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Coaching Collaberation Influence Laughter Leadership

Laughter the best tonic for stressful situations

I published this article last year, and given the Current crisis thought it would be a great reminder of why laughing is so important.

My team are great fun and they make me laugh daily with the challenges of working from home. We have a Online coffee catch up in the morning as a social check in.

Mondays conversation was about how is the Italians ran out of coffee first and the Australians toilet paper! It seems that many in my team are stockpiling Nescafé for when the coffee pods run out.

Tuesday the conversation turned to getting comfy with a chair and desk at home, so there was trips to office works and IKEA! Apparently some love building flat packed furniture. Ummm..

Wednesday the teams attention is now on the lack of steps one reported 66 in a day. One of the team chose to post a video of mini home workout, starting with a set of 5 press ups, etc. adding one on each day. Great video! Everyone very happy with wearing activewear. Started online meetings with some yoga stretches… Fun on video!

It is important that we laugh at ourselves and with others. Laughter will ease the stress and pain of this situation.

Here is the original blog on laughter is the best tonic for stressful situations.

As a teenager I was told off when telling a funny story about my auntie at the tea celebrating her life, post funeral. Everyone was laughing, then my mum pulled me aside and I was told it was inappropriate to laugh, I needed to be solemn as a mark of respect. My Auntie would have been laughing with me if she was alive and celebrating life is very important.

This learning about being more solemn did not just play out at the funeral, but in the school and the workplace. In the UK it was often frowned upon in business meetings to be laughing and having fun.

That belief stayed with me until 6 years ago when working with my business coach, Phil recommended a class with a comedian, on how to release tension by laughter. I had feedback that I am very serious at work and quite intense. We were told on the course that in the work place when their is stress that making a self deprecating joke or having fun, will release the stress and it does. Learning to have fun and laugh at work, makes the place a great place to be for everyone.

Just completed jury duty and we were able to laugh inspite of the stress of deciding a verdict. I am not sure how we would of got through without the laughter and fun, it relieved the tension and helped people not stress about the task at hand.

If you are reading this and you cannot remember the last time you laughed, its time to take stock and ask yourself what did you last laugh at? Who makes you laugh? Watch something that makes you laugh. If your beliefs are that it is inappropriate to laugh in certain situations then rethink that belief, as the relief from those around you will lead to greater collaboration and teamwork.

Laughter is a tonic and you need it like you need food and exercise. Let go of inhibitions and have some fun.

Categories
Coaching Influence Leadership Personal development

Great Leaders ask Great questions John Maxwell

Just finished reading this amazing book. https://www.amazon.com/Good-Leaders-Ask-Great-Questions-ebook/dp/B00I829QJ8. Thought provoking and some sage advice on Leadership. John’s curiosity in others, inspires great questions. This is a must read for anyone looking to grow in their career or find telling is their default mode or fail to influence others. Great questions are the key to influence.

The highlight: the structure of each chapter, the great questions and answers were insprirational. The latter sections on succession, how much time to spend on leaders was particaully useful and validated many on my own thoughts.

Did not agree with the section on trust with a leader, that there is no going back. Great leaders forgive and hold no grudges. It’s never personal.

Forgiveness is critical to being a great leader, there are many times when I have almost given up on someone and seen them realise what they need to do to change the future. My experience is that great leaders believe in others and allow people the room to reflect and grow. Poor leaders, see this person is not performing its reflecting on the leader and take action to remove them. Self serving leaders have a short shelf life as staff turnover is inevitable. They are also seseptable to yes men that never deliver results, because their is no diversity of thought.

Categories
Career planning Coaching Mentoring Sponsor

The difference between a coach, mentor and sponsor

What I am about to discuss I wish someone would have told me when I was 21 years old!  This is definitely one of the most important drivers for an accelerating your career.

I was discussing the topic with two graduates who joined my team after completing the graduate program and they could not believe I was discussing this with them. They thought this was a Taboo topic!

I am going to discuss the following:mentoring, coachng, sponsorship

  1. Difference between Sponsors and Mentors
  2. Perception of women regarding sponsorship
  3. Role of a Sponsor
    1. Relationship with Succession planning and sponsorship
  4. Role of a Sponsoree

Difference between Sponsors and Mentors

What is the difference is between a sponsor and a mentor?  Mentors act as a sounding board or a shoulder to cry on, offering advice as needed and support and guidance as requested; they expect very little in return. Sponsors, in contrast, are much more vested in their protégés, offering guidance and critical feedback because they believe in them. (1)

Perception of younger women

Research from the Center for Work-Life Policy, a New York-based think tank, quantifies the power of the sponsor effect. Sponsorship provides a statistical benefit of up to 30 percent when it comes to stretch assignments, promotions, and pay raises—a boost that mentoring alone can never hope to match.

Many junior women entering the corporate workforce still underestimate the crucial push sponsorship can contribute to a high-potential but unrecognized employee. According to a study performed by the Centre for Work-Life Policy, a New York-based think tank, 77 percent of junior women believe that hard work and long hours, not connections, contribute the most to their advancement. There’s an overwhelming sense by these junior women that getting ahead by any other means is unscrupulous.(2)

I was 22 and applied for a role head of training for the software company I worked for. I had taught more courses and could teach across the breadth of business and technical, in my view that’s why I should have the role. My new manager Andrew had the where with all to explain why? And more importantly what he was going to do to help me. He sponsored me and put me on a 12 week Dale Carnegie course, which taught me about the importance of making and impression, I still quote from the book today. He left a lasting impression on me as did the course.  https://www.amazon.com.au/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/146075266X

This is also true of women of all ages. If you have a boss that is not coaching you or giving frank feedback on a regular basis, allowing you to represent them when they are on leave or other occasions and you want to move up in leadership and they are not preparing you as a successor, you may need to consider looking for a new boss!

A colleague of mine at Telstra, a high achiever did not get her bosses role after years of commitment and excellent results. She was very disappointed and only learned in the interview process what she needed to get to the next stage. As a leader it is our role to coach and ensure that when the time is right our successor, whom we have sponsored, achieves their goals and secures your role.  As a sponsoree commitment in this is to be open to learning and achieving the results needed.

As the saying goes people don’t leave companies they leave bosses.

When searching for roles in corporate after 20 years in the tech start up space, my number one criteria was who I was going to be working for. I was looking for someone who could coach me to be a better leader and sponsor me to successful next career step.

The role of  Sponsor

Having a Successor is critical in business, to de risk the running of the business, but also an opportunity for you to move on.  Successors and Sponsorship are essential together.

In a previous company I had a team member that just din’t have good connections and the only barrier to them being a successor were the detractors. When I started at Salesforce, I had an experienced ex CIO, with a consulting background who applied for the role that I was appointed to. When we met, I asked why he did not get the role and he did not know, I said I would find out and then we would start work on what he needed so when I moved on the role would be his. I remained true to my word and sponsored him as my successor. During that time, we had to deal with the detractors, this meant sharing their perception with my sponosree and then me coaching him to turn it around.  He responded well, but there were times he was close to giving up, as we overcame one hurdle to find another. The feedback can often be intense and not always that palatable.   He secured my role when I moved on.

Sponsorship within an organisation starts with Senior leaders  who are prepared to become sponsors to support and promote top talent (sponsoree). For the sponsoree, similar to selling, they need to provide a point of view and insights that are valuable to a your sponsor. Delivery of insights, consistent achievements to an agreed plan  is very important to building trust and rapport between the sponsor and the sponsoree. Women often lack the confidence to speak up and challenge the way business is operating or strategic direction in a positive way, and because of this would particularly benefit from a sponsor relationship.

As a sponsor your role is ensuring that you help your sponsoree navigate the organisation, communicating who the detractors are and assisting your sponsoree in establishing the rapport and trust needed to progress relationships and advance their career.  This includes setting up meetings with senior execs, briefing them on how to manage the situation and insights into the individuals needs and characteristics.

Inexperienced and less self aware leaders who don’t engage in sponsoring judge others when what the individual needs is coaching. Worse still, the non sponsoring leaders speak to other leaders rather than engaging sponsorees, which would give the sponsoree the opportunity to learn.

This is not easy as you need to have critical conversations, my sponsorees have been eternally grateful and recognise the act of the conversations is because you care deeply about their success. Over time the sponsoree recognises the commitment needed to create the path to success.

Role of a Sponsoree

For the sponsoree, they need to provide a point of view and insights that are valuable to a your sponsor. Delivery of insights, consistent achievements to an agreed plan  is very important to building trust and rapport between the sponsor and the sponsoree. Women often lack the confidence to speak up and challenge the way business is operating or strategic direction in a positive way, and because of this would particularly benefit from a sponsor relationship.

If you want to progress in leadership then become a great sponsoree, what are you doing to make your sponsor look good, what insights can you deliver and what is your plan, have you shared it? Are you asking for feedback?

Sponsoring is like your most challenging sales campaign… there are times when you are not sure you going to win, but you remain committed.

Lean’t from my business coach that with no sponsor at an exec level, it is hard to succeed.

in the corporate world. My boss at the time Janice – asked Phil my coach what does Angela need to help her be successful? That was her first question to my coach. He was blown away by her question.

You need the mentorship and support to navigate the organisation.  As a Sponsoree in I have had many people helping me, it’s overwhelming and very different to my previous experiences . Given the size of the organisations I have worked in Salesforce, Telstra and nbn Business, you cannot believe the accessibility and openness, truly refreshing and for someone who has spent most of their working life in the entrepenuarual world very surprising.

If you are leader, who are you sponsoring? Who is talent? And are you doing all you need to ensure they are successful.

If you want to progress in leadership then become a great sponsoree, what are you doing to make your sponsor look good, what insights can you deliver and what is your plan, have you shared it? Are you asking for feedback?