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The Rule of Liking

Business Development Comments Off

People prefer to say yes to individuals they know and like. This simple rule helps to understand how Liking can create influence and how compliance professionals may emphasize certain factors and/or attributes to increase their overall attractiveness and subsequent effectiveness. Compliance practitioners may regularly use several factors.
Physical attractiveness is one feature of a person that often may help to create influence. Although it has long been suspected that physical beauty provides an advantage in social interaction, research indicates that this advantage may be greater than once supposed. Physical attractiveness seems to engender a “halo” effect that extends to favourable impressions of other traits such as talent, kindness, and intelligence. As a result, attractive people are more persuasive both in terms of getting what they request and in changing others’ attitudes.
Similarity is a second factor that influences both Liking and compliance. That is, we like people who are like us and are more willing to say yes to their requests, often without much critical consideration.
Praise is another factor that produces Liking, although this can sometimes backfire when it is too transparent. But generally compliments most often enhance liking and can be used as a means to gain compliance.
Increased familiarity through repeated contact with a person or thing is yet another factor that facilitates Liking. But this holds true principally when that contact takes place under positive rather than negative circumstances. One positive circumstance that may works well is mutual and successful cooperation.
A final factor linked to Liking is often association. By associating with products or positive things, those who seek influence frequently share in a halo effect by association. Other individuals as well appear to recognize the positive effect of simply associating themselves with favourable events and distancing themselves from unfavourable ones.
A potentially effective response that reduces vulnerability to the undue influence of Liking upon decision-making requires a recognition of how Liking and its attending factors may impact our impression of someone making requests and soliciting important decisions. That is, recognizing how someone making requests may do inordinately well under certain circumstances should cause us to step back from some social interaction and objectively separate the requester from his or her offer or request.
We should make decisions, commitments and offer compliance based upon the actual merits of the offer or request.
How to Apply the Rule of Liking in Your Coaching Business

  1. Use strategies to be liked by your prospects and clients. (Read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie for some powerful tips).
  2. Always be positive and genuinely interested in the concerns of prospects.
  3. Always be fully present when communicating with clients and prospects. Never talk to a prospect on the phone while you’re on the internet or reading emails.
  4. Listen to your client when they tell you about their interests, their family and friends. Get in the habit of remembering names, events, favourite teams or pastimes and use this information to show a genuine interest and desire to get to know your clients. This shows that you care and people naturally like those that care


Work vs Personal Life Balance

Personal Development, Professional Development Comments Off

According to the Australian National Occupational Health and Safety Commission Report, December 2003, high stress levels lead to thousands of stress-related WorkCover claims every year. Cases of mental stress had by far the highest median (8.5 weeks) and average (16 weeks) time lost, and accounted for 29% of all new cases of disease. This is way above the median of 3.4 weeks lost and average of 9.3 weeks for all new cases of injury or disease.
Stress in the workplace is common and caused by many different factors and issues. Many problems may never be fully resolved and the amount of stress a person experiences is often determined by whether or not they can accept that some things in life will simply never be sorted out to their satisfaction. For instance, a person may feel stressed by the way they are treated by their employer, or the behaviour of a work colleague.
Sometimes this stress can be resolved by dealing with the particular behaviour as in many organisations, there are processes that can be followed to deal with workplace problems like harassment, victimisation or unfair treatment. If your work life and personal life are out of balance, your stress may be running high. Here’s how to reclaim control.
Finding work-life balance in today’s frenetically-paced world is no simple task. Spend more time at work than at home and you miss out on a rewarding personal life. Then again, if you’re facing challenges in your personal life such as caring for an aging parent or coping with marital or financial problems, concentrating on your job can be difficult.
Whether the problem is too much focused on work or too little, when your work life and your personal life feel out of balance, stress – and its harmful effects – is the result. To take control, first consider how the world of work has changed, then re-evaluate your relationship to work and apply the strategies for striking a more healthy balance as described in this guide.
How work invades your personal life: There was a time when employees showed up for work Monday through Friday and worked eight to nine hours. The boundaries between work and home were fairly clear then. But the world has changed and, unfortunately, the boundaries have blurred for many workers. Here’s why:
Global economy. As more skilled workers enter the global labor market and companies outsource or move more jobs to reduce labour costs, people feel pressured to work longer and produce more to protect their jobs.

International business. Work continues around the world 24 hours a day for some people. If you work in an international organisation, you might be on call around the clock for troubleshooting or consulting.

Advanced communication technology. People now have the ability to work anywhere – from their home, from their car and even on vacation. And some managers expect that.

Longer hours. Employers commonly ask employees to work longer hours than they’re scheduled. Often, overtime is mandatory. If you hope to move up the career ladder, you may find yourself regularly working more than 40 hours a week to achieve and exceed expectations.

Changes in family roles. Today’s married worker is typically part of a dual-career couple, which makes it difficult to find time to meet commitments to family, friends and community.
Overtime obsession
It’s tempting to work overtime if you’re an hourly employee. By doing so, you can earn extra money for a child’s university education or a dream vacation. Some people need to work overtime to stay on top of family finances or pay for extra, unplanned expenses.
If you’re on salary, working more hours may not provide extra cash, but it can help you to keep up with your workload. Being willing to arrive early and stay late every day may also help earn that promotion or bonus.
Before you sign up for overtime, consider the pros and cons of working extra hours on your work-life balance:

  • Fatigue. Your ability to think and your eye-hand coordination decrease when you’re tired. This means you’re less productive and may make mistakes. These mistakes can lead to injury or rework and negatively impact your professional reputation.
  • Family. You may miss out on important events, such as your child’s first bike ride, your father’s 60th birthday or your high-school reunion. Missing out on important milestones may harm relationships with your loved ones.
  • Friends. Trusted friends are a key part of your support system. But if you’re spending time at the office instead of with them, you’ll find it difficult to nurture those friendships.
  • Expectations. If you work extra hours as a general rule, you may be given more responsibility. This could create a never-ending and increasing cycle, causing more concerns and challenges.

Sometimes working overtime is important. It’s a choice you can make to adjust to a new job or new boss or to pay your bills. If you work for a company that requires mandatory overtime, you won’t be able to avoid it, but you can learn to manage it. If you work overtime by choice, do so in moderation. Most importantly, say no when you’re too tired, when it’s affecting your health or when you have crucial family obligations.
Striking the best work-life balance
It isn’t easy to juggle the demands of career and personal life. For most people, it’s an ongoing challenge to reduce stress and maintain harmony in key areas of their life. Here are some ideas to help you find the balance that’s best for you:
Keep a journal. Write down everything you do for one week. Include work-related and non-work-related activities. Decide what’s necessary and satisfies you the most. Cut or delegate activities you don’t enjoy, don’t have time for or do only out of guilt. If you don’t have the authority to make certain decisions, talk to your supervisor.
Take advantage of your options. Find out if your employer offers flex hours, a compressed work week, job-sharing or telecommuting for your role. The flexibility may alleviate some of your stress and free up some time.
Manage your time. Organise household tasks efficiently. Doing one or two loads of laundry every day rather than saving it all for your day off, and running errands in batches rather than going back and forth several times are good places to begin. A weekly family calendar of important dates and a daily list of to-dos will help you avoid deadline panic. If your employer offers a course in time management, sign up for it.
Rethink your cleaning standards. An unmade bed or sink of dirty dishes won’t impact the quality of your life. Do what needs to be done and let the rest go. If you can afford it, pay someone else to clean your house.
Communicate clearly. Limit time-consuming misunderstandings by communicating clearly and listening carefully. Take notes if it helps.
Let go of the guilt. Remember, having a family and a job is okay – for both men and women.
Nurture yourself. Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as walking, working out or listening to music.
Unwind after a hectic workday by reading, practicing yoga or taking a bubble bath. Sitting down and watching the news is NOT recommended for relaxation or unwinding as many studies advise the news creates an upward shift in anxiety and stress levels.
Set aside one night each week for recreation. Take the phone off the hook; turn off the computer and the TV. Discover activities you can do with your partner, family or friends, such as playing golf, fishing, bike riding or walking on the beach. Making time for activities you enjoy will refresh you.
Protect your day off. Try to schedule some of your routine chores on workdays so that your days off are more relaxing.
Get enough sleep. There’s nothing as stressful and potentially dangerous as working when you’re sleep-deprived. Not only is your productivity affected, but you can also make costly mistakes. You may then have to work even more hours to make up for these mistakes.
Bolster your support system. Give yourself the gift of a trusted friend or co-worker to talk with during times of stress or hardship. If you’re part of a religious community, take advantage of the support your religious leader can provide. Ensure you have trusted friends and relatives who can assist you when you need to work overtime or travel for your job.
Seek professional help. Everyone needs help from time to time. If your life feels too chaotic to manage and you are constantly worrying about it, talk with a professional such as your doctor, a psychologist, a counsellor or a life coach. And if you’re experiencing high levels of stress because of marital, financial, chemical dependency or legal problems, a counsellor can link you to helpful services in your community.
Balance doesn’t mean doing everything. Examine your priorities and set boundaries. Be firm in what you can and cannot do. Only you can restore harmony to your lifestyle.

Narrative Approach to Coaching

Professional Development Comments Off

The narrative approach to coaching investigates the stories that people construct in their lives to define who they are and what they do. It is the coach’s role to help clients identify stories that are limiting them from achieving their full potential and to assist in finding an alternative story that is more beneficial.
The coach has four main aims when implementing the narrative approach:

  1. Search for alternative explanations
  2. Search for unique outcomes
  3. Encourage a future with the alternative story
  4. Find ways to create an audience who will perceive and support the new story.

Let us look at some of the main concepts of this approach:
Dominant Stories
Dominant stories are stories in a person’s life which he or she strongly believe and have had things happen in life that have reinforced this story. They can have both positive and negative affects on the individual’s life and affect not only the present but also the future.
Stories consist of the following elements (De Jong & Berg, 2002):

  • Events
  • Linked in sequence
  • Across time
  • According to a plot

For example:
John is a successful executive to an important financial company. However, he lacks confidence in his typing ability due to situations that have occurred in the past. For example, when he was in high school he completed a typing course in which he failed. In his first job as an administrative assistant he was always in trouble for taking too long to complete projects and he thought this was due to his typing “inability”. Now that he has his own administrative assistant he gets him to type everything for him but is finding that other tasks are not completed due to this problem.
John’s dominant story of not being able to type has been reinforced by past incidences of being told he can’t type and failing a typing course. He now reinforces this issue by getting someone else to do the typing for him. Although John’s story is quite basic, you can see how this dominant story affects his present and will also keep affecting his future.
Externalising Language
Externalising language is used in coaching to separate the problem from the person. For example, a person may say “I am a sad person”. This implies that the person has a sad quality or characteristic of sadness rather than it just being something that affects the person from time to time.
Coaches working from a narrative perspective are attuned to the language they use to represent an issue or problem in their coachees’ lives. They assume that the issue or problem is “having an effect on the person” rather than the issue or problem being an intrinsic part of who the person is.
Rather than saying “you are lacking in motivation”, a coach working from a narrative perspective may ask “when did motivation leave you?” OR rather than say, “you are stressed” the coach may enquire, “when did stress get a hold of you?”
Unique outcomes
Unique outcomes are situations or events that do not fit with the problem-saturated story. When searching for unique outcomes, coaches focus their attention on finding any event or experience that stands apart from the problem story – even if the situation appears to be inconsequential to the client.
Example transcript:
In this example, Ben is in year 12 and is aiming to achieve a scholarship for university. Ben doesn’t usually have a problem with motivation, but lately he just can’t seem to find the energy to study. With assistance from his counsellor, Ben has named his lack of motivation, “the energy-zapper”.
Here is part of the conversation that takes place between Ben and his coach: 

Coach – When did the energy-zapper first make an appearance in your life?
Ben – Hmm, well I think I first noticed him in grade 9. I went through this stage where he was turning up and zapping my energy all the time!
Coach – Was there ever a time when you were able to overcome the energy-zapper’s powers?
Ben – Umm… yeah, once I was so behind in Maths that I just knew I had to study otherwise I would fail the next exam.
Coach – So what did you do?
Ben – Well, I guess, I just focused. I turned off the TV – I knew I had to turn off the TV – Then I thought, right I have to do this. I just have to.
Coach – And did you do it?
Ben – Yeah, you know, I did…and it really wasn’t that hard to stay focused once I got into it. I stayed up all night to study for that exam.
Coach – So the energy-zapper loses his power when you really focus your attention on something.
Ben – Yeah, I guess he does (laughs).

This conversation reveals a unique outcome for Ben.
Techniques that will be examined in this article are:

  1. Naming the problem
  2. Asking externalising questions

Naming the problem is used as a way to establish a sense of distance from, and control over the problem. This is a main aim of the narrative approach.
Payne (2006) has identified a number of questions you may wish to use to help the client name the problem:
“I wonder what we will call this problem?
Do you have a particular name for what you’re going through at the moment?
There are lots of things happening to you- shall we try to pin them down? What are they, what name shall we put to them? I’ve been calling what they did to you ‘constructive dismissal’. Does that seem the right term to use?
Judging by what you say, you’re been subject to emotional abuse. How would it feel if that’s what we called it from now on? Or perhaps there’s a better name?”

If the client has trouble coming up with a name, you could suggest possibilities.
For example:
Sam is a 25-year-old professional, who has recently been promoted to a business development position within her organisation. As part of this new role, Sam will be required to provide product information to a large number of potential customers in a conference style presentation. Sam considers herself to be ‘nervous by nature’ and is worried that she may find this aspect of the role intimidating.
Sam and her coach have named her nervousness, the intimidator.
Externalising the Interview
Externalising questions and statements involve referring to the problem as being external to the person. For example, “you are shy” compared to a narrative approach of “when did shyness get a hold of you?” Other examples of making externalising questions include:

  • How does the (problem) interfere in your life?
  • How does the (problem) manage to take control of you?
  • When does the (problem) usually strike?
  • Have you noticed in anything makes the (problem) stronger?
  • How is the (problem) hold you back?

Here’s an example from an interview with Sam (playing the role of the intimidator):

Coach – Intimidator, when did you first start spending time with Sam?
Sam – (As the intimidator) Gee, I started hanging out with Sam when she was young about 4, maybe 5 years old.
Coach – Wow, you’ve been in Sam’s life for a long time. What has made you stay so long?
Sam – (As the intimidator) Ha, ha. Well, I get a lot of opportunities to wield my powers. Sam’s easily led; I can overpower her without any difficulty.
Coach – Really? When is she at her most vulnerable?
Sam – (As the intimidator) She’s definitely her most vulnerable when she is unprepared. It’s so easy to overpower her then.

Copyright © 2010 Mental Health Academy

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3 Steps to Success

Business Development, Personal Development, Uncategorized Comments Off

For the past few months, I’ve been sharing some of my personal productivity secrets in a series of articles to help you “Master Plan” your life so you can finally accomplish all your goals. Ultimately, it all boils down to how you spend your time. What you do and what you fail to do.
Setting goals is easy. Establishing priorities is pretty simple too. The tough part is following through. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps you can take to coach yourself through the process.
1. You must recognize that good intentions are not enough.
Writing up a list of yearly goals or New Year’s resolutions might make you feel great. It may even make you feel like you are on your way. But you can’t claim to be making any progress toward accomplishing anything until you start acting on your Master Plan.
2. Don’t spend too much time thinking about your future success.
Imagining what you want out of life – the big house, the luxury cars, the yacht – may give you pleasure. But despite what the think-and-be-rich gurus says, it won’t make you successful. You must spend most of your time taking action, not daydreaming about all the toys you will have “some day.”
Most of the most accomplished people I know – and in that group I include some success coaches who preach the think-and-get-rich philosophy – don’t waste their time thinking about success. What they think about is how to do a certain task or solve a specific problem. They know that wealth and success will come to them if they have a good plan and follow it.
3. Break up your busy day.
Once you begin to implement your Master Plan, you will find that you will want to keep working for hours and hours at a time. Because you will be making progress toward your goals, you will be energized by the work itself. (If this has not been your experience with work before, be prepared to start enjoying your days a whole lot more!)
The extra surge of motivation will be very useful in getting lots more important work done. You’ll be working more intensely, more intelligently, and just plain longer and harder than ever. But because you’ll be working longer and harder, you’ll need to force yourself to take little breaks – three- to five-minute breaks to reduce stress, recharge your batteries, and ensure that your body is not stuck in the same position too long.
It’s not easy to take breaks once you are in a groove. In fact, you may be amazed at how difficult it can be. Most of the successful businesspeople I know think nothing of sitting at a computer or being on the telephone for four to six hours at a stretch. This is a testament to the motivational power of having a Master Plan, but it still puts a lot of pressure on your body and brain.
To make sure you take the breaks you need, I recommend a very simple device: an old-fashioned egg timer. Gene Schwartz, the legendary copywriter who was instrumental in the success of Boardroom Reports and Rodale Publishing, never sat down to work without setting an egg timer for 33 minutes. When the buzzer went off, he walked away from his computer and did something else for five minutes. He said the habit made him more productive. He said it was an important part of the process that made him a success.
When I’m writing, I set my timer according to the writing objective I’ve set for myself. Since I’m currently working on many writing projects at once, my daily goal is usually between 300 and 1,200 words. It takes me, on average, about 10 minutes to write 100 words. Therefore, I can knock off 300 words in a half-hour, 600 words in an hour, and a full, 1,200-word ETR article in two hours.
That’s how I break up my time – in half-hour or hourly segments with an occasional two-hour sprint. Between segments, I usually stretch backward and forward over a Pilates barrel I keep outside my office. Sometimes I’ll go outside and just breathe in the fresh air.
My afternoons consist of meetings and phone calls, which have natural breaks so I don’t need my egg timer. (I schedule most of my meetings for 15 or 30 minutes. It is seldom necessary to have a meeting any longer than that.)
Like Gene Schwartz, I have found my mini-breaks to be very refreshing.
Sometimes, if I had a short night of sleep and an intense midday workout, I get very tired in the middle of the afternoon. When I feel that way, I lie down and try to nap for 15 minutes. I will do that anywhere and under any circumstances. I’m not embarrassed by it. I think people who don’t understand it should be embarrassed, not me.
Once, suffering from jet lag in London, I lay down on the floor underneath the conference table before a board meeting. Fifteen minutes before the meeting was to start, NR, a board member and multimillionaire German publisher, came in. Our eyes met. I thought he might say something. Instead, he took off his shoes, lay down next to me, and we both enjoyed a power nap.
To help alleviate the boredom of working in one place all day, I split my time between my home office above my garage (where I do my writing in the morning) and my office at ETR headquarters. I have outfitted both offices with efficient workstations and comfortable chairs. And I have pillows handy in case I need a nap.
In the late afternoon, after a good day’s work, I often reward myself by walking over to a cigar shop two blocks from ETR. I can do some additional writing there while enjoying an espresso and a fine Nicaraguan cigar.
I get home at 7:30, open a bottle of wine, and head to a favorite spot in the backyard where I do some light reading and/or solve a crossword puzzle. It gives me a chance to unwind and, if necessary, blow off a little steam. Sometimes, I’ll jump in the hot tub. The idea is to get into a good mood for dinner, which starts promptly at 8:00.
All these little breaks and naps and rewards enhance the pleasure of my day. No matter how much work I have on my task sheet, I’m never more than two hours away from some pleasurable experience.
If you find that your workday is one long trek down a dull road, try breaking it up the way I do and see if it doesn’t make you happier and more productive.
Author: Michael Masterson
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