Tuesday, April 29, 2014

5 Ways to Show Empathy as a Leader

This post first appeared on SmartBlog on Leadership:

Empathy among corporate managers is in short supply, according to a survey of more than 600 employees by talent mobility consulting firm Lee Hecht Harrison. The survey found that 58% of managers fail to show the right level of understanding toward their employees.

“Empathy isn’t a weakness, but fundamental to good management,” said Kristen Leverone, Senior Vice President for Lee Hecht Harrison’s Global Talent Development Practice. “It means being able to understand and relate to others’ feelings. After all, if a supervisor or manager can’t tune into the feelings of employees, it’s going to be very difficult to motivate or engage them. The survey seems to have struck a chord, and the findings should raise concerns for management.”

What is empathy? It’s an understanding of someone else’s world, and showing the person that you understand.

Empathy is not agreement – and it’s not sympathy (“oh, you poor thing”) – it’s simply understanding something from the other’s person’s perspective.

So how can you be a more empathetic leader? Here are 5 ways:

1. Get to know your employees.

How well do you really know your employees? Try this test: take out a piece of paper, and for each employee, see if you can name their spouse or significant other, names of their kids, where they live, where they went to college, and where their parents live.

If you came up with a lot of blanks, I’d recommend spending a little more time in your one-on-ones asking and sharing before you jump right into status reports. It’s how relationships and trust are built, and demonstrates that you are interested and care.

2. One-on-ones?

You are having regular one-one-ones with each of your employees aren’t you?  If you’re not, it’s kinda hard to be empathetic if you don’t have a clue what your employees are doing.

3. Show interest in your employee’s day-to-day work.

A lot of managers like to think of themselves as big picture managers, with little interest in knowing the gory details of every aspect of their employee’s jobs. While no employee wants to be micro-managed, employees do appreciate it when their managers show an interest and appreciation for what they do. Who knows, you might even learn something.

4. Listen – and respond with empathy.

Responding with empathy means letting your employee know you heard and understood both what they said, as well as how they feel. It’s harder than it sounds, and will take some practice, but people will appreciate even the clumsiest of efforts.

Example: “So Jane, let me see if I understand – you’ve been frustrated at the lack of support that you are getting from IT? Is that is?”

Listening not only shows people you care, and that you “get it”, it also often allows people to solve their own problems, just from being able to talk it out with someone.

5. Lend a hand.

Lending a hand, removing roadblocks, providing support and/or resources – that’s what managers are supposed to do, right? When someone is having a problem, they are stuck, or just can’t figure it out on their own; “Figure it out, that’s what you’re paid to do” isn’t very empathetic. You may not come right and say that, but you may be coming across that way.

I had the opportunity to listen to a CEO talk about his company culture at a presentation lately. He took a lot of pride in making sure he knew every employee’s name (about 300 employees), and liked to wander around chatting with each of them, asking about their jobs, their families, etc…

During one of these chats, one of his plant managers let him know that his son had been recently arrested – he made a stupid mistake. Needless to say, this was weighing heavily on the manager’s mind. The CEO asked him if he had an attorney – and he didn’t. That day, the CEO found an attorney for him and paid for it. Turns out the CEO had a similar experience with his own son.

While this may be an extreme example of empathy and lending a hand, can you imagine the impact that gesture had on that plant manager’s commitment to his company and his motivation? Priceless.

Monday, April 28, 2014

About.com has a new Management expert!

I've recently started writing for About.com as their new Management "Guide" or expert.

You may not have heard of About.com, but if you use the internet, you've landed on their pages when searching for information on how to do just about anything. About.com is one of the most visited sites in the US, with over 90 million unique visitors a month.

I'll still be maintaining Great Leadership, with two posts per week, including a guest post. I'll also use this blog and my Twitter account to promote my new articles on About.

Here's a new article that I just posted at About that you may like:

The Top 10 Performance Appraisal Blunders a Manager can Make.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

How to Convince Your Boss You’re Ready For a Promotion

Guest post from Karin Hurt:

You think you’re ready to be promoted. Your boss… not so much. Perhaps she’s known you for years and she still has an outdated view of your professional maturity and competencies. Or, maybe there’s a style difference that’s getting in the way of her seeing your true capabilities. Or, let’s face it, you might not be ready.

Getting ticked off will only make matters worse.   Here’s a proven model for approaching the “do you think I’m ready” conversation.
Share what you’re feeling and why.   Work to understand her point of view.  It’s likely that your current performance is a factor.  Understand what you’re doing well in your current job from her perspective, as well as where things are breaking down.  Resist the urge to talk about “promises” made by other leaders, or your expectations based on those discussions.
Ask for additional ways to engage in the business.  Would she be willing to let you shadow her for a day?  Be sure to emphasize that you want the “real deal.”  If there’s a late-night fire drill, you want to be included.  Ensure you understand what the next level is really all about.
I’ve had folks decide for themselves they weren’t ready after a day of shadowing.
Ask if she thinks it would be appropriate to meet with her peers or her boss to get additional feedback.  Be prepared with specific questions.
Listen carefully to all that feedback and suggest a few developmental options to grow in these areas.  Ask for other specific ideas to include.  Be sure to place time frames around them and follow up upon completion.
Be patient.  Becoming overly aggressive will backfire.  Also take your development seriously but don’t let it overwhelm you or others.   Beware of developmental deluge.
Your turn.
What tips do you have for folks facing the “I think I’m ready conversation?
Author bio:
Karin Hurt is an experienced executive, speaker and writer, and CEO of Let's Grow Leaders.  Karin is the author of "Overcoming an Imperfect Boss," available on Amazon. Connect with her on Twitter: @letsgrowleaders.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

You Can be a Tough Leader and not be an S.O.B.

Have you ever heard this said about a manager:

"Well, he gets results, but leaves a trail of bodies in his wake"

The thing that drives me crazy is way too many organizations (and people) accept this as OK.

You know, you can get results and treat people with respect - the two are not mutually exclusive!

Here's another Great Leadership 2x2 model to sum up the relationship between results and respect as they apply to leadership:

The great leaders are visionary and set extraordinary goals for themselves and others. They can be demanding, have high expectations, and push their teams to their upper limits. But they do it in a way that a way that makes people feel valued; that their ideas and work matters, and enables people to achieve more than they thought was possible.

And in the long run, they outperform the SOBs every time!

I've heard people describe these kind of leaders like this:

"You know, she was tough as nails and demanding, and I don't think I've ever worked as hard. But she was fair, recognized my good work, and I learned a lot!"

You can get great results - and not have people do a happy dance after you're gone.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Add a Little Hoopla to Your Culture

Guest post from Dean M. Schroeder:

Carl Holte loves Hoopla! Not hoopla as in the form of exuberant celebration, but hoopla as in the name of an improvement technique used at the Web Industries Hartford, Connecticut unit where Carl is the plant manager.

Hoopla is a simple, quick improvement technique that is used at the end of every meeting or event. Participants are asked three questions:

1)     What Went Well

2)     What Didn’t Go Well

3)     What Should We Do Differently

The rules for participants are simple:

        All feedback makes it on the list as stated

        Keep feedback short and concise

        No debating anyone else's feedback

        Everyone has a voice

        Be open and honest

Lists of the responses to the three questions are created, logged, and reviewed by the appropriate people. Improvement actions are decided upon and assigned. The process has proven to be an excellent source of employee improvement ideas. Because its application is so pervasive, Hoopla has helped to foster a candid environment of improvement as an integral part of Web Hartfort’s culture.

Hoopla is also used as a way to quickly get input on the performance of various processes throughout the operation. For example, about once a year, everyone in the facility is asked the three hoopla questions about the employee idea system. In this way, employee ideas are used as a way to improve the system for getting employee ideas.

Carl Holte also hates Hoopla. “Our people have gotten so skilled at Hoopla, that it seems no matter how good a meeting or event has gone, we walk away with a list of improvements we can make.” Then Carl grinned and added, “It seems like the better we get, the more improvement opportunities we see.”

About the Authors:

Alan G. Robinson and Dean M. Schroeder are award-winning authors, consultants, and educators. They are the co-authors of the bestseller Ideas Are Free: How the Idea Revolution is Liberating People and Transforming Organizations. Between them, they have advised hundreds of organizations in more than twenty-five countries around the world on how to improve their creativity, innovativeness and overall performance. Their first book, Ideas Are Free, was voted the Reader’s Choice by Fast Company magazine and selected as one of the 30 best business books of the year by Soundview Executive Books. On March 31, 2014, Robinson and Schroeder will release their second book together, The Idea-Driven Organization (available on Amazon). Follow them on Twitter – @alangrobinson and @deanmschroeder and visit their website – idea-driven.com.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Repurposing the Performance Conversation

Guest post by Great Leadership monthly contributor Beth Armknecht Miller:

When was the last time you had a performance conversation that went well? Or better yet, when was the last time you enjoyed having a performance conversation? Let’s face it; both parties of the conversation generally dread performance conversations, more commonly known as performance reviews.
So, why not have a different conversation? How about shifting the conversation to focus on the future and how a person can improve through personal and professional development? The conversation you should be having is the development conversation. These conversations are about supporting and empowering your team members, which will allow them to take ownership for their own personal development.

An Effective Development Conversation

To make the transition to a development conversation, you first need to think incrementally.  The conversation should be ongoing and not an event. As a leader, the conversation needs to be part of your monthly 1-1 meetings with your employees, as I discuss in Chapter 2 of “Are You Talent Obsessed?”.

For these frequent, planned discussions to be effective, leaders need to include four critical components to the conversation.

1.     The Formal Development Plan

2.     Plan progress

3.     Potential Roadblocks, Adjustments

4.     Recommitment

This monthly conversation is the formal conversation. But remember that informal conversations are just as important.  When leaders embrace the technique of coaching in the moment, they are building a culture of performance development.

1.            The Formal Development Plan
Before the conversation about an employee’s development begins there needs to be a plan. The plan is developed jointly between the leader and employee so that the employee has ownership for executing the plan and leader can provide the necessary resources to smooth the way for success.

The plan should include how an employee’s development goals are linked to the company goals, what type of development and resources will be needed, and the outcomes expected from the training. Creating a three year plan versus the traditional 12 month development plan will demonstrate to employees that the company is making a long-term commitment to their development, which can influence how employees view their relationship with their employer.

2.               Plan Progress
Once the plan has been developed then the conversation moves to the measurement of progress. The progress conversation should include questions similar to the following:

·       What was learned during the development/training activity by the employee since last month

·       What changes has the employee implemented,

·       What is working and what isn’t working for the employee

·       Who can the employee share her new knowledge with that can help to develop another employee

·       What have you as a leader learned from the process

3.            Potential Roadblocks
Identifying potential roadblocks requires both the employee and leader to look ahead towards the future and identify any changes to the employee’s workload, such as a recent project that has been identified and assigned to the employee.

Will the changes impact the progress of the development plan? Are there other options that can be used to provide the necessary development that will help the development process to continue uninterrupted? This could require a shift in how the development is delivered.  It may be that originally the employee was going to attend some classroom training but with a new project attendance may be impacted.  Are there other options that are more flexible, such as online webinars?

Both the leader and employee need to come to an agreement on how the development will be adjusted which then leads into the fourth step, recommitment of resources.

4.               Recommitment
As a leader, the critical role you play is developing the next level of leadership so your organization can be a sustainable and thriving company. And the one area that is solely the responsibility of you as a leader in the development process is the commitment to removing barriers and providing the necessary resources for employees to develop to their full potential.

This last step of recommitment is your responsibility, as well as the employee’s. It is you who needs to recommit the necessary resources for the employee to continue to develop. And it is the employee’s responsibility to take ownership for his progress once the resources are provided.

With a good development plan and frequent development conversations, you and your employees can focus on the future and not the problems of the past. The ongoing conversations will be anticipated and not dreaded. Committing today to repurposing your performance review into a series of development conversations, will lay the foundation for a less stressful and more productive future.

Beth Armknecht Miller is CEO of Executive Velocity, a top talent and leadership development advisory firm. Beth is a trusted executive advisor, Vistage Chair, and committed volunteer. She is a graduate of Babson College and Harvard Business School’s OPM program. She is certified in Myers Briggs, Hogan, and Business DNA, and she is a Certified Managerial Coach. Her latest book, “Are You Talent Obsessed?: Unlocking the secrets to a workplace team of raving high-performers is available on Amazon. To learn more about Beth visit BethArmknechtMiller.com or Executive-Velocity.com.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

30 Thoughts We All Have in Staff Meetings:

Right before the meeting:
1. Arrgh, I’m supposed to be at a meeting in 10 minutes. What the heck is it for, who’s running it, and where is it?

2. Oh no, it's the dreaded staff meeting! I’d better take a look at the agenda and make sure I wasn’t supposed do anything to prepare.
3. Dang – we’re supposed to do status updates. No problem, I’ve got 8 more minutes.

4. I hope there are donuts. Last time there was nothing but bran muffins and fruit. I hate this new wellness stuff. I really miss donuts. Chocolate cover glazed Krispy Creams.
5. I wonder if I can find a box of Krispy Kremes? Are they still in business? I’ll Google it...
6. Oops, now I’m running late. I’ll make up some status on the way there. Hopefully I won’t get called to go first.

During the meeting:
7. Slid in just in time! Better to be right on the dot. Too early means you’ve got too much time on your hands, and too late and you get last pick of the donuts.

8. Oh nooooo– fruit!!  And yogurt! Yuk.
9. OK, who do I sit next to…..

10. Not next to the boss, that’s for sure….
11. Ah, an open chair at the end next to Alex – grab it!

12. OK, I’ve got a few minutes to make up some impressive sounding status…..
13. ….and check my emails….and Buzzfeed….ah, gotta send this one over to Alex 

14. Oh oh, the boss just said something and everyone’s laughing…. I’d better join in.
15. Suck-ups. not. at. all. funny.

16. Hey, incoming, new emails…..and a text from Alex.
17. All right, time to think up a few status updates….they have to be impressive, but not too braggy…. Damn, it’s hard to do this and fake like I’m listening to these other updates at the same time!

18. Oh oh, looks like Dave’s going down in flames! Waaay too much detail, and never, ever admit you’re having a problem!
Pull up, Dave, pull up! Oh no, crash and burn, it’s so hard to watch!
Later in the meeting.....
19. Whoa, backwards freefall! Did I just nod off?

20. Oh oh, they’re all looking at me. Someone must have asked me a question. Fight or flight?! Stall! “I’m not sure I understand the question…what is it that you’re looking for exactly?”
21. Whew, a narrow escape. Boo-ya!

22. And, just in time for my status updates….. here goes nothing, let ‘er rip!
23. So far so good – lot’s of head nods, boss seems interested, in a zone, feeling the flow….

24. OMG, what did I just say? Did that come across as stupid as I think it did? What a dork! Never mind, quick, on to the next update, don’t pause, go, go, go…..
25. Whew. Nailed it. No questions. Left ‘em dazed and confused. Or bored to tears. In any case, on to the next victim - turn quickly and over to you Alex!

26. Whoa, I hope no one just heard my stomach growl! Damn, I’d kill for a donut right now.
27. OK, the end is near and the boss is droning on, time for some nodding, assiduous and ostentatious note-taking, occasional exclamations and eye contact with others.. and a snarky text to Dave.

28. 2 minutes to go, we are nearing the finish line, victory lap, and I don’t have a single action item! Poor Dave – he just got appointed chair of a task force.
29. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….. and the meeting is o-vah! Freedom! Let my people go!

30. OK, time for a little obligatory post meeting hob-nobbing (avoid eye contact with Dave, he's looking for task force volunteers), and then I’m off in search of a box chocolaty-glazed heaven!

For a more serious look at how to have better staff meetings, see:
10 No Bull Tips on How to Lead a Team Meeting

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Obligation to Dissent

Guest post By Jeremy Eden and Terri Long: 

When corporate leaders make decisions about a new idea, something we call “executive exuberance” often plays a deceptive role.  Here is what happens: analyses start to show that deciding to go forward will produce good benefits at reasonable costs and risk.  Though the leader has some issues they want further analyzed, they begin to express some enthusiasm for the idea. Those reading the tea leaves see that the top of the house is leaning toward a yes.  Suddenly, everyone starts to see the data supporting the ideas with a bit more of a rosy glow while the data about the costs and risk begin to be minimized.  Sometimes this is just a case of politically pandering to the powerful.  But far more often, this phenomenon happens subconsciously.  When we want something to be true, the evidence that supports our desire shines brightly at us.  At the same time, we ignore or find justification why the evidence against us is irrelevant.  So as executives start to lean toward a “yes”, they and their teams put on rose-colored glasses and voila, initial skepticism turns into enthusiasm which turns into “executive exuberance”. That exuberance then drives the decision instead of cold, hard facts.  
Companies are full of smart people with strong opinions based on their knowledge and experience.  Some will gloat that “I knew that was a stupid decision” when a project fails but won’t say it before the decision is made when it really counts. Tapping into as much brainpower as possible before a decision is made is crucial to success.  The best antidote to “executive exuberance” is also the best way to tap more of your corporate brainpower.  Leaders must institutionalize the “obligation to dissent”: a duty to voice fact-based objections to a path that others are supporting. 

But declaring that you are obligating your employees to dissent will not make it happen!  Leaders have a special obligation all their own: to provide the kind of environment that encourages dissent. This presents a big challenge to many executives.   You may read that last sentence and think that executives merely have big egos and don’t want to be told that they are wrong.  In fact, most of us are simply wired to avoid conflict, not to open the door and invite it in.  So executives, not just their employees are working to avoid conflict.  Then throw in “executive exuberance”, the hierarchies and politics present in most corporations coupled with the poor job climate, and what you get is beyond mere conflict avoidance, it is “survival of the silent” mode. 
Executives, therefore, need to go overboard in inviting dissent.

For big decisions, a debate team environment is perfect.  Leaders should assign a team of people they respect to argue against the decision to approve the new idea.  Their goal as a team is to win the debate.  This turns a fear of dissenting into a fear of failing the assignment if they can’t find the best reasons for dissenting!  Even if the debate just confirms the wisdom of approving the idea, it will still be valuable in highlighting potential weaknesses that can potentially be addressed before implementation rather than discovered after implementation.
For the lesser, everyday decisions, executives need to foster a culture that embraces an obligation to dissent.  Get employees accustomed to a culture of dissent by starting with the interview.  Ask your potential candidates for examples of when they have voiced a dissenting opinion.  Make it clear that you value that quality in your employees.  If you use a mission statement or other document to discuss the principles you want your organization to have, make sure an obligation to dissent is prominent in that document.  At staff meetings, when you are discussing an idea, ask each member of the team – even the most junior -- to imagine the most likely reason that an idea will fail.  This question allows a safe form of dissenting as when asked in this way, it will seem silly to say that there is literally no reason or circumstance that could cause an idea to fail. 

Be especially on the lookout for those who sit quietly in a meeting and then come to you for a private meeting afterward to voice their disagreement with a decision.   Allowing employees to dissent in private exacerbates the culture of “survival of the silent”.  It also is extremely inefficient as you then need to get the right players together to discuss again a decision you thought was already made.
Most importantly, all your good intentions of asking for dissenting opinions will be lost if you ”shoot the messenger”  when someone does dissent.  Make sure that as a leader in your organization, you embrace conflict by reacting positively to the concerns presented by the dissenter.  This does not mean, of course, that the dissenter always “wins”.  The “obligation to dissent” is about sharing important facts, not just opinions - as best summed up in the mantra “everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts” (thank you Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan!).  Ensuring that everyone is using the same, correct, set of facts, whether they are weighing in with a yay or nay will help you drive sound decisions.

Lastly, if you do get wind of a team member saying “I knew that was a stupid decision”, tell them that they had an obligation to dissent at the time.  The ultimate consequence for those who do not fulfill their obligation? They are off the team.  You need everyone to fulfill the “obligation to dissent” to reach the highest levels of success.

Jeremy Eden and Terri Long are the authors of Low-Hanging Fruit: 77 Eye-Opening Ways to Improve Productivity and Profits and co-CEOs of Harvest Earnings, an advisory services firm that helps companies to engage their employees in growing earnings and improving the customer experience. They have helped companies like PNC Financial, H.J. Heinz, and Manpower to reduce costs and increase revenues by millions of dollars. Jeremy has decades of consulting and performance improvement experience in business including at McKinsey & Co. Terri was in the corporate banking world for eighteen years before joining Jeremy over a decade ago. They are based in Chicago.

Monday, April 7, 2014

17 Ways to Teach Managers how to Coach

Welcome to the April 2014 edition of the Leadership Development Carnival!
For this month’s Carnival, I asked our community of leadership development experts the following question:

Wouldn't it be great if we could teach managers how to coach? What one book, website, or other resource would you recommend to a busy yet motivated manager who wants to learn how to be a better coach?”
The following is a collection of their responses. Bookmark it, print it, and share it with others. Pick one resource that you didn’t know about and review it yourself. We can all learn something new when it comes to the art and science of coaching.

Thank-you to all that contributed to this list! Please take a moment to visit their blogs, as they are all outstanding writers and should be a part of your regular leadership development reading.

The list is not ranked – they are in order of submission, first to last:

1. “The book I recommend for leaders on the art and science of coaching is The Coaching Manager by Hunt and Weintraub”, writes Beth Armknecht Miller, CEO of Executive Velocity,  “This book provides a great process for leaders who want to become effective coaches in their organizations with real world examples and should be a “go to” guide for all leaders.”
2. S. Chris Edmonds, from Driving Results Through Culture  recommends his March ’12 blog post titled, “Coaching - Not Conversion,” because “holding others accountable requires a series of coaching conversations to set the context for the desired behavior and gain commitment from that player to change their behavior. One discussion typically won’t convert people to desired ways - it takes coaching.”

3. Jim Taggart of ChangingWinds offers up a dynamite book on mentoring: “Of all the books I’ve read on coaching and mentoring over the years, the one that stands out for me is Chip Bell’s Managers asMentors: Building Partnerships for Learning. Dating back to 1996 when it was first published (with subsequent updates) Bell’s book, while practical, also has a philosophical underpinning. Bell uses his SAGE concept to explain the importance of learning how to effectively mentor. In essence, the mentor is a sage, one who helps guide and teach another individual. As Bell states in the opening section: “This book is about power-free facilitation of learning.”
 4. Tanmay Vora from QAspire recommends this interview with Marshall Goldsmith and Chip R. Bell on the art of effective mentoring. "I interviewed Marshall Goldsmith and Chip R. Bell on Topic: The Art of Effective Mentoring. Their interview is a fantastic resource for leaders to clarify the foundation of coaching and mentoring. Mentoring means starting where the protégé is, not where the mentor wants him or her to be."

5. Joan Kofodimos from Anyone Can Lead recommendations Biggest Coaching Mistakes Managers Make. “I find that managers have many misconceptions about what it means to coach. In addition to teaching managers "how to," we can also help by clarifying "how not to" coach.”
6. Michael VanDervort, from The Human Race Horses Blog recommends the Spiritual Workout website.  "It's an interesting website with some creative workplace ideas, and well worth checking out."

7. Jon Mertz, from Thin Difference, recommends the book Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why it Matters by Richard Rumelt. "Strategy development and execution are key elements in leadership and will inevitably arise in conversations with managers and other leaders. This book highlights what makes a good strategy work and what dooms a strategy."

8. Mary Jo Asmus recommends her own program: Aspire Collaborative Services has taught hundreds of individual and groups/teams of managers to coach others with a hands-on, real-world program taught by seasoned executive coaches called Coaching for Breakthrough Performance.
9. Tim Milburn, from Lifelong Leaders, recommends the book Coaching for Leadership, edited by Marshall Goldsmith, Laurence Lyons, & Sarah McArthur (3rd Edition). "It is a fantastic collection of articles by some of the best executive coaches out there. It helped me understand different coaching styles and best practices within this ever-expanding field of coaching."

10. Randy Conley, from Leading with Trust, recommends the website CoachWooden.com. “John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach at UCLA, was more than just a basketball coach. His coaching, teaching, and leadership principles can be applied to any leader, manager, or individual contributor seeking to achieve their maximum potential.”

11. Jim Concelman, from Development Dimensions International’s Talent Management intelligence just wrote an article on this topic titled,  The Problem You May Not Know You Have: Your Experienced Leaders Could Be Ineffective Coaches. In it he shares, “Experience can teach many things, but experience alone cannot teach leaders how to be good coaches. Learn what separates the "great" from the "mediocre."

12. Robyn McLeod, from The Thoughtful Leaders Blog, recommends the book, Power Questions, by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas. “This book offers insight to how asking the right questions can strengthen relationships, shift perspectives, and open the door to developing others. Questions are an essential part of any coach’s toolkit and a manager who can developing great asking skills is well-positioned to coach others.”

13. John Hunter from Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog suggests The Leader's Handbook by Peter Scholtes , “not due to specific advice on coaching but in order to gain insight into how to view the results of complex human systems without leaping to false conclusions.  Often I think coaching mistakes are made because we do things like select those to coach based on what we call "performance" but is really just random variation viewed through our desire to find patterns (and assign specific causes where they don't exist).  The book is what I would use to guide the coaching - using it as the textbook to improve their management and leadership knowledge and practice.”

14. Jill Malleck from Epiphany at Work recommends the book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg. “This book gives managers the tools to communicate more authentically and with both gentleness and directness. I especially like the pieces on observing without evaluation, identifying and expressing feelings (with a list of feeling words) and making direct requests.”

15. Anna Farmery from The Engaging Brand recommends the book Brief by Joe McCormack. "I read many books for The Engaging Brand podcast and therefore to choose only one is extremely difficult. I have chosen Brief because of the essence of the message - brevity can be so much more powerful for leaders".

16. Wally Bock from Three Star Leadership recommends the post Coaching and the 21st Century Leader. “Helping team members grow and develop will become a more and more important part of your job. Whether you call that mentoring or coaching, there are skills to learn and practice.”

17. Dan McCarthy, from Great Leadership, recommends the book Effective Coaching by Myles Downey. "While I've read a lot of books on coaching, this one is the one that I've used the most. It's straightforward, practical, and loaded with tips and tools".

Do you have a favorite coaching resource that's not on the list? Please add it as a comment.