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“Have the kind of gusto you see in the eyes of 7 year olds when you ask them what they want to be when they grow up.”

Dr. Odegaard believes everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential. She works diligently everyday to make a positive difference in the lives of everyone she meets. She is passionate about giving others the ‘leg up’ on success she wishes someone had given her.

Doc Robyn has worked in the corporate world, been a competitive athlete and a highly skilled academic. She established Champion Performance Development with the ambition to share her enthusiasm to help others get from where they are to where they want to be through one-on-one / team coaching and speaking engagements.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard, Champion Performance Development - Owner

MO: Why are you so passionate about empowering and helping women?

Dr. Odegaard: When I was a high school athlete I experienced how catty and mean girls could be. I remember thinking, “I will be so glad when I get to the real world where people act like adults”. But when I started my first ‘real world’ job, I realized the women weren’t any nicer. There was still gossip, backstabbing and catty behavior. They just called it office politics.

I found myself at a complete loss. I had no idea how to engage in productive conflict resolution or how to have an effective, empowered conversation about my thoughts and ideas. I just muddled through and hoped for the best.

After spending fourteen years working in corporate my communication skills matured, but I still didn’t understand why women treated each other so badly. When I decided to go to college and study psychology I kept my eyes open for answers to that question.

Now that I understand why girls and women can be so hurtful to one another and how to fix it, I believe it is my obligation to share it with everyone I can reach. That is why I wrote the book ‘Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams’. It is really wonderful that it is helping women understand how we communicate and to be more successful. The added bonus is it is also beneficial to men who live and work with women.

MO: What inspired you to combine sport psychology with executive coaching?

Dr. Odegaard: My doctoral internship consisted of two simultaneous assignments. One involved administering a survey and doing group interviews as part of a team of consultants in a mid-sized organization. We compiled the data and provided their executive team with organizational development suggestions. For the second piece of my internship I worked as a sport psychologist supporting individual athletes and sports teams at my university.

As I moved between the corporate world and the college athletic environment I noticed that I was hearing the same types of interpersonal and performance challenges. When I stripped away the context, the concerns where similar; there were human beings trying to work together and achieve the most from their potential.

I realized there was no reason for the solutions to be kept separate. The skills that an athlete uses to focus during a pivotal game can be applied by a CEO to give a ‘game changing’ presentation. Similarly, the productive conflict resolution skills I provide as an executive coach to a board of directors to help them avoid group think and reach the best possible solution can be used by athletes to address disagreements that might otherwise tear a team apart. I thought, “There is no reason I can’t take the best practices of both worlds and apply them across the board”.

I still have a foot in each world, business and athletics. It is important to me to provide my clients with the best strategies, tips and ideas to help them succeed; regardless of whether they would fit in the Harvard Business Review or Sport Psychology Today. And my clients are thrilled with the results they achieve.

MO: You have launched a Stop the Drama! Campaign and also developed the Nine Secrets to Great Teamwork and Seven No-Fail Secrets to Stop the Drama! Can you provide us with an overview of some of your secrets and some of the strategies to prevent drama getting in the way of potential?

Dr. Odegaard: I am so thrilled you asked this question! I love sharing my secrets (A free download of all the secrets is available at http://stopthedramanow.com/).

The one that is easiest to implement and comes with one of the biggest rewards is to speak from the “I”. Starting sentences with “I think…” “I need…” “My concerns are….” “I am disappointed that…” allow us to own our side of the conversation while permitting the other person to have theirs. Too often we are quick to say “You….” This immediately creates a defensive situation where the other person has to disagree. Instead of a conversation we end up in a confrontation.

Another one is to assume the positive. It is so easy to assume negative things about others. “She did that on purpose to hurt me.” “He is just stupid.” The truth is usually something much more neutral or even positive. Try to make up a good reason someone would have done something. Or, even better ask. A toddler’s favorite question is “why?” As we become adults we learn not to ask that question. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to know. We just make it up instead. Rather than making it up, ask why. It is amazing what people will share with you if you give them the opportunity.

Using those two secrets alone will keep you from wasting time and energy on miscommunication, misunderstanding, hurt feelings and unproductive interactions. Add setting clear expectations, holding each other accountable and playing brave in life and you are on the path toward achieving great things from your potential!

MO: How do you set yourself apart from the competition?

Dr. Odegaard: In addition to bringing great performance ideas from sport psychology, I set myself apart from my competition by not just doing assessments and then telling my clients what they should do, or worse, asking them what they think they should do. I am very fortunate to be able to ask intuitive questions and help my clients discover answers they didn’t know they knew. I combine that information with my experience and work with them to create the how to protocols to make what they should do effective to their unique business or situation. It is important to me to be part of the brainstorming and if appropriate the implementation process that makes ‘should do’ turn into ‘done!’

The other thing that sets me apart is I offer my services to more than the normal audience (entrepreneurs, business owners, corporate climbers and not-for-profits) I have branched out into a niche with NO other executive coaches – the world of women’s high school and college sports. As I mentioned briefly above, the same leadership, teamwork, effective communication and productive conflict resolution skills that benefit driven adults provide positive results for female athletes. And because they have the opportunity to learn and practice them while they are in school they enter the work world more prepared and able to be engaged and become an asset quickly.

MO: What are some tips in seeking out mentors? Once a mentor is found, what is the best way to make the most of the relationship?

Dr. Odegaard: I don’t think a mentor is something one “seeks out”. The really great mentor/mentee relationships I have seen or been involved in have happened organically. It is the ‘in’ thing now to have a mentor but I am not sure most people really know what that means. They want someone to champion them or to carry them up the corporate ladder. That certainly isn’t what it means to me.

The first thing someone looking for a mentor should ask themselves is ‘why’. What do they expect to gain? What type of person would have that to offer and how can they meet him/her?

The best advice I can give for making the most of a relationship with a mentor is make use of the information he/she has available to the public. Does he blog – read it. Did she write a book – buy a copy and read it. Is he speaking at a local event – attend (even better offer to take pictures, sell books, and help out). Connect with your mentor on Linkedin and join some of the groups he/she is in. Pay attention to the conversations they have and what they have to say. All of those things will give you insight into why your mentor is successful and give you topics to discuss and ask questions about when you get together. There is nothing more frustrating as a mentor than to meet with someone who wants me to help them but doesn’t understand my work at the basic level available to the public.

MO: Can you explain what a communication fingerprint is? How can having an understanding of your communication fingerprint help a person be more successful?

Dr. Odegaard: Absolutely! An individual communication fingerprint (http://champperformance.com/archives/1482) is how someone uses language. What words and gestures mean, what is funny or rude, and what the expectations are in a dialogue. These understandings and traits are picked up throughout our lifetime; starting with our primary caregiver and expanding as family members, teachers and others flow through our lives. Everyone has a communication fingerprint that is unique to them. It is easiest to understand someone who is similar to you. People who grew up in the same part of the country will have fewer misunderstandings than if either of them spoke to someone who speaks the same language but is from a foreign country.

Similarly, a team communication fingerprint is the agreement of how discussions and disagreements happen within the team. Most teams leave this up to chance; which can make for a dysfunctional team fingerprint. If there isn’t an agreement as to how communication flows it can be thrown into chaos every time someone leaves or joins the team.

Understanding your individual communication fingerprint leads to greater success because you know what your default responses are, what pushes your buttons and what pitfalls will be a problem for you. It also allows you to minimize destructive conflict. More importantly, understanding your communication fingerprint makes you aware of how other people are different. It is my experience that when my clients can identify how their own fingerprint works they ask better questions, garner a broader spectrum of information and are able to do a better job of including other team members, customers or clients in the information sharing process.

Very successful people are able to share their thoughts, ideas and concerns and to hear the same from others in a way that creates the best possible solution for everyone. Understanding communication fingerprints makes that a possibility.

MO: What are some of the most exciting things on the horizon for you personally or professionally for 2012?

Dr. Odegaard: I am very excited about a recent partnership with an organization committed to helping franchisees find and become successful in the business that is right for them. I get to assist fledgling entrepreneurs develop healthy, productive environments from the ground up and support their enterprise as it makes a positive difference in the economy of their neighborhood and beyond.

I am also part of a team that is putting together documentation to lobby our state legislature to effect changes in the law that will lead to more productive and less hostile work environments.

Additionally, I am scheduled to speak at various events for coaches, athletes, students, business owners and corporate climbers where I have the opportunity to provide tips and ideas that help them achieve success.

Ultimately, the work I do allows me to help others achieve great things, and make a positive difference in the world. That makes all of it exciting!

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