What’s your gut telling you™

…about your career, health and relationships?

We make dozens of decisions every single day. Fortunately, many of these don’t require a lot of thought – hmmm…blue shirt or brown shirt? We can comfortably live with either choice. However, when it comes to the bigger decisions surrounding career, family, romance, health and finances we want to be sure these choices align with our passion, mind and soul. We know what is best for us…. our gut knows what is best for us! We need to learn how to pay more attention to our gut and trust that it will help guide us in the right direction.

I am not the first one to advise you to ‘trust’ your gut’ or ‘trust your intuition’. Many successful, well-respected business people, athletes, film-makers, doctors, writers, inventors etc., advocate listening to your gut for brilliant insight, clarity of thought and focus.

If you ask any athlete competing at the 2012 Olympics, if their parents and/or coach had ever advised them during training and competition to ‘trust their gut’, they most certainly would all answer yes… and often!  The confidence to perform at a world-class level is not just the result of years of disciplined preparation but a sense of ‘knowing’ what is best and how far to push the envelope. Take Ryan Lochte, for example, who won the USA’s first gold medal of the Games in the 400 meter individual medley – an event in which Michael Phelps, the two-time defending Olympic champion came in fourth. In an interview following his win, Lochte stated, “I have said this before, this is my year. I know it and I feel it …I feel it inside my gut. This is my year.”

An Olympian athlete’s tremendous physical conditioning, mental stamina, passion and innate wisdom make it possible for him/her to score personal best records and win medals. The sense of ‘knowing’ they can achieve greatness comes from their gut! Good luck to all of the athletes and especially our Canadian Olympians.

Written by Rebecca D. Heaslip – President of Leadership Insight Inc.
© Copyright Leadership Insight Inc. August 2012

trust your brain…trust your heart…TRUST YOUR GUT!

Successful people from all professions attribute much of their success to trusting their gut when faced with critical decisions in their personal and professional lives. Richard Branson CEO of Virgin Group is quoted in a Success Magazine article as saying, “I do a lot by gut feeling and a lot by personal experience. I mean if I had relied on accountants to make decisions, I most certainly would never have gone into the airline business. I most certainly would not have gone into the space business, and I most certainly would not have gone into most of the businesses that I’m in.”  And that would have been our loss!

All people are intuitive to different degrees and the manner in which people access their intuition for decision-making varies from individual to individual.

Daniel Goleman states in Primal Leadership, a book that he co-authored, “Intuition is the essential leadership ability to apply not just technical expertise but also life wisdom in making business decisions.” Some people do the research first, analyze all of the options and then rely on their intuition to help point them in the direction of the best course of action. Not the case with Albert Einstein. He said, “I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.” It was more like a flash of brilliant insight. Some researchers and thought leaders believe this immediate knowledge, otherwise known as gut instinct, is actually a combination of pattern recognition (referred to as ‘thin slicing’ in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink) and accumulated wisdom stored in our unconscious mind. This inner wisdom is brought to the conscious level in a split second when you need it.

The psychologist Carl Jung saw intuition as “a way of comprehending perceptions in terms of possibilities, past experiences, future goals and unconscious processes”. Many people seek creative inspiration for decisions through meditation, solitary time and stillness to help them ‘see’ possibilities. Many achieve clarity through their dreams.  Ideas that surface and resonate on a gut level using these techniques are given further consideration and analysis.  Intuition to these folks, is a process of coming up with the right answer and then using analysis to prove what they ‘know’ to be true.

Some believe that intuition resides in the heart and that gut instinct cannot be fully explained through cognitive/neurological processes. They maintain that a compassionate and open heart is necessary to receive the gifts of intuition.  This theory implies the presence of a higher power. It is the soul or spirit that intervenes, guided by universal energy. They believe that insights surface when we open up our hearts to receive answers that align with our needs and wishes. There is a caveat … an overabundance of empathy for others and wishful thinking can cloud your intuitive wisdom. Most researchers concur that no matter which approach you take to access your intuition, stress, fear and fatigue (some also suggest alcohol and drugs) can diminish your ability to pick up these essential messages.

Branson is one of the richest and most successful people on the planet (universe?). Some of his best achievements resulted from acting on a hunch. It’s hard to argue against using intuition for decision-making given his track record of success.

Regardless of which approach you use to access your inner wisdom, do not ignore those gentle nudges or the big elephant in the room. This is your gut speaking to you, hoping you will take notice.

Written by Rebecca D. Heaslip – President of Leadership Insight Inc.
© Copyright Leadership Insight Inc. July 2012

Why do staff members ignore solid advice?

Managers often lament that staff members do not take them up on their suggestions. So recently I ran a poll that asked the question ‘why do you think some staff members ignore solid advice? ‘

The poll presented four possible answers:

  1. They lack initiative and motivation.
  2. They self-sabotage and thrive on drama.
  3. They view the well-meaning advice as an edict or order.
  4. They want the reward of coming up with their own solutions.

Of course the question begs another question “what is ‘solid’ advice and how does a person know it is ‘solid’?” Is it because the person giving the advice is a solid person – someone you respect? Is the advice based on logic, rationality, facts or common sense? One third, or 30% of respondents believe that staff see the advice as an edict or order, not well-meaning advice, while 23% believe staff either lack initiative and motivation and 13% believe they self-sabotage and thrive on drama. The balance of 34%, give staff members the benefit of the doubt – they assert that people want the reward of coming up with their own solutions. Managers should take note not to offer advice too quickly – it is always better to support your staff member by asking quality probing questions to help them discover all the available choices and to form their own solution. They are more likely to commit to a course of action they have created as there is a stronger emotional connection and sense of ownership.

The diversity of perspectives in answer to the question ‘why do staff ignore ‘solid advice’’ suggests there are multiple reasons, many more than I listed. This was quite evident in the comments posted by colleagues on LinkedIn. (Thank you for these insights!) Many suggested that staff will not act on well-meaning advice if they don’t trust or respect their manager or if the manager micro-manages them. If your staff is not reacting positively to your advice and suggestions, you may need to re-establish a bond of trust. And that is the best advice I can give you! :O)

Written by Rebecca D. Heaslip – President of Leadership Insight Inc.
© Copyright Leadership Insight Inc.

the Confident Coach™ Train-the-Trainer Program

Have a Passion for Coaching & Training Managers?

Do you believe that people want to learn, grow and contribute . . .And that organizations want to grow their bottom line?

Do you also believe that when managers regularly coach their staff, engagement soars?

Achieve certification in the Confident Coach™ 2 day coaching skills program, to coach managers how to coach and inspire their teams.

Register for the 2 ½ day Train-the-Trainer Certification Program June 5th, 6th all day and June 13th, morning only in Oakville, Ontario for a reduced fee of $1895 (regularly $2495) and obtain the license to market and deliver the 2 day Confident Coach™ Program to organizations.

You will receive:

  • Interactive, in-class training; limited class size.
  • Electronic PowerPoint presentation of the Confident Coach™.
  • 100 page Leader Guide with comprehensive resource tool-kit
  • Opportunities to customize learner content and co-brand marketing materials.


Want to register or learn more?

Contact Rebecca Heaslip – President of Leadership Insight;
Email: rheaslip@leadership-insight.com 
Toll Free: 1-888-878-5913 
Submit an inquiry on our website. Click here.    

 Make an impact – make a connection today!

How to Get Short-term Buy-in and Long-term Support for 360-degree Feedback Surveys!

Many organizations use 360-degree feedback surveys to assess an employee’s performance and potential talent as viewed by their colleagues, direct reports and manager. Executive coaches and consultants also use 360 surveys, in addition to many other tools, to help clients gain self-awareness and broader perspective on areas for development and current strengths.

A 360 survey can offer valuable insight into an employee’s talents and contributions, yet some organizations are reluctant to introduce it. A poorly designed and executed 360 survey can create a negative impression with staff that could last for years. So, it is important to take the time to do it right, right from the beginning. If you implement the following best practices, you will gain short term buy-in and long-term support for this effective assessment tool. And experience less stress as a result!

Key elements of a successful 360 survey initiative:

  1. A culture of trust exists in the organization – a prerequisite before introducing 360 surveys.
  2. 360 surveys are first introduced for development purposes. Once employees endorse the tool, 360’s can then be used for assessing performance.
  3. Management explains the context for using this assessment and how the program aligns with the organization’s talent strategies.
  4. There is clear, open and regular communication with participants of a 360 survey especially with regard to sharing of results and next steps.
  5. The survey is customized and the questions are clear, unambiguous and align with the individual’s role and responsibilities.
  6. The survey questions are reviewed by a cross-section of management and staff to test for any ambiguity or bias.
  7. Raters of the survey participants have worked with or for the individual for at least 4 months, preferably 6 months or longer.
  8. Raters are given sufficient time to complete the surveys (consider that some raters may have multiple surveys to complete).
  9. A password protected, online survey system ensures anonymity – an experienced third party consultant also provides an added level of objectivity.
  10. Survey subjects are given assistance to interpret their results and implement changes into their work practices. External consultants and coaches can be contracted to debrief results and provide ongoing support.

When 360 surveys are carried out in a professional, systematic manner from start to finish, they yield valuable insight for the individual and a significant return on investment for the organization.

If, previously, you were skeptical about introducing 360-degree feedback surveys into your organization, I hope this article has changed your mind 180 degrees!

Written by Rebecca D. Heaslip – President of Leadership Insight Inc.
© Copyright Leadership Insight Inc.

Top Coaching Tips – Facilitating Sustainable Behaviour Change (Part 3)

  1. Celebrate goal achievement; reward and recognize success promptly. This doesn’t have to be elaborate – sometimes a simple thank you and acknowledgement in front of their peers will suffice. People understand that budgets are tight and so don’t expect a big fuss.
  2. Help your employee set achievable goals – don’t set them up for failure by setting the goal too high. Crunch the goal down into manageable bites. Check in with them regularly to offer support or suggest a possible course correction.
  3. Give employees room to grow, take risks and make mistakes. Provide additional learning opportunities and resources for development where possible. Don’t micro manage yet don’t let them make bad, career-shortening decisions.
  4. Hold employees accountable for agreed-to goals and actions. They will respect you for it. Remind them that high personal accountability is one of the hallmark traits of top leaders throughout the business world.
  5. Act as their internal advocate for their development and personal growth. Help them to navigate obstacles, advocate on their behalf and champion their ideas to higher-ups. And as the economy improves, implement their ideas and reward appropriately.

Click here for information on the Confident Coach™ our coaching skills workshop for Managers.

Written by Rebecca D. Heaslip – President of Leadership Insight Inc.
© Copyright Leadership Insight Inc.

Top Coaching Tips for Managers – Effective Communication © (Part 2)

How to Keep Employees Engaged.

This is our second article in our 3 part series, Top Coaching Tips for Managers.

Our first article outlined the Top 5 Tips for Building a Trusting Relationship. This article will be of interest to managers who believe that superior communication skills are integral to effectively engaging and motivating staff.

Poor communication is often ranked in employee satisfaction surveys as the number one issue employees have with management. Savvy managers are addressing this gap by increasing the quality and frequency of conversations with staff that focus on their career aspirations and development goals… not just their performance. As the economy improves, all managers will need to become more connected with their staff or they’ll risk losing top talent.

Here are the Top 5 Tips for Effective Communication:

  1. Communicate using a conversational style, as opposed to a directive style, creating a relaxed mood, free of tension. Balance formal structured coaching sessions with casual, “speed” coaching, also referred to as ‘just­in-time’ coaching.
  2. Ask open-ended questions then stop talking and allow time for your staff member to reflect and respond. When delivering critical feedback, begin and end with a positive comment. More than ever, team members need to hear what they are doing right!
  3. Listen with your eyes, ears and heart. Stay open and non-judgmental. This is difficult since we see the world through our own lens and may find it difficult to see things from another person’s point of view. Also, make a concerted effort to clear your mind of clutter before meeting with staff, which enables you to listen with true understanding.
  4. Provide regular, frequent feedback, recognition and praise. Immediate feedback is preferable as it has the greatest impact on behaviour. If you postpone giving feedback, you may forget the nuance of what you observed and wanted to convey.
  5. Avoid bundling grievances. Deal with issues as they arise, one at a time. ‘Less is more’ when it comes to delivering critical feedback. And don’t sweat the small stuff. Granted, it’s not all small stuff – just use common sense on this one.

Click here for information on the Confident Coach TM, a leading-edge coaching skills workshop for Managers.