Coaching Business

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?

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The Art of Delegation

Coaching delegationMost of us learn delegation through the pain or pleasure process.  You don’t delegate until it becomes some painful that you have to do something.  The good news is that you don’t have to wait that long.  When you set some principles and procedures, you’ll be delegating the right things to the right people at the right time.

Kristi Pavlik, Chief Visionary Officer at Adonai Business Solutions, helps entrepreneurs navigate their business journeys to success. She has been teaching entrepreneurs and small business owners how to transform big ideas into business models that support profit and growth. Active in the business management field for over 20 years, Kristi is a skilled professional who helps entrepreneurs from beginners to business leaders “get out of their own way”. Clients who work with Kristi are amazed at how she can help their business move forward. She can help launch a new business, grow an established business, or explore uncharted territory with industry leaders. Business owners are thrilled at the results on a business and personal level.

Kristi is an expert on delegation.  This is the second of two articles she volunteered to write on delegation for us.  The other one is called Delegate, Delegate, Delegate. You can contact Kristi at kristi.adonai@gmail.com.  Her website will provide more details on how she works. Here are some of Kristi’s insights on the art of delegation.

The Art of Delegation

One of the most important skills a business owner can learn is the art of delegation. Many of us know we need to delegate more, but we hesitate. Why put off something that can help your business run more efficiently and effectively? It can feel overwhelming to try to figure out what and when to delegate, so we avoid it. Assigning tasks and giving ownership of those tasks to trusted associates is one of the wisest and most effective things we can do as entrepreneurs, and we need to learn how.

The basic rule of delegation is simple: If you aren’t good at it, or if it takes your time and energy away from the core of your business, delegate that task.

Every business owner should do this task, so why delegate it? The truth is, every business owner is different, with their own skills and preferences and they don’t do it all. Think about it: Bill Gates does not do his own filing, and you know he doesn’t do Microsoft’s accounts receivables himself! It doesn’t matter if it’s a basic business task, if bookkeeping, email management, or scheduling overwhelms you, or pulls you away from the tasks that make your business run? Delegate it. There’s no award for heroics in business! Forcing yourself to do tasks you’re unsuited for, or that you just plain dislike, doesn’t win a prize. In fact, experience shows us that someone who struggles with or dislikes a task takes longer to do it and makes more errors. Forcing yourself to do them really is a waste of time and money. Imagine the freedom you’ll feel when you can delegate to someone who has expertise and finds enjoyment in those tasks you dread.

It’s easier to just do it myself. This one is an excuse to avoid delegating, it really isn’t easier to do everything ourselves. Once you teach someone how to do the task your way, you’re done. Are you insisting on doing a job that sucks your time away from the real business of your company? Do you wade through hundreds of emails or phone calls each day only to find that your whole morning evaporated and you are constantly playing catch-up? Is basic office management getting in the way of doing business? It’s time to delegate the basic tasks like data entry, phone calls, email, calendars, and even travel arrangements and research. Be honest about what tasks only you can do, and build your job description around those tasks. You’ll be amazed how much you can get done when every task you do is important to your role! The art of delegation is the honest evaluation of every task you do. Should this really be your task? If not, delegate. You are the CEO, and created your business from the ground up. You are needed to do executive tasks, and to work at the core of your company steering and growing it. Focus your time and energy on the tasks that only you can do, and find good associates to accomplish the day-to-day tasks that keep your business organized, updated, and running smoothly. Delegation at its heart is pretty simple: Your company needs you to captain the ship, so put down the oars and hire a sailor who loves to row!

Kristi Pavlik

Adonai Business Solutions, LLC

www.adonai-llc.com

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Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!

Coaching delegationDelegation is one of those topics that frequently comes up in coaching. Since time is a limited resources, coaching clients need to clear some bandwidth to make changes and that usually involves delegating.

At the ICF Convention in Cleveland, I met Kristi Pavlik, Chief Visionary Officer at Adonai Business Solutions, who helps entrepreneurs navigate their business journeys to success.She has been teaching entrepreneurs and small business owners how to transform big ideas into business models that support profit and growth. Active in the business management field for over 20 years, Kristi is a skilled professional who helps entrepreneurs from beginners to business leaders “get out of their own way”. Clients who work with Kristi are amazed at how she can help their business move forward. She can help launch a new business, grow an established business, or explore uncharted territory with industry leaders. Business owners are thrilled at the results on a business and personal level.

Kristi is an expert on delegation, and she volunteered to write a couple of articles on delegation for us.  You can contact Kristi at kristi.adonai@gmail.com.  Her website will provide more details on how she works. Here are some of Kristi’s insights on the art of delegation.

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!

The art of delegation is important in a heart-based business like coaching and speaking. Many of us even urge our clients to learn to delegate, but we hesitate to put into practice in our own business. Why do we run from it? In a business we built on a passion for helping others, we get trapped in the idea that we should do it all ourselves. Intellectually, we know better: Assigning tasks and giving ownership of those tasks to trusted associates is one of the wisest and most effective things we can do as a business owner.

The basic rule of delegation is simple: If the task something you love to do, that you’re skilled at doing, or that builds your business and spreads your message, you should do it. If it isn’t, delegate it!

This task is essential to my business, so why delegate it? The truth is, every business owner is different, with their own skills and preferences and they don’t do it all. Think about it: Tony Robbins does not do his own filing, and you know Seth Godin answer every email himself! It doesn’t matter if it’s a basic business task, or a crucial task like scheduling or travel booking, if it pulls you away from speaking, writing, or designing your next workshop? Delegate it. There’s no award for heroics in business! Forcing yourself to do tasks you dislike or that don’t suit your skills doesn’t win a prize. In fact, someone who struggles with or dislikes a task takes longer to do it and makes more errors. Forcing yourself to do them is a waste of time, energy, and money. Delegate to someone who has expertise and finds enjoyment in those tasks you dread, and focus your energy on changing lives.

I should be able to do it all. This one is just isn’t true! Are you trying to play superhero because you’re afraid clients will doubt your expertise if you need help in your business? Becoming overworked and overtired doesn’t make you look like SuperCoach, you just look overwhelmed! Do you wade through hundreds of emails or phone calls each day only to find that your whole morning evaporated and you are struggle to find time for your heart-based work? Are basic office tasks getting in the way of  the work you feel so passionately about? You really do need to delegate basic tasks like data entry, phone calls, email, calendars, and even travel arrangements and research. Be honest about your coaching or speaking business and what tasks only you can do, and build your job description around those tasks. You’ll be amazed how far you can spread your message and how many lives you can change when every task you do is important to your role as speaker, coach, and mentor!

The art of delegation in the honest evaluation of every task you do. Should this really be your task? If not, delegate. You are the CEO and a Speaker or Coach, and created your business from a passion for making a difference. You are needed to do executive level business tasks to steer and grow your business, and to spend the majority of your time and energy spreading your message and changing lives for the better. Focus on the tasks that only you can do, and find good associates to accomplish the day-to-day tasks that keep your business organized, updated, and running smoothly. Delegation at its heart is pretty simple: Your company needs you to write, design, and speak your life-changing messages, so delegate those office tasks and put your full energy into changing the world!

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What Consumers Know about Coaching

Coaching consumer opinionsThe International Coach Federation recently released their 2014 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study.  The survey was done in 16 languages and utilized responses from nearly 19,000 individuals in 25 countries.  The study is an insightful look at how coaches and consumers see “coaching” in the marketplace.  The Executive Summary has its set of conclusions (p. 29).  Here are the four most important takeaways I had.

Coaching is a global phenomenon.   The size of the study is one indication of this.  Overall, nearly 60% of consumers are aware of professional business and/or life coaching.  17% (that’s nearly 1 in 5!) have participated in a coaching relationship. And participation is growing.

Consumers understand coaching as a definable activity.  Among the 60% of the population aware of coaching, there is also an awareness that coaching is distinct from mentoring, consulting, training, and counseling. The implications of this are important.

  • Distinct content lets you be a professional coach; you are distinct from counselors, trainers, etc.
  • Your prospective clients can see a difference between real coaching from a coach and quasi-coaching from someone claiming to be a coach.
  • The profession can develop best practices.  A good example of this is the ICF creation of evaluation markers to be used by assessors in awarding credentials.

The reasons for hiring a coach are becoming clearer. Are you a coach struggling to find clients?  Find out which reason they have and then speak to it.  New coaches often struggle with finding the right reasons to give.  Instead of being creative, you now have the opportunity reach into the consumer’s awareness of coaching to find the reasons they have.  What’s the most common reason?  “Defining strengths and weaknesses within oneself” is the reason for nearly have of those seeking coaching.  “Optimize individual/team work performance” is the most frequently cited reason for participating in a coaching relationship.

The more professional coaches produce more customer satisfaction.  For coaches, this is very good news.  The statistics on this make the conclusion a no brainer.  37% of all consumers were very satisfied regardless of the credential.  However, among the customers who were very satisfied with their coaching:

  • Of those who had a coach with a credential, 49% were very satisfied.
  • Of those who had a coach without a credential, 29% were very satisfied.

A 20% difference is very telling.  Credentialed coaches meet their clients needs much better than other types of coaches.

What do you think?  When you look for a coach, what criteria show u on your radar?

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Good and Bad News about Coach Income

Coach earnings looking upWe’d all like to earn more money without working harder, right?  Unfortunately, that seldom happens.  The flip side of that coin getting a fair return for your coaching expertise.

Sherpa Coaching just released their 2014 Coaches Earnings Report.  The results are very mixed. The hourly earnings for executive, business and life coaches have rebounded to the 2012 levels although it is still less than 2011.

As expected, annual earnings are significantly lower than a few years ago.  However, experience matters!  The average coach who has been working for 5-10 years earns double what a beginning (0-2 years’ experience) coach earns.

The coaches in the survey continue to expect the demand for coaching to increase.  It’s been moving steadily upwards since a 2011 low.  Sherpa created an overall Coaching Confidence Index (CCI) which hit an all-time high.  The CCI is based on a number of factors include rates, number of clients, marketing time, etc.

There’s more, and you should read it in the report.  It’s a quick way to find how you compare to your competitors.

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Four Key Topics to Brand Your Coaching Business

Key branding issues for your coaching businessI make no claims as a branding expert.  When that subject comes up, I try to look at people like Walter Landor, who helped companies from Coca Cola to Shell Oil to Levi Strauss define their brand for the public. He would say things like, “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.”

As new coaches come into Ultimate Coach University and create their businesses, some key branding questions often come up.  They are simple and yet profound questions.  If branding is the something created in the minds of others, how will you approach this task?  Here are four core ideas.

1.  Who is your Ideal Customer?  This is your core question.  Start with your customer’s demographics.  Then work out from there to understand their values in action. This might be a business group (direct sellers, lawyers, salon owners, etc.) or it driven by the group’s characteristics such as entrepreneurial drive, introversion, or leadership development.

Once this image starts to come together, your opportunity is to become the expert for these customers.

  • What do they want that they don’t have? Don’t think about what happens in the coaching; what do they have afterwards?
  • Will these customers be better after coaching than before they started?
  • Will they know it?

2. How will they find you?  You have an image of your ideal customer.  How will they be able to find you?  Your goal is to have their mental image match the one that you are creating. Your passion and excitement need to be obvious.

  • Is your value statement clear as well as front and center?
  • How compelling is your mission or brand statement?
  • What visual images are you making available?
  • Is your headshot saying what you want?
  • What action shots or Pinterest options are available?
  • How well does your simple graphic represent you?

3. How will they know the real you? The answer is very simple: others will tell them.  Let’s face it; with information access at an all-time high, what others say is the most trustworthy source of information.

  • How often do you do a Google or Bing search for your name?
  • Who’s talking about you on Facebook?
  • How do you ask new customers, “How did you hear about me?”
  • One great suggestion: Ask your clients, “What is the one thing you would tell others about our coaching?”

4. Can you tell someone without blushing, stalling, or talking more than 30 seconds?  Seriously, you have to get comfortable talking about yourself and your business.  Have conversations.  Don’t just spew a prefab statement.  Tease, talk, entice, and solicit questions. You are not a megacorp.  You are having one-to-one conversations.

  • How will you practice your conversational skills?  Who with?
  • How can you describe the opportunity you are creating?
  • What question will you ask to continue the conversation?
  • How will you ask for a follow-up?

This is by no means a complete list.  Branding is creating a promise in the minds of your potential customers.  Your job is to have a solid idea of the promise and a solid idea of how you will communicate it.  The rest is strategic.

Please share.  How are you focusing on your branding?

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Watch David Rock Coaching

Have you ever wondered why your brain seems to operate differently at work than it does when relaxing with friends and family? Maybe you’ve been curious about how sometimes it’s hard to focus or collaborate with others.  You are not alone.

Dr. David Rock is one of the thought leaders in the human-performance coaching field. Since the mid-90’s, he has trained over thousands of executive, personal and workplace coaches in more than 60 countries.  Two of his more recent books are Coaching with the Brain in Mind: Foundations for Practice and Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. David Rock works in the area of NeuroLeadership (in fact, he coined the term) and believes that coaching is a powerful tool for discovering what goes on in the brain and is a key for performance improvement.

This 10 minute video is a sample of David Rock coaching an executive.  From a rtechnical standpoint, he leaves a lot to be desired.  Most of his questions are closed and require either a yes-no answer or a choice among alternative he provides.  He’s quick and seldom leaves time for reflective thought.  On the other hand, the client finds some really powerful insights.

Watch the video and then make your judgment:  good coaching or bad?

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Ten Tips for Selling Your Coaching Proposition

DSA2012_InspiringEntreprenuersLogoEarlier in May, Ultimate Coach University joined the Direct Selling Association as a supplier.  It seemed like a natural fit. One of UCU’s majors is coaching direct sales.  We thought it was time to go to the direct selling companies and let them know about us.

This week, the Direct Selling Association had their annual meeting and Dana Phillips and I had the opportunity to attend.  Here are some of the things we learned about going to the marketplace.

1. Ask experienced people for advice.  At an early reception, I had the chance to ask several people, “what do you know now you wished you had known your first year?” Their advice was invaluable.

2. Know your value proposition. Everybody knows the difference between training and coaching, right? How about the difference between mentoring and coaching?  It only took about two conversations before my head was working fast and furious to make a clear, quick distinction.

3. Be brief.  UCU does a lot of things.  Most people don’t care about anything except the piece that fits them.  The longer it takes to find out their itch, the less likely you will be the one to scratch it.

4.  Drop names.  Normally this is not a behavior I engage in.  Here, however, I was advised (see #1 above) to mention names.  It’s a great way to help people understand what you do.  This was a big AHA moment for me.  It was like a shorthand for telling an anecdote or a story.

5. Carry business cards and find a reason to use them.  Dana did this much better than I.  She would ask, “Do you read blogs?” (Who is going to say no?) When they answered yes, she gave them her card, took theirs, and wrote on the back, “blog” as she was telling them she would subscribe them to ours.  The process was simple, painless, and a first step beyond a convention conversation.

6. Start conversations. It’s to your benefit to start conversations.  Nothing happens until there is talk.

7. Ask more questions more than you tell. Be curious (just like a coach) and ask powerful questions (just like a coach).

8. Listen like a coach.  The better you understand and engage in good listening behaviors (paraphrase, summarize, restate, etc.) then the better you will be at finding out their need.

9. Take notes.  You will talk to a lot of people in a short time.  Your short-term memory is a weak system for keeping information sorted and available.

10.  Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. We create a spreadsheet with names, contact information, next steps, and desired outcome.  Something will happen every day until to create business.

What did I forget?  If you’ve had an opportunity to talk to people about your business, what do you do to make sales happen?

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What Coaches Earn

When potential students talk with us about coming to coach training, one common question that comes up is about coaching income.  Attempts to measure coaching income produce a wide range of answers. Most studies put the average rate as somewhere between $100 and $300 an hour. What I find fascinating are not the numbers but the story behind the numbers.

Fulltime Coaches Earn More Per Hour

The ICF Global study conducted a few years ago found that full time coaches earn $82,671 per year while part time coaches earn a little over $26,000 a year.  The majority of coaches earn a part time income from coaching (meaning they are part time coaches and earn other income from training, consulting, etc.)

The 2012 ICF Global study found a similar picture. The median income (half of the coaches are above this number and half are below) was $25,000. However, the average annual revenue is $47,00 per coach (total revenue divided by number of coaches). What this means is that the high end coaches earn a significantly higher hourly rate than lower paid coaches.

Coaching Specialization Greatly Affects Income

Some of the earnings results from the Sherpa Coaching Survey provide a clear picture.  According to their 2012 survey:

  • Executive Coaches:  $325   (defined as coaches who work on behavioral issues)
  • Business Coaches:  $235   (commonly called consultants, help clients develop knowledge and skills)
  • Life Coaches:  $160   (advisors on personal, wellness and life issues)

The annual earnings also highlight the differences:

  • Executive Coaches: $106,000
  • Business Coaches:  $71,000
  • Life Coaches:  $55,450

Coaching is a Growing Business

According to the ICF Survey, over half of the coaches expect their income to grow.  Additionally:

  • The number of coaching clients is growing
  • The number of Coaches is growing
  • The number of sessions is growing

I think these trends indicate a healthy future for coaches and their earning potential.  However, future coaches can’t just blindly enter the profession and expect to earn a sizable income.  What do you think?

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Determining a Return on Investment for Coaching

Return on InvestmentDetermining a coaching return-on-investment is a difficult process. As coaches, we are stepping into a complex personal and/or business environment and sorting out the investment return is very complex. As coaches, we want to be able to tell our prospective clients that it’s worth their time, energy, and money to invest in coaching.

As coaches, we can’t speak for an industry wide ROI.  However, we can certainly provide some information about our individual coaching for prospective clients.  Here are three suggestions:

Ask your clients for satisfaction and knowledge surveys.  Find or devise some surveys that can be used for a pre-coaching and post-coaching comparison.  When you do enough of these, the comparison figures start to become meaningful.  For example, ask your clients to rate their proficiency on several scales such as:

  • I set weekly performance goals.
  • I set a schedule and stick to it.
  • I recognize when my business and personal life are imbalanced.

Perform a 360 survey.  Most executive coaching involves a formal or informal 360 survey.  Set up the coaching encounter so you can perform one both before and after the coaching.  This will tgive you some indications of the leaders improvement over time.

Evaluate performance changes.  Most of my coaching is done in the direct sales profession.  When I work with a company, we often try to establish key performance indicators for a pre and post comparison.  Usually the company can perform a similar comparison on the people who don’t receive the coaching.  Thus, you can compare the changes of those people who receive coaching with those who have not.  One word of caution:  often the people who receive coaching are a self-selected and highly motivated group.  They might have outperformed the other group even without the coaching.

While we may not be able to produce laboratory certified results, our efforts to evaluate the ROI of our coaching will provide us with some evidence and insights.  Wouldn’t that be better than not even trying?  In addition, we may allow ourselves to receive some intuitive hits on ROI just ebecause of our heightened awareness and interests.  The process of studying your coaching may provide you with valuable feedback that you can’t get any other way.

What are you doing to evaluate your coaching work?  I’d love the opportunity to compare notes.

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