Author: Kevin Watson

It’s Not Business, It’s Personal

For those of you who have seen The Godfather, the phrase “it’s not personal, it’s business” will be very familiar. I’m guessing that anyone dealing with frustrated and angry customers will have heard this, too. After all, when dealing with people, it’s easy to take things personally and we can draw some comfort when we think of it as only business. For this allows us to become detached, inoculating ourselves from the emotion in the situation. Yet, this can lead to a complete lack of empathy for people you are here to serve. This can best be seen in customer service roles, but can also be present in the relationship between a leader and their team. Those leaders that hold a belief that it’s all about business, make little or no time to engage with the emotional side of the people who make up their team. How many times have you heard something like this: “When I’m at work, I’m at work and do not bring in my private life“. Somewhere, long ago, we were told or just assumed that it was best to take on a role that focuses strictly on business. Hopefully, that has shifted since we started to talk about authentic leadership, but somehow I still suspect there are leaders who do not engage with their emotions at work, let alone their team’s! Maybe you’re saying it’s...

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A Gentle Influence Will Shape Behaviour

As I was walking between appointments yesterday, I came across two great examples of where behaviour was gently being influenced. The first was on the escalators. I’m sure that regular travelers around London will be familiar with the “keep to the right” signs found on almost every escalator on the subway. I’m equally sure that those same travelers will have noticed (and even been frustrated!) by the people that simply don’t see the signs or choose to ignore them, blocking the path of others from walking up or down. So it was a breath of fresh air to see these signs had not been used on the set of escalators in the retail concourse of St Pancras. Instead, someone, somewhere had the brilliant idea of replacing them with a set of footprints. I watched for a while, smiling to myself whilst people naturally moved to the right as this subconscious cue came into play. It reminded me of the video clip that was featured on this blog some time ago, of a staircase in the Stockholm subway that was transformed into a set of piano keys to encourage people to walk up them. On piano keys…the second example I noticed was a couple of upright pianos that had been placed around the concourse, for people to sit and play. Now, unlike the footsteps on the escalator, this isn’t the first...

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Coaching Works!

Almost a year ago now, I was in conversation with a friend of mine, who also happens to be a coach. She asked me how I knew when coaching has worked, which was simply a great question to ask, one I had to give real thought to answer. We’re often unaware of the real impact of coaching on our coachee’s goals, as these may only be achieved months after the coaching relationship has finished. Therefore, we rely on feedback, either from the client or our inner critic (or supporter!).  My friend knew that I spent a lot of time chatting with other coaches and had built up a decent size network over the past ten years, so she wondered what they might say. It all started with a simple request to a selected few, but it soon became clear this was too big a question to keep contained within my close network. So, I started to post it on forums, share it on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, hoping to get a response from a few coaches around the world. Slowly at first, and then gathering a life of it’s own, hundreds of tweets and emails from all over the globe landed from people willing to give me the benefit of their wisdom. The response was so immense, I decided to pull together a selection of these responses into a...

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Being a Leader

I was recently asked to write an article on coaching for a great site based in the US that offers a wealth of resources for managers. The article suggests there is more to coaching than simply doing coaching. Of course, it is possible for managers to learn a bunch of coaching skills and as many models as are out there, but that doesn’t mean they will be good at it! Beliefs & values will play a critical part in a person’s level of skill in whatever they choose to do, and the thing that often holds managers back from achieving excellence is an incongruence in what they hold to be important and true. As well as coaching, it strikes me the same can be said for anything that is considered something we ‘do‘. For example, in my experience of working with organisations that want to be better at customer service, most seem to go for training programmes, spending vast amounts of money on teaching people what to do and how to do it. This clearly does not work! How do I know this? Well, these same organisations seem to repeatedly do the same thing every couple of years and never raise the level of service much higher than it was before they started. Very rarely have I come across leaders in these organisations that think about tackling the beliefs &...

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Top 5 Articles In The Past Month

As you visit the blog, you’ll notice that we’re having a makeover. We’re combining the website and blog, providing a one-stop place to find all of the usual stuff plus loads of new features to give the whole thing a ‘magazine’ feel. Take a look around and make sure you keep coming back over the next few weeks to check out the latest developments. Meanwhile, here’s the top 5 articles published on MOC the Week for the past month, just in case you missed anything whilst we’ve been moving things around: 1. What Is Your Leadership Brand? Recently, whilst clearing out some old files from my online library, I came across a piece of work on leadership behaviour that I had carried out over eight years ago that still appeared to be current. At that time, I had been working with a senior team in the construction industry, specifically on their leadership brand, and had asked them to define leadership in the context of their organisation. Over several sessions, I’d spent time with each member of the team asking them the question “what does leadership mean to you, within the context of your organisation?” {READ MORE] 2. What Direction Are You Talking? Have you ever stopped to consider the direction in which you are focusing someone’s attention, simply by what you say and how you say it? Recently, I’ve...

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