Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dealing with Change in the New Normal

As we wind down the summer and gear up for fall, I thought I'd share a mini case on how my team has been helping our public sector clients manage and respond to changes this year -- in the New Normal.

CLIENT SITUATION: Here are some challenges faced by our client, a collective of multi-site human service organizations:
  • Budget and funding allocation modifications are causing changes in programming, staffing and Center operations
  • Centers will need support and oversight from active, capable board leaders who can implement changes successfully
  • Centers will need directors who can capitalize on opportunities to collaborate with new partners and seek out new sponsors and financial support
OUR RESPONSE: Here is how we responded to their situation:
Center Directors and Board Leaders participated in a 2-day Leadership Training designed and facilitated by InStep consultants that focused on Dealing with Change, Project Planning and Board Governance. The training included visioning exercises, goal setting and action planning. Initial feedback after training indicates that 94% of participants felt very or well prepared to develop a strategic vision and successfully manage changes at their organization (compared to 48% before training). As suggested by one of the training participants: “The training show[ed us] that weaknesses will be[come] strengths after implementing the changes necessary to become a successful agency.
A subset of the training participants also took part in four, 3-hour Group Coaching sessions led by InStep consultants over a 9-week period. These sessions helped participants build upon skills they gained in training, and get timely input on their specific issues and new challenges that surfaced since the training. Upon completion, 77% found the additional coaching to be helpful towards achieving the goals they'd identified at the start of the program. More than half were able to accomplish between 75% and 100% of those goals over the 9-week coaching period.
As one group coaching participant remarked: "I have learned to focus on one particular task, as well as seeking assistance from the people around me. I have learned to become more verbal and take the role of the leader - gained confidence as tasks or targets were completed."

For me, personally, I enjoyed watching all the light bulbs go off -- that's how I describe the "A-HA!" moments that happen in group coaching or training sessions. Often, those bright ideas surfaced from peer learning as the participants engaged in dialogue and shared similar experiences. I sometimes witnessed reduced anxiety merely from recognition of "I'm not alone" in certain circumstances.

Was it "perfect"? No transformation ever is -- it's an ongoing process. Will they still experience challenges going forward? Absolutely! Hopefully, they will refer back to techniques for dealing with change from their training or coaching experience (e.g., their ideal vision) to help propel them forward when times get tough.

How are you and your organization dealing with change in the New Normal? How are you keeping all team members informed and aligned with your vision -- even as you may need to flex or adapt to our evolving environment? Post your comments here, or tweet me your thoughts on Twitter.

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's Day 12 & I Feel Empowered

Today is Day 12, and I'm proud to have made it this far. To where? For what? It's Day 12 of the Chopra Center 21-Day Meditation Challenge. This has been a series of guided meditations (audio & video) led by davidji to help promote a daily meditation practice.

While I've recognized the benefits of meditation, I hadn't yet committed to a daily practice. As you know, I've committed to my daily affirmations and review of my vision board. My approach was more of a "just-in-time" meditation practice -- using it when I specifically wanted (or needed) to relax and regroup. Two things from the meditation experience have struck me personally, so far:
  1. davidji's concept of "RPM" -- "rise, p**, meditate" which means you basically meditate FIRST before any other brain-related activity. I'll admit that I didn't start the challenge that way; but have been pretty diligent about doing so for the past 5 days or so. This morning I felt like I had to remind myself to start the meditation first -- only then did I realize that I'm still formulating it as a habit [also possibly because I hadn't followed the RPM concept last Monday??].
  2. Today's focus for the meditation was Ego & Limiting Beliefs: neither of these concepts are new to me. What did strike me was the suggestion to "be kind to your ego." Perhaps it's because one of my 3 Words for 2010 is also kind. I think it was a good reminder to allow and accept all aspects of the self -- to witness/observe without judgment -- so that true transformation can be possible.
The additional guidance and breathing mantras around limiting beliefs also were very powerful for me today. The suggestion to "breathe in possibilities, and breathe out limitations," for example, really resonated and made me feel empowered. [yes, even the coach needs reinforcement and reminders!] I did feel lighter at the end of the meditation as if loads had been lifted from my shoulders.

That's all for now ... I may revisit this later as the meditation experience continues. Feel free to share your meditation experiences with me here or you can always tweet me on Twitter. Namaste!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Coach Colette Goes Global in 2010

Last January, I took inspiration from social media guru Chris Brogan, and followed his suggestion to refine and refocus my key goals and intentions for the year into 3 Words. Of course, I've just now realized that I didn't share with you my 3 Words for 2010. They are KIND (to myself and others), GLOBAL (partnerships and relationships) and JOY (in experiences and encounters).

You can trust that I have been focusing on those words - using the same affirmation strategy as last year, a daily task reminder that appears in my Outlook - which brings me to the point of this article: Going GLOBAL. The thing I'm (still) learning about consistently setting intentions and making affirmations is that you never know exactly how the results will appear. Yes, even the coach can have a "Duh!" moment or two! :)

My first GLOBAL result was working this spring with a fantastic consulting associate from Paris who helped design training materials and activities for one of our Change Management client engagements. The next GLOBAL result was connecting with a dynamic UK-based training firm to explore new business opportunities.

My next GLOBAL connection came early summer via an introduction by a colleague to Enrique Mesones, the founder of Smart Connections, a global executive search, strategy consulting and venture firm. Nearly 10,000 elite executives from top-tier universities around the globe have registered for the Smart Global Network -- a free, membership-only networking environment to view the hottest business projects around the globe, attain business funding, and receive optimal executive education. As a result of my intentions, affirmations (and yes, expertise) I'm now an Executive Coach with the Smart Global Network!

My next GLOBAL activity is one that brings me great pride as it's a chance for me to continue my work with my "rowdy" librarians! In September, I'll be facilitating leadership and advocacy training in Brussels as part of the Global Libraries Initiative sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I'm still learning exactly what it will involve; and will share more info as things progress. I'll also aim to blog and tweet as much as I can while I'm on the road.

I'm excited by all of these things that have happened in 2010. They are wonderful yet unexpected connections ... and so I will keep making affirmations around my 3 Words for 2010, and aim to let go of figuring out "how" things will manifest.

What are your thoughts? Do you have examples to share of when unexpected (positive) things "appeared" in your life? If you make affirmations, how do you "let go" of the results? Comment here or tweet me on Twitter!