Thursday, January 26, 2012

Motive Based Coaching is the Key to Winning at Work

By Dwight Bain

“What does it take to win at work?”

People have asked me that question dozens of times after a keynote speech or radio talk show. They wanted to know the action to take to build a successful life instead of being trapped in long term failure. It's a great question, but since every person faces different challenges there isn't a 100% specific answer that works for every person. A better approach is to focus on the real source of motivation by exploring the underlying motives.

When you discover the motive behind why you want to win at work you will be on track to shaping a strategic approach to speed toward accomplishing goals and avoiding distractions that lead to failure. Here are some key coaching questions to ask yourself-

· Do you want to win at work to deepen your resume to advance your career?

· Does success at work mean making more money to bring home to your family?

· Does career success give you personal meaning and fulfillment?

· Does winning bring you a sense of satisfaction by proving you are the best?

Greater professional success usually gives a person much greater options in their personal life because increased income brings the flexibility to solve problems and control schedules by delegation. Outsourcing to save time and money is a wise use of resources. However, working harder to gain greater self-esteem is a dangerous motivator because it takes major sacrifices of time and energy and can often become a ‘black hole’ of busy activity leading to workaholism.

Career burnout is from an attempt to fill up deep emotional insecurity through aggressive professional activity. Burnout won’t lead to professional success, and sadly is incredibly common among people who haven’t seen the importance of mapping out a realistic career coaching plan to win at work, without losing at home.

Finding the Energy for Career Success

So how do you stay motivated to achieve greater career success? Start by dealing with your core values, which can be identified through mapping out your internal motives, since motives lead to motivation.

Here are key areas I use to inspire business professionals I've coached to stay focused to win at work while feeling greater energy and fulfillment in the process.

1) Insight
There is a scripture verse I was taught to pray every day, "If any many lacks wisdom let him ask God and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5). If you know that you don’t know the answers, then asking for God’s direction is a wise use of time. Generating insight by asking God to reveal your special gifts and natural ability, regardless of how much you may feel like you are struggling. Everyone has talent and ability at something. It takes insight to see it and then it takes courage to stay focused to light the fire of desire in your heart, especially when you may feel like giving up. This career coaching approach could begin with some of the people close to you, like a marriage partner, family member or trusted friend because they already know so much about your personality, character, motivation and inner-drives. Asking many questions to gain greater insight will protect against impulsive choices, and insure a greater likelihood of success, so don't be afraid to ask too many questions, but do be afraid to stay silent on this important element.

2) Interests
One you know your gifts, talents, abilities and skills, the next step is to see how those unique gifts could be transferred into something so incredibly interesting that you want to show up and learn more about it every day. There is an old saying that the curious are never bored, which is true. When you are inspired about pursuing something extremely interesting you lose all track of time because you find it so fascinating. Linking your interests with greater insight leads to the next part of the process to win at work.

3) Important
Once you get inspired to pursue the aspects of your job or career calling that are most interesting, the next element to stir up personal motivation is to discover what is most important. What is valuable to you? What has great meaning? What activities or organizations do believe strongly in? Everyone believes in something yet many of us haven’t taken time to explore and discover the core motives that fuel our motivation to create positive change.

Now that you have mapped out the key areas that motivate people you are ready for the final stage.

4) Identity
When people figure who they are, and what they enjoy doing, they are on track to live out their purpose and have more fun in the process! Perhaps the huge success of many work related reality TV shows, (like American Idol), are because they reveal what many people secretly would like their daily work experience to be - a place that allows them to utilize their creative abilities in an environment that rewards taking big risks to achieve greater results. It’s not hard to stay motivated when you know why you are going to work and it’s not hard to stay in the race to win either. In fact, it makes it easy to move from a fear of failure to moving forward with a new dedication to finish strong!

Now you have the basic career coaching strategies needed to win at work. Yet, even with these insights many people are afraid to try and often give up on the belief that they could have a better life by moving from what I call their ‘day job’ over to fully experiencing their ‘dream job’. Why do they lack career confidence? Why are they still likely to fail? Here are the hidden motivations that most often lead to losing at work.

Times are tough and many people are afraid about what the economy will do in the future, in fact they can become so frozen in fear they are afraid to try. It’s normal to feel afraid, yet when you are overwhelmed with fear it can often lead to becoming indecisive and totally ‘zoning out.’ Since running away from reality feels easier than facing it for some people they chose to stick their head in the sand and completely deny what’s happening to their industry, (think about how Blockbuster Video failed to make strategic changes with their customers and eventually filed for bankruptcy protection, while competitor organizations like NetFlix and Red Box were thriving).

Some people do this in a passive way and just slowly sink, while others try to avoid reality by using substances or media to escape. Avoiding major change by hiding in fear will lead to a major crisis. Being aware of these dangers and opening up the conversation will help you to ask tough questions to protect yourself when heading toward a dangerous situation.

This could include marriage partners or coworkers connected to people who are already losing at work, but it’s really more about you. Think about the times you were trying, but it’s just didn't come together. You know you want to finish strong and have a meaningful career, but you feel like you lack the horsepower to really pull out in front of the crowd. When frustration builds up it puts you at great risk, because you face a tough choice. Finish with mediocre results and risk getting laid off or downsized to try again at the next job; or just check out to avoid feeling the pain of not performing to your potential and quit. I’ve especially seen this with highly creative or bright coaching clients who procrastinated until the last minute and then couldn’t finish projects assigned to them. Their frustration often comes out as anger directed toward the closest person to them. It’s not fair, but it happens because they let the frustration take over, which blocks their ability to win at work.

Sadly this type of unmotivated person is the easiest to spot because they checked out a long time ago. When someone has reached this level they are so unmotivated they give up on even trying at the most basic of tasks so their resume just reflects a ‘free fall’ down to zero. They totally and completely fail, which crushes their confidence and for many it kills the desire to try again; which leads many coaching clients to give up completely and just drop out on the idea that a meaningful career was ever even a possibility for them. They are too depleted to even believe that God’s promise spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3) is still available to them.

I challenge you to face your fears, frustrations and the fear of failing with words of encouragement from God's word. If you take time out daily to meditate on the Bible I believe it will guide you from fear to greater faith by identifying their core motives, and then translating that into the powerful motivation needed to win at work.

You are stronger than you think, but just in case you are feeling beat up by life, listen to the words of Moses in Exodus 14 as a final challenge when feeling unmotivated or scared about your career; “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today...The LORD will fight for you!"


About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is the Executive Director of the International Christian Coaching Association, (ICCA), a Certified Life Coach and Nationally Certified Counselor in practice since 1984 at the LifeWorks Group in Orlando, ( with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Stay connected with him on social media at

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How to End Something with Class

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

There is verse from the Bible that states, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecc. 3:1). At some point and time, everything comes to an end because the things this world has to offer are not meant to last forever. You don’t have to look far to see that things change and eventually end; just observe the changing seasons, the passage of a day into night, and the life span of animals and people. Perhaps you are experiencing an end in a relationship, in a partnership, in an occupation, in a church, or in an organization. But whatever the reason for the ending, you have the choice, actually the power, to end with class or without it.

Ending something with class requires thought and intention on your part as this is contrary to human nature. When something ends, some tend to blame others for the problem, some make excuses for their behavior, some gossip about the people involved, some withdrawal and pretend it does not matter, or some pick apart every detail as if searching for a buried treasure. Worse yet is the justification that these patterns are even necessary in order to prevent future endings. These patterns do not encourage positive exchanges in the future; they merely extend the frustration and resentment of the moment.

Admit to the ending. Once you come to the realization that something must end, take the initiative and be honest about needing to end it. This is not a time to wait until someone else makes the first move, be the one who has the courage to be honest about the circumstances. Ending with class means that you are up front and open about what is happening, willing to absorb the frustration and confusion this may cause for others. Make a plan; be intentional and kind especially if the other party does not know what is going to happen.

Acknowledge your part. To end anything with class requires self-reflection as to the part you played in the ending. Perhaps you did not give your best to the relationship, your occupation, or the organization. Perhaps you avoided necessary conflict or perhaps you stirred up too much conflict. Whatever your contribution, acknowledge your mistake and make amends with the people involved even if you believe you will never see them again. It only takes a moment to apologize and heal but it can take a lifetime to get over being wronged by someone else.

Amicably say good-bye. Once confronted with an ending, two natural instincts kick in: flight or fight. Some run away as soon as the ending is announced not allowing for a positive resolution while others fight back with accusatory remarks. Neither is beneficial. Rather take the time to discuss your feelings and thoughts about the matter, neither being dismissive of other points of view nor compromising on the final decision of ending something. Focus on the positive of the relationship, organization, or occupation openly admitting to the benefits you have received over time instead of the problems.

If you are the one making the decision to end something, spend time thinking the process through before you pull the trigger, this will save unnecessary anger, resentment, or confusion. If, on the other hand, you are the recipient of a decision, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification either in the moment or later. In either case, you still have the power to end it with class or without it.

Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Year’s Resolutions that Really Matter

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

This time of year is exhausting for me and I strongly dislike watching the morning new shows which are filled with the same New Year’s resolution stories over and over. They should just save some time and energy by replay the last year’s stories because they are virtually the same regardless of the network. It’s all about eating more healthy, taking more vitamins, drinking more water, losing more weight, changing your appearance, and of course the mother of all resolutions – exercising.

While these are resolutions are good, they rarely continue after the first month of the year and hold little significant value to our overall quality of life. Yes, your health and appearance can improve and thereby improve your self esteem, but what if instead of focusing on improved self esteem you focus on character development instead. Better yet, what if your entire family set a New Year’s resolution of working on one character trait? Just imagine for a moment the different it would make in your personal life, your family life, your spiritual life, your work life, and your social life if your focus was to improve an aspect of your character. I dare say, that no new diet or exercise program can promise the same difference in every area of your life. So instead of setting yourself up for another year of disappointing resolutions, try something new or more accurately spoken, something old.

In his autobiography written spanning from 1771 to 1788, Benjamin Franklin outlines thirteen virtues to which he aspires to master and thereby encouraging others to consider the same. Here they are in his words:

1. "Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation." (Moderation in food and drink.)

2. "Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation." (Watch what you say.)

3. "Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time." (Organize all things.)

4. "Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve." (Finish what you start.)

5. "Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing." (Spend wisely.)

6. "Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions." (Good time management.)

7. "Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly." (Think and speak the best about each other.)

8. "Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty." (Do no harm to others.)

9. "Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve." (Consider all points of view.)

10. "Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation." (Clean living.)

11. "Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable." (Strive for peace.)

12. "Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation." (Have sexual morality.)

13. "Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates." (Think of others before yourself.)

These virtues were not to be attempted all at once; instead he devised a system of concentrating on one at a time, until mastered and then proceeding to the next one. So for this year, if you picked just one of his virtues and set for yourself a goal of mastering it until the end of the year, imagine the difference in your life and the lives around you.

Better yet and if you are really courageous, ask your spouse, a close friend, or a parent which of the virtues they believe you need to work on and tackle that one first. Most likely, that will be the one virtue that will make the greatest difference in your life. Now, that’s a New Year’s resolution that really matters.


Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Did You Keep Your Last Year’s New Year’s Resolution?

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

I did. Not to brag, but I can truly say that not only did I keep it but it has benefited me beyond my expectations. My last year’s resolution was daily so it involved me being active in remembering it which in turn produced daily benefits to not only my life but the lives around me. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I will be doing it again this year however with slight differences to keep it fresh and new. What was it you ask? It was to read the Bible, both the New and Old Testament, cover to cover in chronological order.

This is not the first time I have had this resolution, however, it was the first time that I read the Bible in chronological order which is enormously helpful to those of us who think in terms of storylines. Many years ago, I was impressed not by a Pastor, sadly enough, but by Oprah to read the Bible cover to cover. Her valid point was that as a Christian I should know for myself what the Bible says and be able to speak with confidence about my understanding not because someone else told me about it but because I had studied it for myself. After all, is this not what higher education is all about? We major in a field of study and read volumes of books coupled with lectures from those more knowledgeable then ourselves. Yet the very book that defines Christianity and embodies the whole nature of Jesus Christ, many have never read to completion.

How sad. I equate it to marrying only part of a person and not the whole person. Wedding vows often include the lines, “for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health” but what if the vow only said “for richer and in health” and left out the other parts? How is that commitment? Anyone can be committed to the good in a marriage but it takes a person of character and conviction to be married during the “poorer and sickness”. The same is true for studying the Bible, if we only read the parts that are easy, fun, satisfying for the moment, or applicable to our lives right now, then we miss part of who Christ is.

So, many years ago, I read the Bible cover to cover for the first time and it has rewarded me beyond my initial expectation and now I continue to read and reread it while gaining deeper understanding and wisdom well beyond my natural abilities and talents. There are many websites to assist you with this endeavor, you can even download an APP for free “YouVersion” Bible which has many reading plans to select from. Or here is a favorite website:

However you choose to read the Bible, just read it. Come with an open heart and mind to what God is saying in His word about Himself and about your life and you will be blessed. Embrace the whole nature of Christ through the reading of His word and your relationship with Him will deepen to levels beyond your understanding. Just as the difficult moments in your marriage fostered a deeper commitment and understanding of your spouse, so reading the difficult parts of the Bible will strengthen your faith and love of Jesus.

Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.