DISC Certified!

Post Date: August 23rd, 2016

At Personal Journey Coaching I work mostly with corporate employees who are growing their careers, often taking on more leadership roles within their organization.  This requires learning new concepts, expanding their comfort zone and expanding their skills, especially their communication skills.

As someone who needs to “walk their talk”, I’m always reading, learning and seeking new knowledge, concepts and skills to help clients.

This past month I’ve been certified through TTI passing my exam for DISC, the Universal Language, as well as 12 Driving Forces, earning the designation “CPDFA”!

The DISC can help people understand their communication preferences, understand the preferences of others, as well as what motivates them. It can be a great tool for understanding ourselves, as well as those on our team and how to effectively engage them.

If you’re curious to learn more, send an email!

To your success,

Gwyneth Anne

Career and Leadership Coach

gaf at personaljourneycoaching.com

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Tips for Increasing Productivity

Post Date: February 25th, 2016

Having just finished reading The Productivity Project: Accomplishing more by managing your time, attention, and energy by Chris Bailey, thought I’d share with you a few of his insights.  Consider buying his book or borrowing it from the library to learn more!

Some interesting tips to consider:

  • From David Allen – have a “waiting for” list – a list for jotting down all the things you are waiting for. Such as items you’ve ordered online, information or an action from a colleague, a payment from a client, etc.
  • “Parkinson’s law” – work expands to fit the time you have available for it. To increase focus, shorten the time, accomplish it faster!
  • Track your time throughout the day. Rate your energy level for working on various projects every half an hour for a week or two.  When are you most energized for the most important areas of your work.  For example: Being creative?  Analytical?  Strategic? When do you have the lowest energy and when it would be most productive to do low energy work such as checking emails, data input, or even going outside for a walk?
  • Chris found when he worked 20 hours or 90 hours a week, he only got a bit more done in 90 hours than 20! Yikes!  Consider when you have the energy and ability to focus throughout the day and work on important projects during those key hours.
  • “Disable” distractions for chunks of time to allow for focused thinking. Turn off email / text notification, move the phone to a different room, work at a place where you can’t be found.
  • Multitask physical tasks, not mental ones. No checking email while on the phone (both require mental attention), but do run the washing machine while listening to music and cooking dinner (physical tasks).
  • Meditate to clear your mind, allowing you to better focus the rest of the day.

What are you favorite tips that increase your productivity? Would love to hear!

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Expanding One’s Perspective

Post Date: May 20th, 2015

Do you ever get caught up in what’s right in front of you and what you need to get done?  Do you sometimes have a meeting with peers, or perhaps your boss, and tell them what you’re working on and sometime even what they need to do to help you?  How do they respond?  Excited to jump in and help you? Give you a blank look and share what they are working on and what you need to do to help them? Sometimes we are excited about our project and don’t understand why others aren’t getting on board.

I imagine most of us have found ourselves in one of these situations. If any of the above sound familiar, you are not alone.  Here’s an idea: before your next meeting, think about the situation from the other person’s perspective – put yourself in their shoes:  How would they feel?  What would they think about what you are proposing?  How might the other person benefit from what you’d like to achieve?

If you know the other person pretty well, you can probably make a pretty good guess.  If you don’t know them well (perhaps you or they are new to the organization) what do you know about them?  How have you seen them react in similar scenarios?  What are their concerns?  What are their goals?  How does what you are proposing fit into their goals or potentially address their concerns?

By looking at the situation from the other person’s perspective, it will give you insight into how best present your idea or request for optimal results.  It may even have you rethink your idea or request, and the two of you may even come up with something even more innovative!

Would enjoy hearing what ideas this sparks for you.  Where could you implement this concept?

To your success,

Gwyneth Anne Freedman

© 2015 Personal Journey Coaching

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Information Interviewing – Coda (Part 5/5)

Post Date: April 29th, 2015

Congratulations!  You’ve made it through the information interviewing process.  You’ve researched a new field, identified people from whom to glean a sense of reality about it, developed questions to reveal the answers you’re curious about, and conducted the interview itself.

As with regular job interviews, it’s nice (and appropriate) to follow up with a handwritten note of thanks.  Feel free to include what you found particularly helpful, and express appreciation for the contacts/leads they shared.

I’d encourage you to mark your calendar to follow up a month or two down the road to reconnect and share where you are with the process.  I’ve heard frustration from well sought after people that they spend time sharing, give guidance and counsel, and then they never hear from their interviewer again.  People do like to hear of the impact they made and the ROI.   Even if you choose not to pursue the field, you can share your appreciation and what the determining factors were for not pursuing that field.

If you do pursue the field, then staying in touch can be all the more important.  It’s always helpful to have a strong network you can tap into as you move forward.

On a final note, whenever I make a request of someone, I like to also ask if there is anything I can do for them.  Even if I don’t know what that might be, just an open invitation for them to tap into my knowledge and connections helps to ‘even the playing field’.

I’ve had numerous clients who have felt uncomfortable asking for help, or asking for an information interview because they felt they were being burdensome.  When I suggest that they also offer to be a resource to the person with whom they’ll interview, to reciprocate the favor, they often feel much more comfortable.  Furthermore, when I ask how they’d feel about being contacted for an information interview, they almost always reply with enthusiasm that they’d be happy to do so, because it feels good to help someone else, and share what they’ve learned.

To your success,

Gwyneth Anne

408.246.7427

© 2007-2015 Personal Journey Coaching

 

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Information Interviewing – The Interview (Part 4/5)

Post Date: April 16th, 2015

You’ve selected whom you’d like to interview, what you’d like to learn, contacted and emailed the interviewee your questions and resume, and scheduled the interview.  This week, let’s look at what will make this a successful interview.

First and foremost, be on time, or even 5 minutes early if you’re meeting in person.

Second, feel free to bring 2 print outs of the questions you’d like to ask – one for each of you.

During the interview, make sure that you ask the most important questions first, so that you don’t run out of time before you get to them.  Another approach is to ask if your interviewee would like to run through and answer the questions, or do more of a free-flow sharing.  I’ve tried both methods and they can both work well.  If the interviewee chooses the free-flow approach, keep an eye on the time to make sure that have them focus on your top 1-2 questions if they haven’t touched on them by that point.

At the 18 minute mark, start to wrap up.  Acknowledge that the 20 minutes you’ve requested are just about up, and if you have additional questions, you may request scheduling another time to talk.  If they decline, wrap things up quickly and thank them for sharing.  They may offer to continue the conversation a few more minutes.  If so, I recommend that you limit your questions to only 1 or 2 more to again be respectful of their time.

As you wrap up the interview, two great questions to ask are: Is there anyone else you think I should speak with?  And, is there anything else you think would be helpful for me to know?

Finally, if you feel like you’ve connected well, you might request if you can stay in touch with them to ask any follow up questions and/or share your progress.

To your success,

Gwyneth Anne

408.246.7427

© 2007-2015 Personal Journey Coaching

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Information Interviewing – Contacting Interviewees (Part 3/5)

Post Date: April 7th, 2015

Congratulations on identifying what you want to glean from the information interview and narrowing down your questions in order of priority to 6-10.  That can be tough to do!

This week I’ll share the formula for how to successfully contact the people we identified at the beginning of the month (or others we’ve identified since), to request an information interview.

First and foremost remember this is an *information* interview.  Unfortunately this type of interview has gotten a bad rap by those who pretend they are requesting an information interview, then try to turn it into a job interview.  While this can happen, please, let it be at the direction of the person you’re interviewing and not the other way around.

To request the information interview, simply call and tell your source that: 1. you are considering getting into their field; 2. are at the preliminary stage of researching it to see if would in fact be a good match for your skills and temperament; and 3. you would really appreciate schedule 20 or so minutes to talk with them either in person or via phone.  If they agree, set up a time right then and there.  Let them know that you’ll be sending them a confirming email, including your resume and the questions you’d like to ask.

Be clear that this is an information interview, and that the purpose of sending your resume is for them to understand your background: what might be your transferable strengths and what areas would they suggest you learn more about.

We all want to feel confident and prepared. By sending the questions in advance you help set them at ease and give them time to consider how they’d like to respond.

To your success,

Gwyneth Anne

408.246.7427

© 2007-2015 Personal Journey Coaching

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Information Interviewing – What Do You Want To Know? (Part 2/5)

Post Date: March 27th, 2015

How did you enjoy researching this potential field you are considering as a career change?  Did it energize you?  Did you feel overwhelmed or fearful?  It can be interesting to identify the emotion you experience and see what’s prompting it.  Fear in particular can be complex.  Is it based on reality  or insecurities that can be overcome?  What would you need in order to reduce the fear?  More information, skills, knowledge?  What steps, if you chose to pursue this new field, could you take to get that missing ingredient?

On to the next step… What do you want to know?

Most people enjoy sharing information and their experiences. The key to informational interviewing is to be well prepared, prompt, and respectful of your source’s time.  Requesting 20 minutes for a phone or in-person conversation is usually accepted.  That said, 20 minutes only allows for you to ask 6-8 questions.  To maximize your time, I have a formula, but we’ll cover that later.

What specifically would you like to know from someone in the field?  Perhaps something regarding what you fear to see if it is your fear is well founded?  (Fears that often come up here are around money and the need for a degree from a prestigious college.)

To prime your thinking, here are a few suggestions to get started:

–          What is ‘a day in the life of’ really like?

–          Where can you learn more about this field?  ( associations, job boards, places to network)

–          How do you see the field changing over the next 10 years?

–          If you were starting out in the field today, what do you wish you knew?  What advice would you give?

This week, brainstorm on what you want to learn, then pare down your list to 6-10 key questions in order of priority.

Next week we’ll discuss how to schedule an information interview.

To your success,

Gwyneth Anne

408.246.7427

© 2007-2015 Personal Journey Coaching

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Information Interviewing – What Career Do You Want To Consider? (Part 1/5)

Post Date: March 10th, 2015

Have you thought about changing careers, but not sure where to start?  Learning more about different fields can be both interesting in helping you learn more about how organizations work as a whole, and a great way to expand your network.

This month we’ll approach ‘information interviewing’ from the standpoint of you having an interest in potentially pursing this new field, interviewing someone who’s in your  field of interest to learn more about it and see whether it’s something you do or don’t want to continue to explore.

To begin the process, spend some time learning about the field.  Read magazines, books, professional newsletters, articles in the newspaper, surf the internet and so forth.  Having a baseline education of the field before you contact someone for their time, can help you to best leverage your time, connect with the person with whom you’re speaking and ask more informed questions.

Spend some time this week reading information that’s readily available.  In addition, find 3 people with whom you can talk who are already in this chosen profession.  If you don’t know anybody off hand, whose names are showing up in articles?  Can you find websites with their contact information? Are these friends of friends?  Are they in your social network (ie LinkedIn)?

Next week we’ll work on determining which questions you’d like to ask during the information interview.

To your success,

Gwyneth Anne

408.246.7427

© 2007-2015 Personal Journey Coaching

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Four Books for Your Leadership Library

Post Date: December 9th, 2014

As an emerging leader, it can useful to find resources to expand your perspective, and learn tools and tips to help influence others and manage ourselves.  Below are a few recent books focusing on different areas, each important for an emerging leader to have a fulfilling life and successful career.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking– January 29, 2013 by Susan Cain

When in a meeting, does all of the chatter around the conference table have you wanting to stand up and scream “why won’t anyone listen to what anyone is saying?!” It may be that you are more introverted and the rest at the table are extroverts who often think as they speak. This is a great book for learning about, remembering and leveraging the strengths of an introvert when feeling misaligned with the stereotype extroverted leader.  We each bring strengths to the table, and this book helps the reader to recognize their strengths and leverage them as they build the skills for and embrace expanding leadership roles.

 

The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Program to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence, and Happiness – May 30, 2013 by Steve Peters 

This is an easy to read, engaging book to learn how our brain works, how our emotions and thoughts are triggered, and how to manage emotions.  After reading the book, it feels so much easier to not get ‘hooked’ or ‘triggered’, but rather to stay calm and objective. One mark of being a leader is being able to stay calm under pressure.   My hope is this book will help you learn how to feel calm and in control, even when others around you get angry or frantic, and also how you can help turn the situation around.

 

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It – December 31, 2013 by Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.

We often overextend ourselves, don’t get enough sleep and don’t always eat healthfully or exercise as much as we’d like.  Does this sound familiar?  As a leader, you need not just the mental knowledge and skills to do your job, but also need to take care of your body which will enhance your mental sharpness and facilitate your emotional well being so you can stay calm and focused under pressure. Dr McGonigal uses a conversational writing style to explain how we can use nutrition, exercise, sleep and awareness to improve our willpower. You will be encouraged to do exercises at the end of each chapter to not just read the book, but take simple actions to implement concepts and healthy habits she shares that will enhance your productivity and wellbeing.

 

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles – January 11, 2012 by Steven Pressfield 

Do you sometimes feel stuck and wish you could find creative ideas and solution?  While this book focuses mostly on an artist’s path, many lessons in creativity are transferable to up-and-coming leaders in the corporate setting.  This book helps to identify how we get in our own way and how to overcome this internal block to creativity. So often corporate life taps into the analytical “left brain”. This book shares the power of the creative “right brain”, which can ignite your passion for your work and ability to creatively approach and solve challenges.

In summary, each of the above 4 books, address a common road block for emerging leaders:

Quiet: embrace being introverted (if you are) and use this strength to your leadership advantage

The Chimp Paradox: how not to get ‘triggered’ into reaction mode, and stay calm when threat lurks

The Willpower Instinct: how to use simple habits to set yourself up for success, and give you the foundation to excel as you climb the corporate ladder.

War of Art: unleash your creativity to help you navigate obstacles and thrive in your career

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What will you do with your last 6 weeks (of 2013)?

Post Date: November 19th, 2013

Can you believe we only have 6 weeks left in the year?

The years seem to fly by faster and faster.  What did you intend to accomplish in 2013?  Are you on track with your 2013 personal goals?  Professional goals?

Is there a home project you wanted to get done this year – perhaps before the holidays?

What is still cluttering your desk, not quite finished?

What would, if completed, have you feeling fantastic?

Consider setting aside a small chunk of time, twice a day to kickstart working on a project.  Research has shown that this trick helps us to overcome procrastinating getting started.  Once we start, we often dive in and get a lot more done than we thought we would.

The great news is that we still have 6 weeks to wrap up those key projects that will give us a great sense of accomplishment and create the results we were seeking when we put them on our New Year’s resolution list!

To your success,

Gwyneth Anne

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