Category: Understanding

How to Become Known As An EXPERT

By , July 25, 2013 11:23 am

iStock_000011959900XSmall“Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience.”

Denis Waitley

Experts make things look easy!

The journey to acquiring expertise often takes time, hard work, discipline, and persistence. It doesn’t just happen overnight.

Reading all the books in the world on a particular topic doesn’t make you an expert, though it will make you more knowledgeable about something. Expertise is not only the acquisition of knowledge, it’s also the ability to implement and use the information wisely.

For example, I know several ‘coaches’ who understand the principles and theory of coaching, but they have no coaching clients! They are so busy trying to gain their expertise from books, another qualification or attending one more workshop, instead of going out into the world and actually coaching people!

So it’s also the practical application of knowledge and understanding.

Expertise is developed over time and one of the essential ingredients is experience.

People become experts for many reasons. Here are a few of them:

  • To establish credibility
  • To become the Go To Person…Others will seek you out for your knowledge and experience
  • To leverage your marketability and increase your perceived value
  • To expand your horizons and see things from a different perspective
  • To increase your success
  • To gain the trust and buy-in of others
  • To become a leader and shine the light for others to follow

Here are seven ways to become known as an expert by getting good at what you do:

1. Be passionate – Expertise starts with knowing what you are passionate about. You have to be genuinely interested and naturally curious about your topic to become an expert in it. Have you ever tried to learn something that you’re not interested in?! You stop learning! Believe in your own ability to become an expert – You CAN do it!

2. Experience it – You get better at things by experiencing them. Get some real-life experience, keep up to date, read around the subject, and apply your learning to your every day life or work. For example, one of the best ways to learn how to be a coach is by being coached! Turn the theory into practice! Actively look for opportunities to practice what you are learning. Do things imperfectly and be open to making a few mistakes along the way.

3. Surround yourself with like-minded people – Become a member of an association or join a professional body in your field. Attend conferences and workshops to learn from those more experienced than you. Listen and learn from credible experts. Connect with online groups who talk about your subject and support each other (not groups where people just promote their shit all the time!). Network with others who are passionate about the topic. It’s okay if they know more about it than you as you can learn from them.

4. Leaders are readers – Read books and listen to audios. Watch videos and read articles. Sign up for eZines and weekly articles from credible sources and make time to read what they have to say. Be curious and look for knowledge about your subject. Remember to APPLY it into your life. Become a student of you and try things out. Get into the habit of regular reading each week and you’ll soon know more than most people around you. Continue your education around your subject.

5. Share what you learn – Share what you learn with others as you learn it. Be willing to share what you know. This will help to position your self as an expert over time. You will start to notice that you know more about the subject than those around you and you can offer help and support to them as you are working at a higher level than others. Most people haven’t taken time to read or explore the topic like you have. You may even create a presentation or workshop to help others.

6. Get writing! Write articles or blog posts about your stories and experiences and how you’ve applied your learning. Share your successes too. This way other people will get a feel for you and you will build your expertise. They see themselves in you. Writing a short ebook or a chapter in a book about something you are passionate about can really enhance your credibility. It can also be a catalyst for other opportunities such as consultancy opportunities, radio interviews and speaking engagements.

7. Give it timeBecoming an expert doesn’t happen over night. It takes time. Make a long-term commitment and build a foundation for success through commitment and persistence. You become an expert by taking your learning and growth seriously. Set goals and take consistent action. You’ll start to notice when others come to you for advice or give you feedback about your depth of understanding. Keep going and keep growing. There is ALWAYS more to learn. You are never done!

You become an expert by doing the groundwork by practicing what you are learning and through demonstrating your passion and expertise…

 

The Power of Pausing – How Reflection Helps You Grow

By , July 3, 2013 6:28 pm

iStock_000025377786LargeFollow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

~ Peter Drucker, Management Consultant and Author

Stop – pause and take it in.

In our busy world there seems to be little time for commas let alone full stops and new paragraphs in our day! We are so busy in the do-do of doing, that there is often haste in our learning experiences and we allow little time for reflection – we just move onto the next experience, grabbing as much in as we go!

As a Leader of Learning, I know that if you want learning to turn into growth, then you have to STOP – PAUSE and TAKE IT IN. Sometimes you have to allow the specific learning from an experience to catch up with you. You have to breathe and let it percolate through.

How often do you take the time to pause and let the lesson you’ve learned soak in and create a paradigm shift for you?

Most learning experiences are One and Done!

A person might read a book or attend a one-day workshop. They may set a quick Action Plan at the end of the workshop, but then return to work the next day and fall back into the old habits of doing what they’ve always done. Any thoughts or potential changes in thinking drain away to be replaced by the existing neural highway of old patterns and unconscious habits.

I was training a Personal Effectiveness workshop this week where at least four people were disappointed with themselves for relegating their personal development to the bottom of their To-Do Lists. I encouraged them to return to work after the workshop and start work by reflecting on what they had just learned and how to implement it into their lives – one step at a time.

Here’s what I know about reflection and how it’s so important for your learning and growth:

Learning from experience – Is one of our most powerful ways of growing if you apply reflection to it. When I was learning to be a coach my coach would FORCE me to follow the principles of each step of the Learning Cycle (David Kolb and Honey & Mumford) through. It really paid off as my learning became rounded and whole. Here are the four elements:

  • Have an experience
  • Review the experience
  • Conclude for the experience
  • Plan the next step

I realized that you don’t grow from the experience unless you pause to take time to reflect afterwards and apply what you have learned.

Many learning opportunities are lost each day because we have the experience and then do nothing with it except move onto another experience.

You need reflection to take an experience and understand it. Learning and growth in the moment will only happen if you allow a pause for reflection.  Experience alone won’t change your mindset or your approach to how you do things. It’s your understanding of that experience that creates a paradigm shift. If you stop to reflect, you give yourself some space to allow your understanding to catch up! This is so important for learning.

The power of pausing gives you time to think. I cannot emphasize enough the value of stepping out of the do-do of doing and creating some reflective space to think alone. Reflecting equals growing! I use Honey and Mumford’s four steps to create some good questions to generate some deeper thinking around any learning experience. Here’s what happens when you allow reflective practice into your life:

  1. It allows you to revaluate where you are now and re-connect to where you want to be. It gives you further insight into how to (or how not to!) get there.
  2. You have to slow down to speed up. Accelerated momentum towards your goal will happen if you schedule some time to reflect before moving on. Rushing from A to B to get things done might mean that you miss something significant because you are too focused on the finishing line and not on the growing to get there. Learning is left discarded along the way.
  3. Reflection allows your experience to percolate and true learning and growth catches up. You can understand the significance and tweak your approach or take corrective action for next time. In other words, you get to plan and apply it in readiness for your next experience.
  4. You get good at describing what happened and how to apply the new wisdom. This makes you a better mentor to others.
  5. Successful people build reflective practice into their daily lives. They schedule time to THINK as well as DO. Their doing is purposeful and effective because they have given themselves space to walk through their experiences, look at it from a different perspective and plan their next step.

Most people miss out on so much learning from their experiences because they don’t pause to reflect. They make the excuse that I haven’t got time to sit and ponder! I’m too busy! What they are really saying is that they haven’t got time to learn and grow.

To be successful in life it’s important to think and reflect as well as do. If you want to keep growing, you need to create reflective space into your life, where you can ask yourself some questions that generate understanding from the experiences that you are having!

Create some reflection time for yourself today!

 

7 Ways to Become More Effective at Learning

By , December 5, 2012 11:02 pm

“You are the product of your learning. Everything you know, everything you can do and everything you believe, you have learnt.” 

Peter Honey, Author and Speaker.

“I love learning, but I want to read and learn everything.  I feel overwhelmed with all that I want to do, and would like to work out how I can get a better balance with the time I spend learning and doing everything else, and how I should maybe plan how and when I learn.” – A Coaching Client.

I was asked this week for coaching advice from someone who loves to learn, but she was overwhelmed with learning and frightened of becoming obsessed with the feeling of not knowing enough.

The feeling of not knowing enough is common, and it’s reinforced by the abundance of tools and information that is readily available today. Many of us buy learning materials without really having any plan of how we intend to use them. They gather dust on the shelf, as we rush back to our reactive and often chaotic busy lives.  

There’s so much information and inspiration out there, especially with instant access to content just a credit card click away on the Internet. It’s easy to be drawn into buying every book and online workshop available.

You end up with information overload and overwhelm.

You may have invested money in your learning but you’ve forgotten about  two other important key investments: Your time and your attitude towards learning.

Here are some tips on how to apply your learning instead of becoming a victim of Shelf Help Overwhelm!

1. Plan your learning – Set clear learning goals. What do you want to learn? Why do you want to learn it? What difference will it make to you personally or/and professionally? How important is it for you to learn and apply this knowledge/skill/behaviour? Set time in your schedule each week for Personal Development time. THIS IS IMPORTANT – Give it HIGH VALUE on your agenda (Or you won’t do it!). Choose to learn from one resource at a time. E.g. Read one book (not several books and an online programme all at the same time!).

2. How do you learn best? – Improve your own learning efficiency by understanding how you learn.  I use Honey & Mumford’s learning styles to explain how people can best learn. Using all four styles will ensure that your learning is effective:

  1. Have an experience (Activist) – Jumping in and trying it out – Seeking the challenge and having a go.
  2. Review the experience (Reflector) – Standing back to think, gather data and ponder.
  3. Conclude from the experience (Theorist) – Assimilate facts, theorise and pull together themes.
  4. Plan the next step (Pragmatist) – Seek out and try new ideas and applying a down to earth practical approach.

We all have a preference for one of these in the cycle. If you only learn using your preference, you’ll miss opportunities to learn quicker because you haven’t used the whole learning cycle: Do, Reflect, Conclude and Plan. Use a learning log to ensure that all four elements of learning are covered…

3. Create a learning log – Create a simple learning log or journal to help you apply what you’re learning as you go. Answer these four questions: 1. What was your learning experience? 2. Reflect on the experience – What were you thinking and feeling during the learning? 3. Did you specifically learn?  4. How do you intend to apply this learning to your life/work? (What is your first step?)

4. Use it or lose it! – If you only read it once, you’ll forget it because your brain will eliminate the neural pathway, unless you keep using it. If you want the new information you’ve learned to stick, then you have to make learning a continuous practice (Practice makes permanent). Look for opportunities to keep practicing and rehearsing the information. Re-visit your notes, make an audio to remind you of the key points. Refresh your knowledge.

5. Use multiple ways to learn – Don’t just read books. Engage your senses by listening to podcasts or an audio. Look for verbal and visual ways to learn such as drawing a mind map, watching a video or sharing your knowledge with a friend or an accountability partner. Using different parts of the brain helps you to learn at a deeper level rather just relying on memory recall.

6. Teach other people what you’ve learned – When I learn something new I translate it into my own words, this helps me to understand the information. I then apply it to my coaching or training classes or I might even write a blog post about it! Sharing what you’ve learned with others helps you to imbed the new knowledge in your brain. You help other people in the process!

7. Apply what you’ve learned – Reading and researching is only part of the process, putting new knowledge, skills and behaviours into practice is one of the best ways to learn. Make what you’ve learned real by using it in the ‘real’ world (not just holding it in your head). If you’ve learned about being assertive, then try it out at work or home. Do it imperfectly then use your learning log to build on the experience for next time. Little and often – practice it regularly, form a new habit.

Be deliberate about your learning – Plan, Do, Review, Conclude!

Recognizing and Understanding How Other People Feel – An Empathic Approach to Success

By , November 7, 2012 4:17 pm

“Empathic people are superb at recognizing and meeting the needs of clients, customers and subordinates. They seem approachable, wanting to hear what people have to say. They listen carefully, picking up on what people are truly concerned about, and they respond on the mark.”

 ~ Daniel Goleman, Author

Thinking that you can do everything yourself is a myth. Our own power actually comes from the self-awareness that we can’t be in control of everything. We must depend on and interact with others if we want to succeed.

Relationships are an essential part of our daily life and work. The quality and effectiveness of our connection with others makes a huge difference to our success as a people manager, coach or business owner.

Do you genuinely care about the people that you work with?

Your clients? Your team? Your colleagues? Your customers?

The relationship is important, but it’s often ignored, not considered or neglected. Many of us have heavy workloads and pressure, which limits the time available to focus on building relationships. Instead we focus on WHAT needs to be DONE. Empathy and rapport are seen as luxuries. It’s quicker to make assumptions and fill in the gaps, especially if you feel you are the expert in the conversation.

This can leave the other person feeling manipulated and not listened to, even attacked.

I’ve known leaders who use a telling style and jump straight in with a solution, once they get a glimmer of an idea about what the other person is talking about (even if its not wanted!).

You may start a conversation about a topic and the other person railroads it, taking over to share their example or experience, with little interest for what you have to say. The conversation ALWAYS ends up about them… (Does this sound familiar?!).

This is what I call the ‘me’ Factor: Minus Empathy!

‘I’m going to talk about me…then I’d like you to talk about me!’

Talking all about me creates a lack of trust, openness and honesty. It’s usually when our ego kicks in to help build us up and make us feel more superior.

No one wants to listen to someone who is ONLY interested in themselves, their issues or their achievements.  It drains the other person, who gets tired of listening and walks away.

One of the essential elements of Self-Leadership is empathy.

Empathy is created from self-awareness:

1. Stepping back and knowing what it’s like being on the receiving end of you… Being attuned to your inner signals.

2. Developing the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and view things from their map of the world.

Here are some tips on using a coaching style to create empathy if you want to build better relationships and empowering experiences for your clients, team or customers:

  1. Listen first before reacting or jumping in with feedback or solutions, allowing the conversation to flow. Listen with an intent to understand, not respond. This is the greatest gift you can give to someone.
  2. Focus on their intention, not yours. What is important to them? A good question to ask yourself is: ‘Am I making this about me or about them?’
  3. Be Authentic. Any advice given is genuinely in the interest of the other person and you’re not trying to manipulate them to your agenda, or fit them into your model of thinking.
  4. See their potential to work it out for themselves with your support. Hold that space encouraging and motivating them to think for themselves and own their solutions.
  5. Show you care by communicating that you believe in them. Demonstrate that you prepared to invest time in what they have to say. Be fully present and they will sense that you care. They’ll open up more and relax, the conversation will flow easily and they’ll feel motivated and accountable for their results.

Self-awareness and empathy together help you to become an authentic leader. You create a genuine sense that you truly want to hear the other person’s thoughts and concerns and that you understand them.

 

Seven Leadership Secrets for Building a Committed Team

By , June 27, 2012 1:46 am

As a Learning and Development Consultant, I’ve worked with thousands of managers, leaders and executives in organizations both large and small.

When I go into a business I’m sometimes confronted by two limiting beliefs:

1. Our business is very different from any other you’ve worked in.

2. ‘Soft skills’ don’t work here.  We’re not into ‘soft’ stuff; we want proper leadership techniques for our managers.

Here’s the thing…

All businesses (big or small) have much more in common that you might think…

YES… Businesses have different products and services, structures, values, philosophy and management styles etc.…

However…

All business relies on one common denominator for success:

PEOPLE…

  • People design, create and sell your products and services.
  • Your clients and customers are also PEOPLE!

Fundamentally, every organization depends on people.Essentially, people are the heartbeat of the business. They drive success and make things happen.

There’s a huge difference between a committed team and a compliant one. This is greatly influenced by the leader…

If you’re COMPLIANT, then you do just enough to get the job done. You become disassociated and dis-engaged from the work you do. It has little meaning. You show up to earn money and nothing else.

If you’re COMMITTED, your work has meaning and purpose and you see the value. You strive to be the best you possibly can be because this also influences the success of the team. The team is like a family. You are aligned to a greater purpose and want make a difference for the business. Committed people are connected to the WHY of the organization: It’s purpose.

A committed team will out perform a complaint team EVERY time.

True leadership is essential for the success of your team because you influence how they show up…

1. Know what it’s like being on the receiving end of you! You are your demonstrated behaviour. You create a leadership experience for your people through how you show up each day: What you do, what you say and how you act. You are a role model for those you serve. Their perception of you creates the reality of your relationship: Is it one of commitment or compliance?

2. Recognize that Command and Control doesn’t work! Many organizations are obsessed with efficiency to the detriment of effectiveness: “I don’t care if you haven’t got the resources, just get it done!” The power trip of barking orders and flexing the ego has the negative effective of frustrating and demotivating people, suppressing creativity, creating ‘lip-service’ and compliance. (Yelling at people rarely gets results, even if it makes you feel powerful! You just lose respect).

 3. Be authentic  – Are you different at home than you are at work? Most of our conditioning is the opposite of being authentic. At work we are taught to keep our head down and fit in. We tell people what we think they want to hear. We’re taught not to be true to ourselves. Be your real self consistently in everything you do. Develop your Emotional Intelligence by becoming a student of YOU… Know and understand your real self.

 4. Allow and encourage differences – Every human being has equal value, worth and dignity. Being a manager doesn’t make you superior (That’s just your ego). Accept and encourage disagreement as a natural part of the process of working together. It’s part of the job if you want great results. Stop labeling people as not being a team player or having a negative attitude if they disagree with you. Most conflict at work is personality or style differences. Understanding and working through these will help you to build stronger relationships.

5. Serve your people – Leadership is not about controlling people or about being the boss (That’s just your ego again!). People don’t want to be process-managed they want to be led. Be 100% present for your people and also be a useful resource to them. Create an environment where people have meaning, feel valued and can do a great job. Don’t be a bottleneck and get in their way. Build a community not a sweatshop!

 6. Your team is there to help – Most of us have been conditioned to hide our doubts and fears about any situation. You can’t do everything on your own –That’s WHY you have a team! The team is there to help and support you (The power of many…) Accept this gracefully and let go of control. Play to the strengths of your team and let them shine.

7. Have the courage to be vulnerable – Vulnerability is wrongly perceived as a weakness.  It’s actually a strength and a natural characteristic of being human. It takes courage to be vulnerable. Be more open to your feelings at work. Admit your mistakes when something goes wrong. Act as a role model by being authentic, open and honest. If you set the pace others will follow.

 

Why Interrupting Someone Could Be Ruining the Quality of Their Thinking

By , February 2, 2012 12:18 pm

“The quality of your attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking.”

Nancy Kline – Author.

Many years ago I used to have a boss who liked the sound of her own voice so much that she wouldn’t let you speak. If you did get a chance to talk, she would talk over you and finish your sentences.

She used to equate talking with being the manager. She was a poor listener jumping in too soon with her own ideas. It was suffocating to be on the receiving end because she’d never give you any time to think. She was too eager to give advice.

My attention was splattered every time I was interrupted. I’d avoid speaking with her unless it was really necessary because I always felt drained by the experience.

We are all guilty of tailgating someone else’s conversation. In some way interrupting seems irresistible. For a few of us, interrupting has become a habit – it’s hard not to do it.

This was true for one of my coaching clients who realized that when he finished people’s sentences he was making these assumptions:

  • I’m the boss so I’m more important
  • I knew what they were going to say
  • The other person was over-talking so it was the only way to get my idea across
  • I was saving time
  • My solution was better than theirs
  • If I didn’t say my idea in the moment I would forget it

When you finish someone’s sentence for them, you’re usually making one or more of these assumptions:

  1. That they can’t finish it for themselves
  2. That you know the exact words they are about to use.
  3. That your choice of words will be better!

You may recognize some of these…

How often have you finished someone’s sentence and got it wrong? You may have chosen the wrong word or totally changed the ending of the sentence and said the opposite to what they were about to say!

We’re often too focused on our own self-importance to notice how our interruption affects the other person.

Their internal experience changes the moment you started thinking for them rather than allowing them to think for themselves. Their attention is lost because your interruption cuts them off from their own understanding of what they were saying.

The important thing is that they were saying it.

One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to listen with respectful attention and without assumption.

As a coach and people manager, I have come to realize that listening with attention is hugely important because the quality of my attention impacts the effectiveness of the other person’s thinking.

Allowing someone space to search for their words adds quality to their thinking. You’re allowing people to think for themselves rather than imposing your own thinking upon them.

Most people have ideas that matter whatever their status or position. Don’t judge them with your assumptions. By ‘getting out of their way’ you are creating a space for their thoughts to be fully developed. This opens up new possibilities that could make a difference.

Next time you feel the urge to interrupt or finish someone’s sentence:

  1. Notice that you’re about to interrupt them.
  2. Shut up!
  3. Step back and allow them some space to search for the words themselves.
  4. Stop trying to think for them.
  5. Allow them to play in their own dog park! I LOVE this metaphor: It’s safe environment where they know you won’t keep interrupting them. Where their mind can be allowed to roam around freely to imagine, create and explore things without being on a leash! In other words: without being manipulated by your assumptions!

Listen with an Intent to Understand…

By , February 12, 2011 4:24 pm

“If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk.”

Robert Baden-Powell, writer and founder of the Scout Movement.

Listening is one of those skills that we’re not really taught how to do. Most of us could be better listeners.

I was coaching a client this week who wanted to learn how to be more empathic at home and at work. He wasn’t sure where to begin…

I often ask clients the following question:

“When you interact with someone, do you listen with an intent to understand or with an intent to respond?”

Their answer is often:

‘Oh! What a good question!’

My client responded in this exact same way. The question got him thinking…

Whether you are a manager, employee, parent or friend you can find that you’re dealing with a constant challenge to step away from your natural instincts that you:

  • Know the answer
  • Want to solve the problem
  • Take control of the situation

We often feel that we should know the answer to the other person’s problem. That’s why they’re talking to us about the situation, right? So we hear the basics and feel that we should jump in with a response. After all, as a human, our ego ultimately likes to be in control!

There’s a huge difference between listening and hearing and our body language ALWAYS gives us away! You already know if someone isn’t listening to you and how that makes you feel.

Some people are also more interested in themselves than they are in the person that they are supposed to be listening too! Have you ever met anyone like this (You might even be THAT person!)? You can easily spot them because they NEVER shut up (except to occasionally breathe!). They want you to know that they are successful by showing off their knowledge, experience and opinions. They don’t realise that their behaviour is having a negative effect on the other person. No one wants to be around them for very long!

Listening is one of the greatest gifts that you can give someone.

Being genuinely interested in the other person, giving them same value, worth and dignity as you give yourself, really makes a difference. If they feel that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say, how they think and what they feel they will relax, open up more and share their true feelings and opinions with you. The conversation will flow better and you’ll engage at a deeper level. They will respond positively to your interest in them.

Good listeners do the following:

  • Show that they are interested in you
  • Make you feel like you are the most important person in the room
  • Care about your success
  • Help you to relax
  • Are patient
  • They don’t interrupt you
  • They concentrate on what you are sharing with them
  • Ask great questions
  • Make understanding you their priority
  • Are not frightened of silence
  • Don’t allow distractions to interrupt the conversation (Such as phones, other people etc)

Do you take time to truly understand the people that you talk to?

©2010 by Elaine Bailey International Ltd
(Registered Address: PO Box 250 88 Pavilion Way Meltham Holmfirth HD9 9BL; No: 7015168).
All rights reserved.
Website by WhizzLiz