Coaching Business

Coaching For Leadership

Coaching leadershipMany bosses assume their job is to provide the right answers and implementation of processes and assignments. After all, having the technical or functional skills and knowledge is what made them successful. Likewise, employers often emphasize these qualifications and behaviors in their hiring for managerial positions.

The reality is that leadership has evolved in terms of the role of “hard” versus “soft” skills. Evidence of that is in the distinction between the definitions of “management” and “leadership”.

  • Management is often defined as making certain a project, program or ongoing process is executed correctly, timely and according to plan; ensuring all subordinates follow their job descriptions and directives.
  • Leadership assumes also that the process and tasks are fulfilled, though expects them to be accomplished through collaboration, support and inspiration. 

A core premise of effective leadership is to serve as a coach and teacher with a reservoir of information, tools and resources to enable subordinates to be top performers while they learn and grow. The traditional expectation that the boss is supposed to personally have all the right answers is fading into the sunset. The real value of a leader today is recognized as building trust and developing team members to take responsibility for reaching the right conclusions and executing the best solutions. The higher the level, the more this is necessary.

Respected business advisers have advocated this approach for decades. Robert Greenleaf brought it into sharper focus when he began teaching the concept of “Servant Leadership”. There has been some reluctance to use the phrase “servant” in depicting one’s self, concern that others would consider it a weak, rather than strong quality for a leader. However, as we understand the gurus, and review the impact of servant leadership on business and organizational effectiveness, it appears that the so-called “soft skills” are the new “hard skills”.

Are you a manager or a leader? How would coaching help enhance your leadership skills? We welcome your comments.

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[Ed. note:  Please welcome Russ as an author on the UCU blog.  I’ve know Russ and worked with him on several projects in recent years. He has an amazingly soft-spoken way to bring out the best in people.]

Russ Yaquinto, Master Certified Coach, helps individuals Be the best they can Be. He works with business leaders who want to transform from good to great! For more information, contact Russ at, 972-943-3030, or visit

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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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Coaching Prep Sheets: The Pros and Cons

Most coaches use an initial welcome form with their clients to enrich the coaching agreement. The client has an opportunity to reflect on what they want from coaching, important things they want their coach to know about them and general information that will serve the coaching relationship.

Another form many coaches uses is a weekly coaching prep sheet.  These are called scorecards, prep sheets, action items, or check-in sheets.  There has been a lot of discussion about the value of using these weekly prep sheets so we decided to share some of our findings.

Here are some of the negatives comments we have heard about coaching prep sheets.

  • The client hates paper work and doesn’t turn them in.
  • Sometimes there is a gap in the emotions from the writing of the prep sheet to the session.  For example, the client may be feeling great satisfaction at the time of writing the prep sheet and then is in high frustration at the start of the session.
  • The client writes the urgent issues on their mind and not necessarily the important issues.
  • The client is distracted by the “now” and not by the bigger picture of what she wants to accomplish.
  • The coach feels a need to follow the prep sheet as the client’s agenda.

Here’s what we have heard from coaches who love prep sheets.

  • The client comes prepared to the coaching session.
  • The client has an opportunity to detail frustrations, wins and circumstances.
  • The consistent appearance of key issues gives the coach a more clear understanding of patterns the client is presenting.
  • The prep sheets keep clients aware of their surroundings and progress.

We really would love to have you weigh in on the topic of coaching prep sheets.  We do have a couple of suggestions to help you determine if you will use or not use coaching prep sheets.

  1. Ask your client.  If they hate paperwork and tell you so, prep sheets might be a deterrent to the coaching relationship,
  2. Stay alert.  Look for what is being said, and what is not being said in the prep sheets.
  3. Be flexible.  Some coaches start with prep sheets and taper off.  Others never use them.  The key is serving your client.

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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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