A consulting psychology colleague of mine, Colleen Bastian, who is now an athletic friend as well, really educated me this past February on how to get ready for my upcoming 4.4 mile Chesapeake Bay swim. She said, “Lyne if you really want to prepare for this swim get yourself a coach and join a USMS Master swimming class.”
I did just that. I enlisted Stephanie and Rob Colburn of CBC Endurance Training http://colburnbodyconcepts.com. They create my weekly training plans, not only for preparing me for that swim, but for getting ready for three upcoming marathons; the San Francisco, the New York and the Honolulu marathons. I am now a member of a local college swimming pool, as well as, I joined the Berkeley Aquatic Masters Swimming Club. I also do races in Central Park with the NYRR club and am surrounded with runners every couple of weeks.
This reminds me that getting a coach, or two, is so amazing and gets results!
First, you don’t know what you don’t know!
In working with Stephanie and Rob I have learned new swimming drills, how to gradually build towards my goal, and how to pace my training. With the Masters Swimming Club, I am improving my techniques, which is helping me increase my speed. I also get to be around other swimmers and reap the support of a community. When I start coaching with clients, they are unaware of certain skills, knowledge and/or information that could benefit them on how to improve a behavior or a skill. When they participate in a 360, and acquire feedback on how they are being perceived, they are surprised by some of that feedback. Equipped with this new information they can then create a development plan to address the goals they would like to improve. Clearly for leaders and coaches as well, learning never ends. Getting coached, on all fronts, has opened my eyes about how I am training in so many different ways.
Being focused and discipline pays off!
Setting specific goals, in this instance, the Chesapeake Bay Swim and the upcoming three marathons, is helping me get focused. Getting a training plan, that explicitly describes my daily training, really helps me focus and stay on track. There are reasons I tell my clients to take the time to write in a journal and/or create an excel spreadsheet to track how they are improving.
Most clients choose three coaching goals to focus on and improve. Being able to describe what success will look like once they’ve achieved their goals as well as imagining themselves performing these goals successfully helps one stay motivated and excited about achieving results. Building muscles demands repetitive practice, daily focus and commitment. After a few weeks of following my training, learning new skills and practice I’m starting to see results just like my clients do when they focus, commit and practice on changing a behavior and/or learn new skills. It’s exhilarating to see them grow and learn and to experience it myself and be reminded of how it can feel.
Finally having someone on your side makes a big difference!
I’ve just been feeling more supported on all fronts in getting two coaches, having swimming and running friends and new sport colleagues. I’ve always felt that surrounding yourself with partners, that know more and are better than you at what you do and love the skill you are trying to master, really helps. This just got reconfirmed. To have two coaches championing you forward, believing in you and instructing you in the right direction, is really making a difference in my getting prepared for my sporting events. I’ve been training on the treadmill lately and I’ve been tuning into the GMFT channel as well as basketball. Just watching other athletes is so inspiring. I love coaching my clients and helping them reach their desired goals. I love supporting them during their transformation as they try to be the best they can be. Not long ago in a leadership class I was delivering, two participants seemed defeated that they were not chosen for a position. I recommended that they stay focused on themselves and be the best they can be, and address any challenges that are getting in the way of them achieving their goals. We can’t change others or the world, but with the support of our coaches we can become the best we can be. Staying focused, committed and enlisting the support of coaches can get us where we want to go.
The leadership journey never ends, but wow does it make a difference to enlist the support of a coach or two. I certainly was reminded of that and reminded of the value of getting coached!
If you are in need of coaching and consulting and would like to learn more about our services please continue to our website www.desormeauxconsulting.com or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is something exhilarating when one is in the ocean learning to stand on a surf board. There certainly are lessons to learn while learning to surf.
Pretty much every time I’ve been in Hawaii I’ve taken a surfing lesson. This last time was a little different. I see so many parallels to leadership in everything I do, be it painting, running or what I call my surfing lesson #1.
Leadership lesson #1
My instructor this time, a woman, started right away with leadership lesson #1. “Surfing students who have Ph.D. she said “are too much in their head.” Great I thought; having an M.A. and a Psy. D. won’t help me and she was right. I had no problem catching the wave, knowing when to turn and get ready for it, knowing how to position myself and even getting on my knees, but wow when the wave started taking me fast I was stuck in my head and could not get myself off my knees. It took many waves before I had to tell myself to “push up, get up and do it even if you’re scared”.
Take a risk, let go and just do it!
When my clients are trying on a new behavior they have not tried before it takes them out of their comfort zone. They are afraid that in trying the new behavior they might fail and/or they might fall. Sometimes cognitive defenses show up. “I’ve been doing this, why can’t people see it?” Or “what are people going to think?” Or “it’s going to feel awkward.” My recommendation to them is try the new behavior even though it might feel uncomfortable. Let go and do something different. For example a client of mine who was afraid to speak in meetings started to speak up a little at a time. She also had a colleague who would nudge her under the table to speak up. She is now fully comfortable speaking up at meetings.
Leadership lesson #2
I was in the ocean with my instructor and another student. The other student gave up after two tries. I had just run a marathon and had been doing weight training for two years. The other student did not have the stamina to continue. My mind was racing. The last time I tried this there were more people and a couple of younger students, who were not afraid. I thought if I had more students around me I could get fueled by the competition – or if I saw others able to do it I could be inspired. At a certain point I realized that you just need to muster the strength to get up and force yourself to do it, and I did. I did it twice and it felt incredible.
Be prepared, stop the excuses and don’t be afraid to fail!
My clients are mostly prepared. They are good at what they do and if they are missing professional or business skills they make a plan to get what they need. You need a foundation and knowledge to be able to tackle new skills.
Most excuses my clients have are fear based. I was afraid of falling. After a while I got really good at falling down and even enjoyed it. At a one point, I fell off the board and cut my lip. When I told this story to a couple of people later (my lip was swollen at the time) they all asked me “did you keep going?” With a big smile I said, “yes of course I did”. My lip was like a trophy that day. I was proud that I kept going and was able to stand up twice. I tell my clients continually you get two months of practice or more to fail. I give you full permission to fail when you try and practice the new behavior or behaviors. Many seem to be relieved when getting permission to fail and are then open to trying out the new behavior.
Leadership lesson #3
I was visiting Honolulu to run a marathon with a running friend after 14 years since my last marathon. We had booked a vacation on the North Shore. This was not planned, but when I got to the North Shore of Oahu the Billabong Pipe Masters on Sunset Beach, minutes away from where I was staying, was taking place. Kalani Lodge had mostly surfers staying there and I was surrounded with a TV on the lanai and surfers watching every morning to see is surfing would to take place every day. I got to spend a day watching the competition. I heard stories about where surfers would travel for competition and where were the best waves. It was like stepping into a new world and it was inspiring. I love the ocean. I’ve been doing a 1.4 mile swim every year to raise funds on Cape Cod and have started to do 1 and 2 mile swims in different beach towns in NJ. I’ve signed up for the Honolulu marathon next year and would like to take not 1 but at least 3 surfing lessons next year. I have added New Zealand to my bucket list for my next surfing experience.
Surround yourself with people who are experts and find inspiration!
If my clients are trying to be more strategic or learn to network more, be more organized or learn to be more analytical, I tell them to partner with someone who already is. I also suggest that they get a mentor or a peer that is good in what they are trying to develop. I suggest that they read books on the subject, surround themselves with people who are experts at it and attend meetings, events or conferences on the subject. Immersing yourself in a subject and surrounding yourself with the people who are experts or for whom the new behavior or skill is easy is a great way to grow and learn.
I love learning especially when it involves an exciting new sport. I had no idea I would see so many parallels to leadership. I’m in my 15 year of consulting and coaching and see leadership lessons every time I learn something new.
Here is to my next wave and to your next new leadership behavior you master!!!
If you are in need of coaching and consulting and would like to learn more about our services please continue to review our website www.desormeauxleaderconsulting.com or write to me at email@example.com
I'm a runner and I’m getting ready for a marathon in Honolulu after my last 2 marathons 14 years ago. Most of my runs over the last years have gone pretty well so when this August run did not go as planned and I ended walking the last 3 miles, I felt a little discouraged. I needed to remind myself that once in a while doing a run that’s tougher than the others keeps you humble, reminds you that you are human and prepares you for a longer run that may be even tougher.
Why being a leader is a journey and not a destination.
1. Not every day is going to go as planned. Many of the managers I work with are intelligent and open. Some are organized, others strategic, while others are very good at influencing and building relationships. But even with some of those strengths a curve ball, or a tougher day than usual, can surprise leaders.
2. Stay open to surprises, twist and turns. Leadership, work and life can present us with surprises and unexpected twist and turns. Changes are always happening internally, externally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Leaders have to be prepared, but once in a while they may meet changes, uncertainty and complexity that knock them for a loop. When they do they need to simply get back up, dust off, take a deep breath and keep walking.
3. It’s a new day, everyday. There is a reason why the new day is VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguity) –and that leaders need to be agile, adaptable and flexible with the constant changes. Staying open and ready to meet each day with curiosity and innovation helps us to stay in a discovery and learning mode. Staying stuck in the past, in “how we used to do it” and in old habits and behaviors, just equate to more pain and suffering. Being open, curious and exploring new ways of doing and being is a much more productive way of meeting each day.
4. The learning never ends. If there is one thing that might surprise some of the leaders I work with it is that learning as a leader never ends. This seems to surprise the leaders/managers who are excellent at what they do but may not have thought that there was something new to learn. After a couple of good years and excellent performance, a new challenge or new people may present themselves that can leave the leader feeling like everything has changed.
So what happened? Similar to being a leader, being an avid runner for years I ended up analyzing what went wrong with my run: I got out of the door too fast, did not bring water or gels to replenish and could have used my watch to measure my run/walk ratio since my phone battery could not endure for the whole run.
The week after I ran an 18-mile run, I purchased an iPod so that I could have music for the entire run. That same week, I won an Apple Watch and added an extra watch in case the charge did not last, and importantly, had plenty of gel and liquid.
Like my marathon partner said, "It’s normal to have an off run. They can’t all be great runs. What can you learn from this one?" It’s the same with life and leadership. We have our great days and are not so great days. When we have a couple of not so great days it’s important to hang in there to see what the day, the next week or the next month might bring.
I finished my 18 miles and now feel ready for the Honolulu marathon in December. In the meantime I have many more runs coming up to prepare for this marathon. Like I said being a leader is a journey not a destination. There is more in common between being a leader and training for a marathon than I realized.
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