Coaching in the Game

two hands_smallRapport Leadership International uses learning processes so its students gain a deeper understanding of the lesson, and takeaway profound and impactful learnings that encourage a change in behavior.

Below is a process called “Coaching in the Game” which you can use to help demonstrate feedback.


Demonstrate the importance that giving and receiving feedback have on the outcome and performance of an organization.


Often we have one-way communication in business. As leaders, we may be guilty of this when we just tell people what to do or wait until the annual performance review to let employees know how their performance measures up. As employees, we may avoid asking for information on how we can improve our performance and we shy away from closed-door meetings with our supervisor. A core element of every business, and every relationship, must be two-way communication. When we take the time to share information, provide feedback and allow time for response and discussion we show that we care about each others success and the success of our organization.

To get maximum impact, feedback and communication must happen as close to the event as possible. Coaching in the Game will help you and your team experience the power of immediate feedback on the results you get.

Set Up:

Divide the participants into groups of three and assign the following roles per each group:

1 Coach, 2 Players


Step One:

Share the objective of the process with all participants.

The objective is to touch hands as many times as possible within a 10 second period while spinning around clockwise.

Explain that they will be given four opportunities to reach their highest score.

Step Two:

Ask Players to stand facing each other approximately three feet apart

Have the Coach stand nearby – close enough to see what they are doing and still out of the way

Have the Players to extend one arm out to the side, with palm face out.

 Round One:

  • Facilitator sets timer and starts the round.
  • Players close their eyes and spin in clockwise direction with arm outstretched.
  • Coach stands silently and watches.
  • Facilitator calls “Time” after 10 seconds.
  • Players count how many times they were able to touch hands.

Round Two:

Let the Coaches know they will be providing feedback at the end of this round on what they see during the process and what the players can do differently to better meet the goal.

  • Facilitator sets timer and starts the round.
  • Players close their eyes and spin in clockwise direction with arm outstretched.
  • Coach stands silently and watches.
  • Timer calls “Time” after 10 seconds.
  • Players count how many times they were able to touch hands.
  • Coach explains what he saw and shares with the players what they can do differently to ensure they are able to touch hands

Round Three:

Allow the Players to apply the feedback they have just received at the end of round two.

  • Facilitator sets timer and starts the round.
  • Players close their eyes and spin in clockwise direction with arm outstretched.
  • Coach stands silently and watches.
  • Timer calls “Time” after 10 seconds.
  • Players count how many times they were able to touch hands.

Round Four:

This time the Coach will be interacting with the Players and giving them feedback during the process.

  • Facilitator sets timer and starts the round.
  • Players close their eyes and spin in clockwise direction with arm outstretched.
  • Coach interacts with the players and lets them know what they can do to ensure their hands touch as they are spinning.
  • Timer calls “Time” after 10 seconds.
  • Players count how many times they were able to touch hands.

Step Three:

Ask participants to gather round for a group discussion. Have them arrange their chairs in a circle or, if a larger group, into a horseshow. Debrief the process using the following questions:

  • In which round were you the most successful in reaching the objective? Why?
  • What did you experience during round one? How did it feel to watch people working at something and missing the goal? How did it feel to know someone was watching and not providing input?
  • What did you experience during round two? How did it feel to receive feedback after the round was over? How well was the feedback applied during round three?
  • What did you experience during round four? How did it feel to receive feedback as you were working to achieve the objective? 
  • What impact did “Coaching in the Game” have on the results?
  • How does feedback and coaching show up in your organization?  When is it given?  How is it given?  How does it feel to give feedback?  How does it feel to be the receiver of feedback?
  • In what areas of our business can we apply the insights from this process?
  • What steps can you take based on the insights you gained in this exercise to be more open to asking for feedback and giving feedback in order to improve your performance and the performance of those around you?


Feedback and coaching can only be half effective if it is not delivered in a timely manner. In order to maximize our communication and our personal effectiveness as leaders we must be willing to “Coach in the Game” by providing feedback as close to the event as possible.

To increase your influence and demonstrate even greater leadership actively seek the feedback of everyone in your organization and willingly provide feedback to them:

  1. Your leader
  2. Your peers and associates
  3. Your team
  4. Your customers

Growth occurs when there is Feedback!

Designing your family culture

Teen familyWe all know the importance of culture inside a business. But what about family culture? Below is a Rapport Leadership International process you can use to identify your family’s culture.


Design a family culture that is based on core values and leadership principles.  Collaboratively create a home environment that nurtures strong relationships, develops good character, builds trust, reinforces respect, fosters growth, encourages empowering communication and generates quality time.


The family culture is a microcosm of the business culture. The same elements that allow for a cohesive business culture also exist within the family – knowing purpose, mission, values and vision; clarifying roles, building trust, keeping commitments, achieving goals and producing results. Each member of the family, just as in business, plays an important role in building a strong culture.

Building the ideal family environment takes time and commitment. Finding the time to design your family culture is often the greatest challenge. This process has been developed to be fun, engaging and time sensitive. Created around four, 60 minute family sessions following dinner, this interactive process will generate inspiring communication, clarity around family values and a family culture that is built on a strong foundation.

 Set up:

Print one Family Culture Place Setting for each member of your family, starting with week one (see models below). After dinner, set the table with the Family Culture Place Settings for “Designing Your Family Culture.”

 Phase 1:

 Share with your family that you wish to invest the time to build a strong family culture that lives by effective leadership principles and agreed upon values. Explain that family culture represents the attitudes, behaviors, expectations, and traditions of your family.  Ask for everyone’s commitment to a four week process and encourage everyone to brainstorm the benefits to designing a family culture. After your brainstorming session, select one day for the next four weeks that works with each family member’s schedule.  Everyone will need to commit to approximately 1.5 to 2 hours for both dinner and the Designing Your Family Culture session. It’s okay to make the dinner preparation simple and fun, i.e. order carry out from a favorite restaurant or have pizza delivered. This way you can focus on family time versus food preparation and extensive clean-up.

Phase 2:

 Prior to starting the week one topic of Communication, establish family agreements to create an environment of trust and respect. Establishing, agreeing to and living the agreements will help to create open and productive conversation.

Family Agreements:

  • Turn off and remove all distractions (i.e. TV, home and cellular phones, IPOD, GameBoy, Stereo, Blackberry, laptop, etc.)
  • Allow everyone to be right – create open communication (Avoid negative consequences due to honest sharing)
  • Full participation
  • Be present – choose to stay in the moment
  • Create your own agreement(s) as a family prior to beginning the process

NOTE: Weeks one, two, and three will be completed individually and discussed as a family.  Week four is designed to combine weeks 1-3 to create family values, a family mission, and family goals.

 Week One: Communication

Week one is designed to get the family talking. Encourage fun, free flow dialogue as each person shares thoughts, memories and important activities. Involvement and interaction are the keys to making your first session a success. The questions on your first place setting are:

  •  What do I love most about my family?
  • What are my favorite memories?
  • What activities do I enjoy doing with my family?
  • What is important about family communication?
  • What improvements will I make to improve communication?

Week Two: Values

Values represent what matters most to your family. They identify a person’s priorities and guide your daily actions and decisions. Allow each person to identify their own values and share their reason for choosing each value. There are no right or wrong answers – please avoid any tendency to second guess, influence or change another person’s values. You will create your combined family values in week four.

Week Three: Mission

Your family mission is a statement that creates clarity around your family’s purpose and reason for existence. Each person will complete the questions individually and then discuss the answers as a family. The responses will be used to create a family mission in week four. Encourage everyone to complete an individual mission statement as well.

Week Four: Values, Mission, and Goals

Review the previous three weeks that have been completed around communication, values, and mission. Summarize the elements of communication, identify your family’s top 4-6 values and create your family mission statement. Create family goals that live by the important elements discussed around communication, values and mission.



 Designing Your Family Culture provides a process for improving communication and establishing strong values within your family. Taking the time to involve everyone, to remain completely present and listen intently is just as important as any outcome that will be achieved in week four. Building a strong family culture is not an event; it is an ongoing process that will continue to change and evolve – just like your family!




Sources: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey

              The Path by Lori Beth Jones

              The 8th Habit by Stephen R. Covey


7 Levels of Learning

200469946-001Rapport Leadership International uses learning exercises or processes to help its student have profound learnings from its classes and courses.

Below is a process called 7 Levels of Learnings.


Create a deeper understanding of the process of learning. Improve your individual and organizational abilities to learn new skills, develop new habits and enhance innovation through the application of the 7 Levels of Learning.


“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” ~Alvin Toffler

Learning is a learned process and skill that must be continually developed. Most working adults consider learning a process that took place back in school. Even the lip service that we often given to our own willingness to learn new skills, or our belief that we have an open-mind frequently becomes overshadowed by our ego, pride and the all-powerful comfort zone.

Learning, ongoing learning, and life-long learning are no longer options – today’s world demands a continuous evolution of knowledge, skills and behaviors. Today’s world demands leaders that can adapt, adjust, expand, develop, grow – and of course LEARN.  The 7 Levels of Learning will make this often passive event an active, conscious process.

Set up:

Review the 7 Levels of Learning model and the corresponding definitions as they relate to the process of understanding and improving learning. Dedicate time and attention to the process of learning.

Process-Comfort Zone_V3

Awareness: an alert conscious state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation

Reflection: the process of careful thought, consideration and attentive contemplation

Insight: a clear and often sudden breakthrough in understanding and perception

Connection: the process of linking insights and ideas together to make associations, create relationships and recognize patterns

Decision: the act of choosing, assessing, selecting, analyzing and prioritizing

Focus: to concentrate energy and attention; to converge for maximum clarity

Action: the behavior of doing, achieving and accomplishing; the power of movement and productive direction

 Phase 1

Think of a personal growth and learning opportunity. Write this learning opportunity in a journal and continue working through the 7 Levels of Learning while capturing your thoughts. The first three levels of this process often occur quickly – allow yourself to express your thoughts in a ‘stream of consciousness’ format. Levels 4 through 7 have been designed to take your insights to the level of true learning. The whole process must be followed in order to anchor in learning and develop new habits. Allow your ideas and feelings to flow freely as you journal at each of the 7 Levels of Learning. An example has been provided below.



Level 1: Awareness: an alert conscious state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation

I became aware that I was demonstrating a lack of enthusiasm during department meetings.  I received feedback that I had an intense look and scowl on my face. I became aware that I did not look forward to attending meetings.

Level 2: Reflection: the process of careful thought, consideration and attentive contemplation

I reflected back on the meeting to consider what I may have been feeling and thinking about. I thought about the meeting agenda, my day and the week.

Level 3: Insight: a clear and often sudden breakthrough in understanding and perception

Several insights struck me as I realized how overwhelmed I felt as I entered the meeting.  I knew my mind was racing with ‘to do’ lists and deadlines. I had an ‘aha!’ moment when I realized my stress came from procrastinating an important task.

Level 4: Connection: the process of linking insights and ideas together to make associations, create relationships and recognize patterns

I began connecting other times that I had received similar feedback about my facial expressions. I realized that I was not truly present at the meetings and so therefore I was not smiling and certainly not demonstrating any enthusiasm. I observed a pattern in my behavior as I considered how I invested my time.

Level 5: Decision: the act of choosing, assessing, selecting, analyzing, and prioritizing

I decided to assess my tasks and prioritize my schedule. I created a plan, choosing the most important steps that I would take action on throughout the week. I decided to show up differently at my next meeting.

Level 6: Focus: to concentrate energy and attention; to converge for maximum clarity

I focused my energy on consciously smiling, sitting up tall, and engaging in future meetings. I focused on the feeling of enthusiasm, keeping my attention on the look of my face, the posture of my body and inflection of my voice. I visualized my enthusiasm level at today’s 4:00 p.m. meeting.

Level 7: Action: the behavior of doing, achieving, and accomplishing; the power of movement and productive direction

At 3:50 p.m. I took action to close out my current task and wrote down when I would pick it back up. I put a smile on my face and walked intently towards the conference room. I said hello to each person as they walked in and enthusiastically shook everyone’s hand. I sat up straight, engaged in the conversation, and offered many ideas and suggestions. I felt productive and energized as the meeting came to an end. I anchored in this feeling of accomplishment and the action of enthusiasm!

Note:  It’s suggested to run back through the 7 Levels of Learning to reinforce the learning opportunity and hardwire this new behavior. Complete your own learning opportunity, journal each step and repeat the process once the action has been taken.

Phase 2

Select another personal learning opportunity and repeat the above process.

Phase 3

 Select a team learning opportunity and discuss each of the 7 Levels of Learning as a group. Use a flip chart to capture the group’s thoughts at each level. Be aware that when this exercise is completed as a group, that there will be several answers at every level.  This is to be expected, especially because the power and brilliance of brainstorming happens with the generation of multiple insights and connections. It also produces collaborative decision making and focused action!

Phase 4

 Throughout the next week, become conscious of ongoing learning opportunities. Stop and think through each of the 7 Levels of Learning: Awareness, Refection, Insight, Connection, Decision, Focus and Action. Make it a habit to go through this process several times a day.


There are several factors that influence an individual’s success and yet everything fails in comparison to the importance of learning, growing, and improving as a person. Learning to learn is the process of developing your strengths, enhancing capabilities, and increasing effectiveness. All effectiveness begins with personal effectiveness. This is the essence of Rapport Leadership International’s training and our philosophy of leadership development:


When you improve the person,

the performance improves.


When you improve the performance,

the business improves,

the family improves,

the community improves.



Sources: Learning to Lead by Warren Bennis and Joan Goldsmith

              The Fifth Discipline Field Book by Senge, Ross, Smith, Roberts, and Kleiner


Vision Wheel

200407064-001Rapport Leadership graduates will tell you that attending a Rapport Leadership course is unlike any other they have attended. The reason for this is Rapport Leadership does not drum leadership theory into the heads of its students. Rather it draws it out through a series of exercises or processes.

Below is a process called Vision Wheel which you may want to use at your next team meeting or strategy planning session.


Develop a compelling and powerful Breakthrough Vision that leads, motivates and inspires your organization. Assess and enhance your organization’s current vision by aligning daily actions with your ongoing strategic plan using the Vision Wheel model.


Two of the most essential elements to the success of any business today reside in the power and effectiveness of leadership and vision. Leaders drive vision and vision drives the leader. Most vision statements do not align with all aspects of the business; they do not guide daily strategy, and they do not inspire action. A Breakthrough Vision brings all aspects of the business together to exist in the present as well as the future. It operates as the cultural glue that connects and guides all communication in a common thread of execution and sustainable growth.

 Set up:

Review and display the Vision Wheel discussing the inner and outer layers that must align in a Breakthrough Vision.

Inner layer includes:

Core purpose and mission, Values and philosophy,Passion, motivation, and commitment, Business priorities (12-18 months)

Outer layer includes:

Long-term strategic goals, Vivid picture and dream of the future (BHAG= Big Hairy Audacious Goal*), Customer and Stakeholder Needs,Market demands and global changes

visionwheelPhase 1
Prepare four flip charts and label each with the four inner layers of the Vision Wheel. Break participants into four groups and have each group identify, discuss and capture their thoughts on their assigned element of the Vision Wheel. Have each group share their insights listed on the flip charts to the entire group.

Phase 2
Repeat the Phase 1 process for the four outer layers of the Vision Wheel.

Phase 3
Discuss your organization’s current vision and opportunities for enhancing it using the following elements of a Breakthrough Vision.

• An expected and desired future state
• A vivid picture and dream
• Moves people to action
• Focuses attention on current priorities
• Inspires action inside and outside the organization
• Bridges the present and the future (internal and external performance)
• Creates commitment, meaning and purpose
• Empowers excellence
• Unleashes individual and organizational potential
• Unifying power and energy that guides passion
• The “communication compass” for directing strategy

Phase 4
Overlay each external layer of The Vision Wheel with each internal layer discussing the current alignments and possible misalignments. There are 16 possible combinations. (i.e. Core Purpose and Mission overlaid with the four outer layers of the Vision Wheel.) Create an action plan for improving each Vision Wheel combination.

A Breakthrough Vision is essential for moving any organization in the right direction and must be the cultural cement for bonding the thousands of daily actions together. Every communication, system, process, action and strategy must link to the organization’s Breakthrough Vision. Change is fast, relentless and inevitable. Change demands aligning the layers of the Vision Wheel for short and long-term success.

Sources: Visionary Leadership by Burt Nanus
The Fifth Discipline Field Book by Senge, Ross, Smith, Roberts, and Kleiner
*Built to Last by Collins and Porras 

Layers of Emotional Intelligence

selfawarenessRapport Leadership International uses processes to help student learn important lessons. In order to be a great leader – you need Emotional Intelligence.

If you are a team leader, below is a process you can use to uncover the layers of emotional intelligence with your team.


Understand how Emotional Intelligence influences all levels of your life effectiveness. Clarify and develop your Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills at four levels: Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management.


Leadership growth begins with personal growth.  Effective leaders are extremely aware and attuned to themselves. They are conscious of their own thoughts, feelings and actions and how these immediately impact those around them. Great leaders also consider the longer term ripple effect of every thing they do; i.e. an organization’s culture, the community and society. This deep awareness and presence of being allows leaders to self manage, make better choices, motivate others and inspire growth. This leads to greater social awareness and relationship management. A leader’s success is rooted in personal mastery and evolves into relationship mastery.

Set up:

Explain the four levels of Emotional Intelligence (EI) to the group. Provide two copies of the “Layers of Emotional Intelligence” to each member of the group (model below).

Process-Layers of EI_V1

Phase 1

Prepare four flip charts and label each with the four EI domains. Break participants into four groups and have each group discuss their assigned EI domain and associated competencies. List all actions and applications of the EI domain in relation to an individual’s business and personal life and why they are important to the success of any endeavor.

1. Self Awareness

Self confidence, strengths, growth opportunities, intuition, emotional awareness

2. Self Management

Adaptability, achievement, initiative, optimism, trustworthiness, self control

3. Social Awareness

Empathy, compassion, service orientation, organizational awareness, community awareness

4. Relationship Management

Listening, inspirational leadership, influence, developing others, conflict management, teamwork, collaboration, connecting with others, change catalyst

Phase 2

Have each group share their insights listed on the flip chart to the entire group. Add any additional thoughts and insights from the group dialogue.  Show everyone the Layers of EI model. Using ropes or tape, draw this model the floor of the room. Begin with the inner circle of Self Awareness and discuss the influence this core level has on the outer three levels. Have the participants physically stand in the inner circle and move into the outer levels as they share their insights. (Depending on the size of the room this may be done individually or as a group.)  Move to Self Management and discuss its impact on the outer two layers. Repeat with Social Awareness while continuing to physically move through the Layers of EI.

Phase 3

Ask each participant to complete an individual assessment of their EI competencies. On one copy of the Layers of EI model, identify your strengths at each level and how they assist you in your effectiveness as a leader. On the second copy of the model, identify your opportunities for growth and the action steps you will take to improve all four EI domains. Once everyone has completed, open the discussion for individuals to share both strengths and growth opportunities.


We all have the ability to become more effective leaders – it is a choice. We must be willing to assess ourselves and be open to feedback to create ongoing growth and development. Change is constant and inevitable – create intentional transformation by taking the action to unleash your leadership potential. Our philosophy at Rapport Leadership International is simple: When you improve the person, you improve the performance. When you improve the performance, you improve the business, the family, and the community. Enjoy the journey.

 Sources: Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie McKee.  Resonant Leadership by Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee


Observation Tower

AB001027Rapport Leadership International uses process when taking a group or team of people through a learning exercise.

Below is a Rapport Leadership process you can take your team through to help discover the power of observation.


To gain insights into problem solving and decision making by observing potential solutions through the eyes and thoughts of others. Learn the power of listening to the perspectives of others to improve your own thinking abilities.


The challenge with individual problem solving stems from our automatic tendency to search our past experiences for solutions. We often become stuck in our thinking because we constantly re-map our brain with old paradigms and conditioned habits. By allowing others to work on our challenges, we have the opportunity to see things from a completely different perspective.

The observation role is extremely powerful because it allows us to detach ourselves from personal thinking patterns and see how others think, feel and act in a given situation. Just as an observation tower is used to view events from a distance, this exercise will allow an individual to observe different points of view and gain valuable insights about the process of thinking.

Set Up:

Prepare one flip chart with plenty of markers for every four participants. Have pads and pens available for journaling. Gather all participants and ask them to think of an individual problem, challenge or dilemma that requires brainstorming and problem solving.

Divide the participants into groups of four. Have one person share their challenge with the other three group members. The individual sharing their problem will avoid discussing any potential situations and refrain from leading the group down any specific path. The goal of the initial set up is to provide clarity around the issue at hand. Once the group members have a good understanding of the issue, the person sharing the problem will step back into the metaphorical “observation tower” to observe the process.

(Have the observer stand back about five feet from the group so their presence does not influence the group discussion.)


Step 1: (Five Minutes)

Observer: The observer will journal initial thoughts and feelings about the observation tower exercise. Have them consider what it feels like to let others work on their problem without having any influence over the upcoming dialogue. As the group begins their discussion, continue to journal insights.

Group: Inform the group that they will have four brainstorming phases, each lasting between two and five minutes. Instruct the group to frame the issue at hand into one concise problem statement and write it on the flip chart. Under the problem statement, discuss and list any facts and/or possible root causes.

Step 2: (Two Minutes)

Observer: Encourage the observer to continue journaling all thoughts, feelings and insights.

Group: The group will now discuss any feelings, emotions and intuitions they may have about the problem.

Step 3: (Five Minutes)

Observer: Encourage the observer to continue journaling all thoughts, feelings and insights.

Group: The group will brainstorm potential action plans, specific steps and necessary resources needed to address the issue. Ensure all thoughts are recorded on the flip chart.

 Step 4: (Four Minutes)

Observer: Encourage the observer to continue journaling all thoughts, feelings and insights.

Group: The group brainstorms the ideal outcome and solutions to the problem. Discuss and write out the ultimate vision to the problem/challenge.

Step 5: (Ten Minute Debrief)

  1. Have all participants come together to debrief the process. Discuss the following questions:
  2. How did it feel to be the observer?
  3. How does it feel to not have an opportunity to discuss the problem with your team again?
  4. How confident does the group feel that they have come up with a viable action plan and solution?
  5. What did the group say and discuss that you would not have considered if you had completed the problem solving on your own?
  6. What are the benefits of observing?
  7. How can we improve our own thinking process everyday?


Learning to expand our thinking capabilities will improve anyone’s overall performance. As we address new problems, we must use collective and collaborative thinking processes. By listening to others perspectives and ideas we truly see the world more as it is and not just as we are.

Week 12 Rapport Breakthrough Teams

doing thingsWEEK 12: Next Steps and Strategies

You each have dedicated 12 weeks to reinforcing and applying Rapport Leadership International’s leadership skills and competencies. Review the previous 11 weeks and highlight ideas, insights and breakthroughs. Discuss next steps and action plans each individual will take to continue their path to ongoing learning and development.


Create a list of co-workers who you think will make great leaders inside your organization. Make a plan to have lunch with them to discuss how Rapport Leadership has helped you become a greater leader.

Week 11 Rapport Breakthrough Teams

Leadership chartWEEK 11: Living “At Cause”

Living “At Cause” is all about personal power. We all have a choice in how we think, respond, feel and act as we move through life. When we make the choice to be “At Cause,” we make choices that generate positive thoughts, emotions,and behaviors.

When we are “in effect” we react to events and situations allowing them to control our attitude, feelings, actions and overall energy. A person “in effect” ultimately avoids taking responsibility and looks to blame, justify and make excuses for their life.

For many individuals this happens on an unconscious level. This Rapport Breakthrough Team meeting is about getting conscious of our thoughts, attitude, and behaviors.

Review the Cause versus Effect chart below.


In the now moment



Passionate and enthusiastic


Taking action

Acknowledging what is

Open to learning and growing

Focused on creative solutions

Self mastery


Living in the past

Lack of direction


Existing and shut down




Close minded



Discuss where the energies of being “In Effect” show up in your personal and business life. On a flip chart, create a list of ways to move from being “In Effect” to living “At Cause.”


Reflect on each of your past 11 meetings.Write down one key insight for each meeting and bring to share with the members of your Rapport Breakthrough Team.