Posts Taged coach-approach

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/

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Weekend Love, January Twenty Four

Link loveWe’re going to start posting on the weekends some of the great nuggets we’ve found on the web.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally we’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence, is considered one of the best in explaining persuasion.  I encountered an infographic that highlights the six means of influence.  It’s true to Cialdini’s style, so if you like the infographic, pick up the book.

I love Ted Talks. I get their newsletter every weekend.  Last week they included a talk from 2011 on lying, spotting lies, and finding truth.  It’s a great 20-minute break.

As a coach, time management insights always pop up on my radar.  An article on HBR looks at some recent research on The Pros and Cons of Doing One Thing at a Time.  My favorite line in the article is “When tasks accumulate at a frantic pace, the multitasking really picks up, requiring a concentration level that can border on the manic.”

Naomi Dunford is a trainer/coach for entrepreneurs and marketers.  She’s also an engaging writer. This week she wrote on Success Generally Happens after This Part.

From the archives:  a year ago, Leo Babuta wrote on Letting Go of Judging People.  I heartily recommended this as a read.  I periodically return to it.

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Why Sales People Can Become Great Coaches

Today’s top sales people possess different skills than the top ones from a decade ago.  The internet changed everything, including sales skills.

A decade ago, the sales person was in information control.  That’s why you hated sales people.  They knew more than you know and didn’t ever appear to tell everything.  They present the features and benefits of a product in a way that worked to their advantage. Now flash forward.  The best contemporary sales people operate in conversational mode.  You don’t need them for information anymore. The sales person is responsible for helping you sort through all of your information so that you can make a good decision. Market needs have shifted the core skills of the sales person.

Daniel Pink in his book, To Sell is Human, focuses on three core sales skills:  attunement, buoyancy, and clarity. The International Coach Federation stresses similar core competencies for coaches.

Attunement is at the heart of understanding the other person.  It is empathy on steroids. You give up some control in order to step into the other person’s world more fully.  You listen with your head and heart so that you understand the other person in their world, and not so you can sell them on your idea. The ICF stresses co-creating a relationship based on trust and intimacy.  Active listening and awareness are also part of core coaching skills.

Buoyancy is the skill of staying positive in a world filled with “no’s.”  Sales people get this. Top people in sales tell themselves, “I’m just one more ask away from a YES.” By its very nature, coaching requires positivity.  The coach has a goal to create and raise awareness that leads to positive action. If the client isn’t progressing, the coach is charged to “positively confront” the situation.

Clarity is finding the right problems to act on and the right solutions for the situation. For the sales person, it’s finding the right frame for the circumstances.  Coaches do exactly the same thing. Coaches create awareness around an issue and support the client in designing actions that fit the situation.

In short, the same skills that a good sales person has are the same competencies that a coach has.  This is NOT to say that people good in sales are good coaches. That’s like saying a good quarterback will be a good football coach or a great business executive will make a wonderful executive coach.  The potential has to be developed.

Sales and coaching are profoundly different activities.  Just because you are good at one doesn’t automatically make you good at the other.  How do you see the difference?

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Hug the People Who Will Tell You NO

Really, they deserve a hug.   I’m not saying they should get one for “no;” I’m sure you would prefer an affirmative answer.  They get one for being open and forthright enough to tell you that.

Think about it:  Would you rather hear the “no” or be strung along thinking you will eventually get a “yes?”

As a coach, you have two categories of people you want to hear “no” from.

–Potential Clients. For most businesses, you have to have several conversations to get a “yes.”  You could end up spending a month or two cultivating a potential client only to hear that dreaded two-letter word.  What a waste of your time and energy! What do you think could happen if you tell someone early in the sales process, “If this isn’t for you right now, please tell me so I don’t waste your time.  Will you do that?”  You’ve not closed off all business, just coaching for right now.

–Clients.  When a client tells you, “Not a snowball’s chance in hell,” you have learned a lot. You have a clear-cut boundary and you don’t need to go around it.  You can ask, “What am I missing?” and discover other avenues the client wants to explore.

You have a lot to do with someone telling you “no.”  I don’t mean you should be so over the top obnoxious that people can’t stand to be with you.  You can create an atmosphere where someone isn’t afraid to turn you down without damaging the relationship. You keep the future open for possibilities.

What do you need to do to create that openness everywhere around you?

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Post-Convention Coaching of Direct Sellers

Direct Selling Convention ChaosSummertime is convention time for direct selling leaders.  They get to see the fall product line and incentives, network with friends from across the country, recognize the best-of-the-best performers and attend the best training that their company can offer.  And they often return home with their heads spinning because they are not sure of what they want to do.  Here’s a baker’s dozen questions you might use to coach direct selling leaders if this is the case.

1. What’s got you excited?

2. How do you want to show up at the convention next year?

3. Which recognition let you say, “I can do that!”

4. How will the new _______________ fit into your goals?

5. What did you see that’s distracting you from your major business goals?

6. How are your emerging leaders handling the convention?

7. What can you get excited about?

8. What can you get your team excited about?

9. How will you say “no” to things that don’t fit?

10. How will you leverage the new tools?

11. What do you see for yourself?

12. What’s first?

13. What do you want?

I love the convention season.  My direct selling clients are so energized by it all that they can’t stop vibrating.  My job is to support them in pointing that energy where they want it to go.

What other questions come to your mind?

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Coach Like a Child.

After spending the weekend with my two-year-old grandson, I decided that coaches would be much better at their job if they could embrace their inner child. Here are four reasons that come to mind.

Children have no hidden agenda.  They don’t care if you are smarter or cleverer.  They don’t have to fix you.

Children are vulnerable.  How can you, as a coach, stand back and pretend to be unchanged by the powerful things happening in your client?  Children don’t.  They play just as hard as you.

Children ask the best questions.  When a young child asks, “why” it’s not done to belittle or force you to justify your decision.  A child’s “why” is a curious question. Come to think of it, every question is a curious question.

Children maintain a positive atmosphere.   They really don’t want anyone to feel bad. The world’s a funny place if we don’t take it so seriously.  This video below has nothing to do with coaching.  It’s a child laughing.  I dare you to watch it and not join in! Twenty million others have.  That’s the power of a child.

How will you coach more like a child?  

 

 

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Two Lessons from Ultimate Coach University

Lessons from UCUWhile teaching at the Ultimate Coach University three-day program this past week, I was reminded of some of the important lessons I try to hold onto when coaching.  Here are the top two:

Everyone is whole and complete.  While this sounds like something out of New Age encounter groups, it is an important attitude for you to hold as you approach coaching.  It starts with yourself.  If you can’t hold yourself as whole, complete, and capable of making decisions, how will you do that for your clients?  You’ll see yourself as broken and then you’ll see your clients as broken.

Listening is the most important skill.  Good coaching starts with good communication and that starts with listening.  As a coach, you are trying to step in and stay in your client’s world.  That will let you ask the questions.  It ain’t going to happen unless listening takes the penultimate position for you. When you think about the questions, you are centering your thoughts on “you.”  When you focus on listening, you are focusing your thoughts on the client.

This past week, the eleventh cadre attended the Ultimate Coach University Launch in Dallas. The group of students represented five states and experience levels ranging from none to Master Coach.  Their interests were in direct sales coaching, life coaching, and business coaching.  While I’ve taught the material several times before, the coaching reminders are always important.  My sincerest hope is that the student’s took away some important lessons as well.

What about you?  What are the top reminders for you as you enter into coaching?

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A Direct Sales Coaching Demonstration

You don’t often get a chance to see good and bad coaching done side by side.  This is your chance.

Two of Ultimate Coach University students recently had the opportunity to train from the main stage at their company’s leadership conference.  Darla Oelmann and Jana Arkell are top leaders in their direct sales company.  The video isn’t all of the training that they did.  The video is of a skit they did as part of the training.  The first two minutes show how NOT to coach.  The rest shows good coaching techniques.

I must admit to cringing a little during the NOT section.  Haven’t you ever done something and then said to yourself it was all wrong?

Darla and Jana were part of the Ultimate Coach University launch workshop in Columbus, Ohio last November.  We want to say a BIG “Thank you” for spreading the word about good coaching techniques.

 

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Coaching Powerful People

Coaching powerful peopleI’ve had the opportunity recently to start coaching some new clients I would call very strong and outgoing people.  Despite their dissimilar backgrounds, diverse occupations, and geographic distance, they were a lot alike.  Old school sales leaders would call them FIREBALLS or “natural born leaders.”  Organizational psychologists would call them “Type A” personalities.  Organizational behavioralists would call them Alpha’s.

No matter how you classify them, they are not people to be ignored.  My new clients are:

  • public decision makers (“I announced what we were doing.”)
  • unshakable in their confidence (“This is the best way to proceed.  Anything else is flawed.”)
  • domineering over their opposition (“They need to get with it or get out.”)
  • as demanding with others as they are with themselves (“It’s worth doing better than right.”)

In short, they are not people who want to have casual conversations about coaching.  Their time is more valuable than that.

My new clients are prototypical leaders.  Unfortunately, their confidence in their decision making can become the source of their problems.  One way to describe this is by saying that their habits of success have created their blind spots.  They are successful, they are the cause of their success, and their future depends on them doing the same things over and over again.  Because they are strong-willed and confident people, they don’t want to hear that they are wrong.  It’s at this point, when their life and business is trouble filled, everyone knows it, and they have an epiphany that things are not working right.  Of course, a coach should be able to help them.  While I’m sure you have some thoughts on what this can mean, let me suggest three possibilities.

Problems start to show up in their personal lives that aren’t apparent at business.  In their business life, they can roll over problems.  Confusion is your fault; not theirs.  It’s not their job to understand their direct reports; it’s the underlings’ job to understand them.  The job of their personal assistant is to help you understand what they meant.  At home, however, the story is often different.  The alpha is willing to complain about not being understood, laments that “my spouse has changed,” or is having escalating fights with the children.  Interestingly, alpha’s have difficulty seeing themselves as the cause of their problem.  Equally interesting, their typical control methods don’t work.

These alpha personalities will seek a coach to help them understand what’s going on.  The client feels that if they have understanding of “a” particular situation then “all” situations will be open to new understanding.  The client is asking the coach to help them shift their paradigm while being fundamentally blind to the paradigm.  When the alpha finally discovers that understanding is not of an external situation but of their internal psyche, then their world will hold no ceilings.

Somebody stronger comes along.  That somebody may be a new CEO or member on the Board of Directors.  It may be somebody in a different company who has a parallel position and does things completely different from the alpha.  It may be a new hire who seems to be operating at peak efficiency but not like the alpha.  In any case, the strong leader has an indisputable conclusion that something needs to change—even if she is not sure what.

These alpha personalities often think they want a coach to help them plan different strategies.  In most of these situations, the success of the coaching encounter is often transitory.  The alpha is like the gunslinger in the old west—likely to die with their boots on.  They don’t get new understanding or enlightenment.  They get to create a nuance of what they have always done and long term success is illusory.

The job gets too big.  As any successful entrepreneur will tell you, if you are doing it right, eventually you will have to do it differently.  An unwillingness to change will make you into an historic artifact.  These alpha personalities want to discover their role in what they have created.

Often these leaders can find the future role by having the opportunity to explain to a naive third party (the coach) where they are and how they got there.  By the way, this is probably the most common situation for coaches.  Increasingly, companies are hiring coaches to help their new executives find the right role to play.

Whatever the scenario, it is important for the coach to hold alpha’s as whole; capable of getting past the thoughts, actions, and habits that no longer serve them.  Coaching an alpha requires powerful questions that relate to the outcome and desired results.  Questions that lead to more introspection are helpful in the discovery of what the alpha can do.  Questions that lead the alpha to examine the consequences of her behaviors are often a source of revelation for this type of client.

Powerful people want to be effective. Don’t be afraid of coaching the powerful person; be their advocate in discovering how to work from their strengths to create the results they desire.

As I finish writing this, I realize it’s seldom this simple and straightforward. There are other reasons and ways to work with powerful clients. Part of the reason I love working with Ultimate Coach University is the constant reminder that other opportunities and approaches are out there.  Let me know your thoughts and reactions.  I love to have you share your ideas with me.

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What Makes a Coach Authentic?

Authentic coachingWhat does it take to be an authentic coach?  The real deal?

I really want your help answering this question.

If someone claims to be a coach, does that make them one?

Does education and credentials make a coach?

What’s the attitude of an authentic coach?

How does an authentic coach act?

For the curious minded, here’s what prompted this question.  I came across the name of a coach that I didn’t know and wanted to know more about him.   I googled his name. I was surprised to see that one of the articles was from a marketing company talking about how they were marketing his persona as a coach.  What?  This is not to say he wasn’t a coach. I just think that it takes more to be a coach than having your marketing company call you one.

I do have some ideas of how I’d answer these questions, but I’d rather hear from you. You can leave a comment here.  If it’s easier, just leave a comment on the Facebook page.  What makes a coach authentic?

 

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