Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I got my haircut Saturday. I went to the Great Clips on our side of town again. Jessica cut my hair. She was nice, and she did alright, but I've noticed that the people at this particular place don't do quite as thorough of a job as they did at the other place. They never offer to do my eyebrows, and yesterday I was actually going to have them trim my beard, but she didn't offer. It was a pretty quick haircut. But, like I said, it was okay; so I'm not complaining. Again it was a 4 on top and 2 on the sides.

One funny thing was... she asked how I wanted my bangs cut. I looked at her and asked, "bangs???" We both laughed. I haven't had bangs for a long time. She said she meant the top front.

I may start cutting it myself again now. I don't know. It's almost worth it just to have someone run the clippers on the back of my neck. That feels SOOOOOO good. We'll see.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Coaching webiner: challenging clients

Last Wednesday I was able to tune into a free Coach Approach webinar given by Chad Hall and Brian Miller. The topic was "What to do with challenging clients." It started at 11:30 am edt and was supposed to end at 12:15. Things went a little long and it was over around 12:35 instead. I was listening to it at work, and fortunately I didn't have a customer come in the entire time.

Chad and Brian presented 7 "problem areas" a coach can have with clients. They are...

Apparently it is a big issue with clients who just chatter on and on - and they usually jump from one thing to another. They suggest really stressing during the contracting stage what is expected during the sessions. They also said it might help to give them a number, or pinpoint, for answers. For example, "Give me 3 reasons for that." That way they will know when to stop talking. It was also suggested to use a 'prep form' and to try to provide as much structure as possible with these people.

This is the opposite of #1. Some clients don't want to talk much. It was suggested that up to 50% are simply introverts, and they may just take a little more time or digging. They will need space to think and someone to really listen to them. Brian suggested matching their silence. Others may lack confidence and need a lot of encouragement and simple steps. Some - especially if someone else is paying - may just not be interested. Need to simply address the issue with them or their sponsor perhaps.

Some people simply don't think anything will help and that all hope is lost. Most of these will be non-paying clients (someone else is footing their bill). These people need to be invited to 'suspend belief' for a time. Help them think creatively, and use fantasy, hope-filled, possibility scenarios. 

There are those people who simply tend to forget appointments, or constantly need reminded. Again, they suggest you stress the importance/expectations up front during contracting. They also suggest sending a prep form the day before as a reminder. And if a client continues to miss without notification, they may need to be charged for missing in order to 'get it.' It should at least be in the contract.

These are people who just want someone to complain to. Venting can be valuable... in limited quantities. So they suggest setting a structure to limit it. For example, give them 5 minutes to vent, then say you're going to look into what can be done about it.

If someone says they want coaching, but really just want to ask YOU questions, they need to have it re-explained to them that they have this relationship backwards. Again, go over this up front, be gentle, but also firm. Also, focus on coaching the client rather than the issue.

Some people tend to think everyone else is the problem, but not them. Or that it's all the "other" person. The truth is, someone can't receive coaching for someone else. If they only want coaching to address other people's needs, it may be that coaching is not what they need. You need to emphasize the need to focus on them and what they can do. This is where some direct communication may come into play.

Overall it was a helpful session. I was glad I got to tune in and listen to it. I didn't actually register until the day before because I didn't think I would get to hear it since I was at work. It helps that it was during the middle of the week. I hope to take advantage of more of these quarterly free webinars.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

First mowing and motorcycle ride of the summer

I mowed the lawn for the first time this summer yesterday. I wasn't actually planning to, but when I ran the gas out of the snow blower I decided to get the mower out and see if it would start. I didn't actually plan to even use the old mower anymore. I thought it was probably done for. However, as usual, it started on the very first pull! So I raised it to the 2nd from highest notch and just evened off the grass.

The first mowing last year wasn't until May 3rd, and the year before that was April 26th. So this is a little early. It probably didn't need it, but it was such a nice day out. It was in the upper 70's. I see from last year's post that I didn't think the mower would make it through the year, but she surprised me again. I don't know if the deck can last this year though.

 I also got the motorcycle out yesterday. I was just seeing if it would start too, and decided to take it around the block. I got a big blister on the back of my left calf when I swung my leg over the first time. I guess that's what I get for wearing shorts on a motorcycle. Anyway, it started up pretty good too. I let it warm up quite awhile, and it seemed to run good as well.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Crowder show

We took in the David Crowder 'Neon Steeple' tour last Thursday night at the University of St. Francis Performing Arts Center in downtown Fort Wayne. Openers were Dan Bremnes and Tim Timmons. Crowder had a good-sized band and the perfectly paradoxical set of an old front porch complete with laser lights. Here is a short youtube clip advertising the show: https://youtu.be/zyx9o6JL8Ro

Carrie bought a group of tickets, plus they took all three grandkids, so that was fun. The Datema's, Zimmerman's and some other people Carrie knew were seated around us. It was fun.

I had never been to the former Scottish Rite Center before, and it was... okay. It's a neat old building, but the acoustics are not top notch. It wasn't terrible though. It's sort of a smaller version of the Embassy, and not quite as fancy.

The opening bands were both okay, but Crowder is who we were there to see. He is one of the few "name" Christian performers we will probably pay money to see live. I like how he just comes out, plays his music, and doesn't lay any guilt trips on anybody. I also like his music. I mostly like how it is basically just worship music. They have monitors on-stage for the crowd to sing along with, and we did most of the night. The best part for me was the several-song encore of old hymns and then ending with "How He Loves." I was unable to sing along with HHL until almost the end. It just carries to much emotion for me yet.

One thing that strikes me about Crowder... I love the loud, heavy, bass sound, and all the lights and lasers and things... but leave it to him to provide an opportunity to sing along some old, old hymns. It seems like it's been ages since I've been able to do that. Certainly I don't want to sing them with some 90-year-old church organist, but I find it interesting that EVERYONE in the crowd - old and young alike - stood and sang and "got into" the old hymns. You would think more contemporary worship leaders would catch onto this. But... maybe it's just me that thinks that.

Anyway, it was a really good show. I'm glad we went. I'm glad my grandchildren were there too. It started at 7 pm, and we were home by 10:30 - so it must have been over around 10 or a little after.

Friday, April 17, 2015

We're in business - elevate coach

Welp, it's official. I am now a business partner. Elevate Coach is registered with the county, we have a Tax ID number, and a checking account so we can take payments. I also have my business cards done (below).

I made the cards on Vistaprint and got 500 for $9.99. It took 8 days to get them, but only because I was cheap and opted for economy shipping. They actually turned out better than I expected.

I went to the County Recorder's office Wednesday and got the Assumed Name Certificate. It only took a couple minutes to fill out on their computer, then they printed it off, took my $11, and handed me a copy. Tom and I signed the Partnership Agreement Thursday morning and dropped it off with Jane at the bank. She found out that we actually did need to get a Tax ID number, but she was able to do that for us online, and then she opened our business account for us.

All we really need to do now is set up a Paypal account and hook it up with our bank account. Oh, and get some clients. I'm sure we will do some tweaking of the website now and then, but I generally like how it looks. Again, we purposely want it to be simple and low-key. We may have to do something to emphasize that we don't only coach Christian leaders though. I've sensed people kind of think that. We are willing to coach anybody for just about anything. So we'll see.

Here we go...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blood tests - focus on health

Yesterday morning I had some blood work done. My doctor recommended I attend a Focus On Health screening because you can get a whole host of tests done for a very reasonable price. They have them at various places around town in the Spring, and there just happened to be one right by where I work.

I arrived at the Parkview Mirro Center for Research & Innovation and was greeted at the door. They had signs and volunteers throughout the place directing me where to go. I filled out the paper work, got a blood pressure check (110/78), then paid for and had 2 vials of blood drawn. It was pretty slick. I arrived at 8:15 am and was walking out the door around 8:35. It didn't take near as long as I thought it might. I suppose it helped that the big rush was over, so there was hardly anyone there when I was there. My doctor told me it would be like that. He said many elderly people are there right when the doors open, and once they're done, it doesn't take long.

I paid $33 for a BLOOD CHEMISTRY TEST WITH CARDIAC PROFILE. This tests for: Glucose, Liver Functions, Kidney Functions, Cholesterol, Triglycerides, HDL & LDL, and Cholesterol Ratio. I also paid $20 for a PSA test for my prostate (I've never had this checked).

The lady who took my blood did a super job - which is always helpful. Now they will mail me the results in 4-6 weeks, or I can go online and see them in a week or two. They will also mail a copy to my doctor.

This was really slick. I had to fast for 12 hours before, so I celebrated the completion by going to McDonald's and getting a sausage & egg Mcmuffin for breakfast. :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Early spring lawn feeding

Now that the snow is gone I decided it was time to start working on the lawn. I don't care much for yard work, but I have a little broadcast spreader someone gave me, so I started putting lawn food/fertilizer down myself last year.

If you go to the Scott's website they have a handy little Lawn Care Plan section. You put in your address and zip code and it will tell you the size of your lawn and what type of product you should apply. It's pretty handy.

I bought a 5,000 lb bag of the Scotts Turf Builder Halts Crabgrass Preventer With Lawn Food for ~$25 and applied it Tuesday morning. I didn't really want to do it as early in the morning as I did, because the grass was still a little damp, but it was about the only time I could get it done when it wasn't going to rain for a couple days.

I already have a bag of Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed for later in the Spring (probably May/June-ish). Hopefully I won't forget.

I will then apply a third bag of feed with summer guard during the middle of summer, and one with winter guard in the fall.

Hopefully that will help the lawn look nice and green and be weed-free. Now I just need to get a new lawn mower...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dealing with team dysfunction

This is my last post from the CAM 510 Coach Approach to Leading & Managing course I took a couple weeks ago. During the course, we talked quite a bit about 'teams.' Churches are full of teams, but they are just as common in the workforce, as well as society at large. Though every group doesn't need to function as a team, it's important for those teams that do exist to function well.

We discussed Patrick Lencioni's The Five Dysfunctions of A Team, which is summarized below:

I like viewing the above list in the form of the triangle in the first picture, because Trust is the foundation which everything else rests on. If there is no trust, then nothing else is going to work. There is a good article HERE on Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions. Some of the things we discussed in the class were...

How to Overcome:

1. Lack of Trust...
- The leader needs to demonstrate trust and honesty, being vulnerable about strengths & weaknesses
- be supportive of others who are taking risks
- set up opportunities for team members to get to know one another
- provide assessments that help us understand others better (Myers-Briggs; StrengthFinder; etc)

2. Fear of Conflict...
- define what conflict is (other than just arguing)
- encourage healthy conflict resolution
- establish feedback process
- express interests rather than solutions (see if you can find solutions for both interests)
- let your ideas do battle rather than people

3. Lack of Commitment...
- "People don't have to have their WAY, as long as they can have a SAY"
- allow people to be heard
- clearly state and articulate vision
- promote ownership among team members (rather than telling them what to do)

4. Avoidance of of Accountability...
- clear communication of action
- clearly defined roles and rules of engagement
- recognition that action can only be done by individuals
- understanding of how our actions effect others

5. Inattention to Results...
- evaluation of outcomes
- establish standards/measurables to evaluate by
- celebrate small and team wins (how what each person did contributed to the team)
- reward on the team's success

Or... to summarize in a picture...

Certainly the fix from dysfunction to function is not an easy road, but I believe it is doable, and is worthwhile in the end. There are a lot of applications for this stuff. Very good.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Situational leadership

I'm still sharing bits and pieces from the Leading & Managing class. Another area that resonated with me during my most recent coaching class was the discussion of the 'Situational Leadership Model II' from Ken Blanchard (pictured below). According to our instructor, coaching is most necessary in quadrant 3. Of course this assumes a definite need to lead/manage from a chess mentality as opposed to checker. Not only is everyone different, but we are all at different places at different times in our lives.

Some ways to apply the SL II model are to consider the following questions:

1. Who in your organization right now is in Development Level 1? What do they need from you?

2. Who is a D2? What do they need from you?

3. Who is a D3? What do they need from you?

4. Who is a D4? What do they need from you?

5. As a manager, when is coaching not appropriate? (New employees, or people you can't force it upon)

6. In your current role, which development level are you? What do you need from your manager?

Good stuff to think about...

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Savoy brown at c2g

This is from our seats.
We took in a Savoy Brown (wiki) concert at the lovely C2G Music Hall last night. There was a great crowd of mostly gray-haired hippies. I was kind of surprised with the $20 advance ticket charge ($25 door), but we were not disappointed.

SB is one of those bands from the 60's that I remember HEARING, but I can't say that I can place any particular songs. Just that simple British blues/rock sound. And, actually, my most vivid recollection is from my early 20's. I was buying some weed off a guy one night, and he had one of their albums playing. We sat and listened to it in the dark of his living room for a long time. It is definitely "grooving" type music.

I also love going to C2G. We haven't been there much lately. I still think about going back there to church. It seems like a much better fit for us. I also became quite fond of taking communion every week. Hmm...

Anyway, we had supper at a mexican place on Fairfield, and arrived just in time for the 8 pm start of the show. The 3-piece band came out very casually, and tore into it. They did two sets. It was pretty laid back. I didn't realize they were celebrating 50 years - even though Kim Simmonds is the only original member. I loved listening to his guitar sing, and the bass player was pretty good too. He played a regular 4-string, but he also had an electric stand-up bass that sounded so sweet. I'm not sure why he didn't play it more. I can't say that I remember the drummer, so he must have been good. I'd guess they got done somewhere around 10:30 or so. Kim was pretty funny between songs too.

It was a nice night. I'm glad we went.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Blood pressure and business progress

I checked my blood pressure last night. It was 107/76. I was happy with that, and I haven't even started running again yet. Hopefully I can stop with the lysinopril again this summer.

As far as the business... We have a partnership agreement, I ordered my business cards last weekend, the website is done "enough" (it has the basics, which is basically all we wanted). Some of the things left to do:

  • Get the Assumed Name Certificate at the courthouse
  • Open a business account at the bank
  • Set up a Paypal account to connect with the bank account
  • There are a few more books I would like to read sooner rather than later
There are a few more things we may investigate a little further, but otherwise we are in business. Some of the longer range plans I have are...
  • Continue building clientele
  • Work towards higher levels of certification
  • Look into some further life coach training/certification
  • Look into some further spiritual formation training
So... that's kind of where I'm at. My blood pressure is good, my mind is at ease, and I'm okay.

Peace out; and in.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

A coach approach feedback model

Do you have difficulty sharing feedback or input with others? Maybe you're trying to share a helpful hint, and it gets taken as criticism. Or perhaps you need to approach someone about an incident and you're not sure how to do it without making matters worse. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a model for objective dialogue and conversation?

One of the things I learned from my last coaching class on leading & managing was a model for feedback that I think is pretty good. You share how you saw things and how it either made you feel or made others feel or react, and during the course of the conversation you make sure to check with the other party to see that your understanding is valid and/or correct.

Here is what it looks like:

1. Observe behavior
2. Assign meaning to the behavior
3. Decide about sharing

4. Describe the situation to the person (and check for shared understanding)
5. Describe the behavior to the person (and check for shared understanding)
6. Describe the perceived impact (and check for shared understanding)

7. Determine next steps and new actions based on shared understanding

REMEMBER: Not all (or even most) feedback is "negative."

So, if you've ever had trouble getting a message across or providing input/feedback, why not give this coach approach a try. Rather than stating your observations as fact, you can actually listen and get at the heart of situations - which will help you build better relationships, and ultimately make for a better work (or home) environment. I know I'm going to try it.