Archive for category Personal
Extract from How to Sell Coaching.
Coaching is not mentoring. Coaching is not consulting. Coaching is not training. Coaching is not therapy – but it’s probably more akin to therapy, and the term ‘therapy’ is still struggling to find a foothold in corporate cultures where problems are seen as weaknesses.
Coaching is about helping people to make breakthroughs to improve their business or personal performance. The ‘coachees’ might already be at the top of the ‘performance tree’, they may be struggling, or (like most people) somewhere in between.
My value proposition is hopefully clear and simple. “I will help people improve their performance by 30% or more in a matter of weeks, and in some cases, days.”
My definition of coaching, addresses the issues that inhibits clients from making breakthroughs. These issues are almost always emotional issues and not intellectual issues.
Case Study: Me and My Comfort Zones
In my early years in sales, by and large, I got on very well with clients’ operations managers. When I met or presented to a client’s more senior management, I would do my best to make sure I was structured and grounded my proposals in facts and data. Nonetheless, I often felt nervy and that came across in my body language and in the tonality of my voice. Senior clients would often think to themselves, “Paul does his ground work and thinks things through but he’s uncomfortable at this level. If I’m going to take his proposals up the line I’ll need to involve someone more senior from his company”.
*** End of case study ***
Coaching takes people outside their comfort zone in a safe and secure manner; so that a client is okay if things don’t work out the way they want, the first time around. It provides the client with tools to learn equally from successes and setbacks – especially in the domain of relationships. (For a guide to forging excellent business relationships I refer you to Quick Guide III: How to Bridge the Pillars of Successful Business Relationships.)
I have found that business, and life for that matter, is all about relationships, relationships, relationships.
When there is no-one with the power of veto to stop what you’re trying to achieve, including yourself, then you cannot fail. You succeed.
Mentoring or consulting, on the other hand implies that you are dealing with an expert; someone who has first-hand experience of new areas in your line of business; experience that you do not have. They might, for example, have studied world-class practice in a new business model in which you wish to engage. They will be capable of identifying the gaps between where you are now and where you wish to be. They will be able to customise a business model that meets your precise needs to fill those gaps. They will transfer skills over to you to fill those gaps, so that at some point in time you no longer feel dependent on their input.
The outcomes for both coaching and mentoring/consulting are the same, improved business performance and improved personal skills. Both get you to do things differently, whether those things are old or new. But the processes of achieving improved business performance are different and often complimentary. Coaching primarily addresses the emotional journey (which is still often overlooked) involved in change, whereas consulting/mentoring primarily addresses its intellectual journey.
The two categories, coaching and consulting/mentoring, require different mindsets: non-expert and expert. The two categories each require a different approach as well, directive and non-directive. I’ll explain what I mean by ‘non-expert’ and ‘non-directive’ through the following case study and later, when I define what coaching is and is not, to a prospective client.
Case Study – Top 5 Global IT Firm, Managers as Coaches
I coached a European team of managers who were already equipped with/‘trained-in’ an oft used coaching technique (GROW: Goal, Reality, Options and Way forward). BUT, they were not equipped to help their salespeople ‘grow’ their performance by more than a few percentage points. Going for, say, 30% growth requires a much more profound approach.
It involves taking people though a structured process outside their comfort zone to do some things very differently, often things that in the past, have anxiety associated with them. This level of coaching is not a competence that coaches will pick up in a two/three day training course. It requires that they experience passing though their own anxiety barriers – so that they understand more fully the emotional journey that they’ll subsequently be coaching others through – by taking their own ‘medicine’ first.
Here are testimonies from the sales managers I coached, about what it’s like to be coached and subsequently coach people to increase their sales by over 30%. Some refer to specific tools and techniques which they hadn’t received in their conventional ‘coaching-training’.
Coaching requires a completely different mindset. When I use it the process gets an A* for managing poor performers.
Coaching isn’t an individual session; it takes place over a period of time to get to a solution. Using ‘2nd position’ (how to stand in another person’s shoes) has helped enormously. It’s made me face some of my own demons.
I took the material and applied it rigorously to coaching X. The meeting wasn’t easy! I faced my demons and got on with it. It’s not there yet but the mountain has moved.
I’ve used the ‘Success and Setback Analyses’. (Two tools that, respectively, ‘paint’ both sides of the boundary of, or limits to, the success we create for ourselves.) I’ve overcome my shyness… I feel I’ve moved out of my comfort zone.
I am more rigorous in the ‘Analytical and Process Quadrants’ (a ‘thinking preferences’ analytical tool) and it’s paid off.
I took away the ‘Being at my peak’ tool from our session and used it – it’s brilliant.
The ‘Being at my peak’ tool helps me synchronise with people.
I am more effective in how I use my time and am more prepared for important meetings.
First two sessions were particularly useful. I would not have gotten through that month without the self management tool.
When I do follow the coaching process it works and it fails (I fail???) when I don’t.
This team of sales managers, in a Top 5 Global IT Company, went on to receive an award for being the top performing sales branch across Europe within six months of participating in this endeavour.
*** End of case study ***
Note that, in the case study above, the managers focused on taking themselves (and thus learn how to lead others to do the same) outside their comfort zones. In the subsequent coaching of their people, the managers specifically did not focus on directing their coachees what to do – even though previously, the managers all had successful careers in sales. Instead, the managers coached their direct reports to explore the space beyond their ‘boundaries of current success’.
In a nutshell…
- Coaching implies a non-expert and non-directive approach.
- Consulting/mentoring implies an expert and directive approach.
Herein follows a short extract from For The Love of Lilith & How to Put Love into Practice (and Non-attach yourself To It)
We are encouraged in western convention to ask for forgiveness and forgive others ‘who trespass against us’.
Nothing is random. You attract everything that happens to you. (If you don’t subscribe to this notion then act as if it were true for now and practise self-forgiveness as prescribed below. You’ll find it self-empowering.) If ‘something untoward’ happens to you, you attracted it for a reason. If you’re going to forgive anyone, start by forgiving yourself for attracting that ‘something untoward’ into your life in the first place. Even when I understood this, I still got the wrong end of the stick for a while.
I used to say something like, “What I did was wrong. I’m due (or it’s) karmic retribution. In time I hope I can forgive myself.”
Here’s the question. Which part of me is to (self-) forgive which other part of me? Which part of me has the right? Which part of me has the desire? Not the heart, it doesn’t judge. Like the sun, the heart shines on all. If the heart doesn’t judge, the notion of forgiving myself for doing ‘something bad’ is non-existent, in the heart that is.
Conventional self-forgiveness (‘good’ forgiving ‘bad’) is nothing more than a head trip. It’s all in the mind. It’s perhaps a start in the right direction. You may wish to forgive yourself or someone else with good intention. But if your forgiving is borne of a moralistic judgement it’s not from the heart and thus fundamentally flawed.
Real forgiveness is ‘being’ as if the thing that which was untoward never occurred in the first place. Forgiveness is more than something you do; it’s who you are – in your thoughts, intentions, actions when you operate from the heart, from spirit.
That’s what being in the present, moment-by-moment, actualises: self-forgiveness, free from the past, free from fear, free to be who you really are, spirit in human form, light (hu-man means ‘light being’), love.
And when you are love, being love, guess what? You free yourself to choose.
“After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang out…”
The Perseids: this shower of “shooting stars” does not peak until 12 August, activity is already underway. And it is a great year to observe the Perseids because moonlight will not interfere to drown them out.
As with all meteor showers, the meteors are produced when the Earth ploughs through a stream of dust left by a comet orbiting the Sun and they flare in our atmosphere.
They are called Perseids because, if you trace their streaks backwards, they appear to radiate from a point in the constellation of Perseus. This is an effect of perspective, like straight rail tracks converging to a distant point, and in fact the meteors are travelling on parallel paths.
The comet responsible for the Perseids was Swift-Tuttle. The dust particles in space, called meteoroids, and about the size of grains of sand, are now spread right along the swarm’s orbit. This means we see Perseids every August. They are a reliable shower, always rich in activity, although the numbers vary according to how dense the orbiting stream is at the point where we intersect.
The stream is broad too, with the first Perseids appearing in our skies in late July and the final stragglers falling well into the second half of August.
Where to look? The whole sky. The shooting stars will seem to come from the constellation Perseus, in the northeastern sky. But they may appear anywhere as quick streaks of light.
Where not to look? Do not look at the moon or anything bright. Your eyes need to get used to the dark. The full moon will cut down the number of meteors likely to be seen see. By dawn the moon will be low in the western sky so look east.
Where should I go? Anywhere dark with a nice expanse of open sky. Leave the cities if you can.
When to watch? Meteor showers are best after always best after midnight but because of the full moon it’s best to try the hour or two before dawn.