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MAGUS Founder Holly Williams shares monthly what's new and interesting in leadership and elsewhere in the world…

 

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Holly Williams

Holly Williams

MAGUS Group Coaching Founder and President

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NEW BEGINNINGS...

July and August have been full of new beginnings for MAGUS Group Coaching.  After nearly twenty years in business and eight years in "The Barn," MAGUS has moved to new offices in downtown Warrenton, Virginia:


 
Also, Georgetown University's ITL leadership podcast, Inside Transformational Leadership, featured an interview with me on July 25.  Take a few minutes to listen to "Group and Team Coaching from the Inside," and let me know what you think. 

As a thank you for your support, I'd like to make available one final Kindle Giveaway of Being CoachedDownload it free here from August 26 through August 30, 2016.
 
I am also pleased to announce the title of my new book:  Build a Coaching Culture from the Inside, expected to launch before the end of the year. More on that soon--


Best--

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If you are in town, in August, working, you deserve a present.
 
Please accept a free Kindle download of Being Coached: Group and Team Coaching from the Inside as my gift to you.  This free Kindle offer is available Saturday through Wednesday, August 15-19, 2015.
 
AND, if you have any ideas (or stories) about how to create a coaching culture that rewards curiosity and collaboration, please email me. I am finishing up my second book this fall, and I'd like to include your thoughts, with permission.
 
Keep in touch--

Email me at holly.williams@magusgroup.com

NO!  I won’t alarm you with economic theories (missed the bank closures and demonstrations too), nor intrigue/depress you with tales of Greek relics, food, or scenery....   Instead I will tell you what I noticed once I got home from my almost two-week travels around mainland Greece.  

First, I forgot how to use the QWERTY keyboard—seriously; my first few efforts at email were total do-overs.  

Second, I forgot how to drive American-style—you know, obeying traffic rules and not tailgating or weaving.  This I noticed at 2:00 am Sunday driving home from the airport.  Actually the few others out there in the middle of the night had to have seen me zooming from lane to lane, tailgating and honking—in Greek!  

Finally, I forgot how to sit.  A couple of hours into my typical Monday, the body rebelled, and I HAD to jump up and walk around.  

I hope your summer vacation is as different from your day-to-day as mine was!

And also while I was gone... this news:  MAGUS Coaching Project Manager, Laura Maddox (laura.maddox@magusgroup.com), is leaving for new pastures at the end of July.  At the same time, Chris Schrager (christine.schrager@magusgroup.com), joins MAGUS as Operations Manager.  We will miss you, Laura!  Welcome, Chris!

 Email me at holly.williams@magusgroup.com  

BONUS SECTION  -- AUTHENTIC GREEK SALAD RECIPE HORIATAKI
 

Cut up 2 summer-ripe tomatoes in chunks in bowl you will be serving in.  Add handful of Greek olives, slivers of red onion and green pepper, and 1-2 cut up baby cucumbers with skin on—in chunks.   Add slab of feta cheese.  Sprinkle cheese with dried rosemary, thyme, and oregano, and black pepper.  Drizzle Greek olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top.

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what i learned from chickensHanging around animals is lots of fun, and they always teach you something. Recently my daughter Arri got a bunch of chickens: a rooster she bought off of Craigslist (cheap) and five she’s raised from baby chicks. The chickens are now adolescents, probably about five months old.

Chickens spend a lot of time scratching in the grass and dirt, pecking at whatever shows up beneath their beaks. “Heads down” describes it best.

Last week we had our first windy autumn day, and thousands of leaves blew off the trees and came wafting down toward the ground. The chickens freaked out. I can almost promise you that one said to another, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!”

And from their vantage point, of course it did look like the sky was falling.

This got me thinking about perspective, about being “heads down,” looking only at what’s right in front of you and scratching away at that. If, instead, you look up and around, it’s a lot easier to interpret what you think you see.

So when you find yourself freaking out and thinking “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” it might just be a reminder to look up, look around, and notice what else might be going on.

Just a little bit of wisdom from down on the farm.


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I really enjoyed The Discomfort Zone by Marcia Hughes, a quick read on having tough conversations.  Marcia does a great job providing "coach" advice for leaders who need to speak up about issues that cause discomfort.  See my review on Amazon here.  

It's hard to forget the nonfiction book, The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, written by Peace's Yale college roommate.  This is an extraordinary story about an extraordinary boy who comes of age in East Orange and never can seem to break away from that lifestyle.  See my Amazon review here.  

Finally, for Bill Murray fans, I loved St. Vincent, a new movie where he plays an aging Vietnam vet who ends up babysitting for Melissa McCarthy's son.  You will laugh out loud.  And if you stay through the closing credits, you will be further mesmerized.

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I just read Helen Dunmore’s new book The Lie, which is about a soldier who returns to Cornwall after WWI, a damaged man who tries to make sense of the war and how he survived.
 
In a passage about trench foot, the serious affliction that killed twenty thousand men, she quotes from a WWI procedures document on prevention.  By pairing soldiers and having them take care of each other’s feet, the numbers dying from trench foot dropped precipitously.  The returning soldier muses on this:  “You’d think that selfishness would be the stronger force, but it turns out that isn’t so…. Tell him he’s responsible for the feet of the man next to him, and he does it.”
 
WWI soldiers were the hero-fighters of the war that would end all wars.  Who knew that they also cared for each other’s feet, with humanity and love?
 
Could this be why Leadership Peer Coaching works—being accountable for someone else’s leadership development and having them accountable for yours—will both cause it to actually happen and provide critical support?
 
Who can you support today?  Who will be your support?

 

Email me at  holly.williams@magusgroup.com

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banner for webI would like for you to read BEING COACHED: Group and Team Coaching from the Inside.  On June 14-15, please take advantage of a free Kindle download, and share this offer with your network.

Email me and let me know if you like it, and please consider leaving feedback on Amazon.

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Just wanted to let you know that... finally...  BEING COACHED: Group and Team Coaching from the Inside….has left the starting gate, and is available on Amazon.
 
I had a vision three years ago of a book that would tell the stories of leaders being coached in a group.  For several years, I created characters and wrote a few chapters during summer vacation, but the rest of the year, it was hard to find time to write.  The book was slowly going nowhere, as my wise coach subtly pointed out when she murmured, “if you write the book” at the end of one of our calls [emphasis mine].  That offhand remark pushed me into action, and I approached Ann Deaton, the book’s co-author, to join me.  She loved the BEING COACHED premise.  Ann coaches as many leaders as I do in group and team programs so we are a great fit as co-authors.
 
Pretty soon, persistence and teamwork joined vision and now our book is a reality.
 
I hope you will enjoy reading it, if you choose to, and I appreciate how much support many of you have given me over the past few years.


Email me your story of vision, persistence, and teamwork!

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My coaching colleague wrote an amazing leadership blog, which is reprinted here. Enjoy!

AN UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION

Kelly Kienzle

Open Circle Coaching

 Cute Kitten

I always have cheesy wall calendars.  Every year, I don’t remember until January to buy a new wall calendar.  And then I’m left with paltry options like “Rainbows!” or “Justin Bieber Unleashed.”  And 2014 was no different.

Sometime in mid January I trekked to our local Barnes & Noble, scanned the detritus and brought home “Simplicity.”  It had a photo of boats on a calm, misty lake on the front cover.  How bad could that be?

Here’s how bad.  March’s photograph is of a wide-eyed kitten peeking out from behind a wall with a blurry umbrella in the background.  And it gets worse.  The quote is:

“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”

The author of this empty quote actually included his name, but I won’t compound his mistake by doing so here.

Ugh, I thought.  Maybe I could tape another photograph over it.  This blank piece of printer paper would do nicely.  Then, a visitor walked into my office, immediately noticed the new page and said, “Oh, how cute!  I love it!”

Now, the visitor was my 12-year old daughter who talks to guinea pigs, but the point I’m about to make still stands:

As a leader, it doesn’t really matter what inspires us.  What matters is finding what inspires our team.
  We already have the vision for whatever we want to achieve and that is inspiration enough.  The key is finding what inspires our team.  They are the ones who most need inspiration.

So how do you do that?  The answer is simply to ask them.  Sit them down individually or as a group and ask:

“What part of this plan is most inspiring to you?”

“What has inspired you in the past about our work?”

“How do you get inspiration for a new project?”

Listen to what they say, take notes and say “Thank you.”  Incorporate some of their ideas into your overall plan, which will then make it partially “their plan”.  As a result, you get a two-fer:

1) You now have a tailored list of specific ideas on how to inspire each individual on your team

2) By including some of their ideas, the plan now has multiple authors each of whom will be more inspired to perform

There is a bottom-line lesson here that I frequently talk about with my coaching clients:  If you don’t know something, ask your team.  It’s their perception of the problem, challenge, strategy, or reward that matters most anyway.  Because they are the ones who will need to address it.

And if it is wide-eyed little kittens that inspire them, then I have the perfect wall calendar for you.

“No more kittens.  Please.”

- Kelly Kienzle

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A recent WSJ article highlighted research on secondhand stress, outlining how people who rush around busily can spread stress to others by causing anxiety (should I be rushing around too?), a sense of inferiority and avoidance (is my work even important?), and even resentment (are you putting your priorities above mine?).
 
So now we have to worry about making others anxious, in addition to managing our own anxiety!
 
The good news is that as social creatures every mood is contagious—even joy.  So during this season of joy, and love, and peace, remember to spread some secondhand joy!
 
Have a wonderful joyous holiday!

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