COACHING FOR ANY LEVEL

Wherever you stand in your job right now (entry level to executive), chances are you’re wondering what the future holds in the next year or five years and beyond. Do you feel like you’ve reached your full potential or do you feel like there’s something better for you out there? Is your career in alignment with your values? Do you really like going to your job everyday? Working with a coach provides an opportunity to achieve both short-term and long-term career goals, as well as improvement in other areas. Here’s how it work for all career levels:

Coaching for Entry Level Employees: Maybe the enthusiasm you had when you started on your career path is beginning to wane. You might be wondering if there’s potential in your career or if you’ve even chosen the right field in the first place. Working with a coach provides guidance and accountability, as well as tools and strategies to help you build a fulfilling career that excites you.

Coaching for Middle Management: This is often the time where you can feel stuck and wondering if you’ve made the right career decision. You’ve invested a fair number of years in your present career, so would it make sense to make any big leaps now? Is there potential for more and how can it be achieved? Coaching delves into these areas and provides clarity and motivation for change.

Coaching for Executives: Executives face a number of challenges that make coaching an effective component to unlock leadership potential and hone leadership skills. It not only maximizes an executive’s skill set, but it also helps him/her develop stronger work teams. Coaches also look at other areas like building emotional intelligence, learning impactful communication skills and establishing a work/home balance.

Whether you’re just getting started or have been at your job for years, working with a coach can benefit you at any level. Here are some reasons why people seek a coach. Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help you at any stage of your career. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

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.

Mindfulness During Uncertain Times

MindfulnessWith all of the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are looking for ways to handle stress, stay focused and clear our minds a little. Between the constant stream of negative news, uncertainty and anxiety, it’s no wonder that our emotions are running the gamut right now. If you feel like you’re struggling to cope with it all, it may be the perfect time to learn a useful new skill: mindfulness.

You may have heard the term “mindfulness” thrown around, but what exactly is it and how can it help during times of crisis? Psychologist Jon Kabat-Zinn 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.

Mindfulness may sound simple, but it takes some getting used to if you’re new to the idea. As you practice moments of mindfulness on a regular basis, you will notice they come more naturally and easily to you. 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. You’ll be better able to focus. Best of all, you’ll become more aware of your thoughts in order to deal with the various stressors in your life.

So, how do you get started? Take a look at our next article on the basics of a mindfulness practice.

 

Basics Of A Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness PracticePay attention to activities you do everyday. This is a great starting point. Pick an activity you do everyday, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Then, get in the habit of truly paying attention to what you’re doing. When your mind starts to wander, bring your attention back to the feel of your toothbrush on your teeth, the sensation of washing your hair, etc.

Set aside some time and space. You don’t need a special mat or equipment, but you do need a peaceful, quiet area (if only for a few minutes!). You also need to allow yourself some time (again, if only for a few minutes!). Some people set a reminder on their phone to take breaks throughout the day.

Pay attention to your breathing. Breathing is a key mindfulness practice. It’s something we do naturally and it’s a good way to bring our awareness back to the present moment. Just taking three or four deep breaths while paying attention to them can help you calm down and improve focus.

Ground yourself physically. Sometimes concentrating on your breathing isn’t enough. In that case, concentrate on how the chair or floor feels under your body. Or put your hands on a table and notice how the surface feels. Other people enjoy running their fingers across an object like a stone. Any of these types of actions bring awareness of the present.

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?

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.

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.

Navigating Through A New Normal


As we all try to adapt to the changes going on in the world right now and establish new routines, one of the biggest challenges is feeling disconnected from our team and working from home in solitary. As a manager, you’re trying to stay calm and positive. You’re checking in with your team and helping them with prioritization and staying focused on achievable tasks. It’s a daunting undertaking and can make you feel more than a little overwhelmed and stressed. It can also feel a little lonely. You’re focused so hard on helping your staff that you can start to neglect your own goals and well-being. That’s why coaching can be just the answer. Working with a coach provides you with the partner you need while you’re trying to navigate the new normal of life. Here are a few areas where a coach can help right now:

Establishing routine. Just the act of having a coaching session once a month can start a new routine. And that time is yours to discuss goal setting, planning for the future, whatever you like! Having a concrete action plan with a sense of accountability can also jump-start a new routine and will carry you into well into the future.

Encouraging self-care. So much is out of our control, but one thing within our control is how we take care of ourselves. As a manager, you may be so focused on your team that you forget to make yourself a priority. However, maintaining a sleep schedule, taking time to exercise and eat properly are just some of the activities that encourage calm and rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit.

Looking to the future and establishing a path forward. We all have a little more time on our hands right now. Rather than thinking about what you can’t do, it’s an ideal time to think about what you CAN accomplish, both for yourself and your team. What were some of the goals you had in mind before we all needed to adapt to a new normal? Was it working on conflict resolution? Or perhaps learning how to manage multiple tasks and priorities more effectively? Now is an ideal time to set a strategy for the future with the help of a coach.

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. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

FINDING BALANCE

finding balanceHave you ever uttered the words, “There’s just not enough time in the day to do everything I need to do…” Who hasn’t? In today’s high speed, high pressure, high stress world, it can be hard to find the balance that we’re looking for in our lives. And there are so many things that we need to balance – work, family, caring for others, caring for ourselves, household chores, errands, finding time for relaxation and leisure… the list goes on and on. Maintaining balance in our lives is so important, yet can feel so elusive. It’s such as popular topic that there’s a mountain of information about it. Simply Google search “finding balance in our lives” and you’ll be amazed at the number of results that pop up. So, why is it so hard to do?

Achieving life balance can often feel so challenging and frustrating because there is no quick fix. It’s an ongoing, lifetime project without a finite completion date. Where to begin? For starters, ask yourself some basic questions:

  1. How many hours of sleep do you get per night?
  2. Do you find yourself unable to spend enough time with your family?
  3. Are you satisfied with your energy and fitness levels?
  4. Do you normally work more than 12 hours per day?
  5. Is your work satisfying and rewarding?
  6. Do you feel like you have to do everything on your own or can you delegate work to others?

Once you’ve spent some time mulling over these questions and have more awareness of your current situation, it’s time to dig a little deeper and explore the following areas:

  • What are your life balance goals? Define what really matters to you!
  • How do you spend your time? Analyze your current activities and identify time wasters.
  • How do you structure your day? Begin to prioritize your “to-dos”, examine your efficiency and where you can delegate.
  • What boosts your energy? What drains it? Start to identify those energy drains. (Hint: this is one of the main causes of poor life balance!)

Remember, balance is a lifelong endeavor, so be prepared for challenges and changes! Your priorities can change, your life can suddenly take a different direction or any number of hurdles can come your way. The key is to have the tools in place to meet those challenges head on.

Life balance is not a destination, but a constant journey. And it’s a journey that you don’t have to take alone. Leah M Joppy and Associates has worked with many clients who are seeking a more fulfilling, balanced life. The coaching process helps you explore and define what life balance means for you and how to successfully achieve it step-by-step. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

MANAGING CONFLICT

managing conflictWhen you get a group of people working together in an office day after day, conflicts are going to happen. Workplace conflict is a major issue that needs to be effectively addressed by leaders before it creates a toxic environment. If left unaddressed, it can lead to a lack of productivity, increased absenteeism and eventually higher employee turnover. There are so many reasons why conflict occurs in the workplace, including: poor management, unclear job roles, personality clashes, inadequate training, lack of opportunity and so many others.

While it’s a natural human tendency to avoid uncomfortable conversations with others, that strategy won’t work in the long term. It’s up to managers to give high priority to handling conflict in the office and ensure all employees are committed to solving issues. Managers need to instill in their staff that disagreements happens, but mutual respect is key. If handled correctly, conflicts can result in growth and greater understanding within the workplace. Here are a few suggestions to make sure that happens:

  • Tackle issues early. Waiting until a conflict escalates and turns into an unmanageable issue only makes problem solving more challenging.
  • Find out the root cause of the problem. Ask open-ended questions that provide people a chance to talk and feel valued. Dialog is key!
  • Take a look how you manage. Before you can manage others, take a look at yourself and how you handle conflict. Do you act defensively? What kind of body language do you use?
  • Act as a referee rather than a judge. As a manager, it’s important to remain impartial when conflicts arise. Meet with employees individually and then together in an uninterrupted space. Once employees are talking through their differences, let them work it out and don’t get drawn into taking sides.
  • Consider conflict resolution training. Many managers don’t know how to effectively resolve conflicts because they simply haven’t had the proper training. It can really go a long way towards making conflict resolution more effective for all parties.

Conflict is an unavoidable part of workplaces, but it’s how these conflicts are handled that counts. Leah M Joppy and Associates has worked with many organizations to teach them how to effectively handle conflicts. We give you the tools to diffuse issues quickly and effectively in a manner where all employees feel valued and heard. For more information, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.