Leadership Journal

February 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Hey Coach, I’m ready to rumble.  What’s on the menu?” George said as he walked into my office.

“Hi George,” I said. “As discussed last week, we will focus on your team leadership skills.”

“That’s right.”

“What does leading a team mean to you?” I asked.

“Well, it is getting things done through the efforts of others, right?” he said.

“You sound unsure of your statement,” I replied.

“There might be a better answer,” he smiled as he tried to remove the formality in the air.

“I am not your professor,” I said, hopeful to make him feel at ease.  “I just want to understand your perspective.”

“I am still getting the hang of this coaching stuff,” he muttered.

“And you are right,” I said. “Part of leading a team is getting things done through the team.”

“Isn’t that why we hire employees?” he replied.

“Yes of course,” I said, “at the end, tasks must be accomplished.”

“Right,” George said, “but that is not everything, right?”

“Of course,” I said.  “The how to lead the team to accomplish those tasks and the how to get better results from them is the leadership challenge.”

George took a sip at his coffee.  “That is why I am here,” he said. “I want to know the gaps in my leadership.”

“Those gaps will reveal themselves as we continue.”

“I am sure that you will help me see them,” he replied.

“Yes I will help you discover them,” I said, “and help you fill them.”

“There are some gaps that I already know,” he said.  “But I do not know how to change some of my ways.”

“Do you have a list of those gaps?”

“Nope but I think about them a lot,” he said.

“Start a leadership journal,” I said. “Write about the gaps you see, what you want to learn and the leadership lessons you acquire in your journey.”

“Sounds like a good idea even though I have not kept a journal before,” George said.  “I know it is beneficial but what do I really gain out of it?”

“Leaders think of a lot of things and it can sometimes be confusing,” I said. “Writing your thoughts and ideas can help remove the clutter from your mind.”

“So I just write what is in my thoughts?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said.  “Write about the problems that you are facing.  Write about possible solutions.  Write about ideas.”

“Aside from uncluttering,” he said, “what else?”

“Writing about problems and possible solutions can lead your mind to out-of-the-box ideas,” I said.  “Furthermore, you will discover patterns in your attitude or recurring set backs will be made obvious.”

“I’m convinced,” he exclaimed.  “I will start tonight.”

“Good!”

“What do you suggest, computer or notebook?” he asked.

“Whatever gives you the flow,” I said. “The good thing about typing in a computer is that you can write fast.  The advantage of having a notebook is you can draw faster.”

“Thanks for the session, Coach.”

“Your assignment is that journal. See you next week.”

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Entrepreneur Coach

January 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Good morning,” the visitor said. “You must be the business coach.”

“Welcome Mr. Rivero,” I said.  “Yes I am a business coach but I prefer, Entrepreneur Coach.”

“Is there a difference?” Mr. Rivero asked.

“A little.”

“Care to shed some light on that?” he said.

“A business coach is focused on coaching the business owner achieve their business goals,” I said, “while and entrepreneur coach, like the business coach, helps the business owners achieve their goals but is not limited to them.  The entrepreneur coach also helps people become ‘entrepreneurial’ in their mindset even if they do not own a business.”

“You mean that even if they are employees, they can be entrepreneurial?” the visitor asked.

“That is right Mr. Rivero,” I said.

“Call me George.”

“There is even a name for the entrepreneurial employee…” I said.

“I think they call them ‘intra-preneur,'” George interrupted.

“Yes,” I said. “The intra-preneur has a sense of ownership in the vision and the progress of the enterprise as a whole. His concern is similar to that of the business owner, sometimes more.”

“Jake told me much about you, coach,” he said.

“How is he doing?” I asked.

“That is why I am here,” George said. “I am impressed.”

“Glad that he found  a place where he can shine,” I said.

“I am here because I am curious,” George said.

“Curious?”

“Jake told me about how he experienced slow, but steady transformation,” George said.  “He claims that he could not have done it without you.”

“I help people and organizations reach their goals,” I said, “I guide.  I catalyze.  But the real work belongs to the one who has the goal.”

“I understand, “George said.  “You are going to say that it was really Jake who worked hard at his improvement.  But I do believe him when he said that having an effective entrepreneur coach is very beneficial.”

“So, how may I help you, George,” I asked.

“Coach me,” he said.

“In what area?”

“In leading and managing my company.”

“You are into service, right?” I asked.

“Consulting,” George said.  “We are into business consulting.”

“Jake told me that much,” I said. “Aren’t you also into training?”

“Yes we are,” he said. “I started in training but the consulting is the bigger business now.”

“What is the focus?”

“For training, we are focused on the middle managers,” he said. “For consulting, we focus on marketing.”

“How many people? How many managers?”

“Twenty-nine people,” he said. “Four managers.”

“What would be the goal of our coaching?” I asked.

“Help me grow the business.”

“Yes I can do that,” I said, “but that sounds broad.”

“Like I said, leadership and management,” George said.

“That is still broad.”

“Coach me to become a better team leader.  And give me direct feedback on my strategies.”

“I see.”

“Help me duplicate myself in others,” George said.

“Let us start with team leadership to make it more focused,” I said.  “But we will also discuss strategy.”

“Great.  How much for a weekly session?”

“I will email the quotation to you.”

“Will I be surprised?”

“You believe in value for money, right?”

“Yes.”

“Then you will not be surprised.”

“Can you give me a range?”

“If I help double your company, no, if I help quadruple it, how much are you willing to pay?” I asked.

George was silent.

“My fees will be fair and proportional.  I will need more info on your company and its performance for the past three years.  I will then email a proposal with regard to the fees,” I said.

“When may I start?” he asked.

“If you sign the proposal this week, then we can start on Monday, 4pm” I said.

“I’ll see you Monday.”

“Thanks for the visit George.”

Gaps

January 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Hi Coach,  it’s me again,” Jake said.  “I started working in this new company. The arrangement is great.”

“Good to know that,” I said.  “What is the arrangement?”

“The president treats all of his employees as partners,” Jake said. “I mean, we really feel that we are partners.  He is quite firm but he respects everyone.”

“Good, the atmosphere in work is positive,” I said. “Plus I guess you were offered regular salary with profit-share.”

“Yes,” Jake said.

“So Jake, why are you here?” I asked.  “How may I help you?”

“I came to ask help for our company,” Jake said.

“Let me hear it.”

“Well, we are in the planning phase for the next year,” Jake said. “And, the core group seems to be running out of ideas.”

“Ideas on what?”

“Expanding the business,” Jake replied.

“Gaps!” I said.

“Gaps?”

“Yes gaps,” I said.  “Find gaps in the market that your group can fill.  It should be aligned to your company’s strengths.”

“How do you find the gaps?” Jake asked.

“By listening to the market,” I said. “Find their frustrations or needs or preferences.”

“Do we set up interviews with company leaders?” Jake asked.

“That’s a good idea,” I said.  “Why not treat them to a good restaurant and listen to them?”

“To find the gaps, we ask questions and listen, right?” Jake said.

“You can also observe,” I said. “Observe the frustrations of your target market.”

“What if we cannot find anything?” Jake asked.

“Then you are not listening,” I said.  “Times change.  New tech is introduced  regularly.  A new generation fills the workforce every few years.”

“I get it,” Jake interrupted. “There are always gaps when change happens.”

“Right! And change is bound to happen,” I said.  “Expand your business by filling these gaps.”

“Are there other ways to find the gaps?” Jake asked.

“Create them,” I said.  “Innovate then make the market feel that they need it.”

“I see,” Jake said.  “Like all these electronic gadgets.”

“Does this apply to personal career?” Jake asked.

“What do you think?”

“My senior partner said that he invited me in because I communicate well and I have an established connection with the schools,” Jake said.

“Oh yes, you gave a lot of free talks for the universities in three cities,” I said. “You filled that gap for your senior partner.”

“If I stretch this lesson further coach,” Jake said. “A person can also position himself to fill gaps for companies.  That person will be in demand if there are only few who can fill a certain gap.”

“Right Jake,” I said. “It is still about developing your skills and about being differentiated from everybody else.”

“Yes, that makes a person stand out,” I said.

“Hey coach, I hope you don’t mind,” Jake said.  “I told my boss about you. He requests to meet you. Is it okay to set an appointment for him?”

“Of course,” I said.  “What does he want to talk about?”

“His business,” Jake said, “and his life.”

“What’s his name?” I asked.

“George Rivero.”

“I’ll see him next week,” I said.

“Thanks for the session Coach, bye.”

© Eduardo R. Pilapil Jr. 2011

Make Your Move

January 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Hi Jake, what brings you here?” I asked.

“The usual coach,” Jake said. “I need your opinion.”

“On what?”

“I’m at a fork in my journey,” Jake said.

“Oh, you need to make a major decision,” I replied.

“Yes,” Jake said.  “I have three choices. First, stay put as you advised when we first met, but things have changed. Second, accept an invitation from another company which is aligned to my best skills and passion. Third, launch my own company.”

“Alright Jake,” I said. “You are correct with the first statement.  My advise earlier does not count anymore. Things have changed.  You have grown in knowledge, skill and exposure.”

“Yes Coach.”

“The second sounds interesting,” I said. “Is it a learning company?”

“Yes coach,” Jake said.  “I will be speaking in corporate seminars.  They will also promote me in different parts of the country.”

“Sounds good,” I replied.  “How will they pay you?”

“A regular salary plus profit share,” Jake said.

“Wow,” I said.  “They offered you that? It means they see value.”

“I think they do,” Jake said with confidence.

“Now, the third one.  You want to start your own corporate training company?” I inquired.

“What do you think, Coach?” Jake raised his shoulders.

“Have you made a business plan?” I asked.

“Yes coach,” Jake said, “here.”

“Have you done your risk analysis?”

“Not yet that thorough,” Jake replied.

“Where do you plan to get your financing?” I asked.

“I have a few options. I do not need much anyway.”

“You need to be sustained for at least a year,” I said.  “One major difference when you launch on your own is the pay check. It does not come regularly.”

“The business plan I made can sustain me for 4 months but not one year,” Jake said.

“One year is better. Things can go wrong.  Unseen and uncontrollable factors might become factors.”

“I see,” Jake said.

“It is good that you feel this fork in the road,” I said.  “I believe the first option is the safest, stay put.  But staying there may mean not making any progress.”

“That is exactly how I feel coach.”

“The offer from the training company sounds good,” I said.  “You have a regular salary plus profit-share, which means you can be an intra-preneur.”

“Intra-preneur?”

“Yes,” I said. “An employee that has regular salary but behaves like an entrepreneur.”

“I understand,” Jake said. “The opportunity can become a half-way to my being an entrepreneur.”

“Yes it can be half-way,” I said. “Or, it can be your model.”

“What do you mean?”

“My desire is for people to be entrepreneurial in attitude,” I said.  “That can be expressed by starting your own business or joining another company that gives similar opportunities.

“You mean some people are never meant to own their own business,” Jake said. “But they can be entrepreneurial in mindset and attitude if they are given the opportunity.”

“Yes.”

“What do you think about me?”

“You can be either,” I said “and you will succeed. But expect some unpleasant surprises when you choose to launch your own business. You were briefed how it is.”

“I am inclined to choose the second option anyway,” Jake said.

“If you can build your personal brand in the second option,” I said. “Go for it. But, if you are more daring, choose to start your own. Find good investors.”

“That is easier said than done,” Jake replied.

“Yup,” I said,  “One thing is sure.  Do not stay where you are.  There is a ceiling there.  Your career path is unclear.  Your passion and skill is not in play.”

“So, you agree that it is time then,” Jake said firmly.

“Right Jake, it is time,” I said. “Make your move.”

“Second option,” Jake said.

“Like I said, make your move!”

© Eduardo R. Pilapil Jr. 2011

Hollow and Empty

December 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

“Hi Coach, it has been a while,” Jake said.

“Hello Jake,” I replied. “What brings you here?”

“Just want to reconnect,” Jake said. “And to tell you a story then ask a question.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“I went around learning on my own as you said I should,” Jake said.  “However, there are some things that bothered me.”

“Go on.”

“I listened to some speakers and attended events like product launches, opening ceremonies,” Jake said. “You know, events that tell people of the next big thing.”

“So?”

“I felt like a lot of them were crap,” Jake said.

“Are you sure that you are not just being sarcastic or too critical,” I asked.

“No,” Jake replied, ” I gave an open mind.  I was even excited about most of the events.”

“But?”

“But it felt empty or hallow,” Jake said. “There was nothing there.”

“There was nothing there?”

“Is there something wrong with me, coach?” Jake asked.

“Maybe,” I said, “or maybe not.”

“Say something coach.”

“Organizers of such events find ways to induce or ballyhoo the product or event,” I said.

“I’m still listening,” Jake beckoned me to continue.

“The marketers, the performers, the speakers, the stage managers, the players, the producers, the manufacturers, have all seen its power,” I said. “That is why they keep using it.”

“And why do some focus so much on how good their company is like it matters to us?” Jake said.

“It does matter,” I corrected him.

“But shouldn’t the focus be more on the customer value?”

“Yes,” I said. “It is an old marketing strategy to announce yourself as number one. Or, to emphasize what good things are happening to them.”

“Like you said, it is an old strategy that may not be so good now,” Jake replied.

“Some companies wake up and begin to focus on real value,” I said. “But others continue to hype what is not really there.”

“But not everyone is naive,” Jake replied. “The deep thinkers, the sound, the ones who take a step back and observe, those who look for value, will always feel hollow and empty.”

“You may no longer be as naive, Jake.  For that, I am happy,” I said.  “But liars thrive because, as they say, a sucker is born everyday.”

“What?”

“There are people who are gullible as long as it feeds their emotion,” I said.

“This is troubling.”

“But,” I said, “people grow smart. They grow up.  They stop sucking everything up and start thinking at a higher plane.”

“Does that include me?” Jake asked.

“Be a good critique of others, even me, and even you,” I said. “But the real lesson for you here is, never hype what is not there.  Only excite people with the value that is really there, the one that benefits them.”

“Yes coach,” Jake said.  “Do I see you next week?”

“No,” I said, “keep learning on your own.”

© Eduardo R. Pilapil Jr. 2010-2011

When Mentors are Unnecessary

December 21, 2010 § 4 Comments

“Hi Coach, what’s our topic for today?” Jake asked.

“The topic would be, When Mentors are Unnecessary,” I replied.

“This seems to be a different thought,” Jake said.

“Before I start, I want to make sure that you do not misunderstand the concept,” I said.

“Alright.”

“We all need teachers, mentors, instructors, coaches, disciplers and the like,” I said. “But there are times when it is best not to have them.”

“Let me get this right,” Jake said, “you are not negating their importance nor their necessity in learning, but you are saying that there are exceptions.”

“Having mentors speed up the process for learning,” I said.  “It gives us a sense that we are not alone in our learning, our decisions and our life.”

“However?” Jake asked in anticipation.

“There are times when mentors, teachers, coaches, pastors, priests, fathers, and the like become the limits that will hold our full potential,” I said.  “They can become the boxes that trap our out-of-the-box thinking.  It is possible that you unknowingly operate in a mental framework, which works yet limits.”

“It is ironic for you to say that because you are a mentor yourself,” Jake said, “but I see your point.”

“It is precisely why I am saying it to you,” I said.  “I am a mentor, coach, father and pastor. Yet I can be unconsciously a limit to you and all who might admire or follow me.”

“But I have learned a lot from you and I still keep learning,” Jake said.

“I am not stopping you from that,” I said.  “You may still keep learning from me if you see it beneficial.  I still have a lot to impart to you.”

“Thank goodness,” Jake said. “I thought you were firing me as a client.”

“No, but I want to release you for a while,” I said.

“You mean we will no longer meet?” Jake asked.

“I am always here,” I said. “We’ll just stop the regular meeting.”

“As long as I can still meet you,” Jake said.

“I am just a phone call away,” I said. “Let me give you some reasons why there are times it is best to be free of us.”

“Okay coach. let me hear it,” Jake said “but this feels so strange to me.”

“One. You must learn on your own.  Process your ideas without much interference,” I said, “even from a coach.”

“But coach, you taught me to process ideas with others,” Jake said. “Doesn’t that contradict it.”

“No,” I said.  “You must consult your ideas to others especially mentors, but this time, I want you to generate ideas that perhaps, few or no one has thought about even your mentors.  Ideas that might polarize people to love it or the opposite.”

“No middle ground?” Jake said.

“Staying in the middle means trying to please as many as you can,” I said, “which is not really bad except that you will never excel or standout.”

“You mean to tell me that I must try to conceptualize ideas that even mentors have not thought about?” Jake asked, “not to mention polarize them.”

“Yes.  Remember that success is not trying to make everyone like you but creating fans or advocates of a segment,” I explained, “but the other segments may dislike you. If everyone likes your idea then that is middle ground.  And middle ground is not striking enough.”

“I think I learned that from my studies,” Jake said. “And I agree.  What’s the other reason when mentors are unnecessary?”

“To be incomparable!” I said. “When it is time to let your uniqueness come out.”

“What do you mean?”

“Birds of the same feather flock together, right?” I asked.

“Oh, you are bringing up a past lesson,” Jake said.  “But even your past lesson says that I must join a company of eagles, those who think are a cut above the rest.”

“Hold on,” I said. “Do not get excited.”

“Sorry.”

“It is good to be part of a company of eagles.  But each eagle must depart from his family in order to gain his territory,” I said.  “A mature eagle will still be alone.”

“Help me integrate it coach.”

“Look beyond your mentors,” I said. “Allow your uniqueness to come out.”

“I am somehow getting it now,” Jake said. “Though I am inspired by role models or mentors, I must one day be the mentor and role model, but that is not all.  I must be free to create or evolve into something I have not seen from them.  I must be free to be uniquely me – what I was meant to be.”

“At some point you must stop benchmarking,” I said. “Be inspired by us, cherish the lessons, but dream beyond us.  You are not me, you were not meant to be like me even if you learned much from me, nor should you remain to be in the shadow of anyone.  Step out in faith.  Mount the wind.  Free your mind.”

“I am getting it,” Jake said. “If I innovate, or start a new category in business, or start a new kind of profession, if it is so new, then no one is an expert yet.  No one would be able to mentor me.  Most, if not all, will fail to grasp it at first.”

“If other mentors grasp it quickly,” I said, “maybe it is not really new.”

“I get it coach,” Jake said. “May I call you, should I have more questions regarding this topic?”

“Of course,” I said. “But another thing before you go.  You are coaching and mentoring some people right?”

“Yes.”

“Let them learn from you but do not become their limit.  They are not you.  Encourage their different-ness to come out. And advise them not to make any other person they admire to be their ceiling or limit,” I advised. “Their minds should be free to soar.”

“Got it.”

“Bye Jake.”

© Eduardo R. Pilapil Jr. 2010

When Engaging Others

December 17, 2010 § 2 Comments

“Hi Jake, today we will discuss the ability to engage and make connections,” I said.

“Alright,” Jake said.  “I am sure this is significant but would it be alright for you to tell me why you think so?”

“The ability to engage people is crucial to your advancement,” I said. “Mostly in indirect ways.”

“My school did not teach me that,” Jake exclaimed.

“Some schools do,” I said.  “But they do not emphasize it much.  Most schools emphasize the accumulation and integration of knowledge.”

“People skills are not their priority,” Jake said.

“Like I said, not all,” I mentioned.  “Some are very balanced.  Let us get back to the discussion.”

“I think we covered part of today’s topic in a previous session,” Jake recalled.

“Yes,” I said. “The ability to listen, to ask questions and to appreciate.”

“The earlier session was about learning from the masters or other successful people,” Jake said.

“Yes,” I affirmed. “But this time it is not just about bringing out lessons from mentors. It is about bringing to light the positive in everyone that you engage.”

“Everyone?

“Yes,” I said.

“Coach, I am already very conversant,” Jake said. “How can I still improve?”

“Let us borrow a few pages from Carnegie,” I said.  “When you engage people especially when you are meeting them for the first time, say something good about them.”

“You mean appreciation,” Jake said.

“Admiration,” I said. “Admire, if you will, their career, their business, their brand, their country.”

“I am not so much of an admiring person,” Jake said.

“Do not short change yourself,” I said. “I have heard you admire celebrities.  You just have to admire the less popular.”

“I will have to make some adjustments in my perspective,” Jake said.  “How again can this help me?”

“Success is not only what you know or it is not just about your expertise,” I said. “It is also about who you know, your network.  But there is a third one.”

“What?”

“Who remembers you,” I said.  “You may be excellent at what you do.  You may know a lot of people.  But if those you know cannot remember you easily then they cannot also easily recommend you to others.”

“Great. I get it now,” Jake said. “It is like branding, I should become their top of mind.”

“But you have to be careful,” I said. “Because you want to be top of mind, you might end up sounding like a door-to-door salesman.”

“Meaning?”

“You only talk about yourself and your service,” I said, “which is the opposite of positive engagement.”

“But they must know who I am or what I do,” Jake reacted.

“Yes especially when they ask,” I replied. “But do not overdo it.”

“What should I do then?” Jake asked.

“When you engage people,” I explained, “show your sincere interest in them.  Focus the discussion on them.  Make them feel good at who they are and what they do or where they come from.”

“Please continue,” Jake said.

“If you make the engagement about them instead of you,” I said. “There is a higher chance that you will be remembered in appreciation rather than be remembered as a proud jerk.”

“Do I sound like a proud jerk?” Jake asked.

“Sometimes.”

“Ouch.”

“If they feel good about engaging you,” I said, “they won’t mind engaging you again.  They might even look you up. Better have that website ready.”

“Which of course means,” Jake said, “that they might get my services or recommend me to others.”

“Remember that it is not about you.  Do not even think of getting more clients, allow it to be a natural result.  By engaging others well, you might open doors other than business,” I said. “Doors to friendship might open up.”

“This session has changed my mind,” Jake said.

“I hope that is not all that will change,” I said.

“Yes, coach,” Jake said.  “I will be proactive in engaging others and showing genuine interest, make them feel good about themselves.  I’ll make it about them.”

“You got it.  See you next week, Jake.”

© Eduardo R. Pilapil Jr. 2010

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  • Should you wish to backtrack, the Jake series started with the post, "When You Have Many Passions," posted November 8, 2010 and ended with the post, "Gaps," posted January 9, 2011.

    The George series started with the post, "Entrepreneur Coach," posted January 16, 2011.
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