In this Issue

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Quote of the Month

"Relax your body, and the rest of you will lighten up." 

Coach's Calendar

23.04.15
Weaving a Network of Influence

05.05.15
Promoting Yourself with Integrity

23.05.15
Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge

25.06.15
Ethical Lobbying

 

Recommended Reads

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Volume 14, Number 2 - Spring 2015

Hello,

Spring is officially here! 

...although, this year there didn’t seem to be much difference between winter and spring - bar the ongoing political circus in the news.

Watching a recent speech by a potential US presidential candidate, a few interesting questions came to my mind.

How can we:
  • Achieve the results we want while remaining authentic?
  • Meet others’ expectations while staying true to ourselves?
Compromise is essential to every (working) relationship. Yet it means that we can’t expect a what-you-see-is-what-you-get strategy to be effective 100% of the time - especially not if you are a politician. 

After all, how tolerable would most of us be if we were always ourselves? 

This is particularly true in a global working environment made up of people from different backgrounds and cultures. My experience in the Czech Republic, for example, has taught me when to tone down my outgoing, spontaneous personality in order to work more effectively with those around me.

Undoubtedly most of us prefer to keep our behaviour in line with our own beliefs and values. Yet a multicultural work environment demands that we leave the familiar behind while accommodating the values and social manners of those around us. That forces us to put things into perspective and really ask ourselves what we are trying to accomplish. 

What you will find is that a compromise in behaviour and attitude is often far more productive than letting your natural inclinations determine everything. 

I wish you a very sunny and happy Spring 2015!
 
Karin Genton L'Epée

Rotary Dragon Boat Charity Challenge 2015

Experience an entirely different form of team building on the Vltava River with the Rotary Club International Prague on Saturday May 23rd. 

Join us for the Rotary Dragon Boat Charity Challenge 2015! Crews of 16 paddlers, a drummer and a (less athletic) navigator will go head-to-head in this ancient Chinese water sport, which is growing in popularity in the Czech Republic. 

You will be provided with boats, training, life jackets and all safety equipment. There will even be training runs on the morning of the 23rd to help you hone your skills before racing. 

It’s great fun, requires no experience, anyone can do it and, most importantly, you’ll be supporting a number of wonderful charities in Prague.

You and your company can choose to underwrite a boat to participate in the Rotary Dragon Boat Race Challenge. Alternatively simply come along with friends and family to watch the racing, take in great live music, eat and enjoy yourself. 

When: Saturday May 23rd 
Where: On the Vltava River at Žluté lázně
Who: You, your family, your friends and your colleagues. Teams should consist of 18 to 20 people with supporters for motivation!

Your participation will make a real difference to both Nadace Nase Dite children's charity and Zivot 90, which provides much-needed support for the elderly.

For more information, please visit: http://www.rotarypragueinternational.org or email rotarydragonboats@gmail.com

Results from the survey about your Organization Political Style

How politically savvy are you?
  • I compromise when needed                            66%
  • I know how to work the system                      66%
  • I believe good work will be rewarded            33%
  • I have an open, honest, up-front agenda        0%
  • I sell ideas and self with boldness                  33%
  • I respect proper channels and rules              33%

Aligning mind, body and spirit on the path to success

When business coaching emerged some twenty years ago, only a handful of (mostly senior) executives enlisted the help of coaches to guide them to greater success in both their professional and personal lives.

In the world of business, coaching has more to do with listening and asking questions, providing a relevant sounding board and a safe environment in which to reflect, plan and commit to goals

The coach brings value to this relationship by creating the supportive environment for the client so that he or she can develop an action plan and prepare for future success.

Coaching in the sporting world is a hands-on activity involving giving feedback, suggestions and direction on maximizing talent through regular, ongoing physical and mental training.  Athletes have long known the importance of a positive mental attitude in great physical accomplishments. 

In my experience, business people are far less aware of the importance of their physical being in both their own success and in the way they are perceived by their peers and colleagues.

Jana - a Story of Transformation

Not long ago I coached a successful young professional named Jana, whose impressive list of accomplishments had recently seen her promoted to a management-level position, in charge of a team of ten. 

Jana owed her promotion as much to her intelligence and analytical skills as her own personal ambition and hard work. Moreover, having been identified as one of the company’s rising stars, Jana’s drive and determination were bolstered by the full support of her director. 

Based on what the manager told me about Jana, I was expecting to see a confident and poised young woman when we met for the first time. But the person who sat across me didn’t convey any of the qualities her boss and HR manager had described to me. She slouched, her breathing was shallow and her eyes were hard at work trying to avoid mine!

While Jana’s technical and analytical skills were acknowledged and praised throughout the company, her weak interpersonal skills and an uninspiring physical presence were actively undermining her role as a future leader.

The Power of Body Language

It is well know that our body is our main vehicle for communication and that 55% of our communication comes from our body language. Yet it is amazing how few people pay attention to what their bodies are telling others.

Jana, for example, would find it very difficult to inspire confidence in her team when her body language showed a clear reluctance to communicate and an even clearer lack of self-confidence.

I asked Jana a few questions in a bid to discover the reason for the difference between what she was telling me verbally and what she was communicating to me physically. Her body seemed to be physically burdened when she described her current professional situation. When she talked about her past achievements, her body eased slightly and her breathing became more relaxed, but an underlying impression of anxiety was clearly visible.

When I eventually shared my impressions with her, she looked me in the eyes and with a surprised tone of voice and said, “What do you mean my body tells you about my stress and emotional turmoil?”

While Jana did not need much help in clarifying her goals and establishing an action plan to achieve them, she needed a lot of coaching to realize the great importance that one’s physical presence has in producing an impression of confidence and competence. Learning to control oneself physically to create such an impression under times of stress and uncertainty is almost as important as mental control in such situations.

I recommended that Jana try to find balance both physically and mentally through sport and physical activity. Sport provides an excellent physical outlet for stress, helps improve mental focus, increases energy and can even make you more open and receptive. 

Finding Balance

As part of her coaching program, I strongly suggested that Jana attend a weekly yoga class. After a few short weeks, Jana and her co-workers noticed a remarkable difference both in the way she carried herself and in her more relaxed mental attitude. Her posture quickly improved and she learned breathing techniques that kept her aligned both physically and mentally. 

A common thread shared by coaching and yoga is the emphasis on the process of fostering inner awareness. As a result, yoga is often an excellent complement to professional coaching. 

Both activities place great value on the path of self-discovery and share the belief that the inner journey begins by shifting our external focus to our inner focus. Like coaching, yoga encourages its devotees to pay more attention to external events and circumstance in life while at the same time focusing on internal factors. 

Yoga offers concrete benefits including: 
  • Increased strength and flexibility
  • Reduced stress and fatigue
  • Greater relaxation 
  • A more tolerant, understanding attitude
  • Physical and mental balance
By aligning both the body and the mind you become centered in the present moment. Whether by consciously taking a single breath at a time or by identifying action steps for the day, the emphasis is on being open to a process of manifestation. Like coaching, regular yoga practice directs a person to look both inside and outside of himself to find happiness and fulfilment. 

I strongly believe that both yoga and coaching can offer a valuable contribution to one’s professional success and physical & mental well-being.

About Karin

Karin Genton-L’Epée is a business coach with 34 years of extensive professional experience in the United States, France and the Czech Republic. Based in Prague since 1995, for the past 17 years she has developed a range of coaching and training programs for mid- and top-level managers, focusing on leadership development, cross-cultural understanding and effective communication in a global environment. By providing a structured environment that supports people in clarifying who they are and what they want, Karin enables her clients to devise more effective strategies to achieve their personal and professional goals. Thanks to her knowledge, skills and range of international experience, Karin is in demand as a speaker at business conferences and educational institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. She is also a regular contributor to business journals and magazines. She works in English and French and can be reached at karin@coaching.cz.

 
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