Lee Colan Show Notes Page
Lee Colan didn’t shut up. He thought he was a good listener, but a friend shared with him after a meeting that he didn’t really hear what people had to say. That’s when Lee realized he had to work on his skillset and his mindset. Now he shares this insight in helping others be more positive coaches.
Lee was born in Franklin Square, New York a suburban community on Long Island. When he was seven, his family like many families at that time migrated to the southern tip of Long Island known as Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There he developed a love for sports, particularly football and basketball. Later he would come to more fully appreciate the discipline and lessons gleaned from participating in team sports.
Lee was blessed with a stable, unconditionally loving family. He was the youngest of three children with a sister three years older and a brother 15 years older…. so Lee was clearly a late in life surprise for his parents!
Lee’s parents were part of the Greatest Generation, so hard work, education and caring for others were core values. His mother was a book keeper and his father was a commercial artist, so Lee inherited equal parts of analytical and creative skills. He also had five educators in his extended family which infused Lee with a desire to train and educate even if not in a traditional school classroom.
Lee held various corporate leadership roles with American Airlines, Sandoz (Novartis) and FoxMeyer (McKesson). He was a consultant with two premier firms: Booz, Allen & Hamilton and Mercer earlier in his career. His last corporate post was as Vice President for Physician Reliance Network, one of the fastest growing NASDAQ companies at the time.
He co-founded The L Group, Inc., a management consulting firm focused on leadership, in 1999. His business partner for the past 20 years and co-author of the last six books is also his wife of 32 years.
In addition to serving his clients, writing and speaking, Lee also serves on the Board of Directors for Pacific Seafood Group, the largest fully integrated seafood company in North America. He is a former director for Aztec Systems who was ultimately sold to a private equity firm. He also served on the Advisory Board for ASSET InterTech.
Lee views his business as his ministry, so he regularly gifts his time to numerous individuals who are in life or career transition and also to agencies who need a clear focus or just a pair of hands. Some of those agencies include The United Way, North Texas Food Bank and Grace Bridge.
Lee lives in the Dallas area with his wife, Julie. They have three children – one works in advertising like his grandfather and lives in New York and two of them currently attend Wake Forest University. Their three kids have co-authored a book titled, Please Listen Up, Parents: 12 Secrets YORU Kids Want YOU to Know.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“The most complex challenges leaders have can be boiled down to simple truths that are both timely and timeless.” – Click to Tweet
“At its core, coaching is bringing out in someone what they didn’t see themselves.” – Click to Tweet
“Business leaders are just finding out what athletes have known for years, that a coach helps elevate your performance.” – Click to Tweet
“If you’re helping people get the best out of themselves, you’re probably a pretty darn good coach.” – Click to Tweet
“Leading people hasn’t really changed much in a 100 years.” – Click to Tweet
“If you really love people, you could be a great coach.” – Click to Tweet
“If you explain expectations you get alignment.” – Click to Tweet
“If you ask questions you get engagement.” – Click to Tweet
“If you involve your team you get ownership.” – Click to Tweet
“Being a coach is a central role of a leader.” – Click to Tweet
“A positive coaching mindset, times positive coaching habits, results in winning results and relationship.” – Click to Tweet
“You can’t have all results and not relationships.” – Click to Tweet
“The bookends of success are initiative and closure.” – Click to Tweet
“The bookends of coaching success are explaining and appreciating.” – Click to Tweet
“We need to proactively address stuff when it’s a mole hill.” – Click to Tweet
“As a leader we have to know that it’s our own discomfort needs to be subordinated to what’s in the best interest of my team.” – Click to Tweet
“You never what to put your own creditability at risk because that’s the main thing you have as a leader and coach.” – Click to Tweet
“If you don’t have integrity, no one’s following you.” – Click to Tweet
“We have to be more specific then we really need to be, upfront.” – Click to Tweet
“A friend is someone who is willing to tell you what you really don’t want to hear.” – Click to Tweet
“Once I change my mindset the behavior easily follows.” – Click to Tweet
“When you think about organizational change there’s three levels, mindset, skillset, then toolset.” – Click to Tweet
“Awareness of personal impact it key.” – Click to Tweet
“You don’t have to know everything; you can be resourceful.” – Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Lee Colan didn’t shut up. He thought he was a good listener, but a friend shared with him after a meeting that he didn’t really hear what people had to say. That’s when Lee realized he had to work on his skillset and his mindset. Now he shares this insight in helping others be more positive coaches.
Advice for others
Have faith to know that everything works out okay.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
My mindset of feeling that I was a better writer about leadership than I was a leader myself.
Best Leadership Advice
You don’t have to know everything; you can be resourceful.
Secret to Success
Turning strategy or concepts into specific actionable things.
Best tools in business or life
The three W’s. What has to happen, who’s responsible, by when.
Contacting Lee Colan
Resources and Show Mentions
Show Transcript:Click to access edited transcript
230: Lee Colan: A coaching opportunity for me
Intro: Welcome to the fast leader podcast where we uncover the leadership life hacks that help you to experience breakout performance faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host customer and employee engagement expert & certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rimbach.
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Okay, Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who’s going to help us cut the cotton, in other words we’re going to get rid of the fluff. Lee Colan was born in Franklin Square, New York a suburban community on Long Island. When he was 7 his family, like many families at the time, migrated to the suburban or southern tip of Long Island known as Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There he developed the love for sports particularly football and basketball. Later he would come to more fully appreciate the discipline and lessons gleaned from participating in team sports. Lee was blessed with a stable unconditionally loving family. He was the youngest of three children with a sister three years older and her brother 15 years older so Lee was clearly a late in life surprise for his parents.
These parents were part of the greatest generation so hard work education and caring for others were core values. His mother was a bookkeeper and his father was a commercial artist so Lee inherited equal parts of analytical and creative skills. He also had five educators in his extended family which infused Lee with a desire to learn and educate and train even if not in a traditional school classroom. Lee held various corporate leadership roles with American Airlines, Sandoz which also known Novartis and Fox Meyer which is now McKesson and he was a consultant with two premier firms Booz Allen Hamilton and Mercer earlier in his career.
His latest corporate post was as a vice president for Physician Reliance Network, one of the growing Nasdaq companies at that time. He co-founded the L Group and a management consulting firm focused on leadership in 1999. His business partner for the past 20 years and co-author of his last six books is also his wife of 32 years. In addition, to serving his clients, writing and speaking, Lee also serves on the board of directors for Pacific Seafood group the largest fully integrated seafood company in North America.
He is a former director for Aztec systems who was ultimately sold to a private equity firm. He also served on the advisory board for Asset Intertek. Lee views his business as his ministry so he regularly gifts his time to numerous individuals who are in life or career transition and also to agencies who need a clear focus or just a pair of hands. Some of those agencies include the United Way, North Texas Food Bank and Grace Bridge. Lee lives in the Dallas area with his wife Julie. They have three children, one works in advertising, like his grandfather and lives in New York and two of them currently attended Wake Forest University, which is also the alma mater of my wife and 45 minutes from where I live, and their three kids. He co-authored a book titled, Please Listen Up Parents: 12 Secrets Your Kids Want You To Know. Lee Colan, are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Lee Colan: Always ready Jim, you got it.
Jim Rembach: I’m glad you’re here. Now I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?
Lee Colan: Yeah, we just like to encourage and equip leaders at every level. It’s really about simple tools we believe the most complex talented leaders have can be boiled down to simple truths that are both timely and timeless. I’m a pretty feeble-minded simple-minded guy so I just like to look at challenges our clients are having and figure out simple ways to kind of help them get over the hump. And so whether it’s just a tool that we’ll be talking about later or just an idea or a concept we love equipping them with those tools but then also encouraging them along the way and that goes for business but also our personal life that’s kind of my mission in life just kind of lifts people up.
Jim Rembach: I really appreciate your recent volume and you’ve written several books but and I haven’t had the opportunity because I’ve just been introduced to you, which I’m so excited, of the others. But we’re talking about the power of positive coaching. For me as I was going through your book there were so many things that just hit me so hard. You and I had some off mic conversations about some other tools that people have been exposed to that are quite popular in regards to coaching that are just so confusing where I’m not going to name those because we don’t want to point people to those. I love the guy I love the way you guys laid out the different aspects associated with positive coaching. I’m just going to go ahead and read those we’re going to talk about those a little bit. So we talked about, inspiring coaches explained expectations, inspiring coaches asked questions, inspiring coaches involve team members, inspiring coaches measure results, and inspiring coaches appreciate people.
Lee Colan: Now before we get into that, you and I had also talked about the differences and what coaching really is. A lot of times people go through a particular experience and they get an idea of what coaching is and from what I’ve experienced most of time it’s wrong. So what is coaching versus other things? Well I would say at its core, because we could probably have a debate about what people different definition, and its core it’s bringing out in someone what they didn’t see themselves. Helping them perform at levels that they didn’t think they could perform at in a sustainable way not cracking a whip. It’s bringing awareness to that person it’s bringing encouragement and tools to that person it’s drawing out in them knowledge and insights maybe they didn’t think they had. Really we wrote this book to help leaders elevate their coaching game. The truth is business leaders are just finding out what athletes have known for years that a coach helps elevate your performance. In the business world we’ve gone to this paradigm shift of a coaching used to be a scarlet A 25 years ago, oh these is our coach, it was remedial to now it’s a badge of honor. People like—hey, how come I don’t have a coach? The reality is very few organizations can afford the resource of manager and a coach. So we just wrote this book to equip leaders with a tool set so they could elevate their coaching game and build the coaching culture inside the organization and do it in their way. We give them the basic fundamentals and tools but I think it’s really about how you authentically express that. I try not to get caught up in saying, the coach is this so you have to do this or a coach should or shouldn’t do that. If you’re helping the people get the best out of themselves you’ve probably put it on a good coach.
Jim Rembach: In addition to that and I’d like to add one of the things as far as really getting connection and understanding in what we’re talking about here is you explain for example what an Olympic coach goes through. You think about an Olympian, they’re essentially practicing 99 percent of the time for (7:32 inaudible) percent of performance. If we look at all that goes into that and that effort for them to be able to master their sport and the working world we flipped that paradigm. And that created a significant problem when you start looking at the skills that are required in the workforce what is being trained in our traditional education systems and so companies are kind of stuck in this huge hole of what I need people to do for us to be successful in the modern workplace versus everything that we’ve done traditionally. I think coaching is really the thing that will bridge and close that gap so more and more organizations do need coaching they do need more coaches they do need this—and I think you’ve created a different system so I think that’s what rolls into us talking to about the positive coaching habits. Walk us through those a little.
Lee Colan: Again it’s the positive coaching habits. We try to use the research over the past decade that’s been evolving in the area of positive psychology, and again my backgrounds in industrial organizational psychology, so we try to understand—if you’re a leader if you’re a good psychologist if you understand people understand the human dynamic understand how their bodies work our chemistry works when I feel appreciated what happens to my body? We’re creatures of pleasure so I get these endorphins going that feels good I want to do more of that. So if you just understand some basic dynamics about how people work, the truth is leading people hasn’t really changed much in a hundred years. I say that people is going to get, ohh, they get all up in arms—no, globalization mixed generations in the workforce and more technology, that’s all the swirling whirlwind we try to take people to the core of the storm where it’s stable. The fundamentals if you understand people and you understand how they work—honestly, to be a great coach if you really love people because you have to invest in people you can be a great coach. And so we try to take those dynamics and boil them down to these five simple steps that you rattled of, explain, ask, involve, measure and appreciate. And if you do those as a habit every day you’ll get the outcome. So if you explain expectations you get alignment. If you ask questions you get engagement. If you involve your team you get ownership.
So what we see happening is people get busy going, I can’t squeeze this I don’t have time to explain I don’t want to ask questions because I know the answers I’ll appreciate them later. We call that salt and pepper coaching. We do a little bit here a little bit there. It’s a choice you can choose these five habits I just rattled off. If you choose those you get the outcome and the outcomes are alignment, engagement, commitment, accountability, ownership, those kind of things. But if you choose not to, because I’m too busy or it’s just not I don’t see that as part of my job, well then you’re going to get the opposite you’re going to get misalignment you’re going to get disengagement you’re going to get blaming. We believe that being a coach is a central role of a leader so if you’re really serious about it you need to take these five habits seriously and if you own them you’re going to get these things on the other side of the equation those positive outputs which most leaders, I would imagine all leaders, want that. So it’s really a choice we talked about just a choice. If you want these positive outputs these are the inputs you have to have is a leader.
Jim Rembach: And part of those positive outputs—and you talk about there’s a book called The Art of the Start and your coaching journey in the process is that—you and I have this off mic and for me I’m a huge believer of mindset and you talked about previous interviews that resonates with people and Dr. Carol Dweck’s work on mindset it’s vitally important to this component. If you can just kind of hit on that for a brief moment but I will dig a little bit deeper into the whole expectations piece. Because what I see is that there are so many holes and so many opportunities that we can actually leverage if we just do a better job of patient settings, tell us a little bit about that.
Lee Colan: Agreed. I’ll just do a 30-second rewind on mindset then we’ll jump into expectations. So our formula that outlines this whole book is that a positive coaching mindset times positive coaching habits results in winning results in relationship. It’s that two-sided wake that every leader leaves of results and relationships. You can’t have all results and not relationship so you can’t have the reverse either. But it starts with your mindset, and like any interaction if I have going this thing with Jim he’s a real pain, I’m going to get out of that relationship what that mindsets going to dictate. So we have to have a positive coaching mindset and it’s based on four levels of awareness. We have to know our thoughts our purpose our values and our emotions. If we have a deep understanding of those we could bring the best version of ourselves to serve the person that we’re coaching in the best way into that interaction.
If our minds is all negative and messed up and unclear we’re not going to really be able to employ the coaching habits in the best possible or the best impact. So it’s really clear upfront to have that mindset. But as you jump into the habits and the first one is explained and the last one is appreciate—we always talk about the bookends of success are initiative enclosure. You initiate things and you can begin the closure. I believe the bookends of coaching success are the same the first and the last ones explaining and appreciating. Not that the others are not important but we find, we talked about this off mic, 80% of our coaching issues when we work with a client is because they didn’t align on expectations and clarify the expectations up front and you pay for that later. It’s the ultimate pay me now or pay me later leadership proposition defining the expectations up front. People said, I don’t have time we’re too busy, he should know what to do. I’m like, Tony, I don’t care if you have high paid MBA’s you need to be clear up front that’s not micromanaging it’s just aligning on expectations up front take five minutes to do it now you save hours later. Cheat on it now you invest hours later.
Jim Rembach: Initially you had said, pay me now or pay me later. And then you said a little bit differently because you’re talking about the magnitude of the pay me later, it’s a multiplicative issue here. Okay, I could spend the dollar now, I’m going to spend ten thousand—it is that huge of a difference often.
Lee Colan: Absolutely, absolutely. It’s what we call from molehills to mountains. You don’t address an issue now or don’t clarify expectations now and it would take a few minutes to do it and you wait till later now we’ve got an issue now it’s going to take me a day. And we wait till later now it’s weeks in conversations with HR and this it’s a pain in the neck. So we need to proactively address stuff when it’s a molehill and it’s easy to kind of sweep things under the rug. Stephen Covey has a great quote in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People from years ago that says, unaddressed emotions don’t go away they just rear their heads and uglier ways. And are corollary to that is that, unaddressed performance issues don’t go away they just rear their heads and uglier ways. So if you just kind of bury your head in the sand, everyone do a little visual in this, put your head in the sand, what’s sticking up? It’s not a very attractive view for anybody. We have to be able to be bold enough.
As a leader we have to know that our own discomfort needs to be subordinated to what’s in the best interest of my team. Because if someone’s not performing and I’m not addressing it their colleagues even get frustrated with that employee at first but after a while they’re going to say, well it’s going to shift to the leader and go, you know what? He or she’s allowing that. Usually if not the leaders realize their own credibility’s at risk then they say, oh, I better jump on that. And we would say, you never want to put your own credibility at risk because that’s the main thing that you have as a leader and a coach and if you don’t have your own credibility and integrity that you do what you say you’re going to do, if you don’t have integrity no one’s following you. And guess what? If no one’s following you you’re not really leading. So we just really think that inspiring coaches they subordinate their own discomfort, no one loves to have tough conversations with people but they understand that for the benefit of the team, and for that person I’m serving them best to have that conversation I’m not really serving him even though it feels better now maybe to avoid it I’m not really serving them or the team to do that.
Jim Rembach: For me I often get the opportunity to come down to reality through coaching middle school baseball. I had a great one of these examples to be able to share yesterday, I was going through a pitching instructions session with one of my kids and so I had the opportunity to ask him I said, you like playing? He goes, oh, I loved them. I said, okay, so what are some of your goals? He says, well, I would like to be able to become a college baseball player and then maybe someday make it in the pros. For me I didn’t want to tell him that .001 percent of all high school players, if you play high school, have a chance to even make it to the major leagues so let’s not go there. And so I want to talk to him about the things that he needs to be able to do in order to put himself in a position for success. So I said, okay, great, how much work are you doing outside the practice? Then I said, one of the important components of being able to be an elite athlete is nutrition. So how do you actually make six-pack abs? And he goes, doing a lot of sit-ups. And I said, no. You have to do that but six pack abs aren’t made in the kitchen what you’re (17:00 inaudible) in is fuel. And so this kid is overweight and (17:07 inaudible) So I said, okay, so what are you doing from a nutrition perspective to be that elite athlete that can make it into high school and they even has a high school ball play and even has a chance to make me in a college play, and then maybe someday set them out for success as a pro and he’s not. And he goes, chips. Okay, let’s come down from a coaching perspective as setting expectations as also them coming into realization that they have to do things and put in and say, I can’t do that for you as a coach.
Lee Colan: We boil it down again very simple minded like three w’s, what, who and when. So whether you’re leaving someone in a quick conversation in the hallway or actually talking and having specific coaching conversation with them it’s—what are you going to do by when? And then what am I going to do by when? So what, who and when, very simple just kind of align on expectations. We’ve got to do that with every meeting with our clients we always have a kind of a 3W forum we come away with. What I carried around is a mental template even as I’m talking to someone. It’s amazing when you’re interacting with someone, just you and I I’m bringing all my expectations and experiences and assumptions to the table to this conversation and you’re doing the same. So what are the chances if we have to do something that we’re just going to say something real quick and we’re going to be aligned exactly on that? Slim and not, right?
It’s just a good habit of saying, okay, let’s just make sure we sync up on it. Thirty seconds, all right Jimmy you’re going to do this by then okay and I’m going to do this by then that was five seconds not even 30 seconds to prevent us from kind of getting off-track later on and that doesn’t feel good for either party. When you’re coaching someone if someone’s kind of off track and they’re not doing what you expected, and I was telling a client, it’d be helpful if your team could read your mind maybe a little scary but helpful. But that’s not how the world is. So we have to be really more specific than we think we need to be up front. That is not micromanaging it’s just being very specific right expectations. The way they get there can be the wrong way they get all the autonomy to do that. But aligning on the expectations it’s ultimately the pay me now or pay me later.
Jim Rembach: Because I also find to me that I have to come back, it’s like, you said this, has your thought changed? Has your desire changed? Or is it the same?
Lee Colan: It’s okay for it to change but we always kind of checking in on stuff. So really in terms of coaching others, coaching your kids, little league, someone in the community you’re doing volunteer work, your team, whoever it might really spending that time upfront aligning on expectations, boy, you make your life a lot easier moving forward on that.
Jim Rembach: Ultimately what that gets to—in the book you talk about the circle of consequences. One of the things that I kind of have a cringe factor on is that consequences and that word has received such a negative context in our society. But the fact this is that consequences comes in all forms and formats. We have positive consequences, negative consequences and neutral consequences, so tell us little about your circle of consequences.
Lee Colan: I mentioned the three W, what who and when, so circle of consequences is kind of the fourth w it’s the why. You give someone a new project or a new process you need to walk them through this circle and say, okay, this is your performance how does this performance going to affect our team? How does that ultimate thinking affect our organization? And what impact does it have on our customers? And then has it affect our shareholders whether it’s private or public? And then it comes right back to you at the top of the circle, how is that affect your opportunities? Your ability to grow? Your exposure? Your promotions? All that stuff in the business. It’s self-serving but it’s ultimately the question people always have. You ask me to do this like, what’s in it for me? So as a leader we need to be overt about that that’s fine. Okay, let’s talk about it. Jim, here’s this new project here’s this new opportunity here’s this new challenge let’s talk about let’s make sure you understand the impact of the bigger picture how it’s going to impact your team the organization our shareholders and then right back to you.
Again that’s another 30-second conversation but now I’ve got my why answered and now I feel like, okay, I’ve got the bigger picture I’m just not a robot going to do this because my boss said so. I have a chance to buy into it I see the impact it’s going to have I’m much more motivated that way and I buy into it better that way. That few second conversation of closing the loop with people from their personal performance right back to their personal impact how it’s going to impact them can be very powerful. And of course it’s not a one-way thing it’s a dialogue like you talk about. Okay, how is this going to affect our team? What does that mean? That kind of thing. Again a few minutes upfront investment gets you much more discretionary effort on the back end of that conversation.
Jim Rembach: To me as I was going through I also started thinking about something that a lot of people mentioned today and they talked about fit, right fit, that I lack sacrifice, potential skills and experiences in order to find the right fit because it’s ** for organization. I think we always have to go through that fit test, I know throughout my life certain things have changed, I’ve learned a little bit more about certain values I’ve ejected some added some I’ve deepen some and those things happen as mean mature and so I always have to find myself going through a fit check for things that I’m spending my efforts on. I think sometimes coming to that mutual realization to where somebody says, well, I don’t fit or I no longer fit. If you’re an objective is significantly more positive it’s negative.
Lee Colan: Ultimately, yes absolutely. This book is focused on coaching but on our other books on leadership we absolutely talk about selections like your biggest leverage point as a leader. Getting the right getting the right people filtering the right out if they don’t fit. That process is an ongoing one not just like, oh, I’ll hire them, it’s great, maybe it’s two or three years into their career and maybe it isn’t fitting the role of the rim maybe it’s not right for them things in their life have changed things in the organization has changed, I’ve changed, so I think it’s appropriate and relevant conversation along the way for sure.
Jim Rembach: I think another thing is that you have in here something and I asked you about the source of it and you’re like, oh, that’s evolved and it’s tapped it to me I think it’s so important for everybody to understand them it’s called pyramid of learning. So when we talk about the pyramid of learning we have to really take that into consideration when we start talking about helping people to develop their potential, tell us a little bit about that.
Lee Colan: Absolutely. This falls under the involved coaching habit to involve your team. The pyramid of learning is really about how well we retain things. If you think about from the top of the pyramid if I just read something—Jim, you just send me a—here’s this new procedure read it and we got to start implementing it tomorrow. The chances of me retaining and actually implementing that effectively is about 10 percent. So if we read something our retention is fairly low. If we read and hear something now at about 20 percent. If we read, hear, and say something we’re about 30 percent, so it goes all the way down the pyramid. If we actually say and do something in other words we demonstrate the skill that’s about 90 percent retention.
The point is as we coach we get in this busy world we were tap on this leadership treadmill we’re busy, busy moving one thing or the other. We might handoff this policy, hey, Jack go do this, hey, sue go do that and we hand something and we think we’re coaching we’re giving them stuff but what happens is we get ourselves caught in what’s called re-coaching because they get it they don’t do it and next week you say, hey I gave you that policy last week why don’t you implement it. Well, I’ve got a million other things. It’s not about their intelligence it’s like they just don’t get that. One extra minute instead of me saying, hey, Jim can we start implementing this policy? I said, Jim read this policy and after lunch I’m going to come back to you and tell me what you think about it and how you might implement it.
Now you’ve had a chance to read it, integrate it into your thinking, think about how you’re going to implement it and then express that. I’ve pushed from 10 percent at the top of the learning pyramid in just a few minutes. I really have to meet with you after lunch now we’re way down at the bottom of the learning pyramid probably 70 80 percent. That small investment of time to involve the person in the coaching process enables them to feel better about it. They’re actually be able to implement it effectively and people want it they want to master or something they want to feel good about it. Certainly as a coach selfishly I want my people to master things and I don’t have to deal with this again. So spend two extra minutes and I can get it right the first time. So it’s important to understand that learning pyramid and think about—and when I talked about read, read, say, say and do all of that I’m talking about that from the coach ease perspective not from the coach’s perspective.
When you think about your coaching think about a scenario you might have had where was the person I was coaching on that learning pyramid? Was I just giving him something to read? Was I well telling them something in which case they’re just hearing it? So, there’s always a great and very quick and efficient opportunities to push further down the learning pyramid so that we can boost the coaching effectiveness.
Jim Rembach: Without a doubt. Going through and having all these life experiences and writing these books and going through these activities and all of that you’ve learned a lot along the way to get to the point to where you are now. And I’m sure there’s times where you’ve had to get over the hump yourself as you’ve learned something from it. Can you share some stories with us?
Lee Colan: A coaching opportunity for me—I used to think I was a really good listener until I had someone who are really trusted and a friend, and I always say a friend is someone who’s willing to tell you what you really don’t want to hear but they tell it to you to build you up not to break you down, so this friend of mine said, you know what Lee? I know you generally a good listener one on one in that meeting? You couldn’t shut up. You really didn’t call—I don’t think you really heard what people had to say. And you know what that was part of? No only, I needed to work on my skill set but it was part of my mindset because I went in with a certain mindset like I knew the solution and I wasn’t really willing to hear it I had this filter going. Okay, here’s what I think and everything else just bounced off. So it was really a lesson to me more about just my mindset being open to things. If our mindset is at the right place, remember the four levels of awareness know your thoughts, your purpose, your values, and your emotions, I really work on that a lot I feel like we can align our mindset in the right place we’re much more effective kind of a skills and our approaches.
Just kind of drew me back to—I’ve got to know that I don’t have it all right I’ve got to be open and really listen. Once I change my mindset the behavior easily followed that was easy. I find that a lot with our clients we work with them on skills and stuff. When you think about organizational change there are three levels there’s mindset, skillset and then toolset. Many times books and coaches and stuff focus on, here’s a new skill here’s a new tool. And that’s great but you got to get the mindset right because you’re swimming upstream all day long if you have the wrong mindset even with the right set of tools and skills.
Jim Rembach: I think we kind of have come full circle on the mindset thing, the mindset thing can help with the resiliency piece there’s just so many different components. One of the things that I talk about is the ecosystem impact, kind of alluded it to as well. But it’s like, hey, I start with me and then it can affect my colleagues in fact my peers it can affect my direct reports it can affect those people above me my team department my company the customer and then ultimately getting down to the industry and then maybe even affecting the world. And I think that’s so critically important to know that we all really are part of something bigger than ourselves it’s just a matter of whether or not we have visibility to it.
Lee Colan: That’s right and so awareness of personal impact is key and that’s why the circle of consequences is important to let people understand that this is not in a vacuum and there’s a ripple effect with everything that. All of us do every day I just don’t think leaders and coaches are as often enough explicit about what that looks like so people can really see it.
Jim Rembach: Most definitely. Okay, so when we start talking about—you’ve written tons of books you and I talked about some of those other things that are out there that are more popular than some of the work that you’re doing but all of that causes us to want to make a bigger dent in the universe, circle of influence. When I start thinking about some of your goals what’s one of them?
Lee Colan: Personally I’d like to push myself physically and I’d like to run a half marathon in the next year. So I always even tell my kids it’s great to push yourself physically once in a while. I’m not like some extreme athlete or anything, do know why? It’s not about the body it’s about the mindset and the preparation and the discipline and kind of the grit to be able to get through that it’s always great to kind of test yourself once in a while to know what you’re made of, so that’s one thing. On the business side, it’s really just about continuing to try to put good out into the world to help people elevate their game personally and professionally. And that’s keeping things simple. Again I’m a pretty simple minded guy.
I know all the research and the complexity of the science planet but my goal is to get through the complexity to the other side of it to simplicity where people could digest it and apply it. That’s really been all of our books our firmware very much a how-to consulting firm. So we just continue to try to come up identify challenges leaders have and find simple ways that they could say, hey, I could get my head around that. Whether it’s engagement or execution or accountability or coaching every leader agrees, I need to do that. They agree to the what? But they get tangled up in the how to. Because they’re like, whoa, what do I have to do I can see it’s all look so complex? I don’t think there are too many challenges in the world particularly from a leadership perspective or sales or service perspective where it’s that complex. There are always one two or three little steps we could take to kind of move forward. That’s our goal to continue to kind of find simple solutions to address complex challenges so people can elevate themselves and their teams.
Jim Rembach: And the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor:
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Alright here we go Fast Leader legion, it’s time for the Hump day Hoedown. Okay Lee, the Hump day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Lee Colan, are you ready to hoedown?
Lee Colan: I am ready, go for it.
Jim Rembach: What is holding you back from being an even better leader today?
Lee Colan: I would say my mindset of feeling that I’m not a better writer about leadership that I am a leader myself. And I feel like I’ve been a leader for the past 20 years and I need to kind of work on that mindset to say, I could do this. I think my mindset in a lot of areas of my life is still somewhat—you always have to work on it. It’s like cleaning your house you don’t clean it once and then it’s clean forever you always have to be working on your mindset and that’s an ongoing challenge for me.
Jim Rembach: What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?
Lee Colan: Best leadership advice I ever got was that you don’t have to know everything. You could be resourceful. And old professor said, Lee the key to success is not to be able to know everything is to be able to plug up your ignorance within 24 hours. So it’s a lesson to me about being resourceful. With all the resources we have now it’s really more like four hours but I don’t burden myself of having the know everything but I do challenge myself to be resourceful to be able to get answers and solutions and relationships quickly.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe leads to your success?
Lee Colan: I believe turning strategy or concepts into specific actionable things. Strategy is great but if people can’t act on it, it just goes nowhere. I’m very good about boiling things into three I’m always think in three, step one step two step three, it helps me move forward and I think it helps our clients move forward.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?
Lee Colan: I think one of the best tools we alluded to it’s the three W’s. Everything I do I have a project, I always have a 3W, what has to happen? Who’s responsible? By when? It’s ultimately a project planning tool but it’s really an accountability tool. It helps me it helps our clients.
Jim Rembach: What would be one book that you recommend to our Legion, it could be from any genre, and of course we’re going to put a link to, The Power of Positive Coaching, on your show notes page as well.
Lee Colan: Thank you for that, thank you for that. A book that is near and dear to my soul is The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Years ago—it just got each chapter like on love on marriage on whatever various on success various topics. He’s a poet, very deep writer and it’s very simple, it’s profound and simple and that’s kind of writing that I like. Give me one paragraph a couple sentences and it hits me in the heart, that says a lot, The Prophet.
Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/lee colan. Okay, Lee this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. You can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take it all you can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?
Lee Colan: Okay, I would take deep in faith that I have now back with me to know that everything always works out okay. When you’re 25 you’re making lots of decisions and it seems for it kind of crazy and the fact is if I know now about leaning on my faith, I happened to be a Christians I’m not espousing for anybody but that is my faith. I believe in Jesus as my Savior. And so if I had that faith then or that knowledge of it then and been through some of the trials and ups and downs now I think this would have been a little steadier a little smoother and maybe handle things a little bit differently. So my deep in faith, that’s one thing I would take back with me.
Jim Rembach: Lee, it was an honor to spend time with you today can you please share with the Fast Leader legion how they can connect with you?
Sure. It’s the thelgroup.com, if they want to subscribe or just tips and tools, they could just text the word leadership to 444 999. They just text the word leadership to 444 999
Lee Colan: Lee Colan thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!
Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.
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