Smile when you coach. A smile is an intimacy, but one that is suitable for both genders, especially in coaching situations. As managers are asked more and more to be coaches, it is vital to establish a connection. Open the coaching session with a smile, especially when you have some tough but constructive criticism to deliver. You want to acknowledge the humanity of the individual. If you smile first you open the door to dialogue; if you glare you typically shut people down. They either cower in fear or get their back up in resistance, and in either case they do not listen. Smiling at least opens the door for some listening.
Smile during tough times. It was Franklin Roosevelt's jaunty smile that cut through the dreariness of the Great Depression as later the Second World War. FDR was not above worry or care, but he knew that if his face reflected the toughness of the circumstance he would drag people down. As president he saw part of his job as giving hope. The smile with the upturned cigarette holder is a lasting image of optimism in the bleakest of times. So if you have tough news to give, deliver it but take a moment to smile and take some questions. You might even crack a joke to lighten the tension. That should crack the lips of most people in the audience. Smiling during tough times demonstrates the humanity of the moment, a big plus for every organization that is struggling.
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