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The humanizing power of check-ins (with Terry Lee)

humanizing power of check ins


caneel executive coach

I'm a social scientist who helps people break out of the invisible traps and make whole-life changes easily and naturally.

Last week, I posted a video of me in conversation with Kickass client Terry Lee about why he calls his company a “team” and not a “family”. The majority of that video was about the hazards of using “family” to refer to our companies and why we’re so prone to use it in the first place. We ended the video on a caveat that I promised to follow up on: Although thinking of your teammates as your “family” can get you into trouble, it also implies that you care about each other beyond your roles as colleagues. This is positive and healthy. In fact, much of my coaching is about how we can — and should — use our humanity to our advantage, rather than trying to hide parts of ourselves from our colleagues. One quick way I like to do this is with check-ins.

But first, back to Terry… Terry co-founded Panacea with his brother Nick, who also happens to be his roommate. (Perhaps that’s where our preoccupation with untangling “family” came from.) They make their relationship work by being mindful of each other’s desires, needs, and limitations. Every six to eight weeks they have “360 sessions”. These are hour to two hour long sessions which they set aside to give voice to the things that don’t come up in their day-to-day lives or fit into a professional context. (To read more about how Terry builds strong relationships with his teammates, check out this post he wrote for Startup Grind.)

I highly encourage this kind of communication between co-founders and colleagues, even if they’re not family members like Terry and Nick. In this video, I talk to Terry about how I use scalable, day-to-day check-ins to connect with my clients and colleagues every time we meet. Watch the video to find out how these check-ins help me save time and communicate better; then watch Terry and me do a quick check-in at the end. And, as always, let me know in the comments if you do something like this, or have another way you facilitate trust and openness within your team.


Photography by Kelley Raye //

Dr. Caneel Joyce is a CEO Coach and social scientist who helps people break out of the invisible traps and make whole-life changes easily and naturally.

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