leaders devote an unusually large amount
of their personal attention to managing executive
believe in focusing senior management on
opportunities that represent the highest possible
customers, employees and shareholders. This is
Most people believe it is important to decide on how
personal and professional time to create balance and
in what they do. Many even seek seamless integration
lives. Yet, converging everything can be very
stressful and inefficient---especially, when
integrate all that you deal with during the day.
Focusing on delivering exemplary short-term
multitasking---attempting to perform several tasks at
is not a good executive time management approach. When
are checking your email messages, carrying on a
conversation and finalizing a meeting agenda at the
your brain is very inefficient.
Multitasking requires your brain to continuously
one task to another resulting in a loss of
sometimes by as much as 20 to 40 percent when the task
difficult or unfamiliar. "When you're working on more
tasks or ones that are unfamiliar, this time cost goes
up a lot,"
says David E. Meyer, a mathematical and cognitive
at the University of Michigan.
Have you ever noticed someone, ahead of you in
driving in an unsteady manner? Chances are they
multitasking---driving, reading something (like a
number), dialing a cell phone and/or engaged in an
conversation. "When tasks are performed, and
multiple tasks," Meyer says, "decisions have to be
your mind's CEO about which of the resources are going
Driving while using a cellular phone is a
example of multitasking, he adds, because it requires
many of exactly the same resources, mental and
Seconds lost switching between tasks could be the
needed to avoid danger. That is why many
worried about potential liability, have implemented
on employee use of cell phones while driving and
For more information on "Executive
Control of Cognitive
in Task Switching"
by Joshua S. Rubinstein of
the Federal Aviation Administration and David E. Meyer
Jeffrey E. Evans of the University of Michigan, go
by entering your name and email address
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All rights reserved.
If your answer is
"yes," then it's probably time to start seeking the
services of a certified
executive or business
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?
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
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
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."
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
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.
you have clear professional
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."
you willing to focus on the present, or do you still
have lingering issues to clear up from the past?
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.
you interested in developing
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.
you about to make a critical decision pertaining to
your life or your
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."
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."
you getting the message from those around you that you
need to make changes, but aren't sure how to implement
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."
you willing to work extremely
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 Monster.com 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."
are you putting up with?
biggest challenge you have?
of support would be helpful to you?
to learn about the costs of executive
to check out some coaching plan
If you are really
committed to what you want to do, let's have a
telephone conversation about getting there from here.
(US Eastern Time Zone) or email
to arrange for a free consultation to discuss where
you are heading. Click to learn more about
Agno, certified executive & business
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