Leadership, Time Management, and Coaching
A short time ago I was privileged to hear noted speaker and consultant Steve McClatchy discuss the power of personal leadership. Steve delivered a thought provoking and compelling message on the power of time management in leadership. His message might be recapped with these three major points:
- Our days are filled with activities that we “have-to-do”. (His term was Pain.) We have to pay our bills, go to family functions, and manage social obligations. At work, we have to handle customer issues, manage the daily details and provide immediate direction to our employees (and coworkers).
- To most, time management is about managing the painful “have-to-do” tasks as efficiently as possible. Success is defined by the number of balls we can juggle without tell-tale drops. This is the crux of managing.
- Leadership comes from doing the things that improve us, our lives and our business. These are the things we really want to do. Steve called these “Gain”. This time management version of Dr. Stephen Covey’s Second Quadrant (not urgent - important) rings true for so many of us. These are the things that we can do to create vision, perspective, value and future opportunities.
This message played over and over in my mind for the days following Mr. McClatchy’s presentation. Intuitively, instinctively we know what we want to do to improve our world. We stumble and stray from these simple leadership actions – falling back into our old habits. Such is the way of the human condition. The Bible contains the phrase; “the spirit is willing but the body is weak.” This is not a new phenomenon. It is a part of the human condition.
The point of all of this, you ask? No matter how willing the spirit the human part of us is weak. A good business coach provides support structure and accountability. Coaches establish urgency on subjects that normally might be procrastinated. How do we accomplish this as we (coach and client) move through life? By asking the following questions:
- What are the most important issues facing your long term future? This jumps past today’s to-do list and the 150 emails waiting for your attention. It allows you to project yourself past the pain and into the rewards of accomplishing something meaningful.
- What steps should you take in the next year to reach your long term goals? This helps allow us to talk about activities that will move you closer to the goal. Further, natural tendency is to set unrealistic short term goals which sabotage your long term goals.
- What can we do together in the next quarter to set the move us along the right path? We establish short milestones to measure our progress.
- What are you willing to commit to in the next 30 days? Here, accountability comes into play. What is your process or sales process.
One young lady I worked with confided that she only vacuumed under the couch the week before her mother-in-law came to visit. She knew her house would be “deep cleaned” about three times a year – the deadline was just before dear old mom’s visit. Together we coined the coaching term “artificial mother-law” visits to describe the goals she set for herself. In her business life, these were ideas for improving her Specialist skills for which we held each other accountable.
Distributor executives and sales managers have a busy life. From the minute they walk in the door early in the morning until the time they finally turn off the light and head home, their life is a blur of meetings, interruptions and customer issues. Email, voicemail, PDA’s and intercom constantly call their name. Most handle a hundred issues a day and a week later can maybe remember three. The “have-to-do’s” eat their day. Never fear, all is not lost. Sandwiched in there somewhere are blocks of time to get to the good stuff – the Gain.
Coaches help you focus on the Gain. They help you set the priorities to move the Gains ahead of the Pain. They put Gain on your to-do list. Is it any wonder that organizations have discovered the ROI on coaching activities is over 500%?
If you find yourself stuck in a world of putting out fires and struggling through the have-to-do’s of life. Give us a call. We can help. The decision is yours, but our job is to build better decisions.