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Conversations Matter

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Apr 08,2020 @ 05:08 AM

Often in our business, especially before our current crisis, we would hear comments from leaders like “I just don't have time to coach”, or “I’m too busy.” I've always thought this was just a smokescreen for the real reasons of not coaching. The real reason is that leaders typically don't know what to do or what to say,. So let's think about today’s situation. If there was ever a time when managers need to build trust and encourage open dialogue with their employees, it's now more than ever. Let’s face it, as a society, just as in workplace cultures, we suffer from conversation deficiencies. At its most fundamental level, we run so hard and fast that we often have dysfunctional conversations. Let’s look at this from a simplistic level. How often when we’re listening to people are we thinking about what we want to say next when they finish talking? Let’s be honest, don’t we all do it? Think about it. How often do we really demonstrate to somebody that were listening by taking the time to paraphrase what they said to show understanding? That’s true active listening. Lets all slow down and REALLY listen to understand while demonstrating empathy.

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Coaching to Comfortability with Unpredictability

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Apr 07,2020 @ 04:11 PM

This is a sample coaching map from our book series Coaching Conversations - we hope you find this helpful!

Challenge / Performance Area:

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Why Leaders Need to Coach Especially Now!

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Apr 07,2020 @ 06:00 AM

Leaders need to coach as at its most fundamental level it reveals one big reason why! Coaching if done before the pandemic crisis would facilitate a manager's relationship and trust with his or her employees. On the other hand, if the manager is not coaching and fell victim to the typical excuse of not having time to coach this person be at a distinct disadvantage. A manager who does not coach now has to lead their team and it begs the question with the team want to follow this leader during such a stressful time? The number one excuse we get from managers not coaches they don't have time so what happens when a crisis occurs and they magically show up and start asking questions and trying to lead their team?

Coaching is about scheduling time. Coaching is about asking questions and learning and gaining understanding of how employees are feeling and where they want to go with their careers. A manager who coaches and leverage strengths will experience a smoother transition than a manager is not taken the time to coach. During this crisis, how can a manager we has spent no time conversing or asking questions of their team now is asking questions such as how are you feeling? How will employees respond to this as this will come off is out of the ordinary.

There is no greater tool right now then coaching to demonstrate empathy and facilitate leadership as well as drive understanding and clarity of how each and every employee is uniquely feeling.

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Coaching Drives Relationships

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Apr 06,2020 @ 07:58 AM

This is a sample coaching map from our book series Coaching Conversations and we hope it helps.

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Group Coaching Is Going Virtual

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Apr 06,2020 @ 07:18 AM


The following is a coaching man from one of our books The Coaching Conversation Series. A coaching map depicts the step by step process down to the exact question, activity, and learning project manager can use to facilitate coaching specific to a particular topic. I hope this helps:

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120 Second Task Creates Great Conversations

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Apr 06,2020 @ 07:06 AM

Often when we are coaching people we lose sight of our core objective. Recently I had a conversation with a manager who wanted a person to go back to their old ways of being a positive teammate and possessing a great attitude. I asked the manager how many times he had met with this employee on this topic and he said only once up to this point. I asked what was your overall objective and he said for this person to get back to their old ways of being a great teammate with a positive attitude who went above and beyond the call of duty to help their teammates. I asked what was your objective of this upcoming conversation and he said "The Same Thing". RED FLAG: there is no way one conversation is going to lead to this misguided yet positive objective.


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3 Companies Doing GREAT Things During This Crisis

By Tim Hagen on Sun,Apr 05,2020 @ 04:59 AM

This podcast teaches specific reasons and case studies that illustrate the value of coaching and why it will allow you to do one of three things coming out of this current crisis: Podcast Link: click here

This podcast teaches specific reasons and case studies that illustrate the value of coaching and why it will allow you to do one of three things coming out of this current crisis:

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Having Uncomfortable Conversations ... Now

By Tim Hagen on Sat,Apr 04,2020 @ 09:17 AM

Having uncomfortable conversations has never been more difficult. Due to the recent pandemic crisis it's really quite ironic that people seem to be a little bit more thoughtful and nicer yet it gives you perspective as to why would a crisis bring people closer together? It forces people to gain perspective and with that being said it also forces us to have conversations that are tough.

One of the conversations is laying somebody off during a difficult time when nobody is really at fault. Instead of providing a lesson as to what to do I will use coaching questions to assist: How you have that conversation with empathy and consideration in a forward thinking helpful perspective?

Another tough conversation communicating when you don't have answers. How you do this transparently and consistently?

Third type of conversation is asking people to do more while working differently. One of the best questions when you're asking people to change especially during a crisis is the following question: What can I do to assist you to facilitate greater comfort and what could I do going forward to check in with you to ensure that you're still feeling the same way?

These times are forcing conversation. Times are forcing change. Conversation and change can be powerful if done with empathy and thoughtfulness and certainly listening… Really listening through active listening… By stating back to somebody what they said and felt and meant. This builds trust and greater relationships going forward when going back to the new normal whatever that might be.

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Mastering Conversational Leadership

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Apr 03,2020 @ 09:22 PM

Our ability to lead conversationally has never been more important than right now. Check out this podcast: 


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What Is Coaching? Why We Need It Now ...

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Apr 03,2020 @ 08:59 PM

As coaching grows in popularity more and more organizations wrestle with some very simple questions: What is coaching? How can we use it? What doleaders need to specifically do? Let’s look at some of the fundamental aspects of coaching and revisit what it truly means to coach somebody.

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Coaching During Uncertain Times

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Apr 03,2020 @ 07:34 AM

This episode teaches how to have conversations during uncertain times. It reveals some specific strategies to build awareness and commonality between employees to elevate relationships and trust within the organization even when remote.

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Coaching Against Fear

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Apr 03,2020 @ 07:24 AM

What if the acronym of FEAR was "Failure to Engage And React"? This episode will teach you how to take this acronym and convert some words to promote people's reactions to be proactive and positive, ultimately helping them dissipate fear especially during these unique times.

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Finally Coaching Is Leaping to the Forefront

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Apr 03,2020 @ 07:18 AM

Finally Coaching is getting its due credit:

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Coaching is the # 1 Thing to do Right Now~!

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Apr 03,2020 @ 04:01 AM

Coaching is the number one thing a leader can do right now. Coaching is nothing more than a conversation to learn and find out how somebody's feeling or what they want to do. If there was ever a time to find out how employees were feeling during this coronavirus pandemic is now!

When leaders coach they build trust in relationships. Coaching is about asking questions; whereas, typical leadership is about directing and telling people what to do. Typical leadership is not what people need right now to a certain extent when in fact coaching will provide greater clarity to the stress and anxiety employees might be feeling at this time.
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Save Time Selling ... Things are Changing Fast for Sales Teams

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Nov 04,2019 @ 09:58 PM

One of the most startling from a variety of sources is that over 70% of buyers in a B2B world today make their decision forever talking to a sales rep. WOW! What is a sales rep to do? It is imperative that sales people and teams reinvent themselves. We have to automate and streamline some of the mundane tasks such as prospecting, phone dialing, proposal generation, etc. The time-saving has to be reinvested into practices that allow salespeople to get in on the front part of the buying process. Here's a brief list of action salespeople can now take:

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Our Intent Does Not Equal Our Output

By Tim Hagen on Sun,Aug 04,2019 @ 04:44 PM

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Coaching From the Ground Up

By Tim Hagen on Sun,Aug 04,2019 @ 04:28 PM

One of the most fundamental things organizations can do is to go beyond the traditional training and coaching. Often, if not all the time, people are coached and taught as it relates to their job functionality. Most people are never trained or coached on how to accept coaching. Most people are never trained or coached on how to overcome change and challenge. What if organizations took time to fuel their employee's minds positively? Many organizations will on-board their employees, but will on-board their employees specific to the job requirements, processes, and procedures associated with the organization. What if organizations took a proactive step towards teaching employees how to ultimately coach themselves? What if organizations took a holistic approach of feeding their employees mind with positive material to help offset the stresses and rigors often associated with the day to day workplace?

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Solve the Number One Coaching Problem

By Katie Allbee on Thu,Aug 01,2019 @ 03:18 PM

The number one problem in coaching and corporate America today- managers are not engaging in critical conversations. What’s keeping managers from having this dialogue? It’s not lack of time, even though that’s usually the first block that comes up. It’s not that they are unqualified to be partaking in crucial conversations. What is the issue? Managers don’t know what to do and what to say when having crucial conversations that tie training objectives and coaching together. So, how do you provide managers with the skills and practice needed to become agile when it comes to having these conversations? 

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How to Start a Corporate Training Program for Coaching

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Jul 09,2019 @ 01:17 PM

Many companies are now starting corporate coaching training programs due to the value that coaching can provide an organization. There is no better opportunity to retain and develop top talent than coaching. With that being said there are certainly challenges associated with coaching such as managers taking the time to do so. Here are six steps that should help organizations develop a corporate training program for coaching that is successful:

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How To Infuse Positivity Into Your Workplace

By Katie Allbee on Wed,Jul 03,2019 @ 10:53 AM

I'm going to say something that's controversial- asking your employees to be positive can be condescending. With outside stressors influencing our lives on a consistent basis, when a manager or boss says to me, "Hey, let's put on our happy face and be excited to be here today!", my immediate reaction is, "Yeah, ok," followed by me falling back into my daily negative thoughts. Let's face it, we all have things that make focusing on our work and being mindful of our impact on the work and our workplace extremely difficult- student loans, emergency bills, that one family member who constantly causes stress, endlessly comparing ourselves to everyone else on social media... the list can go on and on. So, instead of continuing to fall into the trap of cyclical self-pity, what can I do to combat these stressors in a meaningful and lasting way? Here's how you can infuse positivity into your workplace in a way that impacts each of your unique employees:

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There Are Two Brains: The Positive and The Negative

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Jul 03,2019 @ 10:47 AM

Often we hear about the right brain and the left brain when in fact I would like to make it a little bit more simplistic. I think we have a positive brain and the negative brain. The positive brain is the brain that people feed with positive content and thoughts and emotions. The negative brain is the brain that allows negative thoughts and feelings. This in essence is a battle every single day for every single employee. I often crack a joke when I do public speaking that people have a balance act that they have to have every single day like a teeter totter. No one ever goes home at the end of the day when a loved one asks them how is your day and they say "neutral, I didn't have a feeling from 8 to 5". People usually laugh but what it indicates is it's kind of ridiculous because people normally have good days or bad days but why?

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Water Cooler Leadership

By Tim Hagen on Fri,May 31,2019 @ 03:04 PM

I think every company has the role of leader by the water cooler at some point. What is meant by water cooler leadership? Water Cooler leadership is an event that occurs typically near the water cooler where people complain and gripe about a new policy or maybe even people at the organization. The water cooler is typically a resting place for the disgruntled, but rest assure water cooler leaders have an impact in the face of change and things people go through. People will gravitate naturally to the negative cause. Often the negative takes less effort. It's easier to complain then to overcome change and challenge and do the right thing. Every organization has water cooler leaders. Some people call them the elephants in the room, but there's an important question to ask. Why do people go to the water cooler versus just doing the right thing and going to the source and working through things or overcoming change and challenge?

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Top 10 Characteristics We Want in Employees

By Tim Hagen on Fri,May 31,2019 @ 02:53 PM

There are two fundamental elements of great employees, elements that are rarely taught to them- how to overcome challenges and accept change! Everyday people who have gripes or discord with people and/or work typically are as a result of people fighting challenges or are not focused on overcoming the challenge. We train employees on job-specific duties and rarely teach them behaviors and skills associated with handling inevitable change and challenges they will encounter in the workplace.

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The #1 Skill That Takes Leaders to the Top!

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Apr 25,2019 @ 12:38 PM

The number one skill leaders should possess is the ability to converse and thoughtfully react to situations. We call this Coaching Situationally.

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The #1 Skill Leaders Lack When Coaching and What To Do About It

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Apr 24,2019 @ 10:56 AM

The number one skill seems so simple, but so many factors are against it! People cannot do it well at all. Many things get in its way, like our own thoughts and objectives. People rarely do one valuable thing that builds clarity and trust- that's active listening, where you state back what somebody said during dialogue. Active listening plays a huge role in having effective conversations, which many people struggle with.

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Why Assessments Work

By Katie Allbee on Wed,Oct 17,2018 @ 11:00 AM

We invest a lot of time and energy into figuring out how to best operate our businesses. From lean consulting down to employee performance improvement plans, we seek to figure out the best solutions to our most common workplace problems. We're able to spend millions of dollars a year on these practices, but we're omitting something vital when it comes to getting at the heart of what's going on at our companies- we're forgetting the "why".

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Evaluating the Employee-Manager Relationship

By Alyssa Nowak on Tue,Oct 16,2018 @ 08:53 PM

“What do I do when I feel as though my relationship with my coaching candidate is not bringing about the results I’m looking for? I feel as though I’ve been working with them forever but not finding success!”

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Constant Communication and Its Conundrums

By Katie Allbee on Fri,Oct 12,2018 @ 11:45 AM

Communication is key, right? It's often the answer to relationship problems with a partner, the issue that comes up when we use emails too frequently, and it's the tool we use in the corporate world to stay in touch with our fellow employees, managers, and teams. But what's the difference between quality and quantity when it comes to communication? Is it really the be-all-end-all that brings a manager and employee together, or is constant communication more aptly named "conflicting"? Here are some common themes we see with communication at Progress Coaching that get in the way of successful employee and manager relationships:

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The Power of Goal-Setting

By Alyssa Nowak on Thu,Oct 11,2018 @ 02:46 PM

When we think about what motivates us in our jobs, it comes down to something we want to achieve – the next big promotion, a pay raise, or the respect of our peers. But what is really behind those things? What do we truly want to accomplish for ourselves? That promotion may really mean job security for some, or a sense of progress for others. The pay raise? Financial security or savings for something big for yourself or your family. And the respect of our peers can stem from our need for approval from others. There is generally an emotional attachment to your goals, and even by setting them in the first place you have taken the first big step toward accomplishing them. Everyone has a goal, including the individuals on your team – all you have to do is ask the right questions.

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Coaching the Person, Not the Personality

By Alyssa Nowak on Mon,Oct 08,2018 @ 07:30 AM

So many times in my job, I get a lot of questions like, “how do you coach to engagement study results?” Questions like that remind me that so many engagement studies are based on personality tests, blanketing entire groups of individuals who are just that – INDIVIDUAL! So how can an engagement study accurately portray the personalities of each person on your team by putting them into categories rather than coaching to the individual themselves? Just a heads-up on that one – most of the time, leaders will adjust their coaching only to the groups of personalities that the engagement study believes that people with all sorts of different personalities might fall into. That strategy is time-effective, sure, as you can coach the individuals in each category the same, but not the most accurate strategy out there.

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It's Game Time: How Engaged Is Your Team?

By Alyssa Nowak on Fri,Oct 05,2018 @ 09:00 AM

When thinking about coaches of athletes, we typically picture the in-game situations. High-intensity, focused instruction paired with cheers and positive affirmations are the general structure of a coach’s interactions with players in a game or match. But what about practices? How does the coach play a part outside of the intense game play in helping the individuals they are coaching become better at their craft? And how do they get the individuals to remain ENGAGED?

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My Employee Isn't Engaged: Are They Worth Coaching?

By Alyssa Nowak on Thu,Oct 04,2018 @ 08:00 AM

I think every manager, leader, supervisor, trainer and coach has had this thought at some point in their career: What do I do with someone that isn’t engaged – are they even worth coaching? Gut instinct says, “You can’t change the way a person is.” However, after some consideration of a strategy, you can help the individual find their place. Often, lack of engagement comes from either lack of understanding or lack of knowledge on how they play a role in the company. And, for the record, every person is worth coaching to some degree. It all depends on how far you’re willing to reach to find their true motivation.

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How One Assessment Can Bring Managers and Employees Together

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Sep 26,2018 @ 09:03 PM

I've been in the practice of teaching and training managers how to coach their employees for over 20 years now. One thing that's been around even longer than that are assessment tools. Those tools are quite valuable, but we started to realize something. Many of these assessment tools are based on personality, and the output is usually canned pieces of information that require managers to interpret the data on their own in order to create a plan or coaching strategy specific to what they learned. This can be very complicated, convoluted, and quite frankly very difficult for managers, especially those who aren't yet skilled in coaching. In order to make this process easier for managers to immediately apply assessment results to tangible coaching strategies, we at Progress Coaching have created the Dual Assessment Strategy.

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Using Assessments to Bring Manager & Employee Together for Greater Engagement

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Sep 24,2018 @ 08:30 AM

While the industry has many valuable tools there is a tremendous opportunity of using a dual assessment strategy to bring the manager and employee together for common ground, greater understanding of one another, and a framework to apply coaching strategies. Progress Coaching has created such a strategy using two custom assessment strategies:

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Inspiration From Outside Your Company - What's Yours?

By Alyssa Nowak on Fri,Sep 21,2018 @ 08:00 AM

Maybe it comes from an idol – someone you’ve looked up to for ages. Maybe it comes from something that motivates you personally at home. Maybe it’s an interaction you had with someone that gave you a huge boost of confidence. Whatever that maybe is for you, everyone has a source for inspiration to be the greatest that comes from outside your company’s walls.

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Set Up Your Day for Coaching Success

By Katie Allbee on Wed,Sep 19,2018 @ 08:00 AM

As I was scrolling through my phone this morning, I came across a recent article on Forbes, "Doing This for 5 Minutes Every Morning Can Make You Nearly Twice as Productive". Turns out my daily ritual of scrolling my phone before I even consume coffee isn't setting me up for success. Luckily, I'm not alone. More than 7,000 people have taken the free online test “How Do Your Time Management Skills Stack Up?” 66% of people check their email, while only about 34% make a plan for the day. How does this translate to your day? Check out the article above for some really interesting data analysis.

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So When Do I (And When Do I Not) Coach?

By Alyssa Nowak on Tue,Sep 18,2018 @ 10:23 AM

Many people have been in a situation where they are questioning if it is “their place” to step in to coach someone else. In determining your role as a coach, there are factors that should be taken into consideration, such as the impact that your coaching might have on the situation, your relationship to the individual, and that individual’s supervisor if you are not it.

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How Coaching Can Make a Not-So-Magical-Experience Magical

By Katie Allbee on Fri,Sep 14,2018 @ 08:30 AM

Throughout my daily life, I try to illustrate connections between great customer service and coaching. It's apparent when a company truly embraces what it means to have a great culture when you experience it consistently across an organization. I welcome the millennial stereotype of brand loyalty when it comes to working with or spending money with companies that move beyond simply "talking the talk" and wholeheartedly take on the "walking the walk" piece. It's easy today to fall into a trap of simply believing a company's promise, whether it's a proclamation that their green initiatives go above and beyond their competition, or that their attention to detail and lack of frivolity is why you should purchase their product. The way I sort through this over-saturation of abundant promises is through speaking with a customer service representative.

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Quit Role-Playing! Facilitate Positive Practice Sessions

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Sep 06,2018 @ 09:00 AM

The phrase "role-playing" universally tends to conjure up sighs, eye-rolls, and groans. Even though this is the typical case, can we all agree that we don't get better without practice? One of the reasons role-playing get such a negative connotation really has nothing to do with role-playing itself, rather it’s based upon how we give one another feedback.

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5 Strategies to Coach Confidence

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Sep 05,2018 @ 10:30 AM

Confidence is a very brittle thing and can be broken in an instant. One of the most fundamental examples of this is when people role-play or practice inside a corporate meeting. After the practice session is completed feedback is provided and for whatever reason people seem to unload on constructive feedback. They will provide one or two things the person did well and then lead with the phrase such as "here is what I would do if I were you" and then they begin to provide multiple counts of constructive feedback. Rarely do people ever leave these meetings invigorated and the proof is when role-playing or practice is announced most people usually roll their eyes and dread the thought of doing it but why? These sessions indicate people typically do not have confidence associated with practice just due to the nature of how the feedback is provided.

Topics: confidence
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The Coach That Needs Self-Coaching

By Katie Allbee on Tue,Sep 04,2018 @ 07:45 AM

I'm going to say it- it's easier to coach someone else than it is to coach yourself. Just think about it, how often do we latch on to giving our two cents when it comes to anything? From giving our friends some advice on a new diet, telling someone how to optimize their workflow, to relationship advice and how to handle conflict at work. All of these things require little or no acceptance or awareness of how we execute any of those things. This distancing is why we prefer to focus on others rather than ourselves- it just feels better. You feel like you're being helpful, you're accomplishing something by giving someone advice or coaching someone, you're fostering a relationship, be it at work or in your personal life. But, when's the last time you asked yourself this question: Did this person really need to hear what I just told them, and why did I feel it was necessary to share that with them?

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Coaching Must Involve Practice

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Aug 31,2018 @ 09:30 AM

Without practice employees do not arbitrarily improve. Without practice we cannot observe skills and behaviors to reinforce. Without practice employees will not arbitrarily develop confidence. Without practice managers are allowing employees to practice for the first time in front of peers and customers. So what is a manager to do especially when time is limited? Here are five strategies we would encourage you to adopt when it comes to facilitating practice:

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Coaching After the Learning is Done...What's Working?

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Aug 30,2018 @ 10:00 AM

When I think about learning I think about employees who have gone to a class or maybe an online course and they’ve experienced knowledge dissemination or skill development. Where does coaching come in?

Let’s take two scenarios to illustrate this point. First, somebody attends an internal corporate workshop where he or she have learned the valuable material and engaged with his or her teammates throughout the company.

Topics: coaching
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The Two Major Reasons Managers Really Do Not Coach Their Employees

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Aug 29,2018 @ 09:00 AM

We hear it all the time "I don't have time to coach my employees" or "our industry is really different and our managers are working managers" or "we hire really good people" or ???

The fact of the matter is some of the aforementioned reasons certainly have some merit but what if managers could creatively build their own coaching programs and apply coaching strategies even when they're physically not present? What if managers were really taught how to address the two major reasons why they do not coach and provided real world assistance and support? 

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The Progress Initiative

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Aug 28,2018 @ 10:00 AM

The Power of Progress! We've been teaching Progress Coaching™ for over 20 years I wanted to share with you a really cool concept: The Progress Initiative. The Progress Initiative is a movement organizations can take for talent development and retention as well as the cultivation of effective leadership.

Topics: coaching success
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Coaching After the Workplace Engagement Study Retains & Grows Top Talent

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Aug 27,2018 @ 07:45 AM

Often, organizations will deploy a workplace engagement study to ascertain their employee's happiness and level of engagement. This could include their salary, their benefits, their engagement levels, their motivation, their team dynamics, or what have you. The purpose of the engagement study is to find out what's going on in the workplace. Often, organizations will do this on an annual basis which quite frankly is just not enough. Often, the results will be shown to an executive or upper management team only to have it sit there.

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Starting Your Coaching Relationship Positively is Critical

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Aug 24,2018 @ 09:00 AM

Starting a coaching relationship is not always easy to do and one of the things we teach in the progress coaching training system is something we call the awareness stage. The awareness stage is when we make someone aware of the opportunity to improve but the language and approach we use is as critical as anything. The goal of this stage is not to convince somebody that they have to improve, rather it's to make them aware of the opportunity, seek their emotional commitment to the area of opportunity, and ultimately establish a cadence associated with getting together.

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Be Honest with Yourself

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Aug 23,2018 @ 08:30 AM

The goal of coaching is ultimately to get people to look in the mirror step one and then take step two which is to take action on step one. The funny thing is very few people do step one very well. It's hard to be honest with yourself.

Here are a few examples of the challenges people have as it relates to being honest with themselves. Let's take a salesperson who's had a great year and when you ask that salesperson why they had a great year they tend to talk all about themselves. The next year they have a down year and you ask them what happened they tend to bring up extraneous things such as the economy or pricing issues or product issues. The funny thing is good salespeople sell during tough times. 

Topics: coaching
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Getting Executive Management To Coach

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Aug 22,2018 @ 02:10 PM

Recently, I had a conversation with an organization where one of the managers felt like there would be greater traction with their end of the year engagement study results if upper level management participated in coaching and mentoring. He presented a true fear of having such a conversation as it was filled with political potholes and risk. What is a manager to do?

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120-Second Interactions for the Front Line

By Alyssa Nowak on Fri,Mar 09,2018 @ 10:00 AM

Think of the number of interactions we have each day – how many of those interactions are more than two minutes long?  And at the end of the day, how my of those interactions do we actually remember? When we have conversations, being prepared is the key to helping your customers love what you have to offer them in a short amount of time, not just with your product or service, but with you as a person.  So the big question is: how can a salesperson be genuinely interested in a transaction and a customer without coming off as overbearing?

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The Importance of Expressing Empathy Through Coaching Questions

By Katie Allbee on Thu,Mar 08,2018 @ 09:00 AM

As someone with a background in counseling, and as a citizen who pays attention to the world around them, the world can be a tough place. Instead of avoiding difficult subjects, we know that genuine human connection can help ease some of the burden. Some of these difficult subjects like workplace culture, engagement studies, and emotional intelligence are trending for a great reason- companies are owning the fact that embracing each of these areas is key towards their overall success as a company. So, you know you need to focus on these things because they keep popping up everywhere- the news, social media, word-of-mouth around the office, mandates from upper management. Great! You've embraced the first step of the process, which is gaining an understanding. Then that begs the question- now what?

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Positivity Equals Productivity

By Alyssa Nowak on Wed,Mar 07,2018 @ 10:00 AM

Leaving little notes on your employees’ desks, taking 30 seconds out of your day to let someone know something specific that they have done that you appreciate, or calling a meeting just to let your team know that what they do is appreciated are all ways that positivity can drive a positive and productive workplace atmosphere. So what happens when positivity is missing?

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The Parent Coach

By Alyssa Nowak on Tue,Mar 06,2018 @ 10:08 AM

There are two sides to parenting – the enforcer, and the pleaser.  Most parents try to opt for the middle:  represented by the coach.  In many ways, the middle ground in parenting and coaching is the balance between enforcer and pleaser - someone who looks to lead but must also follow the cues given by those we are trying to coach, whether those people are our children, our employees, or our sports team.  We look to that coaching figure as the authority but also the guiding hand.

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A Helping Hand Goes a Long Way- Getting Your Hands Dirty With Your Team

By Alyssa Nowak on Fri,Jan 26,2018 @ 09:20 AM

This is the first part of a series from Alyssa Zickert, our new Coaching Strategist here at Progress Coaching. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Sometimes we must reach down and reconnect with our roots – in business, our roots are the employees that help build companies from the ground up. The most valuable connection any manager can possibly make in the office can be made in many ways, with the most effective being outside the comfort of the manager’s office- building valuable trust between manager and employee.

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Are You Taking Your Daily Supplements?

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Dec 14,2017 @ 12:43 PM


Supplements are so prevalent here in the United States that they have their own storefronts, loyal fan-bases, and are even touted across cable networks due to their popularity. Scientific evidence shows that some of these are beneficial to our overall health, but on one condition- they are most effective in conjunction with overall healthy behavior like diet and exercise. You can't take a magic diet supplement, for example, and expect to lose weight, all while pounding cheeseburgers and beer (wouldn't that be AWESOME?). So, in order to get the most out of your supplements, you need to support it with a healthy lifestyle.

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How to Coach "The Nine Types of People Who Never Succeed At Work"

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Dec 08,2017 @ 01:15 PM


I recently read an article written by Travis Bradberry entitled, "Nine Types of People Who Never Succeed At Work", and it immediately got me thinking. This quote stood out to me: "None of these behaviors are a career death sentence because they can be eradicated through improved emotional intelligence. All it takes is a little self-awareness and a strong desire to change." 

Let's face it- we all work with people who fit the characteristics that Travis details in this article. But this begs the question- do you simply wait for the employee or coworker to become self-aware on their own schedule, or do you intervene and propel the change?

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Using Video To Coach

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Oct 17,2017 @ 11:56 AM

Recently, we created a module called video-based coaching. The module teaches specific strategies of how to leverage video as a coaching tool versus always a manager or coach as the sole provider of coaching. We live in a video age and I thought about writing this long-winded articulate article sharing my wisdom until I saw the following video. I think this video will do most of the teaching of how video can impact people's emotions and choices which goes to the basis of what coaching really is-please share your impact or insight of this video and how video can be utilized to coach: Greatest speech I Have Seen
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What Successful Coaching Cultures Do to Develop & Retain Top Talent

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Oct 10,2017 @ 12:00 PM

Coaching is the new leadership. The days of leaders commanding and demanding people with little to input are way behind us. People crave strong leaders, but they also want an opportunity and a platform to share their ideas and insights.

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How a Dose of Conflict Can Be the Perfect Cure

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Oct 09,2017 @ 03:42 PM

When you think about conflict, or confronting someone, does it make you nervous? Doesn't it make a lot of people nervous? I want to share a notion with you that conflict, in certain moments, can be unbelievably healthy. Let me give you a couple of examples.

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Make Positive progress a priority

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Sep 21,2017 @ 03:31 PM

One of the toughest things that we go through is our ability to recruit employees. The toughest thing we need to consider is that the world is shrinking and it is very easy for candidates to find out what our organizations are like as well as specific managers and their leadership styles. A brief example might be a candidate going to work for a company and not knowing much about the company. What will the candidate do knowing he or she may have multiple offers from different companies? They may go to LinkedIn and see if they know anybody at the company. This is where a manager's personal leadership brand becomes evident or least it’s perception. A candidate might call someone at the company to find out what that boss is like. On one hand what if the boss has a reputation of not being very engaged and occasionally flies off the handle yelling in staff meetings? On the other hand what if the manager is engaged and has developed a relationship of being positive in a great developer of talent?

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Coach to the Issues and NOT Just the Situation

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Aug 24,2017 @ 11:35 AM

The most fundamental mistakes managers make when they're coaching is that they coach to the situation and not to the issue(s). Let me give you a brief example. Let's say you walk by and you hear three people at the water cooler gossiping and talking negatively about other people. You hear them demonstrating very mean spirited comments. They are really being poor teammates and employees. Often, we might address those situations feeling like we've corrected them when in fact we have not even started to coach to the real issues which might be poor attitude or a lack of teamwork or not upholding corporate values and principles. We tend to have managers thinking about coaching as an apparatus to fix things or to adjust people.

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How to Never Lose Your Job to Technology

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Jul 27,2017 @ 09:33 AM


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Motivating Managers to Coach

By Tim Hagen on Tue,May 23,2017 @ 09:10 AM

What's been a pleasant surprise in the last two years is that the coaching industry and the coaching movement has gone from this concept of, "It would be nice to coach if we had time," to organizations stating, "We must coach our employees." This has been, needless to say, refreshing.

This still begs the question- how do we motivate our managers to coach?

This article is not about how to coach, but how to continue to push our managers up that hill, since time is not an ally when so many managers today wear so many hats.

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How One Conversation Could Have Destroyed a Company!

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Apr 27,2017 @ 05:26 PM

I bet when you first read the title you thought it was over the top. This is from a company we worked with years ago that had less than 15 people when I first started working with them. I'll never forget the day this conversation took place. It still reminds me of the value of teaching coaching and what I do for a living.

A manager of one of our clients sites was extremely upset with one of his employees. He was in the "lobby", but due to the small size of the company, everyone could hear what was being said. The manager got in the employee's face, began to yell, literally called the employee stupid and began to use profanity. In the spirit of time I'll cut to the end of the story. The employee was extremely upset and abruptly left the company quitting without a two-week notice.

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Why People Avoid Conflict

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Apr 24,2017 @ 12:14 PM

When we have to do something associated with conflict and confrontation, people tend to get very squeamish and hesitant to even do so. But, in the meantime, they'll go off and tell others of their frustrations, resulting in "Water Cooler Talk"!

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Attention Executives-Your Managers Need to Coach, but So Do You!

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Apr 21,2017 @ 12:59 PM

One of the questions I receive frequently from managers is about getting their managers or executive team to coach them. They often fear retribution if they bring it up- as if they are crossing a line. When we provide our program to organizations, everybody says you should start with the executive team, which I agree with, but often it gets pushed down to management levels below the executive team. Executives are incredibly busy today, but so are managers below this level!

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Five Reasons Coaching Helps Retain top Talent

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Apr 17,2017 @ 11:49 AM

The coaching industry is growing by leaps and bounds. With that being, said I think we have to be very conscientious of the reasons why we need to coach and not just for the traditional reasons of engagement and performance development, but more organizational reasons as well.

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The 12 Minute Coaching Conversation

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Apr 14,2017 @ 11:04 AM

To be blunt, the elephant in the room is always the manager's perception of they don't have time to coach. We hear that at every client site when we start. I always laugh at this because I think if somebody leaves me and I have no time to coach them how when do I have time to even interview somebody to replace them? On the other hand, I think we're asking managers to do more and more than we ever have before; therefore, we must acknowledge time is scarce. So, knowing this conundrum, what do we do?

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What I've Learned About Feedback as a 16 Year Old

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Apr 03,2017 @ 10:30 AM

I’m not the type of person who complains about any customer service error. If a cashier is rude to me, it’s not a big deal; they’re probably having a bad day. If something I order online takes way longer to arrive than the website told me it would, I live with it. If the meal I order isn’t exactly what I receive, I usually just eat what I get.

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5 Coaching Strategies to Develop Millennials

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Mar 10,2017 @ 12:51 PM

First of all, millennials are incredible people, and let me also share this major suggestion with you-not all millennial's are alike! Treat each and every employee, including millennials, on their individual merits, characteristics, and opportunities for growth. We tend to categorize and label people too much, cutting ourselves off from truly learning what each individual is about and what they need for career and professional development.

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What I've Learned About Coaching as a 16 Year Old

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Mar 06,2017 @ 12:57 PM

This is written by 16-Year-Old Daughter Bridget: Trust me I did not edit one word as you will see: Well Done Bridget!

My family has a running joke about my father’s intelligence - or, really, his lack of intelligence. We joke that he’s been lying to us for years about graduating college, that he’s never actually read a book, and that my brother and I must be the products of either infidelity or adoption. Even the very concept of my dad’s company has often been the subject of our ridicule - on multiple occasions, I’ve remarked, “Anyone could run his company!” While there is some truth to some of these jokes (even my mom will admit she’s never seen any physical evidence that he graduated college), I’ve gained a lot more respect for what my dad does by working at his company.

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End the Blame Game with the Contribution Frame

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Mar 03,2017 @ 09:37 AM

This article is written by Peter Mclees: One of our Progress Coaching Partners.

Conflict can be…well…difficult. Perhaps you can associate with the idea that our best selves do not always show up for the occasion. Before we know it, we’re drowning in conflict and our emotional intelligence becomes emotionally dense while a fire-breathing dragon replaces our deep breathing for calmness. 

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are you progressing?

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Mar 02,2017 @ 10:12 AM

A foundational building block at Progress Coaching is the knowledge that the number one factor that motivates people for success is a sense of progress. We didn’t just pull that out of the air. In an extensive study completed by Teresa Amabile out of Harvard Business School, 76% of participants felt most motivated when they had the sense that they were progressing or getting better at their job.

Topics: Progress
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Feedback: How to change your business culture in less than five minutes a day

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Mar 02,2017 @ 10:08 AM

People in my industry, including myself, talk an awful lot about “Feedback.” To a degree that makes it seem like it’s this huge, daunting thing. It has gotten to the point where we talk so much about feedback and emphasize the importance of feedback to such a level that we forget one important truth. Rather than being a huge deal, or something to be afraid of, remember that feedback is a conscious conversation that most often takes less than one minute.

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Attitude is Everything!

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Feb 13,2017 @ 10:37 AM


Although it is impossible to control another person’s attitude, it is possible to make an impact on someone’s attitude whether it be negatively or positively. Often times, attitude is only addressed when it poses a problem or starts out poorly and gets worse. Positive attitudes are rarely addressed, and rarely do we invest in the good things while rewarding positive attitudes. Coaching can help focus on the importance of positive attitudes while working to improve negative ones.

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Teach Employees "How to Be Coached & Why"​: It Is a 2 Way Street!

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Feb 09,2017 @ 05:09 PM

We spend billions on leadership development, but what about the other side, the people receiving leadership and in this case coaching? What if we taught people how to receive feedback? What if we taught them skills to improve their "coaching reception" skills. This could include how to:

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What The Heck Are My Sales People Doing Inside The Sales Funnel?

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Feb 07,2017 @ 11:00 AM

Let's be honest, tracking sales such as leads does not drive sales performance. Tracking won or lost sales also does not drive sales performance. So why do I bring this up? Recently, I met with a sales organization in the manufacturing sector that was telling me they meet with the people every single week for coaching sessions. When I asked her what was the basis of the sessions in terms of what was conducted, she started to tell me typical answers that are related to the top and the bottom of the sales funnel such as:

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5 Funny Perspectives on "I Have No Time to Coach"​ from Managers

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Feb 06,2017 @ 09:28 AM

We hear it all the time " I have no time to coach", but this begs the following humorous perspectives on managers not having time to coach:

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The Keys to a Successful Coaching Business

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Jan 30,2017 @ 10:56 AM

Coaching has grown in popularity in terms of setting up a business now more than ever. Coaching continues to rise as the reception of coaching continues to grow in the corporate world. We have life coaches, executive coaches, sales coaches, nutrition coaches, just to name a few. As our market gets crowded, and dare I say saturated,

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Build Your "Talent Bench"​ Through Coaching

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Jan 23,2017 @ 12:53 PM

We hear the term all the time-bench strength. I think this term is used all too often as a reactionary method in case people leave the organization. However, a talent bench is when an organization proactively develops talent that can be used within the department as well as throughout the organization. A talent bench is a strategic asset that a company chooses to build to fill future management positions as well as supplemental leadership positions.

Topics: coaching
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3 Step Strategy to Coach Managers to Coach

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Jan 17,2017 @ 02:53 PM

As often providers think, our solutions are magical, and if people would just take training from us, everything would be okay. While this sounds nice, it couldn't be farther from the truth. While I think my company provides great training, other companies do as well, it begs the question, why do managers still struggle to coach? It comes down to one small detail:

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How to Expand Your Coaching Time!

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Jan 03,2017 @ 11:15 AM

Whether you are a manager or coach that provides a service of coaching time has always been our greatest challenge. It seems everybody's entering the coaching profession these days and more and more companies are starting to adopt coaching as a talent development strategy. How does one go about maximizing time?

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Angry Customers

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Dec 22,2016 @ 03:43 PM

We all talk about angry customers. Let's be honest, sometimes we don't even want to talk to angry customers, but what if there were a way that we could change our relationship with angry customers? What if we actually looked forward to an angry customer? You must think I'm crazy at this point. Let me explain. If everybody in the world gave great customer service and every customer was happy, how would we go about differentiating ourselves? What would separate us? What would make us unique from the competition, especially when it comes to customer service?

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Getting Managers to Coach is NOT Just a Training Challenge

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Dec 19,2016 @ 11:28 AM

Years ago there were few of us and now there are many of us. Who are we? We are companies that will come in and work with your organization and train your managers on how to coach. The challenge continues to grow in terms of gaining traction with managers. I would assume we all hear some of the same things such as they have a challenge with a lack of time and that they wear many hats.

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Employees Need F.A.M.E

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Dec 13,2016 @ 11:00 AM

Help your employees obtain FAME. What is FAME? FAME is an acronym for feedback, attitude, motivation, and engagement. Why did we create this acronym FAME? The reason we created it is every employee deserves the opportunity to be recognized and rewarded for their FAME and FAME can really come in the form of these four attributes.

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How Video Can Drive Coaching Success

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Dec 13,2016 @ 10:00 AM

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Save Selling Time & Coach Your Sales Team

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Dec 12,2016 @ 10:24 AM

I know this may seem a bit of a stretch but one of the things that I think has been occurring in the selling industry for years is better technology and automation tools are coming to the forefront. One such technology is phone dialer systems. We use a system called Phone Burner and while I used to dread making 100 to 200 follow-up calls after one of my webcasts I now look forward to it because the system actually makes it fun and I can easily accomplish this task in under two hours while providing a strong message.

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Coaching 101: Do Your Employees Come To You To Help You?

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Dec 12,2016 @ 10:22 AM

One of the greatest tests we can perform is to ask ourselves as leaders the following question: "do my employees come to me offering to help for the betterment of the team and the organization arbitrarily"?

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Coaching 101: Do Your Employees Look Happy?

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Dec 12,2016 @ 10:13 AM

The key element of any leader is to pause and look around. What do you see? Do people look invigorated? Inspired? Frustrated? Working well with one another? Going above and beyond what is expected for the betterment of the organization? Just doing their job?

Looking to Start and Expand Your Coaching Skills?: Check Out Our New Online Coaching Academy?:

Topics: coach
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Stuck in Mud? Here's How to Get Out

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Nov 22,2016 @ 01:33 PM

It's that time of year where finding an excuse to get out of things becomes more and more appealing with each passing day. We lack motivation- it's darker outsider earlier, it's getting colder (for those of us that have the misfortune of living in the North), and the end of year is approaching. We have to take a minute to look in the mirror by asking ourselves the question, "If I want my employee to be motivated, I need to demonstrate that. Am I doing a good job at modeling by example?" If the answer is no, take the time to focus on your own actions and consider the implications they have for your employees. It's easy to spot the faults in others, but without careful examination, your own motivation may be falling by the wayside.

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Attitude-How Self-Care Pays Off

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Nov 14,2016 @ 12:47 PM

We all make excuses. Some of the most frequent include:

  • You’re late for work.
  • You spilled your coffee.
  • Your kids were up late at home sick.
  • There’s construction causing a traffic jam.
  • You have a ton of work waiting on your desk.

We're all guilty of letting these excuses stand in the way of getting things done. The question then arises as to how do we all react to these day to day challenges with a positive and upbeat mentality? We all have bad day, but we are supposed to be able to leave our problems at the door.

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The Power of Generosity

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Nov 11,2016 @ 10:00 AM

Disconnects between departments, low levels of motivation, a negative atmosphere, employees who feud and power-struggle – many workplaces will eventually wrestle with at least one of these problems. On the surface, they might seem unrelated, but I’d suggest they all boil down to one thing: a culture of generosity.

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Feedback- How Important is it, really?

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Nov 10,2016 @ 04:34 PM

According to most of us in the field of coaching and consulting, we'd say pretty dang important. Feedback is a conversation, and just like a conversation, there's a give and take, a back and forth. Not only is delivery of feedback important, but one could argue how you respond to feedback is equally, if not more, important. Think of a moment where you have given someone feedback and they respond in a negative, or even neutral way. How did that make you feel right after that delivery? How did your opinion change regarding the person you gave the feedback to? This doesn't even have to be a business relation. The fact is that feedback has the ability to shape our opinions and future interactions based on a single moment. Therefore, it's vital to have every interaction, or give and take, be executed in a manner that incorporates emotional intelligence, understanding, and appropriate timing.

What is emotional intelligence, exactly?

This is key! Having an operational definition is important to being on the same page. So is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously What does this mean for you in your workplace? LISTEN to people, reflect back what they're feeling. If they're emotional, sympathize where they are coming from. If they're confused, answer their confusion. Emotional intelligence means understanding yourself and others- we can only be fully competent with others when we do this.

OK, but they understand me, right?

You know the phrase, "You know what happens when you assume things?" This definitely applies in the workplace. Never assume that by sending a simple email that your message will be conveyed. Same goes for a meeting- ask for feedback to really get at the heart of whether your message was heard. We have to consider that people have multiple intelligence's. While some may excel at visual learning, some people need auditory supplements. Get to know your people, it will help with this process.

Sometimes I like to delay my feedback to give myself/the recipient time to think.

A police officer understands the concept of this. When you get caught speeding, you receive a speeding ticket. You should employ the same tactic at your workplace. If you see behavior that you don't like, why give people the impression that they can get away with it? Everyone has the dreaded email, "Let's meet in my office" and knows how they react. They immediately shut down and are not open to feedback. If you confront someone right away, they don't have time to put up walls and come up with a defense. It should be noted that the same should go for positive behavior. IMMEDIATELY praise good behavior, publicly, and watch results skyrocket.

Need tips on becoming a better coach? Check out our webinar below to learn more about unique insights into the coaching world.

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Our Company Silos Need to Come Down

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Nov 08,2016 @ 11:00 AM

We hear it all the time… Our organization is filled with silos! Why is this? How do we get the silos to come down? How do we rebuild relationships from the top down that facilitate cooperation throughout the organization?

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Why Great Sales People Don't Always Make Great Sales Managers

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Nov 07,2016 @ 11:00 AM

What makes a great manager? One could argue that experience defines a great coach, but I'll play devil's advocate for a second here. I don't think that's the case- at least when it comes to experience with subject matter. Coaching and managing have their similarities, and the common denominator with both is that emotional intelligence is vital to a success coach. How do we expect someone whose numbers are great, sales are astonishing, and consistently achieves their goals to automatically achieve what it takes to work well with others and manage them in a productive way? Fostering that growth with all employees is necessary to to success when it comes to creating a workplace culture that encourages employee development. How many times have you walked into a workplace where everyone is doing the same, daily grind, with no foresight to their career path? Where does this come from? I'd argue that lack of coaching and proper management is the reason to blame, here. I know I'm making a lot of contentious statements here, but working with others is not necessarily a skill that people immediately pick up. By having this coaching culture that works on not only those skills, but also attitudes, self-development, engagement- you'll have a culture that you're proud of and one that fosters development of managers inherently.

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We All Have Room to Improve

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Nov 04,2016 @ 01:52 PM

We can all think of things that people can do better with- it's human nature to seek out some of the negative things in others. But how often to we reflect on our behaviors, especially us managers, and truly drill down on the specific areas that need improvement. Often times, the hardest part about this process is beginning the self-reflection. Ask yourself these questions to gauge whether or not you're living up to your full potential as an influential manager:

Topics: coaching
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COaching is a Journey

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Nov 04,2016 @ 11:00 AM

An increasing number of managers and companies are cultivating a culture of coaching, and as a result they are seeing higher levels of employee engagement, being proactive, and a more positive workplace culture. Yet even as this cultural ground-swell occurs, many people persist in seeing coaching as a dichotomy, as black or white, either you’re a coach who nurtures, or a manager who yells. But persisting in seeing coaching as an either-or scenario misses a really important point about coaching: everyone needs a coach. Even coaches. We can all improve.

Topics: coaching growth
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A Coach's Job is Never Done!

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Nov 03,2016 @ 01:44 PM

A coach's job is never done! Many people know and some people do not know but I coach a varsity boys volleyball team. The picture above is the first year of our team and many of the kids still keep in touch with me, specifically the kid I'm asking help about as well. Many of these kids been friends with my son (#13 in front row of picture above) since they were little. One of the kids recently was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago and his diabetes has become challenging in recent years. This is come to the point where he literally passes out standing up and has injured himself. When I first heard about this it brought up fond memories of this kid, Ryan Prom, because he was always talking about his family and friends in such high regard even at a young age. Ryan loves to play volleyball and without help he may not be able to continue do so and that's why I'm writing this blog. I think most people who follow my blogs would agree they are typically hundred percent educational without any selling but I guess I'm selling right now. I need your help! There are specially trained dogs who can literally sense when their owners blood sugar is getting low and could notify them before they actually pass out. Amazing! These dogs are not cheap and that's why again I'm writing this blog.

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SWOT-Based Coaching

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Oct 18,2016 @ 01:31 PM


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5 Problems Managers Face When Coaching Attitudes (And How To Solve Them)

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Oct 17,2016 @ 10:39 AM


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Map Your Sales Success with "Sales Mapping"

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Oct 10,2016 @ 11:56 AM

What is Sales Mapping? Sales Mapping is a program where a sales process and / or approach is mapped to a set of performance requirements to better understand specific performance requirements and position sales leaders to apply proven sales coaching strategies to these requirements.

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What Would You Do? Coaching Contest

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Oct 10,2016 @ 11:55 AM

Here's an audio from an upcoming coaching contest we will be delivering in our November newsletter. What were going to do is provide a monthly challenge along with prizes and no not to take our training or get a free product from us but actual gift cards from Starbucks or other types of businesses. The idea is to get a conversation going and we are going to use our newsletter as a tool to facilitate this.

Here's a sneak peek at the contest that will be presented in our November newsletter:

Join The Contest Here by Clicking on our Newsletter Signup: Newsletter Signup

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How to Change Your Culture Using an LMS

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Aug 12,2016 @ 06:46 PM

Acronyms are thrown around the corporate world on a frequent basis. The main objective is sifting through them and truly delving into their definitions. For example, if you're like me, staying ahead of the curve and trends in the workplace is vital to creating an engaged culture that sustains growth. One tool that allows you to monitor and change your to culture is an LMS. So, what is an LMS? Learning management systems allow you to develop, assign, and track online learning. This is the trend in the workplace today, so you know there are plenty of them to choose from. In fact, this market is set to grow to about $50 billion dollars by the end of the business year, according to a Docebo report. Doing things online, on the go, and using a platform that is simple and easy to use and understand is necessary to stand out amongst the myriad of options available to you. In the article written by William Felton, "The Best LMS for 2016", he rates some of the most prominent learning systems available to universities, organizations, and businesses today.

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Attitudes affecting your culture?

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Aug 10,2016 @ 11:00 AM


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How to build a culture of trust at your workplace

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Aug 04,2016 @ 11:00 AM

Money, benefits, fun activities- what actually keeps someone motivated to come to work? While an energetic and engaging boss begins the process, what ultimately ends the debate is a trusting, cooperative environment. Not only does the manager need to trust that the employee will complete and fulfill obligations, but the employee needs to trust that the manager creates an environment of standards that they keep as well. In the TED talk by Rachel Botsman, she explains the new, visible nature of evaluating trust in the workplace seen in companies such as Uber, AirBnb, and more. While these companies are succeeding by providing a constant visual of mutual feelings, take a minute to ask yourself if you have such measures in your own place of employment? Not only does this provide a culture of openness and understanding, but a visual expectation of standards. However, do you have measures to take that information one step further? do you have the information without a plan to change or foster the current culture? Check out our free webinar to learn more about how you can change the culture of trust in your workplace today. Link to follow video. 

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Three Core Requirements of a Positive Workplace

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Jul 28,2016 @ 01:00 PM

There are more than three, but we have to realize high level the core things that need to be accomplished to secure and sustain a positive workplace culture. We believe at Progress Coaching that a culture is made up of the conversations and interactions we have within it. With that being said this article will take a top-down view point of what a culture needs to secure those conversations:

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Coaching Career Development with Your Whiteboard

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Jul 27,2016 @ 11:49 AM

Do you ever find it difficult to get your point across when it comes to discussing changes with your employees? Sometimes, getting from where you are to where you want to be needs to be accompanied with a visual. Not only does this allow your employees to understand the details necessary to make growth, but it allows you to truly depict, in a positive manner, how to best achieve that change by illustrating it on a whiteboard. Whiteboard coaching allows your employees to visualize the timeline of change, providing you a powerful tool by simply using something that is probably already sitting in your office. 

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Five Questions You Should Ask a Person With a Bad Attitude

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Jul 26,2016 @ 10:43 AM


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Seven Major Things That Affect Your Culture

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Jul 21,2016 @ 11:00 AM

A culture is really a set of interactions between people within an organization as it represents the ability to work together, deal with conflict with one another, and act as a cohesive team unit.

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Motivation is Unique to Each Employee

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Jul 19,2016 @ 10:11 AM

We have a very interesting relationship with work. How often to we hear people say "I have to go to work Monday" as if its a death sentence? What this really means is people are not connected or motivated by what they do.

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What Drives You Crazy? How Managers Contribute and How to Change

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Jul 14,2016 @ 01:00 PM

As managers, we should be able to relate to our employee's concerns and questions, people issues, and general human problems. Seeing as no one (at least anyone I know) starts off their working lives as a manager, relating to employees should be a no-brainer, right? Sadly, as anyone who has a manager understands, is that there are common things that managers around the country struggle with. After reading an article on about 25 things managers do that drive their employees crazy, it really resonated with me. Why do these gaffes happen, and how can we take this information and use it to foster development between the manager and employee relationship? Take a look at the list of 25 things managers do that drive their employees crazy according to Liz Ryan, contributor at Forbes:

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How a Manager Can Coach a Team to Greatness

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Jul 12,2016 @ 09:41 AM

Teams are fickle. Teams can be strong, but easily broken. Team development does not arbitrarily happen. A manager must maintain a strong focus and foster team development to develop continuous cooperation among teammates. Here's an audio that I think will give you four to five very strong strategies to help any manager facilitate strong team development through coaching.

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Progress Coaching and midland video agree to partnership

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Jul 06,2016 @ 11:26 AM

We are pleased to announce that we have come to an agreement with Midland video to help educate the marketplace on workplace culture. Tim Hagen, President of Progress Coaching states, “Joe Liberatore and I have been friends for a while and we had never really thought of partnering with one another until I saw Joe's work. He helps companies use their workplace culture as a marketing and recruitment tool through video. We began exploring some ideas of how to partner and we came up with the idea of creating the “Workplace Culture”, a video blog that educates on how to build, sustain, and market organization’s workplace culture.”

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Inspirational Coaching Tips

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Jul 04,2016 @ 09:54 AM

Use these inspirational coaching tips to keep your teams motivation, engagement and connectivity high.

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Encourage Managers to Coach Managers

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Jul 04,2016 @ 09:44 AM

Use these ideas to help encourage your managers to coach today!

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Does Your Culture Recruit or Push Candidates Away?

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Jun 30,2016 @ 11:00 AM

We hear so much about culture today. So many companies are doing monthly or quarterly engagement studies or surveys. We spend so much time trying to build our cultures through training or assessments. Your culture is driven by the interactions between people. The manager to employee conversation is a critical one. This interaction represents either a positive or a not so positive relationship. This becomes an extension of the organization's culture and its ability to recruit candidates.

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Measure Your Culture Down to Each Employee

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Jun 28,2016 @ 01:00 PM

If we cannot conduct workplace assessments or surveys without them having to be anonymous so we can get honest and straightforward answers doesn't that speak to our cultural based challenges? A culture should in fact have the ability for people to have direct conversations in interactions without fear or retribution. Measuring peoples engagement and understanding how each and every employee is answered positions each and every manager to have direct and targeted conversations. This is the only way a culture can truly be built on honesty saw cultural growth can be achieved with integrity!

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One Interaction Makes Your Workplace Culture

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Jun 22,2016 @ 10:38 AM

You can walk down just about any hallway in corporate America and here a group of employees talking to each other with the following statement: did you hear what happened…?

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Its The Coaching Conversation: Top 4 Reasons It Makes or Breaks Your Training!

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Jun 10,2016 @ 10:08 AM

Obviously I am focused on the manager's coaching conversation. The major thing that we need to realize as training and learning professionals is that it takes one conversation with the manager to either support or not support our training and learning initiatives.

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Conflict- Can't Live with It, Can't Live Without it

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Jun 08,2016 @ 12:22 PM

We all know that conflict can be divisive, but do we all know that it can, in fact, be constructive? Conflict is seen in every human experience, and it's honestly inevitable. It is how we choose to deal with and ultimately use conflict that defines our interactions and growth in the workplace. Check out this article published in the Harvard Business Review that outlines some of the important steps when it comes to preempting team conflict. 

Let me know what you think in the comments below! 

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Welcome to Puzzle Place (Your Workplace Culture)

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Jun 02,2016 @ 12:00 PM

We talk about workplace cultures all the time. We should call it "Puzzle Place" because all the pieces have to fit together.  Organizations and their workplace cultures are really a collection of people-based interactions. The interactions could be among people, departments, the organization and customers, etc. We tend to lay a strategic blanket over the organization with surveys or engagement studies to look at trends of where people are engaged or not engaged. Kevin  Kruse wrote a great article in Forbes magazine talking about engagement and what it really means. He references employee engagement is not employee satisfaction and it's really the use of discretionary effort by employees when they are engaged (here is a link to that article:

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Why won't managers coach and what to do about it?

By Tim Hagen on Tue,May 31,2016 @ 11:59 AM

Why won't managers coach and what to do about it? We've been teaching managers how to coach for almost 20 years now. One fundamental thing continues to be prevalent when we hear about the struggle to get managers to coach. They don't have enough time. In reality, they do have time. When we think about situations where a manager has to hire because they've lost employees due to another company or a competitor hiring them, what do they do? Scream that they don't have time? Of course not. They have to be involved in the interview process. Where does this time come from? The time comes from the everyday day to day timeframe of 8 to 5. Managers do have time. Let's be honest, they choose not to use the time to coach because in their mind, there are potentially other things that are more valuable.

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Building a Coaching Culture

By Tim Hagen on Fri,May 20,2016 @ 10:00 AM

A Four Step Strategy to Building Coaching Culture

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Accelerate prospecting & start coaching your sales team

By Tim Hagen on Thu,May 19,2016 @ 01:00 PM

Recently, we began using a platform called PhoneBurner. EssentiallyPhoneBurner is an innovative technology platform that allows you to load up a list of phone calls in their system that does much of the work for you in regard to the mundane tasks associated with prospecting. For example, here are some of the following features that seamlessly reduce tremendous time associated with prospecting:

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Can managers even have a coaching conversation?

By Tim Hagen on Wed,May 18,2016 @ 11:13 AM

Can managers have a conversation?  Okay this sounds really ridiculous doesn't it? Think about it, can managers really have a coaching conversation and what's the difference between a coaching conversation and a regular conversation?

 The objective of a coaching conversation is to ask questions and learn about employees strengths, and inhibitions, and opportunities to improve. Telling someone what to do such as, "being friendlier to customers in customer service", or "we need to increase our sales because we're running behind", those are mandates and rhetorical directives. Where as a coach would ask, "what's inhibiting you?" What do you need to improve in order for your sales or customer service metrics to go up? These conversations seem to be very difficult for managers so why do managers struggle with this type of conversation?

  1.  They do not practice.
  2.  They need to understand it's a totally different conversation unique to itself.
  3.  They need to be trained in the art of crafting questions that create understanding and discovery as well as promote and motivate employees to preform better.
  4.  They need to practice and have time afforded to them that allow them to practice.
  5.  They need to be supported on an ongoing basis long after the training is over.

 If we take the time and really craft an approach to support managers to learn how to have the coaching conversation the training will not go by the wayside. For far to long training departments have been blamed or positioned to deliver more training when in fact, training's never really been the problem especially when it comes to managers coaching, it's getting the managers to sustain what has been taught.

 When we think about support, what does support look like? Support is actually crafting sessions such as, a best practice session around a customer service team who needs to deal with angry customers more effectively. The session could literately have managers crafting out questions of what they would ask their team, or particular members of their team, to better understand why they are struggling with handling angry customers.

 These type of sessions usually create an "ah-ha" moment for managers meaning, they come up with questions and once they apply them they start to learn what their people can or cannot do, this sadly is a huge eye-opener for many managers.

This is not to blame managers but I think we as training professionals have a wonderful opportunity of making it more comfortable for them. It's much like going into a foreign country in immediately been expected to speak their language when in fact it takes time much like a coaching conversation. This is not meant to be presented solely as a challenge, rather this is a huge opportunity for training leaders to position managers to have such conversations. How does a training professional do this? First, they also need to be able to have the coaching conversation with the manager to enable them to coach. Second, we need to streamline the coaching conversation and make it easy for them!



Making Coaching Conversations Easier With Coaching Prescriptions:

  Get More Info

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Coaching Culture Starts With the Manager to Employee Conversation

By Tim Hagen on Thu,May 12,2016 @ 01:00 PM

Last night I was on a conference call with a team of experts where  we are going to be doing a very innovative presentation as a panel on how to create a coaching culture. I was on a panel with a group of people that are far smarter than I could ever hope to be. It was one of the nicest and friendliest conversations I've ever had with a group of people. It kept hitting me throughout the conversation how much we talk about this thing called culture and workplace engagement as this entity that we have to go create.

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By Tim Hagen on Wed,May 11,2016 @ 09:09 AM

One of the things that is happened in the training and coaching industry but I think at times has been damaging is the employees perception it's the company's responsibility to train them. There is something so wrong about this perception and understanding by employees. Self-development is a powerful concept but I also think it's one that needs to be taught and facilitated. If people invested in themselves and their own career development along with the services that a company provides in terms of training and learning opportunities this is a powerful combination; nevertheless, many organization's employees assume the training they receive is suffice. In reality the training might be suffice but there is something to be said for the mental commitment to developing oneself as an accelerator.

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By Tim Hagen on Tue,May 10,2016 @ 05:15 PM

Human beings are emotional creatures. Our day-to-day interactions and perspectives prove this. People need perspective because they usually will not find perspective arbitrarily on their own.

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The Problem With Engagement Surveys

By Tim Hagen on Tue,May 10,2016 @ 11:17 AM

I keep seeing more and more products about getting employee feedback. There are more software companies that are helping organizations collect data specific to the workplace and how employees feel. I find these valuable but on the other hand I also find them very high level and not helping organization facilitate dialogue between management and employees.Companies conduct annual or biannual engagement surveys asking employees of their job satisfaction. It's been estimated in some studies over 70% of employees and corporate America are not happy with their jobs but then why are we doing such studies or surveys when we cannot deal directly with the employer?

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Confidence - It's a personal thing

By Katie Allbee on Fri,May 06,2016 @ 09:35 AM

Have you ever had a friend or coworker that seemed to have it all, the great job, loving family, nice car, you name it? Has that same person still, despite all of their assets, lacked confidence? You can try telling that person that they have every reason to be confident in their life, many times having things that others only dream of having. It comes down to one simple fact: Confidence can’t be bestowed on someone; they have to foster it themselves. Just like Maria, from the Sound of Music, motivation comes from within. We all understand that confidence in your job leads to many successes, from pay to simply job satisfaction.

Topics: coach confidence
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Using Webcasts to Coach

By Tim Hagen on Wed,May 04,2016 @ 10:19 AM

There are so many ways people are using webcasts from sales presentations to thought leadership to traditional training. Many organizations use webcasts as a platform to facilitate meetings. All of this is perfectly appropriate.

When we think of coaching we often think about sitting down with an employee and facilitating a one-to-one conversation. Coaching is about building awareness and giving another person a choice to change and improve in a particular area. This does not need to always happen with a one-to-one conversation.

Here are five creative ways to use webcasts as a coaching platform :

  1. If an employee needs to possess knowledge have them teach via a webcast to the rest of the group. The old cliché is to know something is to have the ability to teach it.
  2. If a group of employees need to possess knowledge from a presentation test them before they can start practicing the actual skill. This can be accomplished in a webcasting platform easily.
  3. Use video to facilitate an in person and online discussion. For example, shoot a simple video but delivered via webcasting platform in a live or on demand version to facilitate observational coaching. For example, a sales team could watch a simulation a role-play in action and literally use the video as a basis to facilitate conversation of what the salesperson did well and what they did not do well. In addition a coach could ask people what they observed in the video that they found in themselves that they have an opportunity to improve.
  4. Create a sequence of events to be learned and ultimately tested for knowledge understanding. For example if you have a customer service team needs to understand five very specific things the organization organization in the way it handles customers you can create a webcast or series of webcast to address this. Each employee can take the webcast to ultimately pass a test and receive in an automated certificate of completion.
  5. One of the things that I absolutely love about a platform we use is to have the ability to facilitate tools within the webcast to facilitate a coaching experience. For example, if I'm teaching a group of managers how to coach to a very specific situation but I want them to be engaged I can load into the platform evaluation sheets along with what we call what would you do coaching sheets that are easily accessible. One thing I like to do is literally have these sheets completed and emailed and/or uploaded within 10 minutes of the webcast being completed. This prompts absolute engagement and not passive participation.

We are all busy and the number one objection we get when it comes to coaching for managers is that they don't have time and that's understandable. What we do with progress coaching is look for creative ways to apply coaching principles using tools and resources that facilitate the ultimate coaching experience: That is giving someone a choice to change and improve and facilitating that improvement with them. Webcasting is an absolutely fantastic and create a platform to do just that. Think about employees who need to increase their knowledge or awareness of the skill they need to practice? What are some things that people need to behaviorally change such as attitude or self-awareness where webcast or a video within a webcast could help facilitate? These are all opportunities to improve the coaching experience.

We have used a variety of platforms when delivering webcasts. I think I have personally used over seven different platforms and they all have their positives and certainly some drawbacks. Recently we signed on with a company out of Seattle called Workcast. This platform provides organizations some of the most unique ways to facilitate not only events but webcast sessions that allow you to almost have like a live e-learning experience. The tracking and simulation of what I try to do with coaching is so easy to implement with their platform. I would encourage you as a training or thought leader or coach to check out whatWorkcast.

We are not a reseller of work cast but have found it to be the most effective platform for what were trying to accomplish: if interested contact Doug  Cardinale at or check out their webcast


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By Tim Hagen on Tue,May 03,2016 @ 07:32 PM

One of the things that we hear in our business all the time is the need to build management talent from within. So often companies will spend 20 to 30% of salaries to enable a recruitment company to find them suitable talent. First of all there is nothing wrong with this and nor should recruitment firms be blamed for this. In fact there needs to be a hybrid model so talent is being recruited as well as developed from within.

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By Tim Hagen on Thu,Apr 21,2016 @ 01:04 PM

Let's be honest we tend to deal with attitude only when it rears its ugly head. All too often managers and corporate America bring their employees into their office to give them that quick and swift attitude adjustment. You know, where we tell somebody to shape up or else and of course they magically do it right? That was a joke!

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By Tim Hagen on Wed,Apr 20,2016 @ 08:32 AM

Cultures are set of interactions people have together to achieve a common goal. In today's workplace there are so many challenges facing employers such as the shared economy, competitors trying to hire way our top talent, under performing in nine connected employees, etc. These challenges beg the following five questions we believe every company should be held to answer and if not should serve as a source of inspiration to find answers:

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Dare to disagree

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Apr 19,2016 @ 04:05 PM

Disagreement isn't always a bad thing! One could argue that it is one of the most valuable traits to have in a successful business. There is one caveat: It has to be done professionally. In her TED talk, Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counter intuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers — and how great research teams, relationships, and businesses allow people to deeply disagree. Take a look at this TED talk, and use it as a challenge to your current processes at work. Then, ask yourself these questions: 

1. Do I foster an environment that encourages or discourages discussion?

2. Will I respond well to disagreement, if not, what can I do to change that relationship?

3. What makes me uncomfortable with disagreement, specifically?

Leave your feedback below, if you agree or disagree with the concept, or just want to share your opinion! 


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What is the pulse of your people

By Tim Hagen on Sat,Apr 16,2016 @ 11:21 AM

There are so many tools and services that allow organizations to ascertain if their employees are happy. I know this is a gross generalization but let's dive deeper into what we call the pulse of the people. When we think of healthcare we think about taking someone's pulse to learn their heart rate. What affects that heart rate? How often does a change? Can it change instantly? Can it improve instantly?

Topics: coaching
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Help...My Employees are not motivated!

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Apr 14,2016 @ 02:56 PM

Motivation is such a nebulous and ambiguous concept. Here's why I say that. Many managers and leaders will attempt to motivate employees based on their own values and principles when in fact they often do not know specifically what motivates another person. How do we go about ascertaining what motivates people? Here are three high-level concepts that are from a fantastic book called the Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile:

Topics: Motivation
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Feedback- How to Deliver Honest, Yet Sensitive, Feedback

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Feb 18,2016 @ 01:01 PM


Feedback- It’s that word we dread hearing at work, right? Why do we feel this way about feedback, this immediate negative connotation with the word? Throughout our lives, we have received feedback, whether it was requested or simply bestowed upon us. So, with that logic, we should be used to it by now, even professionals at receiving it and giving it in the right way! The truth is, we still have a lot of baggage when it comes to the word “feedback”. We view it as mean spirited, useless, overwhelming, or some combination of those feelings. The important thing to remember is that feedback is ESSENTIAL to understanding our successes and areas of improvement, but it is all about how it is delivered and received.

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How Attitude Affects Your Work

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Feb 11,2016 @ 12:34 PM

Check out this awesome ted talk by psychologist Shawn Achor. In this Ted Talk, he describes the importance of a positive attitude at work. Common sense, right? What he says, though, is that we may be looking at our attitudes backwards. Take a watch, and let me know what you think in the comments below!


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I Was Too Stupid To Fail: It's NEVER That Complicated: Those Darn RGB Cables (Entry # 4)

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Feb 09,2016 @ 11:15 AM

Missed my last "Too Stupid" post? Click here to catch up. 

Topics: Sales coach lesson
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I Was Too Stupid To Fail: Attitude is Everything (Entry #3)

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Feb 04,2016 @ 11:14 AM


Topics: engage Sales coach
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I Was Too Stupid To Fail: Introduction (Entry #2)

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Jan 13,2016 @ 02:30 PM

This series of blog posts will make up my 3rd book at some point and it is yours to do what you want with it. I have tried to blend some humor with real world stories to make points that have served me well in regard to my career. The progression of stories are not in logical order, rather they are told in direct relation to lessons that have taught me how to get better in business. The  plan is to publish the stories  every Monday. Sadly, the stories are true and further reveal I am Professional Idiot!

My career really started in college by complete mistake. I should point out I initially had no interest in business whatsoever, but due to one mistake I literally fell in love with business and certainly being my own boss instantly. As my career progressed I found myself getting better and better at what I did not really taking stock as to how or why but certainly appreciating it. I currently own a firmProgress Coaching and Get Your Pulse where everyday I get up at 4:30 am not because I have to or that we need to for the money, rather because what I do totally turns me on. I create solutions most people cannot fathom of (because I am screwed up which we’ll get to later). I answer to no one except my wife Beth , two kids Liam & Bridget, and customers. But I have choices in my life which I am lucky to have due to all the experiences in this book of posts so I hope you take a few of the lessons and apply them to your life and realize when you have choices in life you are truly ahead.

Its never about money or lifestyle per se, but about doing what you love, when you want, and the way you want to do it. My life is free of typical financial stress associated with a job I don't like or have to do. I have very little anxiety with what I do! Wow, what a pompous ass you must think I am but let me make this point. As you read this book you will realize I am an idiot so the prior statements should serve as motivation due to the statement “If this idiot can do it anyone can”. You will realize ...

  • I am not that smart.
  • I am not that skilled.
  • I am not gifted as most people are in business.
  • I struggle with comprehension when tested ... school was hard.
  • I am inadequate in so many other thing.

I am an idiot but you will see as you read this book its okay to make mistakes, learn from them, and as you will see being an idiot in business is not all that bad. The reason I titled the book I was too stupid to fail is because failing is apart of the process most people will avoid, thus never making the attempt to progress or get better. Good Luck to you and hope you enjoy this book of posts. The stories in the book are true but I really hope you learn from the lessons. Failure is A Great Teacher!

Now, I should point again out that 100 % of this book is true. I am not embarrassed by anything I will reveal in this book of posts but maybe I should be. But, when you grow up with my family you get over embarrassment quickly. That was a gruesome looking group. Okay, you don’t think that was funny than stop reading this.  I was kidding sit down.

If you ever meet me I speak like I write. Grammatically incorrect but very sarcastically and hopefully humorously. I say this to remind you as you read this book I will use humor to illustrate some serious business lessons I hope you will appreciate and possibly use. Forget the humor if need be (I am an idiot and I understand), but please take the lessons seriously. I say this because I have the greatest privilege in the world. I get up and can do what I want, when I want, and with whom I want. I attribute that privilege to the lessons in this book.

Failure is the Best Thing that Could Have Happened to Me

I entered college (1982)  right after high school forgoing some athletic opportunities to play basketball or volleyball. I probably only have one regret in life and that is not playing college sports. I entered UW-Milwaukee and began to explore what I wanted to do with little passion or excitement. As a matter of fact I got kicked out my first day of college from freshman English. I went to my am classes to only have the teachers hand out the syllabuses and tell us to leave so I thought that’s the way it was in college. At lunch I went to the Ghauss House (the college bar at the Union) where I drank four pitchers of beer with Frank and Jay, two long time friends from childhood. By the way they are also idiots. I went to English class drunk and of course now have the only teacher who actually wants to have class the first day of school. She handed out books and randomly called on people to read. You got it she called on me. So after I read the same paragraph three times the teacher stopped me and asked if I thought I was funny. Completely unaware I had read the same paragraph three times I said “No, why?” She asked why I was reading the same paragraph over and over. I said “I thought you were going to hand out a syllabus so I went to the Ghauss House and drank beer, I’m hammered.” I was now kicked out of freshman English the first day of college.

What a great day. I then had to go to dean of the English department to see if he would allow me to take another English class. Evidently this was a big deal. He asked what happened and he was probably ready to hear some BS like most people would tell him. I said exactly what I said to the teacher. He started to laugh and let me in another class. Now this sounds funny but I have always been blunt and honest and it’s served me well.

I was not passionate or excited about being at school so I had a very lazy attitude about college success. The next two years I simply floundered and got terrible grades now lying to myself I would turn things around soon. As I looked at myself and how I was convincing myself everything was okay I started to mold into the idiot I will reference throughout this book. I had a 1.2 grade point average and was one semester of bad grades of being kicked out of the Wisconsin School System. What an idiot and what made it worse I still did not care, but some chance encounters started to change things.

I noticed an ad for fitness consultants and went down and interviewed  at the local YMCA. I interviewed with Joe Dean. We instantly connected. I was very honest about my school challenges thinking he will find out anyways so I am not going to hide anything. He did not judge me, rather smiled and said “I think I have a way to help you”. I got the job and simply loved it. Teaching others how to stay in shape, use equipment, and simply conversing with members was awesome. Joe helped change my life due to NOT judging but taking the stand to help - A GREAT Coach!

After a semester of not going to school Joe talked me into visiting Dr. Beck who was the Chair Person of the Adult Education school at UW-Milwaukee. He sat me down and said “Look your grades are not very good so if you get back in school lets take some topics you want and will really enjoy. I looked at him like he was an idiot, but wow what brilliance. He changed my association of college from pain and suffering to actually enjoyment. I took courses in physical education, exercise physiology, and adult education. I loved it as I pulled my first 2.8 GPA for a semester. My idiot ways were starting to teach me some things. It was okay to enjoy school. It was okay to be honest with people and lay your cards on the table and they will accept you for who you are. The real lesson I learned was the change of my association with school and doing things that I liked fueled this interest. Dr. Beck was extremely influential in my turnaround as this first step was critical in that process.

Something was still missing. I could not figure it out. My personality is very outgoing so I was engaged with the members of the YMCA and always asking them questions about what they did and for whatever reason loved learning about other people. Management of the YMCA saw this and asked if I would go to corporations to help promote the YMCA. I said why not as long I can wear sweats I was still in heaven. I believe I was one of the first people in the country to literally sell programs to the corporate world outside of a YMCA facility. I absolutely loved it and I loved the YMCA. I met so many great people from fellow employees, upper-level management, and certainly and most importantly the members.

We were at Northwestern Mutual Life one day, probably the number one life insurance company in the world, where a chance encounter changed everything. One of their Human Resource Directors approached us and asked if they knew of anyone who could teach noon hour fitness classes. One of the YMCA managers turned to me and said “Tim why don’t you do it”? I said sure, why not. This was a BIG decision little did I know. The woman from NML told me to come back next week and present a proposal as to what I would want to do. The funny thing that happened was when this fellow manager said I should do it it really created an entrepreneurial opportunity I did not initially see. At the age of 20 I was about to start my first company little did I know.

I had no clue what to do next. I called my sister in law who happened to be an employee at NML. She said people were sick of regular aerobic classes because it hurt their knees and they hated going back to work sweaty. The idiot’s light bulb now went on. Why not deliver a program where they could go at their own pace, no aerobics or pounding their knees on the hard floor, and they could work on what they wanted. I was going to propose what was called the “Universal Super Circuit” which was a combination of weight training and in place aerobic stations. I drew up the plan and itemized benefits to the employees versus traditional aerobic classes. Looking back, I asked the members of the YMCA how I should present it and the advice and feedback I received was invaluable. One member said make sure you present something that is multi color and wire bound so they know you are serious. I would not have done this unless I had sought and received this feedback. Now as I present this story I even realize what I did was very simple but most things in business are. Ask customers what they want and design a solution to give it them. Even idiots can do it.

The next week I had to go before the NML Human Resource board to present my ideas. If you have never been to NML or seen it its simply a gorgeous company. Marble everywhere. I was scared to use their bathrooms they were so nice. So what does this idiot do? I went to the meeting in sweats, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap. Why? Because I am idiot.

As I entered the room I was totally clueless as to how out of my element I truly was. While I was walking in the room people around this huge beautiful conference table started laughing. They were all dressed professionally and the setting was immaculate. I knew my fly was not open because I was wearing sweats so I just ignored their laughter. As I presented my ideas I could feel myself getting energetic and passionate. The board loved my idea which by the way required $12,000 of funding for the Universal equipment. They had never done this before. Now came the big decision. I presented my income requirement of $11 an hour because after all this idiot was certified in exercise physiology through the American College of sports medicine. That may not seem like much but this was back in the late 1980’s. They responded “Tim we do not pay money to our instructors ”. My heart sank. They said the pay comes from directly from the people taking the classes. They shared with me whatever business you get you keep 100% of the proceeds. I had a choice and only about 20 seconds to make it. It’s a defining moment that I knew a commitment like this could kill my work at the YMCA and possibly my schooling. What was I getting into? So what does any idiot do? You say yes because you are not smart enough to come up with ideas quick enough not to do it.

This was the first set of noon hour fitness classes done at the company in this fashion. I literally for over 1 1/2 years ran four blocks down Wisconsin Avenue in the heart of downtown Milwaukee Wisconsin to Northwestern mutual life to be on time in between shifts at the YMCA. All of my classes were evening classes as they were mostly graduate classes as my program is customized within the adult education program. I look back at this time and realized when I am busy I am at my best, but taking 21 credits, running four blocks every day in between shifts at the YMCA, and actually running the YMCA with another manager was exhilarating and taxing.

The Entrepreneur Was Born

I began marketing through my contacts at the company and word spread something knew was being offered. Remember the $11 an hour I demanded? I was now making $72 an hour as Junior in college! I did this for one and half years and loved it. I liked the teaching but I loved the business part. I was making over $30,000 as a junior in college plus my pay from the YMCA while tasking 18-21 credits too and people who know me laughed when they heard how well I was doing. Why? Because I am an idiot.

During this time working at the YMCA and NML I changed my major from exercise physiology to Adult education. Why? Because Adult education had no tests and all I had to do was stand up presentations and papers which was very easy for me. I literally think my lack of fear for public speaking was due to the fact I was not smart enough to realize how scared I should've been. I was just thrilled to not have to take tests due to my attention deficit disorder which was diagnosed years later.I respect other people's nervousness and agitation associated with public speaking but the thought of doing that versus taking a test was so much more appealing so it created a personal excitement I still possess today. Now aren’t you convinced I am an idiot?

The great thing about adult education is it taught me so much about presenting and working with others. I did not even realize I was taking graduate level courses at the time due to there not really being an undergrad program for adult education. What an idiot.

As my college career began to shape and form another defining moment occurred. Joe Dean, my former boss and good friend, left the YMCA and joined IBM which was in our office building. His boss, Mark Lampkin pulled me aside and said you should do a college internship with IBM. Now, I was not one percentage point interested because I was making great money especially for college, had my own business, and could work in sweats all day. I also had the right major any idiot could get through so why change. WRONG.

Mark continued to pull me aside and pushed me to look into it. I said Mark, I have a 2.1 grade point average and the requirement is 3.8 to even qualify. He said don’t worry about it I will help you. Now, why would all these people help me you might be asking? Well, they probably knew I was an idiot but I also learned many people who helped me they were also idiots at some point in their lives. They were simply helping other people as people had once helped them. The “Passing It Forward” concept has been a mainstay in life as I have employed an intern since the day I left IBM 20+ years later!

I quit the YMCA, gave up the NML gig, and joined IBM. I gave up money and content where I was the expert to join a company with people who were very bright and talented. I was out of my element and for the first time in years VERY intimidated. The people at IBM were unbelievably intelligent and at times had no clue what they were even talking about. My fellow interns mostly went to Marquette University as electrical engineers and academically I paled in comparison.

Mistake? No way, best decision I ever made. Stay Tuned

Everything is an Opportunity

As I entered IBM I was in way over my head but here is the thing. You always are in over your head  when you change or are willing to learn new things. We want to stay with what we know but if you do that you make a decision to never get better.

IBM was the best experience for me for a couple of reasons. First my interview was a disaster. I was finishing a paper at school which was very lengthy. I needed to get it done before my professor left town. I could not get an incomplete knowing I was interviewing at IBM and would not qualify for the job due to the job requirements.

The YMCA was on the sixth floor and IBM had the upper floors of our building and I knew this time I needed to wear a suit. So how would I go from sweats to a suit without anyone noticing at the YMCA? Two members of the YMCA had offered to help me. How? Well, first I did not know how to put a tie on. One member would help me tie the tie. The other would watch for anyone coming so I could make a clean break for the elevators. As I came to the YMCA that day I was very sick, sleep deprived from doing the paper all night but knew I was not in a position to cancel or reschedule an interview with a company like IBM. I was dizzy and my fever was about 102 degrees. As the two members of the YMCA helped me get dressed, literally, I was combing my hair and making sure I looked good for the interview of a life time as they dressed me. As I got ready for the run to the elevator when the coast was clear I checked my tie, my shirt, my hair, etc.

Now it was time to run for it. As I got to the elevator I pushed the up button praying no one would see me. I could feel the sweat pouring down my head due to the fever and probably a great deal of nervousness. I then heard one of the members yell “Tim, Tim.” I came back to the locker room and said “what I have to get going”. There in his hands were my dress pants. I was so out of it I was at the elevator in my suit, with my tie on, and I had no pants on. This is not a joke, rather absolutely true. I was so tired and out of it I almost went to IBM in a nice shirt, suit coat, boxers, and no pants.

I hurried and put my pants on, got up stairs just in time for my interview (I hate being late, I feel it’s a sign of disrespect). As I entered my soon to be boss Martha Sheffield’s office I could not stop thinking about my potential blunder. As Martha asked me her interview questions I must have had a smirk or smile on my face for I could sense her agitation with me. She finally said “what is so funny. Considering your grades you are lucky to being sitting there at all” ? I knew any lie or fabrication of the truth would be the end to the interview. I looked at her and said “ Martha, I have a 102 degree fever, I have not slept due to this paper that needed to be done so I would not get an incomplete before my teacher left town for vacation, and worst of all I almost came up here without my pants on”. Her jaw dropped and she said “How”? I said “I had two YMCA members help me get dressed due to the fact I have no idea how to tie a tie and to watch for management so I could get up here to interview. I rushed so much I was at the elevator with no pants on” . I forgot how I said it but I shared with her and said something to the effect of “Martha, I realize I am lucky to be here. I also know my grades are not that great. I can only say this. I will never lie to you and will always work my butt off for you. She said “with a story like that I am not worried about the honesty factor at all."

Martha and I then proceeded to laugh together and really get to know one another. I think she would be the first to tell you she could always depend on me and trusted me. I was ALWAYS the first one in by 6:30 am everyday when we were required to be there by 8:00 am. She was by the far the boss I learned the most from probably due the situation from the interview. She always looked out for me. Martha literally spoke to me every day for over two years during my internship suggesting things, mentoring me, and coaching me to look at things differently. At times I became frustrated but I believe this is where I fell in love with coaching due to her impact!

After Martha completed her interview she brought Jerry Vite into to meet me and then I interviewed with him. Jerry was the top customer center manager in the country and very intimidating!  His first question was a sign of this as he said “Son, I only have one question for you your grades suck why the hell would I ever I hire you?".  Here comes the sweat again. You think I would be skinnier with all the sweating I've done so far in this blog post but sadly I'm not ...

I waited to answer until Jerry turned around and made  eye contact. I knew he had to know my response was sincere. As he turned around wondering why I was not answering him I said “Jerry my grades the last four semesters have been over a 3.2. I will not apologize to you or anyone for my grades. The only person I have to answer to is me. I screwed up and am working my butt off to change things. I will make a deal with you. If my grades EVER go below a 3.5 you can fire me. He responded “You have the job”. Now Jerry, who is still a great friend to me 30 years later and much like father figure” never asked for my grades. I nevertheless brought him my report card for the next two+ years where I averaged over a 3.5 grade point average.

The lessons I learned and like to share:

  • Be honest-if you tell the truth you never have to remember what you told people.
  • Stick to your word-I always brought my report card in because it was validation of my commitment and my accountability not only to Jerry and IBM but to myself.
  • It's okay to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake and when people try to cover up mistakes they spend more time doing that; whereas,  just admitting it is human and a huge time saver.
  • Be open to learning and exposing yourself to change as it can only grow you; whereas, the fear of change can paralyze you.
  • I literally share this lesson in my progress coaching course and that is one of the most powerful things you can do is to be & act dumb-what I mean by this is when you admit you don't know it's amazing people will jump in and help you. I still do this till this day.
  • When we lower our defenses and quit pretending we are something we are not amazing things happen and as corny as it sounds we open the door to learning. As much as I joke around I know I am not as smart as other people but feel I can converse on so many topics due to this concept alone.

I hope you've enjoyed the introduction section of my 3rd book I was too stupid to fail and would love your feedback. We have launched a public speaking service called "the value of experience in the workplace" and if you'd like a list of topics we present upon please email me: or fill out this form: Click Here

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Career Development = Talent Retention!

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Jan 12,2016 @ 01:30 PM

When we talk about career development and talent retention let me state what I believe are some obvious assumptions:

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The Sales Difference: Case Study # 1

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Jan 11,2016 @ 11:00 AM

I received a number of emails and inquiries from my last post on the Sales Difference and think you. The Sales Difference is really when you think about it a nebulous but also very specific concept. What I mean by that is we can make it more or less what we wanted to be.

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Creating and Coaching "The Sales Difference"

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Jan 11,2016 @ 10:44 AM

 Today customers are buying more and more frugally, thus putting the pressure on sales teams to outperform the competition. The challenge is are we attacking this issue from the right perspective by training sales people on selling skills and product knowledge? While these are valuable they do NOT provide customers with the opportunity to look at YOU or your sales team differently. What if there were a way to differentiate yourself and what you sell every step of the way where customers look at you as a partner and NOT just someone selling a product or service they need?  The way we sell is as important as what we sell and each interaction creates a perception. Thus the coaching opportunity!

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I Was Too Stupid to Fail: Entry # 1

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Jan 08,2016 @ 10:00 AM

I hope the title caught you by surprise as it was intended to but there's actually a seriousness to the title. I teach leaders how to coach their employees and often I get the question how did my coaching career start. It really started, all joking aside, from doing really stupid things.

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Change is NOT a Switch

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Jan 07,2016 @ 01:42 PM


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Make Work Meaningful

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Dec 28,2015 @ 12:00 PM


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The Other "Verts"- Introverts in the Workplace

By Katie Allbee on Mon,Dec 21,2015 @ 10:00 AM

"In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated."

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How is Your Team Doing?

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Dec 14,2015 @ 11:12 AM

Most blogs or articles teach through thought and content but what what I d like to do is provide insight through questions. I d like you to be honest and maybe even post your thoughts as each question prompts you to do so. The questions are designed to provide you insight to the team you manage:

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Retention + Recruiting = A GREAT Return on Investment (ROI)

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Dec 10,2015 @ 11:15 AM

The other day I met George Blomgren the president of The Good Jobs. We got into an enthralling conversation about return on investment with what both our firms do.

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Four Steps to Building a Great Team

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Dec 04,2015 @ 08:28 AM

When managing a team we have to be very careful to assume we have a great team or that were building a great team without some very specific imperatives.So often managers will nebulous lead describe how people need to act as good teammates or be a part of the team but what does that exactly mean and that leads us to our steps:

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Clients Should Define Your Team!

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Dec 02,2015 @ 02:40 PM

What is a great team? What do clients want? So often we define things from the inside out versus the outside in. What if client defined their expectations of how teams should work together as teammates and then we did it - wouldn't that provide a great advantage in the marketplace?

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Let Customers Create Your Training! WIN BIG!

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Nov 30,2015 @ 12:46 PM

What if customers could define your training that would provide you an opportunity to  differentiate your company right? WOW what an advantage that would be. How should a company do that void of simply doing the annual client feedback survey that is rarely put into actionable development?

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Stories, not stats- How to make a memorable sale

By Tim Hagen on Sat,Nov 28,2015 @ 09:50 AM

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Feedback Takes Time and Is An Art

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Nov 24,2015 @ 10:00 AM

One of the services we provide clients is a coach the coach service. We ask managers to tell us what they're doing in regards to coaching and developing their talent and we provide one to one personalized feedback. One of the most common things we hear when we provide the service is the perspectives from both ends as it relates to this thing called feedback. This involves providing as well as an employee's ability to receive feedback.

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Develop a Sales Coaching Objection Board: Three-Part Strategy

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Nov 24,2015 @ 09:52 AM

We work with a lot of sales organizations and their sales teams, and one of the most common things we hear is about is a staff’s ability to deal with objections. Objections are tough when they are related to price, competitor, stall, prospecting, etc. just to name a few.

Topics: coaching Sales
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4 Coaching Techniques to Retain Top Talent

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Nov 23,2015 @ 10:22 AM

We need to validate coaching and what it can do for an organization outside of just simply sales or customer service metrics. One of the best ways we can measure the effectiveness of coaching is our ability to recruit through our staff as well as reducer turnover. It has been researched that hiring new talent can cost organizations anywhere from 25 to 40% of the first year salary.

Topics: coaching talent
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HELP ... My Employees Are NOT Proactive

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Nov 18,2015 @ 12:53 PM

What does this mean, being proactive? Can you define it? Can you describe it, specifically? This aspect of being proactive is one we hear from managers all the time. When we press them for a definition they struggle a bit and here in lies the opportunity! There is no doubt people who are proactive will typically be better with time management, project completion, client engagement, etc.

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You Cannot Coach What You Cannot Define

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Nov 18,2015 @ 12:49 PM

Especially when we are coaching very specific areas or targeted areas we need to be very clear as it relates to expectations. Let me give you a brief example. A few months back I sat in on a meeting when a manager stood up and kept preaching that we need to have a sense of urgency when it comes to getting back to customers. I stop the meeting and asked everyone to write down their own definition of what a sense of urgency meant. Needless to say, out of 23 people we had 15 vastly different interpretations of what a sense of urgency meant. In essence, this manager really had no way of creating success because he had not yet defined the parameters, expectations, and definition of what he meant by a sense of urgency.

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Coaching Adults ... Coaching Kids ... Often The Same Thing!

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Nov 13,2015 @ 09:01 AM

How many times have we asked our kids to clean their room only to hear "I will" and they ultimately never do it when they say so. Now let's turn to adults and asking an employee why they didn't finish a particular project and we often hear "I am so busy" . During our training session when we teach our programProgress Coaching I often share the joke we leave our kids at home to go coach our kids at work as they exhibit the same behaviors. Almost every time I get a good laugh because the attendees often know it's true.

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Attention Presidents & CEOs… Are Your Managers Driving Talent Development?

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Nov 13,2015 @ 08:58 AM

We hear it all the time from the c- level suite we need to execute. One of the most fundamental things that managers need to do that continues to be a challenge decades later is the ability to engage and drive talent development. We can no longer in organizations simply send them to training and think that will be suffice.

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Five Questions to Ask An Under Performing Employee

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Nov 11,2015 @ 09:11 AM

There are so many simple solutions to working with under performing employees. We can simply get rid of them and find somebody else. We can sit down and demand they improve or else. We can do nothing and just simply accept the status quo.  These alternatives also can take their toll on the rest of the team and your culture.

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Coaching to the Client Experience for Maximum Profitability!

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Nov 11,2015 @ 09:07 AM

What if organizations had a specific program or approach to develop talent inside their organization based on what customers shared in terms of their overall experience? Wouldn’t this provide a distinct advantage for companies who did so in the marketplace?

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Your Blog Post Title Here...

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Nov 11,2015 @ 08:49 AM

Managers are busy. Managers wear many hats, but the thing that every manager has to remember is their management style and dare I say coaching approach is a message they send to their people every single day. I share this with respect as managers have to navigate often very murky waters every single day. The thing we don't talk about are those attributes that are often viewed or seen at the water cooler. It's a double-edged sword because if an employee is acting up or has a bad attitude managers are often encouraged to send them to the human resource department. If they need additional skill development they are encouraged to send them to the training department. This sends a very strong message to each and every employee in these situations.

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Your sales rep is not ready…

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Nov 10,2015 @ 08:35 AM

What can we do to coach our sales staff to become ready before each and every sales call no matter of it's an inside sales person or outside sales person? The major element to remember is that salespeople are creatures of habit. Often, we have to disrupt those habits for salespeople to truly garner success and gain greater perspective when selling.

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Do You REALLY Have a Good Team

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Nov 09,2015 @ 12:42 PM

There are so many acronyms people use for the word team but here's one I just created to hopefully provide you further and deeper thought about your team. The goal of this blog post is to serve as a benchmark for you to truly evaluate your team and where they're at. This is not to suggest there is a perfect team but hopefully the questions by each letter in the word team will provide you insight and deeper thought to where you have an opportunity to build an even better team:

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Map Your Sales Process or Approach to Coaching for Dramatic Sales Increase

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Nov 05,2015 @ 10:33 AM

One of the most fundamental things we see in our business is something that I've coined assumptive management. Let me give you one of my most infamous examples. I will ask a salesperson what are they specifically going to say in the event of a price objection. Typically, what I get is a response such as:" what I try to do is leverage the relationship…" Here's the problem with that response it simply does not answer the question. You are not going to look at a customer when they give you a price objection and say "Bob, can we stop and back up and talk about us"? Hope you are laughing?

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Define "Team" and Coach To It!

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Nov 05,2015 @ 10:30 AM


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Rapid Coaching

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Nov 04,2015 @ 12:37 PM

It's a saying I hear all the time from managers, "I don't have time to coach!" However, there are two myths within management communities. First, managers coach already! A lack of coaching is a strong component of management, so if you don't like it, please find another job. Second, managers do have time to coach! No matter the department or manager, people run machines, computers, sales, customer service, etc. It is important to invest time in such a vital aspect of the work environment. People being the #1 asset should NOT be a cliche, rather something we live by and support through our leadership action.

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I Have Confidence... Or Do I?

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Oct 26,2015 @ 01:26 PM

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The Age of INTER-CONNECTIVITY: What is Genuine Anymore?

By Katie Allbee on Mon,Oct 19,2015 @ 12:41 PM


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Your Culture Affects Your Sales Success

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Oct 07,2015 @ 12:56 PM

So  often we spend billions of dollars in this country on sales training and sales management programs when in fact one of the most fundamental things affect our ability to sell. It's our culture. Yes, I know many people write about culture but do we really think about culture as a strategic tool when selling to enable our sales teams to be successful? For example, if two employees were sitting in cubicles right next to each other but do not work well together or even get along for that matter how comfortable will they really be making phone calls within earshot of one another?

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It's Coaching, I Mean Football, Season!

By Katie Allbee on Fri,Sep 18,2015 @ 11:04 AM

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Why Pay For Both? How Coaches and Consultants Work in Tandem

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Sep 11,2015 @ 11:07 AM

Let’s just start with the negative views of both coaches and consultants. There’s a phrase an often heard about consultants along the lines of, “Give the consultant a watch and he’ll tell you the time.” Or, going back to coaching, how they are like consultants with less experience. When it comes right down to it, your business needs them both, and here’s why.

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“I Don’t Need a Therapist”: Differences Between Coaching and Therapy

By Katie Allbee on Fri,Sep 04,2015 @ 11:33 AM

There’s a certain stigma surrounding the field of therapy, negative connotations arise when someone mentions the word, and begins to wonder the mental stability of the person in question. However, while it still maintains this stigma, the results of therapy have produced wondrous outcomes for the people who have taken advantage of it. The same can be said for a business that takes advantage of a coach. If you, like myself, have trouble distinguishing between the two, here’s a couple of key differences between coaching and therapy.

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Attitude is Everything

By Jordan Schmitz on Fri,Aug 14,2015 @ 10:54 AM

A good attitude will help you to... A bad attitude can...
  • Make a Sale
  • Encourage Others
  • Strengthen Relationships
  • Reach Goals
  • Increase Learning
  • Be More Open
  • Break a Sale
  • Bring Others Down
  • Hinder Relationships
  • Hinder Progress
  • Decrease Learning
  • Make You Closed Off
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9 Coaching Tips to Increase Employee Engagement

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Aug 12,2015 @ 09:33 AM

When an employee is disengaged, their motivation, progress, attitude and confidence all plummet. Without proper engagement in their work, employees have difficulty reaching and achieving their goals. As a coach, it can be difficult to coach employees to increase engagement, but here are a few tips that will help. 

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Coach Employees to Accept Feedback

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Aug 10,2015 @ 12:32 PM

We talk often about coaching employees and constantly helping to develop them into superstar top performers.  However, as we have all experienced at one time or another, sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it.  If not done in a friendly and open way, employees, or anyone for that matter, could become defensive and closed off.

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Do Your Employees Build Good Relationships?

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Aug 06,2015 @ 12:19 PM

Are your salespeople really building relationships? Most salespeople believe that they have a great relationship with their clients but if you ask them the following question, “What have you done in the past 30 days to build deeper relationships with your clients?” Most salespeople are not able to answer this question. You now have an opportunity to coach them to build and sustain their relationships with their clients. Relationship building is a nebulous and vague concept in selling.  If we don’t encourage specific action-based relationship building, then it becomes a concept more than a reality. Action-based relationship building is the key to success and salespeople will not take it upon themselves to do this on their own. 

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Motivating Employees with Coaching

By Jordan Schmitz on Wed,Aug 05,2015 @ 11:51 AM

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Coaching Employees is Just Like Solving a Rubik's Cube

By Jordan Schmitz on Mon,Aug 03,2015 @ 11:30 AM

Coaching employees is like solving a Rubik's cube. Each Rubik's cube is solved differently, you need to use a different combination of steps, algorithms, and processes to get the end result. However, to start solving the cube, you need to get the base cross. This is the first thing you aim to do when you start solving a Rubik's cube, solve for the base cross, once you have the cross, you can figure out how to solve the rest of the cube. The fundamental attributes are this cross. Once an employee has a good handle on these fundamental attributes, you can coach them in all the skill and performance areas that they need to improve upon

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Building Relationships in the Workplace with Coaching

By Jordan Schmitz on Fri,Jul 31,2015 @ 11:43 AM

Relationships in the workplace are vital to each employees progress and to the company as a whole. An employees relationship to their teammates, their manager, and to the company affect their every day work. One bad relationship can negatively affect the work an employee does with another person, which lowers their progress, motivation, and their attitude. Here are a few coaching methods to help employees build relationships.

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Coaching How To: GOAL Based Coaching

By Jordan Schmitz on Wed,Jul 29,2015 @ 12:30 PM

Goals are a vital component to any business or company, without them there would be no direction, motivation, or purpose. Goals keep people focused on their work and give them something to work for. They inspire people to believe in themselves and encourage them to try new things and get creative with their work. GOAL based coaching is designed to do exactly that. GOAL is an acronym for Great, Opportunity, Action/Activity, and Love. The purpose of GOAL based coaching is to use this acronym to set goals, make a plan to achieve them, and follow through with that plan. 

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There Are Nine Elephants

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Jul 29,2015 @ 05:01 AM

The elephant in the room literally is nine different attributes that affect employee's performance whether it be learning or performance in the workplace. These nine attributes can affect or detract an employee from performing at their optimal level. For example, if you have an employee who does not feel engaged or connected to his or her boss versus somebody who does they will have fractional success. If you have an employee who lacks self motivation and the ability and willingness to invest in them self they will have fractional success. If you have an employee who has arduous or difficult relationships with coworkers that employee will have fractional success in learning and productivity in the workplace.

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Spice Up Your Coaching With These 4 Coaching Methods

By Jordan Schmitz on Mon,Jul 27,2015 @ 11:56 AM

When it comes to coaching, most managers usually stick with two coaching types, one-on-one and group coaching. Both of these are highly effective coaching methods and can be used to get great results. They focus on one to two topics, and use structured activities that complement the targeted areas and challenge the employees. However, using the same few coaching methods over and over can be boring and repetitive. By using a variety of coaching methods, your employees will be more engaged and more accepting of the new information. 

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Do You Coach Positive Employee Attitudes?

By Jordan Schmitz on Sat,Jul 25,2015 @ 11:14 AM

Attitudes can impact an employee’s ability to learn and work well with others as well as their customers.  That’s why it’s important for managers to focus on developing the right attitude through employee coaching.  Attitude is a choice.  You cannot change someone’s attitude or instill a positive attitude onto someone who has a negative one, but you can make an impact.  Organizations want to develop a culture of positive attitudes, but it is often the missing piece for many organizations and not addressed until they become negative.

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The Importance of Using Coaching Questions

By Jordan Schmitz on Wed,Jul 22,2015 @ 12:25 PM

Coaching uses questions all the time. Questions are a great way to learn what your employee is thinking and how they would handle certain situations. As a coach, your goal is to lead the employee towards learning, progress, and solutions, while letting the employee discover these solutions for themselves. Questions are a great way to steer employees in the right directions without giving them answers directly. 

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9 Attributes Required for Training & Coaching Success

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Jul 21,2015 @ 02:10 PM

Training leaders and their staffs know it’s tough when we get employees who need to attend training but are not in the right frame of mind to embrace the training. So often, training is evaluated in terms of did the instructor know the material, did the course meet expectations, etc. I think the industry needs to start evaluating and implementing guidelines for learners and their responsibility when receiving training and / or coaching. A person who does not like their job will not be as engaged a learner as someone who does love their job. An employee who lacks motivation or attitude will not retain content as aggressively as someone who possesses a positive attitude and are self-motivated. We are so focused on the delivery and content the evaluation process tends to be focused on training departments and their staffs. I think it would be very interesting to evaluate learners, their attentiveness, their grasp of content, their willingness to learn, etc. We share in the responsibility so the evaluation should as well.

Now training departments are being asked to get managers engaged in the process of coaching and rightly so, but managers will face the same challenge training departments do. The employee must share in the responsibility to learn. Every manager and coach knows the daily struggle of scheduling their coaching sessions. “Today I have to talk to Mark about handling angry customers, and then I have a coaching session with Jen about up-selling and cross selling, then I need to find an article for Brian to read about customer service, etc.” The list continues, every day coaching each employee in different areas, trying to improve their skills overall. These managers are only coaching to the targeted skill or performance areas. These areas are important, however, there is another set of Attributes that can and need to be coached. We call these the Foundational Attributes.


The Foundational Attributes are concepts like motivation, attitude, and feedback acceptance, to name a few, which help lay the base for an employee work. Coaching these Foundational Attributes helps employees to gain confidence, understanding, and skills to manage problems and projects in the workplace all on their own. Improving an employee’s Foundational Attributes is like developing the foundation, once that is done, an employee is ready to be coached in the targeted areas and will better receive, retain, and utilize the coaching they obtain.
There are 9 Foundational Attributes, attitude, confidence, connectivity, engagement, feedback, motivation, progress, relationships, and self-development. Each of these is a learning barriers, an employee’s strength or weakness in each category can enable or disable an employee from higher productivity. An employee who excels in each principle is an employee who excels at his or her job. An employee who struggles with certain Attributes may have difficulty reaching their goals, progressing, or fitting in to the company.

The 9 Foundational Attributes are all related. When you coach to one, you improve multiple. For example, one story that represents the Foundational Attributes is a young sales rep our company coached years ago. The sales person’s results were extremely low and I noticed the employee possessed a very negative attitude as well as was ostracized from the rest of the team. He was an outsider. The first month of coaching I had him perform random acts of kindness for his teammates. The manager initially was none too pleased when in fact the teammates started to accept the salesperson. Sales went up dramatically but the manager and I never addressed the targeted skill areas during the first few months of coaching. We coached to his attitude as well as his relationships within the workplace which certainly gave him greater confidence, engagement, and overall connectivity to the company as a whole.

Attitude: This means attitude towards work, towards other employees, toward the company, etc. An employee’s attitude sets the tone for the rest of their work, and a bad attitude can lead to less than exceptional work. Increasing an employee’s attitude helps to improve their relationships, connectivity, confidence, feedback acceptance, and progress.

Confidence: A lack of confidence means there is a fear, the only way to get over this fear is with practice and positive reinforcement. When an employee’s confidence goes up, their motivation, engagement, attitude, and progress go up with it. They feel empowered and ready to accomplish whatever task they have and to do it well.

Connectivity: This refers to an employee’s connection to their job, their teammates, their boss, and to their organization. Connectivity is essential for employees to stay motivated and achieve their goals. When you improve connectivity, it also builds motivation, relationships, confidence and progress.

Engagement: This one is big. When an employee is engaged, the results are limitless. An engaged employee produces outstanding work and continually makes progress. In the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends research of 2014, 78% of business leaders rated engagement as extremely important. Engagement leads to improved self-development, relationships, relationships, attitude and progress.

Feedback Acceptance: Coaching is about feedback, without feedback employees would not know what they are doing well and what they need to change. The goal of feedback is for it to be received in a way that the employee gains something from it. Feedback by itself is useless, but feedback that is accepted and applied to a task or situation can make a huge difference. When an employee is able to accept feedback in a positive and helpful way, they can improve their motivation, confidence, self-development and progress.

Motivation: This is another big one. When an employee is motivated there isn’t anything they can’t do. An employee who is motivated is ready to take on the world. When employees are motivated they get more done, and overall, they do a better job. Coaching an employee to increase their motivation also increases their confidence, feedback acceptance, self-development, engagement, and progress.

Progress: You may have noticed that progress has been mentioned in every principle so far, and, spoiler, it will be in the ones to follow as well. Progress is a result of the improvement of each of the other Foundational Attributes. The purpose of coaching is progress, we coach employees to help them progress toward their goals, which helps the company progress toward its goal. Progress is also the number one motivator, everyone wants to improve. Progress is a Foundational principle because it is the result of the increase in each of the other Foundational principle, and when someone coaches to increase progress, each of the Foundational Attributes increases as well.

Relationships: This one is a little different from the rest; this is more focused on an employee’s relationship with their teammates and with their manager. It may seem less important, but if you think about it, if an employee has one bad relationship can negatively affect the work they do with that person, lower their progress, their motivation, and their attitude. Now they are low in four of the Foundational Attributes and are producing work that is less than their best. Having good relationships can increase motivation, feedback acceptance, engagement, connectivity, and progress.

Self-Development: If an employee is not invested in themselves, then how can you as a manager invest in them? Coaching to increase and encourage self-development is vital to the company and to the employee. Increased self-development can lead to higher confidence, engagement, motivation, feedback acceptance, and progress.

Once an employee has a strong background in the Foundational Attributes, they are ready to be coached in the performance areas. These Attributes allow employees to be more accepting of training, more understanding of coaching, and more willing to put both to use. With these Attributes employees are enabled and excited to reach their goals.


Learn About Our System That Measures The 9 Foundational Attributes: click here

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Employee Connectivity: Coaching to Connect

By Jordan Schmitz on Mon,Jul 20,2015 @ 11:31 AM

Employee connectivity is generally overlooked when it comes to coaching. A lot managers may not understand the importance connectivity has, or maybe they just assume that employees develop it all on their own. Some employees will be able to form strong connections in all four categories without any coaching, but connections also need to be maintained. Connectivity is fragile, it can be there one day and gone the next. It is important for managers to continually coach to building and maintaining connectivity. Managers need to coach to connect, meaning they should be mindful of their employees connectivity in each level and how it is improving. 

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Coaching Feedback Acceptance with the 70/30 Rule

By Jordan Schmitz on Fri,Jul 17,2015 @ 10:30 AM

All too often when an employee is called into a managers office, they immediately think to themselves, "What did I do wrong?" and a panic sets in about what's to follow. It is an uncomfortable situation for the employee to be in, which then makes it an uncomfortable situation for the manager. Do you think that any feedback given in this type of situation and environment will be received and utilized? Employees will dread being called into their managers office and instead of thinking about the feedback they were given and how they can apply it to their work, they will be thinking about how to not get called back to the managers office. 

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Coaching Employee Engagement is Important!

By Jordan Schmitz on Wed,Jul 15,2015 @ 10:58 AM

Gallup organization's research shows that less than 30% of employees are truly engaged. However, it also states that 85% of employees who are engaged have said that they are going to stay with their current employer and are not looking for another job. 

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Self-Development... What's in it For Them

By Jordan Schmitz on Mon,Jul 13,2015 @ 11:21 AM

Self-development can be a frustrating subject for coaches. Ultimately, the amount of self-development that an employee does is up to them. What employees might not know is that any self-development they do benefits the entire company. Your job as a coach is to inspire employees to pursue self-development. This is where WIFT comes in.

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Coaching to Increase Confidence

By Jordan Schmitz on Fri,Jul 10,2015 @ 09:29 AM

Mary comes into work every day and is motivated, engaged, has a good attitude, and is ready to tackle any project that might come her way.

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Characteristics of Great Sales Managers and Coaches

By Jordan Schmitz on Wed,Jul 08,2015 @ 01:39 PM

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5 Reasons You Should Be Coaching

By Jordan Schmitz on Mon,Jul 06,2015 @ 02:07 PM

One question you may ask yourself is, "Why should I coach my employees?" or "Why should my company invest in a coaching culture?"

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Coaching Increases Motivation, Motivation Increases Progress

By Jordan Schmitz on Fri,Jul 03,2015 @ 09:55 AM

Coaching your employees to be motivated can be difficult. Motivation comes from within, so its not a surprise when a manager saying, "everyone needs to be more motivated" doesn't help increase motivation at all. Motivation is tricky, not everyone is motivated by the same thing or in the same way, but when everyone is motivated, the results include progress, engagement, and success. 

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Coaching = Progress

By Jordan Schmitz on Wed,Jul 01,2015 @ 11:50 AM

Coaching is not managing. Managing is telling your employees what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Coaching, on the other hand, is a way for managers to guide employees toward figuring out these answers for themselves. By doing this, employees feel more engaged, motivated and prepared to handle future projects and problems they may have. Employees progress with coaching. 

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Does Your Coaching Feedback Get Results?

By Jordan Schmitz on Mon,Jun 29,2015 @ 11:13 AM

As a manager and a coach, giving feedback is one of the most important parts of your job. Without it, your employees wouldn't know what to improve upon or what they are doing well. The purpose of feedback is for your employees to learn where their actions, behaviors, etc. are in relation to you or your company's desired expectation. Feedback given in the wrong way or at the wrong time can have little to no impact on an employees work or behavior. Here are 7 things to consider when giving feedback:

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Building Relationships as a Coach

By Jordan Schmitz on Fri,Jun 26,2015 @ 12:42 PM

Relationships are tricky, especially in the workplace. One bad relationship with a coworker can negatively affect the work you do with that person, which can lower progress, motivation, engagement, and overall morale. 

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How to Engage in Coaching

By Jordan Schmitz on Fri,Jun 26,2015 @ 09:55 AM

When you hear the words engagement and coaching used together, you generally think about your employees. Are they engaged enough in their work and with each other? What can I do as a coach to improve their engagement? However, one of the most important questions generally goes unasked. Am I fully engaged in my coaching and with my employees? As a coach, it is important that you are 100% engaged.

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Are You Coaching to Positive Attitudes?

By Jordan Schmitz on Wed,Jun 24,2015 @ 11:21 AM

Bad attitudes are a choice. However, they are a choice made by one person, that can affect an entire company. As a coach, you should always be coaching to positive attitudes, regardless if bad attitudes are present in your employees or not. Coaching employees to have positive attitudes can help prevent bad attitudes in the future. 

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Using Goals and Coaching to Increase Employee Motivation

By Jordan Schmitz on Mon,Jun 22,2015 @ 12:47 PM

Progress, productivity, sales, income. Every manager would like to see an increase in each of these categories. That increase is directly related to an increase in motivation. When employees are motivated they get more done, and overall they do a better job. Employee motivation is the key to success in the work place. 

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Coaching Leads to Progress

By Jordan Schmitz on Thu,Jun 11,2015 @ 11:39 AM

The purpose of coaching is progress. We coach to help employees progress toward their goals and eventually achieve them. Coaching is the means to a successful end. Progress can be seen in many aspects of an employee and their work. Motivation, attitude, engagement, effort, relationships, etc. all show how an employee is progressing, and each of those aspects is developed by coaching. Progress develops from good coaching techniques. Here are 7 coaching techniques to help increase progress.

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Building Relationships with Coaching

By Jordan Schmitz on Wed,Jun 10,2015 @ 12:43 PM

Coaching an employee requires the coach and coachee to have a good relationship. Developing a relationship with an employee is an extensive process, but without it, the employee, the company, and the coach can all suffer.  In order to coach your employee you need to know your employee. Coaching is all about helping your employee to realize what they could improve upon or fix, and then directing them towards a solution. To do this, you need to know a lot about your employee. Here are a few things to look at when building relationships

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Do Your Employees Feel Connected?

By Jordan Schmitz on Mon,Jun 08,2015 @ 10:50 AM


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Is Your Coaching Feedback Being Received?

By Jordan Schmitz on Fri,Jun 05,2015 @ 11:24 AM

The phrase "Communication is key" can be applied to almost any situation. Communication is how tasks get done efficiently and correctly. Giving feedback is one of the most important types of communication, without feedback, people wouldn't know if what they are doing is correct or if they could improve. As a coach, giving your employees feedback is one of the most important things you can do to improve performance, teamwork, and attitude. 

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Coaching to Positive Attitudes

By Jordan Schmitz on Wed,Jun 03,2015 @ 11:54 AM

Having a good attitude can lead to higher motivation and higher productivity, and, as you can guess, a bad attitude can lead to lower motivation and lower productivity. A good attitude in the work place is crucial, without it, not only does the employee suffer but the company as well. 

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My Employee Lacks Motivation ... What Should I Do?

By Tim Hagen on Tue,May 26,2015 @ 06:30 AM

My employee lacks motivation. What do you do when an employee lacks motivation for it seems like they're going through the motions when doing his or her job? Managers often are left without answers or solutions; whereas, if they were skilled and coaching to challenges such as a lack of motivation the employee and team would have a better opportunity to perform better. On one hand a manager should be equipped to deal with the issue of motivation as well as the employee should realize they are responsible for their motivation. All too often we tend to put an employee's lack of motivation on the shoulders of the manager when in fact the manager only has so much control.

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My Employee is Resistant

By Tim Hagen on Fri,May 22,2015 @ 08:15 AM

My employee refuses training and coaching! What should a manager do? One of the most common things that we go through in the training and coaching industry is our attempt to build the development and capacity of each employee. Each employee on the other hand has the responsibility of receiving that instruction. This is a major challenge. For example, training and coaching a sales person who feels like they already are good enough at the job will not be as receptive as somebody who wishes to continue to hone and improve their selling ability. An employee who does not receive feedback well and lacks motivation will not be as effective in terms of performance and learning as someone who does not have those challenges.

Topics: coaching
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Experience-Based Coaching

By Tim Hagen on Thu,May 14,2015 @ 07:01 AM

Experience-based coaching is when a coach or leader facilitates an experience and applies sound coaching principles to the functional change being desired for example you could have a team of people complete an obstacle course together and then ask them to identify who the best teammates and most helpful during the course? Experiences are very powerful as it's often been said they shape us but all too often we wait for experiences and don't facilitate them. Let me give you a brief example. At one of our recent client meetings we were coaching employees to facilitate a great client experience. We had each person visit their favorite restaurant establishment for socializing and come back with one observation they observed that was positive. The next task was to come up with an idea of how that observation or what they observed that was successful could be applied to their business. Many thought that this was a very far-reaching or even dumb task when in fact the results were extremely interesting. The group came up with two or three extremely creative ideas as a result of sharing from all of their experiences but we noticed the huge uptick in attitude and dedication to each and every client experience. We never once asked them to increase their energy or association with clients. Nevertheless, it became a result without having to ask. We believe the experience did much of the coaching for us. We also believe by structuring what to look for in using the experiences of coaching moment it became more powerful than us just telling them to do it.

Topics: coaching
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Do Your Employees Love You? If So Recuriting Just Became Easier

By Tim Hagen on Tue,May 12,2015 @ 06:52 AM

One of the toughest things that we go through is our ability to recruit employees. The toughest thing we need to consider is that the world is shrinking and it is very easy for candidates to find out what our organizations are like as well as specific managers and their leadership styles. A brief example might be a candidate going to work for a company and not knowing much about the company. What will the candidate do knowing he or she may have multiple offers from different companies? They may go to LinkedIn and see if they know anybody at the company. This is where a manager's personal leadership brand becomes evident or least it’s perception. A candidate might call someone at the company to find out what that bosses like. On one hand what if the boss has a reputation of not being very engaged and occasionally flies off the handle yelling in staff meetings? On the other hand what if the manager is engaged and has developed a relationship of being positive in a great developer of talent? Here’s the tough thing about writing this blog some managers will convince themselves that they coach and have a strong leadership brand; nevertheless, a candidate will never notify us that they learned of this information. The number one thing that motivates people today is progress and it’s not money or reward; therefore, if a manager develops a strong reputation of engagement and continuous talent development this will draw candidates like a magnet.

Topics: coaching
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Do You Know What You Are Coaching To?

By Tim Hagen on Mon,May 11,2015 @ 10:25 AM

One of the most common mistakes is we coach to areas where the employee and manager have different interpretations of what something may mean. or the employee has created their own version of what it takes to do something. This short presentation will hopefully help and please let us know your feedback:

Topics: coaching
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Coaching Helps Build Recruiting Success !

By Tim Hagen on Mon,May 11,2015 @ 09:00 AM

One of the toughest things that we go through is our ability to recruit employees. The toughest thing we need to consider is that the world is shrinking and it is very easy for candidates to find out what our organizations are like as well as specific managers and their leadership styles. A brief example might be a candidate going to work for a company and not knowing much about the company. What will the candidate do knowing he or she may have multiple offers from different companies? They may go to LinkedIn and see if they know anybody at the company. This is where a manager's personal leadership brand becomes evident or least it’s perception. A candidate might call someone at the company to find out what that bosses like. On one hand what if the boss has a reputation of not being very engaged and occasionally flies off the handle yelling in staff meetings? On the other hand what if the manager is engaged and has developed a relationship of being positive in a great developer of talent? Here’s the tough thing about writing this blog some managers will convince themselves that they coach and have a strong leadership brand; nevertheless, a candidate will never notify us that they learned of this information. The number one thing that motivates people today is progress and it’s not money or reward; therefore, if a manager develops a strong reputation of engagement and continuous talent development this will draw candidates like a magnet.

Topics: coaching
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Sales People Learn Best in Small Bites

By Tim Hagen on Mon,May 11,2015 @ 06:28 AM

You attend a workshop with a group of salespeople and at the six hour mark somebody raises their hand to say "Is any way we can keep going this is exhilarating" - gosh I hope you're laughing? One of the toughest areas of talent development are sales teams. They are in a constant battle of achieving results while developing their own talent for revenue as well as career aspirations. What can organizations do to help salespeople achieve their personal goals as well as enable them to produce growing careers? Here's a list of specific suggestions when developing sales teams:

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No Coaching = No Talent Development

By Tim Hagen on Sat,May 09,2015 @ 07:15 AM

Talent development is not a training event. Talent development is not something you mandate. Talent development cannot occur inside an LMS System. Talent development will not evolve with workshops alone. Talent development is an absolute journey in the evolution of performance improvement shared equally by the manager and the employee. Managers can NO LONGER fall behind the excuse of no time! They are coaching people to stay or leave, but rest assure managers coach everyday!

Topics: coaching
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Sales Managers - Build Bench Strength Now!

By Tim Hagen on Fri,May 08,2015 @ 12:30 PM

As visit with clients, a common theme emerges. Many leaders are concerned about the number of experienced sales professionals that will be retiring over the next 5 years, a reality that is coming as Baby Boomers continue to retire. What about the young sales people who are too relaxed about their sales careers?

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The Number Adult Learner Requirement: ATTITUDE

By Tim Hagen on Fri,May 08,2015 @ 06:17 AM

When we think of training, coaching, mentoring, just to name a few of the methods in our marketplace we tend to gravitate to things like behavioral change or skill building or talent development. At the foundation of anything an adult learner does is their personal attitude. An attitude is a choice, a skill set, and a behavioral attribute that must be practiced and nurtured on a continuous basis. I cannot tell you enough times I have heard from clients when they feel like they've hit a barrier with a particular employee or group of employees they mention attitude is the primary source. An employee with a negative or evasive attitude cannot fully embrace any learning process to its fullest capacity. For example, if an employee is struggling with his or her boss and then are asked to role-play during a training session  they are at minimum distracted. An employee who possesses the attitude of not willing or wanting to change due to their own comfort will never embrace training or coaching when new elements are presented such as new products or changes within the organization.

Topics: coaching
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My sales team keeps lowering our prices ... What Can I Do?

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Mar 26,2015 @ 08:04 PM

One of the most common things I hear in selling is the battle of selling value and handling the buyers price objection. So often sales leaders and managers provide rhetorical feedback such as you have to negotiate and sell value when in fact most salespeople may not know how to do that or understand that type of feedback.Here's a simple formula to understand your sales team's ability down to each and every rep in regard to their ability to handle a price objection:

Topics: coaching
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Why I Coach

By Tim Hagen on Sun,Mar 08,2015 @ 04:50 PM

Recently, I was a guest on a radio show and that was the host’s first question. I was surprised by my answer at first because it came to me so quickly, but was also a great teaching tool for me to reflect and appreciate my career. My answer was in direct regard to my college internship at IBM. I still remember the days I was in my boss’s office Martha Sheffield. I also remember my sit down meetings with Jerry Vite who was the branch director. Over 25 years ago I was hired at IBM as a college intern. You needed a 3.8 grade point average to even qualify for the program, yet due to some extremely fun and obnoxious times my great point was only a 2.1. It’s okay to laugh at me as my family really rejoiced in such an activity way back when. My grade point was actually up for my first two years of college when I actually flunked out. You could say I definitely had some people in my corner is a new many of the IBM executives from working at the YMCA in the same office building. Talk about people pulling strings, huh?

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Getting Management to Support Training with Coaching

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Mar 06,2015 @ 11:08 AM

It’s the # 1 question we get ... "How do I get management buy in for coaching" or "How do we get upper management to buy-in to their managers coaching"?

Topics: coaching
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The Attitude Teeter Totter

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Feb 16,2015 @ 06:53 AM

What do we know about attitudes?

  1. If we leave employee attitudes to chance will they gravitate to positive or negative ones?
  2. When people hear the word attitude today typically do they gravitate to the thought of positive attitudes or negative attitudes?
  3. When we go home and watch the evening news at 6 PM do we watch positive things or negative things?
  4. Do people arbitrarily exhibit negative attitudes on purpose?
  5. Do employees struggle with maintaining positive attitudes in the face of change and adversity?

One of the best things we can do is invest in developing attitudes on a daily basis as it will affect relationships, reception of work, completion of work, and overall employee happiness.




7 Methods to coaching Positive Attitudes

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Coaching An Attitude is Two Steps

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Feb 13,2015 @ 06:48 AM


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Why Do We Even Coach?

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Feb 06,2015 @ 06:15 AM

Why Coaching is Important by Carly Kleiman

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Sales Managers – Consider Using Peer-to-Peer Coaching

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Jan 09,2015 @ 07:17 AM

I have found great success in developing salespeople through what we call peer-to-peer coaching. As a manager, you may have two salespeople on your team that need development of a particular sales skill or knowledge around a product that they are selling.   


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3 Questions to Ask An Underperforming Sales Person

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Jan 07,2015 @ 07:20 AM

Sales people can have bad years but they need to be honest with themselves. When asking a sales person why they had a down year the typical response is the economy was bad or our marketing was subpar or our industry was in a downturn. You rarely hear “I was not very good at needs-based selling and my negotiation skills are terrible”. Gosh I hope you are laughing! But guess what good sales people sell in tough situations and economies. Here are the three questions you should ask a sales person who is struggling or coming off a down year:

  1. What are you willing to do to improve in specific areas that will enable you to drive your numbers upward? If they stall you may have an employee NOT vested in getting better and time is now a question whether to invest in them.
  2. What are the two specific skill or knowledge areas that if improved you feel would elevate your sales to another level. If they cannot answer they are not aware and not even looking in the mirror. This will start the coaching relationship.
  3. What is something that you were specifically doing at this point on your own that will allow yourself to improve? It’s critical sales people are reading or reviewing material all the time to improve and if not it speaks volumes about their true investment in themselves and their careers.

These questions go to the element of Will and Skill. All too often we tend to throw training at sales staff when underperforming or provide them with mandates to raise their numbers; nevertheless, it does not work. Sales people have to practice consistently and on a scheduled basis for performance to improve that enable numbers to consistently improve.

Your thoughts? Suggestions?


7 Methods to coaching Positive Attitudes

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Coaching Teams in 4 Steps

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Jan 06,2015 @ 04:45 AM

You know the term "Silos" when we desribe teams that do not work well together. Why is it? Why do people struggle to work with one another at times? Sadly, it takes sometimes just one person to break down the fiber of a good team.

There are four steps to building a really good team:

  1. Establish Rapport - this is where we build awareness of one another as people by doing activities that facilitate communication and introduction to one another's strengths’ and personal attributes.
  2. Establish commonality -this is where we begin to have an understanding of one another as people after attending some type of activity that facilitates awareness of one another. Often people have things in common we normally do not take time to even discover.
  3. Build awareness of issues -this is where we communicate issues where we have strengths and opportunities to work better together. This is the stage where most struggle start to occur in terms of teams working well together or not working well together. The key is to simply share perspectives and issues with one another and have NO response, meaning people cannot argue or rebuttal. They simply have to listen which is where most teams struggle.
  4. Action - Take action on the awareness of specific issues.
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4 Keys to Successful Coaching in 2015

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Jan 05,2015 @ 09:46 AM

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2015 ... The Year of Coaching

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Dec 31,2014 @ 11:24 AM

It’s imperative with retaining and recruiting top talent managers MUST MUST MUST coach. The economy is picking up so demand to keep and retain talent will become tougher. Managers are magnets either pushing people away or pulling them in!

Here is our next radio show that addresses this challenge and we are taking live callers!



learn to coach your employees
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The Chicago Bears: A Great Lesson in Leadership or Lack Of!

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Dec 30,2014 @ 02:19 PM

Now I'm an avid Green Bay Packer fan but I have to tell you to watch what the Chicago Bears went through this year was painful. They are a storied franchise with a lot of history much like the Packers. But watching their discord from a leadership perspective this year was startling. When a coach undermines one of his players by telling the press negative things is much like when a manager does not coach or address an employee but tells other people within the company only to have it get back to the employee. This lack of alignment causes not only great discord between the manager and employee but undermines the whole element of what a true team is. I am not a Jay Cutler fan as he demonstrates an attitude of malcontent and non-cooperation; therefore, it’s imperative the coaches realize who they are coaching. To undermine the quarterback such as Jay Cutler and his attitude only validates and supports the very behavior people have tried to change for years.

This leads me to the topic of trust. Trust is a very nebulous and brittle concept. When players hear their leaders or coaches talking negatively about them whether they are mentioned by name or as an anonymous source no one in their right mind can say this will have a positive impact. It's amazing to see a leader go outside the ranks of the team and provide an opinion to the press knowing full well you can only be damaging the team and the player. Once the offensive coordinator did this to the Bears quarterback the head coach is put into it precarious situation. Perception is reality and when the coach does not come out to reprimand and / or fire the coach he has in a sense supported those comments intentionally or unintentionally.

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Keep Employees Motivated by Setting Goals

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Dec 04,2014 @ 02:50 PM

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Trust Can Drive or Kill Coaching

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Nov 26,2014 @ 12:54 PM

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Coaching is an Investment and Very Uplifting

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Nov 24,2014 @ 10:53 AM

Topics: coaching coach
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Coaching is an Investment and VERY Uplifting

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Nov 24,2014 @ 09:30 AM

Special Message:

Topics: coaching
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Trust Can Drive or Kill Coaching

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Nov 17,2014 @ 07:22 AM


Topics: coaching
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Why Managers' "No Time" is No excuse for Not Coaching!

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Nov 05,2014 @ 08:29 AM


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Coaching Inspires and Motivates Employees

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Oct 30,2014 @ 03:54 PM

A lot of managers feel the need to motivate their employees. It’s true, it is something that managers need to do but it isn’t the manager's sole responsibility to motivate someone. Motivation comes from within. Managers can motivate through coaching. Coaching is a two-step process. The first step is getting someone to look in the mirror and want to be motivated and step two is to take the first step and put it into action. Most people do not take this first step and therefore are not going to be active in making any improvements in their performance. The job of a manager who is coaching an employee is to ask questions, provide perspectives and observations, as well as to give feedback so the employee can take initiative in changing or making improvements. At this point, the manager now has the opportunity to help motivate his or her employee. Many employees are not motivated for various reasons. For example, they may be fearful of change, or they simply don’t know what to do.

The manager who asks questions will find out if said employee is afraid of making changes or lacks the skills necessary to improve their performance. This enables the manager to make headway in finding out what the employee sees when they look in the mirror, and what action they need to take. Once you have reached this step in the coaching process, you now have buy-in from your employee and can proceed with helping to motivate him or her. As a manager, you know that not everyone is motivated by the same things making your job even more challenging. It is imperative that you take the time to understand the specific motivational factors for each individual employee.

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The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Oct 23,2014 @ 03:23 PM

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Meet My Employee "Yeah Butt"

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Oct 21,2014 @ 07:36 AM

Every manager at one point in their life had an employee named Yeah Butt. You know, the type of employee when receiving feedback agrees but then the next sentence starts with yeah butt. What do you do when you have an employee or even a group of employees who simply are resistant to training, coaching, or even simple feedback? In a recent study we produced a white paper with Training Magazine that revealed managers said the number one thing they felt that their employees if improved would increase their performance was attitude. What is an attitude? And attitude is a series of decisions and skill sets that people can leverage when facing difficult or challenging times. Often, instead of using the skill sets people simply come up with reasons why not to try for why something might be too difficult to doGroups. This person is called Yeah Butt. Employees have a significant investment in themselves and without it no manager or training department can truly drive performance to the optimal level without it. It is critical employees understand any training or coaching by their organization is a privilege and not merely something they have to attend. Think about it, an employee who is truly invested in themselves along with an engaged manager who is skilled in coaching while reinforcing the training department’s incredible services. Now that  would be powerful and we could get rid of Yeah Butt.

Topics: coaching
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Why Managers' "No Time" is No Excuse for Not Coaching

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Oct 20,2014 @ 02:30 PM

This is a really interesting topic. No time is also viewed to employees as "My manager does not care." The top performers believe this as much as struggling performers do. Second, when managers say they don't have time to coach, I typically challenge that with "You already coach your employees." They usually look surprised, but I say to them "You send a message every day that prompts them to stay or leave the company." Your message of silence, if you do not coach, is heard loud and clear.   Read through the white paper below to find out six reasons why managers should not use a "lack of time" as an excuse for not coaching:

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Success is an Employees Responsibility

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Oct 14,2014 @ 07:18 AM


I love this! I just found this on a linkedin post ... really saids it all. So many are entitled. So many think the company should train them. So many blame others. So many blame others and share those feeling with others, thus dragging people and the culture down. Few, VERY FEW, walk into a manager's office and say "I need more, what can I do to really lift my game and become better"?

Topics: coaching
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Connectivity in the Workplace

By Tim Hagen on Mon,Oct 13,2014 @ 05:00 PM

It’s important for employees to feel a sense of connectivity in the workplace, whether it be to their boss, their teammates, their job or to the organization itself.  What is connectivity?  Connectivity is the state of being connected.  What does it mean to be connected?  Connected is to relate to or be in harmony with another person, one’s work, etc.  Managers have the responsibility of keeping everyone connected in the workplace and dealing with different levels of connectivity among his or her employees. Determining whether or not an employee has a connection in these areas is the first step for a manager to take. This will help the manager be more successful with coaching to the employee’s various levels of connectivity. 

For example, some employees may be connected to his or her boss or the company but not to their teammates.  You may have an employee who feels very connected to his or her job and teammates but not to their boss.  Connectivity doesn’t have to be viewed as something negative, it is simply something that people feel or don’t feel.  It is often associated with engagement and relationship building.

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What Do Managers Seek In Employees?

By Tim Hagen on Fri,Oct 10,2014 @ 06:50 AM

Employees need to be coach-able and approach-able. This nationally written white paper with Training Magazine reveals the top attributes managers seek in employees. Please let us know your feedback.


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Ways to Help You Coach More Effectively

By Tim Hagen on Thu,Oct 09,2014 @ 02:55 PM

As I have mentioned before in previous blogs, coaching is something that should be done daily.  It is easy to put coaching on the backburner because of other responsibilities.  However, it is important to coach when the opportunity presents itself.  This will continuously help your employees reach their full potential.  Coaching shouldn’t be done only when you have time for it as it can be done in short spurts throughout the day.  Here are some tips to help make your coaching efforts with your employees more effective while working toward the goals set for them, as well as, the company.

  1. Business coaching is a process NOT a destination. Don’t get hung up if you don’t see the progress you’re looking for right away, keep trying.
  2. Only target one or two performance areas at a time. More than that is just too much for someone to handle and be successful with.
  3. Coaching is about being proactive, while management is about being reactive. Keep your eye out for potential areas of need with your staff before they become too big an issue to tackle.
  4. A good coach encourages their team to develop and grow while a manager lets them maintain the status quo. Always strive to help your team get better, even if they seem to be successful. There is always room for improvement. Leverage positive reinforcement as a major tool to open employees’ minds to the area they need to improve.
  5. Resist the urge to use the “let me show you” or “this is what I would do” tactic. Let the employee own the task or the change needed. You should help facilitate dialogue that lets them come to the solution on their own.
  6. Schedule your coaching sessions and maintain the schedule. The key is to ask questions, perform activities such as practicing or role-playing.  Lastly, assign short learning projects for completion after the coaching session for the employee to take ownership of. 
Download Presentation:  What Makes A Great Coach
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  1. Have a daily coaching check. Build a coaching task into your daily schedule in order to improve your staff. Anything from a simple “good job Sue” to a full blown coaching session will benefit you and your employees. Text messages, emails, and voicemails can count, so no more excuses.

  2. 30 second rule: if you find yourself talking for longer than 30 seconds at a time while coaching your employees, you are not listening enough.

  3. Get more out of your employees by asking "How so?" "Can you tell me a little bit more about that?" or "can you give me an example?"

  4. LISTEN! A great quote by Stephen Covey: "Most people do not listen with an intent to understand. Most people listen with an intent to reply." Make sure this isn't you.

  5. Have your employees help each other. In a group coaching session have them run through difficult objections or dismissal comments with each other. Reward the team member that comes up with the best rebuttals.










AND…always have fun, coaching should create fun for your employees, not be a dismal task.

Download our free whitepaper about motivating your employees: Download White Paper:  Coaching & Motivating Employees  to Perform Better
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