Posts Taged team-coaching

Six Ways to Create a Coaching Culture

coaching culture

We usually think of culture creation as a haphazard process that just happens.  That doesn’t have to be the case.  While you can’t order people to absorb the team’s culture, you can do things to push it along.  Soren Kaplan recently wrote an article on Six Ways to Create a Culture of Innovation for Fast Company.  The article is a great blueprint for creating cultural change in a big sense.  What if you were to apply his six ideas to creating a culture of coaching?  Here are the six ideas (in bold) and how they fit a coaching culture:

1. Be intentional with your innovation intent.  The goal is to frame the world in the terms you want to see. 

  • Why would you want to support coaching?
  • What does it give you that nothing can or will?
  • How does it affect your team and your customers?

One client of mine is working to develop a team of leaders building leaders.  She knows that’s more than having a coaching element.  She also knows that it won’t happen without coaching.

2. Create a structure for unstructured time.  Think of this as an incubation time.  Eggs don’t hatch as soon as they are laid.  The baby bird has to develop in a protected atmosphere for a while. 

  • How will you take away rigidity in your work expectations?
  • How will you let them explore their ideas about coaching and what it can mean for their life?
  • What will you do to guarantee your team time to incubate and grow under your protection but without your direction?

3.  Step in, then step back.  One company I work with regularly has “lunch and learn” sessions designed to provide a structure that allows exploration.  The participants decide how best to use that time. Within a company, you can find ways to put people together.  For entrepreneurs the task is a little different but still doable. For example, a mastermind group gives you a structure to play around with your ideas.

4.  Measure what’s meaningful.  How will you know you are successful? Finding your return-on-investment is sometimes a difficult if not impossible task.  However, you can measure satisfaction levels.  Ask your people “How is this making a difference for you?”  The answers will be enlightening. Retention is often an important measure of coaching effectiveness.

5.  Give “worthless” rewards.  Find ways to celebrate every day.  Who doesn’t like to get recognition for who they are and what they do?  Just imagine encouraging peer coaching for personal growth opportunities.  What’s stopping you from buying lunch as a way of recognizing people who are exploring new horizons through coaching? You should check out the article from Sean Blaze on 35 ways to do this cheaply.

6.  Get symbolic.  You know when you have entered a church, police station, government office, or YMCA.  You see their symbols everywhere.  What are your symbols that say “we coach here?” Your mission and vision statements, stories, key phrases are all part of the culture.  When you figure those pieces out, your culture become even more obvious.

What do you think?  Which piece strikes you as the one for your focus?

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The Secret of Mastermind Groups

MastermindWho wouldn’t want to be in a mastermind group? And what coach wouldn’t want to work with one?  The name says it all:  MASTERMIND; complete understanding; supreme oneness with anything that matters; peace with the universe.  I’ve wanted to coach a mastermind group for several years but couldn’t get past the planning stage.  I was going to have to describe to possible participants the characteristics of a mastermind group and the reasons to be in one.  What makes a mastermind group unique and why is it better than regular group coaching?  I couldn’t figure it out.  Then the light bulb moment hit.  I was over-thinking it all.  (Isn’t there something ironic about making that decision after 14 months?)  Here is the difference:  The core distinction between group coaching and mastermind group coaching is a single word, “mastermind.”  This word creates three differences.

Mastermind groups are synergistic.  As the group participants come together in a mastermind group, they create a power greater than that which can be explained as simple group dynamics.  They create a mastermind.  Napoleon Hill describes it best, “You may catch a significant suggestion from this statement: No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.” For Hill, this is a spiritual energy that “becomes available to every individual brain in a group.”

Mastermind groups are cooperatively competitive. While that sounds like a contradiction in terms, it’s not.  Every participant in a mastermind group plays full-out and in doing so, pushes everyone else to do the same.  The best competitors in the world will tell you that the competition is really within them.  It’s not a matter of beating the other person; you have to beat yourself.  When you join a mastermind group, you agree to do that: to not hold back; to push everyone else so that they will push you; to cooperatively drive everyone to their best level.  Ginger Cockerham refers to this concept in her book, Group Coaching: A Comprehensive Blueprint.   She writes, “As the group evolves from an unformed group of individuals seeking personal achievement and becomes a formed group of interactive and interdependent members, participants understand that they have a vested interest in supporting and encouraging other members to achieve the outcomes they want.”

Mastermind groups are highly creative. Regular coaching depends primarily on the creativity of one person—the one being coached.  Most group coaching does the same thing.  A mastermind group is different.  When you participate in a mastermind, you have the opportunity to offer alternatives, weigh ideas from the other participants. Napoleon Hill talks about Andrew Carnegie, who surrounded himself with about 50 men in his mastermind so that he had plenty of people to weigh in with their ideas.

Once I developed a clear mindset of the mastermind, I began to understand how my role as a coach shifts.  Here’s how:

  • My job is to build the mastermind.  When I grow the mastermind, everyone in the group benefits.
  • My job is to coach less and facilitate more.  My role is to allow others to coach, challenge, and innovate.
  • My mindset requires me to stay coach-like without behaving like a coach.

Please react.  I’ve you’ve been in a mastermind, what made it different for you?

 

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Speaking Your Client’s Language

I am fascinated with the concept of staying in the coaching space with my client.  While I am listening, reflecting their words and working to hand back their thoughts and feelings, I am grateful for DiSC.

Here is a quick review of DiSC

D: Dominant, Direct, Driven

I:   Influencer, Inspiring, Inviting

S:  Steady, Supportive, Status Quo

C:  Conscientious, Contemplative, Cautious

A person whose primary communication style is “S” or “I” will typically be more in touch with their emotions, so questions that evoke feelings will help them hone in on what they want.

Here is a recent exchange with a person who exhibits a lot of “S”:

How does that make you feel?

“Oh I am overwhelmed and frightened.”

What would it feel like if you were not overwhelmed or frightened?

“Oh I would have an easy peace and know that everyone was fine.”

Tell me more about the feelings of harmony?

“There would just be more peace on my team, more collaboration”

What little steps (remember the “S” wants incremental, not drastic change) could you take to resolve this situation on your team?

“Well I guess I would have to talk to the person who is causing the trouble”

What would that feel like?

“A little scary but I have to do it for that sake of the team”

How can you approach her and maintain your sense of harmony?

“I am going to ask her first if we can talk about something that isn’t comfortable for me to talk about.  If she says yes I will describe my observations.”

And what will you do if she is unwilling to budge?

“Oh that would be so sad, but I guess I would have to let it go.”

Can you see how the use of questions that includes feelings, harmony, and help the client to own her solution?

Speaking each client’s language through rate, tone, and words really does get to the heart of the client’s known and unknown world.  When I use words, nuances, and questions that resonate with a client, they are more aware of their own thinking.

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How to Start Coaching Someone

Whether you are a direct seller coaching a down line member or a professional coach signing a new client contract, beginning a coaching relationship with clear expectations is important.

Creating a specific  time, calling procedure, setting a length for each session are essential logistic pieces to establish.  When you are contracting, the number of coaching sessions is an obvious part of the agreement.  I strongly recommend that if you are coaching your down line leader, you create a beginning and an end to the coaching agreement as well.

You might say, “Let’s begin this Monday and go for 12 weeks (or whatever time you choose).  We can assess the value for you at that time.” By setting a beginning and ending time the coaching part of your relationship is a bit more formal.  We have found that there are less “missed calls” or “I can’t meet today” with there is a finite length of time.  In essence the team member you are coaching takes it more seriously than just “I will talk to you each week.”

In the same manner, establishing a specific time for the call puts boundaries that take the coaching relationship to a structured agreement.

Lots of coaches use a Coach Prep Sheet for each session.  In the DSWA audio series coming out this fall, there is a great example of a Coach Prep Sheet in the accompanying workbook that direct sellers can use to help their team member gain more clarity about the call.

Personally, I keep notes on the person I am coaching, write down their action steps for the week and then email them to the person so they are talking points for the next call. That way the person I am coaching is always moving toward their bigger goal.

Whatever you do, make sure that you are creating a safe, defined space for the person you are coaching to set their own goals, create their action plans, and honor their time with you.

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Help Your Team Get Personally Motivated

The word motivation comes from the root word for “motor” or movement and interestingly also the same root for emotion.  As a leader you can influence others to actions, you can create an environment that taps into personal growth and achievement, but you really can’t “motivate” a team member to get up and get going.

As a coach, recognizing the motivation is primarily internal is extremely important.  You have an opportunity to support your team member or client to discover their inherent, internal motivation, and then tap into that motivation to become their best.

Listening is the first step in coaching someone to find their motivation.  Listen to the words being said and the words not being expressed.  Listen for patterns that touch on the emotions that move your client.  Listen for the change in tone, pitch, and volume when a team member describes events that touched them or a time when they were “in the zone.”  This kind of listening takes a lot of energy, but in a sense you are being the “ears” for your team member as they describe what drives them, what brings them joy, what causes them to get going.

Asking powerful questions allows your team member to begin to talk about the things that motivate them.  Asking “What is your why?” is really not a powerful question because while most people know it they haven’t articulated it.  You, the coach, have an opportunity to allow your team member to describe the feelings, thoughts, and reasons that make up their personal motivation.

Tapping into the internal drivers will help your team members to stay in touch with their personal motivation.  Reminding them of their unique motivations creates an environment of personal growth and achievement.  Speaking their strengths to them and encouraging them to spend time thinking about their own personal motivation will support them in staying motivated.

 

 

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Three Steps to Help Your Team Increase Productivity

Increasing productivity in a sales team is golden!  You earn more, they earn more and everyone is happy.  So what can you do to increase productivity?  Here are a couple of thoughts that have worked for many of my clients who have adopted a coach approach to increasing productivity.

  1. Use bottom up goal setting.  This one is tough because many of you have been giving numbers to hit or goals to achieve. This is the top down goal setting method common in business.  Do your best to resist breaking your goals down into what they “need” to do.  Instead, spend time with key producers asking what they want to achieve.  More often than not, their goals are more ambitious than yours. 
  2. Use coaching to develop action steps.  After you discover what they are committed to do. Ask more questions to design an action plan with them.  This works to help them break down the goal into smaller chunks and even bite size time increments.  You might say, “What are you doing this week?” Follow through with “When do you want to do it?” and express your belief that they will make it happen.
  3. Find out how you can support them.  One of smartest sales leaders I know has said, “Do you want me to push you, pull you, or get out of your way?”  Remember you can always check in, change the way you follow up with your team.  Allowing your team the autonomy of deciding how you follow up with them fosters independence. 

Make increasing productivity a win-win process. Learn what is important to them and be sure they recognize increasing productivity as a path to achieving the benefits they care about. Ask, “What’s in it for the other person to perform well?” and “Why would they care about increasing productivity?” Discuss the benefits openly and seek creative ways to reward desired behaviors.

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