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Next Concept HR Magazine focused on What's Next for what matters most to HR. Insightful and timely, it covers best practice trends and presents new ideas and concepts to keep readers up-to-date with the latest in our field. Voices from our nationwide community contribute to a wide range of topics. Articles include valuable practice resources, news and views to provide training, legal and legislative developments, info on quality service providers, and opportunities to form career-long networks and partnerships.


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HR West 2015 was a huge success!

Posted By Amy S. Powers, Monday, March 9, 2015

Thank you to all who came out to the 31st annual HR West conference. What a fantastic time we had! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To our members, to the HR community, to our sponsors, presenters, and keynotes - for your dedication to human resources. Without you there would be no us!


It is an honor to serve the country’s most vibrant HR community. Whether you came for the connections, the coffee, the next practice techniques, or to fall in love with your job all over again, a good time was had by all.


Stay tuned for photos, but in the meantime we thought we'd share a few of the "Twitter pic" highlights (#NCHRA #HRWest)!


Mark your calendar for March 7-9, 2016 and be on the lookout for registration announcements. If you register by 7/30/15, you can get the full 2016 conference for just $693! 

Tags:  Annual  Bay Area  California  HR  NCHRA  Oakland  San Francisco  SHRM  West 

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7 Essential Behaviors for Better Coaching Conversations

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Alan Fine HR West Key Note 2015By Alan FineHR West 2015 Keynote

Coaching drives results. Having spent all my adult life (and half of my teenage years) involved in coaching of one sort or another, I should be more specific: good coaching drives results. When coaching is not done well, you don’t just get the same results, you actually risk getting worse results. There are seven essential behaviors, that in my experience, leaders can do that will allow them to be great coaches.


Today coaching is recognized as the #1 talent management best practice, and is now as regularly practiced in the workplace as it has always been in sports and music. Leaders who consistently implement these seven essential coaching behaviors will begin to have better coaching conversations, and make a meaningful difference in business. In this article, we will define and explore each of these behaviors and show how every leader can become a stronger coach through the implementation of each one.  


The 7 essential coaching behaviors are:

    Effective coaches believe that their “coachees" have untapped greatness within them; their intention is to free up that greatness. There is much research showing that what we believe about the people we coach is a key driver of their performance—it’s often called the Pygmalion Effect.* What a coach pays attention to creates their beliefs and what a coach believes, drives and filters what they pay attention to. These create what are called “self-reinforcing loops”. So if the coach believes their coachee has talent, they are more likely to bring it out and vice versa. It’s a statement of the obvious, but if we don’t believe that our coachee has untapped greatness, why would we waste both their and our time trying to coach them?

    When we comb our hair in the morning, we look in a mirror in order to have an accurate perception of what we are doing. In order to know whether we have an accurate perception of our own thinking and/or behavior, we need a mirror. Great coaches serve as a mirror for the coachee by providing objectivity to help them more accurately observe their own thinking and behavior. They use words and phrases such as, “My perception is…,” or “How it shows up to me is…”. The coachee is then better able to know whether what they think they are doing is what they are actually doing.

    One person’s “noise” is another person’s inspirational music. Art that looks inspirational to one person, looks “blah” to someone else. Cricket arouses the passion of sports fans in countries such as England, India, and Pakistan and bores Americans to death. People act based upon how the world shows up to them, in other words, their beliefs about the world. Great coaches come from a mindset of possibility which helps coachees see the world differently. Coachees can begin to think of options beyond the limitations their beliefs and assumptions have created. The coach brings a set of beliefs and assumptions that allows for a dialogue in which the coachee is able to see more possibilities than before.

    One thing that separates great coaches from other leaders is that great coaches are clear that their role is not to be the “expert” giving answers to the coachee. They recognize that providing solutions (giving advice), however well intended, can have a long-term consequence—it can disable the coachee over the long term. Unintentionally, it can create reliance on the coach’s expertise and a tendency for the coachee to avoid taking ownership and finding solutions. Think of the child whose parents give them the solutions to their math homework! Great coaches see their role as helping the coachee find solutions in a way that they will be able to do it for themselves in the future. In other words their role is not to fish for the coachee, but to teach them how to fish. An important consequence of this is that the coachee gets to experience ownership of both the problem and the solution and therefore gets the acknowledgement for the success, with the coach becoming almost invisible to the outside observer. Great coaches do not take responsibility for solving the coachee’s issues. They take responsibility for freeing up the coachee to take responsibility for solving those issues.

    One of the most important factors in accelerating a person’s learning and therefore their performance is a safe environment. The fastest learning takes place in childhood when we are open to all experiences. What slows down this extraordinary ability— and it’s an ability everyone has—is the internal conversations that go on in our minds, the ones that say, “Don’t screw up,” or “Everyone’s watching,” or “Don’t trust him.” We develop these internal dialogues in response to the threats that life throws at us including, toddlers being shouted at by their moms or dads, being told we’re stupid in school, and being advised we don’t have the talent at work. Once we develop those internal conversations (usually in response to the threats that show up in our lives) learning slows down. Perhaps the biggest single contributor to creating this safe environment is the coach being nonjudgmental about the coachee. The coach may have opinions about what will generate the desired outcomes, but she or he should listen to and observe what the coachee thinks, says, or does without passing judgment about whether it is good or bad, right or wrong. Great coaches create a safe environment for the coachee where the coachee can “look in the mirror” without fear of judgment.

    To me there are four important factors that impact human performance—knowledge, faith, fire, and focus. And while they are each important, the most important one is focus because it drives every thing we do. It’s what separates our good days from our bad days at any level of performance. When we are focused, we do things well, whether it’s solving a problem, having a tough conversation, or playing golf. When we are focused our minds are quiet and undistracted. Focus is the driver of human performance and great coaches help their coachees discover what’s important to focus on and how to sustain that focus over time.

    Effective coaching gets past symptoms and addresses root causes. It will help a coachee become aware of and test the underlying assumptions that drive their view of the world and therefore their behavior. This often results in coaching discussions that go in directions that neither the coach nor the coachee anticipated. Then the coachee becomes more aware of the preferences and biases that are driving their actions. Great coaches are comfortable with the uncertainty that goes with not knowing where the path of a coaching conversation might lead and what the discussion might reveal. There are of course, many more things that great coaches do. But these seven behaviors have stood out to me as being present in all the great coaches I have seen, whether they were sports coaches, music coaches, or leadership coaches. My invitation to you is to think about which of these you might begin implementing to have better conversations, to create more of an impact, and improve your abilities as a leader and as a coach. HR Looking for more on how to be great? Join Alan at HR West® for more strategies. 

*Pygmalion effect (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), or Rosenthal effect, is the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. The effect is named after Pygmalion, a play by George Bernard Shaw.


Alan Fine’s Keynote session is sponsored by ScholarSHARE College Savings Plan. He is scheduled to speak on March 2, 2015 from 5 to 6:16p.m.


Register for HR West today!


Don’t forget to join in on our HR Smiles Photo Contest to win complimentary hotel accommodates and more!

Tags:  Annual  Bay Area  California  Coast  Conference  HR  HR West  NCHRA  Oakland  San Francisco  SHRM  West 

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Five Reasons to Choose HR West in 2015!

Posted By Amy S. Powers, Thursday, January 29, 2015
  1. HR West is one-of-a-kind. Big enough to offer national-level education, yet perfectly sized to be a collaborative event focused on the participant.

  2. HR West is about community. You'll make LOCAL connections with peers and experts you can easily meet again.

  3. HR West is an unbeatable value. Other conferences charge their members nearly $1500 for a 3-day event. HR West is competitively priced at $797.

  4. HR West is convenient. Hotel. Parking. Conference. Restaurant. All under one roof!
    Enter our HR Smiles Photo Contest to win free hotel room!

  5. HR West is easily accessible. Located on the BART line, take a few steps, and you're there! Driving? Ample parking onsite.
    Enter our HR Smiles Photo Contest to win free parking!

Now that you know what makes HR West unique (also read the HR West 2015 Brochure), why not register today?

Rates increase on 1/30 so don't delay...


3 Easy Ways to Register!

  1. Register Online
  2. Call NCHRA (415) 291-1992 
  3. Fill Out & Submit Registration Form

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Bay Area  California  Coast  Conference  HR  HR West  NCHRA  San Francisco  SHRM  West 

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HR West: The West Coast’s premier conference for HR professionals

Posted By Amy S. Powers, Monday, January 19, 2015

Looking for a unique and valuable human resources education or recertification opportunity? Need an unparalleled HR industry networking event that offers an exceptional value? Look no further, it's HR West! If you've yet to experience this incredible event, it's time and yes, it's open to all HR executives no matter where you may reside.

Putting together HR West every year is one of the most fun (and challenging) things we do at NCHRA. It starts with the search for the four, freshest, and most innovative keynote speakers we can find, then we plan over 80 concurrent conference sessions on the hottest and most pressing HR topics, seek out the highest quality service partners to exhibit, and organize all the receptions, lunches, even a bookstore. There's a lot to do, but we love it. It's an amazing one-of-a-kind event for HR professionals, even if I do say so myself!

There is no other NCHRA human resources event (we hold more than 200 per year) where you can meet our entire team, altogether in one place for three days. Not only do we get to spend this time together, but we also get to meet a lot of our NCHRA members.

HR West brings more than 1,000 peers from the HR community together to learn and inspire, to build and develop, to mingle and share, and most importantly, TO CONNNECT. In today's "digital everything world" of texting vs. talking or emailing vs. face-to-face discussions, having an in-person networking opportunity has never been more valuable!

We look forward to providing you the ultimate opportunity to expand your professional network at HR West, March 2-4, 2015 at the Oakland Convention Center. For information about HR West 2015, including sessions, Keynotes, accommodations and more, visit: register today, go directly to our registration website:

Stay tuned for our 1st annual HR Smiles Photo Contest. Look for the hashtag #HRSmiles2015 on Twitter and Facebook next week. I'll be writing more about that later!


Tags:  Annual  Bay Area  California  Coast  Conference  HR  NCHRA  Oakland  San Francisco  SHRM  West 

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