Becoming a Coach

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Inspiration, San Diego Lawyer, Small Business, Success, Tips for Entrepreneurs | Comments Off on Becoming a Coach

Becoming a Coach

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Thinking back to the most impactful people in your lives, who have they been?

For many, it’s family members, friends, bosses and undoubtedly–sports or other coaches. Coaches in particular tend to have a special place in peoples’ hearts as these coaches often expected the most of of them and gave them the most time and energy.

Likewise, it could be said that any good teacher, mentor or influencer is a “coach.” Today, we’re going to discuss Joseph Weintraub and James Hunt’s four reasons managers should spend more time not only receiving coaching but being a coach.

First: Coaching is essential for achieving business goals

Weitraub and Hunt in their May 2015 HBR article discuss how mangers that invest time in coaching see that coaching is not a “nice to have” aspect in the job force but a “must have.” They understand that talent needs to be worked, molded and grown and that talent is what will drive business results.


Second: Coaching can (and should be!) enjoyable

Few things are as rewarding as watching things grow. Think about it. Parents raising children, a gardner growing flowers, a businessperson growing their customer base–all rewarding, in their own right, because of growth.


Third: Coaching is satisfying for the curious

The writers share : “Coaching managers ask a lot of questions. They are genuinely interested in finding out more about how things are going, what kinds of problems people are running into, where the gaps and opportunities are, and what needs to be done better.” Learning about others and how to help them solve their problems can be immensely satisfying to the curious.


Finally: Coaching establishes connection

It is human nature to desire to be connected. And coaching is a fantastic way to facilitate it. As a coach shows empathy and works with a coachee, deep and lasting relationships can be formed; these can be something that grows to be more than a business transaction. These relationships can become something of value that creates bonds and builds a more meaningful sense of humanity in the workplace.


Overall, becoming a coach is a fantastic way to give back to those who have coached you. There is no sum of money and no praise worthy enough to repay a coaching debt, but becoming a great coach is perhaps the best and most desirable way to show appreciation to those who have gone before.


Now it’s your turn. Who do you know that needs a coach? Reach out, it’s time to give back!

Leadership Series: Your Legacy

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 in Entrepreneur, Inspiration, San Diego Lawyer, Small Business, Success, Tips for Entrepreneurs | Comments Off on Leadership Series: Your Legacy

Leadership Series: Your Legacy

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18 articles later, we’ve reached the final post in the Leadership Series. We hope you feel empowered and inspired to build your legacy as a leader.

In our first post of the Leadership Series we wrote the following:

“What is the one skill that would dramatically change the quality of your life? It might be communication, empathy, diligence, financial acumen, or perhaps a technical skill like programming or product engineering.

But what if we told you that there is one skill that is the sum of all other skills–the culmination of them all? Well, there is. And it’s LEADERSHIP.”

So, do you believe it now? Do you see how leadership is the key? We most definitely do and that’s why we spent nine months with leadership as the focus.

But now we’d like to end this series with one last story. The story of Alfred Nobel.

In 1867, Alfred Nobel, a Swedish scientist, invented Dynamite, a substance found to be extremely useful in excavation, mining and railroad construction. However, it wasn’t long before this explosive and dangerous compound began to take interest in military applications, where it was used in warfare during the Spanish American War.

“When Nobel’s brother died, a newspaper ran a long obituary of Alfred Nobel, believing that it was he who had passed away. Thus, Nobel had an opportunity granted few people: to read his obituary while alive. What he read horrified him: The newspaper described him as a man who had made it possible to kill more people more quickly than anyone else who had ever lived.

At that moment, Nobel realized two things: that this was how he was going to be remembered, and that this was not how he wanted to be remembered (source).”

After feeling the pain of reading what legacy he was on track to leave, he made a change by funding something that honors superior men and women who have made outstanding to the world. Today, Alfred Nobel is best known as the founder of the Nobel prize.

Imagine you were reading your obituary. What would it say? How would you be remembered? Would it talk about how your were ruthless, but “got the job done?” Or that you were a workaholic who brought his business from nothing to greatness, only while leaving his family behind?

Make the change today. You can “rewrite” your own obituary. You are the leader of your legacy.

We believe in you and are grateful for your leadership. Thank you for leading our world to become a better place.


Funding Living Trusts- A Major Problem

Posted by on Dec 27, 2016 in San Diego Lawyer | Comments Off on Funding Living Trusts- A Major Problem

Funding Living Trusts- A Major Problem

Lately I’m finding many people with un-funded trusts (meaning nothing was put into the Trust). Some are not funded due to refinancing or new purchases while others were never funded, or not prepared properly. No matter what your situation, funding living trusts is important.

funding living trust

Why Is An Un-Funded (empty) Living Trust a Problem?

Without proper funding, the Trust us is invalid. It simply won’t work or do what you think it should.

It is very expensive to fix or fund a Trust after death. To do so requires court involvement and lots of time and money.

We are finding that even some “estate planners” do not understand the rules on funding trusts. This is shocking!

Problems Funding Living Trusts Need to be Fixed Before Death or Incompetence.

Why is it so important to fix funding problems before death or incompetence?

Let me answer that question with a few examples of what often happens if the Trust is not properly funded:

  •  The house ends up in Probate court in a very expensive and painfully slow procedure called probate. Learn about probate in this post.
  • The kids will fight over personal property – like jewelry or china/silverware.
  • Money could end up going to the spouse of your child (or ex of your child) rather than your grand children – This situation CAN be controlled that without offending the in-law.
  • Personal property not in the trust is a problem that could cause court battles.
  • Life insurance not in trust could cause huge tax problems, delay in distribution, and possibly additional, expensive court involvement.

Fund your Trust properly and you can avoid huge problems and heart-aches.

Just a reminder, this and all of our posts are NOT LEGAL ADVICE. We hope these ideas will get you thinking and lead to better Estate Planning. My staff and I would be happy to help you update your plan or answer any questions. Thanks for reading.



An Entrepreneurs Gift to the World

Posted by on Dec 24, 2016 in San Diego Lawyer | Comments Off on An Entrepreneurs Gift to the World

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Lights, presents, family, food and more food. Everybody loves the holidays. A time when people seem to be a little nicer and just a little more giving. In light of the holiday season, David Hagenbuch, Associate Professor of Marketing at Messiah College and founder of gives a shout out to entrepreneurs and their gifts to the world.


The 3 Gifts Entrepreneurs Give to the World


1. Ideas

“We live in a society where it’s so easy to be a critic and point out what’s wrong in what others have done. Meanwhile, it’s much more challenging to create — to come up with a new approach that no one has ever thought of before, or to make an incremental improvement to an already good concept. Such new ideas are golden.

“New ideas also implant a sense of optimism and hope: We don’t need to accept the status quo. Things can be different. Things can be better.”


2. Innovations

“Innovations from entrepreneurs such as Johannes Gutenberg, Henry Ford and Steve Jobs have enriched humanity throughout history and transformed our world. From the minute we wake in the morning until the moment we lay down to sleep at night, entrepreneurial products and services facilitate our work, play and nearly every other activity we perform.”


3. Employment

“Many professions offer extraordinary gifts to individuals and society: physicians give health, teachers impart wisdom, judges bestow justice, counselors offer direction and soldiers provide protection. What do entrepreneurs give of such significance? Jobs.

“To provide another with gainful employment is one of the most profound gifts one can give. While doctors heal people physically, business owners heal people economically. A job allows someone to provide for his/her own needs as well as those of loved ones and even others. Employment is much more than financial security, however. For most people, meaningful work helps provide them with a sense of purpose and supports their self-worth.”


For these three reasons, today GQ Law would like to say ‘thank you’ to all of you entrepreneurs out there. It’s that spirit of innovation, creation and giving that employs our families, drives our economy and gives us opportunity.


From one entrepreneur to another, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Leadership Series: Negotiating

Posted by on Dec 22, 2016 in Entrepreneur, Small Business, Small Business Tips and Tricks Series, Success, Tips for Entrepreneurs | Comments Off on Leadership Series: Negotiating

Leadership Series: Negotiating

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“Negotiating? Well, that’s not for me. I’m not a salesman, lawyer or politician. Surely negotiating isn’t important in leadership.”

The authors or “Getting to Yes” disagree. Their best seller starts:

“Like it or not, you’re a negotiator. Negotiation is a fact of life. You discuss a raise with your boss. You try to agree with a stranger on a price for his house.” You negotiate with your co-workers on where capital investment should be allocated and what new products to deploy. Or, to provide two more examples from Getting to Yes, perhaps you’re trying to mutually agree with your spouse on where to go for dinner or with you kids on what time they should go to bed (not so easy when the other party’s position is “never!“)

No matter in what situation you find yourself negotiating, the situation should not end up as a positional “haggle-fest.” An example of which would be opening up with a low ball offer that’s countered with a high ball rejection, only to whittle its way to somewhere in the middle or to end in no agreement at all. Just bitter feelings.

That’s when the authors of Getting to Yes suggest using “principled negotiation.” Principled negotiation is focused on four main things: 1) People – separating the people from the problem; 2) Interests – focusing on interests, not positions; 3) Options – developing multiple options for mutual gain, and; 4) Criteria – insisting that the result be based on some objective standard. Following is a brief discussion on each.


Negotiations are always centered around some sort of problem but the person on the other side of the table is not that problem. We must neither be soft and weak in fear of hurting a relationship, which usually ends in feelings of unfairness on the part of the party who gives up most, nor should we take a brash, harsh, bullying approach. We must separate the people from the problem and address them both separately.



When we focus on what both parties are interested in, we don’t need to take ego building positions that give a sense of winning or losing to each side. We can focus on mutual benefit and gain. And this step is essential to frame the next principle.



Rarely is there only one “perfect” option to agree upon. So, invent multiple and discuss them with the other party. This helps both sides know that the best option for mutual gain has been searched for and selected.



Finally, the result can’t be based on feeling or what is perceived to be fair but should be based off of some sort of what the authors call “objective standards.” This might be determined by “market value, expert opinion, custom, or law” or any other number of criteria that remove personal opinion and introduce facts, evidence or support.


Now, armed with these principles, you’re better prepared to separate the people from the problem, focus on the interests of both parties, come up with multiple options and base your negotiating on objective criteria.

Good luck and we wish you the best this holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Ten Essential Tasks for Every Trustee

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in California Wills, Estate Planning, San Diego Lawyer | Comments Off on Ten Essential Tasks for Every Trustee

Ten Essential Tasks for Every Trustee

So you’re the trustee, now what? Here are the ten things every trustee is responsible to do.TrusteeWhat is a Trustee?

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a trustee as “one to whom something is entrusted.”

In a legal sense, we’d define a trustee as a person or organization that has been given responsibility for managing someone else’s property or money through a trust.

What does a trustee need to do?

 1 – Invest and manage the assets. Trustees have an obligation to invest trust assets with minimal risk of loss. If an investment is too risky, any loss could be charged to the Trustee. California law is very strict about how to handle trust assets.

2 – Pay for health, education, and maintenance of minor beneficiaries, if required.

3 – File IRS Form 56 – File Form 56 once to indicate that a Personal Representative has been appointed to handle the Trust estate, and a second Form 56 to indicate that the Personal Representitve’s duties have been fulfilled.

4 – Prepare and file income tax returns for Trust and Decedent. The IRS needs to know that the Decedent will no longer be required to file tax returns. The Trustee will have to file a tax return for the Trust if there is any money earned by the Trust. Earnings include rental income, interest income, or investment income.

5 – Notify creditors by actual notice and publication. Without this notice being sent to the creditors or being published, the Trustee could be liable for claims against the estate until the statute of limitations on any claims have expired.

6 – Notify Department of Health Services.

7 – Manage Accounts. Prepare and get approval of an accounting of all assets in the Trust estate assets before distribution of any money or other assets.

8 – Distribute assets and get receipts from beneficiaries – write checks, change titles, complete transfers, etc.

9 – Terminate the trusteeship at the appropriate time.

10 – Close the Trust.

Remember, I’m NOT giving you legal advice here. This information is designed to get you started on the right track. That way you can ask the right questions and do your research to be a good Trustee. A good Trustee is one who obeys all the rules and stays out of trouble.

I’m available to answer questions or to give you a hand. Give me a call. Thanks for reading!  GQ

Leadership Series: Emotional Intelligence

Posted by on Dec 1, 2016 in Entrepreneur, Inspiration, Small Business, Success, Tips for Entrepreneurs | Comments Off on Leadership Series: Emotional Intelligence

Leadership series: Emotional Intelligence

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Today’s topic will be introduced by a thought provoking fact: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time (source).

Wait, you got that backward, right?

So, if it isn’t smarts that drives success, what is it?

Research suggests that it’s emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically” (source).

This is an indispensable capability of any true leader. Leaders inspire, uplift, understand, guide, build and grow. They discover the natural strengths of others and invest in their success. And all of these things require emotional intelligence to make happen. A leader must be aware of his/her position and how they can help others along and know the delicate differences in those they work with.

If you don’t feel like you’re a very emotionally intelligent person, don’t worry, it’s not a “have or have not” like many might describe IQ. Emotional intelligence can be developed.

Here are two suggestions that you can start applying today:


Become self-aware

When you start to feel emotionally heightened, ask yourself, “What emotion am I experiencing.” Label the emotion with a specific term (i.e. I’m feeling…sad, frustrated, deceived, excited, happy, nervous, etc.) and accept the fact that you feel that way. At the same time, realize you don’t need to act out negatively (if you’re experiencing a negative emotion) according to how you’re feeling. As you do this you will feel empowered to address your emotions and control your own behavior. Denying the way you feel often evokes a more heightened sense of the emotion


Become aware of others

This step requires empathy, or “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another” (source). The ability to step back, put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel how they feel is incredibly enabling and ennobling. It will help you to know what others need and feel empathically for them. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be soft on them, although you may need to, but it means that you’ll better address the situation with a more personal understanding because you have seen the situation from their eyes. You’ll then know if you need to be firm and direct or soft and encouraging.


As you begin to become self-aware and aware of others, you will develop emotional intelligence. And as you develop emotional intelligence you will become a more effective leader. We wish you the best in your pursuit of becoming the best you can be!

Leadership Series: Change Management

Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 in Entrepreneur, Inspiration, Small Business, Small Business Tips and Tricks Series, Success | Comments Off on Leadership Series: Change Management

Leadership Series: Change Management

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John F. Kennedy once taught an important principle:

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain the miss the future.”

Inviting change, handling change and perhaps most importantly leading change are essential capabilities of influential leaders. So today, we’ll discuss five principles of what business strategists and behavioral economists have called, “Change Management.” See more at


  1. Address the “human side” systematically

When change occurs, people react. Some react by embracing, others by waiting for others to move first and others reject change altogether. For this reason, it’s essential that leadership has a structured release of the change plan resulting implications across the board.


  1. Involve every layer

Since organizational change requires support at all levels, it’s essential to identify key leadership and individuals at all levels of the organizations to initiate and sustain execution of changes from the top down. These people will serve as role models to inspire those near them and be a fast resource for trust and communication.


  1. Make the formal case

People will not likely change unless they know why they should. Be sure to clearly and simply answer the three fundamental questions: What is being changed? How are these changes going to affect me and the organization? And, why is this change necessary. Always remember, “The ‘what’ informs and the ‘why’ transforms” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf).


  1. Create ownership

When key leaders and individuals at every level begin to embrace change, it’s vital that there is more than mere agreement with the new direction—there must be ownership. As senior leaders seek for others to own the new organizational changes, these change owners begin to expand their influence and support others that are struggling and need support throughout the process—people that leadership won’t readily be able to reach.


  1. Speak to the individual

Someone once said, “Organizations don’t change, people do.” This is the critical element of change management. No matter how “perfect” a strategy may be or how much capital has been invested, an organization will not change, unless the people do. With that in mind, it must be understood that people cannot be changed, they can only be invited or inspired to do so. The actual change must come through conscious decision and constant effort by the thoughts and actions of those that make up the organization. Focus on the individual and you will find the source of change.


In review: have and communicate a plan, involve people at all levels, teach the “why,” create ownership and speak to the individual. As you do so, you will have the depth and breadth of leadership needed to move forward into the future.

We hope this post has been insightful and inspiring and wish you the best as you and those in your organization embrace change, “the law of life.” We look forward to your success!

Leadership Series: Storytelling

Posted by on Oct 31, 2016 in Entrepreneur, Small Business, Small Business Tips and Tricks Series, Success, Tips for Entrepreneurs | Comments Off on Leadership Series: Storytelling

Leadership Series: Storytelling

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A key role of any leader is to inspire. A very effective way to inspire is through storytelling.

Think of some of the most compelling accounts from history and how they’ve shaped us. The amazing tale of the forefathers and how they claimed the independence of the United States as the pilgrims immigrated across the ocean and began a new life. The great leadership of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and others and their incredible histories. All of these stories engender in US citizens a spirit of values, self-reliance and independence.

Now think of your family history. What stories shape your core beliefs and have motivated you to become who you are?

Now, what about entertainment? The vast majority of the most famous movies and books of all times, all contained incredible stories.

But storytelling isn’t just for history and entertainment. It has great business application as well.

Let’s consider what’s known as “The Hero’s Journey.” This is the pattern that makes the best stories come to life. Below is an image detailing this process.


For a more detailed understanding of each element, see the website linked here.

So how can this apply to you as a business leader? Consider the story of your company. Undoubtedly you lived in an ordinary world, perhaps working for someone else. But then you had the idea put on your mind that you could “do your own thing” and call your own shots. You thought through the idea but became apprehensive about the uncertain income. All until you decided to call a trusted friend, adviser or mentor who encouraged you to take the leap, and so you do. Since then you’ve run into trials, you’ve found business partners and you’ve discovered your competitors.

Then perhaps you had to discover something more to grow you company and make an investment that was either going to make or break the business. Lo and behold, just before losing it all, that investment becomes the pivotal part of your company and the key to success in the future. You now continue a newly equipped enterprise with the wisdom to continue growing.

This is a model for telling any story and it will communicate your stories to your employees, customers and stakeholders.

We encourage you to use this model throughout presentations, in your marketing or in your day to day with those you work. It works and you’ll see the results!

Leadership Series: Strategy

Posted by on Oct 27, 2016 in San Diego Lawyer | Comments Off on Leadership Series: Strategy

Leadership Series: Strategy

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Today we’re going to discuss a leadership topic of great importance—strategy. We’ll talk about the “What” and“Why”  of strategy and how to apply it to your life and business. But first, a quote from legendary Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi:

“Perception is strong and sight weak. In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.”


What is strategy?

Michael D. Watkins, Chairman of Genesis Advisers, in his HBR article, Demystifying Strategy: The What, Who, How, and Why, defines the subject perfectly:

“Strategy is…about how people throughout the organization should make decisions and allocate resources in order accomplish key objectives. A good strategy provides a clear roadmap, consisting of a set of guiding principles or rules, that defines the actions people in the business should take (and not take) and the things they should prioritize (and not prioritize) to achieve desired goals” (emphasis added).

More than just a mere plan, a company’s strategy arms it’s people with the ability to make guided decisions on the most important priorities of the organization when and even before, situations occur.

So, how does a strategy differ from a company’s mission, vision, or value network? Watkins continues:

“In a nutshell…mission is about what will be achieved; the value network is about with whom value will be created and captured; strategy is about how resources should be allocated to accomplish the mission in the context of the value network; and vision and incentives is about why people in the organization should feel motivated to perform at a high level.”


Why is it important?

So, with a better understanding of what strategy is and what it’s not, why is it so vitally important? The answer is short. Without a strategy, an organization becomes like one serving of butter spread over an entire loaf of bread. The limited resources and the endless possibilities leave an organization dry, bland and undesirable to consumers.

Now, we encourage you to think, “What is my company’s strategy? What principles, rules and guidelines should we establish to help us know where should we prioritize our resources, what actions we should take and what decisions we should make?”

If you feel overwhelmed, take courage from the words of Roger Martin, professor at and former dean of the Rotman School of Management:

“In strategy there is no single right answer to find. Strategy requires making choices about an uncertain future…The best strategists aren’t intimidated or paralyzed by uncertainty and ambiguity; they are creative enough to imagine possibilities that may or may not actually exist and are willing to try a course of action knowing full well that it will have to be tweaked or even overhauled entirely as events unfold. The essential qualities for this type of person are flexibility, imagination, and resilience.”

Be flexible. Be imaginative. Be resilient.

We look forward to hearing about your success!