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Ingrid Martine and Rick Maurer - The Un-Game Book Interview

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Coaching Your Team for Success (Part 1)

Un-Game Principle: The 21st century manager is well-advised to add coaching skills to their success tool box.

13-02-05 Team HuddleLet’s face it.  In terms of being a great team leader, nothing beats the experience of practicing. On-the-job training is where it’s at. But whether you’re a solo entrepreneur with a single assistant or the manager of a large department, coaching your team is a powerful path to success.

Most of us know something about athletic coaches that we can use in business. And to make any season a winning one for our team. Ask yourself the following questions to see how well you are using your coaching skills to make this next season a winning one.

Have I inspired my team with a compelling vision of success?

No way around it. As team leader, we’re charged with inspiring performance that will get results. To keep your team motivated, it’s necessary to know what matters to them. Yes, to THEM! Team members will serve the team’s self-interest if their own individual self-interest is met. You don’t have to like it. You just have to honor it. So…

Are you clear about what inspires your team? Is it a satisfied client, a well-drafted plan, a Wednesday afternoon off from work?

Do you have a stated mission and values? When was the last time that you reviewed your actions in relation to these? Are they deeply embedded in your office culture? Could every team member explain your mission with ease and enthusiasm? As coach you keep your eye on the big picture and keep the vision alive. Without it people lose energy and momentum.

Does each of my team members play the right position?

Have you ever hired someone you thought was just terrific, only to learn that you’d made a mistake?

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins discusses his research for making good businesses great. He urges us to “get the right people on the bus” and then to “get them in the right seat on the bus.”

Sometimes we have not selected the person with the right values or skills for the job. Other times we might have hired a great person with excellent skills, but not put them in the right position.

Are your team members spending 80% of their day doing what they do best? If not, it may be time to reassess. We can be reluctant to take action when an employee is hard-working and dedicated. But if he or she is not well-suited to the position, it could be time for a change. Perhaps there’s another role to play, or it may be time for them to move on.

One frequently used tool for assessing the strengths of your team members is Strengthfinders 2.0 by Tom Rath which includes Gallup’s online assessment. Learning the individual strengths of those on your team, not only lets you use this knowledge to strengthen your team but also to inspire it! Back to your original job—inspiring your team. And people ARE inspired by strength-based development rather than weakness-based improvement efforts.

Do all team members set SMART goals?

A football coach and players know what the right goal is and by when it must be reached. Perhaps all that’s needed is a field goal. But a field goal is useless when nothing but a touchdown will do. If you manage a team, clear goals are key to maintaining energy and focus.

SMART is a commonly-used acronym describing goals which are:

Specific- Is it clear?

Measurable- How will you know when you’ve reached it?

Attainable- It should be a stretch, but is it doable?

Relevant- Is it in keeping with your mission and values?

Time-based- Always have a “date by when” the goal will be reached.

We can mistake intentions or ideas for goals. For example, “This year we are going to improve customer service” is not a goal. It may be a great idea and get you started on creating a SMART goal, but at the moment it just provides you a direction. Instead, “We extend our office hours to 5:30 p.m. starting May 1, 2013 might be an appropriate goal for a business that wants to improve customer service.

The SMART goal process is the same for loftier goals. You may just discover that you redefine what the “stretch” in Attainable is. Most of us aim lower than we need to aim. But we often do so because our success tool box of the past has limited our play to a smaller league.

Goals should always be visible to the team be it in writing or some system that’s more creative and fun. Whichever you choose, reviewing your team’s goals regularly will keep them, you, and your team members alive and supported to stay in action.

Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, author of The Un-Game and mind-ZENgineering coach works with organizations and individuals to empower them to move their lives from a 7 to 10 at work, home, and play.  For her FREE report, “Reap the Harvest of a Quiet Mind:  Empower Self, Empower Others”, or “Management Training for Business as Unusual”, visit:, or connect with Ingrid at: and

Your Goals: Don’t Have One Foot on the Accelerator, One Foot on the Brake – Part Two

Step 1: Here’s how you find out what your hidden, competing commitments to your improvement goal are. Let’s say you want to delegate. Ask the question for each of the actions you’ve listed that go against your improvement goal: “What worries me if I were to do the opposite of what I’m presently doing?” For example, I don’t share information with Fred. I worry that if I gave Fred the information I’d spend more time holding his hand than doing the job myself. Here is another example. I don’t give Nancy the more difficult customers. I worry that if she messed it up I’ll get a bad review. Notice that you’re stating the worry in terms of what big bad thing would happen to you, not to someone else. This is about YOU! While the worries you have are not yet stated as the commitments that compete with your improvement goal, they should give you a clue as to what the commitments might be. Usually we think of worries as passive. But they’re not. They generate active commitments that act like the foot on the brake to your improvement goal. You’re stuck. But help is on the way with Step 2. Step 2: Take each worry and turn it into a self-protective commitment. These are not the lofty commitments we feel proud to shout out to the world. No, they are commitments that we think protect us from some danger. Never mind that they sound silly or irrational. There’s a part of us that’s quite convinced we’d be in trouble if we didn’t do what we’ve always done even though it isn’t getting us what we consciously very much want. An example of a self-protective commitment derived from the worry about Fred is: I’m committed to not spending time empowering my employees. Oops. I don’t like that commitment, but it’s so. Hmm. Interesting. As to my worry about Nancy and the difficult customer, I’m committed to not getting a bad performance appraisal. Hmm. Notice we’re protecting ourselves against the big bad thing NOT happening. And you thought this was about Fred and Nancy! Once you have your competing commitments, you should see your immunity to change in all its brazen glory. Curiously enough, some people can change as soon as they see that change is impossible with one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake. Seeing is a point of power. For others there are two more steps to take. For more information on the immunity to change read The Immunity to Change by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey and check out or contact Ingrid Martine at to lead you through the entire process. Step on the accelerator and use the brake only when needed. See you at the finish line!

Your Goals: Don’t Have One Foot on the Accelerator, One Foot on the Brake – Part 1

OK, so you’ve been wanting to get organized, delegate, or confront that under-performing employee, (son, daughter, student, volunteer- remember we’re all managers somewhere!). And it’s not happening. Or you delegate a little while, and soon it’s back to you doing all the work. What’s going on? You want to delegate, but come what may, you’re doing stuff that assures you don’t delegate. The phenomenon you’re experiencing could be called Your Immunity to Change. You want something and yet you’re working against achieving it. Hmm. Shouldn’t you just follow Nike’s advice and “just do it?” Just get an organizing system. Just delegate. Just screw up your courage to tell that under-performing employee… What’s going on is that your actions that go against you achieving your goal make sense. Yes, you heard it. Those actions make sense. In fact, they are brilliant. They make sense in light of some hidden, competing commitments you have that you aren’t seeing. If you saw them, you’d do something different than you’ve ever done before. When you know better, you do better. Your objective for the time being shouldn’t be to stop the behaviors that guarantee you won’t achieve your improvement goal. You’ve already done that, and it doesn’t work. Your objective should be to find out what commitments you have that make the behaviors not only reasonable but necessary in your mind. Your current so called unproductive behaviors are very productive, just not in terms of achieving your improvement goal! They are a perfect anxiety-management system. We don’t like to admit it, but it’s a fact. Everyone, even the most successful people have anxiety. We may not notice it. It’s like our screen saver—practically invisible to us but nevertheless there. And we all have a system for managing it. But it’s not a hopeless situation. There are two steps you can take after you’ve made a list of all the actions you do that go against reaching your improvement goal.