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Learning New Leadership Skills: Why it’s like learning piano

For two weeks I have been working on mastering the intro to “Bridge over Troubled Water” on the piano. I am not a great piano player, but I enjoy the learning process. You know, the process that takes you from nobody recognizing what you are playing, to “Oh, you are playing that Simon and Garfunkel Song!” More importantly, it’s the feeling when something changes inside me. I get the flow of the song, see what it can do, and smile while playing.

It’s a lot like learning new leadership and coaching skills. When you first change your approach and start asking your team problem-solving questions instead of what to do, it will sound awkward and nothing like the smooth interchange you had in mind. You feel strange, the person in front of you feels strange, and you feel insecure. A nagging voice in your head questions you: “I hope I can ask the ‘right’ question,” or, “I wonder if they will get to the ‘right’ answer.” Once you let go of those thoughts, things will start clicking into place.

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Redefining Perfection

“What is perfect about this?”

When I ask this question in my coaching, often I get a blank or annoyed look. “Nothing. There is nothing perfect about this,” is the typical reply and the frustration is palpable. Letting silence work its magic, something inevitably opens up. “Well, maybe this is the opportunity to think differently about how I approach this,” or, “What I used to do is no longer working. I should delegate and this might be the opportunity for Jeff to take on more responsibilities.”

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Recent Comments
Guest — Francoise
This is a great question. It allows people to focus on the positive aspects of a situation, thereby jump-starting their creativity... Read More
Friday, 15 June 2012 11:32
Guest — Brenda
This is a truly wonderful example of what is perfect about this. Ellen , thanks so much.
Sunday, 17 June 2012 21:00
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12 Gifts for You

I came across these 12 gifts (author unknown) and thought it would be perfect to share with you.  My wish is for each of you to discover and share these gifts in the coming year. 

Best wishes for 2012!

Ellen

Once upon a time, a long time ago, when princes and princesses lived in faraway kingdoms, royal children were given twelve special gifts when they were born. As time went on, people came to understand that the twelve royal gifts of birth belong to every child, born anywhere at any time.

The first gift is strength.
May you remember to call upon it whenever you need it.

The second gift is beauty.
If you look for it, it will always be there.

The third gift is courage.
May you speak and act with confidence and use courage to follow your own path.

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