Category: Coaching

Happy Mindful Monday!

Last week was indeed a privilege for us as we continue to facilitate a variety of  leadership development opportunities for our customers.  Enlightening discussions were had around managing the challenges, stress and anxiety this pandemic has created. We explored how to strengthen resilience; how to create successful virtual communication; leading in times of crisis; holding on to our personal values; managing blind spots; and dealing with isolation – just to mention a few. Most importantly, we talked about the importance of checking in on each other from time to time.

We were also privileged to have a peek into the participant’s other world. You know,  the roles that makes them SUPER!  We got to see Dads braid their daughter’s hair, clean up spills and provide snacks to their little ones. We heard Moms directing home improvement projects and where to put the new microwave. Every once in a while a little face would appear in the corner of the monitor, trying to see where all the commotion was about. Carrying out these responsibilities while focusing, engaging and sharing their workplace successes and challenges in a 8-16 hour span of training! That gives the definition of multi-tasking a whole new meaning!

Our public servants are “getting it done,” “moving and shaking,” helping our brothers and sisters all over the world during these very unpredictable and stressful times.  LMJA is so honored to be a part of their story; to support our customers in any way we can. Whether it be ‘staying after class’ to provide guidance on a pressing career decision or helping to create ideas for ‘fun food’ for their kids, we are here for our customers. We hope to return to some level of normalcy soon.

In the meantime, be MINDFUL of your team mates and loved ones and most importantly, BE MINDFUL OF YOU! We are all in this together.

Be safe.

Leah Payton

Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness benefitsYou may have heard the term “mindfulness” thrown around, but what exactly is it and how can it help during times of crisis? Jon Kabat-Zinn, psychologist and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.” In short, to be mindful is to be purposeful about where you direct your attention. Instead of letting your thoughts run wild, you take a step back and become intentional about where you put your focus.

We are all dealing with different stressors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, work responsibilities are greater right now and it’s difficult to juggle professional and personal duties. For others, work has slowed down or stopped and the anxiety of remaining productive and dealing with uncertainty can feel paralyzing. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness reduces activity in the part of your brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is central to switching on your stress response, so by practicing mindfulness, you’re reducing your background level of stress. And who doesn’t need a little of that right now?

Here a few of the benefits of practicing mindfulness:

Physical and Emotional Health: According to research, practicing mindfulness regularly can help manage anxiety. It also complements medical and psychological treatments and can help reduce pain and symptoms of conditions such as depression, high blood pressure and addiction.

Emotional and Cognitive Regulation: A regular mindfulness practice has been shown to increase focus and help with memory and problem-solving abilities. It can also improve the brain’s capacity for decision-making.

Happiness and Joy: By practicing mindfulness, you’ll find it easier to take a few deep breaths and respond in a more patient and thoughtful way to a challenging person or situation. You’ll begin to slow down during particularly challenging parts of your day and not react to a problem hastily. That enables you to more easily tune in to pleasant experiences that are around you, even during times of stress.

Mindfulness takes practice, but the effort is well worth the reward! Leah M Joppy and Associates has been conducting webinars focusing on strategies we can all use to get through these challenging times. We can tailor a webinar that focuses on mindfulness practices, stress reduction and more. How can we help you? Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

 

Coaching For Mid-Level Managers

Coaching mid-level managersMiddle managers are often dealt a difficult hand. They’re expected to play the dual role of both boss and employee and the balancing act that accompanies this type of position can be tricky to navigate. If you’re in a middle management position, you’re probably required to deal with day-to-day issues and complaints from your employees, while also understanding and implementing big picture goals from upper management. It can really make you feel like you’re caught in the “middle”!

Many middle managers can feel like they’re thrown to the wolves, particularly if they were promoted to the position with little to no training. Mid-level managers must build their soft skills in addition to so many others. Here are a few skills needed to be an effective mid-level manager:

  • Proficiency in Hiring Top Talent
  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Strong Delegation Skills:
  • Collaboration Skills
  • Strong Decision-Making Skills

Working with a coach can really help with honing these skills. By assessing the unique challenges you face in a middle management position, a life coach can work with you on the best ways to tackle tough situations and develop a clear and detailed plan of action. You can also learn the best ways to advocate for yourself and what you need to perform effectively in your position. Best of all, a coach is someone who has your best interests at heart and is going to help you achieve that balancing act – both in and out of the office.

Whether you’re new to a mid-level management position or you’ve been in one for a while, it’s always beneficial to take a step back and examine what areas you’d like to work on both in and out of the office. If you’re ready to make some meaningful changes and looking for a life coach that can help you through it all, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

LEADERSHIP COACHING

leadership coachingWe’ve all had at least one job where it felt like leadership was lacking. You probably remember what it was like – a lack of communication, no clear expectations or defining of roles and difficulty handling conflict. Add it all together and it makes for a less than pleasant work experience and likely one where you didn’t want to stay long-term. Strong leadership matters and it’s the backbone to every successful work team. Team leaders are responsible for more than just delegating tasks and monitoring employees’ progress. To be effective in this role, true leaders must understand each staff member’s overall goals, strengths and weaknesses and then use this information to build a strong team.

What do you need to do to be an effective leader? There are many lists out there outlining what it takes, but when it comes down to it, they all focus on these 6 core strengths:

  • Communication
  • Cultural Competence (the ability to work with people from other countries and cultures)
  • Flexibility
  • Vision
  • Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
  • Personal Skills (areas such as authenticity and trustworthiness)

When you look at your leadership style, how would you rate your strengths in these areas? Whether you’re new to a leadership role or been in the boss’s chair for years, it’s important to take a step back and look at how you’re leading your team. Frequent changes in focus and conflicting priorities can leave staff feeling stressed and anxious. That’s certainly not the environment you want. Working with a coach can help you identify areas where you need improvement, develop leadership skills that you can begin using immediately and learn techniques to develop a stronger, more cohesive team. The benefits are numerous: happier, more loyal employees, increased efficiency and greater productivity. And who doesn’t want that?

There are so many differences between being a boss and being a leader. Bosses command, while leaders influence. Bosses discipline, but leaders act as a mentor. That’s just the beginning. If you want to improve your leadership skills and be a team leader who inspires, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com. And if you’re wondering if you should be working with a coach, check out our article on Why Should I Work With A Coach?

COACHING FOR HIGH LEVEL ADMIN STAFF

If you’re an executive assistant, does it feel like you make the impossible happen every single day? It’s a job that requires a lot of knowledge and flexibility, along with the ability to deal with all types of personalities. With the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the changes it’s brought to the workplace, you may be dealing with more stress now than ever and even starting to feel some burnout.

Executive assistants often feel like they need to put the needs of their managers and departments first. This can lead to a number of challenges, such as maintaining a work/life balance and feeling like you need to be available 24/7. What if you had someone in your corner who’s ready to listen to YOU and help you make changes both in your job and outside the office? By assessing the unique challenges you face in a high level administrative position, a life coach can work with you on the best ways to tackle tough situations and develop a clear and detailed plan of action. Best of all, you have someone who has your best interests at heart and is going to hold you accountable. Some of the outcomes from working with a life coach include:

  • Establishing stronger boundaries (this is big one!)
  • Building a stronger partnership with your manager(s)
  • Improving communication and streamlining processes
  • Increasing productivity and feeling more focused dealing with day-to-day tasks
  • Learning tips for practicing self care and making yourself a priority
  • Reducing stress and enjoying your job (and life!) more

Whether you’re new to an executive assistant position or if you’ve been at it for years, it’s always beneficial to take a step back, look at the big picture and examine what areas you’d like to work on both in and out of the office. If you’re ready to make some meaningful life changes and looking for a life coach that can help you through it all, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com. And take a look at our article on Why Should I Work With A Coach?

 

Shifting Priorities During COVID-19 Pandemic Part 2

shifting prioritiesLast month, we looked at how the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many of us to reexamine our priorities and how we’ve been spending our time up to this point. We also delved into some simple suggestions to get started on making change: clarifying your values and priorities, incorporating those priorities into your life and beginning to shift your routines even while we’re in the midst of a lifestyle upheaval. Perhaps you’ve started to incorporate some of these ideas into your life. Or maybe you started with the best of intentions and now you’re feeling stuck and frustrated. Don’t worry and most of all, don’t be hard on yourself! Maintaining motivation, particularly during these unprecedented times, is challenging. Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to find motivation.

The Three Ds of Motivation

Simply put, motivation is the ability to initiate and persist at a task. Finding the motivation to change means maintaining consistent effort when it would be easier to give up. It begins with the three Ds:

  1. Direction: When you’re ready to make meaningful change, consider the different directions you can go in your life. You can continue with things as they are now, make drastic and immediate change or take things slower.
  2. Decision: Based on your three choices of direction, you decide which one is best for you and the type of change you’d like to make. None of the choices are right or wrong. They’re simply dependent on what works best for you and the amount of effort and time you’re willing to put into making those changes
  3. Dedication: Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to go all-in. This is the step that determines whether your decision to make changes is a priority in your life and if those changes will be realized.

The difficult nature of making changes and staying motivated means that you will likely be putting in effort long after the point of it being fun and inspiring. It’s hard work, but you don’t have to go it alone. That’s where coaching comes in. Having a coach by your side means that you have someone who asks the difficult questions you may be avoiding, helps with the three Ds of motivation, holds you accountable, keeps you motivated during the tough times and celebrates your victories with you.

While we can’t anticipate and plan for everything in our lives, we can decide how, where and when to concentrate our energy. It requires some motivation and problem solving, but in the end it will lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life. Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to help you on your journey to discover what your priorities and values will look like moving forward. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

SHIFTING PRIORITIES DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

COVIDTo say that our lives have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic would be an understatement. While the last few months have resulted in some changes in habits (washing our hands frequently, disinfecting surfaces regularly, figuring out how to look “Zoom Ready” for meetings), we may also be experiencing a change in our priorities and reflecting on how we’ve been spending our time up to this point. When times change as they have in the past few months, we’re often challenged to realign how we’ve ordered our lives for years or maybe even our entire lives.

Like so many of us, you’re probably thinking about all the things you want to do once life starts to get back to some sense of normalcy: eat at your favorite restaurant, take a trip, spend time with family and friends. But there’s also another type of plan you can make – instead of planning what you’ll do, take some time to plan who you’ll be!

Clarify Your Values and Priorities: What do you want more of in your post-pandemic life? What can be sent to the backburner? One activity to pinpoint your personal value system is to think about the things you miss the most from your “normal” life and list the reasons why. Or on the flipside, what are some of the things you’ve enjoyed during the stay-at-home time and why? Perhaps you’ve enjoyed having family dinners at the table and know that you want less scheduled activities for your family moving forward.

Incorporate Your Priorities Into Your Life: Once you’ve clarified what matters to you, now’s the time to figure out what’s holding you back from incorporating more of those things into your life. If creativity is important to you, what stands between you and taking an art lesson, learning to play an instrument, etc.? Figuring out your values and priorities show you what you want more of in your life. The next step is determining what you need to eliminate from your routine to make room for them.

Start to Shift Your Routines: You may think it’s impossible to start making a change when life is so different right now. But there are ways that you can begin taking action. If you want to change the direction of your career, you can start taking classes to develop a needed skill set. You’ll have a much better chance of sticking with your values if you begin to practice them right now!

Have you noticed a shift in your priorities during these unprecedented times? Are you ready to use this time to make some meaningful changes in your life and start making your priorities a priority? Whether these goals are personal or career-related, Leah M Joppy and Associates can work with you to help bring them to fruition. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

LIFE COACHING FOR SINGLE WOMEN

Life coachingIf you’re a single woman, it can sometimes feel like you’re part of a forgotten group. And if you’re a single woman of a certain age, it can feel like that times a thousand. Gone are the days where single women feel like they need to get married in order to feel fulfilled. Yet popular culture so often portrays them as lonely, unhappy and looking for a partner. The ways single women see themselves versus how they’re stereotyped in our culture are vastly different! So, what’s the real story?

A 2018 study by creative marketing agency Hill Holliday and its market research company Origin sought to answer the question, “What do single women really want?” The answers offered a real life glimpse into their top priorities. Here’s a look:

  • The number-one priority of single women was living on their own. Nearly half (44 percent) said it was what mattered most to them.
  • Another top priority? Establishing a career. About one-third of single women (34 percent) listed their career over everything else.
  • The third most popular priority among single women was financial security with 27 percent of respondents saying it mattered most to them.

The study states that, “on the whole, today’s single women have a strong sense of self and reject the outdated notion that they’re missing out on all that life has to offer.” More proof? Here’s a look at some of the characteristics single women most often use to describe people like them:

  • Independent: 77%
  • Confident: 54%
  • Responsible: 49%
  • Ambitious: 43%
  • Strong-minded: 42%
  • Adventurous: 32%

Perhaps as a single woman you see yourself in the characteristics listed above, but you’re feeling like you could use some assistance in reaching out and grabbing all of the opportunities in front of you. That’s where coaching comes in. Leah M Joppy and Associates can work with you to help identify your priorities, create a realistic action plan and set you on a course for living the life you’ve always wanted. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

And please take the time to read our article on the reasons why people seek out a coach.

Unlocking Employee Engagement

How do you keep employees engaged? And especially now, in this time of crisis, how do you keep employees focused, while understanding the impact of these unprecedented times on their very lives? It’s not easy. Most people will take any tips they can to realistically move projects along. And knowing how to lead beyond work takes some creative initiative.

Leah M. Joppy & Associates recently hosted a webinar titled 5 Tips to Unlocking Employee Engagement in Crisis – And Beyond. The purpose behind this webinar was to explore ways we all can use to keep employees engaged, active and interested.

Obviously, this subject was a hot one! During the highly interactive webinar we informed each other. Creative ideas were tossed around. Each participant could absorb the information and ask questions. Everyone came away from the webinar with insights into what they could do given their individual situation.

Here are some of the takeaways from the webinar.

  • First, lead by example. We learn from each other. How we react is often an extension of how our leader deals with the situation.
  • Encourage virtual collaboration. For some, this may seem silly, or scary. Technology is often puzzling. But showing how easy and effective it can be puts everyone at ease.
  • Get to know your team on a social level. We’re not robots, rights? Getting to know your team as individuals, with specific needs, helps you appreciate more fully exactly what they’re going through and will help to identify resources needed.
  • Offer honest feedback regularly. Think about what we hear on the news now – don’t we all appreciate honest assessment rather than vague direction?
  • Recognize team members using their Appreciation Language. Everyone wants, and needs, appreciation, but you have to know how THEY want to be appreciated. People are different and they have a preference of method in which they like to be appreciated.
  • Mindfulness. How do you feel about the current crisis? Whether your glass is half full or half empty, it is refillable. Taking care of ourselves today will determine our tomorrow, post-crisis.
  • Practice empathy and flexibility. People have a lot going on – loss of job, homeschooling kids, personal health issues and maybe elderly parents who may live in another state – all of which is only made more complicated by the crisis. They need someone to be able to talk to and understand – to LISTEN. This is a new situation for most of us.
  • Stay connected. There are so many ways nowadays – through phone, messaging, Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, and more. Staying connected keeps us occupied and engaged.

All in all, the webinar left us all energized. See the additional resources we sourced below. And stay tuned for the next one. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, send me your email so I can include you on the next announcement. 

Additional Resources:

Be safe, be well everyone!

Hit The Reset Button On Life

We’re all struggling to get used to a new normal right now – social distancing, working from home, homeschooling our kids, not to mention dealing with fear and uncertainty. With so many changes in our lives, it’s tempting to stay in our pjs, crawl under the covers and spend the day bingeing shows on Netflix. The world may seem like it’s come to a standstill, but our need to live a productive life has not. So many of us were overcommitted, overworked and quite frankly, overtaxed before all of this started. As challenging as it may be, perhaps now is a good time to hit the “reset” button, step back and really take a look at our lives and routines.

Here are a couple of suggestions to keep in mind in order to keep your productivity – and spirits – uplifted:

Use extra time to start something new. Have you always wanted to start learning a new language? Take up a yoga practice? Or how about that idea for a new business that you keep putting on the backburner? Now is an ideal time to think about what YOU really want and the direction you want your life to take. Right now, you’re told all the things you can’t do. Change your mindset and start thinking about all the things you can start doing.

Be aware of how you’re structuring your day. Take some time and write down a schedule and prioritize your tasks. If you do your best work in the afternoon, tackle the most important items on your to-do list during that time. Try not to work on the couch, but rather from a clutter-free, quiet workspace where you can concentrate. And don’t forget to take breaks. It’s important to take a short break every 30-40 minutes and clear your head. Walk around the house, do some light exercise, anything that gives you a chance to decompress.

Be kind to yourself. Life right now is stressful. There are going to be days when you sleep in or stay up too late watching movies. It’s important to treat yourself with grace and not focus on the stumbles, which are inevitably going to happen during this uncertain period.

If you’ve thought about working with a coach, but have been setting the idea aside for a more convenient time, now is the perfect time to start! At Leah M Joppy and Associates, we’re here to help you find a newfound focus during these challenging times. We can work with you to set a routine and keep it on track, assess your life and career direction and help you take steps to make meaningful change. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.