In this episode of On Record PR, we go on record with Ken Jacobs, ACC, CPC, principal of Jacobs Consulting & Executive Coaching. Gina has known Ken through the Public Relations Society of America and via social media for more than a decade.
Ken is an experienced consultant and certified coach who serves agencies, companies, senior leaders, executives and managers in the corporate communications, public relations, advertising and marketing space. He has helped agencies grow and manage business, improve client service and relationships, and enhance staff performance, communications, and leadership skills, and has empowered communications CEOs, presidents, executive vice presidents and senior vice presidents to achieve and surpass their goals since 2007. Prior to launching his companies, Ken spent 25 years in management and leadership positions with various PR agencies, including Ogilvy & Mather PR and Marina Maher Communications (MMC).
Among many offerings is Ken’s free and recent ebook, 11 Things to Do If You Want To Be An Amazingly Effective Leader. According to Ken, “It’s more challenging than ever to be an effective leader: We’re in a new decade, there are five generations in the workplace, technology is constantly changing and being a leader is not ‘business as usual.’ His ebook is available to help professionals to navigate leadership opportunities and challenges. This book is more important than ever considering the coronavirus pandemic.
This episode was recorded during the first week of April 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. While most of the conversation addresses effective leadership, Gina and Ken also spent time discussing leadership in light of the pandemic.
What is the difference between coaching and consulting?
Consulting is where I or any consultant works with a business organization. We share our wisdom, our knowledge, our advice, our counsel and it’s about a particular thing. It could be about business agencies must grow, managing profits, improving client service and client relationships, improving team performance, communications team leadership, etc. It’s from the consultant to the organization and it is sharing advice, counsel, expertise.
Coaching is a very different enterprise. Coaching is different in that it’s one on one and generally with an individual or maybe a group. We believe our clients have all the wisdom within themselves. They are the effective leaders of themselves, of their organizations, of their peers, of their partners, and of their clients. Anyone in which they have leadership impact.
We believe they have that wisdom, but something’s getting in the way and we help them clear that. We help them get rid of the roadblock whether it’s an energy block or a lack of confidence or an issue from their youth or maybe the job they’re in isn’t aligning with their values, but they bought all the wisdom they need. They don’t need me to tell them what to do when we’re coaching. Coaching is about asking empowering questions. When we ask empowering questions, it lights up the brains of our clients so, and it get them to create and it helps them create their solutions. It helps them see the future that they want for themselves. It’s very powerful and in many situations I think as a consultant and coach, I can say coaching can have greater impact.
If I ask an empowering question, it will light up a different part of your brain. One that’s more emotional of a connection, one where there’s truly engagement and now you are that much more certain to take the action. So as a PR consultant, turned coach and consultant, I am mindful of when I’m consulting and when I’m coaching and to trust that coaching process.
The mantra I create is, don’t tell, ask.
What can people do if they want to be an amazingly effective leader?
Emotional intelligence. Gaining emotional intelligence is so important. I referenced in the book in some studies that when you look at really successful leaders, those who have greater emotional intelligence, you can call it EQ, whatever you want to call it, has been proven so much more successful at leading their organization to achieve your goal that people at your peers and , a chain, we call it a soft skill because it’s such a vital skill. I’ve wished in the coaching world and the leadership world could come up with a better word and soft. It’s not soft, it’s vital, critical.
The best source for a definition is Emotional Intelligence 2.0 which delivers a step-by-step program for increasing your EQ via four, core EQ skills that enable you to achieve your fullest potential: 1) Self-Awareness, 2) Self-Management, 3) Social Awareness and 4) Relationship Management.
Sometimes hear agency owners and others say, Ugh, I just wish I could take the emotion out of my workplace. And I think, why would you want to do that? Emotion by itself is not a bad thing, right? We have thoughts, we have feelings and emotions, and then we have actions and behaviors. If you are leading, this is not management. You’re leading people, you’re leading humans. So rather than we’re move emotion, place knowledge, there’s a whole slew of emotion and you can tap into those emotions
Giving it away. This is about delegation and empowerment. The approach to delegation however is that the, some of us are challenged with delegation because we’re generally giving away things we like to do. This is leaders at every level. If you really want to empower someone, the first thing you do is ask yourself what is the thing I’ve always wanted to do in my work, in my career right now? If you’re an agency owner or might be setting strategy, well obviously for an agency owner, now it’s helping my agency get through it.
Expect superior performance, not perfection. We must remember, unless you’re Michelangelo carving the David, perfection is not attainable. And he probably thought it wasn’t perfect. When we set that standard of perfect, think about the impact this has on our people, on our teams, on our followers. I want you to do the impossible every day. How limiting is that? How difficult is that? It just makes life so hard for people. No wonder they hit their head against the wall. And after a while, when we keep giving them that feedback, the press release or the document, the speech with all that red on it, and everything else. At a certain point our followers stopped trying to make it better. Be open to the greatness of your people, to their talents, to their skills because you’ve led them there.
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Connect & Learn More
Ken Jacobs, ACC, CPC
Podcast (Taking the Lead): https://www.jacobscomm.com/leadership-executive-coaching-radio/
To learn more about your host, Gina Rubel, click here.
To learn more about On Record PR, click here.
To order a copy of Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers, click here.