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“I would like to live like a river flows, Carried by the surprise of its own unfolding” – John O’Donohue
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The Power of Peer Coaching

Posted by on Apr 3, 2021 in General | 0 comments

The Power of Peer Coaching

The workplace is built upon a culture of asking for advice and offering advice. Often, we hear the refrain, “Here’s what I would do in your situation” and “I had the same problem and what worked for me was…” Sometimes, we say those things ourselves.   When we feel stuck, asking for and receiving advice can provide ready fixes for whatever challenge we are facing ¾ how to handle conflict on the team, dealing with an employee who is underperforming, developing the confidence to speak up at management meetings and mitigating work burnout. But for sustained leadership growth, peer coaching holds the key to powerful change, helping employees develop the knowledge, skills, and leadership competencies they need to become effective leaders. A peer coaching program brings together a small group of up to six people who meet on a regular basis over Zoom or Teams along with a certified coach who acts facilitator. To ensure the right environment for self-discovery, the group first defines the norms for learning together they would like to adopt. Norms like “trust”, “what is discussed in the room stays in the room”, “everyone has a voice” and “mutual respect” are frequently identified.   Members of the group take turns describing an issue or challenge they would like help with. As they talk, everyone practices active listening. Once the person has finished talking, their colleagues ask “powerful” questions to help shine a light on the issue in different ways. Compare the following lines of questioning: Did you speak to your employee about the problem? (a closed question) What conversations could you be having with your employee that you have not yet had? (a powerful, open question) Do you hear the difference? The closed question invites a “yes” or “no” response and does not lead into a new path of inquiry. The powerful question, on the other hand, invites new ways of looking at the issue.   At the end of the question period, everyone discusses what they have learned about themselves in the process of examining the issue. Lastly, the person who presented the issue commits to at least one action they will take to address their issue before the group meets again. At the next meeting, that person reports back on the results of the action they took.   If you are interested in exploring more how peer coaching can support your virtual teams, feel free to contact me at...

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My Coaching Services

Posted by on Sep 17, 2020 in General | 0 comments

My Coaching Services

The pandemic has drastically altered our relationship to the workplace. While some of us have returned to the office, many of us are working from home. How we communicate and connect with colleagues has shifted, with contact via Zoom, Skype and telephone replacing conversations in offices and meeting rooms. More than ever, the new reality requires adaptation to innovative ways of being with ourselves and colleagues. And just because we are not commuting to an office five days a week does not mean that we should lose sight of the professional development we need to become more skillful leaders. Perhaps you have already received feedback from your employees or management about your leadership skills. Perhaps you are puzzled by the feedback. Perhaps with everything going on, you have moved that feedback to the back burner for another day when things will not be so busy. The reality is that change is always happening, and we are always going to be busy. But guess what? Professional development has no expiration date. As a certified Integral Master Coach, I would be pleased to work with you to help identify and hone your leadership skills. To discuss what a customized coaching program would entail, contact me...

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Slowing Down

Posted by on Jan 20, 2020 in General | 0 comments

Slowing Down

A winter storm is brewing, a perfect day to slow down and spend time in the kitchen. I pour a cup of coffee and flip randomly though recipe books for inspiration, anything which calls for ingredients I have on hand. A colourful photo of a Middle Eastern chickpea stew catches my eye. I realize I don’t have tinned chickpeas and think about whether or not I want to bother soaking and cooking the dry variety. Looking out at the swirling snow whipping around my cedar trees, I realize I have all the time in the world. I pour two cups of dry beans into a bowl, cover them with water and sit at the kitchen table listening to them pop, as if they are suddenly waking up from a long slumber in a glass container on a shelf. I ignore them for several hours, until they have expanded, almost rising up over the rim of the bowl. Chickpeas are the hardy warriors of the bean family. Larger than others in their family, they are not that pretty, weather-beaten almost, with slight dents on their hard beige surface.  They don’t have the smooth chestnut swagger of the kidney bean or the polished white roundness of the navy bean. But they’re popular, making frequent appearances in kitchens all over the Middle East, Africa and India. When I cook from scratch, I cannot rush. After the soaking stage, boiling soaked beans requires another lesson in patience. A chickpea will tell you when it’s been cooked enough, when its tough exterior is soft enough.  As I hear them in the pot on the stove, gently clanging to the rhythm of the boiling water, I think about all the short cuts we take in the pursuit of more time. Who wants to make Indian paneer by hand, squeezing curd through cheesecloth when you can substitute tofu instead? Who wants to kneed and braid challah bread for a Friday night Shabbat dinner when a frozen version from Loblaws will do? Who wants to roll out dough for a pizza crust when you can order home delivery? The Middle Eastern chickpea stew is complete. My warrior chickpeas have finally surrendered, yielding to a fragrant concoction of charred red peppers, fresh tomatoes and infusion of ground cumin seeds, za’atar and garlic. I untie my apron and glance outside. The snow has stopped.  Now it’s time to shovel the...

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EQ in the Workplace

Posted by on Oct 1, 2019 in General | 0 comments

According to the World Economic Forum, by 2020, the top ten employment skills will be emotional intelligence skills. “Overall, social skills— such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others—will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control. In essence, technical skills will need to be supplemented with strong social and collaboration skills.” Emotional intelligence, or EQ, refers to the ability to perceive, understand and manage our own feelings and emotions.  EQ skills are critical for leadership, team effectiveness, work performance, influence, work/life balance and wellbeing. The 15 competencies illustrated in the scientifically validated EQ-i 2.0 model below are highly correlated with inspirational leadership, innovative work cultures, highly-effective teams, and engaged and committed talent. Where do you stand as a leader? Contact us to learn about how we can support you using the EQi-2.0 assessment tool to identify your strengths and areas for...

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Finding Your Voice

Posted by on Jan 12, 2018 in General | 0 comments

Finding Your Voice

(written for the Coaching Corner; Glebe Report) As a child I was outspoken at school, a class clown cracking jokes behind the teacher’s back. Come high school, my whole world as I knew it turned upside down. I became a teenage girl, filIed with angst and insecurity and a deep desire to be popular. I stopped talking in class. University was even worse. I don’t think I uttered a word during my fourth year semester on Shakespeare. Like a lot of young women, I did not want to stick out. I kept my head down and stared at the page in front of me, hoping I would magically become invisible. Heaven forbid that I draw attention to myself. It took me a long time to regain my confidence. Over the years in the workplace I have worked with men and women who ooze confidence. The confidence that comes across in how they enter a room, walk and speak at meetings. I have also worked with individuals whose self-doubt causes them to shrink when they enter a room and to whisper so softly you have to lean across the boardroom table to hear them. “Sorry” is a common word in their vocabulary. And in a lot of cases, they are women. In her 2013 best seller “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead”, Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg discusses the tendency of women to question their abilities and downplay their achievements, especially in the presence of others. And in their book, “The Confidence Code”, broadcast journalists Claire Shipman and Katty Kay examine the difference between men and women, citing evidence for how devastating a lack of confidence can be for women. For example, they refer to a Hewlett-Packard study that shows that under-qualified and under -prepared men don’t think twice about applying for a job for which they did not have all the competencies. Over-qualified and over-prepared women, on the other hand, still hold back. Women feel confident only when they are perfect or practically perfect. The Hewlett-Packard study reminds me of my days as a coaching student seeking volunteers to be coached by one nervous and rather green novice. Two men I approached in the workplace turned me down, saying they could not think of a single thing they need coaching on; most of the women I approached joked about how long their list of topics was! All of these observations came together when I met Lucy, a woman in her early 40s, who contacted me for coaching. Lucy longed for a position as a manager and was frustrated by her inability to get ahead. She was taken aback and puzzled when she received feedback from her boss that she was too passive in meetings and did not speak up often enough and when she did, nobody listened to her. Learning to find her voice at the table became her topic during our coaching program. Over time, she began to see the importance of learning to believe in herself and to develop some much-needed confidence. While there were many aspects of “finding her voice” we would eventually focus on, Lucy and I decided that she first had to learn how to become more visible in group settings. To find her voice she needed first to claim her space...

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