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Seven Tips to Stealth Branding Your Coaching Culture

Minolta DSCStart with an assumption:  you want more coaching in your company. Maybe you are just getting started and want to do more than hang on until “coaching” catches on.  Maybe you want to find those pockets of resistance.  Maybe you are tired of the snickers and snide comments from unbelievers who haven’t bothered to discover what coaching has to offer.  Now is the time to do some stealth branding.

Follow with a confession: I am not a marketer and I certainly can’t teach anyone about branding.  However, I do know branding when I see it.  Branding is what sets you apart.  It’s your difference; your uniqueness.  Now is the time to start introducing (by stealth) some branding elements to introducing a bit of change in the culture.

Here are seven easy ideas to start changing your culture.  They are small ideas that when consistently pressed, will get people talking and thinking differently.

1. Change the language.  Start to introduce some coaching language into the company. As the language shifts, the thought patterns tend to shift as well.

When someone comes to you and asks for help, reply by asking, “How can I support you?” The shift from help to support introduces independence rather than dependence.

Descriptive words and phrase will come to you as you get started.  Maybe a phrase jumps out at you from a coaching book or a class.  Claim it, own it, and use it religiously.

2. Answer with questions rather than statements (thoughtful questions prompt better thoughts and promote independence).  What have you done so far? What gets you excellence?  What’s stopping you?  What’s your breakthrough idea?

3. Work from a model.  When setting a goal, set a SMART goal.  Push others to do the same.  Broader coaching models work well for problem solving situations.  Sir James Whitmore in Coaching for Performance introduces the GROW model (goal, reality, options, will).  At Ultimate coach University, we teach a model called CDDC (connect, discover, design, commit).

4. Tell your Story. As anyone in sales will tell, you, “facts tell, stories sell.”  Use your personal narrative to show your results.  You can give more vivid details about your life than anything else.

5. Find a metric. Discover the one thing that your coaching seems to influence and measure it.  Retention? (HINT: retention is almost always improved.)  Personal performance? Team building? Manager development? Sales? Recruiting?

6. Gather love hugs. As you coaching and use coaching in your other activities, your team will start to appreciate your effort. They will share their hugs. You can share them, too. Put them on your white board.  Add them to the bottom of your newsletter.  Ask them to say something in public. Love hugs are the start of gaining momentum.  Let the MO flow!

7. Shrug away resistance. You know you have a great idea. Would you want to be ignored or resisted? What are you worried about? When the resistance starts to show, just smile cryptically and go about your business.  Your detractors will be curious and their curiosity will lead them into the change.

What do you think?  Are their simplere ideas that come to mind?  Please share.

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A Business Lesson about Word of Mouth Marketing

Most coaching practices are working on a shoe-string in terms of having a marketing budget.

And the good news is this: The most effective means of marketing is FREE! Yes I’m talking WOM (word of mouth marketing). Generally speaking, utilizing WOM takes a tiny bit of effort to initially engage and even less effort to maintain.

Take a look at how much trust is accrued by the following types of advertising/promotion. Notice the WOM is at the top of the chart!

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Now that you know this, what do you do about it? Great question and here are a few ideas:

1 – Get your business set up with Google Reviews. You can do YELP as well however, only experienced YELPERS will net your visible reviews.

2 – Have a Facebook and Web presence BUT don’t pay to have someone else do your Social Media marketing if your budget can’t justify a clear and evident ROI (return on investment).

3 – Sign up for the Church of the Customer Blog where this information came from and more like it will flow to you each month.

4 – Click here and download my interview with the authors of this Blog, Ben and Jackie as we outline the key three ways for you to engage Customer Evangelism into your marketing strategy.

And if you live in Utah, you’ll want to see Jackie Huba speak about WOM and Monster Loyalty on June 20th at Westminster Collage. Click on this link to register for the event.

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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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