ABC Coaching Strategies for Goal Setting That Work

ABC Coaching Strategies for Goal Setting That Work

We know goal setting works.  Coaching goal setting works even better because the coach, you, can hold the space for your team member or client to get real clarity on what they really want.  Here are a couple of strategies that have served our coaches well.

  • Ask for details about the goal.  Find the “why” behind the “what” by asking questions. Dig deep with the client to discover how the goal is relevant to the client’s values.
  • Break it down. Ask your team member to break the goal into actionable items. A goal such as “I want to earn $10,000 a month,” is very broad.  You as the coach can ask powerful questions about where the income will be earned, what activities will support the goal.
  • Consider obstacles.  This is something a coach can do to really support goal setting and goal achievement.  Thinking about what might get in the way, allows time and preparation for the team member to figure contingency plans, count the cost and gain confidence in achieving the goal.

For more information on coaching goals, strategies, action plans, and accountability, think about joining the Ultimate Coach University community.  We offer coach training a topics such as this one and a place for you to practice your coaching skills.

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Three Steps to Help Your Team Increase Productivity

Increasing productivity in a sales team is golden!  You earn more, they earn more and everyone is happy.  So what can you do to increase productivity?  Here are a couple of thoughts that have worked for many of my clients who have adopted a coach approach to increasing productivity.

  1. Use bottom up goal setting.  This one is tough because many of you have been giving numbers to hit or goals to achieve. This is the top down goal setting method common in business.  Do your best to resist breaking your goals down into what they “need” to do.  Instead, spend time with key producers asking what they want to achieve.  More often than not, their goals are more ambitious than yours. 
  2. Use coaching to develop action steps.  After you discover what they are committed to do. Ask more questions to design an action plan with them.  This works to help them break down the goal into smaller chunks and even bite size time increments.  You might say, “What are you doing this week?” Follow through with “When do you want to do it?” and express your belief that they will make it happen.
  3. Find out how you can support them.  One of smartest sales leaders I know has said, “Do you want me to push you, pull you, or get out of your way?”  Remember you can always check in, change the way you follow up with your team.  Allowing your team the autonomy of deciding how you follow up with them fosters independence. 

Make increasing productivity a win-win process. Learn what is important to them and be sure they recognize increasing productivity as a path to achieving the benefits they care about. Ask, “What’s in it for the other person to perform well?” and “Why would they care about increasing productivity?” Discuss the benefits openly and seek creative ways to reward desired behaviors.

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Five Things You Can Do to Help Your Team Find Their Own Solutions

Do you really want to help your team find their solutions or would you really rather that they found what you think they should do?

I’m not just being a smarty-pants.  I have found many leaders say they want to help their people find the solution that is right for them, but too many leaders really spend a lot of time telling their team members what works for them.  Leaders often assume “What works for me, must work for everything?”

I have even heard some leaders say, “I can’t teach them anything other than what I do.”    I have had many clients tell me that they are so tired of a team member calling them for information that is on the website, or in the training materials, or was just taught at the last meeting.

So if you really want your team members to find their own solutions, keep reading these five simple coaching tips.

1. Believe they can find the right answer on their own.  Simple, and yet many of us jump in to fix or rescue our team members before we tell them we believe in their ability to solve a problem.

2.  Stop talking, start listening.  Ask, “What do you think you should do?” and then close your mouth. Listen.  Take notes if you have to so you repeat key thoughts your team member is saying.

3. Ask them to think of several solutions so they can find the best solution.  You might say, “Jen, I know you have the answer inside of you.  Play with me and think of several possible solutions so you can pick the best one.”  Then, go back to #2.

4. Send them to do research.  If they tell you they don’t know what to do, invite them to do their own research. You might say, “Where could you find possible solutions?” or “Who do you know who is good at ______________ (the situation)?”

4. Challenge them to action.  After listening and reflecting their answers, let them know you believe they are able to make it happen.  Congratulate them on finding an answer, and ask “When do you want to put that into action?”

When we stop creating a space where they think we have all the answers we will start to create more independent thinkers.  Don’t give up on yourself.  You will catch yourself just telling them what to do.  Hang in there, they will find solutions that they own.

Okay, so try this out, see what you think, and let me know what happened.

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Three Tips for Making it Easy to Give Feedback

Whether you are a leader of an organization, managing a team, or a coach, you will be giving feedback to others.  Remember that feedback can be “on course” or “off course.”  We receive these messages all day.  What is working and what is not working to get me to where I want to go is the purpose of feedback.

Here are three tips to make it easier for YOU to give feedback.

  1. Ask permission to give feedback. This helps many coaches to pause and think about their intentions and reminds both of you that the giving of feedback is a gift, not an instruction.  You might say, “May I give you some feedback that I feel might support you?”
  2.  Give your feedback in observation mode.  Feedback is your expression of an observation. External feedback, coming from you, is easier to give if you recognize that it is just your experience of that person.  Be mindful that your truth is “your truth,” not necessarily “the truth.”  Approach the feedback conversation with an attitude of observation, not criticism. 
  3. Concentrate on the behavior, not the person.  Before you give feedback, think about the behavior not the person.  “I have noticed you are not making the goals you have set.  Would you be open to some feedback about goal setting?” instead of “You aren’t cutting it and you need to change your ways.”

Try these simple steps before giving feedback.  Let me know how they work.

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Coaching Strategies to Help Your Team Get Things Right

Does your team make the same mistakes repeatedly?

Do you tell them the same thing over and over to no avail?

As a coach, I hear clients express frustration when their team members fail to follow directions or heed their advice. 

The coach approach in these situations may serve you well.

Here are some typical comments from team leaders and managers:

  • My people must not be listening to me.  I keep telling them what to do and they don’t do it.
  • My team doesn’t attend meetings and then they call me for information and answers to their questions.
  • I have someone on my team who keeps making the same mistake over and over – he talks too much on conference calls.
  • What do I do about the person I have showed how to set appointments and she still isn’t doing it?

Most people will not change a behavior until it is their idea or they recognize what they need to change.  The coach approach basically limits you (the leader) to the role of asking insightful questions.

In several cases, some simple questions might help.  Let me give you an example:

“Belinda, you and I have worked on setting appointments and you are schedule is still not where you want it to be. Are you open to a conversation?”


“When your schedule was full, what were you doing?”

Listen to the behaviors she describes.  Then ask, “Which one of those sound like they might help in your current situation.”

Letting Belinda process what works for her and pick the actions that she recognizes as successful will put Belinda on the road to her success.

Of course this is just a tiny sliver of conversations with Belinda, but coaching her to think of her best practices will often lead your team member to get back on track.

What other questions have you asked to support your team member to get it right?

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Welcome to Ultimate Coach University’s Blog!

Ultimate Coach University has been in operation since June of 2011.  With the start of 2012, we are moving forward on several fronts.

Ultimate Coach University is social!  We’ve added a Facebook page and would be honored if you stopped by and “like” us.  To celebrate our new look, we’ve launched a Facebook contest!  The winner will receive full tuition ($1,250 value) to our January school.  Click here for more details and to enter.    

The Ultimate Coach University Blog is open!  In our experience, much of our coach education occurs through practice.  While we are usually focused on the client in their world, a training academy like this offers some new opportunities.  As we prepare to match students with content, we’ll discover things we’ve not seen before.  As we try to explain the world to each other, we’ll discover and create new insights into coaching dialogues.  We’ll also pass on tried and true practices that are used by other coaches.   In short, our goal is to write about coaching wherever it is found.

Several coaches, experienced and novice will contribute to the blog.  Lyn Christian, Dana Phillips and I will all be writing.  You’ll also hear from the other faculty as well as students and guests.  Coaching is both an art and a science, and the varied viewpoints you will read here will show that.  As a coach, I can only understand my world, and even then it sometimes is murky.  We can look forward to seeing other points of view.

Ultimate Coach University will be adding new majors. Currently, we are serving students who are interested in life coaching, direct sales coaching, and salon coaching.  We’re in the process of adding another stream (sorry, I can’t tell you more) that will open in May and will add at least one more by September.  We are growing!

Feel free to wander through our website (the member only area is for our students).  Drop us a note about what you find interesting.  We’d love to have your insights!

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UCU Programs

UCU ProgramsYou know there is a coach in you and you’re ready to advance.

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Major Areas of Study

When you are ready, we’ll be here to help you find your coaching success.

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Class Descriptions

When you are ready, we’ll be here to help you find your coaching success.

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Faculty & Coaches

“This training is applicable in any walk of life whether it is business, sales or management. It is so comprehensive it applies to anyone who communicates in an organization.”

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