Extra Curricular Activities Can Enhance "Grit"

angela duckworthAngela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, had a strong intuition that Grit is enhanced by participating in extra-curricular activities. There are countless studies suggesting that kids who are involved in extra-curricular activities have better grades, higher self-esteem, and are positioned to do better in their life in general. She points out that activities led by a demanding and supportive adult, such as a coach or teacher, "are designed to cultivate interests, practice, purpose and hope.”  So dance studios, dojos, and swimming clubs are breeding grounds for Grit.

Providing children with the combination of challenge (mastering something new) and intrinsic motivation (something that they are motivated to do on their own) seems to be the optimal reality to foster Grit. 


Leadership Qualities You Didn't Know You Had
leaders inspireAre you intimidated by leaders? Are you intimidated to be leader? Do you think that you lack the worth to deserve the title? Where does that attitude come from? Maybe you lack experience and therefore assume that if you haven’t done it before then you can’t do it. Everything you do adds to your experience. 

Whether or not you consider yourself to be a leader, the fact is that you most likely possess many of the qualities of a great leader. Even if they aren’t readily obvious to you, or they may still be simmering under the surface, the fact remains that you are more of a leader than you might think. Sometimes it’s not how you do the things you do, but rather why you do them.

Let’s consider some of the qualities of a great leader. Which of these are already a part of your skills and values?


The Benefits of Mentoring

mentoringAlthough many coach trainees engage in mentoring as a credentialing requirement, the opportunity to participate in this self-directed learning is an excellent investment in yourself on both a professional and personal level. The support that comes from a coach mentor brings your learning to a different mastery level.

Mentoring is a time to look at how you position your practice and how you relate to your clients. Coach mentoring provides reflective practices on who a client is and what they struggle with, giving you new perspectives and tools to be more effective and impactful in your coaching.

There are many reasons why you might engage in coach mentoring that go beyond what is required to get your credentials. Here are a few benefits of mentoring:


Coaching Changes Women's Future, One Woman at a Time

woman leaderWomen are as qualified as men to hold leadership positions, yet in 2015 only 23 Fortune 500 companies were led by women. That’s less than 5%. Why is there such a huge disparity?1

Research indicated that in contrast to men who tend to be more career-centric and driven by the desire to maximize their financial return, women's motivation is intrinsic.  Women are more likely to value meaning, purpose, connection and work-life integration when considering a position. 

While many women possess great qualities that position them well to become leaders they seem to be blind to them or to undermine them.  This prevents them from reaching for the next rung on the ladder.


Coaching Capacity Screening helps Coaches Maximize Client Success

The Coaching Continuum TM  model , as well as the ICA  class “Client Screening for Successful Coaching Engagement”, were developed recently by Manon Dulude, Phd, PCC, BCC,  and Jeanne Erikson, PhD, PCC, BCC. Dr. Dulude researched coaching effectiveness, and Dr. Erikson has been active in ICF coaching ethics development.  

Both the Continuum theory and the skill class address what seems to be a knowledge gap in coach training encountered by both novice and seasoned coaches. The novice sometimes reports he or she took on a complex client, but felt unequipped to assist the client reach his or her goals. Seasoned coaches have concurred that after working with a complex client who demonstrated a poor ability to progress, the client likely did not have the capacity to fully benefit from the coaching requested. 

Read more... 

How Women's Friendship Expectations at Work Impact Their Career

women at workFriendship is a relational expectation in society that develops early in life. Parents want their children to develop friendships in their neighbourhoods, at school, on the sports team they join, and later on at college or university. In childhood, friendships teach us about sharing, equality, inclusivity, collaboration and kindness. They also assist us in learning to develop a strong support system beyond one's immediate family.

By adulthood, most of us are actually unconscious to the fact that the expectations we have about workplace friendships are rooted in childhood friendships.  We are also blind to the fact that males and females have different rules for friendship. 


Coping with the Emotional Impact of Downsizing
downsizingBeing fired from a job is one of life’s top 10 stressors, according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, designed to evaluate how stressful events will impact one’s health. That’s why I recommend that one of the first things to do when you’re downsized is get support so you can vent your feelings.

Your family and friends can be wonderful cheerleaders, but also be sure to take advantage of professional support. Being fired is not an illness. Friends and family may not want to keep hearing about your career woes. They may also have their own concerns about the impact on the family finances.

A Career Transition Coach who has helped others in your situation has the expert experience to stabilize things and keep you moving forward. Choose a coach who is available when you need extra support and motivation to keep going. Evenings can be dark times, and a calm voice on the other end of the phone can make all the difference.


Four Upsides to Being Downsized
upside downsizeYou may not think so at the time, but a termination can be a blessing in disguise. It can benefit you both mentally and physically, can advance your career, and can also boost your bank balance and retirement fund. 

Of course termination is a negative outcome and not what you want to have happen (though these days you should really expect and prepare for being downsized). Yet upon reflection, I’m sure you will agree that there are upsides to being downsized. Here are four of them:


Cultivate Grit and Resilience
My interest in exploring resilience in people led me to discover Angela Duckworth’s presentation on grit and to some other authors who are thinking and contributing to these very important topics. 

I am curious about the impact of juxtaposing the two concepts of resilience and grit. I believe there is a connection between the two. I see both as an attitude toward life and toward problem solving. Resilience is the ability to keep bouncing back during times of adversity while grit is the ability to see failure or a mistake as part of the journey.


5 Ways to Handle Job Search Rejection
A job search is like a rollercoaster. One day you’re down, the next day you’re up. The idea of an optimal job search is to be up more than down, however, you’re not going to win the race in every interview. You will be number two, number three, or number four, and that is not a good feeling.

Job search rejection can bring on a negative mindset, but think of it this way: the more rejections you get, the closer you are to a win.

It’s like a hockey draft. Some hockey players come out of the AHL and are determined to play for the Maple Leafs, but they don’t always get chosen by the Leafs. Do they feel dejected? Of course they do, as does everyone when they’re not selected by their number one choice. But they play their best for whatever team they end up with.

If you’re struggling to cope with job search rejection, here are five tips that can help:


Leaders Gain When Hiring People with Grit
angela duckworthOnce you have a ascertained that the candidates you are interviewing have the skill set you require them to have, what personal attribute do you look for?  I suggest you look for Grit. 

Angela Lee Duckworth speaks of Grit as a strong indicator of success. Grit is a combination of passion and perseverance for a very long term goal. Someone with grit shows stamina and the ability to work tirelessly toward a future reward despite any setbacks. They are able to keep their eyes on the prize.

With all things equal, grit is something that is not necessarily measurable but is a quality that you can detect in people when you talk to them. People with grit tend to look at life as a marathon with a long term reward rather than a sprint with short bursts of effort for instant gratification.


Personal Branding for Executive Job Search
personal brandWhen processing dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes, decision makers at the corporate level look for a personal brand that sets the candidate above all the competition.

This goes beyond any checklist of credentials or skills. Others may have exactly the same list. Instead, we’re talking about the personal characteristics you will bring to the future employer. This is what captivates the reader, who may be your future boss or boss’s boss, an HR professional, or an executive recruiter.


Are You a Leader, a Friend, or a Friendly Leader?
friendly leaderDo you want to be a friend or do you want to be a leader? Or perhaps you’re looking for that happy medium and you’d like to be a friendly leader. The answer lies in where you’ve chosen to set your boundaries.

Healthy boundaries will help you remember that as a leader your primary function is to guide and inspire your team. From that perspective, you will be able to freely challenge people, pull the best out of them, request their commitment and hold them accountable. Healthy boundaries will also allow you to set the tone, the energy level and mindset of your team. 

To confuse being liked with being trusted or respected is a classic trap for many leaders. Slipping into the role of being a friend to your direct reports is a slippery slope which will likely dilute your position as their leader. 


Therapy is Not a Pity Party
Sharing your pain with a therapist is not just attending another pity party. Talking about your emotional pain in therapy is constructive and breaks through the downward mood spiral. You no longer have to suffer alone and ruminate over the same hurtful stories over and over again.

Truly effective therapy is an active process.  It requires the client to be clear on their desired therapy goal. Setting a clear goal, such as ``I want to live pain and shame free``, sets you onto a new path of intentional living. 

Intentional living is accepting that while you may not be responsible for the pain you are experiencing, you are responsible for your healing process and your personal growth. Once a client makes this realization, a significant shift occurs. 


Build Emotional Intelligence Muscles This Holiday Season
happy holidaysThe holidays can be challenging for some of us and emotional triggers appear to be in abundance during the festive season.  Whether it is the stories of Christmas past or the stories and the demands of Christmas present, we certainly can find ourselves flooded with powerful emotions without realizing it. 

When you find yourself being taken over by the “WHOOSH” of anger or sadness or any other emotions, catch yourself before you let others be on the receiving end, particularly at work. 

Becoming mindful of your emotions so that they don’t trip you and put you in hot water at work is crucial to your professional success. If you find the holidays a challenging time, use it as an opportunity to strengthen your emotional intelligence “muscles”.  Just like your physical muscles, your emotional intelligence muscles need to be developed. The good news is that the more you practice, the better you get at it.


How to Repair Damaged Business Relationships
repair relationshipBusiness relationships are complex and multi-dimensional. Not only do they impact the individuals directly involved, but they affect everyone around them and sometimes the bottom line. Instead of resorting to losing strategies that can harm your work relationships, let’s focus on what you can do that is positive and leads toward repairing damaged relationships.

Oftentimes when a professional relationship has been damaged, trust between individuals needs to be repaired. While not always easy, it is possible if you consider the following:


How Eating Healthy Increases the Corporate Career Woman’s Productivity

This week's blog is a guest post from Kevin Arnason, Owner of Motive8Fitness in Halton Hills, Ontario.

career woman

You are living in the fast-paced world of a corporate career woman. Your days are long and full of never-ending tasks. You can’t find the time to pee, never mind eat your lunch. The thought of adding anything to your current schedule makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time. Does this sound like you?

The one thing you can take comfort in is that you are not alone. What I just chronicled describes the lifestyle of the majority of corporate career women in the 21st century. The bad news is that this type of lifestyle takes its toll on your overall health and wellbeing not to mention the productivity at your workplace. 

You might not initially intend to, but you probably find yourself skipping meals either some of the time, or the majority of the time because of your tight schedule. This will leave you deficient in the vitamins, minerals, and protein you need for your body to function normally. Consequently, your memory, motivation, efficiency, and alertness will suffer in the process. Your body will start to lose muscle mass, which will cause you to start gaining fat around your mid-section. This causes high blood pressure and high blood sugar, which could eventually lead to things like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. 


Children's Aid of Toronto Volunteer Recognition Event

csa coachingOn April 10, 2014 Manon facilitated the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto Volunteer Recognition event.  With focus on celebrating their contributions, participants inspired each other by sharing powerful stories and personal reflections about their volunteer experience with CAST. Nearly 80 people attended and were there to connect to each other and with the mission of the organization. Volunteers have had a meaningful impact on the lives of others and recognition events like this enable them to reconnect with their intention of the heart.

Why Use Assessment Tools during a Coaching Engagement?
Assessment tools can enhance a coaching conversation as they are a means to increase people’s self-awareness and identify their strengths and areas of personal and professional development. Tools can also help an individual gain an appreciation of how others perceive them and become mindful of the behavioral and communication patterns that need altering to create a different impact.

Managers and executives have come to realize the importance of objective human resource assessment to ascertain the skills and talents available to their organization. Assessments help organizations make better decisions about hiring and developing people. They also increase the probability that the individual selected for a position has the skills and motivation to be successful.


How to Handle Dismissive Body Language
When we insult each other we damage relationships and that is why direct verbal insults aren’t socially acceptable. But some individuals use body language to hurt others either intentionally or unintentionally. Dismissive gestures vary from culture to culture and they can be used in a variety of ways to:
•    minimize or ignore the other person’s feelings
•    defend your own bad behavior
•    express disdain
•    diminish the other person in the eyes of others
•    assert superior status

•    exact revenge


Immunity to Change by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey
robert keganA recent study showed that when doctors tell heart patients they will die if they don't change their habits, only one in seven will be able to follow through successfully. It seems that desire and motivation aren't enough to bring about change even when it's literally a matter of life and death. Given that the status quo is so powerful, how can we create the changes we need in ourselves and in our organizations?

In their book Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization, authors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey show how our habits and mindsets combine to create an overwhelming immunity to change.


Are You a Job Hunter or a Career Explorer?

resumeWhat is the difference between a Job Hunter and a Career Explorer?

A Job Hunter is someone who is looking for a job in a specific field. They know what they want and have a targeted career goal. It is assumed that they have the proper skill set to do the job and that they are looking for a new environment in which to perform what they are trained and skilled to do. Generally their expectations involve a role at a similar level they were doing in a previous work setting or they aim for a promotion of some kind.

If you are a Job Hunter, you will benefit from having a strong personal brand and marketing strategy.  In contrast, a Career Explorer has not yet narrowed down the type of work they want to pursue and is looking for career options.  As a Career Explorer, there is a need to explore interests, motivators, personal preferences for workplace environments,   and values in order to identify suitable career fields.  Career Explorers need to be realistic when they set their sight on a new career path. 


10 Tips to Do What You Do & be Where You Are!
Imagine learning a tool that can offer you the guarantee to improve your life quality. Would you not want to run to learn it as soon as possible? This too-good-to-be-true tool is both common sense and extraordinary. Athletes and performers receive hours of coaching to master it and   vouch for its merits.  

This tool is your ability to be in the “Here and Now” - to focus your awareness and give full attention to the moment and activity you are engaged in. 

By applying the following suggestions, you will boost the psychological benefits of all the activities you are involved in and possibly decrease your stress. 

1. Quiet down your mind. Your mind is your worst enemy. It is constantly babbling and stealing the show.


8 Strategies to Achieve Work/Life Balance

work life balanceBalancing work and home life is a challenge for many. As actors in our own lives, we hold many leading roles (parent, spouse, caregiver, friend, employee, etc.) which are often competing for time and attention.  Attending to all these roles and responsibilities is quite a juggling act which from time to time can be overwhelming.

 Consider the following tips when you notice yourself to be off kilter:

1.    Change your attitude toward work/life balance – Balance implies it is fluid and in constant motion. Remind yourself that balance is not something we achieve once and for all but rather a goal we keep striving for. Set an optimal well-being balance point and use it as your objective. Be very clear with yourself on what it looks like from a physical and psychological standpoint.  As you stray from your optimal well-being balance point, use various strategies to get back as close as possible to it.


How Better Sleep Can Improve Leadership
We live in an age where executives and leaders are getting less sleep as they try to squeeze more into their work lives. While popular belief might suggest that this is a more productive approach, the science indicates otherwise.

The Center for Creative Leadership recently published a comprehensive report on the neuroscience surrounding the topic of sleep. Click here to view the remarkable findings.

How Can Your Team Benefit From “Coaching Fundamentals” Training?

coach training haitiIn April 2013, I had the great pleasure of facilitating a 2-day Coaching Fundamentals training program to 16 people from Handicap International Haiti. This group was rich in cultural diversity with French, Italian, African and Haitian staff.  These individuals hold diverse responsibilities in the organization such as logistics, purchasing, project management, finance, security and physiotherapy.  

During the training we introduced coaching skills to this group focused on: 

• Developing a higher level of listening skills and acquiring coaching competencies to engage in focused conversations that address needs and challenges of individuals and communities
• Developing skills on how to ask powerful questions and use appreciative inquiry
• Learning the art of possibility thinking, leading to new outcomes
• Acquiring new skills to create accountability and personal responsibility
• Providing a forum to facilitate individual and group leadership conversations using the coach approach

Six Ways to Detect the Office Gossip

gossipCorporate cultures are not single-handedly built by executives and managers. They are the cumulative byproduct of the participation of each individual involved in an organization. Too often, staff ignore the fact that they have a direct impact on the quality of their workplace culture and leave it up to management to fix things. This approach allows staff to disregard the role they play in improving and managing the quality of interpersonal dynamics they themselves create. 

It is important to bring to light the various roles team members may adopt from time to time which lead to the disintegration of the fabric of a healthy corporate culture. In doing so, we hope that staff will be better equipped to distinguish destructive from constructive interpersonal interactions.

Gossiping, backtalking and tattletaling are destructive behaviors often present in unhappy workers. Gossip can spring up in organizations for a variety of reasons.  Staff and organizations should be concerned by gossip as it directly impacts trust, fosters unresolved conflict, creates a lack of commitment, distracts people from their work, and decreases productivity.


Is Your Boss a Psychopath?
boss is psychopathIn a recent study of more than 200 executives, nearly 4 percent scored at or above the traditional cutoff for psychopathy using the Psychopathy Checklist. By contrast, just 1 percent of the general population is categorized as having psychopathic tendencies. Admittedly, it’s just one study, but it suggests that business leaders could be four times as likely to be psychopathic than the average person.

Robert Hare, renowned expert in criminal psychology, is the creator of the Psychopathy Checklist. The 20-item personality evaluation has become the standard tool for making clinical diagnoses of psychopaths. A psychopath is someone who has no conscience and has a profound lack of empathy. They use other people callously and remorselessly for their own ends. They seduce victims with a hypnotic charm that masks their true nature as pathological liars, master con artists, and heartless manipulators. Easily bored, they crave constant stimulation, so they seek thrills from real-life "games" they can win -- and take pleasure from their power over other people.


Office Politics: Positive, Negative or Neutral?
Do you think of yourself as "politically savvy" at work? Politically savvy people often have better career prospects, are seen as more promotable and are less likely to have derailed careers. People who bumble through the political realities — or avoid or ignore them — are missing opportunities, connections and resources. Politics isn’t good. It isn’t bad. It’s simply a natural part of life in virtually any organization. Being politically savvy does not mean that you want someone else to lose in order for you to win. It isn’t about being false and inauthentic. Instead, it involves the sincere use of your skills, behaviors and qualities in order to be more effective.

The Center for Creative Leadership has produced a white paper on the subject of political savvy that outlines certain leadership behaviours that, if strengthened, could strengthen your political skills as well. These four key behaviours are:


The Power of Group Coaching
group coachingGroup coaching is a powerful and effective approach to enhance your personal and professional life.  There are great benefits to attending a group format rather than individual sessions.  Besides the practical side that the group approach may be more economical than individual sessions, here are a few reasons to consider attending a coaching group:

1. Members of a group commit to creating a safe environment. Together they agree to use a kind yet challenging approach toward each other. 

2. Join a group of individuals who, like you, want to create momentum in their life. Success is contagious. As you see others reach their objectives, you will likely want to report your own wins and push yourself just that much more.

3. As the group gels, members share similar experiences, goals and purpose. The group sessions provides a sense of connection and belonging to a community that wants you to succeed. Now you have a group that cheers for you. 

Anatomy of a Goal
Most of us at some point in our lives have set goals for ourselves.  While this is a common occurrence in our personal or professional life, we are not always successful in reaching our set destination. A goal needs to be meaningful for us to reach it, but we also need to have the psychological readiness to put the time into it that the goal requires. We must ‘own the goal’ and commit to putting the work in. A coach can assist you in achieving this readiness level to maximize your chance of success.

What if you could discover what makes a goal so compelling that it would be nearly impossible not to achieve it? 

Here are a few thoughts that may assist you in reaching your next goals:  

1. Stop writing a to-do list of things and calling them goals. 

Build Better Business Relationships
business communicationTo be successful in business, it is critical to build and maintain relationships. Not just with customers, but also with vendors, employees and competitors. You need to have long-term customers and good vendor relationships especially during challenging times or tight deadlines. Good relationships with other business owners allow you to share your struggles, resources and best practices that can give you an edge in business. Of course, any relationship will involve give and take.

It’s easy to neglect business relationships. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care, but you simply got very busy with other priorities and those relationships went without check-ins or contact. Failure to nurture these relationships will cause them to wither away. Without reaching out, customers, vendors and employees can imagine any number of reasons why you’ve been distant. None of which are usually very flattering. Are you truly only keeping relationships that will benefit you, or do you genuinely wish to nurture them and keep them growing?

How Stressed is your Team?
stress at workDid you know that 23.2% of your work force is likely experiencing a high level of emotional distress?

In the Manon Dulude Ph.D. research project “an Effectiveness Study on Telephonic Brief Solution-Focused Coaching on Life Satisfaction Measures”, it was discovered that 23.2% of those who volunteered for the study were considered too emotionally distressed to benefit from coaching and more suitable for counseling services.  

Out of a sample of 138 volunteers, 32 individuals were disqualified due to their high score on the Brief Symptom Inventory, a brief psychological self-report symptom scale. These unexpected findings bring us to question how these individuals impact the overall performance and dynamics of a team.  

These results also bring to light a number of questions:


Brief Solution Focused Coaching Works!


In 2011, Manon Dulude Ph.D. conducted a life coaching research project to evaluate the effectiveness of a short-term coaching model (brief solution-focused coaching) on the emotional and cognitive aspects of life satisfaction (how positively people feel and think about their life). This research project was a doctoral dissertation requirement. Aspiria EAP Corp. sponsored the research project.

The results of this research were exciting. Click the link for a summary of Dr. Dulude's findings on this short-term coaching model. 

Telephonic Coaching is a Viable Alternative
In this day and age where we want to minimize time on the road commuting, telephone coaching is the way to go. Ninety-five (95) percent of one hundred and six (106) subjects involved in a research project (Dulude 2012) confirmed that telephonic coaching is a viable approach to deliver the service.  
Some of the most commonly experienced benefits of working with a coach identified by the participants were; 
• increased level of life satisfaction, 
• improved confidence, 
• positive outlook, 
• understanding of self, 
• determination, 
• momentum, and 
• increased courage. 

How can Coaching Assist me to Improve the way I Relate to my Supervisor?

supervisor relationshipIn my experience, when people talk about their workplace relationship problems, they tend to attribute the responsibility and blame to the other party and keep focusing on how the other person is just not living up to their expectations.  These internal conversations are rarely effective as they fail to acknowledge the relationship as an independent entity and how each person contributes to the "dance" they create together.

When an individual comes to coaching because they find themselves in a difficult workplace relationship, their first session often resembles a court proceeding where the coach is expected to act as judge and jury, and find fault with the missing party.  This is not a realistic expectation nor is it effective. It is more constructive to ask yourself "how can I change the way I think about this situation so I can react to it differently and create a different outcome?” This will reinstate some sense of personal power that is often lost at time of conflict.

For confidential discussion, contact Manon Dulude at (905) 873-9393.           
Contact Manon

(905) 873-9393


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