Monday, December 29, 2008

Coach Colette Reflects on 2008, Plans for 2009

Earlier in the month, I asked you: "How will you make 2009 better than 2008?", and to reflect on your Highlights and Low(er) lights of 2008. It occurred to me that I hadn't ponied up and shared my own insights.

So, I've decided to rectify that today by sharing some of my highlights for 2008, and the areas I want to channel some energy into to make 2009 a fantastic year! Here you go:

  • Being selected as a national facilitator for Turning the Page on behalf of the Public Library Association, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - traveling the country, meeting lots of FUN librarians, working with a great group of dynamic facilitators and cool PLA staff
  • Leading two Stress Management sessions at the JI Group Good Life Festival & Retreat in St. Maarten - enough said!
  • Co-sponsoring Get Canned! 2008 with Suzanne and the team from Milk & Honey Events - volunteering my coaching skills at a fun event to help job seekers and networkers who attended in the snow!
  • Having an InStep facilitator teach two more successful Public Speaking courses for OBT - watching the trainees speak from the heart at the Debate Days is always a great reminder of why our public sector clients need our support

Areas to focus on for 2009 (FYI, these are based on my results from taking the Competent Advantage TM Business Assessment [yes, Coach Colette does "walk the talk"]):

  • Creating an action-oriented plan to attract more revenues in 2009
  • Creating an action-oriented plan to market our services more effectively in 2009
  • Regularly requesting feedback from my peers, clients in 2009

On a personal note, I'm still working on the Passion Test. I must admit that what they say about the "cognitive dissonance" that's created by introducing new ideas to the brain is true [quoted from PT, introduced by neuroscientists Waldman & Newberg]. Of course, this all makes sense -- just re-wiring my brain to believe this is OK, LOL! :)

I'd still love to hear your insights and reflections on 2008, plans for 2009. Please post here or tweet me @Coach_Colette.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Youth Seize Opportunity for Better Tomorrow

Still photos can't even begin to capture the passion and compassion the OBT Youth Trainees exhibited today at their Debate Day held at the Brooklyn Marriott. The only way I truly could have captured their brilliance would have been to video-blog live from the event!

I know I say the same thing everytime -- they can't possibly surprise me more THIS time. And, yet, they always manage to throw in a curve ball of an unexpectedly compelling persuasive speech or a nifty argument in the mock trial.

A common theme in today's speeches was taking a stand on issues regardless of whether or not they personally affect you. If you had heard the conviction and passion being conveyed by the mock trial attorneys, you would have sworn that you were watching actors in an episode of Law & Order.

In congratulating the youth, OBT's executive director Randy Peers made a striking statement about the resilience of the trainees -- he said they don't focus on the obstacles they have to overcome, more so on the goals and dreams they seek to achieve.
I could talk about these "kids" for days -- and they're not even my kids! Just knowing that the InStep team has played a even small part in shaping their futures makes me very proud that we do what we do.
All my best to the OBT Trainees in 2009 and beyond! Regards, Coach Colette

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How Will You Make 2009 Better than 2008?

I've begun my period of year-end self reflection, and thought I'd share some thoughts and ask about your insights. Know Yourself is the first key component of the Competent Advantage model, as we know it's important to learn about the motivators, drives and values that inspire us and keep us going when the going gets tough.

Two external sources have been helpful for me on my self-reflection journey:

  1. I came across a great article on the E-Myth Blog that offers some questions to help Identify Your Primary Aim. The "A-HA!" moment for me was the suggestion to forget about my business and focus on what I really want in LIFE (Yes, even the Coach can have a "DUH! Moment"). Otherwise, my business will become more like one of those "jobs" that many struggle to avoid.
  2. While at the Library, I checked out a book to really help me drill down on these concepts called: The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose.

SO, as you reflect on 2008, how would you evaluate your accomplishments?

  • What were the highlights? As strange as it may seem, it’s important to take note of things that you did well. Don’t be shy – write them down! Why? Because descriptions of your professional successes can come in handy at your year-end performance review with your manager, or on your next interview with a recruiter. And, keeping a journal of your personal wins can be very inspiring when you need a quick pick-me-up! Besides if you don’t write them down, you may forget subtle details that could make your story that much more compelling.

  • What were the low(er) lights? It’s just as important to keep track of the things that didn’t go quite as well as you would’ve hoped. Why? Having a clear sense of what areas you’d to like improve can help you focus and channel your energies. It also will help you identify the resources you’ll need to make the changes become a reality.

Based on your reflection, what personal and professional goals will you set for yourself in 2009? Remember, that I'm offering you a FREE incentive to SHARE your goals with me in our 2009 Personal & Professional Development Survey.

What resources and experiences will you seek out to help you accomplish those goals? How about ...

  • Classes, training or books

  • Mentors or trusted advisors

  • "Stretch" assignments or new opportunities

  • Professional associations or social networks

As a life-long learner, I'm excited about continuing my year-end, self-reflection journey (it's really been an active and ongoing process this year). I know it will help me be a better advisor, business owner, coach, consultant, friend and person in 2009 -- and beyond!

I'd love to hear about your insights and reflections. Please post here or tweet me @Coach_Colette.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

In Interviews, How Do You Back that Asset Up?

To keep on track with our getting back to basics strategy on career and personal development, I thought I'd provide some tips to answer an "oldie but goodie" interview question: What are your strengths (and weaknesses)?

Check out this quick video featuring my hints on how to respond to both sides of the question. And, let me know what you think -- post your thoughts and comments here, or tweet Coach Colette on Twitter.

Has the question about your weaknesses ever tripped you up? When, sharing your strengths, how do you back that asset up? [just checking to see if you're really paying attention here, LOL!]

Given we're at the end of the year, how would preparing to answer this question help you in a performance review conversation with your manager/supervisor?

Watch the video and let me know if you get some clues or ideas!