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How You Can Benefit from the Practice of Gratitude

Tired of Fixating on Bad News, Global Warming, or Wild Politics?

It’s a wild world out there, and with the bad news headlines front and center, it’s pretty easy to dwell on the negative. There’s good reason to be fearful, negative and stressed…and yet, there is overwhelming evidence that one simple practice can help us to deal with these issues on a personal level, and more importantly to increase happiness - the practice of gratitude.

I know…you’re too busy. But think again.  The benefits of cultivating an attitude of gratitude are very real and can be enjoyed with some simple choices to build it into your life in simple ways.  In its simplest form, gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging all that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything in it were a miracle, and being consciously aware of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the richness that is already present.

I have read about 40 studies on gratefulness, and the results are pretty impressive. By practicing gratefulness, here are just some of the benefits you can expect:

  • Better and more sleep, feeling more refreshed when you do wake
  • Less depressed
  • Feel more connected to others
  • Expressing gratitude increases goodwill toward others
  • Greater overall life satisfaction
  • Higher levels of optimism
  • More feelings of control in your life
  • Expressing your gratitude increases happiness by 4 – 19%. The impact is even greater if you are in a particularly rough place in your life – expect increases in happiness of up to 25%
  • Profound and positive effects on our health - People who kept a weekly log of things they were grateful had fewer health complaints, and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more
  • Overall better mood
  • Increase in cognitive functions like memory and problem solving
  • Higher marriage survival rates (Try the 5:1 Ratio – 5 positives for every negative in a relationship)
  • Schools report lower incidences of violence and misconduct and stronger academic performance

David Steindl-Rast shared this…“If you’re grateful, you’re not fearful, and if you’re not fearful, you’re not violent. If you’re grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity and are willing to share.”

Grateful is not a “once in a while” thing, but rather a choice to live your life in a certain way. It’s about graceful living every day.

So enough about why…HOW do you fit it into your life? Try these three simple practices for 7 days – then check in. Pay attention to how you feel, and how others are responding to you. Observe how you handle people and situations. My guess is that you will see a difference…so then build on that. If you don’t notice anything then go back to being grumpy and wishing for more…see the difference then.

Here’s the gratitude makeover…

  1. Observe – When we rush through life, we don’t appreciate the incredible things that are around us – the sights, the smells, the laughter, the miracles. Stop and look around for 30-seconds at a time during the day. Instead of just rushing to the meeting a few minutes late – build in some white space so that you can walk to the meeting and notice the incredible architecture in the buildings, or look at the people on the way, say hello to someone who holds the door for you. Notice the little things that make your world a better place. Just deliberately observe for 30 seconds at a time, at least five times a day.
  2. Accept / Ask – Rather than getting upset about the money you don’t have, the resources that are stretched, or the house that is too small, flip it around. Accept that it is what it is. Ask what can you do with the money or resources that you do have. Embrace what is, rather than fixate on what isn’t.
  3. Act – Share with at least one person every day something that you appreciate about them. Make it genuine and meaningful to them and to you. Adopt the 5:1 Ratio – Say / Do five positive things for every one. And then keep a journal – I find that starting my day with 3 positive things helps me to stay focused on being grateful – starting with what I think when I look in the mirror in the morning. Choose gratitude.

Here’s a great video to get you started - An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness. Just watching this video will give you a kick start.

Gratitude and thankfulness just feels good. It’s good for you and it’s a blessing for the people around you, so what are you waiting for? Share your results with us…we would love to share the good stuff as you are leading your grateful life.

Author: Tammy Sweeney, VP Program Development, Learn2 & CEO, Women in Leadership and Business (WILB) Conference

Build Gratitude into Your Business in 10 Simple Ways

Want Stronger Results? 

We have heard over and over that practicing gratitude is good for our health, our happiness and our overall life satisfaction…but there’s more. It’s even good for business. There are three things that cost leaders and business owners MORE time, stress, frustration and money than anything else – regardless of the type of business you have.

  1. Acquiring and keeping good people on your team
  2. Acquiring and keeping your best customers
  3. Reaching potential new customers

If we can find ways to help with these three things, then much of the rest takes care of itself. And with our schedules more packed than ever, and the eternal connectedness to all things technical, we seem to make less time to connect with people than ever before.  So these important things suffer.

Connecting with the people that matter for your business and sharing a moment of gratitude can make the critical difference in their support and loyalty. So lets’ start there. Here are 10 things you can do today to express gratitude to those that have stood by you through thick and thin, when business was good and bad, the ones you rely on to get the job done time and time again.

  1. Tell at least one employee or team member at work each day that you are grateful for what they do, and most importantly the impact they have. Making the time to do this personally and genuinely says almost more than the words.
  2. Let your employees know that you value their insights or contributions by asking them to share their story, tips, methods, ideas etc. with others. This can be done informally at a team huddle or scrum, or formally at a team or employee meeting. You are basically letting them know that you value what they offer.
  3. Book a one-on-one lunch or coffee time with EACH employee on your team at a different time – not when something is wrong, but just because. Time is an incredible gift, and time together lets them know that you value them. This is gratitude in action.
  4. Send a birthday card with a personal note in it to ALL of your employees. Our president did this in one organization, and I made sure that she had personal information about each employee to include in the card. It was a simple act that had tremendous impact.
  5. Call a small group of customers personally and tell them how much you appreciate that they have chosen you. I know you are busy, and this is a time commitment…that’s precisely why they will appreciate it. Even if you get voice mail – leave the short voice mail. How surprised will they be when they hear that you are NOT asking for more business, promoting an event or a product launch but simply saying thank you. You will stand out.
  6. Reach out to your most difficult customers who have offered feedback or suggestions about how to grow or improve your business. Thank them for taking the time to share their thoughts and suggestions, and share with them the changes you have made as a result. Most customers don’t voice their suggestions – they simply walk away. These customers have given you a gift. Appreciate it.
  7. Send a personal thank you note to customers who have referred your services to others. This is golden and you want to cherish their advocacy and championing.
  8. Include an unexpected surprise with every order like a book, an article, an offer for something more, or even just a thank you letter with a picture of your team.
  9. Give something to potential new customers to express your gratitude – an article, an idea, an opportunity to experience your services, or a meet and greet – with NO expectations in mind. No hard sell, no soft sell – just focus on doing what you do best and GIVE. Be grateful that they are sharing their time and attention with you.
  10. Connect your prospects to others in your network that can help them. Be inspired by what they are working on and help them further their cause.

Bonus…

I know I said 10 things…here is one bonus with a direct line to helping your business. Be thankful to friends and family who have stood by you working long hours, through good days and bad…have listened, encouraged, and shaped along the way. Surprise them by taking some time off work to do something just with and for them – something that is important to them. And let them know that they are important to you. Without them – none of the rest matters, so take care of those closest to you.

Have a grateful day!

Author: Tammy Sweeney, VP Program Development, Learn2 & CEO, Women in Leadership and Business (WILB) Conference

Lead the Endurance

You’re looking for a way to engage your leaders. You want them to explore how they lead, not talk about leadership. You want an experience where they identify new leadership behaviors for themselves. You want them to explore practices to ensure their teams and results thrive. You want them to lead differently.
Read More

Stress Test For Your Leadership Team

Stress. Leaders experience more stress than ever before. Your leaders waste time because they delay confronting stressful situations head on and instead focus on the stress they feel. Where does that get them? No further ahead…

You rarely get to see how your leaders handle situations that are stressful because you are not likely in the room when “it” hits the fan. You just see the outcome.

So instead, invest in a practical way to see how they perform in a situation that mimics real life in a time-pressured, team based challenge. Participants in Learn2 Save the Titanic™ experience real leadership in a high-pressure situation — the ultimate stress test for your leadership team. Participants determine how they will achieve results, and each team has complete freedom of choice in each action they take. So they get to see the impact of their choices in real time.

We structure the environment so participants deal with stress and continue to create a number of innovative solutions in a short period of time - even with the stress. The result is that they quickly figure it out. Their communication, their openness to ideas and their willingness to take risks are called to task as participants face their own performance head on. And because it is a simulation with a “role” they are playing, they are free to come up with the solutions without constraints of their regular way of working. This gives them, and you, the freedom to challenge, practice and discover alternative ways of communicating, leading and creating team - to cross over that line and get different results.

During the experience, your leaders will go from being cautious, polite and organized into experiencing everything required to create a high-performance team. So we can talk about leading under stress, or we can just do it and learn from it. Stop investing in training that doesn’t test their leadership skills…improve the ROI from your development dollars by investing in the ultimate stress test for your leaders. Join us on the Titanic and maybe this time it won’t sink!

When you are ready to talk about keeping your team afloat, we are here for you, with enough lifeboats in hand.

Get our downloadable version here

5 Great Questions Great Leader Asks Their Team

What makes one company more successful than another? Better products, services, strategies, or technologies? While all of these contribute to superior performance, all of them can also be copied over time. The one thing that creates sustainable competitive advantage – and therefore ROI, company value and long-term strength – is the people who are the company. And when it comes to people, research has shown, time and again, that employees who are engaged significantly outperform work groups that are not engaged. In the fight for competitive advantage where employees are the differentiator, engaged employees are the ultimate goal.

As leaders we can be tempted to share our wisdom and solve things for people – too often, and too quickly. When we do, we don’t allow others to grow, to develop, to come up with a brilliant idea…so pretty soon, they just don’t try any more. So rather than solve the issue for them, ask questions to get the team engaged in problem solving. The answers become conversations about things that are important or meaningful. Conversations are more likely to turn to action.

Here are some of the questions that can help you get started.

1. What do you think?
Instead of offering our answer first, get them thinking, talking and sharing. Hold back, no matter how tempting to share your solution. And when they start talking, just listen and maybe ask a probing question, like “What else?” No judgment, no qualifying, and no hi-jacking…let them explore with your help.
2. What would you do?
Asking this question encourages leadership thinking and ownership – at all levels of the company. Again, follow up with good probing questions to keep listening.
3. What’s the real challenge here for you?
The key here is the word “real”. When you ask about challenges, you may open the flood gates…help them focus on the real challenge so that they can begin to find their way out.
4. Where are you stuck?
Sometimes we just need a push…we may need to admit that we are stuck so that we open ourselves to ideas and new perspectives. Asking this question gives us permission to admit we are stuck so that we can move forward.
5. How can I help?
When your employee gets stuck and focuses there, they may become frustrated and disengaged… Asking this gives hope that they are not alone, and can be the relief they need to move forward. Go through the other questions first though…there is a reason this one is last.

Learn2 works with leaders to help them develop and implement strategies to engage their teams to get great results. Work with one of our Culture Specialists to help you implement lasting change in your team.

Author: Tammy Sweeney, VP Program Development, Learn2 & CEO, Women in Leadership and Business (WILB) Conference

Download the questions here

Top 10 Leadership Development Activities for Managers

Getting to the top of the corporate ladder requires personal and professional growth.  Growth happens quickly with targeted leadership development activities. Leader growth may not simply happen magically over time. Dedication, commitment and ongoing leader skill development are the cornerstones of any leadership position.

Of course, it does help to get a little boost from a team of professionals who really know their stuff. Learn2 is a company that focuses on growing leaders. Leadership training is simply what they do best.Read More

Are You Ready for Peer Coaching?

This series on Peer Coaching is designed to help you elevate your own performance and your team’s performance. First though, it starts with you. Are you ready to dive in? Are you ready to be vulnerable and trust?

Assess your individual readiness to participate. The person who meets the criteria below is in the best position to coach, be coached and see remarkable results.

  1. Sees the need for coaching. Is open to the possibilities that it brings.
  2. Able to see how valuable peer accountability is
  3. Recognizes it is OK to make mistakes and ask “dumb questions”
  4. Flexible and open to learning and open to being supported to think more deeply and perform differently
  5. Committed to learning and willing to try new things even if they are uncomfortable.
  6. Feels OK about making mistakes in the name of learning
  7. Recognizes and accepts vulnerability in themselves and others

If you want help setting up a peer coaching program on your team, visit Learn2.com and speak with a practitioner today.

Author: Tammy Sweeney, VP Program Development, Learn2 & CEO, Women in Leadership and Business (WILB) Conference

How To Make Peer Coaching Work

In the last blog, we talked about the what and the why of peer coaching. Here we focus on the HOW. How do you find success with peer coaching? Here is our top 10 list.

  1. Choose a location that is quiet, private, convenient, and free from distractions. Switch off mobile phones during the session. Phone, skype or even email meetings are possible. If on the phone or computer, still choose a quiet location so you can eliminate distractions.
  2. Switch off thinking about other things. Focus on the present. Your partner will know if you are distracted.
  3. Enter with an open mind. Try not to be judgmental or make assumptions
  4. Be clear about your expectations - Before you get started, be clear about parameters. There are times you want input and times you just need someone to listen; spell this out in the beginning. To ensure your arrangement is mutually beneficial, allot an equal amount of time to spend brainstorming and discussing each partner’s opportunities. Decide how often you will connect and whether it will be in person, over the phone or by email. Plan how many projects and commitments you’re willing to discuss at a time. And be clear that whether or not you take your partner’s advice, each person is 100% responsible for their choices.
  5. Map out and agree on how the accountability will work. Plan what you and your partner will do when you don’t make your goals or take agreed-upon action steps.
  6. Meet regularly. Aim for once every two weeks. This keeps everything fresh in your mind and allows you to take course-correcting actions more quickly.
  7. Limit meetings to 30 minutes if possible. Put a time limit on the meetings to keep you both focused. This is not just a gab session; it has deliverables and purpose.
  8. In the session, look for, describe, and assess what you see– not the person’s competence. You may share observations – offer no judgment, give no advice. Use the action / effect formula to share observations. For example…”I noticed that you jumped into the conversation while John was still speaking. Have you noticed that when you do that, he shut down immediately?
  9. Be willing to have the tough conversations and create a shared accountability for future success. Show you care and celebrate the ability to get the tough conversations on the table for increased effectiveness of the team. At the same time, give the benefit of the doubt. Probe with questions before you make a judgment call about someone’s behaviour. Understand your teammates motives and intentions before deciding that their actions signal a lack of trust.
  10. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. This is not easy for anyone…go with this without expecting it to be easy.

Peer coaching is merely a conversation. It is a shared resource where both parties contribute, and both take something from it. The results can make the difference between a good team and a great team. Go for it. For more information, check out Learn2.com and speak with a practitioner today.

Author: Tammy Sweeney, VP Program Development, Learn2 & CEO, Women in Leadership and Business (WILB) Conference

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How You Can Benefit from the Practice of Gratitude

How You Can Benefit from the Practice of Gratitude

Tired of Fixating on Bad News, Global Warming, or Wild Politics?

It’s a wild world out there, and with the bad news headlines front and center, it’s pretty easy to dwell on the negative. There’s good reason to be fearful, negative and stressed…and yet, there is overwhelming evidence that one simple practice can help us to deal with these issues on a personal level, and more importantly to increase happiness - the practice of gratitude.

I know…you’re too busy. But think again.  The benefits of cultivating an attitude of gratitude are very real and can be enjoyed with some simple choices to build it into your life in simple ways.  In its simplest form, gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging all that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything in it were a miracle, and being consciously aware of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the richness that is already present.

I have read about 40 studies on gratefulness, and the results are pretty impressive. By practicing gratefulness, here are just some of the benefits you can expect:

  • Better and more sleep, feeling more refreshed when you do wake
  • Less depressed
  • Feel more connected to others
  • Expressing gratitude increases goodwill toward others
  • Greater overall life satisfaction
  • Higher levels of optimism
  • More feelings of control in your life
  • Expressing your gratitude increases happiness by 4 – 19%. The impact is even greater if you are in a particularly rough place in your life – expect increases in happiness of up to 25%
  • Profound and positive effects on our health - People who kept a weekly log of things they were grateful had fewer health complaints, and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more
  • Overall better mood
  • Increase in cognitive functions like memory and problem solving
  • Higher marriage survival rates (Try the 5:1 Ratio – 5 positives for every negative in a relationship)
  • Schools report lower incidences of violence and misconduct and stronger academic performance

David Steindl-Rast shared this…“If you’re grateful, you’re not fearful, and if you’re not fearful, you’re not violent. If you’re grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity and are willing to share.”

Grateful is not a “once in a while” thing, but rather a choice to live your life in a certain way. It’s about graceful living every day.

So enough about why…HOW do you fit it into your life? Try these three simple practices for 7 days – then check in. Pay attention to how you feel, and how others are responding to you. Observe how you handle people and situations. My guess is that you will see a difference…so then build on that. If you don’t notice anything then go back to being grumpy and wishing for more…see the difference then.

Here’s the gratitude makeover…

  1. Observe – When we rush through life, we don’t appreciate the incredible things that are around us – the sights, the smells, the laughter, the miracles. Stop and look around for 30-seconds at a time during the day. Instead of just rushing to the meeting a few minutes late – build in some white space so that you can walk to the meeting and notice the incredible architecture in the buildings, or look at the people on the way, say hello to someone who holds the door for you. Notice the little things that make your world a better place. Just deliberately observe for 30 seconds at a time, at least five times a day.
  2. Accept / Ask – Rather than getting upset about the money you don’t have, the resources that are stretched, or the house that is too small, flip it around. Accept that it is what it is. Ask what can you do with the money or resources that you do have. Embrace what is, rather than fixate on what isn’t.
  3. Act – Share with at least one person every day something that you appreciate about them. Make it genuine and meaningful to them and to you. Adopt the 5:1 Ratio – Say / Do five positive things for every one. And then keep a journal – I find that starting my day with 3 positive things helps me to stay focused on being grateful – starting with what I think when I look in the mirror in the morning. Choose gratitude.

Here’s a great video to get you started - An Experiment in Gratitude | The Science of Happiness. Just watching this video will give you a kick start.

Gratitude and thankfulness just feels good. It’s good for you and it’s a blessing for the people around you, so what are you waiting for? Share your results with us…we would love to share the good stuff as you are leading your grateful life.

Author: Tammy Sweeney, VP Program Development, Learn2 & CEO, Women in Leadership and Business (WILB) Conference

Build Gratitude into Your Business in 10 Simple Ways

Build Gratitude into Your Business in 10 Simple Ways

Want Stronger Results? 

We have heard over and over that practicing gratitude is good for our health, our happiness and our overall life satisfaction…but there’s more. It’s even good for business. There are three things that cost leaders and business owners MORE time, stress, frustration and money than anything else – regardless of the type of business you have.

  1. Acquiring and keeping good people on your team
  2. Acquiring and keeping your best customers
  3. Reaching potential new customers

If we can find ways to help with these three things, then much of the rest takes care of itself. And with our schedules more packed than ever, and the eternal connectedness to all things technical, we seem to make less time to connect with people than ever before.  So these important things suffer.

Connecting with the people that matter for your business and sharing a moment of gratitude can make the critical difference in their support and loyalty. So lets’ start there. Here are 10 things you can do today to express gratitude to those that have stood by you through thick and thin, when business was good and bad, the ones you rely on to get the job done time and time again.

  1. Tell at least one employee or team member at work each day that you are grateful for what they do, and most importantly the impact they have. Making the time to do this personally and genuinely says almost more than the words.
  2. Let your employees know that you value their insights or contributions by asking them to share their story, tips, methods, ideas etc. with others. This can be done informally at a team huddle or scrum, or formally at a team or employee meeting. You are basically letting them know that you value what they offer.
  3. Book a one-on-one lunch or coffee time with EACH employee on your team at a different time – not when something is wrong, but just because. Time is an incredible gift, and time together lets them know that you value them. This is gratitude in action.
  4. Send a birthday card with a personal note in it to ALL of your employees. Our president did this in one organization, and I made sure that she had personal information about each employee to include in the card. It was a simple act that had tremendous impact.
  5. Call a small group of customers personally and tell them how much you appreciate that they have chosen you. I know you are busy, and this is a time commitment…that’s precisely why they will appreciate it. Even if you get voice mail – leave the short voice mail. How surprised will they be when they hear that you are NOT asking for more business, promoting an event or a product launch but simply saying thank you. You will stand out.
  6. Reach out to your most difficult customers who have offered feedback or suggestions about how to grow or improve your business. Thank them for taking the time to share their thoughts and suggestions, and share with them the changes you have made as a result. Most customers don’t voice their suggestions – they simply walk away. These customers have given you a gift. Appreciate it.
  7. Send a personal thank you note to customers who have referred your services to others. This is golden and you want to cherish their advocacy and championing.
  8. Include an unexpected surprise with every order like a book, an article, an offer for something more, or even just a thank you letter with a picture of your team.
  9. Give something to potential new customers to express your gratitude – an article, an idea, an opportunity to experience your services, or a meet and greet – with NO expectations in mind. No hard sell, no soft sell – just focus on doing what you do best and GIVE. Be grateful that they are sharing their time and attention with you.
  10. Connect your prospects to others in your network that can help them. Be inspired by what they are working on and help them further their cause.

Bonus…

I know I said 10 things…here is one bonus with a direct line to helping your business. Be thankful to friends and family who have stood by you working long hours, through good days and bad…have listened, encouraged, and shaped along the way. Surprise them by taking some time off work to do something just with and for them – something that is important to them. And let them know that they are important to you. Without them – none of the rest matters, so take care of those closest to you.

Have a grateful day!

Author: Tammy Sweeney, VP Program Development, Learn2 & CEO, Women in Leadership and Business (WILB) Conference

Lead the Endurance

Lead the Endurance

You’re looking for a way to engage your leaders. You want them to explore how they lead, not talk about leadership. You want an experience where they identify new leadership behaviors for themselves. You want them to explore practices to ensure their teams and results thrive. You want them to lead differently.
Read More

Stress Test For Your Leadership Team

Stress. Leaders experience more stress than ever before. Your leaders waste time because they delay confronting stressful situations head on and instead focus on the stress they feel. Where does that get them? No further ahead…

You rarely get to see how your leaders handle situations that are stressful because you are not likely in the room when “it” hits the fan. You just see the outcome.

So instead, invest in a practical way to see how they perform in a situation that mimics real life in a time-pressured, team based challenge. Participants in Learn2 Save the Titanic™ experience real leadership in a high-pressure situation — the ultimate stress test for your leadership team. Participants determine how they will achieve results, and each team has complete freedom of choice in each action they take. So they get to see the impact of their choices in real time.

We structure the environment so participants deal with stress and continue to create a number of innovative solutions in a short period of time - even with the stress. The result is that they quickly figure it out. Their communication, their openness to ideas and their willingness to take risks are called to task as participants face their own performance head on. And because it is a simulation with a “role” they are playing, they are free to come up with the solutions without constraints of their regular way of working. This gives them, and you, the freedom to challenge, practice and discover alternative ways of communicating, leading and creating team - to cross over that line and get different results.

During the experience, your leaders will go from being cautious, polite and organized into experiencing everything required to create a high-performance team. So we can talk about leading under stress, or we can just do it and learn from it. Stop investing in training that doesn’t test their leadership skills…improve the ROI from your development dollars by investing in the ultimate stress test for your leaders. Join us on the Titanic and maybe this time it won’t sink!

When you are ready to talk about keeping your team afloat, we are here for you, with enough lifeboats in hand.

Get our downloadable version here

5 Great Questions Great Leader Asks Their Team

What makes one company more successful than another? Better products, services, strategies, or technologies? While all of these contribute to superior performance, all of them can also be copied over time. The one thing that creates sustainable competitive advantage – and therefore ROI, company value and long-term strength – is the people who are the company. And when it comes to people, research has shown, time and again, that employees who are engaged significantly outperform work groups that are not engaged. In the fight for competitive advantage where employees are the differentiator, engaged employees are the ultimate goal.

As leaders we can be tempted to share our wisdom and solve things for people – too often, and too quickly. When we do, we don’t allow others to grow, to develop, to come up with a brilliant idea…so pretty soon, they just don’t try any more. So rather than solve the issue for them, ask questions to get the team engaged in problem solving. The answers become conversations about things that are important or meaningful. Conversations are more likely to turn to action.

Here are some of the questions that can help you get started.

1. What do you think?
Instead of offering our answer first, get them thinking, talking and sharing. Hold back, no matter how tempting to share your solution. And when they start talking, just listen and maybe ask a probing question, like “What else?” No judgment, no qualifying, and no hi-jacking…let them explore with your help.
2. What would you do?
Asking this question encourages leadership thinking and ownership – at all levels of the company. Again, follow up with good probing questions to keep listening.
3. What’s the real challenge here for you?
The key here is the word “real”. When you ask about challenges, you may open the flood gates…help them focus on the real challenge so that they can begin to find their way out.
4. Where are you stuck?
Sometimes we just need a push…we may need to admit that we are stuck so that we open ourselves to ideas and new perspectives. Asking this question gives us permission to admit we are stuck so that we can move forward.
5. How can I help?
When your employee gets stuck and focuses there, they may become frustrated and disengaged… Asking this gives hope that they are not alone, and can be the relief they need to move forward. Go through the other questions first though…there is a reason this one is last.

Learn2 works with leaders to help them develop and implement strategies to engage their teams to get great results. Work with one of our Culture Specialists to help you implement lasting change in your team.

Author: Tammy Sweeney, VP Program Development, Learn2 & CEO, Women in Leadership and Business (WILB) Conference

Download the questions here

Top 10 Leadership Development Activities for Managers

Getting to the top of the corporate ladder requires personal and professional growth.  Growth happens quickly with targeted leadership development activities. Leader growth may not simply happen magically over time. Dedication, commitment and ongoing leader skill development are the cornerstones of any leadership position.

Of course, it does help to get a little boost from a team of professionals who really know their stuff. Learn2 is a company that focuses on growing leaders. Leadership training is simply what they do best.Read More

Are You Ready for Peer Coaching?

This series on Peer Coaching is designed to help you elevate your own performance and your team’s performance. First though, it starts with you. Are you ready to dive in? Are you ready to be vulnerable and trust?

Assess your individual readiness to participate. The person who meets the criteria below is in the best position to coach, be coached and see remarkable results.

  1. Sees the need for coaching. Is open to the possibilities that it brings.
  2. Able to see how valuable peer accountability is
  3. Recognizes it is OK to make mistakes and ask “dumb questions”
  4. Flexible and open to learning and open to being supported to think more deeply and perform differently
  5. Committed to learning and willing to try new things even if they are uncomfortable.
  6. Feels OK about making mistakes in the name of learning
  7. Recognizes and accepts vulnerability in themselves and others

If you want help setting up a peer coaching program on your team, visit Learn2.com and speak with a practitioner today.

Author: Tammy Sweeney, VP Program Development, Learn2 & CEO, Women in Leadership and Business (WILB) Conference

How To Make Peer Coaching Work

In the last blog, we talked about the what and the why of peer coaching. Here we focus on the HOW. How do you find success with peer coaching? Here is our top 10 list.

  1. Choose a location that is quiet, private, convenient, and free from distractions. Switch off mobile phones during the session. Phone, skype or even email meetings are possible. If on the phone or computer, still choose a quiet location so you can eliminate distractions.
  2. Switch off thinking about other things. Focus on the present. Your partner will know if you are distracted.
  3. Enter with an open mind. Try not to be judgmental or make assumptions
  4. Be clear about your expectations - Before you get started, be clear about parameters. There are times you want input and times you just need someone to listen; spell this out in the beginning. To ensure your arrangement is mutually beneficial, allot an equal amount of time to spend brainstorming and discussing each partner’s opportunities. Decide how often you will connect and whether it will be in person, over the phone or by email. Plan how many projects and commitments you’re willing to discuss at a time. And be clear that whether or not you take your partner’s advice, each person is 100% responsible for their choices.
  5. Map out and agree on how the accountability will work. Plan what you and your partner will do when you don’t make your goals or take agreed-upon action steps.
  6. Meet regularly. Aim for once every two weeks. This keeps everything fresh in your mind and allows you to take course-correcting actions more quickly.
  7. Limit meetings to 30 minutes if possible. Put a time limit on the meetings to keep you both focused. This is not just a gab session; it has deliverables and purpose.
  8. In the session, look for, describe, and assess what you see– not the person’s competence. You may share observations – offer no judgment, give no advice. Use the action / effect formula to share observations. For example…”I noticed that you jumped into the conversation while John was still speaking. Have you noticed that when you do that, he shut down immediately?
  9. Be willing to have the tough conversations and create a shared accountability for future success. Show you care and celebrate the ability to get the tough conversations on the table for increased effectiveness of the team. At the same time, give the benefit of the doubt. Probe with questions before you make a judgment call about someone’s behaviour. Understand your teammates motives and intentions before deciding that their actions signal a lack of trust.
  10. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. This is not easy for anyone…go with this without expecting it to be easy.

Peer coaching is merely a conversation. It is a shared resource where both parties contribute, and both take something from it. The results can make the difference between a good team and a great team. Go for it. For more information, check out Learn2.com and speak with a practitioner today.

Author: Tammy Sweeney, VP Program Development, Learn2 & CEO, Women in Leadership and Business (WILB) Conference

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