Coach Approach

Weekend Love, April Eighteenth

In your headHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  This handful of links takes you  to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

I saw an old bumper sticker the other day that said, “I just do what the voices in my head tell me.”  Peter Bregman thinks we need to manage those conversations more when he writes about Managing the Critical Voices Inside Your Head.

Stephen Covey referred to the last of the seven habits as “sharpening the saw.” Dan Rockwell has some great ideas along the same vein that he writes about in 12 Refueling Strategies That Work Today.

Pope Francis addressed the leaders of the Catholic Church before the holidays last year about the diseases of leadership.  Gary Hamel translates this into English business-speak.  We all need a check-up against The 15 Diseases of Leadership, According to Pope Francis.

From the archives:  What is it about 4:00 am?  Poet Rives shares his thoughts.  His 10 minute TED talk will give you some thoughts for your next visit to that time.

Click here if the video isn’t showing in your browser: http://www.ted.com/talks/rives_on_4_a_m#t-13119

 

 

Read More

Creating Your Summer Game Plan

Coaching summer plansIs it too early to be thinking about summer plans on tax day?  I had a coaching call this week with an entrepreneur and that’s what she wanted to discuss. For her, June was a major month for convention, travel, vacation, and kid-out-of-school-time and she wanted to be prepared.   I had my AHA before the call was done:  If you are an entrepreneur, it’s not too soon!  While we usually think about an intensive work time before and after a summer break, the entrepreneur has more to do than just the immediate tasks.

Whether you are in direct sales or some other business, as an entrepreneur your planning needs to go beyond a two-or three week period.  Think about direct selling, for example.  The people who join your team now will really be hitting their sales stride around late June.  The work you do in the summer will set the stage for your fall selling season.  Since you are in business for yourself, you need to constantly engage in high level planning.

During our coaching call, six core questions absorbed most of our time.  I wanted to share them with you as you start thinking about your summer.

  1. How up to date is your calendar? She was like most of us.  Her schedule was very complete for April, mainly complete for May and June, and then sketchy after that.  While June was her key month, she came to the realization she needed to be thinking about work for post-June.
  2. What business goals do you want to accomplish this summer? She had a clear vision.  Many of her summer goals center on building business relationships through follow-up from the conventions.
  3. What are the most important things you need to do now to prepare for June? This turned out to be a very important question. As she talked through the answer, her accomplishments in the next two weeks will make a lot of difference.
  4. What do your stakeholders need to know? While she thought a lot about his business, she hadn’t gotten to thinking about what her clients expectations are going from now to the end of June.  This will be the topic of several conversations between her and her clients before the summer.
  5. What do your contractors need to know? Like the previous question, she hadn’t talked with her support team and needed to bring them into the loop on her plans and work requirements for the next few months.
  6. What do you need to do to fill your fall pipeline? She realized that with a time lag of 90-120 days from starting the sales process to her first payment, her October-November business depends on starting in July. This is a new awareness and shifts her July business focus a bit.

How about you?  Are you thinking at a high level about your summer and fall business?  If you were, how will things change?

Read More

Weekend Love, April Fourth

camoflage hugHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

Four questions to make you go “hmmn.”  The title of Karyn Greenstreet’s article says it all: How Will You Know That You’re Successful, When You Don’t Know What It Looks Like?

At its simplest, coaching is about questions and answers.  Questions that make us think and answers that lead us forward.  Racheal Govender explains Why Coaching works.

Have anything in self-storage?  How about a piece of you?  David Emerald and Donna Zajonc, MCC write about Coming Out of Self Storage.

Best quotation of the week comes from Mark Sisson, “At its best, self-control doesn’t revolve around deprivation, denial or chastising but clarity, intention, and attunement.”  This powerful idea is explored in Self-Control: The Ultimate Exercise in Freedom.

Read More

Why Wait for Feedback? Entrepreneur Version

FeedbackAs a direct seller, solopreneur, or entrepreneur, you probably don’t see yourself as having many opportunities to seek feedback.  After all, you don’t have any (or at least not many) employees.   First, the bad news:  when most of us ask for feedback we get an image of giving someone a loaded gun, pointing at our face, and helping them point the trigger.  Now for the good news:  It’s all in your head.  The way you treat the feedback is up to you.

Part 1 of Why Wait for Feedback? is all about the title.  Why wait?  If you ask for feedback you’ll improve your odds of getting useful feedback rather than worrying about it.  Part 2, Why Wait for Feedback: Company Version, provides some insights into ways that you can ask for and use feedback if you are in a company setting.

But what if you are an entrepreneur?  Feedback for an entrepreneur involves three groups of people.

Getting customer feedback makes you awesome.  I almost cringed when I included this one.  How many surveys have you gotten this week?  You probably can’t even log in to your bank account without them wanting to know “How did we do?”  In your case, however, you are reaching out differently.  You are not going to give a multiple-choice test designed to solicit 4’s or 5’s.  You are going to act like a coach and ask open-ended questions.  Your questions might include ones like:

  • How does our service compare to your favorite store?
  • What needs of yours aren’t we meeting?
  • What would you tell people about us?
  • What is one thing you’d like us to do better?

Ask whatever questions you need to clarify, thank them (don’t argue or commit to changing), and then ask somebody else.  When you discover the pattern in the answers, you’ll know what you want to do.

Getting Team Feedback Makes You a Leader.  Seriously.  You should see this as a no brainer item.  Find out how people want to be lead than then lead them in that manner. Then they will follow rather than leave. Some great questions to ask include:

  • Do you want em to push you, pull you, or get out of the way?
  • What do you want from me?
  • How can I support you in getting to the next stage?
  • What is one thing I can do to be a better upline (or leader)?

Again, ask whatever questions you need to ask in order to clarify, thank them (don’t argue or commit to changing), and then ask somebody else.  When you discover the pattern in the answers, make the changes to improve your leadership.

Getting vendor feedback gets you better service.  You probably think you are a great customer. They may see you as an arrogant jerk who is hard to please.  Don’t assume they love you just because they keep coming back to you for orders.  Ask your vendors.  Ask things like:

  • What can I do to make your job easier?
  • What do I need to do to improve our business relationship?
  • What do you tell people about us?
  • How can I be a better customer?

These questions are sometimes harder.  You probably don’t like to see yourself as a “servant consumer” when you think it is your right to command customer service.  Interestingly, when you become a better consumer you’ll get perks that you didn’t before.  Your vendors will give you early notice about sales.  They’ll send you free samples.  They’ll find ways to keep you as a customer.

So ask your vendors.  Find out what they tell you.  And when you understand how the people in their world see you, change accordingly.

If you want something different, you have to do something differently.  So take that first step to actively get feedback and you’ll be on the path to improving your business relationships.

Read More

Weekend Love, March Fourteenth

Link loveHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

Teams and groups have been studied for decades.  Ed Batista lists nine symptoms of group strength and growth.  They provide great insights into how you want to develop your team.

I wish I could write like Jeff Goins.  He tells a story and somewhere in the middle it becomes a life lesson.  Sweet.  http://goinswriter.com/shame/?

Want to stop yourself from those knee-jerk reactions? Dana Lightman, Ph.D. is a counselor and a coach with some great insights into not letting your lizard brain take over.  Part one explains what happens and part two gives you some alternatives.  (Both are relatively short).

http://02ae535.netsolhost.com/blog/2015/02/12/tip-1-retrain-your-amygdala-part-one/

http://02ae535.netsolhost.com/blog/2015/03/12/tip-one-retrain-your-amygdala-part-two/

Black bottomed oatmeal pie.  Because it’s pi day (get it? get it?) and we should all salivate just a little over something like this.

Read More

Weekend Love, March Seventh

Link loveHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

Coaches try to avoid giving advice, and sometimes that leaves you and your client feeling stalemated or helpless.  Here are Ten Little Tips to Boost Your Coaching Prowess.

Five Ways to become more Self Aware.  The title says it all.

Trust is one of the key pieces in building coaching and business relationships.  What do you do after you’ve messed it up?  Randy Conly offers 6 Steps to Rebuild Broken Trust.

What would your do-over look like?  Here’s what Joel Peterson says about what he’d do differently.

Read More

Why Wait for Feedback? Company Version

New Mindset New ResultsFirst, the bad news:  when most of us ask for feedback we get an image of giving someone a loaded gun, pointing at our face, and helping them point the trigger.  Now for the good news:  It’s all in your head.  The way you treat the feedback is up to you.

Part 1 of Why Wait for Feedback? is about making a decision to take control of your future by asking for feedback rather than just waiting.  Start by being brace and the rest of the pieces will fall in line.  Here are four guidelines to help you if you work in a company setting.  Part 3 will be for entrepreneurs seeking feedback.

Think future and not past.  The goal of asking for feedback is not to evaluate the past.  You really can’t change that.  Your goal is to do something better in the future.  So forget-about-it when thinking about the past.  You really don’t care if it was good, bad or indifferent.  Your goal is to get better in the future.  Marshall Goldsmith calls this process feedforward.  It’s a core piece of his coaching method.  He also uses it as a training exercise.

Ask, ask, and ask some more.  If you only talk to one person, you’ll get their opinion.  That may not prove useful and you really can’t evaluate their idea because you have a limited basis of comparison.  Instead, try this:

  • Make a list of people you trust and want to hear from.
  • Approach them individually for a conversation. (You might even set an appointment and tell them what you want.)
  • Say to them, “I’m looking to improve my workplace performance. Would you have a suggestion of something I can do better?  What’s one thing I need to keep doing?”
  • Thank them for their feedback. Don’t agree or disagree.  Just thank them.

Work with a coach.  If you are going to ask for feedback, you will need to do something with it.  A coach can support you in sorting this out, setting plans in place, moving forward, and helping you stay accountable to your change process.

Ready, aim, fire.  The important thing is that you make some changes. Jack Canfield first suggested this mantra as part of his Success Principles.  It works.  Take action, course correct, and then act again.  You get much further than being stuck in the planning phase.

If you don’t like the direction you are taking, this feedback process will support you in finding a new one.

The reward you get for seeking feedback is beyond what you can imagine.  Ed Batista describes it this way, “the most effective leaders build a culture and establish working relationships in which critical feedback is invited rather than squelched, appreciated rather than punished. Unpleasant truths are precious gifts, and should be treated accordingly. This doesn’t make the process fun–I can still find negative feedback hard to hear, even after years of dedicating myself to the process. But I value the lessons it brings more than I resent its sting, in part because I try to be open to it without allowing it to undermine my sense of self-validation.”

Read More

Weekend Love, February Twenty Eighth

Link loveHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

Some of the best advice ever comes from Seth Godin this week when he talks about The Trolls Inside.

Does your elevator pitch stink?  Could you at least make yourself sound normal when you give it?  The HBR has some concrete advice for you in their article on Your Elevator Pitch Needs an Elevator Pitch.

My new favorite blogger is Frank Sonnenberg.  He writes about character, personal values, and personal responsibility.  He makes you want to slow down and absorb each word topic over a nice cup of coffee first thing in the morning.  Take this week’s offering called 13 Ways to Spot a Lie.

Think you are coaching?  Want to find out?  Dan McCarthy writes How Managers Can Become Awesome Coaches.  It’s a standalone article, but there are lots of links to other articles if a particular piece strikes your fancy.

Once you become a coach, who makes sure you are doing your job?  Who can help you do it better?  An emerging role, coaching supervisor, may be the answer for you. You can read about it in The Case for Coaching Supervision.

The visual that puts it all in perspective.  http://hereistoday.com/

Read More

Why Wait for Feedback?

Feedback creates improvementWhenever I’ve coached someone who works in a corporate setting, one of the most dreaded time of year for them is the “periodic review.”  I’ve never met anyone who looks forward to a review—even the ones who are sure that it’s going to be positive.

On the other hand, any coach will tell you that feedback is a key part of their job.  The ICF even requires coaches as part of their core competencies to be “clear, articulate and direct in sharing and providing feedback.”  Feedback is the straight line to self-improvement, unseen insights, and corrective measures. Unless you have feedback, you won’t change.

The core disconnect is that we often see job performance as different from feedback.  My guess is that this is true for people in both company settings and solopreneurs.  Just imagine how your life would be different if:

  • You ask your vendors for feedback?
  • You ask your customers for feedback?
  • You ask your peers, direct reports, and colleagues for feedback?
  • You ask your boss for feedback after you complete every project?

In short, you seek out reviews every opportunity that you can.

The results will be stupendous!

  • You’ll get so used to people telling you what you do well and what you can change that it will become your normal operating procedure. You will be on a slope to continuous improvement.
  • Your performance blind spots will get smaller and smaller.
  • You won’t worry about a bad performance review because either it won’t happen or you are prepared for it.

Regardless of whether you are in a company or own your own business, your change process starts at the same place.

Start by being brave.  Once you start down the path of soliciting feedback, it will get easier.  You just need to take that first step.  There’s an old saying: If you eat a frog first thing in the morning the rest of your day will only get better.  Eat your frog!

If you don’t like the course you are taking, this feedback process will support you in finding a new one.  This is part one of three parts on soliciting feedback.  Part Two is oriented towards people working in a company setting.  Part Three is for solopreneurs.

When will you eat your frog?

Read More

Weekend Love, February Twenty First

Link loveHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

I think we all will have situations that feed our indecisiveness.  The Paid to Exist blog explores an alternative in The Mantra of the World’s Greatest Influencers.

John Hester, in the Blanchard LeaderChat weighs in on those dreaded employee performance talks.  His view may surprise you as he writes When It Comes to Performance Management, Employees Want More, Not Less!  While direct selling leaders don’t perform employee management functions, I think you’ll find his solution fits your world as well.

Any good lawyer will tell you that the questions you ask shape the questions. Coaches know this as well.  Here’s an alternative for your self-questions from the Power of TED* as they urge you to Ask a Better Question.

The real value of Facebook is in Groups.  Chris Brogan weighs in on this topic in his article, Remember When I Said I Quit Facebook?

From the archives:  Entrepreneur Magazine recommends that you Quit Facebook.  Here are six good reasons to give it up for your business and your personal life.  This seems harsh, but if you can’t set boundaries, maybe stopping cold turkey is the way to go.

Read More