Conversations about leadership, learning, coaching and change.

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Decision Making

Beth had signed up for coaching because she was leading a transformation project fraught with politics and big egos.  Despite her experience and the faith that had been placed in her, she was concerned that she would “drop some of these moving pieces.”

Like a lot of my clients she was afraid she might fail

Today that fear seemed close to the surface. When I asked her what she would like to think through in our session, she seemed startled.

“Well,” she said. “I guess I just want to talk it out loud…if that doesn’t seem too self-indulgent?”

The value of just talking to someone who is really listening without judgement is often a way clients begin to make sense of their jumble of thoughts and feelings.

But clients also bring their inner critics with them

I could hear her inner critic loud and clear.

“Self-indulgent?”

Beth told me that she felt that she should just get on with it.  She was a master of planning; used to this stage…..etc….etc.  And then she was off into the detail of the project.

She really did need to talk this one through.

And it was helpful for me to listen less to the deep content of what she was saying and more to the emotions that lay beneath the words. A pattern began to emerge:

“If I don’t….”

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Calling all managers: how not to suck at coaching

Calling all managers: how not to suck at coaching

by Moyra Mackie on August 22, 2014

How many times in a week do you get asked for advice?

If you’re half-way good at your job, I’m going to guess that the answer is “frequently”.  If you’re quick to offer your advice I’m going to be blunt:  you’re not helping.

I’m going to argue that most people who ask for advice are really asking for clarity and for the confidence to make a decision.

And by clarity, I don’t mean clarity about knowing what you think or what you think should happen.  I mean clarity in the asker’s own mind.

Advice doesn’t give clarity or the confidence to act

These things are not in our power to bestow on others – they come from within.  Clarity and confidence come when new insights emerge, motivating the asker to act from their own conviction.
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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Enough creativity for today, now get back to work.

Enough creativity for today, now get back to work.

by Guest Contributor Adam Billing on July 12, 2014

In 2012, a very revealing study was conducted by the folks at Adobe to get a sense of how important global executives thought creativity was for business. The study also asked how good or bad they believed they were at this creativity thing.

The survey sample size was n=5000, with around n=1000 respondents each from the US, UK, Germany, France and Japan.

Creativity is critical to growth

Across geographies, around 80% or more agreed that “creative potential is critical for economic growth”, and around half of all respondents felt that they were “increasingly being expected to think creatively at work”.

However, only around 25% of those surveyed believed that they were “living up to their creative potential” – and between 75-80% felt that there is “increasing pressure to be productive rather than creative at work.”

So what does this tell us?

At the risk of oversimplifying things, it means that people are increasingly aware of the importance of being creative at work, but are getting very mixed signals about what that actually means. They are being told that they need to think more creatively, but that being productive is much more important.

Creativity vs productivity

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Guest Contributor Adam Billing

Guest Contributor Adam Billing

Adam is the founder and Director of Bridge Collaboration; specialising in collaborative design, innovation, design thinking and cross-boundary collaboration.

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The simple secret to success at work: Find your tribe

The simple secret to success at work: Find your tribe

by Moyra Mackie on February 2, 2014

Nick Pugliese must have given his mother quite a few sleepless nights. When he graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, with a degree in political science and philosophy, Nick decided he’d like to gain some interesting and challenging work experience.

So he chose a telecoms company in Kabul, Afghanistan.

At college he’d been captain of the football team – or as they say in his hometown of Rochester, NY – “soccer”.  So it wasn’t long before Nick started playing the game at weekends with his Afghan colleagues. It was a mental and physical escape from the restrictive, claustrophobic world of the small expat compound.

And then he got offered the chance to play for Ferozi FC, a professional club in the 14-team Kabul Premier League.

Nick had to choose between his $3000 a month job with the telecoms company and the $300 a month wage at Ferozi FC and a life outside the safety of the compound.

Nick chose the life outside

He became the first American player in the Afghan league since the 2002 invasion.
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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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You’re in a meeting and

a) everyone agrees, so you all come to a decision quite quickly.  It’s really a no-brainer.

OR

b)  it seems as if everyone has a different view, the meeting drags on and eventually the boss has to make a decision.  He – or she – has the casting vote and in all likelihood votes the way he – or she – would have done before the meeting started.

Don’t you just love making decisions?

After all, isn’t that the point of meetings?  And which meeting process do you prefer?

I hope you said that neither was particularly appealing. Because I’ve got a better idea.

Try wearing a hat

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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How expensive is your meetings habit?

How expensive is your meetings habit?

by Moyra Mackie on July 19, 2013

How much of your working week is spent in meetings?

If you are at all average – and I don’t mean that as an insult – at least 50% of your calendar will be taken up with meetings, whether in person or on the phone.

How effective are your meetings?

Though precise calculations of time – and therefore salary hours – spent in unproductive meetings are hard to calculate, one UK study estimates around £26bn ($40bn) is wasted each year in unproductive meetings.

What does each of your meetings cost?

I always encourage my clients to do the following calculation:

Number of meeting participants  x  number of hours spent talking  x average hourly salary of participants  ÷  actions agreed  =  cost  of meeting

Do this and you might discover that an awful lot of meetings are pretty expensive habits.

So where is the senior management memo on improving the ROI of meetings?

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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The other day I was stuck.

My friend and fellow coach, Andrew Jones, suggests you need a coach if you are stuck. Stuck with a problem, an opportunity or a plan.

I was stuck because I wanted to know how I could grow my company and stop working longer and longer hours for less and less reward.

Like many other coaching clients I had been stuck for some time without realising it. Once I became aware of it, of course I spent a lot of time thinking about what I might do and asking my trusted contacts what they would suggest.

And then I had the opportunity to be coached.

The only catch was that the coaching would last for just twenty minutes.

“Twenty minutes”, I thought. “We’ll never get anywhere. I’ve really thought about it, I know what all my options are.”

What can a coach do for someone like me, stuck like this?

What would YOU do if you were my coach? What would YOU ask if you only had twenty minutes?
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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Making heavy weather of decisions? Wear a thinking hat.

Making heavy weather of decisions? Wear a thinking hat.

by Moyra Mackie on February 3, 2013

You make decisions. It’s what decision makers do. But do the real thorny problems that you are given to sort out sometimes send your thoughts spinning like the wheels of a sports car in the snow?

It’s not about lack of intellectual horsepower. You’re probably applying too much, rather than too little.

It’s not that you have too few ideas. You may have too many, all at the same time.

It’s just that you’re not able to get traction and make your usual progress.

Sometimes there are so many different opinions to take into account and so many good ideas to think through that it can be like having a rowdy boardroom between your ears. And with a pretty ineffective chairman, too.

So if you’re making heavy weather of decisions, I’ve got a suggestion that most definitely works.

Try wearing a hat.

In a hurry? Download a handy PDF now

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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