was successfully added to your cart.
gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

How to Choose Words that Create Positive Impact

By | Coaching, Communication, Confidence, Pivot Point, Positive Thinking | One Comment

Our brain is listening to what we say

That’s why it is critical that we choose the words that impact our brains positively.  Our dialogue – both internal and external – has a profound impact on what our brain subconsciously decides to take seriously.  When we say to ourselves – “I can do it” or “I will try” – our brain sees through our lack of commitment.  The brain interprets this information as not genuine.  Our brain then chooses to focus on other areas where there is an authentic belief.  The brain is constantly preserving its energy, and chooses to save that energy for things that instinctively matter to our survival.  By choosing to use limiting, or even worse, negative words, we keep our brain parked in survival mode.  When we choose to use positive, forward-focused, genuine words, our brain slowly moves into neutral, then hits high gear when we reinforce it over time.

Trust me, before coaching, I did not take the brain seriously.  I had painful flashbacks to psychology 101 brain anatomy and physiology, memorizing useless facts.  It just did not interest me.  Now, having achieved my Master Coach certification, ravaged books on the brain, and having been a part of numerous coaching successes where self-talk mattered, I am a believer.  By simply tweaking the words we use, we achieve far more.

Our brain is primitive

We’re only a few hundred years from our more primitive days (in most parts of the world), and our brain just has not caught up with the more complex, yet easier to survive world we live in today.  Considering the time humans have been existence, the time of survival mode has dominated our existence.  For that reason, our brain still sees two choices – fight or flight – both emotional reactions vs. a more rational response.  Our brains have not evolved at the same pace as our evolution.  We still imagine new scenarios as opportunities to meet a predator, when that is unlikely in today’s world.  In a meeting with a customer, peer, or manager, we fear the worst.  And, we limit our own abilities with negative self-talk that limits the outcomes possible from the discussion.  Our brains are wired to fear the worst possible scenario, and actively prepare to escape or fight at the first sign of danger.  Yet, running out of a meeting is not likely helpful.

So, how do we re-wire our brains?

Read More

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

How to Ask for What You Want

By | Career Game Plan, Communication, Confidence, Leadership, Positive Thinking | One Comment

My college English composition teacher, Dr. Denny, was one of my favorite teachers of all time.  He was in his late 30’s, wore bow-ties and acetic sports coats, and said exactly what he thought.  Our class was 7:30am Monday mornings.  Instead of dreading the early morning hike across campus, I looked forward to it.  As a strong writer, I could have believed that I would breeze through his class just as I did virtually all my high school English classes.  Instead, I chose to let myself be challenged by him.  He made a profound difference in my life and my ability to communicate with intention.

One of the most impactful tools he taught us was how to write a good argument.  The recipe went something like this – claim, evidence, resolution:

  • The claim was essentially our point of view – more than just a mere fact – it was an insight into what we thought a set of facts or data points meant
  • The evidence was the fact, data, or quote that illustrated the claim – it logically conveyed that the claim was indeed true – the proof
  • The resolution tied it all together in a nice package – telling the audience that I told you so – reiterating the claim had been proven

I remember learning so much that quarter about how to write persuasively.  And, an even bigger life lesson – have a clear purpose every time you communicate.  As humans, we do things for a reason.  We have a purpose, and being clear about that purpose when we communicate separates us from others.  The application of Dr. Denny’s communication framework – claim, evidence, resolution – transcends far beyond a college essay – I have used this structure throughout my career.

Read More

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

How to Bolster Your Authentic Confidence

By | Coaching, Communication, Confidence, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Pivot Point, Positive Thinking | No Comments

Confidence Begins Within

Your brain is trained to recognize the absence or presence of confidence as you size up the people you meet.  It is intuitive and primal, and so important to success.  Time and time again in my research for Pivot Point, I found that women struggled to build, maintain, and express confidence consistently in their personal and professional lives.

The struggle is real

I too have struggled with having adequate confidence in my life.  I remember being the timid girl in gym class growing up, and then the reserved student in undergrad.  Professionally, I have been told I was “too confident” in job interviews and in sharing my opinions, and “lacking confidence” in presentations and networking settings.  In reflecting, I found that so much of my own confidence has been dependent on the external factors around me.  My confidence hinged on the people I was with, and how I compared myself to them.  When I was with those stronger than me, I recoiled, yet when I was with those I perceived to be weaker than me, I puffed up my confidence.  Often, I find with women leaders I coach, that confidence is a fluid barometer, it ebbs and flows based on the situations and the people around us.  Just when you think you have locked it down in cruise control, here comes a curve ball that takes it down a notch.

As Katty Kay and Claire Shipman articulate in the book, Confidence Code, women’s brains are wired a little differently, which does impact your confidence.  In their research, they found that women have neurons dispersed throughout the rational and emotional centers of your brain, while men have more of their neurons concentrated in the pre-frontal cortex where rational thought prevails.  Furthermore, they note a significant difference in women focusing externally vs. men focusing internally.  Women tend to focus on others around them more, leading them to base their confidence more on the external environment.

Read More

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Stone Cold Steve

By | Communication, Delegation, Leadership | No Comments

“Leadership is a privilege”

There was a leader in one of my workshops a few months back that we affectionately called “Stone Cold Steve.”  At first blush, Steve was a direct, self-coined “shut up and work,” driven leader.  He got the nickname from a moment in class when he said, “that’s their (employee’s) job – just tell them to do it.”  From that moment forward, we joked that leading should be that easy.  But then, we would not have thousands of books and blogs on leadership if it were that simple.

Steve shared an insight in class that stuck with me.  We learn from each other’s stories.  He inspired me to begin sharing leadership stories, and I am proud to help tell Stone Cold Steve’s story.

Read More

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

GROW Your Team

By | Coaching, Communication, Conflict Resolution | One Comment

“Coach to success”

As leaders, we often find ourselves in the middle of heated arguments between employees, or in the middle of the game of telephone on a communication misunderstanding.  You know the “he said, she said” game.  A client of mine, Liz, shared this all too familiar scenario in a recent workshop.

She had two shift supervisors that reported to her.  As with most shift operations, the two did not get along.  Fingers were pointed at the opposing shifts, with team members often blaming the other shift for mistakes.  Liz chose to proactively lead her team through this conflict.  Instead of allowing the blame game to continue, she chose to coach the two team leaders to success.

Read More

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Choosing the Opportunity to Win

By | Communication, Conflict Resolution, Positive Thinking | 2 Comments

“Leaders face a challenge, and choose to see the opportunities to win

One trait rings true of today’s strongest leaders.  They are genuinely optimistic.  They see a challenging situation, and instead of barking orders, or demanding instant results, they pause.  They do things like ask questions, observe the team in action, and ask questions before jumping to conclusions.  They offer a different perspective.  They welcome diverse thinking from the team.  In fact, they demand it.

In my coaching, I hear about lots of challenging situations with employees and tough career choices.  We often limit our thinking to a finite set of choices based on fear.  Instead, good leaders confront that fear, and choose to think bigger and bolder in the direst situations.  They ask – what is possible?  They expand the dialogue.  If the situation is a real challenge, they ask – what will we gain?

Read More

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Smile Check

By | Coaching, Communication, Leadership | 2 Comments

“Our body language affects our team”

A leader shared a dialogue he had with a team member recently.  It went something like this.

Team member:  “Woah – you must be mad”

Leader:  “Why do you say that?”

Team member:  “You have a scowl on your face.  Someone must have done something to make you mad.”

Leader:  “I am not mad.  It must just be the way my face looks.”

Ever experienced something like this?  You are not feeling an emotion that your body language is somehow sending.  Synchronicity has escaped us.  This confuses people, leading to misperceptions about our attitudes, and even our opinions of their performance.  Team members can jump to all sorts of conclusions and worst case scenarios based on a something that is not true.

When we are in tune with our emotions, monitor them, and adjust them to mirror our true feelings, we have a positive impact on the team.

Here’s the rest of Todd’s story.

Read More

gender equality in the workplace, training leaders, male allies, leadership training

Make it a Dialogue

By | Coaching, Communication, Leadership | One Comment

“I can be quiet longer than you”

I had the privilege to work with an experienced leader and coach in a recent workshop.  Sharon had many years of coaching experience, and embraced me as a new coach to her team with open arms.  We affectionately called her “Yoda.”  I admit, at first, I did not understand the reference, but after finally watching Star Wars, I agreed.  She was so good at teaching through self-discovery.  Sharon taught me and the leaders around her a lot.  The biggest takeaway I had was leadership is a dialogue.  It’s not a one-way communication, but a two-way discussion.

Here’s Sharon’s story.

Read More

Diversity is a candid conversation.

Start the Dialogue.

  • Get our guide, The 5 Questions to Start the Gender Equality Conversation.