All posts by Lois Carson

Leadership Strategy- The Power of WHY

Lois Carson

Lois Carson


Are you looking for a way to inspire yourself and others? Whether you’re leading yourself, a team or a whole organization, being able to inspire and motivate is a key to success.

Recently, I heard someone give a talk on High-Impact Goals as a tool for creating meaningful success. A key point she made was that to be successful, you need to be clear on the WHY of your vision and your goals. This is where your passion comes in. WHY is what you want to do important? – to you, to your company, to society? What is your driving purpose, your cause, your belief? What gives you passion? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? WHY does your organization exist? Put passion in your actions with WHY.

Starting with WHY inspires rather than manipulates. Great leaders are able to inspire people to act. Giving them a sense of purpose makes others want to follow willingly. Pulling together a team of like minded people and giving them a cause to pursue ensures a greater sense of teamwork and camaraderie. People are more likely to work hard when they trust their boss has their best interest and feel like they’re working for something bigger than themselves.

Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why – How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, is a great resource to understanding the role WHY plays in being influential and successful in all sizes and types of organizations.   It can also apply to your personal life. You can get a good overview by checking out his TED Talk.

Figuring out your WHY can be challenging for some. Sinek’s book has some great examples that will help you understand this concept and where the HOW and WHAT fit into the picture. Once you know your WHY, you need to know HOW to do WHAT. A good balance is important. Understanding your WHY is also important in creating your brand and marketing.

Discover and use your WHY. It’s a powerful tool for inspiring and leading your team. If you need some help figuring this out for your nonprofit organization, an ECofOC coach will be a great help to you through individual executive coaching or with you and your Board in Strategic Planning. Connect at

Author:  Lois Carson, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

The Golden Rule of Leadership

Lois Carson

Lois Carson


As a leader do you ever wish your employees would do this or that? If you have a supervisor, do you day dream that your boss would this or that? I’m sure we’ve all had these thoughts at some point.

It’s common for people to have an expectation of what they would like from someone. That brings up the question of how to get what you want from others. When you were growing up, did your parents teach you The Golden Rule? I know I’ve heard it many times. It goes something like this, “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” Recently I heard Deepak Chopra say it a little differently in a meditation, “I attract what I am.”

Let’s think about how this can apply to you as a leader in business. Think about what might be missing for you in relation to the people you work with. What are you “wishing” someone would do? When you’re feeling you want more of something from someone, then that’s what you should be giving to others.

Here are some examples:

If you want to be heard, listen.

If you want to be appreciated, give appreciation.

If you want “atta boys”, give recognition or “pats on the back” to others.

If you want more independence in your work, empower others to be independent.

If you want people to follow through with you, follow through with others.

If you want people to be on time to your meetings, be on time, start on time.

If you want people to do what you “said” to do, be clear and specific in what you say.

If you want to be kept in the loop, keep others in the loop.

If you want others to honor their word with you, be a person of integrity.

If you want people to be kind and considerate, be kind and considerate.

If you want to be respected as a leader, be respectful to others

.And most importantly, if you want to be loved, be loving.

Think about what you want and give it to others. This simple Golden Rule of Leadership will make a huge impact in your life, both at work and at home.

Author:  Lois Carson, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

The Blame Game

Lois Carson

Lois Carson


Have you ever played the Blame Game?   Maybe you have and you don’t even realize it!

Did you miss out on a promotion and blame your co-worker because he kisses up to the boss? Did you not get the funding you’ve been working on and blame it on xyz? Did you get laid off and say it’s because you’re too old or too? Do you dislike your job because of so and so?

When you blame others for your lack of happiness or success, you give up your ability to heal what’s wrong and to create the changes you want. Blame prevents you from taking responsibility for your life and leaves you powerless. When you hold someone else responsible for how you feel or what happens, you give up the power to change your life and create the success you desire. You are putting someone or something else in charge of your life. Think about it. Realize you are playing the game. Take your power back! Stop playing the Blame Game!

To shift this blame mentality or “change games”, imagine that you have achieved the success you want. You are confident that you have all the resources and abilities you need to get what you want. You trust that you are in the process of getting what you desire. Remember, what you think and believe are what you get. With this positive attitude for success, there is no reason to play the Blame Game.

It is important to use forgiveness to let go of holding others responsible for what goes on in our life. Forgiveness enables you to regain your power to take charge of your life and get what you need and want.

Author:  Lois Carson, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

LEADING A TEAM- 10 Tips to Success!

Lois Carson

Lois Carson






Charged with leading a team and not quite sure what to do? You are not alone. Let’s see what we can do to simplify this mystery.

Here are some tips on team leadership:

  1. Create and hold the vision. Let them know “where” they are going. A mission often tells the “why” of the vision, so share that too.
  2. Set clear, achievable goals. Be clear on expectations – the game plan and how you expect them to operate. Expect without inspecting. Provide appropriate resources, time and support. People develop loyalty when they feel that their needs are being considered.
  3. Provide clear, firm direction and guidance. Good leadership skills are like parenting skills in this regard. Also, give people a safe space to take on new challenges, grow and make mistakes.
  4. Positive reinforcement is another parenting skill that works great for leading and motivating teams. Provide praise when you notice things done “right” or for a job well done.       When it’s not, coach them without making a big deal out of it.
  5. Leverage people’s strengths.       This produces a team that is efficient and effective!
  6. Be an effective listener!       Focus on the person and listen for possibilities, what’s good about them and what they have to say, what they are committed to and with compassion when upsets occur. Ask clarifying questions if you’re not sure.
  7. Be proactive not reactive.       Erratic emotions are not productive at work or at home!
  8. Be a good role model, exhibiting passion and positivity. Your energy and excitement will motivate your team to attain the vision and accomplish the mission. 
  9. Walk the talk.       Your team will believe and trust in you when you have integrity.
  10. Team meetings – Bring the team together to plan, brainstorm, collaborate, update and have fun! Let them know how important they are to the success of the team and the company!

Author:  Lois Carson, Executive Coaches of Orange County,


Have you ever been in a tense situation?

Lois Carson

Lois Carson


You know you are getting old when your kids start to seem “wiser” than you are! This came to mind one day several years ago when I had some car trouble and my son and I were “stuck” at the repair shop waiting for the car to be fixed. I was obviously upset. He looked at me and said, “What’s good about this?” We actually came up with a pretty good list. At the top was that we got to spend some quality time talking and catching up. Since then, I’ve collected some other “Wise and Powerful Questions” that are worth sharing:


  1. What’s good about this?
  2. What can I learn from this?
  3. What’s possible?       What are the possibilities?
  4. What are the facts? Vs. What’s the story? (assumptions, interpretations)
  5. What am I responsible for?

When you find yourself or your team in a “situation” where there is an upset or even just some concerns, take a deep breath and ask one or more of these 5 questions. This will help gain perspective and insight. Most people feel a sense of lightness, optimism and focus as they read these questions, especially #1-3. Looking at possibilities really encourages creativity and teamwork, as well.

Separating facts and stories is a great self coaching exercise. People are very “creative” about using their interpretations/assumptions to make a “story” about what’s going on AND believing that this is the “truth”. Asking what the facts are and keeping these separate from the story is a very powerful insight.

Asking what you are responsible for helps you get clarity on your role in a situation so you are not blaming others, being a victim. It is also a tool for setting boundaries. People often feel like they have to do everything OR solve everything, when in reality it may not be their responsibility.

Make a copy of these questions and stick them in your wallet or other handy place. The next time a tense situation comes up, ask yourself one of these “Wise and Powerful” questions. I guarantee you’ll feel better!

Author:  Lois Carson, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Leadership Dilemma- Feeling Stuck?

Lois Carson Hunter

Lois Carson Hunter


What’s Holding You Back?

Yesterday, I heard someone say something very profound – “We are the ‘lid’ on what’s possible for others.” This was in the context of inviting someone to do something, presenting an opportunity to them. People often hold back from asking others to do things because they have thoughts, stories or judgments about someone else – what they might want to do, what they “should” do, what they won’t do etc. This influences what we invite them to do, what possibilities we present to them, what opportunities we don’t even give them a chance to choose yes or no.

So, my questions for you:

  • What’s holding you back?
  • Where are you stuck?
  • Are you putting a “lid” on yourself about what’s possible for you, what opportunities you might want to try?
  • What stories, misperceptions, negative thoughts or judgments do you have about yourself that holds you back?

If you ask yourself these questions, you’ll see that many of them are fear based. Fear gets its power from the future. People are often fearful about outcomes. Doubt and certainty take hold and people get stuck. They put a “lid” on themselves and their opportunities. This can become a dilemma for leaders.

Getting Unstuck

  • Get into action in the present moment (remember fear is future based, it can’t exist in the present moment). Take a deep breath and begin. Just do it!
  • Let go of your attachment to the outcome. Be open to the possibility of a different or better outcome. Trust the outcome will be in your best interest.
  • When doubt or uncertainties hold you back, this negative energy projects in your thoughts, words and actions. Ask yourself what would a confident, doubt free day look like for you.       Be willing to see things differently.
  • Visualize you are holding a fist full of helium balloons. Written on each one is the name of one of your fears, worries or doubts. Now see yourself letting go of the balloons, one by one, thus releasing each of these things that are keeping you stuck and holding you back from being the great leader you are meant to be!

Author:  Lois Carson Hunter, Executive Coaches of Orange County,


Lois Carson Hunter

Lois Carson Hunter




One of the key steps in being an amazing and powerful leader is to lead yourself. What do I mean by that? We all have that “inner voice” that talks to us. One way to empower yourself and unleash the amazing leader within is to recognize and manage your inner voice.

Step One – Create awareness. Be an observer of yourself. Listen to what thoughts are in your mind and the words coming out of your mouth. Often people have “limiting beliefs”, old tapes that keep us locked into old behaviors. Examples, I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I don’t have the credentials to be…..or do…. etc. Make a list of your limiting beliefs. If fearful thoughts come up, feel them, let them go and move beyond them.

Step TwoTurn off the critical or limiting “tape” and create a new empowering or “limitless” belief for yourself. For each limiting belief, re-write it into a powerful statement or affirmation. An affirmation is a positive statement or meditation that helps us envision ourselves in more powerful ways. A characteristic of an effective leader is the ability to be innovative, see possibilities and make wise choices. Do this for yourself. What empowering words will you choose for yourself? Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. Example, I am an influential leader. I’m confidently and enthusiastically leading my team toward our company goals. I am smart and good at what I do.

Step Three – Daily repetition. Read and state your positive affirmations every morning. Visualize yourself being this way. Smile and be proud of yourself! This creates positive energy to powerfully take you through the day as a leader.

To be an amazing leader, first lead yourself! Each day, let go of your limiting beliefs and replace them with empowering beliefs that better serve you and who you choose to be.

Author:  Lois Carson Hunter, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Success Strategy: The Gift of Accountability

Lois Carson Hunter

Lois Carson Hunter


Do you have a “To Do” list that contains some things that never get checked off? I’m sure we’ve all been there, done that! What’s the true impact of this?

One of the classes I took for my coach training referred to these things as “tolerations”. These are things that people don’t deal with and they just keep “hanging” around in your life, mostly taking up space in your head. You’re “tolerating” them and not doing anything about them. They are a form of “clutter”. This can be in the form of physical clutter, such as, the clothes you never mended, the files you’ve never filed, or the book you never finished, the fence in need of repair, etc. They can also be mental clutter, such as, not doing something because you are fearful, the person you’ve never forgiven, the diet you started and went off course, the conversation you’ve been putting off, the new career you want to pursue but aren’t doing what you need to do about it, etc. Sometimes, physical and mental clutter gets intertwined into quite complex tolerations!

Tolerations zap your energy! Having tolerations are like trying to fill a cup full of holes with water. You keep putting water (your energy) in and it just goes right out the holes, so you’re never full. When you start “plugging the holes” by addressing these tolerations or being accountable for what you say you’ll do, you’ll begin to notice you have more “energy”. You actually start being more motivated and productive vs. spinning your wheels with tolerations. You also become “proud” of yourself which increases your self confidence.

Give yourself the Gift of Accountability. Make a list of things you’re tolerating. Each day, select one thing and do it. If it can’t be completed in one day, you have at least begun. Beginning is half done! Continue. Step back and give yourself a pat on the back. Sometimes it helps to have an accountability partner or a coach. ECofOC provides coaches to nonprofit leaders at no charge. You can get more information and sign up for a coach at Give yourself the gift of accountability!

Author:  Lois Carson Hunter, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Motivational Leadership

Lois Carson Hunter

Lois Carson Hunter


One of the biggest leadership challenges is motivating employees. As a leader, wouldn’t you love a team that is motivated, committed, empowered!

Let’s take a look from the employee perspective as to what motivates them.

People need to know they matter!

When employees are unhappy and you ask them what’s missing, the most common response is that they don’t feel appreciated. People want to be appreciated, respected and acknowledged. For some this is even more important than money, power, prestige or fame.

Appreciation and acknowledgement often go hand in hand. Appreciation is to recognize, admire, and be grateful or thankful for something someone did. While acknowledgment is more about recognizing and being grateful for how they are being. An example would be: “Thanks for getting your report to me in time for my meeting. I acknowledge you for putting in the extra effort to make this happen.”

Start noticing what your employees are doing that’s working and let them know. Some leaders struggle with this because they think, “It’s their job and they should be doing x,y,z. I don’t need to recognize them for that.” Often, no words are spoken unless the “boss” is not happy with something. Then, they start speaking about what they don’t want. This is the fastest way to get what you “don’t want”. Have you ever heard when one tells a child, “Don’t walk into the street!” they hear “Walk into the street.”? Choose your words carefully!

Motivational leaders know how to motivate their employees without negativity, fear and intimidation. Employees who have to operate in this environment are less motivated and effective because they are spending time on protecting and defending themselves. People respond much better to positive reinforcement (appreciation and acknowledgement) then they do to negative criticism. They are more empowered, committed, motivated and productive.

It’s time to make a commitment to start sharing your acknowledgments freely. Turn up the volume on appreciation, acknowledgement and recognition and turn the volume down on negativity, criticism and complaints. Stand back and watch the miracle occur!

Author: Lois Carson Hunter, Executive Coaches of Orange County,