Posts by Dana Phillips

Three Tips to Listen for What is NOT Said

businesswoman with big earsCoaches work on listening.  We check, repeat, and rephrase our clients’ words to make sure we are hearing them.  We work with clients on their listening skills.  In business, in families, and in communities, better listening creates better communication.

Peter Drucker once said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”  I am not sure I would agree that is it the MOST important thing, but I do think that there is merit in using all of our senses to “hear” what is not being said.

Here are three tips you might find useful in determining what is not being said.

  1. Use all of your senses to listen.  Check body language, close your eyes and see the person as they describe a situation.  Try to experience the smells, sounds, and touch when the other person is sharing what is happening to them. Picture what is happening to them. One coach describes his sessions as a seeing a movie of the clients life, complete with all of the camera angles, music, and color.
  2. Avoid autobiographical responses.  The more we enter into the other person’s world, the more we leave our own story at the gate.  Too often coaches make the mistake of filling in what is not being said with their own experience, depriving the client of self-discovery.
  3. Listen to the “absents”.  What is missing in the picture they are painting for you? There is a story of a person who struggled with getting a promotion.  He knew that he did all of the work.  He was prompt, showed initiative, and received great reviews on this accuracy.  As he told his coach all about the situation, she noticed what was absent.  He never mentioned any person, relationship, or conversation in his story.  She made the observation; he was stunned and began a conscience journey to work on awareness of people.  Now as a senior vice president in a large corporation, he listens to what is being said and what is not being said.

Coaching is dialogue.  The more we listen to what is said and what is not said, the more we enhance the dialogue.  What do you do to improve your listening?

 

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Educating Others about Coaching is Worth It

Direct Selling Association ConventionIn early June,  Neil Phillips and I had the opportunity to represent Ultimate Coach University at the Direct Selling Association national conference.  Over 1,000 corporate executives and supplier members were in attendance and it was a great time to discover the best practices in the direct selling industry.

I was privileged to present a workshop on coaching as part of leadership development for company employees and independent contractors.  My assumption that people don’t really understand coaching was spot on.  After the session, people came up to us with comments such as these:

“I think we haven’t been coaching at all.

I didn’t realize companies like PepsiCo, ATT, Xerox, and IBM have coaching programs for internal leadership.

Our company has been calling one-on-one training ‘coaching’.

We are ready to look at coaching as part of our overall leadership development strategy.

The big aha for me was that coaching bridges the gap from what I know to what I don’t do.”

As coaches, we know coaching works!  We know that coaching raises awareness.  We understand the distinctions between coaching and training.  We have a tremendous opportunity to share everyday about the benefit of coaching for self-discovery, personal and professional productivity, and permanent change.

My challenge to coaches today: create a short and engaging answer when people ask, “What is coaching?” and be ready to share.

What is your answer when people ask?

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Who Are You Kidding?

iStock_000001754493SmallI have a coach to support me in my weight loss process.  Part of my commitment is to be more active.  When I started last December I set a goal to increase my number of steps by 500 per day every week.  I moved from 3,000 to 8,000 steps a day which was pretty great for me.  Today I hit 10,000 steps every single day.  The new habit required change.

Looking back, I remember the week where I was upping my steps, didn’t make it and almost wrote down the number I had committed to achieving.  I stopped and said to myself, “Who are you kidding?”

Who wants to lose weight?  Me.

Who committed to the changes?  Me.

Who benefits from the steps?  Me.

Who am I kidding?

Of course my coach wouldn’t know. But I would know.  I stopped and marveled at my own conniving. Who am I kidding?

As I coach many top sales people, I hear, “I made a TON of calls,”  “I worked sooo hard!”  and lots of other statements.  Who are you kidding?

When I coach direct sellers, I often remind them that I want to not only hold their dreams, but hold them to the activities that will lead to their dreams.  When you make a commitment, there is a temptation to want to appear to be doing things “right” for your coach.  Stop and ask yourself, “Who am I kidding?”

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When Your Client Misses the Mark

iStock_000002066688XSmallI was talking to another coach recently and she told me about a client who wanted to stop meeting with her because she felt like she wasn’t living up to the agreements she made.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this happens to all coaches occasionally.  I have clients who discontinue coaching because they are unwilling to keep the commitments they make.  Some use the excuse that they want to “try it on their own.”  Others sheepishly confess that they were ashamed and just didn’t want to continue.

I have a weight loss coach. When I first started using this coach, I wasn’t reaching my walking goal on most days.  I thought about not showing up and decided out of respect for the coach, I needed to face the music.  She noticed my disappointment and we worked through the real issue.

Here are three possible steps if you sense your client is missing the mark.

  1. Don’t ignore it.  The ICF is clear about the role of the coach, “The coach trusts the client to be accountable to themselves and lovingly calls the client to account or discussion if agreed upon forward movement does not occur.”
  2. Look for progress.  Ask, “What did go well?”
  3. Look for over-committing.  If a client is missing the mark consistently, you may want to check in and explore the motivation and/or reason for not meeting the actions designed.

The ICF core competencies outline the value of exploration, “The coach’s invitation to exploration precedes and is significantly greater than invitation to solution.”

I always see my time with my coach as important in the process. I know the value of someone holding me accountable. As a coach, I want to lovingly hold my client’s behavior in their mirror.

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Coaching Through Fear

Coaching through fearWhether it is you or a client, fear can be an obstacle to any achievement.

  • I am afraid of failing
  • I am afraid of what people will think
  • I am afraid of ….

Many people will say ACTION is the only tool to overcome fear.  I have found another one that has served clients well: reframing often works.

When you reframe the thinking about a fearful situation you can overcome the power it holds on you.  Try to “trace it and erase it.”  If you trace where the fear came from you can often erase its ability to control you.

Now I’m not talking about erasing the fact that something bad happened to you because you can never go back and undo that, but by realizing that many of our fears came from a single isolated event, we can learn to erase the automatic response we can reframe our thinking.  I remember when I was a little kid we traveled over the Mississippi river over a toll bridge.  High above the churning Mississippi we’d ride with my daddy in stop and go traffic.  The tollbooth was at the apex of the bridge and, for a 6-year-old, that was a long way down.  My dad probably never knew the incredible fear of bridges that he fueled in me when he teased.  “Dana, did you feel that?  I think it’s moving.  Don’t sit too close to that car door; you don’t want to fall off.”  He probably never figured out that he was fueling in me an incredible fear because for a long, long time I really had an unhealthy fear of bridges.  Now I’d be lying if I told you that I love crossing bridges.  I will tell you this: once I traced this fear to an incident, the kind of fear that paralyzes is gone.   If you can trace it, you can erase it.

Have you overcome a fear?  Please share how you did it!

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Before You Coach: Reframe

Reframe before coachingWe have heard this from top leaders in party plan, network marketing, and direct selling.

“My team isn’t selling.”
“My team isn’t recruiting.”
“My team doesn’t get it.”

Many years ago, I was given some great advice.  Simple as it might seem, it has served me well as a leader.      She told me to always speak in the positive when I spoke about my team as a whole. 

Why?

First, she would question the paradigm behind the statement. “Everyone?” she would ask. “You can’t find one person who isn’t…”

Second, she had a wonderful way of reminding me that I was the one who brought most of them into the business.  It was not my responsibility to make them sell or recruit, but it was my responsibility to create and environment where they would want to succeed.

Then she would help me look at my own attitude.  She said every time I spoke of my team in the negative, I was tearing them down in my own mind.  She assured me that even if I never said those words to my team, they could sense my frustration.

Moreover, I was placing my intentions about my team as a whole in the wrong direction.  She taught me how to place my intentions about my team by reframing the way I saw them. 

Finally, she would remind me that I was the leader.  It was up to me to bring new, fresh, excited people to the team to keep things fresh. 

Think and speak of your team in the most positive way you can.  If there is someone who needs feedback, do it in private.  If there are challenges with performance, look first to your own personal business, then look to the individuals you may be able to influence.

While my mentor wasn’t coaching, I try to remember her advice when I am coaching sales leaders.  When we can support sales leaders to take off their self-made blinders, they have a completely new set of opportunities that weren’t available before.

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Why We Need More Direct Selling Coaches

Coaches supportPart of the great joy of training coaches is to see what happens to a client.  Recently I asked some clients to think about what they get out of coaching.  When you read their thoughts, it just might inspire to you to become a professional coach.  I am so glad I did.

COACHING SERVES THE WHOLE PERSON: Barb Braden, Legacy Executive Director. I have had a personal coach for the past 6 years.  While the original intent of getting a coach was for my Tupperware business and to help me be a better “Leader of Leaders”, the coaching experience has helped me in all aspects of my life.  Having a coach that is truly interested in my success not only as a business owner/leader but as a person gives me permission to explore all areas in my life.  This then leads me to a better understanding of how I work physically, mentally and emotionally allowing me to be much more proactive in my thinking and doing.  My coach keeps me honest with myself.

COACHING HELPS KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THINGDiane Nozik, Senior Executive Director.  Coaching has not only transformed both my personal business but also my organization with some fantastic spillover into even my personal relationships. This year, I promoted more leaders then I ever had before, closed more shows and submitted higher sales. Beyond that, it helped me focus on the truly important areas of my business and I learned how to let go of so many of the distractions that seemed to pop up and keep me from being truly productive. Working with my coach helps me address some of the uncomfortable parts of being a top producing direct seller so I’m more confident and can help my team be more confident. Plus, I’m now working more efficiently in my business and that has spilled over into more quality time with my family plus I have more to give to my team. The work I do with her is really the most important part of my work week.

COACHING BRINGS ACCOUNTABILITY: Sally Michael, Senior Executive Managing Partner.  Coaching has been an enormous step for me in my business. I have never run a large organization and coaching has helped keep me stay on track and keeps my business moving forward. I am a person who has a lot of energy and drive but can get sidetracked so much of the time. Coaching in three areas has been life changing for me:

  • calendar blocking or time management
  • accountability with my team and personal goals
  • processing decisions and sticking with them

Because I have accountability, I tend to not procrastinate as much and I am always looking at the steps I need to take to make my goals happen. I have realized through coaching that I can work smarter and not harder. I need to plan my work and not let my work plan me. I have more balance in life, my business and in my head because of my investment in myself.

How can we encourage more people to consider becoming a coach?

Please.  Take a moment and comment.  How has coaching helped you?

 

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COACHING: Isn’t that what Gym Teachers Do?

Liz Cooper comments on coachingI know coaching works.  If you are thinking about being a better coach or becoming a professional direct selling coach, read this short essay written by one of my awesome clients. Here is what Liz Cooper has to say:

Coaching…the word alone brings back memories of numerous laps around the track field in oppressive East Texas heat.  Nightmares of wind sprints in a basketball gym that smelled of polished wood floors and sweat.  Needless to say “coaching” is not something that I really ever considered again.  After all, athletics never really became my passion.  Don’t get me wrong, I always had great respect for my coaches and knew the results they wanted us to achieve. I just never imagined that I would pay someone to “coach” me in a business.

A year into my business I became a trainer for the company.  It was a joy to be able to train new partners and share my enthusiasm. Then it happened…I hit the wall.  My sales were not coming as easily and my sponsoring seemed to just dry up. What was I going to do?  Was I going to let this beat me once again? The answer was NO!  But how was I going to get over this wall?  I had heard about “coaching” but didn’t think it was for me…boy was I wrong.

I hired a coach and realized that “coaching” was just what I needed. She asked me numerous questions that made me examine my business and my work habits. I had fallen into negative thinking and it was affecting all aspects of my business and my personal life. I had convinced myself that I was not good at sponsoring.  She never told me I was doing anything wrong, but made me realize what was and was not working. Through her coaching, I learned that I THINK more than I DO. My follow-up skills, with regards to team building, needed work. When I did have a chat with someone about the business I was failing to make the close.  I wasn’t even extending an invitation to join my team. I needed to treat team building just like client appointments. It sounds so simple, but the mental shift has been so beneficial.

To succeed, I need to work with intention and a plan.  Planning really does lead to success! Writing it down and charting my actions gives me a true picture of my efforts. Being accountable to Dana made me realize that I was not being accountable to myself.  So what have been my results?  The past two months I have had my personal best for sales. Two of my team members who have been in business over a year have sponsored their first team members! Talking to more people about this business has started to come much more easily for me.  I have had two chats with potential team members who are considering the business and I have two chats scheduled for next week with potential team members.

My business is moving forward and gaining momentum in every area.  I am sharing what I have learned from coaching with my current team members and everyone is benefiting.

Hiring a coach was a great decision!  There was no oppressive East Texas heat or smelly gyms to endure.  My fear of side cramps and shin splits was all for nothing.  Dana coached me out of my own way and helped me realize that through my actions, more success is right around the corner.

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Direct Sales Coaching: Coaching Increases Productivity

iStock_000009883699Small

Telling someone over and over what to do is not as effective with adults.  Adults learn more by internalizing: taking what they know, adding it to their experience, and planning their next move.

You can use coaching questions to let your team member explore her own approach to booking at a party.  You can ask her to think about the party.  What went well and what would she do differently.  Here are some questions that might come up in the conversation.

Here are some great questions I have heard our coaches use as the support their team members:

1.)       How many positive booking bids were given during the demonstration?

2.)       What was the Host Gift goal?

3.)       How did you ask each guest to book a party?

4.)       What did you say about the Hostess rewards?

5.)       How long was the party?

6.)       What was the best thing about your party?

7.)       What do you want to do about the people who ordered but did not attend?

8.)       What do you want to do about the people did not attend or order?

9.)       What do you use as incentives to booking?

10.)       What booking game did you play?

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Finding Balance by Creating Margins

Most of us grew up using margins when we write.  Remember the red line on the left of the paper?  When we use margins, a note is easier to read.  When you write “margin-less”, like the note below, it is difficult to read.


As coaches, we listen for what is said and what is not said.  Often I find my clients are pushing their margins to the edge in their business and life.

What are the signs of a margin-less life? There are different clues for individuals.  One sign for me was when I overslept, was hurrying to get the kids to middle school, ran out of gas, coasted down the hill to the gas station, had the sixth grader drive so I could push the van to the pump and that was a ”normal” day.

Other signs include:  a client has a beautiful home, big screen TV, several cars and yet yearns for time to take a walk.

The client may be headed toward “margin-less” when she finds herself  apologizing for being late for a conference call or appointments that she set up because she was running behind.

In spite of running a successful direct selling business, the client is living from check to check.

The person you are coaching has more than $5000 in credit card debt.

Your client recognizes his impatience with his spouse or children growing more frequently.

In his book, Margin, Richard Swenson, M.D. points to four kinds of margins we must create for less stress, better health, and greater productivity:  he addresses financial, health, social and emotion margins.

A client may find real value in exploring and applying these margins to her life.  As a coach, you can ask powerful, open ended questions to allow her to create personalized action plans to set and keep margins in each or any of these areas.

What are some questions you might ask to support your clients?

What are some of the things you can do to create and keep safe margins for yourself?

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