#061: How To Coach Your Boss [Podcast]

There seems to be no end to the wealth of material written on coaching employees. However, very little has been written on the subject of coaching your boss.

While many employees probably dream of this, precious few act on it for fear of being fired. But what if you there was a way to approach this without jeopardizing your job?

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The best bosses welcome criticism, knowing that the shortest distance between where they are and where they want to go is the truth. They create a “safe environment,” where people can freely speak their mind. Here are a few things to consider when attempting to coach your supervisor.

  1. Check the weather—bosses are people too.
  2. Be humble—acknowledge that you and your boss are both human.
  3. Start with praise—offer a genuine compliment before anything else.
  4. Ask for permission—it’s difficult for the boss to take offense if he or she has given you permission to proceed.
  5. Put It in context—help your boss understand how his behavior is keeping you from accomplishing his (or her) goals.
  6. Assume the best—it’s highly unlikely your boss gets up in the morning with the goal to make your life miserable.
  7. Believe that it matters—it’s not an accident that you are working for this person at this time and are noticing this behavior.
  8. Take the risk—you will never grow into the leader you were meant to be if you are not willing to take a risk and occasionally speak up.

As a boss myself, I consider it an expression of loyalty when my people talk directly to me rather than about me. I know I have faults. I want to grow. You can help me—and your own boss—by taking the initiative.

Listener Questions

Joanna Holman asked, “How do I coach a boss on a topic that is outside their area of expertise that shows respect for their status?”

Tip of the Week

Make sure you have a solid computer backup system before you need it. There are lots of easy solutions out there. I use three. (Okay, I know. I’m a bit paranoid.)

  1. I use Time Machine to backup everything on an AirPort Time Capsule. (This is Apple’s wireless router plus wireless hard drive.) I use this at home.
  2. I use SuperDuper to backup everything onto an external hard drive. I happen to use the G-Drive Mobile. I use this at the office.
  3. I use CrashPlan to back up everything to the Cloud.

I explain a little more in this post.

Special Announcements

  1. If you are considering launching your own platform—or just getting serious about it—you need to start with a self-hosted WordPress blog.

    This is not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, I have put together a step-by-step screencast on exactly how to do it.

    You don’t need any technical knowledge. I walk you through the entire process in exactly 20 minutes.

  2. This fall’s SCORRE Conference is filling up fast!

    My business partner Ken Davis, who originally developed the SCORRE Conference, and I will be hosting this next conference on October 14–17 at the beautiful Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Hotel in Vail, Colorado.

    You can use the discount code HYATT and take $200 off the registration price. But this offer expires on August 15th, 2013, so you need to act quickly.

  3. My next podcast will be on the topic of “Three Reasons You Can’t Afford High Maintenance Clients (and What to Do If You Have One).” If you have a question on this subject, please leave me a voicemail message.

    This is a terrific way to cross-promote your blog or website, because I will link to it, just like I did with the callers in this episode.

Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

Show Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here, courtesy of Ginger Schell, a professional transcriptionist, who handles all my transcription needs.

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Question: Do you need to sit down with your boss and have a conversation? How can I help you? What questions do you still have?

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