Gratitude: The Invisible Leadership Skill

Gratitude: The Invisible Leadership Skill

Gratitude: The Invisible Leadership Skill

These days, it’s common to hear about the importance of gratitude. It has a huge array of benefits. Some of those benefits include making you a happier person, helping you sleep better, lowering your blood pressure, and even strengthening your immune system according to a study by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D.

Did you know being grateful and showing gratitude is a core component of leadership?

Gratitude is a powerful, invisible leadership skill/capacity that enriches our personal lives – and the lives of the people around us! Think about it. When leaders express genuine appreciation to people around them, those individuals feel seen and heard and appreciated. That gratitude inspires loyalty and determination and naturally creates a culture of appreciation.

And it begins with cultivating gratitude in ourselves.

When leaders practice gratitude as a way of being, they build a positive emotional reserve to draw on when faced with stressful situations, allowing them to be grounded and present. Leaders connected to their internal sense of gratitude – easily share appreciation with the people around them. When that gratitude is naturally and authentically expressed, it cultivates loyalty and goodwill, making individuals, teams and cultures more creative and effective.

When we actively cultivate gratitude, we change companies, communities and neighborhoods. We make the world better and that’s WHY I shower the people I love with love and appreciation.

Here’s a podcast with even more ideas for developing your gratitude capacity!

Embrace gratitude as a way of being (not just something good to do). Really feel it, experience it and share it. You’ll be grateful for the practice.

With grateful appreciation,
Mary

Adapted from: https://coacholk.com/2018/11/12/gratitude-powerful-leadership-skill/

The Results Part 4

The Results: Part 4

The Results Part 4

The WHO I coach is perhaps the most inspiring part of my work. AND one more favorite part?! Experiencing the incredible transformations that my clients realize. I am regularly awed by the scope and magnitude of change my clients create and the growth in their capacity for courage, wisdom, resilience, and grace. One of many joys in this work is seeing my clients blossom and succeed.
Last month I shared the incredible success stories and challenges that my clients have navigated through from my perspective as a coach. Now you can hear from the people who truly matter – my clients!
Here’s what my clients have to say about their coaching:

#Sales #rejection #values #actionplan

“For sales people in general a great coach is an asset because we are forced to deal with negative emotions every day – there is a lot of rejection and fear. The resilience needed to withstand that is greater when you have an asset like Mary.
She helps me think through what is going on. If there is conflict with my values, she helps me articulate what is going on. From that we trade action steps to progress through a challenge, or take on an opportunity. She takes what is within me and helps me make sense of it and create actionable steps.
Mary does not bring a one-size-fits-all approach – this is a customized approach we have worked on over the years.” – Gabriel Harren

#empowered

“Mary established trust and empowered connection from the very start, she held me “big” and made me feel that “I can do it”. I left hungry for more – and it was what I truly needed.” – Leonid Frolov

#choices #change

“She rerouted my auto-pilot so instead of following same old road signs – you’re not enough, you’re dumb, you’re ugly, you’re a jerk – she helped me to try different routes. I learned about choices. Not just thinking about possibilities but actually living them.” – L.S.

#happiness #values #change

“The values exercise was the core upon which everything else emerged. Without the explicit listing and discussion of my values, I probably would still be at my old job not knowing why I was so unhappy and what I needed to do about it. The mind-map simply helped me further develop my understanding of my core values (the reflection of who I really am) and to bridge it with my skills, experiences, and actions with the world around me.” – M.M.

#happiness

Coaching with you helped improve my overall sense of well-being. You are a warm, stellar human being with a sharp wit and superior coaching skills! I continue to feel much gratitude for our time together. – P.C.

#accountability #intuition

Mary really supported me. When I was questioning my own confidence she did not let me get away with it. Mary coaches from her heart and intuition. She always held the bar for me higher than I could picture it for myself and pushed me to get there. Mary, to me, is an angel on earth. – Jane

#authenticity #clarity

“Working with Mary has helped me have much more authentic conversations with people in my life, whether those are people I’m dating, or my relatives, friends or colleagues. She’s helped me get a clear sense of my voice in all those types of relationships.” – Annemarie E.

#happiness #challenges

“There were two big main issues that Mary and I worked with: I had too much on my plate, and my marriage was blowing up. So we worked on both.
I gained a good sense of not only who I was but trusting that I had the answers, which is really where you want to get to: That you can trust yourself with the way you are feeling and that the decisions you are making are right for you.” – Dayle Q.

I hope in this month of showers & flowers, that you have an understanding of what I do and why I love it! Maybe you’ve even been inspired to turn your own showers into growth. Or perhaps you thought of someone in your life that could benefit from finding balance instead of burnout. If you know of anyone who is navigating life’s challenges and wants a partner to foster their growth, please do pass on my name. Word of mouth brings me the clients that fit me best and that’s why I appreciate YOU!

May you bloom and grow! 😂☔🌸
Mary

Who I Coach Part 3

Who I Coach: Part 3

Who I Coach Part 3

We talked about the WHAT of my coaching work.
You learned about the HOW of my coaching work.
Now let’s get to one of the most inspiring parts: WHO I coach.

My clients are changemakers yearning for balance, not burnout.

Does this describe you?

  • You’re a “smart cookie” — maybe from book learning but mostly from the school of hard knocks!
  • You know investing in your own personal growth is critical for success
  • Living and leading on purpose is important to you
  • You have the resources (money, time, brainpower, energy, motivation) to dedicate to the change making process
  • You love to laugh! Yep, you got have a sense of humor and a readiness to experiment and play

Coaching is a partnership. It’s crucial that you find the right person to work with – Someone who fits your style of learning, someone who will challenge you, someone who will inspire you AND hold you accountable with compassion.
If this sounds like you (or someone you know and love) – then I might be the Coach for you! Email me and let’s find out.

HOW I Coach

HOW I Coach: Part 2

HOW I Coach
Even though I’m a coach who is a cheerleader for positivity and possibility, I know that LIFE IS HARD — it isn’t always sunshine and butterflies and unicorns and rainbows. The old saying April showers bring May flowers is an apt analogy for life and coaching. We all have gray, rainy days and thunderstorms that pop up. Sometimes even seasons filled with them.

My job as a coach is to help you learn how to navigate those uncertain, challenging, rainy days so you can learn and grow from them. Coaching through those grey seasons can evoke transformational change and here’s HOW…

AWARENESS

The starting place in every coaching engagement is self-awareness. Life throws us curve balls that we often exacerbate without even knowing it. Through exploration, self-reflection and some data collection, coaching helps clients discern what are the real challenges and what are the manufactured obstacles; what is it I can control and what can’t I control; what is most important, what is urgent and what can wait.

One of the biggest obstacles for anyone amid any transition is a personal pattern of mental gymnastics that creates stress and negativity making it almost impossible to respond to the challenges of life with strength, resilience and confidence.

Thank goodness for my friend and mentor Rick Carson who pioneered Taming Your Gremlin® over 30 years ago to help us FREE ourselves from the monsters of the mind! His simple, not to be confused with easy, three step process begins with SIMPLY NOTICING how I’m adding to the misery of a current situation. Once I get good at noticing, step two — I can fool around, play with different options to reduce the misery. Step 3 – repeat as needed!

Twenty years later, another friend and mentor, Shirzad Chamine integrated the research findings from neuroscience, cognitive psychology, performance science and positive psychology to create Positive Intelligence (aka PQ) – a simple operating system to help build the mental fitness to respond to challenges with a positive mindset instead of a negative mindset. Guess what – there are three muscles that strengthen our PQ: The Saboteur Interceptor (catching the monsters); Self Command (directing the focus of your mind) and The Sage Perspective (looking without judgment for the opportunity in the challenge.)

ACTION

Once a client gains clarity and awareness, that’s when your coach asks – what are you going to do with that?! Transforming learning into meaningful action is the purpose of every single coaching conversation. And both of the above-mentioned tools are critical in coaching because they integrate AWARENESS with ACTION!

ACCOUNTABILITY

Did you just cringe? Accountability gets overused and abused but in coaching it’s your friend – helping you to stay true to what you want to do. Transformational change only happens when you have some way of calibrating your success.  Accountability is so misunderstood and so critical to lasting change that I wrote a whole other blog post about it!

AWARENESS + ACTION + ACCOUNTABILITY = SUCCESS

That’s my secret formula for HOW I COACH!

My Work as Coach- Part 1

My Work as Coach: Part 1

My Work as Coach- Part 1

My April theme of the month is Showers and Flowers. This month always gets me thinking about the powerful transformation that happens between April showers and May flowers. Those gloomy, rainy days create the bursting blossoms of Spring. And these Spring words of change, transformation, blossoming, and growing are so rooted in what I do as a coach, I thought it would be a perfect time to share about my work. The what, the how and the who. Today I’m going to dive into what I do.

To me, coaching is a partnership with my client dedicated to EVOKING transformation – yep, instigating great big, lasting change.

Clients usually hire me because they’re at a significant transition point in their career and/or in their personal life. Sometimes they’re stuck in a rut. Or perhaps they’re stepping into a brand new, big-gulp challenge and want to do their best. And sometimes they’ve arrived at an important milestone and aren’t sure what the next leg of the journey entails.

Coaching gets my clients through these transitions “FASTER, HIGHER, STRONGER – Together.” Ok – I borrowed that from the Olympics. My clients would navigate these transitions without me or coaching but in partnership with a coach, the transitions are smoother and the results are better than either one of us would imagine.  A coach is a powerful, collaborative accountability partner who helps clients harness their naturally creative energy to move through the flux & uncertainty to create deep awareness AND powerful, confident action.

Here are the cornerstones of the Co-Active Model of coaching that are at the heart of every single coaching engagement:

#1. EVERYONE is naturally creative, resourceful, and whole. Nothing is broken or needs fixing. People have the resources to naturally resolve the challenges they encounter. Coaching helps clients discover, recover and make the most of all available resources.

#2. Coaching addresses the WHOLE person. Every aspect of a person’s life is fundamental to creating lasting.transformational change. Professional & personal facets; strengths & weaknesses; body, mind, & spirit; past, present, & future experiences – everything is considered.

#3. Every moment contains an opportunity for learning and growth – use this moment!

#4. The purpose of every coaching engagement is to EVOKE transformation. Yep, it’s my job to provoke and instill lasting, sustainable change.

This is a small segment of the Co-Active Model that is central to my coaching approach. I hope it gives you a little peek into my coaching philosophy and the work I do with clients.

Positive Intelligence- Mental Fitness

PQ: My Newest Tool for Mental Fitness

Positive Intelligence- Mental Fitness

We’re in an auspicious time – the beginning of a brand-new year! Hopefully you’ve crafted a fresh set of intentions, goals, and/or resolutions to inspire and support you in 2022.

Did you put YOU at the top of that list? No doubt you want to bring the best of yourself to your challenges, circumstances, and relationships this year.

So often we bring our worst – not our best – to our goals and intentions. We inadvertently add stress through our own negative mental machinations. Anybody else worry, fret, ruminate about what could happen or what did happen or what might never happen?! GUILTY!

So how do we meet the challenges of life and work starting with our best — confident and resourceful?

You’ve gotta start with your mental fitness.
It’s the foundation for success in every aspect of your life.

The Positive Intelligence (PQ) program is the newest addition to my life AND my coaching toolbox! With PQ, you learn to strengthen your Sage (your authentic, natural, creative self) and quiet your nasty Saboteurs (those judgmental internal critics lurking in your brainy brain) through daily practice. PQ integrates all of the effective tools and techniques I used with my clients over the last 20 years. Even better, it’s built on research from neuroscience, cognitive behavioral psychology, performance science and positive psychology! Of course, the best part of the program is the App that makes it super easy to build your mental fitness muscles EVERY DAY!

This program has made a huge impact on my own life. I’m more grounded, open and resilient. I spend less and less time in negative spirals in my mind. I have a more positive outlook and challenges are tricky but not stressful. I’m less cranky overall – just ask my family!

In the spirit of my theme of the month – everything is new – I wanted you to know that the PQ program is the new, exciting part of ALL of my coaching engagements. Stay tuned — there’s more to come in 2022!

If you want to strengthen your mental fitness to effectively and confidently accomplish your 2022 goals, send me a message!

Questions, comments, suggestions? Comment below!

yahooboo-hooah-ha

Yahoo/Boo-hoo/Ah-ha!

yahooboo-hooah-ha

I love December. It’s a month of contrasts. There is the frenzied energy of year-end activities and holiday celebrations.  And then because we only have 6 hours of daylight — there is the quiet energy of HIBERNATING — tucking in under a warm blanket with a mug of hot cocoa for a low key evening.

And then there’s the YAHOO/BOO HOO/AH-HA activity I do with my coaching clients.

Here’s how it goes: 

We start with YAHOO:  exploring all the things that were good about the year: accomplishments, achievements, and good times. 

Then we visit BOO HOO: the disappointments, things that didn’t get done, and the tough moments. 

We wrap up with AH-HA: capturing the important nuggets of learning from the year. 

Most of the time, at the end of this activity, my clients create a simple ritual for saying Good Bye/Farewell to this year. (Tossing the list in the fireplace/fire pit is my personal fave!)

I love doing this activity with my clients and for myself. It wraps up the year so that we start the New Year fresh. Want to give it a try? CLICK HERE for the worksheet that will walk you through the activity. I hope you like it!

Warmly – with hot cocoa and marshmallows,

Mary 

THANK-FULLNESS: The Practice of Gratitude

THANK-FULLNESS: The Practice of Gratitude

THANK-FULLNESS: The Practice of Gratitude

November is a month full of giving thanks around my house. We celebrate Thanksgiving, and if you watched my theme of the month, you know I also celebrate my birthday and my wedding anniversary, too.

My birthday gives me the chance to appreciate all the gifts in my life.

My anniversary allows me to stop and appreciate my soul mate and the relationship we have been cultivating for over 30 years.

I get the opportunity for a lot of practice being thankful in November!

Join me this month as I dive deeper into the PRACTICE OF GRATITUDE. In my podcast episode “Practicing Practical Gratitude” I talk about three simple tips and practical ways to add gratitude:  NOTICE, FAKE IT, and SAVOR.

Notice is simply writing down a list of things you are grateful for today. People, places, things, situations. It can be anything! Aim for at least 5.

Fake it is faking a smile (or biting a pencil or your finger) which stimulates your brain to connect to appreciation emotions without even having to try!

Savor is taking a couple minutes to experience the sensations of gratitude by calling to mind one of the things you are grateful for and lingering in the feelings/sensations.

What if you did one gratitude practice every day this month?!

I invite you to experiment this month with a variety of ways to get grounded in the practice of gratitude – EVERY DAY! I promise it will rejuvenate your spirit and open your eyes to your rich, meaningful and magical life.

If you want a little more detail on any of the three practical gratitude techniques, head on over for a listen.

Comment below or send me an email (Mary@coacholk.com).

Warmly (with a deep, easy, full breath),
Mary

Change is in the Air

Change is in the Air

Change is in the Air

Transitions are tough and exhilarating at the same time.

Just take a look at our Midwestern weather this time of year: you can leave the house in the morning shivering in your sweater and by lunch time, you are sweltering, ready to shed those socks and shoes for sandals! You just never know what the day will offer.

That particular lesson from Mother Nature helps me become aware of how my mindset creates struggle or ease in the midst of transition. When I hold tightly to my expectations and things don’t turn out the way I planned, I get pretty cantankerous. It is really hard to delight in a surprise October snow shower when I had my heart set on shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt.

So when I start to feel that cranky, agitated feeling, I step back and notice how I am contributing to the stress of this moment. 

I can choose to ruminate on my disappointment (I really wanted it to still be summer!) OR acknowledge my disappointment and focus my attention on something within my power (oh goody, I get to wear my cozy fleece jacket and wool socks!)

What is your attitude when change is in the air? Try this if you are feeling cranky:

  1. Stop whatever you are doing
  2. Soften or even close your eyes
  3. Take 3 nice, easy breaths — giving your breath your full attention
  4. Open your eyes and go back to whatever you were doing
  5. REPEAT AS NEEDED until crankiness subsides

Ready with socks and sandals!

Comment below or send me an email (Mary@coacholk.com).

Warmly (with a deep, easy, full breath),
Mary

Coach Olk Breathe

Breathe Into Daily Transitions

Coach Olk BreatheWelcome to September – a season of transitions! The weather is changing, the school year is beginning, the new quarter will soon be starting at work. If you’re feeling more overwhelmed than usual… you are not alone! Almost every area of our lives is in transition right now.

Just think about this — From the moment we wake up, we are moving from one thing to another. Everyday tasks are full of little transitions. If you’re like me, you’re usually thinking two steps ahead – and feeling 3 steps behind. 😉

I’m brushing my teeth, thinking … I am running late; I’ve got to get that presentation finished before noon; Remember to send an email reminder about the back-to-school get together; Don’t forget to schedule the doctor appointment I’ve been putting off. I quickly say good morning to my family while rattling off the list of the day’s To Dos I want them to remember.

Sound familiar?! My mind is spinning just writing that!

Planning ahead is useful and necessary, but it often means I am not present in the moment. Life feels HARD and full of tension! So, what is a busy person to do? How can we move through transitions with more grace and ease?

BREATHE!

If I anchor myself by breathing in those moments in-between and really pay attention to where I am right then – the transitions become smoother and I’m more centered.

Want to give it a try? Here’s some ways I experiment:

  • Take a deep breath when I’m done brushing my teeth.
  • Take a breath (and smile) before I say good morning to my family.
  • Pause for a deep breath before I open my computer.
  • Deep inhale/exhale before I take the first sip of my morning coffee.

I discover a quiet joy in those precious moments – even if it’s fleeting.

So this month, as you navigate the transition from August to September and all that brings, experiment with your breath. And notice…how does this one small thing make a difference in my daily transitions?

I’d love to hear the results of your experiments. Comment below or send me an email (Mary@coacholk.com).

Warmly (with a deep, easy, full breath),
Mary