Workplace Engagement–Why Being Needless is Overrated

Would you go to work with a booger stuck to your nose? With spinach in your teeth? Not knowingly. When you become aware of it, you remove it.  Why? Because you have a desire to look your best. Looking your best makes you feel good. You might even call it a need to look your best, and spinach between your teeth doesn’t meet that need.​​Needs

What happens if you aren’t aware and you find out later you have been walking for the last three hours with spinach in your teeth? Are you mortified? Do you criticize yourself for missing it? Do you wonder why your friends or colleagues didn’t mention it? Do you ask yourself, “Why didn’t I check my teeth after I ate?” Does your mind continue in a downward spiral of self criticism?

Are you seeing the role of awareness and needs?

We fear being seen as ‘needy.’ In our society ‘needy’ implies that we are in some way inadequate, immature or selfish. Unfortunately, this cultural conditioning has sometimes inadvertently blocked our awareness and education of our needs.

Without awareness of our needs, we often get stuck unconsciously waiting for someone or something outside of ourselves (i.e. our work environment) to meet them. This results in disengagement, frustration, or behaviors such as blaming and criticism of ourselves and others. With this type of toxicity, it is no surprise that “in the workplace, the percentage of U.S. workers in 2015 who Gallup considered engaged in their jobs averaged 32%”(1).

As a Strengths Strategy® coach, awareness of strengths’ needs is critical to effective strengths use. First, we help clients see and gain a whole new literacy around their strengths. Next, we help clients become aware of the needs and those environmental conditions that allow them to bring the full contribution of their gifts and strengths to their work and personal lives.

This can be life changing. Clients begin to see patterns where they were stuck waiting for someone or something else to meet those needs. Once they are aware, they can make requests or design their environment to meet those needs to unleash the full contribution of their strengths. This transforms their energy, performance, and confidence. They step up and stand out in the world instead of waiting in frustration.

What might it look like waiting for someone else to meet our needs?

  • Waiting to be able to use our strengths and talents.
  • Waiting to have our hard work and successes noticed.
  • Waiting to be recognized as fit to be promoted.
  • Waiting to be able to share our ideas.

Waiting sucks.  

How might it feel waiting for someone else to meet our needs?

  • Frustrating
  • Draining
  • Depressing
  • Aggravating
  • Disengaging

Our energy, performance and relationships suffer when our needs aren’t met. If we aren’t aware of them how we can meet them?  The least of what happens is we feel frustration, the worst is we end up in a toxic place where we experience blame, criticism, defensiveness and more.

Understanding my strengths and their needs was transformative for me. The results of my Clifton Strengthsfinder 2.0 Assessment gave me a whole new language to talk about my strengths. However, where I gained the greatest momentum was becoming a Strengths Strategy® coach, learning about my strength’s needs. I often wonder how my life would be different today if only I had had this understanding 30 years ago.

At work I often felt suppressed-stuck in a box waiting to be let out. One of my top five strengths is Ideation. Learning this helped me understand WHY I felt suppressed. It gave me awareness of why I was fascinated by ideas and loved brainstorming.

It explained why I had a constant unrelenting stream of ideas. It explained my creativity. As I looked back on my life, I saw how very early my strength of Ideation was at play.

I wasn’t aware that I had a need for an environment where ideas were welcomed. I need to be able to express those ideas and to explore them. I don’t need you to like them, but in order for this strength to be fully unleashed, I need my ideas to be heard. I need to explore out-of-the box solutions and possibilities and being in a place where the status quo was accepted was de-energizing for me.

When I didn’t have autonomy to find new ways of approaching old problems it triggered me into frustration. Micromanaging me by forcing me to follow someone else’s way of accomplishing something was dispiriting. I need to know the goal or objective and have the freedom to accomplish it using the best route for me using my own strengths and creativity.

When our needs go unmet, we may unconsciously fall into a pattern of turning up the volume and go into strengths overuse.  For example, Communicators need to feel heard.  If someone high in Communication doesn’t feel heard, they may turn up the volume by repeating points they have already made, going into strengths overuse.  By being aware of needs, we are empowered to make requests or design environments to get our needs met.  This allows strengths to be used effectively.

There is a big difference between the effective and ineffective use of strengths.  When strengths are used effectively we are happier, have increased engagement, improved relationships, increased productivity, performance and energy.

Becoming aware of our own strengths and needs gives us more compassion and curiosity to understanding others’ strengths and needs.  It is time to shed the old cultural idea that having needs means being ‘needy.’  We all have them and having awareness empowers us to take steps to get them met.  This not only enhances our work and personal lives, but the work and personal lives of others.

Being needless is overrated.

(1) Employee Engagement in U.S. Stagnant in 2015.


Would you like to know more? Contact Mia Turpel at (614) 245-0301.

Mia Turpel is a strengths focused executive leadership consultant, a certified Strengths Strategy® Coach, and is the founder of Performance Support Partners, LLC. She helps create joyful workplaces by coaching and training business and technical leaders to discover and apply their strengths effectively to engage themselves and their teams, increase energy and performance, productivity, customer satisfaction and increase profits. For more information, visit Mia’s website at

The Myth of Common Sense

We have all experienced scratching our heads about a particular scenario asking ourselves, “isn’t that just common sense to do it this way” (our way)?

As a strengths practitioner (using the Strengthsfinder 2.0 assessment), I have learned the concept of having common sense is flawed.  We expect everyone views the same things we do when looking at a situation. Although our humanity is common, nothing is common about our unique view through the lenses of our strengths.

Why? We are each uniquely brilliant.  Gallup Chief Scientists, Dr. Jim Harter, and Jim Asplund, tell us the odds of finding two people with the same top five strengths in the same order is one in 33 million.  This proves that individuals’ top five strengths are incredibly unique. Even two people who share four of their top five – a difference of just one in the top five – can have entirely different personalities.[1]

The key point?  One size does not fit all.

If we imagine each of our strengths as a contact lens, viewing a situation through this lens causes us to see things in a different way than others.  In a flash, we tap into those strengths to make connections, to analyze, to view possible solutions, perceive possibilities, new pathways and more.  It is automatic for us, coming with such ease and flow, we often take our strengths for granted, not properly appreciating them as unique to us.

We tend to assume that what is easy for us is easy for others.  Without the same strengths in the same sequence, this notion is false.

Discovering your unique strengths sparks awareness about the lens from which you view the world, and how your lens differs from others’ perspectives. Knowing this compels us to pause for a moment and get curious about others’ strengths.  What do they see, we don’t or can’t?  Awareness that our lens is different from others’ begins the path to working together more effectively because our expanded understanding of differing views enables us to communicate with more compassion and understanding.

An example of differing views is the themes of Deliberative and Activator.  Those high in Deliberative consider everything with care.  They want plenty of information, time, and space to consider options using a logical, methodical approach. For them, it makes perfect sense to work this way, and they can’t imagine why anyone would work differently.  To bring their full contribution to the table, they also need a logical, methodical approach.  From their perspective, if you think “all over the place” and not in an organized and systematic way, they may consider you to have “zero common sense.”

In contrast, those high in the theme of Activator want to jump into action as quick as possible.  For them, doing something is always better than doing nothing. They move people and projects into action.   From their viewpoint, “it’s common sense to do this now.”

The more you know about how to apply your strengths, the greater the possibility to enjoy your job, increase your energy and performance, improve relationships, and decrease frustration.  Mastery of effective strengths use requires achieving a deeper level of knowledge.  Do you know what each of your top strengths needs to deliver its full contribution?  Are you familiar with the expectations each one causes you to have of yourself and others?   Are you aware of the overuse patterns (or under-use) of each one?

The next time you judge someone to have no common sense, remember there is no such thing as common sense!  We are each uniquely brilliant.

[1] Called to Coach Recap: Dr. Jim Harter and Jim Asplund (March 21, 2014)

Mia Turpel is a strengths focused management and leadership consultant, and is the founder of Performance Support Partners, LLC.  She helps create joyful workplaces by coaching and training business and technical leaders to discover and apply their strengths effectively to engage themselves and their teams, increase energy and performance,  productivity, customer satisfaction and increase profits.  For more information, visit Mia’s website at

What Is the First Step in Engaging Employees?

It is a bit shocking to read that only 13% of employees are engaged at work. According toGallup, in their 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace, the United States and Canada were only slightly better than world-wide being 29% engaged. This is astonishingly bad.What is the First Step in Engaging Employees

The costs of this situation are staggering – especially in terms of lost productivity and the costs of employee turnover. Certainly, engaging and mobilizing employees is a top frustration. So what are some things you, as a leader can do about it?

There is no single solution, but the first place to start is with you. Are you inspired? Do you love your work? Because if what you do in the world does not inspire you, how can you inspire your employees? Are you committed to being inspiring every day?

Lance Secretan, author of The Spark, The Flame and The Torch, says with all we know about leadership today, there is still something missing. He believes the missing element is inspiration. Before you can inspire others, you first must inspire yourself. He refers to that as the spark.

Where’s your spark?

When you know why you are here, your passion fills you, and you come alive.

If you need help finding your spark, join us for a telecall to write your Destiny, Character and Calling, this Thursday, August 21 at 7:30 pm Eastern. Click here to register.

Where’s Your Spark? Your Destiny, Character and Calling Part 3 of 3

I invite you to read part 3 of 3 in my guest blog on entitled “Where’s Your Spark? Your Destiny, Character and Calling.  In part 1 and part 2 of thiCallings series, we walked through writing yourDestiny statement (why you are here on Earth) and your Character statement (how you will be while you are here).

In the final blog of this 3-part series, I will walk you through writing your Callingstatement – which is what you will do while you are here. It is how you will use your strengths, talents and gifts to serve in the world. Dr. Secretan says, “A Calling is the pursuit of a vocation that inspires; it is living a dream; it is the experience of radiant relevance.”

Do you want to find your spark?  Join us in a complimentary teleclass to walk you through writing your Destiny, Character and Calling statements this Thursday, August 21 at 7:30 PM EasternClick here to register.

Where’s Your Spark? Your Character, Destiny and Calling Part 2 of 3

In part one of this 3-part series, we talked about how before we can inspire others, we first have to inspire ourselves. In order to inspire ourselves, we need to know why we are here on Earth. When you know why you are here, your passion fills you, and you come alive, creating “the spark.”

I now invite you to read part two of this series, where we write our character statement. Character is about how you will be while you are here on earth. I am guest blogging “Where’s Your Spark? Your Destiny, Character and Calling, Part 2 of 3″ at

Do you need to find your spark?   Join us in a telecall to be facilitated through the process of writing your own Destiny, Character and Calling statements.  The Where’s Your Spark? Your Destiny, Character and Calling telecall is Thursday, August 21st, at 4:30 pm Pacific/5:30 pm Mountain/6:30 pm Central/7:30 pm Eastern.  Click here to register (there is no cost to attend).  All you need is a phone, paper and a pencil!

Let’s find your spark!

Where’s Your Spark? Your Destiny, Character and Calling Part 1 of 3

If you have ever pondered the question, “why am I here,” you may be interested in walking with me through the Lance Secretan’s process of writing your Destiny, Character and Calling.  When we align with our purpose in the world, we feel inspired.  This is the spark that Dr. Secretan refers to in his book, “The Spark, The Flame and The Torch.”

I am sharing this process in a three part series as a guest blogger for is a women owned organization that focuses on empowering women through retreats, online workshops, radio, and community.

I invite you to read the series starting with Part 1 of 3 and join me to walk through the process of writing your own Destiny, Character and Calling statements to find your spark. If you want to experience the process with a group, please join us in a telecall to be facilitated through the process.

The Where’s Your Spark? Your Destiny, Character and Calling telecall is Thursday, August 21st, at 4:30 pm Pacific/5:30 pm Mountain/6:30 pm Central/7:30 pm Eastern.  Click here to register (there is no cost to attend).

Let’s find your spark!

Boston, Resilience and the Paradoxical Commandments

Yesterday a colleague asked, “Did you hear about the bombings in Boston?”  I had not.  I don’t watch the news very often.  I have renamed the news “The Bad News” because 90% of the news talks about 1% of the good and 99% of bad things that happen in the world.  I was afraid it was skewing my view of the world to be exposed to so much bad news.

Some people might interpret it as a lack of empathy. Unfortunately, it is just the opposite.  It is so painful for me to see this stuff, that as an act of self-care to protect myself, I purposefully limit my viewing.

I choose not to watch the news arbitrarily.  I prefer to filter and select what I ingest with my eyes and ears.  Just like you feel better when you ingest fresh foods, you also feel better when you ingest good news with your eyes and ears.

One of my frameworks is what you focus on grows.  Instead of focusing on what I don’twant, I try to focus on what I DO want.  I want to focus on being a force for good in the world.  I want the world to be a great and inspiring place.  So, while my heart goes out to the people of Boston, I will not focus on what happened.  I will focus on what is possible. I will focus on their resilience.

When horrible things happen, to lift myself out of the fear and the grief, I like to read The Paradoxical Commandments written by Kent M. Keith.  It inspires me each time I read it.  These ten principles were first written by Kent Keith as a student at Harvard in the 1960s.  I have seen them mis-attributed to other people (even Mother Theresa),  although I am sure she was inspired by them!

The Paradoxical Commandments
From the book Anyway – The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World by Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

These principles alone are inspiring, and his book goes into them in more depth.  For me, they describe ways in which people who demonstrate resilience think. states that resilience is:

1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.

2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

Boston, my heart goes out to you.  I know you are resilient.  You hold a great event that inspires thousands of people to want to be a part of it. Yes, a horrible thing happened, and it is possible that it could happen again.  But I know it won’t stop you from continuing to  hold the great Boston Marathon again anyway. What’s possible now is to show the world your

and your community.

Our hearts are with you.


Want to go from stressed out to streamlined?  Wishing you could spend more time actually doing the work you love?  Mia Turpel’s know-how as a business and career coach, speaker, project manager and trainer will help you do just that. Need a career reboot?  Mia joins forces with Coach Flo Mauri to help careerists in a special pilot called Dynamic Career Group Coaching.  Need some laser coaching?  Sign up for the twice monthly Dynamic Duo Coaches on Call telecall with Coach Flo Mauri and Coach Mia Turpel for a chance for a free brief laser coaching session.  Need coaching training?  Contact Coach Mia Turpel.

When You Say You Need Training, You Really Mean Performance

When You Say You Need Training, You Really Mean Performance

I used to think that when managers asked me to design a training program, they wanted a good training program.  Based on my experience, what managers are REALLY asking for isperformance.  Since there are so many more pieces to performance than just training, I have to be very clear with them on the limited scope of training, and educate them on what all has to be considered for performance.   That is a MUCH bigger scope.  And, dear manager, you also have some responsibility in improving performance.

Training is generally needed when something is new, or when there is a gap in knowledge or skill.  I can design an awesome training program based on measurable performance objectives, and ensure that in class I can see the attendees performing the skills listed in the objectives.  I can give them job aids to help them repeat it back at their desks (or wherever they need to perform the skill).  If I have observed them performing the skill, but, they don’t perform the skill at their desk, is this a training problem?  No, it is not.  More training won’t solve the performance problem.

Performance Support Partners - need right tools

Performance is more than training.   It is dependent on many things beyond knowledge and skill.  For example, in the book Analyzing Performance Problems by Robert F. Mager and Peter Pipe several pieces to the performance pie beyond training are:

  • Measurement:  How do you know the staff member is performing the task correctly? How is performance being measured?
  • Feedback: Are staff members getting feedback on what they are doing well and what needs done to accomplish the desired result?
  • Conditions: Do they have the tools, resources, time, and authority to do their job?  If they don’t have the right tools, it is like peeling an apple with a fork.  Yes, you can do it, but it is frustrating and inefficient.   Do they need expert resources that aren’t available?  Do they have the time available?
  • Incentive/motivation: Are we rewarding the correct behavior?  Is the reward for good work more work (incorrect reward)?
  • Capacity: Do they have the latent ability, strength or talent?   Do they have the right mix of strengths to be successful in the job?
  • Standards: What does required performance look like?  Are expectations clear?

Now, there is more I would add to this list.  But, the point here is that training is a solution to a performance problem only when there is a gap in knowledge or skill.  The litmus test to find out if it is a training issue or whether it is another issue like motivation, ask this question:

If their life depended on it, could they do it?   If the answer is yes, then it might be amotivation problem, or another piece of the performance pie, but it isn’t a training problem.

How can you tell what kind of problem it is?  An excellent tool to help you is theperformance analysis flowchart by Robert Mager that I have used for years.  You can find more tools at Robert Mager’s organization, The Center for Effective Performance‘s web site.

For example, I was hired to design and deliver training in how to use a new software system to support a business process.  In class the attendees practiced and were observed completing the performance objectives agreed upon prior to class with my client successfully.  They were provided a job aid to help them through the steps and procedures back at their desk.  I considered the training successful.

Performance Support Partners - Software TrainingThe only problem was they weren’t even logging in to the software back at their desks.  My client felt the training was not successful.  Jumping to that conclusion is my personal pet peeve.  They knew what to do, they just weren’t doing it.

My observations were that expectationsweren’t clear.

  • Prior to training, managers should inform staff why they are to attend the training andwhat’s in it for them. In this case, it did not occur.
  • Managers should set clear expectations as to what the staff members should do immediately after the training.  In this case, employees were still waiting to be told when it was okay to begin.

If you think your staff isn’t performing well, don’t just conclude that “they need more training.”  Take a look at the big picture of what performance encompasses.  Training is only a small part.  In future articles, I will also talk about coaching,  implementation and how they affect performance.


Want to go from stressed out to streamlined?  Wishing you could spend more time actually doing the work you love?  Mia Turpel’s know-how as a business and career coach, speaker, project manager and trainer will help you do just that.  Discover how to find Your Best Work in the Your Best Work, Find It, Love it, Live It telecourse.  Want to know more about performance analysis and improving performance? Need coaching training? Contact Coach Mia.

What’s Next after a Layoff

A layoff just happened. A number of my friends and colleagues became corporate refugees.  Becoming a corporate refugee is tough.  I feel for them.  I have been through the unexpected loss of a job.  I have a running joke that I have a talent for picking companies that merge, move or go under.

While I can now joke about this “talent” of mine, the perfection of these experiences was that I learned I would live through them.  I learned that ‘job security’ was an illusion.  The only job security that exists is understanding your own strengths and talents and how to articulate that value so that you could provide it to a company that needs what you have to offer.  It also means becoming aware of or understanding what type of work environment allows you to do your best work, and going out and finding it or creating it.

Before finding or creating your best work, you have to shore up your rattled self-confidence.  A job loss throws you right out of your comfort zone and it can feel like a crisis.  You are smack in the middle of the ever-changing job search game.  There are new rules to learn, like using LinkedIn and other social media. Sitting alone at your computer submitting resumes makes you wonder if they actually go somewhere. You have to reconnect with your network of friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances for emotional support, job leads, and finding job hunting resources.

The great thing about losing your job is that it is your golden opportunity to really take a hard look at your values and what is important to you, and determine what is next for you.  Do you just want a jobthat you step into and out of or do you want to use your strengths and talents to make a uniquecontribution to the world?   In today’s economy you aren’t just a cog in the wheel of an organization, you are a creative individual serving a purpose in your own life.  Organizations need your unique qualities, your vision, and your energy to survive and thrive.  You need to think about what makes you tick – what inspires and fascinates you and makes you come alive – and then go do that.  I took that inspiration from this quote by Dr. Howard Thurman:

Performance Support Partners - What Makes You Come Alive

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I whole heartedly agree! What the world needs is people who have:

  • come alive
  • explored what makes them tick
  • found what excites them
  • discovered what they are they good at
  • figured out what is fun for them
  • discovered what makes time fly for them
  • found out where they do their best work
  • discovered who they want to work with
  • found work that allows them to change the world

Although it is really tough to see it at the time it occurs, when you are right-sized, outsourced, or down-sized into becoming a corporate refugee, it is the perfect time to explore these things and take your next best step to finding your best work.  Work that makes you come alive.  If you need some help with that, the Your Best Work, Find It, Love it, Live It telecourse is for you.  It might be just the support you need to help you not just survive, but thrive in today’s job market.


Want to go from stressed out to streamlined?  Wishing you could spend more time actually doing the work you love?  Mia Turpel’s know-how as a business and career coach, speaker, project manager and trainer will help you do just that. Are you in a career transition? Discover how to find Your Best Work in the Your Best Work, Find It, Love it, Live It telecourse. Need a coach?  Are you a manager or leader that needs coaching training?  Contact Coach Mia Turpel.

A Coaching Approach – Champion Your Staff to Better Performance

One way to improve the performance of your team or staff is to pursue mastery in using coaching skills. Managers that do this skillfully will improve the performance of their team. There are many proficiencies and deliverables to master as a coach, and one of these proficiencies is championing. You should champion your staff early and often.

What exactly is championing?  Championing is a form of support that can be comprised of many things including the following:

  • acknowledgement of an achievement
  • acknowledgement of a breakthrough
  • acknowledgement of a success
  • encouragement
  • support
  • inspiration

You can champion actions, progress, dreams, traits, commitments, talents, gifts and qualities. When you champion someone, you are championing something that has already occurred. A memory aid is that championing requires a champion. A champion is someone who has already excelled, accomplished something or succeeded at something.

Championing is Not Cheer Leading

Performance Support Partners - Cheerleading is not championing

Championing is distinctly different from cheer leading. Understanding the difference can help you become a more masterful coach. There is nothing wrong with cheer leading; it is just that championing supports someone at a much higher level than cheer leading.  Cheer leading implies firing someone upwhen their energy or capacity is low.  When you are cheer leading, the emphasis is on leading. Leading means taking someone who isn’t there yet to someplace different. Masterful coaching is not about leading.

Thomas Leonard, the father of coaching, stated “the more often and deeply the coach champions their client at all levels (including their actions, progress, dreams, traits, commitments, gifts and qualities), the more encouraged the client feels and the more likely they are to succeed. For the coach to merely be encouraging is not enough; there is a much higher level of support generated when the coach operates at the championing level…”

When you can help the person see for themselves and acknowledge their own achievements as they define them, you are championing. The coach is the catalyst that helps the person internally reference for themselves what they have accomplished. By championing someone you get them to connect to the strength inside of them that allowed them to get to where they are. The coach can point out the shifts they have made and help them to make the connection to how it has evolved them.   Coaching, as a whole, always has an eye toward personal evolution.

Let’s take a look at some examples of championing.

Scenario 1: Accomplishment of a Certification

Employee:  “I just completed my certification in XYZ. It has been a long hard journey because I have had a lot of interruptions in completing my education especially with the death of my father. Also, along the way I was married and my first two children were born.”

Coach/Manager: “I am curious, is it the certification itself that you are most proud of?  Or is it more the tenacity to stick with it despite all of the events and obstacles along the way that could have stopped you?”

Note the Coach/Manager didn’t just congratulate him on the certification. This is where most people start and stop. When the employee mentioned the ‘long hard journey’ and ‘lot of interruptions’ and other challenges, the  Coach/Manager digs deeper to get what the employee is really most proud of as she defines it.

Employee:  “I am really proud of sticking with it. Not everyone would be able to keep coming back after all the things I have experienced that might have stopped me. But I did it. I finished!”

Coach/Manager: “I admire your courage and your tenacity. Not everyone would be able to keep moving forward despite all of the hurdles that appeared in your path.  It is inspiring. Congratulations.”

The coach champions more the person and less the accomplishment of the certification. The path of development to get to the accomplishment itself is more important. In this case the coach is championing the character traits that the employee is most proud of – the tenacity or “stick with it-ness.”

Scenario 2: Championing a Profound ‘Ah-ha’ Moment

Employee:  “I had been delivering training classes once a week for about 8 months.  For one particular student, I was having trouble getting what it was that she wasn’t understanding, but I kept listening. It is so challenging with so many learning styles. I finally ‘got it’ – what the puzzle pieces were that were missing and why she wasn’t connecting them together causing her gap in understanding. I observed how other more experienced teachers did this naturally. It was in that moment, I finally felt like I was successful in truly developing my teaching skills.”

Coach/Manager: “What does it mean to you to have that gift of understanding the learning gap?”

She listed. She diagnosed. She was excited that she could do something and figure it out on her own. The coach is paraphrasing in her own words what she heard and wants to run it by her to see if there is a better way to phrase it.

Employee: “It means that I really can teach and I can help my students really progress forward!”

Coach/Manager:  “There seems to be a moment in every teacher’s experience where they realize that all they have been trained to do, all the experience they have had, is finally coming together. They get it. Teaching is happening at the level you have always wanted it to happen. Is that what is happening for you?”

Employee:  “Yes, it finally is!  I really feel like a professional now!”

Coach/Manager:  “Congratulations!”

A coach looks for the greater truth or a reference point that the client goes through; it is the greater scheme of life. The coach doesn’t just say, “I see this.”  There is a point in every client’s development where the light bulb turns on and they see they can really do it and feel how powerful it is. This point is the total understanding or ‘ah ha’ moment where they now fit in the evolution of themselves as a person pursuing mastery. The masterful coach tells the client WHY it was evolutionary for them.


  • Performance Support Partners - Champion Early and Often

    Be curious. Ask them. Your goal is to get them to champion for themselves, so before you tell them how great you think they are, ask them what they are proud of about XYZ or how it represents a significant shift to them. People need a lot of room to articulate why they are so proud of themselves. It may be the first time they have ever articulated this. Not because you have to know, but because you want themto know.

  • Be sincere. Anyone can tell when you don’t really mean something, or if it just puffery. Championing can be very quiet, especially compared to cheer leading.
  • Be excited about their progress. It is disappointing when the client is really excited, and you say something under-whelming like ‘that is nice.’ Match their tone.
  • Point to the underlying shifts or growth. Lock it into place by pointing out the fundamental improvements they have made, the long term meaning, and the evolution that occurred.
  • Be awed by their willingness. That we are willing to try at all shows courage.
  • Champion at all levels.  Don’t just focus on what they actually did or did not do. Include their dreams, traits, commitments, follow-through, qualities, service to others, feelings, insights, and profound moments, as well as their actions and progress.

Almost all of the work in championing is done by the coachee. We want them to figure it out for themselves. If they can’t, you can help them figure it out. Value is still being generated even if you do nothing – if you set it up properly.


  • Don’t self reference. “That is great; I earned that certification last year.”  Self referencing diminishes any accomplishment.
  • Don’t champion, and then immediately tell them to do more or ask what is next. It diminishes their accomplishment. Let them revel in it awhile.

Another way to understand championing is to look at the results (got certified, got nominated, won an award, etc.) as the layered bricks. Championing is the mortar around the bricks that locks in place and reinforces the results turning it into an accomplishment. So, rather than being a pile of bricks on the ground, it becomes a well-built pedestal for them to stand on.

Benefits of Championing

Why champion?  Championing someone causes a shift from doubting, and feeling disconnected, to feeling energized, integrated and confident. You create a greater awareness in the person of their own strengths, talents and capabilities. Greater awareness leads to better decisions and performance. The more you use championing, the more your staff will use it too.


Want to go from stressed out to streamlined?  Wishing you could spend more time actually doing the work you love?  Mia Turpel’s know-how as a business and career coach, speaker, project manager and trainer will help you do just that. Discover how to find Your Best Work in the Your Best Work, Find It, Love it, Live It telecourse. Want to know more about championing? Need coaching training?  Contact Coach Mia Turpel.