Click here for mentoring and coaching.Integrate Everything?  

Some corporate leaders devote an unusually large amount
of their personal attention to managing executive time. They
believe in focusing senior management on addressing
opportunities that represent the highest possible payoff for
customers, employees and shareholders. This is good.

Most people believe it is important to decide on how to spend
personal and professional time to create balance and meaning
in what they do. Many even seek seamless integration in their
lives. Yet, converging everything can be very ineffective,
stressful and inefficient---especially, when attempting to
integrate all that you deal with during the day.

Focusing on delivering exemplary short-term performance by
multitasking---attempting to perform several tasks at once---
is not a good executive time management approach. When you
are checking your email messages, carrying on a telephone
conversation and finalizing a meeting agenda at the same time,
your brain is very inefficient.

Multitasking requires your brain to continuously switch from
one task to another resulting in a loss of productivity--
sometimes by as much as 20 to 40 percent when the task is
difficult or unfamiliar. "When you're working on more complex
tasks or ones that are unfamiliar, this time cost goes up a lot,"
says David E. Meyer, a mathematical and cognitive psychologist
at the University of Michigan.

Have you ever noticed someone, ahead of you in traffic,
driving in an unsteady manner? Chances are they are
multitasking---driving, reading something (like a telephone
number), dialing a cell phone and/or engaged in an important
conversation. "When tasks are performed, and especially
multiple tasks," Meyer says, "decisions have to be made by
your mind's CEO about which of the resources are going to
get used."

Driving while using a cellular phone is a dangerous
example of multitasking, he adds, because it requires "too
many of exactly the same resources, mental and physical."

Seconds lost switching between tasks could be the time
needed to avoid danger. That is why many organizations,
worried about potential liability, have implemented restrictions
on employee use of cell phones while driving and talking.

For more information on
"Executive Control of Cognitive
Processes in Task Switching" by Joshua S. Rubinstein of
the Federal Aviation Administration and David E. Meyer and
Jeffrey E. Evans of the University of Michigan, go to:


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Click for information on a certified executive and business coach.

 Are you ready to hire a coach?

If your answer is "yes," then it's probably time to start seeking the services of a certified executive or business coach.

Gone are the days when the word "coach" simply conjured up images of Little League and high school gyms. In the last 10 years, the business world has seen the emergence of a new breed of coaches whose mission is to help executives rise to their potentials, both personally and professionally. Coaching, as distinct from therapy, which deals largely with unresolved past issues, helps people make changes in their lives in order to pave the way for brighter futures.

How do you know when you're ready to hire a coach?  

Following is a list of questions designed to help you determine whether or not your future leaders would benefit from the jump-start that only a coach can provide:

Do you know what it is you don't know? In his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John C. Maxwell says there are four phases of leadership growth:  

"I don't know what I don't know."

"I know what I don't know."

"I grow and know and it starts to show."

"I simply go because of what I know."

People who are stuck in phase one, Maxwell argues, don't grow because they don't even realize they have much to learn. However, if you've reached a point in your career where you at least have a sense of what you don't know, a coach can provide a lot of guidance in attaining the necessary skills and knowledge.

Is there a gap between where you are and where you'd like to be? If you can picture the situation you'd like to be in, but have only the vaguest idea how to get there, a coach can help you formulate an action plan and motivate you to stick with it.

Do you have clear professional goals? If you're unhappy in your profession and don't have the slightest clue what to do next, a career counselor might be more effective than a coach. If you find yourself in this predicament, though, don't beat yourself up over it. "If you don't know what you want to do, my answer is it's not time to know yet," says Laura Bremen Fortgang, author of Take Yourself to the Top: The Secrets of America's #1 Career Coach (Warner Books, 1998). "Live with the uncomfortable feelings for awhile."

Are you willing to focus on the present, or do you still have lingering issues to clear up from the past? Those struggling through past trauma and loss are better served seeking a therapist's services to clear up those issues before hiring a coach. That way, by the time you sit down with a coach, you'll be ready to leave the past behind and work toward the future.

Are you interested in developing yourself? Often, a company will insist that an executive hire the services of a coach. "But there's no point coaching someone who doesn't see reasons for it, or the benefits of it," says Michael Banks, principal and director of KRW International, a top provider of executive development coaching services to Fortune 500 companies around the world. The coach's role, in part, is to help people see how their thinking and behavior patterns create obstacles. If you don't see any room for improvement in these areas, getting a coach is probably not worth either your time or your money. Conversely, if you're a self-blamer, willing to accept fault for everything, then it is also difficult for coaching to succeed.

Are you about to make a critical decision pertaining to your life or your career? When you're standing at a crossroads, unsure which way to turn, a coach can help you prioritize, and unearth your motivations and desires. "I wouldn't dare make a critical decision without calling a coach," says Jim Jose, an organizational effectiveness strategist and leadership coach based in Tucson, Arizona. "None of us works well in isolation, or achieves what we're capable of achieving, personally or professionally, without help from others."

Are you ambitious? These days, there's no stigma attached to hiring the services of a coach. In fact, if anything, it signals to those around you that you're a "player." According to Banks, at certain blue-chip companies, being asked by the organization to work with a coach is "an absolute sign that the company is targeting for them to go to the top." Many of the people he works with -- all in upper management, rarely below the VP level -- are already extremely successful. "People who do best with coaching are those with a genuine desire to be as good as they can be, and are not too proud to admit that they could do even better."

Are you getting the message from those around you that you need to make changes, but aren't sure how to implement them? It can be discouraging to hear a lot of negative feedback at the office. A coach can help you put it into some perspective so that you begin to grow from your mistakes. "If we're constantly beaten down with negative stuff, we don't take the time to look at the positive side, which is, 'what can I learn from this?'" says Jose. "A coach will help you look at the situation in a more balanced way."

Are you willing to work extremely hard? Don't expect a coach to sit there and do all the work. On the contrary, good coaches hold their clients' feet to the fire. "My job is to constantly challenge my clients," says Zachary Green, senior scholar at the University of Maryland's Burns Academy of Leadership. "People need to develop a sense of integrity by keeping promises they make to themselves." During each session, Green asks his clients what they plan to have achieved by the next meeting. "If they say, 'I'll make one phone call,' I tell them that's lame. So they'll say, 'I'll make 15 phone calls and I'll have my resume posted on by the next time we meet.' So I say, 'Okay then, that's our contract.' If they do it, I say, 'Now we know you can do this.' If not, I'm supportive and available, but really press them to explore why they messed up the situation."

What are you putting up with?

What's the biggest challenge you have?

What kind of support would be helpful to you?

Want to learn about the costs of executive coaching?

Want to check out some coaching plan options?

If you are really committed to what you want to do, let's have a telephone conversation about getting there from here.

Call 734.426.2000 (US Eastern Time Zone) or email to arrange for a free consultation to discuss where you are heading. Click to learn more about John Agno, certified executive & business coach.

Click here to ask a quesiton by email. Click here for some coaching plans.

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