What Are You Reaching Toward this Year?

Wow, we’re already halfway through the first month of this new year! I don’t know about you, but I’ve got some stretch-goals that I plan to accomplish this year and it’s high time to get moving on them. Some of my goals are fun: my wife and I plan to go camping in the Grand Tetons with our children and grandchildren; I want to ride my bicycle over 100 miles in one day (and live to tell about it); and I want to begin building a wooden sailboat.

But I also have some more weighty goals that are sure to stretch my abilities, stamina and faith. Specifically, I’m asking God to increase His influence through me this year significantly. I don’t even know what all that means yet, but I believe it will entail writing and coaching among other things and I’ve already begun working on several new books. A primary goal of mine is to continue to aggressively pursue Jesus Christ daily, asking Him to keep transforming my life.

How about you? What is God doing in your life? How will you become more like Christ this year? What will you do differently? In what ways will your faith be stretched this year? What’s one thing in your life you’d like to shed—permanently? What’s one thing you’d like to add to your life—permanently?

Personally, I’ve found that when I engage a leadership coach I gain more clarity quicker; I’m able to remove difficult obstacles to reaching my goals; and I accomplish more. These are also some of the reasons I love coaching. Through coaching, I get to participate in seeing people’s lives changed. And what is so refreshing and rewarding about that is that coaching empowers them to rely on God and the gifts He has given them to continue bringing this about.

In his book, Leadership Coaching, author Tony Stolzfus provides what he calls the Top 5 Reasons to Coach and Be Coached:

  1. Experience More Transformation. Make radical changes in your own life and see more lasting changes in others.
  2. Grow Faster/Get More Done. Accelerate change and accomplish more without overload.
  3. Unleash People. Stop creating dependence and free up you r time by empowering others to take action.
  4. Develop Leaders. Invest more effectively and efficiently in leaders around you to multiply your impact.
  5. Improve Interpersonal Skills. Learn great tools for building deep relationships and having extraordinary conversations.

What would you like to accomplish this year? How about cultivating richer, more fulfilling relationships? Or launching that project you’ve dreamed of for years? How about ditching a habit you’re sick of lugging around with you? Or how about wowing your boss with the completion of a project that’s looming over your head?

Whatever your goal, I’d love to help you get there! Contact me and let’s set up a coaching schedule, roll up our sleeves and get going!

Rob Fischer

Climbing the Heights through Coaching

Call me crazy, but there are certain aspects of basic training in the Army that I really enjoyed! One of my favorites was the “Confidence Course.” The Confidence Course was the mother of all challenge courses without the safety devices (at least back then).

One of the elements (or structures) on the Confidence Course that I most vividly remember was called the Skyscraper and resembled a multi-story building. This structure consisted of four telephone poles planted vertically in the ground, their bases forming a square. Each pole stood about eight feet from the other. The four poles all angled outward, away from the center of the structure as they rose from the ground.

At increments of about nine feet, level platforms were suspended between the poles forming each “story.” Because the poles jutted outward, so did each successive story. This made jumping up to the next story impossible.

The rules of engagement were that we were not allowed to climb the poles, but had to ascend the Skyscraper simply by climbing from one level to the next. The challenge was that there was no way to accomplish the task by ourselves. Instead, we paired up with a buddy with whom we worked together to climb the Skyscraper. Working with another person the task was still difficult but doable.

Engaging the challenges of a career, relationships, a major transition, or some lofty goal can be far more complex and daunting than climbing the “Skyscraper.” But for some reason, we often think we have to go it alone. Somewhere along the line, we picked up the false notion that if we don’t achieve our goals alone, we’ve somehow failed.

Let me debunk that notion! International leadership guru, Bill Hybels, said, “I have never done a single thing of value without the assistance of others.”

I have to agree with Bill. And one of the best ways to engage the assistance of others to help achieve whatever challenge stands before us is to employ a coach. I’ve personally gained so much through working with a coach.

Perhaps you’ve never engaged a coach before, but I’ve piqued your interest. Let me offer you a free, no-obligation, 30-minute, kick-the-tires coaching session. You’ve nothing to lose and a lot to gain! Try coaching and see how you can maximize your leadership potential and stay on top of your game.

©2015 Rob Fischer, CPLC

Dare Mighty Things!

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt 

There’s something about that quote that stirs me to the core of my being! Who wants to “rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat”?

The problem is that people get stuck. Behavioral patterns for a day, soon become those for a week, and then a month, and then a year, and so forth. Suddenly, a person wakes up one morning realizing they’re no further along than they were 10, 20, or 30 years before.

That’s tragic!

The definition of insanity: “doing what we’ve always done, yet expecting different results” has become merely a cliché. We glibly acknowledge its truth, but don’t act on it.

Stop! No, really! We cannot continue doing the same things we’ve always done and expect different results!

But we’re afraid. We’re cautious. We’re careful. We reason that our hesitations are prudent and wise, only to discover that perhaps we too “rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

As we embark on 2015, perhaps you find yourself living too much “in a gray twilight.” What characterizes your life, your relationships, and your pursuits? Do you find that you “neither enjoy nor suffer much?”

If so, coaching may be just the leverage and impetus you need to dare some mighty thing. This is one of the things I love about coaching; it leaves no one in that “gray twilight,” but challenges, empowers and equips to “dare mighty things.”

How about it? Give coaching a try in 2015. Call, text or email me to get started meeting with your personal coach.

Rob Fischer

 

Clearing the Fog around Coaching

The term coaching is thrown around a lot these days, but with a wide variety of meanings. I’d like to generate a little wind to try to clear away the fog around coaching!

In order to look at coaching simply, let me suggest that there are three primary types of coaches: the skills coach, the mentor coach, and the professional coach. All three types of coaches are valid and helpful within the bounds of what they’re designed to do.

The Skills Coach

Sports coaches, personal trainers, voice coaches, and real estate coaches fall into this category. These coaches are generally trained in a specific skill in which an individual wishes to improve. The skills coach may or may not have had any training in coaching skills. Their singular expertise qualifies them as a coach. We can improve in any sport, or other highly skilled activity by engaging a skills coach.

Characteristics of skills coaching include:

  • Heavy instruction
  • Highly directive, coach-led
  • Narrow focus on a skill
  • The individual submits to the direction of their skills coach
  • Usually a formal arrangement

The skills coach says, “Do it like this…”

The Mentor Coach

Mentor coaches have generally built up years of experience and expertise in some field of work that qualifies them to coach. We find mentor coaches frequently in business in many different professions and disciplines. Mentor coaching is typically not a profession, but more of a service. Usually, a mentor coach is a veteran showing a junior person the ropes of their profession. A mentor coach may or may not have any training in coaching skills and requires no certification.

Characteristics of mentor coaching include:

  • Moderate instruction
  • Moderately to less directive, coach- and individual-led
  • Usually a targeted focus
  • The individual defers to the direction of their mentor coach
  • Can be either formal or informal arrangement

The mentor coach says, “Do what I have done…”

The Professional Coach

Professional coaches often refer to themselves as life coaches, executive coaches, leadership coaches and the like. These are professionals trained in the competencies of coaching and become certified when they demonstrate mastery of those competencies.[1] Professional coaches are unique among coaches in that their skills enable them to coach others proficiently in a wide variety of life and work issues.

Characteristics of professional coaching include:

  • Open-ended questioning
  • Non-directive, client-led
  • Focuses on the client’s agenda
  • The coach empowers the client to self-direct
  • Formal arrangement

The professional coach asks, “What would you like to achieve?”

The key difference between professional coaches and skills and mentor coaches, is that the professional coach prompts and empowers the individual to direct their coaching experience. This creates an entirely different experience for the individual.

With skills and mentor coaches, the individual is fairly dependent on them for direction and instruction. With a professional coach, the individual is challenged to delve into untapped personal resources.

Also, the skills and mentor coaches are usually interested only in what goes on in the individual’s life as it pertains to the skill or proficiency at hand. The professional coach is trained to uncover hidden obstacles to success in the client’s life.

For instance, a client may want to set and be held accountable for a lofty business goal. In the coaching process, the coach helps the client discover through questioning that there’s a rift in the client’s relationship with their spouse. The client realizes that this rift will undoubtedly impede the client’s progress toward their goal. So the coach assists the client in determining how to repair that relationship and meet their goal.

In this way, professional coaching is a holistic approach for empowering an individual to grow and develop in any area the individual desires.

I am excited to be among the ranks of certified coaches! I love coaching, because I enjoy helping people grow and excel at life.

My clients have included business owners, pastors, church planters, missionaries, entrepreneurs, and professionals in: real estate, engineering, finance, transportation, construction, property management, pharmaceuticals, sales, health care, information systems, telephony, and insurance.

How about you? What big goal would you like to set and hit? Where are you feeling stuck? What obstacles are you facing that are preventing you from reaching your goals? What transitions are you experiencing right now? What relationships would you like to significantly improve? Where are you in your walk with Jesus Christ? What’s tugging at your life that you’d like to change or improve?

Contact me. I offer a free, 30-minute, introductory coaching session with no strings attached. Try coaching out and see if it’s for you!

Rob Fischer



[1] The International Coach Federation has identified 11 core coaching competencies that a professional coach must be able to demonstrate in order to be certified. See: http://coachfederation.org/credential/landing.cfm?ItemNumber=2206&navItemNumber=576.

What Does a Leadership Coach Do?

 

A couple I know raises draft horses. I was amazed when they explained to me that one draft horse can pull 3,000 pounds of dead weight. That’s a lot! But get this, when two draft horses are yoked together as a team, they can pull 8,000 pounds of dead weight! That’s the power of partnership!

King Solomon said it like this, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NLT) Why would we want to struggle through the issues of life alone when we can accomplish so much more in partnership with someone else? A partnership with a friend or a mentor is a huge step in the right direction, but they may not have the right skills to move us forward.

Professional coaching provides a strategic partnership with an individual to help them succeed. A professional coach has completed extensive training and practice and has demonstrated skill in coaching competencies. Coaching is a proven process for improvement!

As a leadership coach, I have the privilege of partnering with individuals for a variety of reasons. Some may feel “stuck” in a job or career; others recognize they’ve become “stagnant” in a job that they still enjoy; others may be launching and building a new church or business; others want to take their relationships to the next level; and many simply want to strategize and take their next steps toward accomplishing a major goal or project. They all have one thing in common: they want to move forward!

When I coach someone, I coach “the whole person.” What I mean by that is that we are integrated beings. What happens in one area of our lives impacts other areas as well. When we desire to move forward in one area of our life our movement forward will be influenced by factors in other areas. We can’t ignore those other factors, for they can either work for us or against us. All areas of our lives must work in concert.

As a Christian coach, I find this integrated approach not only effective, but very enjoyable. Coaching enables me to serve people in all areas of their lives including helping people move forward in their relationship with Christ. And as they draw closer to Christ, they win in their other relationships, and improve their skills, capacity and perspective on life. In the end, the one thing they set out to accomplish materializes in a succession of wins and real personal growth. Coaching really works!

©2013 Rob Fischer

Improving Social Awareness

In prior posts we began investigating emotional intelligence in leaders. We noted that emotional intelligence seems to impact the performance of an organization more than any other characteristic of the leader. Therefore, leaders who want to lead well seek to improve their emotional intelligence quotient.

Daniel Goleman describes emotional intelligence in terms of four major competencies: Self-awareness, Self-management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. In this post we’ll look at some ways we can improve our social awareness.

Social awareness has to do with accurately reading others’ emotions and demonstrating that we care by expressing empathy and sensitivity when we interact with them. We are also cognizant of the social atmosphere around us and adjust to influence others positively.

When I think of social awareness, two contrasting events from my past come to mind. The first event occurred while I was in my early 20’s. A small country church had hired me as their pastor. In that role, I went to visit a middle-aged couple whose only son had just drowned. His body was never found.

To my recollection, that was the first tragedy of this nature that I’d ever been a part of. Until then, I had been spared from experiencing the death of a loved one. I was very green and inexperienced.

When I visited this couple, I came professionally and offered a verse and a prayer. I hung around awkwardly for a while, but didn’t know what else to say, so I left. I was deeply saddened for them, but had no idea how to express that to them or enter into their sorrow with them.

About ten years later, I received a call early one morning. A lovely young woman in our church—just three months married—had been notified by the police that her husband had been killed in an auto accident on his way to work that morning. I was stunned. I knew and loved them both.

I dropped everything and went to see her. When I got there she and her mom were simply holding each other weeping. What could I say? I simply embraced them both and wept with them. At that moment there were no words of comfort.

After a few minutes of unbridled weeping, this young widow looked at me through her tears and said, “You really loved him too, didn’t you?”

When I think of those two incidents and the way I responded in each, I see two key elements to improving one’s social awareness: experience and genuine caring.

Experience does not mean simply growing older. Experience doesn’t merely come through lapse of time. Experience is what we make it.

If we stumble through daily experiences and interchanges with people like a bull in a china closet, we’ll have gained nothing from the experience. But if we enter into the experience with others and try to feel what they feel, hear what they hear, and see what they see our capacity for empathy will increase.

The other element, genuine caring for others, is a conscious decision. I’ve worked with and for leaders who merely see people for what they can get out of them, or what people can contribute to the organization. There is no caring there. To such a leader the person becomes a device, a resource among resources for attaining goals and increasing the bottom line.

People who work for leaders who don’t care about them, at best give the leader the minimum effort required; and at worst, seek to sabotage the efforts of the leader.

Such leaders who treat people impersonally as things often rationalize, “That’s just the way I am. And after all, I do get results!” What they fail to realize is that they are that way because they choose to be that way. They can change. Also, if they get results without social awareness, just think how successful they could be if they learned and applied social awareness!

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. (Proverbs 15:28 ESV)

©2013 Rob Fischer

Improving Self-Awareness

In the previous post we began investigating emotional intelligence in leaders. We noted that emotional intelligence seems to impact the performance of an organization more than any other characteristic of the leader. Therefore, leaders want to improve their emotional intelligence.

Daniel Goleman describes emotional intelligence in terms of four major competencies: Self-awareness, Self-management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. In this post we’ll look at some ways we can improve our self-awareness.

Self-awareness describes our capacity to honestly assess our own abilities; read our emotions; and recognize how we are impacting others around us. In terms of increasing our capacity for self-awareness, there are perhaps two primary hurdles. We all struggle with one or both of these hurdles.

We can depict the first hurdle as a brazen attitude that frankly does not care what others think or how they react to us. This attitude may be necessary under severe circumstances enabling a leader to make unpopular decisions when something monumental is at stake. In such cases, people forgive the brazen attitude of the leader because of a transcendent cause under extenuating circumstances.

Another way to look at the effects of the brazen attitude is that people are not necessarily objecting to our message, but to our method of delivery. Under normal circumstances, leading with a brazen attitude is destructive and counterproductive. The leader who generally operates with a brazen attitude, but wants to improve their emotional intelligence, must admit the need for and desire change.

Often when a leader operates routinely with a brazen attitude, uncaring how he or she impacts others, they’ve resigned themselves, “That’s just the way I am.” Such a response is a cop-out and abdicates responsibility, which are not qualities of good leadership. The brazen attitude is a proud attitude and will eventually take a leader down.

Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. (Proverbs 29:23)

The second hurdle is far more common among leaders. We are simply unaware of the impact of our words and actions on others. But our naivety can get us in trouble. It’s one thing to be unaware that we are ignorant. But if we knowingly continue in our ignorance, we become fools.

The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. (Proverbs 18:7)

The path for improvement in self-awareness for both the brazen and the unaware begins with humility. We admit that we need to change and want to change. And because the nature of the change that we want to bring about is relational, we must use relational means for improving. These relational means include: good role models, coaching, practice, and feedback.

We observe other leaders modeling strong interpersonal skills. And with the help of a coach we design strategies, goals and measures for improving those skills. Then we practice, both with a coach and in life with others and we collect feedback on how we’re doing. The process can be quite simple, but it’s not easy!

Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves. (Proverbs 11:17)

©2013 Rob Fischer

A Key to Personal and Professional Growth

Andy Stanley, author of Next Generation Leader and national leadership guru explains the importance of coaching to take you where you want to be. He says, “You will never maximize your potential in any area without coaching. It is impossible. You may be good. You may even be better than everyone else. But without outside input you will never be as good as you could be.” 

That may seem like a bold statement, but consider this, if we could make the changes that we all need to make and do so without the input of others, wouldn’t we have done so already? What’s holding us back?

Whether we’re in business or ministry, ultimately our work is all about relationships with people. So it makes sense that the best way to increase our relational influence with others is by relational means. That’s where a coach comes in.

Leaders must take initiative, own responsibility, problem solve, make decisions, and influence others to get things done. One of the reasons that coaching is such a powerful tool for developing leaders is that coaching naturally calls upon the leader to exercise and stretch his/her ability in those areas.

A core tenet of the adult learning process is that “people don’t argue with their own data.” In other words, people are far more likely to follow through with and succeed at goals that they generate as opposed to taking someone else’s advice. Coaching strives to help the leader design their own goals, solutions, action steps, and accountabilities. Coaching works.

Unleash your potential with the help of a coach!

Click here for more information.

Thanks,

Rob Fischer, Leadership Coach