A free, searchable archive of Executive Coaching Tips to help you be perceived in the workplace the way you want to be perceived.

Three Little Phrases with Big Impact

Three phrases to keep people listening to your data and to get people to comply with your decisions.

Why should I listen to this?

Anna walked me through the slides she’d prepared for her upcoming all hands meeting. A new group, including people in China and India, had joined her team and she wanted the meeting to be meaningful to everyone.

An articulate, energetic woman, Anna had no trouble explaining the content on her slides. What I couldn’t understand was the context.

At first, I thought I didn’t get the context because, as an outside consultant, I had no frame of reference. But every time I’d ask her to explain the context, she’d answer by adding information that seemed vital. “Oh, that’s good!” she’d say to herself. “I should say that.” And she’d make a note of what she’d just said. More

Compassion During Change

When a star performer suddenly declines, there’s always a reason. The question is where should you look for the reason?

A startling sudden decline

Jay’s boss was concerned about him. A star performer recruited by the CEO, Jay suddenly seemed to be floundering. He’d goofed up two major projects and had blown up during a staff meeting. Jay’s boss was hoping I could help.

Within minutes of meeting this smiling hulk of a guy, I liked him. He opened up right away, saying he was just as puzzled as his boss. “I know things are going south,” he told me, “but it’s not intentional. I don’t know what’s going on. More

Strategic Apologies

Apologies affect how we're perceived -- for better or worse.

Resisting “I’m sorry”

Lissa is a very creative marketing person. Her organization gave her a coach after identifying her as “high potential.” Halfway through our engagement, she began supporting a new product and almost immediately clashed with Donald, the sales person. During a phone conversation they’d had, he’d called her “lazy,” “inept” and “arrogant,” none of which I thought she was.

“Sounds like you really struck a nerve with him,” I observed. “What happened to make him call you all those names?”

“Oh, he’s a control freak,” she snorted. “We’re making a presentation to the client in ten days and he wanted my slides last Friday.” She rolled her eyes. “As if!” More

Unmasking a Stand-In

Interacting with phantoms from the past is detrimental, both personally and professionally.

Hijacked by rage

Over a two-year span, Scott had four hostile, explosive outbursts. After the last one, which happened during his own staff meeting, he was asked to get coaching.

At our first meeting, he was understandably defensive. He admitted that, yes, the incidents had happened, but he was full of justifications about why. Then he became sheepish, acknowledging that there really was no excuse for his red-faced, vitriolic outbursts. More

The Power of Rehearsal

Rehearsal doesn't mean reciting by rote.

Rehearsal rescues a downward slide

The division’s executive vice-president demands high performance from anyone presenting in front of him. If you’re at the director level or above, he expects you to succinctly summarize key points, then lead a lively discussion.

This works well for many men and women in his division, but not for Kris. The more he prepared for the EVP’s presentations, the more anxious he got. Over time, his performance declined to the point where the EVP was close to banning him from presenting. Kris felt himself hurtling towards a cliff without any way to stop himself from shooting off the edge. More

Three Words You Should Never Say

Want to boost your credibility? Stop using these words.

You should never say this

Vince is a passionate guy who believes good relationships are the key to getting things done. In private, Vince expressed exasperation to me about the way many people handle themselves. “He should have known his email would backfire,” he complained about a subordinate. Or, about the CEO, “Brad should have had the decency to let me know about that announcement.” Or, on a positive note, “My team should be able to pull that off.”

It wasn’t long before I observed that he used the word “should” a lot and asked whose “should” he was referring to. He asked what I meant. “Well, for example, who says Brad ‘should’ have had the decency to let you know? Where is that written?” More

Don’t Take It Personally

Think that insult was about you? Think again!

This feels personal, doesn’t it?

Karin once ran a department at a state university and managed a six-figure budget. When she transitioned into the corporate world, her boss wouldn’t let her authorize any expenditures over $100. At first she understood, but after three years, she was steamed.

When I asked why, she said, “I’ve given him every reason to trust me. But he obviously doesn’t!”

“Do you think if someone else was in your role he’d let her handle her own budget?” More

Dealing with Emotional Responses

Six tips for handling yourself when faced with others’ emotions.

The do’s and don’ts

I’ve known Charlotte more than twenty years. We’ve often joked that somewhere along the line our gender roles got swapped. She is analytical, results-driven and uncomfortable in the realm of feelings. I, on the other hand, am high in empathy and intuition, and enjoy processing things—some say a little too much!

Recently, she asked for a little coaching.

“I’ve got a crier,” she moaned. “This woman’s got high potential but she needs a lot of guidance. The moment I give her any sort of feedback, she looks like I ran over her cat and the river starts flowing. You know me, Tom, I’d rather eat raw eggs than face the waterworks.” More

Disagree Agreeably

How to disagree without sounding disagreeable.

Disagreeing disagreeably

Marshall, a television executive, was facing open rebellion from the writers he supervised. His president told me, “Marshall’s the smartest guy here. No doubt about it. And his ideas are great, but he can’t get anyone to hear them because he comes across like a sledgehammer. Creative people don’t like to be talked to that way.”

“Who does?” I replied. More

Getting Agreement

Giving instructions without getting agreement is a recipe for disappointment.

Failing to agree affects results

Sheldon leads a logistics team for one of the world’s largest food distributors. In our coaching, he repeatedly told me stories that went something like this: he would give explicit instructions to his direct reports about an action he wanted them to take. Then, a day or two later, he’d find out they had done something completely different than he’d expected.

He wanted me to help him fix his team. I asked if he experienced them as rebellious or defiant. He said, no, he actually experienced them as sincere, hard-working individuals who just couldn’t seem to get things right. More

Act “As If”

This fundamental actor's tool will help you be perceived in the workplace the way you want to be perceived.

Behaviors create “style”

When Lawrence was passed over for promotion to vice-president, the feedback was clear: his expertise was top-notch; his executive presence was not. “He just doesn’t feel like one of our vice-presidents,” the CEO told me.

Lawrence vowed that by the end of the coaching he’d look more vice-presidential than any of the vice-presidents. With lips thinned by determination, he asked, “What do I need to do to ‘feel’ like a VP?” I answered by giving him the following homework. More

Assertion Versus Aggression

One style builds relationships, the other damages them. Do you know which is which? And why?

Invisibility only works in sci-fi
“Does she even know how smart she is? She really needs to start speaking up so we can get the benefit of what she knows.” That was typical of the feedback about Maureen.

When I asked her what was holding her back from contributing more, she told me she’d always been shy about speaking up. “My folks warned all of us not to be too aggressive. I think the result was that I just stopped talking altogether.” More

What people say about Essential Communications Podcast/Tips:

Keep Coming Back. I use these coaching tips for my sales and marketing team. I re-listen to these multiple times and still pick up new things the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time through. Very well done.”

ImESP
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What people say about Essential Communications Podcast/Tips:

Immensely useful! Tom Henschel’s stories and advice helped me become a much better manager… I listen to each as it comes out and still go back to many of the earlier podcasts as well.

Cyralston
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What people say about Essential Communications Podcast/Tips:

Outstanding executive coaching … for FREE. I greatly appreciate his bottom line up front approach. Some competitors take 30 – 40 minutes to get to the point. Keep up the great work!

Major Jason
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What people say about Essential Communications Podcast/Tips:

Amazing podcast! Thank you Tom for providing such a WONDERFUL podcast. It is short, well communicated (of course!) and has helped me IMMENSELY in work and personal life.

Suijeneris
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What people say about Essential Communications Podcast/Tips:

My favorite podcast ever! The Look & Sound of Leadership is amazing.

Studentandteacher
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What people say about Essential Communications Podcast/Tips:

Powerful Material in easy to digest segments. Best biz/leadership podcast on the net thus far.”

spaflip
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What people say about Essential Communications Podcast/Tips:

A wealth of knowledge. In preparation for a big promotion I started listening to various podcasts on leadership. This one stood out as the best. It gives clear, easy to understand advice with tools I could apply immediately! I love this podcast!

Cmvnau
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What people say about Essential Communications Podcast/Tips:

Short, Simple and Powerful. Easily some of the best coaching available on the internet. I’ve seen a real improvement in my ability to lead and manage as a result of incorporating these tips into my regular communication.

_SWW_
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What people say about Essential Communications Podcast/Tips:

Fantastic For Any Leader. I have found these podcasts to be excellent! I have read MANY books on leadership and this is some good advice. I have found Tom’s perspective on leadership refreshing & challenging. Thanks SO much.

Mbreems
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