Carl's Coaching Tips

Active Listening

Posted on June 30, 2017
Active Listening

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
-Stephen R. Covey

How are your listening skills?  For many of us, they could use some work.  Too often we spend entire conversations focused on our side of things, thinking about what we’ll say next.  Our attention isn’t necessarily on the speaker, but on our own thoughts, feelings, or opinions. Without realizing it, our communication with others suffers because we are not paying proper attention.  And if our communication with others is not effective, our work, our relationships, and our ability to bring out the best in others suffers.

One of the most powerful tools to improve communication is active listening:

Active listening is not just hearing someone’s words, but being engaged in the conversation.  It requires concentration.  This kind of listening means being focused and fully present in the moment.

Active listening is paying attention to what is being said, as well as to what is not being said.  Nonverbal behaviors such as posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact (or lack thereof) often convey a person’s thoughts or feelings more accurately than their actual words.  
Active listening not only enables the listener to take in information from others more effectively, but to act on that information more effectively.

Active listening converts simple, everyday interactions with others into opportunities for a deeper level of understanding; and that's really what we should be striving for . . . listening with the intent of understanding, not simply replying.

© 2017 The Growth Group, LLC - All rights reserved.

How Do I Help Others Be Their Best?

Posted on May 31, 2017
How Do I Help Others Be Their Best?

“You feel alive to the degree you feel you can help others."
-John Travolta

Our days are filled with mechanical devices that ‘speak’ to us. The refrigerator will let us know when it needs a new water filter. The car will tell us it’s time for an oil change.  The printer will demand new ink. The computer will walk us through the installation of new programs.

Our devices give us crisp, clear, and correct bits of information that not only keeps things running smoothly and efficiently, but also keeps things working at its best. Wouldn’t it be nice if the people we interact with everyday provided us with the same level of information?

Effective communication is an essential part of bringing out the best in others.

Discovery Questions

Any time spent thinking about and discussing ways to improve interaction between two people is time well invested. Discovery questions, however, can be powerful tools to gain insight and understanding into the specific needs of others in order to bring out their best.

Here are a few brief examples:

Work Preferences 

  • What are your preferred approaches to how you do your work?
  • Is there anything you wish others would start doing to help you perform your work?

Communication Preferences

  • How do you prefer others to talk to you?
  • What style of communication from others makes you uncomfortable?
  • What style of communication from others brings out your best?

Biggest Mistakes

  • What kind of interactions (verbal or nonverbal) make you uncomfortable?
  • What is your preferred work style?
  • What kind of work situations do you find stressful?


  • What actions, events, or rewards incentivize you?
  • What actions, events, or rewards disincentivize you?
  • What incentives you to go to work each day?


  • What makes you feel good about yourself and what you do?
  • What propels you towards your goals?

It is only when you truly understand the needs and drivers of others that you can begin to help bring out their best. Communication is the key to that understanding.

© 2017 The Growth Group, LLC - All rights reserved.

Why Help Others?

Posted on March 30, 2017
Why Help Others?


"The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own." 

-Benjamin Disraeli


Success in life is rarely a solo act.  Whether we realize it or not, often our greatest successes in life are made with and through others. It can be both humbling and moving to recall the many ways others have invested their time, energy, and wisdom into our lives.

There is no question that there is a significant impact on the person being helped.  But, if you are the one investing in the life of someone else, there are tremendous rewards as well.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards

Intrinsic.  There’s an incredible sense of satisfaction that comes from watching someone develop and grow. It can be one of the most gratifying experiences in life to watch someone else-someone you have personally invested in-meet their goals and achieve their dreams.  In short, when you help others be their best, you feel better about yourself.    

Extrinsic. Taking the time to share life experience, to challenge, to influence, to build up is the most effective form of leadership.  Your teams and organization will prosper when there’s the trust and respect that comes from a culture of service.  A great leader inspires others to be great.

Are you making a difference in your own life by making a difference in the life of someone else?


© 2017 The Growth Group, LLC - All rights reserved.

Know Yourself

Posted on February 28, 2017
Know Yourself

So, more than anything else in your life, perhaps, it is very, very important to know what motivates you and to make sure that there Is not too big a gap between this and what you do with your life.”

  -Ian Robertson, PH. D.


We spend a great deal of our life at work.  In fact, the average American will spend approximately 91,250 hours at work during their lifetime.  If we stop and think about that for a moment, we realize that is an incredible amount of time, particularly if we lack a sense of purpose and motivation for our work. Too often, we get stuck living someone else’s vision for our life instead of our own.

It takes intentionality to “swim against the current” of life and to choose your own path.  It takes self-awareness. 

Try asking yourself the following questions (and truly contemplate the answers):

What are your basic needs?

What is truly important to you?

What is your “why” –  your purpose?

What gets you excited?

What propels you toward your goals?

What does being motivated mean to you?

This journey of self-discovery is critical to complete.  It will not only empower you to make better decisions about your life, at home and at work, but it will empower you to live as a more authentic person.      


© 2017 The Growth Group, LLC - All rights reserved.

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