel retail store working mostly with men talking mostly about professional athletes, and even getting to meet a few. This also helped when I worked in other male-dominated fields, like tech. 

The cumulative effect of having diverse groups of friends is that I can work with difficult personalities successfully, but never feel like I have to continue associating with anyone who mistreats me or whose values are not aligned with mine. I have tried and adopted new hobbies, traveled to new places, and can relate to more people. I meet fewer and fewer people now with whom I can’t find something in common, and that’s a good starting place for rapport, mediation, and negotiations. 

I didn’t leave anyone behind, but some groups grew closer while I expanded my horizons. I became a “special appearance” friend. I wasn’t always where they were, which actually saved me from being arrested on multiple occasions. I still have multiple groups of close friends from high school. We made different decisions at graduation, and we all mostly wound up successful in our careers. We all eventually expanded our circles to include new people – neighbors, sports parents, co-workers, spouse/partner’s friends and in-laws, etc.  

I’m certain that if you take a look at the years since you were in grade school, you would see an evolution in your social sphere as well. 

Some people choose to delineate the social sphere from the professional sphere.  That’s a personal choice and one I didn’t make for myself because of the richness of opportunity that has come from cross-pollinating my professional and personal networks. In fact, I can say with utter certainty that if I had made the attempt to keep my personal and professional circles separate I would have failed at my jobs and in my business. 

If you are choosing this for yourself, this blog is not for you and I really don’t think I can help you get where you want to go. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a career or leadership coach that will help you get where you want to go in your career under the conditions that you continue to only associate with people on either a personal or professional level and never bleed the two together. I do encourage you to start your own society of people who follow the same belief system and maybe you can ONLY help each other based on what you learn about each other professionally. You do you!

Back to the other readers who saw this headline and thought, “Yes – that’ me. I’m network-disabled.” The first step is identifying this. Right now, I want you to know that if you recognize that this has been holding you back from enjoying opportunities for greater professional growth and performance, your network is not permanently broken. You can enjoy expanding your social spheres and spheres of professional influence simultaneously while expanding your comfort zone and discovering new strengths and qualities. It doesn’t take as much time as you think. You could be the new “Norm” to your new Cheers within a few weeks, actually. 

In the coming weeks, I’ll share advice and tips that will help you maximize your victories, minimize and learn from your failures, and accelerate your ability to leverage your new-found friends without feeling sleazy or self-serving.

 

Cheers intro song

intro song to the tv show cheers( 1983-1992) song: where everybody knows your name, by Gary Portnoy.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

 

We Need More Better Bosses

 

The Twitterverse: where I’m never really sure if someone is being complimentary or sarcastic. I err on sarcastic.

When I proposed to an HR consultant on Twitter that leadership coaching and skill/career development would prevent disengaging the employees who tend to get overlooked, the middle 80%, he called it “such a simple solution.”

 

Was he being sarcastic?

Conceptually, it certainly is, and data proves that it is effective. Logic also says that if 50% of employees have left jobs because of bad bosses, then the way to retain talent is to have better bosses. Retention does not equal engagement, however.

Now that engagement is on everyone’s radar and it’s all the rage at human resources and human capital conferences galore, why haven’t we gotten past the fact that this works and getting on to executing?

Ah, executing. That’s what has proven to be NOT simple. Or is it?

I recently saw the advice on LinkedIn to choose your boss, not your job. It was advice that was highly lauded by other career professionals and corporate professionals alike. Choose your boss – that’s good advice, but NOT choosing your job is like determining that you can’t have both. You can! The problem is that good bosses don’t seem to be plentiful enough for people to believe they can have both, so they better grab a good boss when they find one, regardless of what they will be doing for them. We need more better bosses, and there’s ALWAYS room for improvement.

I noticed that many articles refer to this kind of leadership development as “executive” coaching. There certainly are particular challenges that executives face for which coaching would help them. And, when executives are conscious leaders who make conscious decisions, it does tend to influence a positive work culture and benefit everyone, but executives are not the only leaders who would benefit from skill, professional, and personal development. Frankly, too many companies exclude personal development as a focus of coaching, when in reality, this is where development makes the most difference in employee/boss dynamics. Personal development is how individuals expand their self-awareness and sense of accountability for results and effective communication. This type of coaching benefits front-line employees, support teams and leaders alike.

If a company is leveraging the creativity of all of its workforce, its leaders need to create an environment and provide coaching that helps all employees handle creativity-killing stress. It also needs a fair system and conscious leaders to vet ideas.

Aspiring leaders need this kind of coaching to understand how to transition from being a doer to a delegator and all that comes with handling people problems, holding others accountable, keeping others motivated, and reconciling orders from above with their own wisdom.  They need to build confidence in this area in order to continue growing.

Mid-level and experienced managers need this kind of coaching to help them handle increasing pressure and responsibility of making decisions, dealing with the consequences of bad decisions or unpopular decisions, as well as managing other managers. Also, even a great leader can be vulnerable to situational greed, and once you have had the taste of promotion, you might be easily influenced to do unethical things as directed with the promise of future promotion.

Executive leaders need this kind of coaching because the stakes are high, they can easily forget the real challenges that their employees face to be able to effectively support them, and the prestige, power, and prosperity can become a drug, making decisions for them. If their wits don’t stay intact, they can be seduced by what looks like easy money and fail to do their due diligence. They can make decisions purely devoid of consideration of human factors – what actual humans do when subjected to adverse situations, and the costs thereof.

So far disengagement is not exclusive to any one demographic of corporate employees. Any employee can become disengaged, though leaders, I’ve found, tend to be engaged for the sake of their team over the sake of the organization. Each group can also learn to support the other, exponentially fortifying an organization’s ability to perform and profit.

Of course, not all development coaching is created equally.  The Epic Careering development programs leverage current and proven neuroscience and human performance optimization breakthroughs that accelerate and reinforce the process from self-awareness to transformation.  Conventional coaching isn’t ineffective, but it is inefficient considering the increasing pace of technology and the necessary pace of corporate evolution.

Epic Careering is currently offering retained programs to 4 growing organizations for 2019. If you want all the benefits of professional development without the wait, book a consultation to learn more now.

 

Bruce Springsteen – Human Touch

Bruce Springsteen’s official music video for ‘Human Touch’. Click to listen to Bruce Springsteen on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/BSpringSpot?IQid=BSpringHT As featured on The Essential Bruce Springsteen.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

What Do We Really Need More of?

Love by Mayberry Health and Home on Flickr

Sing it with me…”What the world…needs now…is…”

Before you go labeling me as a “snowflake,” or “airy-fairy” or an idealist, all of which I have been accused of and may or may not be true, let me ask you this…. What do you prefer? Love or Rules?

In all the corporate disciplines that exist to help companies become better at cultivating a culture that keeps valuable talent and optimizes engagement (Organizational Development, Human Resources, Training and Development, Talent Management, Change Management, Human Capital Management, etc.,) it seems the best a company can do as of right now is to engage an emotional intelligence trainer, train their managers to be better coaches (I will distinguish between these things below), and re-employ someone who turns out to be suited for their intended role or should their role be eliminated.

Even in these best practices, there are shortcomings, and most companies are just trying to cover their butts with more extensive sexual harassment awareness training and instituting more clear expectations of respectful behavior as well as clear and fair consequences for infractions. Is this adequate? Are these companies treating the symptoms instead of the causes?

Not all managers are coaches. Most managers focus mainly on the pragmatic components of performance. Some, for liability reasons or simply because they don’t feel work is the time or place or because they don’t feel adept at addressing it, ignore the emotional side of their human resources. At what cost?

On the morning I was interviewed by KQTH radio in Tucson last week, I awoke and read a page of Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer. Reading an inspiring passage to start my day was a ritual that I adopted with the Miracle Morning in 2016. I was going to be interviewed on recruiter blacklists by Mike Rapp, and this particular passage was of serendipitous significance.

Think about the problems that would disappear if people were actually kind, instead of being forced to be kind:

  • The negatives of black lists
  • Harassment (sexual or otherwise)
  • Bullying
  • Bias/discrimination

A long time ago I stopped teaching my clients how to act confident and focused more on helping them be confident. If I find that my clients are hurting or resentful about their employment past, I know that they will get much further much faster if they acknowledge that pain, process it, and release it rather than if they ignore it or pretend it isn’t there.

What would happen if instead of creating rules and guidelines to attempt to avoid offensive behaviors, we address why people treat other people poorly in the first place?

“Hurt people hurt people.” (This quote has been attributed to Will Bowen, Yehuda Berg, and Rick Warren)

Regardless of who said it, can you see how this is true?

I’m not suggesting traditional therapy is the answer. I spent years in therapy myself during my youth through my parent’s divorce, and while I did gain some validation for why I acted out as I did, and it was nice to have someone to talk to during that time, I only felt more emboldened and justified in acting out toward my parents. I felt justified in my resentment. I didn’t heal. The healing began when I started to take more accountability, learned how to forgive, and how to be compassionate. This was coaching, not therapy.

It’s not like flicking a switch. I’m not cured of my pain, and I still may tend to react in my old ways rather than respond in a conscious way, but my awareness improves with continued coaching and I continue to add tools to my toolbox to come from a place of love and compassion rather than pain, and the outcomes of my interactions with people are infinitely better when I do.

Coaching is a way of providing an objective perspective on what can hold back peak performance, and what can be done to attain and maintain peak performance. Coaches do not shy away from the nitty gritty of feelings. They create a safe space for a person to be flawed, give feedback without judgment, and provide techniques, drills, exercises. They provide support and accountability in creating new habits.

Some might say that the workplace is no place for:

  • Love
  • Crying
  • Feelings
  • Personal problems
  • Games

Except, science is proving that positive psychology techniques in the workplace are already:

  • Transforming how a company collaborates
  • Feeding innovation
  • Improving workforce health
  • Improving productivity
  • Increasing profits

Shawn Achor proved in his work with Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries that the byproducts of a more positive workforce are well worth the investments and the investments don’t even have to be monetary or require a lot of time.

I am keenly aware that people in pain don’t usually just make a simple choice to be more positive. Personal transformation is much more complex. There are patterns of thinking reinforced over a lifetime that need to be identified and reversed. Yes, you can apply some simple happiness techniques to become more positive, and that WILL trickle down to various elements of your professional and personal life, and maybe that would be adequate to cultivate respect and tolerance.

But what could work look like if there was a focus on healing and helping employees reach potential in areas of their lives besides work?

One thing I can say with confidence – As hard as you can try to compartmentalize an area of your life, it will surely bleed into the others. This goes for both good and bad things. If you form a good habit in your health, it will have a cascading effect on other areas of your life. If you are having problems at home, or are dealing with health issues, you will find your productivity and engagement go down. Even those who escape their personal problems and dive into their work will find that there is a burn out point, or they are just a little less than their best selves when they are at work. There is even greater pressure to make that part of their lives go well.

Your emotions impact your brain chemistry and your brain chemistry impacts your physical body, communication, and cognition (obviously).

What I am suggesting is that companies consider a truly holistic, even “alternative” approach to the very current initiatives of ridding the workplace from bias, harassment of all kinds, bullying, discrimination, toxicity and stifled growth.

Yes, employees will always benefit from being able to relate better with one another, but they also need to relate better to themselves.

We are less able to give when we feel we don’t have enough. If we don’t feel like we have enough of our basic human emotional needs: connectedness, acceptance, love, we won’t be apt or able to offer it. What companies are asking their employees to do is to put other people’s feelings first. I foresee there being much resistance and inadequate execution with this method.

 

In 2018 Epic Careering is launching a program that will help companies create a conscious culture. It will come with assessments, live workshops, online courses, interactive communities, and management and executive consciousness coaching training. If you recognize that your company is experiencing conflicts and breakdowns that require an alternative solution to the traditional corporate approach, e-mail Karen at Karen@epiccareering.com. Confidentiality is guaranteed. Take the first step in transforming your company for everyone’s sake. There could be a day when you feel as good about going to work as you do about coming home.

What The World Needs Now Is Love / Dionne Warwick

Please skip CM. I am sorry to mistake some spellings. Dionne Warwick ディオンヌ・ワーウィック Burt Bacharach バート・バカラック