Archive for ‘Training’ Category

What I learned from a horse and a neurosurgeon

On a ranch in stunning Tucson, Arizona, I recently experienced an amazing “equine insp7Diration” with the Harvard-trained neurosurgeon Dr. Allan Hamilton. Dr. Hamilton wrote the award-winning book Zen Mind, Zen Horse and is cited for his ground-breaking work in using horses to train surgeons.

Dr. Hamilton explained that horses are hyper-aware of our emotional state and react to what’s in our hearts and not our heads. He encouraged me to engage my right brain’s intuitive function, while silencing the dominant left hemisphere’s analytical inner voice. He assured me that this would give me a unique opportunity to feel my emotions mirrored back.

Hoping her name wasn’t a reflection of her spirit, I selected Pepper. With Dr. Hamilton’s coaching, I learned:

  1. How my initial trepidation prevented Pepper from cooperating with me, which was apparent from her flaring nostrils and shaking head
  2. How to connect with Pepper through eye contact, posture and movement
  3. The power of patience, especially when you are limited to non-verbal communication
  4. The importance of alignment between telling, body posture and visual aids (in this case, a lead rope and a whip)

Working to quiet my analytical brain and harness my intuition, I began grooming Pepper. I directed her to back up, move forward, turn right and finally led her in a fast-paced, thundering gallop around the paddock. I was thrilled with my success with this majestic creature.

What does this have to do with leadership? When we:

  • adjust our limiting behaviours
  • attend to the subtleties in interpersonal communication
  • demonstrate patience in leading others

we become more connected to others and more effective as leaders.

For more information about CORE’s services in helping clients build leadership capability, please visit:  or contact Joan Hill directly at: or (905) 990-2515


Assess Your Presentation Skills

Do you want learn how to deliver a dynamic, impactful presentation to any audience – from your senior leadership team to external customers? WExcellent Customer Service Evaluationhat are your strengths as a presenter? What skills do you need to improve?

Although feedback from others is invaluable, start by completing a quick, candid assessment.

For each statement below, jot down the number (3, 2 or 1) that corresponds with how frequently you demonstrate this behaviour.

3 = Usually  2 = Sometimes   1 = Almost Never



  1. Before I start developing a presentation, I do an audience analysis.
  2. I structure the presentation to address the audience’s key needs.
  3. I feel relaxed and confident when I am giving a presentation.
  4. I feel comfortable when an audience member interrupts me.
  5. If someone asks a difficult question, I handle it skillfully.
  6. At the beginning and the end of the presentation I describe the “call to action”.
  7. I am often complimented on the quality and impact of my presentations.
  8. After the presentation, I feel that I did a really good job.


Then total your score.

21-24: Congratulations! You have mastered the key skills to achieve your presentation goals.

15-20: Room for improvement. Pinpoint your specific needs and consider hiring a coach.

8-14: Oops! If you regularly give presentations, there are lots of tools to help you that will fit your learning style and budget. If you would like to discuss these options, please call us.


We offer a full range of dynamic tools to help you and your colleagues develop your presentation skills including workshops, one-on-one and group coaching such as:

Thanks for your continued support!

Take Charge of Dysfunctional Meeting Behaviour: “The Critics”

Who else besides The Talkers has the potential to derail your meetings? The Critics.iStock_000048577658Large (1)

Daniela is a critic. She constantly challenges others and makes derogatory comments. Her body language conveys hostility.

How can you handle Daniela both respectfully and effectively? Tempting as it is to argue with her, she likely will become even more contentious.

Here are 5 techniques to handle the Critics’ behaviour:

  1. Acknowledge her position. “Daniela, it seems that you have a different perspective.”
  2. Ask her to elaborate. “Can you tell us why you feel so strongly?” This will help clarify her opinion and reveal her agenda.
  3. Summarize and confirm your understanding of her view. “What I hear you saying is that you feel we should …. is that correct?” Ask the other meeting participants: “Does this resonate with anyone else?”
  4. Transition to the next agenda item if the other meeting participants disagree with her input.  “Thanks, Daniela. I think we now understand why you are opposed. I’m happy to take this offline if you would like to discuss it further. Let’s now move to the next topic…”
  5. Ask questions and reinforce comments that are on target with your agenda.

If you are faced with challenging meeting behaviours and would like some on-one-one coaching, please contact me.

We also offer a two hour training workshop on Facilitating Meetings that Work:

Take Charge of Dysfunctional Meeting Behaviour: “The Talkers”

How many times have you left a meeting and overheard the participants say: “That was a great meeting! We got a lot done.” Rarely would be the honest answer.Boring presentation. Group of young business people in smart cas

My experience as both a facilitator and a coach indicates that many meetings get ambushed because most leaders have difficulty taking charge of dysfunctional meeting behaviour, especially The Talkers.

We’ve all met “George”.  He dominates discussions, raises off-topic issues, interrupts and doesn’t listen to others. His behaviour frustrates the group and shuts down participation.

Here are 5 techniques to help you effectively manage The Talkers.

5 Techniques for Managing “The Talkers”

  1. Ask George: “How does this relate to the topic we are discussing?”
  2. Use a parking lot to record unrelated issues. Then come back to them at the end of the meeting.
  3. Avoid making eye contact with George. If he persists in talking, slightly raise your right hand in his direction.
  4. Acknowledge his opinion; then ask others to contribute. “Thanks, George for sharing your perspective. Deborah, what thoughts do you have about this issue?”
  5. Speak to him privately during a break. Ask him to actively listen to others’ opinions. Offer to have an offline discussion following the meeting.

As a leader your ability to facilitate your team’s progress in solving problems and making decisions will contribute to your leadership effectiveness.

We offer a two hour training workshop on Facilitating Meetings that Work:

For this and your other leadership development needs, please contact me.




Making Training Stick

Our clients often ask if CORE’s workshops are offered in a modular format; for example, two hours every two weeks. Cited is the need to minimize time away from the job.

The answer is “Yes.”

The dilemma? Ensuring that learners learn and your organization maximizes its ROI.

Over the years we’ve learned a number of tricks (that apply to longer programs too!). Here are 5 of them:

Making Training Stick

  1. Roll out a simple communiqué to ensure that potential participants and their leaders understand the program purpose and its key deliverables, before registering.
  2. Facilitate a program overview for the participants’ leaders. Explain how to reinforce new behaviours. Give them a Coaching Tip Sheet.
  3. Ask participants to do a quick prework assignment. Some ideas: reading, assessment, or identifying real life scenarios to work on during the program. This readies the learners and maximizes team activities during the session.
  4. Assign learning buddies; someone with whom they can share key successes and challenges after the program.
  5. Ask participants to pinpoint 2-3 opportunities where they can apply what they have learned. Encourage their managers to discuss these action plans with them.

For some of the topics that work in a modular format, please click on the link: Examples of Training Modules.

Please keep in mind that CORE also offers many 1 and 2 day training programs and customization to help your leaders build their capability and be successful in these challenging times.

For more tips to make training stick, call us!