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  • Toby Sinclair

Curated Insights | Friday 7th May 2021

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Happy Friday,

This weeks insights include:

  • Are you an Essentialist? 💡

  • The dictionary definition of coaching is wrong 😱

  • Atomic Coaching: Don't Give Advice 🎯

With Gratitude,



Are you an Essentialist? 💡

Just Work by Kim Scott

This week I read Essentialism by Greg McKewon. Essentialists focus on the vital few rather than the trivial many.

Here's a story from the book that might be familiar:

I once worked with an executive team that needed help with their prioritisation. They were struggling to identify the top five projects they wanted their IT department to complete over the next fiscal year, and one of the managers was having a particularly hard time with it. She insisted on naming eighteen “top priority” projects. I insisted that she choose five. She took her list back to her team, and two weeks later they returned with a list she had managed to shorten – by one single project! (I always wondered what it was about that one lone project that didn’t make the cut.) By refusing to make trade-offs, she ended up spreading five projects’ worth of time and effort across seventeen projects. Unsurprisingly, she did not get the results she wanted. Her logic had been: We can do it all. Obviously not.

Becoming an Essentialist requires a shift in your habits of thought and action. Saying Yes to everything is deeply rooted within society. We believe we can have it all. In the book, Greg shares a three-step process to becoming an Essentialist:

  1. Explore: Discerning the Trivial Many from the Vital Few

  2. Eliminate: Cutting out the Trivial Many

  3. Execute: Removing Obstacles and making execution effortless

This is a great book for anyone who struggles to say no. For the majority of readers, this summary will be a sufficient reminder to focus on the vital few rather than the trivial many.


The dictionary definition of Coaching is wrong 😱

I believe the dictionary definition of coaching is wrong.

What you'll notice from this definition is its focus on advising, instruction, and teaching.

What I've come to learn, though, is that effective coaching has a very different set of qualities. These include listening, questioning and understanding.

I've gathered 5 alternative definitions that better describe the qualities of coaching.

I also explore these definitions in this video and article

I'd love to hear about your favourite definitions of coaching. Email your definition and I'll share it on social media.


Atomic Coaching: Don't Give Advice 🎯

Each week I share a challenge to help you improve your coaching skills: active listening, asking questions and self-awareness.

This Weeks Challenge 🤹

When people seek your advice, it can feel rewarding. In the early part of your career, it's likely you were successful because of your helpful advice.

However, when your responsibility grows it can become a trap. As demand grows for your expertise you become a bottleneck. This can lead to you being overworked, stressed and impact the quality of your work.

It can be easy in these situations to forget you have a choice. Instead of giving advice, you can build a habit of using alternative responses.

This is one of the most powerful skills you can develop to break the advice trap.

These are 6 alternatives you can use instead of giving direct advice:

1. Summarise - Let me summarise the situation...

2. Connect - Can you connect with X to talk through this.

3. Observation - I can see you might have not considered this scenario. What do you think?

4. Opinion - I'm not sure if that will work

5. Ask Questions - What do you think?

6. Stay Silent - .....

Your challenge: 🤹

Practice using these alternatives whenever anyone seeks out your advice.


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