3 Strategies For Making Clear Decisions

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3 Strategies For Making Clear Decisions

We all know what it’s like to be faced with a significant, important decision. If you’re anything like me, you try to weigh the pros with the cons, and look down the pathway of each option as far as you can in an attempt to be thorough in examining all the possibilities. Sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes, given enough time, thought, and reflection, sound decisions can (usually) be made. But what about those times when it’s not enough? What strategies can be employed to help make the tough choices that we otherwise grapple with?

1) Remember/Examine/Discover Your Core Values
Put simply, a value is that which is held in high importance. Values are worth something, because an individual is willing to devote time, energy, and sacrifice to honor those values. Examples of values can range from the concept of an idea such as honesty, integrity, or loyalty to more specific, personal values like sharing quality time with loved ones and friends. Regardless of what someone holds in high esteem in terms of worth, it is a critical exercise to be able to identify what those values are and why those values are significant. The reason why is because clearly articulated values – and a commitment to living out those values – are a central component to living a life of contentment and meaning.

2) Identify and Define Your Passions
“What are you passionate about?”. You’ve no doubt heard this question before, perhaps in a job interview. But what does it truly mean, to be passionate about something? One definition of passion, as it relates to professional coaching, is when a client has found something they care so deeply about they are willing to devote personal resources and risk to pursuing it. If values are a mid-sized list, passions are a short list. It is an exclusive, elite, small collection of those activities a person loves to do, even at the possibility of failure. For example, someone may care deeply about improving access to health care for the homeless for reasons they are able to clearly articulate. At this point, it is a value. What makes it a passion for this person is how she volunteers her time to work at a free medical clinic twice a month to help those who might otherwise not receive health care. Additionally, she donates money to a charity that is devoted to similar work. A passion combines the belief with the action for a greater purpose that the individual loves to do.

3) Create a Personal Mission Statement
A personal mission statement can be a filter through which one can make important decisions. Properly crafted, it serves as a means to take action based upon a foundation of previously established values and passions. The key to constructing such a decision filter is to inspire (or re-inspire!) this action by connecting one’s values and passions to the decision at hand. Remember, personal self-efficacy and meaning in one’s life is derived from how well (or not) we are living our lives in accordance with the values and passions we hold dear to us. Some might call this the “story” we are living. Creating and applying a personal mission statement provides a client with an opportunity to communicate to himself on a level that can facilitate sound, clear decision-making that is in alignment with his core beliefs. This process greatly increases the likelihood a client will feel confident in moving forward with the decision made.

Are you in need of a professional coach to help guide you in some upcoming decisions that are before you? Primarily, I work with leaders, achievers, and those who are motivated to succeed beyond what they thought was possible. Let’s find the answers together. Contact me directly for a complimentary consultation…

Chuck Sheron
Certified Executive Coach
Reimagine Success Coaching
[email protected]

5 Top Leadership Characteristics

People white water rafting.

5 Top Leadership Characteristics

What are the elements that comprise an effective leader? While there may not be universal agreement on what those qualities are, I believe the following characteristics are at or near the top of the list more often than not. For many years, I worked in the education field as a teacher and principal in multiple public and private school systems. I also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in educational leadership. Now, I own my own professional coaching and consulting business and offer my clients leadership development services, as many people are interested in improving their skills in this area of their professional and personal lives. These qualities are based on my work and experience in these fields over time.

1) Lead by Example
People want to know their supervisor, team captain, or CEO is willing to roll up their sleeves and get into the trenches with them. What kind of imagery is evoked toward someone who “rules in an ivory tower”, rarely leaves his office, or asks others to do things she is not willing to do herself? Does it inspire people to go the extra mile, or merely do enough to get by? How does it effect organizational culture, climate, and sense of teamwork? Conversely, what kinds of thoughts do you have toward someone who was intentional about lending a hand to make the load lighter for you or assist in a pinch? A true leader not only talks the talk but, more importantly, walks the walk. As the saying goes, talk is cheap. What are you doing to show your people they matter to you? What actions are you taking to come alongside those you work, play, and live with?

2) Collaborate
Most of us naturally want to be genuinely listened to, and our input honestly considered. It is a sign not only of professional respect, but wisdom as well for a leader to garner feedback from those around her. As a principal, I knew I was not completely knowledgable about the pedagogy of teaching 8th grade science (I taught history as a teacher), nor was I an expert in Special Education. I needed to trust (see #3) my people in those areas to do their jobs in a proficient manner while I teamed with them to ensure they had the resources and support to run their departments well. As leaders, it is critical we (when appropriate) delegate and defer responsibilities to others for the long-term viability of the organization. Otherwise, people at the top who attempt to filter everything through themselves find they are on an inevitable path to burnout while sacrificing the potential of the company, school, or team.

3) Trust
Typically, organizations that thrive also experience high levels of trust. How do effective leaders build that trust? Slowly. Methodically. Genuinely. One person at a time, one day at a time. One fundamental, primary ingredient that must be present in trust-building is how people must know you are a safe person. What I mean by that, is how others need to believe you care about them and care about the team above yourself. Think for a moment about someone who was in a position of authority who, at his core, was only out for himself. Could others detect that? If so, how did it influence how they did their jobs? Most significantly, how did it impact the organization? Nothing will erode trust faster than a “gotcha” mentality in which people feel as though they need to protect themselves from an individual who is out to leverage herself at the expense of those to whom she has been entrusted. However, when strong cords of trust have been layered over time your people will experience the freedom to take risks and fully apply themselves toward their role within the group.

4) Be Vulnerable
This can be a tough one to display (especially for us men!). However, it is a beautiful vehicle to create connection and convey empathy. It could be a simple statement such as, “This is awkward and difficult for me” during a challenging conversation. As leaders, our instinct is usually to attempt to hide such thoughts. However, what we don’t often stop to realize is that chances are, people are already aware of them. Sharing our vulnerability allows for us to show authenticity, which can also lead to trust-building. As you may be noticing, many of these traits overlap and are interrelated. A common misconception is that showing vulnerability conveys weakness. I believe this is only true when combined with shortcomings related to job performance. For example, if a supervisor were to share with those who report to her she doesn’t feel competent to effectively fulfill the role of her position that would not be showing vulnerability. More than likely, it would be revealing a lack of knowledge or skill. However, this is rare. I encourage you to be strong enough to (occasionally) show weakness, which leads us to #5…

5) Be Courageous
Scott Turow is credited with the quote, “Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to carry on with dignity in spite of it”. There are times when leaders need to be seen out front during times of uncertainty, regardless of any accompanying fear. You don’t need to try and hide your anxiety (see #4), but I also wouldn’t recommend allowing it to overcome you. Inherently, people take comfort in knowing someone is in charge and there are times when leaders must step into that void and fill that role. If other leadership characteristics have been demonstrated over time, chances are people will rally around that and show support because they know you are only human and doing your best to lead them.

In closing, I believe leadership characteristics can be learned and improved, and the five qualities I have covered are skills that are transferrable. If you would like to expand your leadership capabilities with a trained, certificated, and professional coach I invite you to contact me for a complimentary 30-minute design session.


Chuck Sheron, AELC
Reimagine Success Coaching, LLC
[email protected]

Are You Able To Connect With Others?

Recently in a coaching session one of my clients made a remarkable discovery. She said, “I can’t influence people if I can’t connect with them.” We then leveraged that new learning to create an action plan for which she could take steps toward changing that to become a more effective leader.

The ability to make connections with others is a fundamental component of successful leadership. It’s also healthy to occasionally ask yourself, “How do I know I am actually relating to others (i.e. making connections) in meaningful ways?” There are many indicators, but one such way is if your co-workers are seeking you out, as well. For example, do others feel comfortable enough to say hello to you or make small talk? Do your peers feel safe enough to approach you with a question or an idea? If not, you may need more strategies from which to draw in order to generate the relationships you are looking to build upon.

It’s possible to be exceptional at what you do, but to be overall ineffective if you are unable to connect with and relate to your colleagues. The necessary skills to be successful at this are just that – skills. Skills that can be taught, learned, practiced, and eventually mastered. If you find yourself in need of these abilities in order to achieve your goals, I invite you to contact me in the field on the left side of this screen.

All the Best,

How to Step in for a Leader

Have you ever attended an event, meeting, or day at work in which the leader of that organization was absent and someone else was there to take their place? Me too. One recent Sunday morning we discovered the pastor of our church was speaking off-site, so someone else from the staff was there to fill in for him. She did a great job, and I let her know that after the service. It got me thinking about how others might be able to benefit from some specific strategies to utilize in such a situation. Many of these I learned while substituting for principals in public schools, and I now teach to some of the clients I coach:

1) Be Yourself: You are not the person you are (temporarily) replacing, so don’t try to be. You’ll only come across as a phony and others will see through the act. Since there is only one person you can truly be (You!), be that person. The others in the room will relax a bit when they sense you are comfortable in your own skin, and this will also build trust with them.

2) Seek to Help: Don’t know exactly what to say or do since you probably aren’t working with this team everyday? No problem. You are capable, otherwise you wouldn’t be there. I recommend practicing a healthy portion of servant-leadership, with the emphasis on servant. The act of helping others is a quick way to become involved in the work, and is also an effective way to learn some of the specific methodology of the team you are now working with.

3) Lean into the Role: While you are stepping-in for a leader, you will probably be expected to lead in some capacity as the person would you are substituting for. So, bring your leadership toolbox and be prepared to use some of your tools (e.g. listen, collaborate, display vulnerability, trust others, and be courageous). A role is a part, or function, someone is expected to play. While stepping in for someone, fill the role you are expected to perform. That’s why you’re there.

4) Have Fun! Often, people substitute for others as either a professional or personal courtesy. Enjoy the opportunity to work with new people and learn new skills. Chances are, if you don’t take yourself too seriously you’ll actually be more effective in the position since it’s only for a limited time. Take your job seriously, of course, but remember this isn’t your team. Do your best, and leave it at that.

All the Best,

Who Leads the Leaders?

Have you seen the movie Top Gun: Maverick? In the film, Captain Pete Mitchell (a.k.a. Maverick) is charged with preparing a team of ace fighter pilots for a dangerous mission. Besides prepping his team for the logistics and strategy of the mission itself, Maverick also decides to grow his team together. One way in which he does this is by facilitating a game of football on the beach to foster both competition and comradery (cue some super-cool song, here!). When his commanding officer questions why Maverick is doing this, his answer is along the lines of, “You told me to build a team. That’s exactly what I’m doing!”. To this the commander shakes his head, clearly not understanding.

A wrinkle in this plotline is how Maverick is leading a team of leaders. This alters the dynamic of how someone goes about doing this, as opposed to building a team composed of people who don’t have a leadership mindset. It made me wonder: How much attention and effort is being directed toward expanding the capacity of leaders of leaders? School boards, church boards, boards of directors, and other governing bodies have an obligation not only to supervise the leaders they oversee (and this is important) but also to invest in their growth so they can grow other leaders. To neglect the latter is to limit the development of other leaders in the organization, which in turn jeopardizes the future of that organization.

All the Best,

Are Your Actions Reflecting Your Values?

Are Your Actions Reflecting Your Values?

You may (or may not!) have noticed I did not create a newsletter last week. What happened? Did I forget? No. Become lazy? Nope. Bag it altogether? Not at all. The truth of the matter is that after a full week of powerfully serving my clients I took my family to the beach for Memorial Day Weekend. Once there, we enjoyed good food, games, and the company of extended family.

Could I have created an article while there to send out? Sure, but that would’ve violated two of my high-ranking values. The first, being fully present with and for my family. There is an adage I recently read: We are all replaceable at work; none of us are replaceable at home. I am the only one who could have fulfilled the role of husband, father, son, and brother that weekend at the beach, so I chose to lean into that. The second value I didn’t want to compromise was my commitment to a healthy work-life balance. I believe in the value of hard work and practice that belief on a regular basis. However, without a corresponding commitment to rest and leisure we run the risk of burning out, and if I allow that to happen my own effectiveness diminishes. This reminds me of another axiom: Sharpen your axe, or the tool will eventually become increasingly dull and inefficient.

So, I challenge you to ask yourself two questions: One, “What are my core values?” and two, “Am I honoring those values by how I spend my time?”. If you’re feeling stuck in answering these questions, I invite you to contact me on the left side of your screen.

All the Best,

Be Where Your Feet Are

There is a saying in golf: Be where your feet are. The concept is that the only play you have is the one in front of you. The shot you flubbed on the last hole? Gotta flush it – it’s history. The next hole with the water hazard to the right side of the fairway? That’s in the future. If your focus is somewhere other than on the swing you are taking right now to hit the ball that is directly in front of you, chances are it will negatively impact that shot.

The same is true in life. How often do we direct our energies on that which is either out of our control (i.e. sphere of influence), in the past (which is unchangeable), or in the future (which hasn’t happened yet)? How would your results change if you were to be more intentional about living in your three foot radius of control? In other words, what would change by being fully present in the here and now – your thoughts, your conversations, and your interactions?

So, the next time your find your mind starting to wander away and you begin to feel unbalanced and out of control as a result, imagine your are on a golf course. You’ve got your five iron, and you know where your ball is. Be where your feet are.

All the Best,

We See What We Want To See

Ever take one of those tests in which you are asked to look at an image and share what you see? Perhaps it looks like two ninjas giving each other a high-five, or maybe it’s a bird, or a guitar with feathers! Depending on your answer, it may be psychologically insightful or revealing. One of the fascinating elements of this type of assessment is how two people can look at exactly the same visual and “see” two totally different objects. In other words, we see what we want to see.

This is also true in the the field of professional coaching, where I am. So often, we condition ourselves to have a certain mindset toward something or someone. For example, because it’s raining when you wake up you decide it’s going to be a crummy day. Or the economy is reported as declining so you adopt a mood of gloom. Meanwhile, someone else wakes up to the same weather and thinks, “I’m glad it’s raining; that will be good for my plants”. As for the news about the economy someone else says, “I have no control over that. I’m going to focus my energies on what I can do today”.

The point is, we get to decide. We always have the option of choosing our attitude and “seeing” what we want to see.

… and Then You Realize You ARE the Smartest Person in the Room!

What do you do? In my last article I wrote about strategies to utilize when you are not the smartest person (i.e. expert) in the room. But what if it’s reversed? What if you are the person with the most institutional knowledge, skills, and experience and everyone else is looking to you to lead the team at this time?

First, lean into the moment. Adopt a mindset of confidence in which you want this opportunity to share, teach, and communicate with your people. There are times when a leader needs to be out in front, seen and heard. This is one of them.

Second, be prepared. Whether the goal is to improve your team, your systems, or complete a project you want to make this an intentional time of growth. Be productive, be personal, and convey a message to others that their time is valuable. Being prepared will help to accomplish that.

To acquire more tools related to this topic, I invite you to click the link below…

All the Best,

Not the Smartest Person in the Room?

Good! You now have an opportunity to grow. As leaders, we sometimes want to be in this position because it allows us to accomplish two goals:

1) We can acquire knowledge from others. Obviously, nobody knows everything so why pretend otherwise? The willingness to model this to your team will also convey a message of vulnerability on your part, and a willingness to send a powerful message: New lear
ning is valued and expected of everyone – including me.

2) We can empower our team to take leadership roles and apply themselves in their areas of expertise. After all, that is what they were hired for, right? You will get better results and avoid burnout by resisting the urge to do everything yourself.

All the Best,