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Welcome to the mission-critical leadership podcast! In this episode, we examine what is coaching, as well as several other important coaching topics.

In this episode

  • What is coaching?
  • How is coaching different from therapy?
  • What are the parameters to win at life?
  • What is unique about the mission-critical system?
  • How does Justin utilize the Enneagram and DiSC assessments to aid in coaching?

PLUS, Podcast Cover Art with title headline "what is coaching"

You’re going to get a humorous story about the time a teacher called me a “blob without a personality.” Be sure to tune in to find out what happened (and why I’m okay with it!)

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podcast@justinhiebert.com

 

About Justin

Dr. Justin Hiebert works with mission-critical leaders to accomplish the unimaginable. Realizing that no leader has ever needed more things to do, he works with his clients to get the right things done. His clients rise above burnout, captivate their teams, and transform their communities. By engaging their hearts and minds, his clients unlock their full potential to be, do, and have it all. This affords them the ability to leave a legacy of influence and impact on the world. He is a husband, father, teacher, learner, and champion of joy. He resides in Bakersfield with his wife, four kids, two cats, and one dog. In his free time, he loves exercising, riding motorcycles, and doing anything outdoors.

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Every Monday, I spend time in an intentional review process. By asking myself five powerful questions, I can radically transform my intention and direction for the week. These five powerful questions keep me focused and directed on my long-term goals.

The Weekly Review

The weekly review process is one I implemented several years ago when I started using Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner (here’s a link to a video series I did walking through everything). If I’m honest, at first, I found it tedious. Then, I went through a phase of outright rejection. Finally, I committed myself to the process.

Now, it’s something I can’t live without. Blog Post Cover Art

Setting aside time every week to track my goals, check in with myself, and stay grounded in what matters most has radically transformed my life.

As a result, I’ve created five powerful questions that help summarize the process of review that I do every week.

5 Powerful Questions

1.) What happened?

I start with what was. What happened last week that I need to be aware of? Was there anything of significance? How did I do on my goals? What targets did I miss, and what tasks did I fail to do?

I don’t spend a lot of time here, but the weeks are so busy and full of stuff that it can be helpful for me to remember what happened as I plan my new week.

2.) What is happening?

Now I start to look forward. What is happening this week? Where are my meetings? Who am I trying to connect with? Is there anything unique or special that I agreed to months ago that I have forgotten about?

As a calendar-driven person, I sometimes make appointments weeks in advance. They get written down when I make the appointment, but it’s common that it slips my mind after that. Spending time every week looking ahead refreshes my memory and allows me to be prepared.

3.) Who do I need to be?

I’m a big believer that we don’t so much chase goals as we chase being the person capable of handling those goals. It’s a subtle difference, but here’s an example:

I want to have a strong, healthy, vibrant marriage.

This is a goal. I might even attempt to define it better by making it a S.M.A.R.T.E.R goal, but it’s a goal.

Contrast it with the following statement:

I want to be the type of person that can have a strong, healthy, vibrant marriage.

Small difference, but a big change.

One is focused on an end result. Great! I’ve got a good marriage!

The other focuses on the continual growth process. How do I get an even better marriage this week?

By focusing on the type of person I need to be in the world, it keeps me growing and focused on intentionally bettering myself.

4.) Who do I need to help?

I work with mission-critical leaders. These are people that are ultimately living their life in service to others. I want to orient myself in the same way.

Part of my business model is to help others. By setting aside time every week to pass on referrals, extend my network, seek a service opportunity, or look for donation options, I give myself time every week to give back to the community I care about.

5.) What matters most?

This one reminds me of why I do what I do.

What sounds good when I’m hungry? Junk food.

What matters most? Healthy food options are ready when I don’t have willpower.

What sounds fun when I’m tired? Video games.

What really gives me life and energy when I need some? Gardening. Reading. Friends. There are a whole lot more beneficial options for me than video games.

By keeping focused on what matters most, I pre-set my brain to autopilot so I don’t have to make hard choices when I lack discipline, willpower, motivation, or time.

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What about you? How do you plan your week for success? Leave tips below!

exhausted person with head on desk with overlay text change is constant growth is optional. blog post cover photo

One of the major lessons I’ve been reminded of these last 18 months is that change is constant, while growth is optional.

The unrelenting pace of life can seem overwhelming at times. Late in 2019, things were looking good for many of us. The business sector was strong, plans were in place, and we were excited for a new year.

Then 2020 happened.

We saw the economy derail.

There was political upheaval.

Civil unrest.

A pandemic.

Followed by a recession.

Job loss.

Cancelled plans and changed futures were a new reality.

Fear.

Worry. exhausted person with head on desk with overlay text change is constant growth is optional. blog post cover photo

Doubt.

2021 brought new hope that maybe things could be different.

There was a glimmer of hope.

In many ways, that has yet to be realized as the delta variant as more of the same from 2020 continues.

Throughout it all, I’ve been reminded that change is constant, growth is optional.

Change is Constant, Growth is Optional

In another recent blog post, I talked about asking the question, “Do you want to change?”

The basic idea is that as a coach, I can do a lot of things for you. What I can’t do, is make you want to change. You have to bring that to the coaching relationship.

In order to get to the place where we want to change, we first have to realize that change is constant.

I was reflecting on this the other night as I went on my nightly walk with my dog. Every night, I take for granted that I walk the same route, at the same time, at the same speed, seven days a week.

Because of this, I “feel” like I have a lot of control over that schedule.

Until a few nights ago when a German shepherd on the loos ran at our dog and got ready to attack him.

As I quickly tried to weigh my options I realized for a second that I was stuck in indecision.

Should I let my dog be attacked?

That dog is big, and running fast, what do I do?

Do I sacrifice myself in front of the dog?

I have a stun gun with me, should I use it on this dog?

As I quickly tried to process my options (and readied myself to deploy the stun gun), the dog’s owner came running around the corner yelling at his dog to get back in the yard.

Thankfully, after one quick nip that left our dog unhurt, the German shepherd ran away and went home.

I finished the walk, taking a shortcut home, to return to the safe confines of my home.

When Things Change Quickly

That night reminded me that things change quickly.

All the time, not just in 2020.

A medical diagnosis changes our healthy lifestyle in an instant.

That fight with a friend ends a long time relationship.

When a downturn in the economy finds us unemployed.

A severe storm cancels a planned day at the park.

Whatever it is, we walk around with this belief that we are in more control than we really are.

That’s not to sound fatalistic or depressed, it’s said to acknowledge the reality of life.

And its fragility.

The car accident leads to years of rehab that was certainly never planned (or hoped) for, yet for millions of Americans, it will be a reality this year.

Change happens every day.

Most days it is small, which is why it feels so manageable.

But every now and then, we are reminded of how big the universe is … and how small we are.

A big change hits and our life looks forever different moving forward.

Change Your Perspective

That’s why it’s helpful to change your perspective.

We don’t ‘manage change.’

We can’t even try to control it.

Instead, look for ways to grow through it.

Adapt.

Improvise.

Overcome.

Realize that you’ve made it through 100% of what life has thrown at you already, so chances are high you’ll make it through this next change too.

Planned or not.

Big or small.

Change is constant, growth is optional.

Spiritually Healthy Leadership Blog Post Cover, a forest with a bridge and a quote superimposed on Sabbath practices.

Spiritually healthy leadership grounds high-achievers by connecting them with their purpose as they seek to influence the world. In this installment of our “Healthy Leader” series, we examine this idea of spiritually healthy leadership.

Spiritual Health: Connecting With The Divine

I spent nearly a decade in pastoral ministry before fully embracing my call as a coach. Each position led me a step closer in the process, but there was always a sense of, “this is not quite it…” when it came to feeling fulfilled.

Over the course of that decade, I learned a lot about myself, belonging in a community, healthy boundaries, interpersonal relationships, and effective communication. I spent time at every level of leadership.

At every point along the way, and with every “promotion” that was gifted to me (we can talk later about why I hate that term when applied to the church…) I found that I had fewer and fewer people to talk to. My friend list grew smaller, my mentors became fewer, and the circle of close confidants decreased.

When I started working with executives, I found the same was true with them. The higher they were on the ladder, the fewer people they had to talk to. That was, at least in part, their need for a coach. They looked around and realized they had no one to talk to.

Most of the time, I was (or at least felt) alone. The executives I worked with echoed that pain. Maybe you too can relate.

When I wasn’t alone, and people were genuinely trying to support me, we talked about a wide range of topics.

  • Marriage
  • Family
  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • How much work I was doing
  • The quality of my preaching

Never once, not once in ten years, did someone ever ask: how are you at connecting with God? Is your spiritual life healthy?

A New Direction

That was part of my journey into both my doctoral school program and hiring my own coach. I needed that accountability. Studies, like one conducted by the Percept Group, seem to echo this, with nearly one-third of Los Gatos residents polled identifying “dealing with stress” as their chief spiritual concern. (1)

This in part explains the rise of contemplative prayer and mediation among leaders. There is a recognition that part of the human condition is wired to connect with something beyond ourselves. Spiritually Healthy Leadership Blog Post Cover, a forest with a bridge and a quote superimposed on Sabbath practices.

I teach an eastern philosophy class. In it, we examine Steve Jobs’ affection for Buddhism and how other great leaders are implementing some of these teachings. These leaders are yearning for something outside of the physical and temporal to belong to.

In general then, here are some practices and guidelines to help you grow and cultivate a healthy spiritual side of leadership.

Cultivating Spiritual Health

Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual disciplines offer a historically rooted approach to healthy leadership. Disciplines have always been an important component for people of faith. Through self-sacrifice, we discover deeper meaning, significance, and a sense of calling.

In his seminal work on the spiritual disciplines, Richard Foster notes their importance when he says,

“The classical Disciplines of the spiritual life call us to move beyond the surface living into the depths. They invite us to explore the inner caverns of the spiritual realm. They urge us to be the answer to a hollow world.” (2)

There are many forms of spiritual disciplines like fasting, prayer, mediation, holy pilgrimages, silence, forgiveness, solitude, and tithing.

The point in each of these is the same: denying some aspect of yourself or your personal will to spend time listening and connecting with God and his guiding power.

“Few things will keep us on course in the exercise of our leadership and facilitate the care of our soul as much as a meaningful prayer when engaged in consistently.” (3)

Rest

Many leaders find it hard to take regular time off. The demands of their job, the joy of feeling needed, and the unexpected crises or tendencies of workaholism can make it hard to pull away from the demands of work.

To combat this, the ancient Jewish people instituted a practice called sabbath. More than a day off, the sabbath is a specific and intentional time to rejuvenate and recharge emotionally and spiritually.

This rest includes the need for extended vacation days as well. Workers operating under increasingly stressful conditions are taking what seems to be a smart approach by working more to meet demand. The problem is that the increased workload does not equal increased productivity. In the law of diminishing return, and most studies show this, maximum productivity happens somewhere around 30-35 hours.

Operating in a job of high demand and need it’s easy to feel needed and guilty for taking time off. But a refusal to take time off can exacerbate the problem of burnout. In addition to regular Sabbath rest, leaders must use their full allotment of vacation time. This is not happening, as a 2019 study found. (4)

Staying Spiritually Fit

Spirituality can be a tough subject to talk about. The common American mantra to not talk about politics and religion has hurt our public decorum. Smart employers, and high-capacity leaders, remain vigilant in their quest for staying healthy in all areas of life.

This includes spiritual health, however, the leader defines that.

In future posts, we’ll continue to intertwine areas of health and explore how creative outputs like hobbies contribute to a well-rounded leader.

How do you remain spiritually healthy?


The Wrap Up

If you or someone you know is facing burnout, please get help. Email me to set up your first appointment.

Looking for more ways to fight against burnout? Here are 50 self-care tips.

 Want the entire series as a Kindle book? Go here.


Sources:

(1). Source: Ferguson, Jane K., Eleanor W. Willemsen, and MayLynn V. Castañeto. 2010. Centering prayer as a healing response to everyday stress: A psychological and spiritual process. Pastoral Psychology 59 (3) (06): 305-29.

Original Study: Percept Group. (2004). Ministry Area Profile 2004 Compass Report for Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, 219 Bean Avenue, Los Gatos, CA 95030, Study Area Definition: Custom Polygon 1990–2004. Rancho Santa Margarita, CA: Percept Group.

(2). Source: Foster, Richard J. “The Spiritual Disciplines: Door to Liberation.” Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, 1. Rev. 1st ed. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988.

(3). Source: Rima, Samuel D. “Spiritual Self Leadership.” Leading from the Inside Out: The Art of Self-leadership, 138. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2000.

(4) Source: https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/unused-vacation-days-trnd/index.html

 

Blog Post Cover Photo. An anthill with ants and overlay text that says everything has consequences

Recently, I took my oldest son on a two-day camping trip. It was the start of his milestone ceremonies as he transitions to manhood. Our theme this time was, “Everything has consequences.”

Milestone Ceremonies

I am designing these milestone ceremonies to happen at significant moments in his biological development. At each age and stage of life, he will discover more responsibility and insights into his plan and ultimate objective into life. It’s like an extended “coming of age” ceremony.

  • 8 – Pre-Puberty.
  • 12 – Puberty
  • 16 – Driving and Freedoms Blog Post Cover Photo. An anthill with ants and overlay text that says everything has consequences
  • 18 – Adulthood and Goals
  • 21 – Final Milestone Ceremony

Each of these trips is designed to teach him something about the way the world works, his capacity as a man, and what it means to live a life of service and dedication to others.

This first trip, happening at a primitive campground in the high desert of California, was raising him to the awareness of his body, the changes that will happen, and to start him thinking about planning his future choices.

He was (partly) responsible for packing appropriate things, and helped me set up and tear down camp. We also learned a bit about how to make a fire, hunt animal tracks. pay attention to our surroundings, and emergency medical and hazard situations.

In the heat of the Friday afternoon sun, we were blessed with what became our theme, somewhat unexpectedly.

The idea stuck: everything has consequences.

The Results of Our Choices

Underneath the hot afternoon sun, we spent time watching an ant colony work. Suddenly, two dozen beetles came and landed near the colony. Instantly, the ants swarmed and started attacking the beetles. The beetles, encumbered by the swarm of ants, tried to escape. Some were successful. Others were quickly dispatched and stuffed down the hole of the ant colony.

In the middle of our observation, Jackson turned to me and said, “Dad, are you for team beetle or team ant?”

“I dunno. I’m just interested in watching and seeing what happens. I want both to win.”

As we sat there in silence a few more minutes, I started our conversation.

In life, everything has consequences. That’s not a bad thing. Consequences don’t have to be bad. They are just the result of what we choose to do. What happens if we help all the ants kill the beetles?

All the beetles lose their lives. Justin and Jackson camping

Right. And what happens if we help the beetles escape?

The ants have nothing to eat.

Correct. You will make choices that affect other people. In fact, every choice you make has an effect on something. Be sure you make choices you can live with, morally, ethically, and practically.

As he sat there in silence for a few more minutes, he finally muttered. “Huh. Everything has consequences.”

Building a Life of Choices

The life you’re living today is a result of the choices you’ve made along the way.

Good, bad, or indifferent, you are exactly where you should be because of the choices you’ve made so far.

The great thing is, if you don’t like where you’re at, you can make different choices.

Chart a new path.

Create a new outcome.

Change direction.

Channel different energy.

Just because this is where you are, doesn’t mean this is where you have to end up.

Your story is not over.

If you’re ready to make new choices, I’d love to be a part of your story and help you make a new destiny.

Just remember: everything has consequences.

 

 

 

 

 

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