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3 Essentials Every Effective Leader Starts With

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As a business coach and strategist, I’ve seen how diverse and confounding the challenges are in being an effective leader. Whether you’re a CEO, founder, vice-president, director or manager, the challenges come in many forms: strengths, weaknesses, blind spots, technology, feedback, growth, outsourcing, decisiveness, and integrity. To take your leadership game to the next level, you want to start with 3 essentials that are the foundation of effective leadership.

1. Understand What Drives Your Behaviour

To be an effective leader or manager, at any level, you need to start with an in-depth understanding of your core values because core values drive your behaviour or “run the show”, so to speak. If you don’t understand your core values, you’ll find yourself questioning your actions and decisions, or you’ll find yourself unable to act decisively. Understanding your core values is key to being able to take decisive action without analysis paralysis or decision remorse — two things an effective leader cannot afford.

Values are not something you overtly choose because it’s what you want to value, or it’s what you think you should value. Values are evident in how you do things, what decisions you make and what you prioritize. For example, I’ve seen many leaders say they value ‘growth’; however, in their actions and decisions, it’s clear that they value ‘harmony’ (making everyone happy), which is directly in conflict with the value of ‘growth’. Check out my other blog on values that includes a comprehensive values exercise, noting that when you do the exercise, you should consider what actions and behaviours are present.

Once you understand your values, you can use them as a way to understand your own thought process. You’ll also be able to use your values as a framework for making tough decisions. Often leaders are paralyzed when they have to make tough decisions, or they make decisions they regret because they get caught up in the details and dynamics of the situation and they can’t see the bigger picture in the moment. By using your values as a framework to make decisions, you’ll be able to make tough meaningful decisions that you won’t regret in the long run.

Lastly, once you understand your core values, you can use them to educate, inspire and lead the people around you. I let everyone I work with know my core values so they have a better understanding of who I am a person, why I think and act the way I do, and also how to succeed with me. Established values create clarity, confidence, decisiveness, power, velocity and ease.

2. Understand What Makes You A Leader

Getting clear on your unique combination of strengths is essential to being an effective leader. Your strengths are the things you will always gravitate towards and they’re often the things that light you up! Knowing your strengths is so important because it’s where you’ll get your “10x” (exponential returns on your efforts). Danielle Laporte says “if you round out your edges, you lose your edge” and knowing what your strengths are allows you to sharpen your edge by putting your efforts where you excel, and then confidently delegating what you know you don’t excel at. The most effective leaders, “A players” spend their time doing what they’re great at and delegating everything else.

The best strength analysis I’ve come across is the Clifton StrengthsFinder analysis. I have found that the individual combination of strengths (not pre-defined personality profile) that this profile analysis provides to be the most accurate, insightful and useful to leaders.

3. Understand What You’re Trying To Accomplish

Every leader has a “big why”, a thing they are trying to accomplish that has them do what they do. It’s their driving purpose, the difference they want to make for themselves and others. Steve Job’s big why was “make a dent in the universe”; Oprah’s — “to be a teacher and to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be”; Richard Branson’s — “to have fun in my journey through life and learn from my mistakes”. You have a “big why” that has you be a leader, work hard, and make sacrifices. What is the difference you are trying to make?

Once you know what your big why is, you can use it as a tool to keep yourself motivated, to understand your own actions, to guide your decisions in tough times, and most important to motivate, inspire and enrol everyone around them about what your trying to accomplish. If you haven’t figured out, or articulated your “big why” try a few of these resources:

Mastering these three big essentials is the foundation to being an effective leader! Good luck and let me know how it goes!!

Ask me about a free, no pressure consultation!

1 comment on “6 Reasons Your Business Coach Has You Do A Values Exercise”

6 Reasons Your Business Coach Has You Do A Values Exercise

As an executive and small business coach in Vancouver, I always start with a values exercise. This may seem simple, but it’s actually very strategic. Going though a values exercise produces several long-lasting benefits. Here are the 6 benefits from completing a values exercise with a executive and small business coach:

1. Clarity 

Going through the process of a values exercise with a business coach helps identify what’s clear and what’s not — this way the coach does have to waste time on things that are already clear for you, and can focus on helping you define what is in the grey zone, which creates the most value out of the time with your coach.

2. Confidence

One of the consistent challenges I see when working with with executives, CEOs and managers is a lack of confidence that prevents them from taking action or making decisions. They all aspire to have the unwavering confidence of Steve Jobs, Gary Vaynerchuk, or Oprah — but the truth is


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Sensei Says “Values equal

that Steve Jobs, Gary Vaynerchuk and Oprah don’t have unwavering confidence. What they have is a clarity around their values — who they are, what they stand for, what matters to them — so that even in the face of criticism, uncertainty and disbelieve they can have confidence in their values, even if they don’t have confidence in themselves.

3. Decisiveness

In my MBA ethics class I read this great book called Defining Moments, by Badaracco and one of the author’s main points is that ethical decision making is rarely about a decision between good and bad or right and wrong, but it is a decision between right and right or bad and bad. So, when we are faced with these challenging decisions we are often paralyzed, but having defined and articulated values can be a guide to tough decisions because the values will clearly point to the decision that is the best option based upon what maters to you.

4. Power

True power, the kind of power you can summon when you feel powerless, comes not from authority, intelligence or title — it comes from authenticity, from being 100% who you are. Being clear about what your values are give you the power to speak and act in any moment under any circumstances.

5. Velocity

When you’re unclear about what’s important to you, you spend lots of time “humming and hawing” about what to do, weighing the pros and cons, and playing out all the different scenarios and this creates “analysis paralysis” which slows down the momentum of your growth and trajectory.  Once you have clear values, then you can make decisions much quicker and easier, which means you can take more actions to create bigger results faster!

6. Ease

For most executives and managers making tough decisions is only half of the battle, living with those decisions is the other half. In business when there are important decisions to make or lots to do, our heads spin with all the scenarios and all the implications — you know the feeling. Having clear values, allows for value-based decision making which helps clear the mind for fast effective decision making, but it also helps create ease after making a decision. It helps keep those crazy-making, wheel-spinning thoughts at bay because you were able to run your decision through criteria and you can rest assured that you made the best decision at the time with that criteria.

So, when your executive or small business coach wants to start with a values exercise, it’s not a frivolous activity, she’s looking to to create many long lasting benefits for you and your business. If you want to get started clarifying your values you can try this simple and powerful values exercise.

Contact me for a free consultation — Ninja Style!

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Why Hire A Business Coach?

person-woman-sport-ballThe question really is “Why ever have any type of coach?“. Olympic athletes have a coach because they have a critical objective. Olympians care about optimizing performance, expanding potential and achieving results. The coach sees what the Olympian can’t see on the field. The coach provides clarity and structure so the Olympian can focus on doing what it takes to get on the podium. The coach is the Olympian’s partner in fulfilling his or her goals.