eMusings Newsletter

JUNE 2011



3 Human Elements


I was sitting in the office this morning, catching up on some reading - books, blogs and articles - hoping to hook up with a friendly muse to help with this month's e-musings. After several days of severe thunderstorms, it was energizing to look out and see sunshine. I opened the sliding glass doors to let in some fresh air and was assaulted by the drone of cicadas. (I hear "drone" - female cicadas hear the equivalent of an Usher love song.) I was bombarded by the sound of millions of these critters, celebrating the end of their 13 year dirt nap. Did you know that one male cicada can produce sounds up to 120 decibels, which is similar to the level you'd hear at a rock concert? Pardon me if I prefer Aerosmith. The noise was nonstop and I was forced to shut the door. Bye bye fresh air - back to my reading.


Suddenly, a blog caught my attention - "Eight Words that Should Never Appear on Your Twitter Bio." This was a business blog, referring to Twitter bios that a person or business would create to promote themselves professionally. I quickly scanned the blog, hoping to be inspired. Instead, I was fired...up. The number one word on this list of words never to use when describing yourself professionally is "passionate." According to the author, when it comes to work we can be driven and we can be focused. But the word "passion" should be reserved for one's significant other.


I disagree. Not only do I think we can be passionate about our work...I think we feel happier and more fulfilled when we're passionate about the activities in which we participate. If, by passion, we mean being fully engaged and emotionally connected in a positive way - then we should all strive for a healthy dose of passion in our work. This emotional connection energizes us and helps us join with the purpose in our work. This emotional connection helps us push past obstacles and keep moving towards our goals. Passion for what we do makes us want to do what we do - better. It makes us 'keep at it' - kind of like me continuing to search for that spark to tackle this month's emusings.


When it comes to work, I think passion should be celebrated - instead of being the first word on a list of words never to use when describing yourself professionally.


What do you think?


Jennie Ayers

Senior Partner, BoldWork 
In This Issue
Create a Coaching Climate
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Let the World Know You do BoldWork!

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"Desire to be your best.
In the long run, the world
is going to want and
have the best, and that
might as well be you."
                 Booker T. Washington
"A Key to Coaching Success" by Jennie Ayers                                           

(850 words - estimated reading time: less than 4 minutes)


Working with human behavior is both rewarding and frustrating. Changing behavior is relatively easy. Getting that same behavior to stick is very difficult, even when people want to change. It's estimated that up to 70% of all business interventions designed to bring about change in an organization fail. And feeling that passion and sense of purpose I mentioned in this month's letter can make the sting of failure a little sharper. As I also said, passion can help push us past obstacles and keep moving towards a goal. That's the case with one recent client.


coachingTwo years ago, we were asked to help create a coaching climate within an organization. Budget constraints didn't allow for external coaching for their entire managerial staff.  However, a number of management level employees stepped forward, willing and anxious to assume the role of internal coaches. In addition to initial training sessions, we interacted on an ongoing basis with the internal coaches over the course of the next six months. After that, senior leadership felt confident that they could handle the program and we moved on.


Six months later, we checked in with the organization. Even though some employees who had stepped forward as internal coaches had dropped out, senior management felt that things were still moving forward. A year later, when I followed up again, I was disheartened to hear that the coaching program had been abandoned. Why? Senior management stepped away from providing needed structure and the internal coaches weren't holding employees accountable.


It turns out that our client's experience was not an unusual one. In researching internal coaching programs, we discovered that they often underperform because of lack of structure and accountability. That's too bad - we know that the coaching relationship can positively impact several areas, including individual performance, developing high potential employees, improving employee engagement and supporting leader transition. So we set out to discover a way to push past obstacles and keep moving towards the goal of helping organizations create a coaching culture through the use of internal coaches.


And here's our solution.


BoldWork Triad Coaching


Colleague coaching was originally developed as a cost-effective way to provide coaching to a larger number of employees. It's ideal for adult learning situations and works on current, real-life work challenges. At BoldWork, we took the concept of colleague coaching a step farther by structuring coaching groups into "Triads." This use of "Triads", with assigned roles, allows for the unique energies of group dynamics to form and provides the framework and strengths that typically propel high achievement groups to sustained success. We briefly mentioned the concept of Triad Coaching in last month's emusings, but recent inquiries from some of our readers helped us decide that a more detailed discussion was warranted.


The Foundation Roles of Triad Coaching


Three people form a Triad Coaching Circle.  Each participant plays three alternating roles during a coaching session.


triad coachingCoach - Serves as the key thought partner who listens and asks questions that help the Coachee explore possibilities. An effective Colleague Coach supports and guides the skill and talent development of their coachees - they don't view themselves as having all the answers.


Coachee - Comes to each session prepared to share concerns and answer questions, is open to receiving feedback and responsible for establishing goals.


Active Observer - Focuses on observing the engagement between the Coach and Coachee during each session, and then shares these observations through constructive feedback.


It's been our experience that having three people in the coaching relationship, all of whom fulfill the role of coach during each session, increases the level of accountability within the group.


How the Triad Works


Triads come together by choice for the purpose of professional development and/or solving problems. Sessions last for 60-90 minutes. Triads choose when and where to meet and how often - weekly or bi-weekly, depending on the issues they wish to tackle. A Triad Coaching Circle Log is provided to each member of the Coaching Triad and contains all collateral materials that we've developed to help the Triad succeed.


Triads meet with their external Mentor Coach once a month. This can be either a face-to-face or phone session. The Mentor Coach ensures that participants are establishing specific, measurable goals, are progressing with goal attainment and that Triad members are being accountable to one another on a regular basis. This ensures that the coaching process is productive and sustained. It's been our experience that having three people in the coaching relationship, all of whom fulfill the role of coach during each session, increases the level of accountability within the group.


Over the course of six months, the Mentor Coach tracks the Triad Coaching Circle's progress and may decide to meet less frequently with the Circle. However, the Mentor Coach will remain in contact with the Triad Coaching Circles for at least one year.


Businesses who train and use internal coaches effectively demonstrate significant increases in retention, engagement, productivity and performance. If your organization would like to enjoy that same success - and maximize your coaching dollars - please contact us for more information at jenniea@doboldwork.com 

FREE STUFF from BoldWork

We have two terrific new downloads for you this month.


corporate storytelling blackboardCheck out my interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jacqui Banaszynski. We talk storytelling and Jacqui offers her perspective on what makes a good story, why being authentic is crucial (for both journalists and business leaders), how electronic media impacts how we tell our stories and how stories can help a company build its legacy.


Just go to our website, doboldwork.com, and click on FREE STUFF. You'll be asked to fill out a brief form, which will then take you to our FREE STUFF page. Right click on Jacqui's interview and choose "Save Target As" so you can save the PODcast and listen at your leisure.


At the same time, pick up our newest white paper - Good Stories = Good Business. There's a convincing case to be made advocating the value of storytelling in today's competitive business market. If all you need to do is inform, stick to the facts. But when you need to persuade, it's time to tell a story. And while everyone isn't a natural storyteller, there are 6 things you can do to craft a more compelling tale. Read the white paper and you'll be on your way to more persuasive stories.

boldworklogoAt BoldWork, we specialize in helping businesses and organizations optimize the performance of the people who work for them.

Typically, our clients come to us when they are seeking to change, to solve problems or to challenge a status quo that no longer works. Most importantly, they call us when they want to create a WorkClimate that increases motivation and strengthens employee engagement.

Please take a moment and visit our website at www.doboldwork.com to find out more about us and what we have to offer. Or contact us for additional information at info@doboldwork.com