Archive for the 'Coaching' Category

Small Business Trends Radio Interview With Aviv Shahar

Anita Campbell and Small Business Trends Radio interviewed Aviv about The Peak Productivity Zone – The Most Important 120 Minutes of Your Day.  Aviv shares critical strategies to help you create your Peak Productivity Zone and realize your business and entrepreneurial potential.

Click here to listen to Aviv’s full interview on Small Business Trends Radio (Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the red and yellow player.)


The Next Frontier For Leadership Development – The Vitruvian Insight

Most of the currently available training methods in businesses are accented on brain learning. This is evident in the rampant usage of four-quadrant frameworks. There are dozens of strategies based on the four quadrants, the ‘important/urgent’ being one of the most popularized. Many of these are useful but are limited because they miss the insight communicated by The Vitruvian Man drawn by Leonaro da Vinci. Namely, that the human soul is five-fold as expressed by five fingers, five senses, five extensions of the body and so on. The Vitruvian insight points to the five-fold information processing and learning of the human.

By analogy, the human is a radio-set designed to process and interpret five dimensions of intelligence which is codified by the colors: Green, Yellow, Blue, Red and White. Soul learning is five-fold.  It goes beyond brain learning (four-fold) and creates faster, deeper and more sustainable results. So many of the intractable problems witnessed in organizations today and in the world at large are a symptom of brain fixation on outdated systems.  The next frontier of learning and development design is in reintegrating the five dimensions of intelligence. Together with our network of colleagues, we have been for three decades on the forefront of developing advanced coaching modalities to help professionals meet 21st century challenges and thrive. The Ten Faces of Leadership is one aspect of this body of work, which has helped create breakthrough results in Fortune 100 companies around the world.  This body of work also includes:
* The five color intelligences
* The leader coach and the five steps of coaching
* The five colors of learning and process inclinations
* The five emotions (higher and lower)
* Overcoming the five resistances
* The five elements of resilience
And more.
© Aviv Shahar

Coaching In The Crucible Of Change & The Chrysalis Moment

“I feel stuck,” Maria said. “I know I need to re-invent and renew myself but I don’t know how. It’s as though I do not have energy to move forward, to create a new next step. I feel like I’m walking under water. It’s heavy and it’s not clear.”

As a CEO Coach I am often called to address phases in the client’s life where the next step is not clear. A wide range of personal and organizational reasons can cause sub-optimal functioning and effectiveness. Not all of these reasons fall into the “bad” bucket. In this coaching session with Maria it became clear that her “feeling stuck” was a symptom of a bigger transformation underway. Here are some of the comments that surfaced in our conversation:

1. Do not suppress or try to escape the feeling. It is okay to feel stuck. Feeling stuck is often a symptom and a herald of change. For the caterpillar to transform and become a butterfly, it needs to spend time in the crucible of change where it feels painfully stuck.

2. Allow for time in the chrysalis. A transformative process needs containment. The chrysalis allows and protects this miraculous process. The egg, the womb, the chrysalis – why are they designed this way? What is the message? Transformation and birth need a period of confinement and containment where nothing escapes and where the totality of the system must surrender to the process.

3. Your “feeling stuck” is potentially a chrysalis moment. When something feels inescapable the process of change begins.

4. The caterpillar looks in the mirror and sees what it can no longer be. To melt and shed its previous form it needs to produce huge intensity, energy and internal heat. The chrysalis is a mirror of change and a frying pan.

5. To change and transform you have to allow yourself time in the chrysalis. For as long as it takes. You are meant to be inside this experience. To use it. To listen in. To listen out. To discover a new you.

6. Make room for it. Clear debris. Take the time to create a new uncluttered space.

7. Engage with good companions and friends. Some will bring you insight and energy for change. Be selective.

8. Keep a journal. Write about your insights and experiences and about the changes you are making:
– What will it allow?
– What do you want the change to bring?
– Why do you want it?
– What are you becoming?

9. Do not rush. Nothing is just what it seems. There is always more to it. Remember the story of the man whose horse ran away (ask me if you don’t know the story).

10. The old is shedding and leaving. This is the visible part. The invisible part is the new that is forming. Do not identify with the visible. If you do, you reclaim what is being left behind. Let it leave your system. Look for and live into the new that is emerging.

11. Exercise. Stay in a good physical fitness. Make dietary changes to be in the optimal energy zone.

12. Use this time to clear the deck. To do a great scrub. What are you carrying that you no longer need?

13. Meditate and journal: what do you give yourself over to? How do you stay intact? How do you sift through your experiences and stay clear? How do you live on purpose?

14. It’s a great time to melt separations. To forgive. To heal. To make peace.

Think about the evolution of astronomy. There was a moment when we were suddenly able to see into a black hole instead of empty space. We now understand that a black hole is a dimensional shift. As with galaxies and the universe out there you can also experience a dimensional shift. Feeling stuck is often the entry point of such a shift. The black hole of a crisis is that moment just before the breakthrough; but the brilliance that awaits you on the other side can only be won by going through the transformation. Embrace your chrysalis moment and the crucible of change. In that black hole your universe curves into new possibilities. You begin to discover a greater brilliance on the other side.

© Aviv Shahar

Coaching Trends & Challenges

The world is changing, are you changing with it?

I sense more worry, anxiety and stress from executives in recent coaching sessions. There are more challenges. Some speak of relational explosions and difficulty in staying clear and focused; some speak of reactionary response from managers, employees and clients. Most struggle to stay focused and productive. It’s as though the scenery is changing and with it the experience.

There is a paradox at play. High productivity is needed more than ever, but more people are distracted and lose productive focus. “I feel like I am running in water” says one executive. “Everything seems out of control” says another. “The pressure is relentless” says a third one.

You get the sense that everyone is in overdrive. Work habits that delivered results in the past are not sufficient. There is growing pressure for top line achievements and bottom line success, but it is the “middle line” – the inner working of teams that suffer most. There is a relentless, very stressful, non-productive intensity. It is more than psychological pressure and the 24/7 news cycle phenomenon. There is an energetic dimension to this shift. The whole system of work and life – the entire human system seems to be going through an octave leap – an epochal transition. It’s as if, en masse, we have all connected to a higher voltage power. Our previous wiring and insulation hadn’t totally prepared us for this time. You see coping difficulties all around and circuitries are being burned.

Every generation has its rendezvous with challenge. And this one is ours. The massive change and discontinuity underway is a generational shift. Welcome to the new epoch – the epoch of continual change.

Here are a few themes and capabilities needed in this time of change which are surfacing in recent coaching sessions with executives:
1. Staying focused, clear and intact.
2. Maintaining strategic clarity while executing effectively on the short term.
3. Developing deeper trust in key relationships.
4. Managing stress and anxiety.
5. Reframing problems to discover opportunities.
6. Taking care of basics. Attending to health and balance.
7. Managing ambiguity and uncertainty to improve resilience.
8. Tapping new innovative collaborations and alliances.
9. Replenishing oneself energetically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
10. Creating a narrative of meaningful and impactful communication.

What are your coaching needs? Who are you mentoring and coaching?

Call or write to us to find out about a coaching clubs for your team or entire organization. We’ll work with you to adapt the optimal format for your organization. And yes, we will improve your top and bottom line!

© Aviv Shahar

Are You Coachable?

Are you coachable? Are you coachable with the most important people in your life?

I prefer picking up the phone when I am in my best energy zone. I want to give the people in my life the best I can offer. Last week I called Edan, our son, as I walked into the house from six hours on the road. I was tired and not at my top game. When he picked up the phone I heard myself say: “Did I wake you up?” As the words came out, I knew it was a stupid question to ask your 21 year old son at 5:30 p.m. EST (when it’s 2:30 p.m. for him in Seattle).

He was busy and said he would call back in 10 minutes. When he called back the conversation went like this:

Edan: You taught me that the people closest to you can be the biggest stoppers of your growth and development if in their minds they are holding a picture of you from the past and are not ready to update their view of you.
Me: That is correct.
Edan: Well, so what kind of way is it to start a conversation with me by saying: “did I wake you up?” Do you expect that I would be sleeping at 2:30pm? It is Saturday, and it is true that a few years ago I used to sleep in on Saturday; but I have been up this morning working away on my projects. If you do not update your view of me – if you hold in your mind how I was four years ago, you are constricting my growth and development opportunity today.

This is the coachable moment, in the choice I make in the response.
Me: You are absolutely right. Point taken. How would you want me to address you when we begin a call?
Edan: You can start by asking: “How are you changing the world today?”

“How are you changing the world” is how we begin our calls ever since.

What’s the point? Tiredness, hours on the road and many other things can be good excuses to be at less than your best. But something great happens when we let go of excuses and step into the moment. Being coachable -being openly engaged with the people in your life-is a gift. They help you become the greater person they know you can be. The feedback I got snapped me back to attention. Truth is a great coach. Getting the truth back from someone close to you is a coaching moment. Acknowledging truth is the first step of being coachable. Making a full response. Walking through the door that was opened is how you turn the coaching invitation into a transformational moment.

I choose to be coachable. It makes for a thrilling life. What about you, are you coachable?

© Aviv Shahar

Coaching Champions

Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps all had great coaches, what about yours?

Running your business and multi tasked life can often be as testing as NBA matches, Tour De France stages or Olympic meets.

To succeed you need to be focused, disciplined and strategic. You need a great team and you need to continue moving forward. None of these stars would dream of accomplishing such a feat without a top coach by their side.

Developing and running your business may be even more dynamic and complex than the Tour De France or an Olympics event. You need to stay clear. Keep your people fully engaged. Articulate a strategy. Listen. Assimilate learning. Make changes and Grow. Initiate a course correction and Design the future. Exude confidence and charisma. You have to think like a professional athlete. You have to be in top form. True champions are extraordinary because they do the basics in an extraordinary way. And because they do not shy away from continual learning, improvement and growth.

Can you afford to have anything less than the best help and support?

© Aviv Shahar

CEO Coaching – Managing For Results

As a CEO, an executive and a leader, you must realize that the three most precious assets you have are your time, your energy, and your focus.  You must direct these to what matters most for the success of your business. It’s time for “back to basics” management. To lead you must be transformational. Participation is not leadership. Make output and results the focal point. Focus on solutions not on problems. You lead because your services and products help people transform their lives.

Here are Top themes for CEOs and executives for the coming year:

  1. Have a solid value proposition understood by all stakeholders.
  2. Clarify goals and objectives.
  3. Be relentless in aligning all activities and resources to deliver on your strategy.
  4. Repurpose resources trapped in non-critical activities.
  5. Understand your core strengths. Build and develop on these strengths.
  6. Cultivate a proactive culture. Help people move forward and take action.
  7. Remove blockages. Increase speed and agility.
  8. Cultivate operational excellence. Deliver exceptional quality.
  9. Build trust. Encourage initiative. Create full engagement.
  10. Institutionalize world class. Optimize processes and practices. Innovate.

To thrive in today’s economy, your focus must be on helping clients meet their needs and realize their dreams while they preserve precious resources. There are great opportunities to create breakthroughs even in uncertain times.

© Aviv Shahar

The ATP Power

Beware Of Despair – A Coaching Brief

The true meaning of despair is separation from purpose—the sense that you are unable to realize your mission – that there is no way for you to engage in your life affirming purpose.  Two roads cross the juncture of despair. One leads into fatigue, depression and apathy; the other leads to awakening and renewal. The first diminishes the life force; the second rekindles the essence of life.

Cellular energy, biologists tell us, is carried and released by ATP (Adenosine – triphosphate). “ATP is a multi-functional nucleotide that is a carrier of “molecular currency” of intracellular energy transfer. In this role, ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism. It is produced as an energy source during the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration.” In short, ATP is the energy potential of the cell. It brings to the cell the energy to engage in its function and do all that it needs to do.

What about you? What gives you energy to engage in your functions and do all that you need to do? What is your whole-person (beyond cellular) ATP?

In our coaching work with high performers they find that their whole-person ATP – the energy potential they can realize and release is a function of Alignment-To-Purpose.  Your whole-person ATP is in your Alignment- and Adherence-To-Purpose.  Despair and depression are the signs of ultimate loss of Alignment To Purpose (ATP). Awakening and renewal are found in reconnection and realignment to purpose.

To acquire cellular ATP, Adenosine – triphosphate, you need a balanced nutrition.

Finding and ongoing-ly calibrating your Alignment-To-Purpose is central to the personal development journey and to the process of coaching. You develop self awareness and insight to what energizes you, to your intuition and to what nourishes your purpose. You get sensitized to the Being and Doing of purpose and discover the relationships of the higher, the lower and the middle. You examine the personal and professional aspects of your life to create and arrange your optimal Living On Purpose.

© Aviv Shahar

The Subtle Work Of A Transformational Coach

What is the subtle, at times invisible work of a transformational coach and consultant?

1. To learn from the client (the team) about their talent and potential. Especially to learn about the potential that the client is unaware of or is unable to access.

2. To hold for the client their best strengths.

3. To bring fresh perspective, a new question and a new way of looking at the problem.

4. To believe in the client’s capacity to grow, transform and evolve.

5. To help create ‘zero gravity’ inquiry and open ended exploration.

6. To promote an innovative process.

7. To intuit the next steps. Open the next door.

8. To bring a total urgency for the client to take the next step and, at the same time, contain it with absolute patience and detachment from outcome. (Only the very impatient can understand the power of patience).

9. To frame the question, the challenge, in the pursuit of which the client can discover their next brilliance.

10. To be fully present and engaged in your own growth while helping the client grow.

11. To remove blockages.

12. To follow the energy as it leads to the next breakthrough.

13. To help ‘channel’ the collective intelligence available in the room.

14. To stay intact, impartial, and unattached.

15. To delight in the clients success.

© Aviv Shahar

Great Coaching Is Asking Great Questions

“Great coaching is asking great questions,” I said to Carol. Carol did not hesitate but immediately replied with a good question: “How do you learn to ask good questions?”

Here is my reply to Carol:

1. Get interested. Really interested.
2. Write down the questions. Don’t just hold them in your thoughts; frame them in writing.
3. Start a little book of questions, to capture and catalogue questions as they happen.
4. Become fascinated by how things work and by finding ways to improve the situations around you, focus on seeing how things work rather than ‘being right’, or having readymade answers.
5. Move from ‘How’ to ‘What’ and ‘Why’ questions.
6. Practice looking at an object, or a word, and asking five questions about it.
7. Look at the people around you – replace and reframe opinions and ‘likes and dislikes’ to questions. Let yourself wonder what moves them; why they do what they do.
8. Next time someone says something and you immediately are tempted to just respond with your view, ask instead: ‘what makes you think like this?’; ‘what makes you feel like this?’
9. Listen to what you say and ask: ‘why did I say this?’ Practice asking questions instead of making points.
10. Write down 100 questions. You can create the questions in categories. Here are a few to get you going in the practice of asking questions. After you practice asking questions for a while, you will discover some great questions can lead to great coaching.

A. Self-awareness questions:
– What energizes you? What gets you going?
– What are the three biggest stressors in your life?

B. Questions about hopes and aspirations
– If you knew you could not fail, what would you begin to do today?

C. Questions about money:
– What are your basic beliefs about money?
– How are these beliefs shaping your relationship with money?

D. Questions about relationships:
– What are the most important things you are looking for in relationships?
– What does the map of your social network look like (are there a few major patterns)?

E. Questions about the future
F. Questions about achieving results
G. Questions about fears and worries
H. Questions about personal development and growth
I. Questions about leadership
J. Questions about health and well being
K. Questions about the learning process
L. Questions about great people and leaders in history
M. Questions about happiness and joy
N. Questions about habits and about psychology
O. Questions about how the economy works
P. Question about innovation
Q. Questions about trust and influencing
R. Questions about success and failure
S. Questions about coaching and mentoring
T. Questions about process engineering
U. Questions about purpose
V. Questions about destiny
W. Questions about resolving conflicts
X. Questions about human virtues
Y. Questions about forgiveness
Z. Questions about current world affairs

© Aviv Shahar

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