Category: Coaching (page 1 of 7)

Team of two – making it work

Team of Two  

This is one way to improve job satisfaction and organisational effectiveness.

 

The idea

Much of the business of an organisation takes place between pairs of people. These interactions can be positive and developing or frustrating and destructive. You can improve them using simple methods, providing people are willing to listen to each other.

“Team of two” will work between secretaries and managers, managers and directors, consultants and clients or engineers working on a job together. It will even work between life partners.

It does not work when the relationship is so broken down that either party would rather have a battle than do anything to make it better.

The method

Each person writes down 1) How they think they could help the other person and 2) How they think the other person could help them.

The hypothetical example of a manager and secretary will make this clearer.

Manager’s list

Things I, manager, could do to help you Things you, secretary, could do to help me
Let you know where I am going when I leave the office. Tell me what you need from me so you can give me the best help.
Stop giving long urgent tasks after 4pm Organise my office and filing

Secretaries’ list

Things I, secretary, could do to help you Things you, manager, could do to help me
Talk to other secretaries on site to see if they have good admin. ideas we could use Listen to me when I am overloaded
Learn to use the spell checker! Say “Hello” to me when I come in

The parties then share their lists and create a joint list as below.

Combined list

Things I, manager, could do to help you Things you, secretary, could do to help me
Let you know where I am going when I leave the office. Tell me what you need from me so you can give me the best help.
Listen to you when you are overloaded Talk to other secretaries on site to see if they have good admin. ideas we could use
Stop giving long urgent tasks after 4pm Organise my office and filing
Say “Hello” when you come in Learn to use the spell checker

The two people now discuss the information and decide what they will do.

A person may say:

  •  “I can’t do that because……” . The request might violate your values, by being (say) unethical, or it might be politically unacceptable, or take too much time.
  • “I would be prepared to meet your request if you would help me with this one of mine”. The request might demand work or a change of attitude. You would both win eventually.
  • “I would be prepared to meet your request if you would help me with this one of mine”. The request might demand work or a change of attitude. You would both win eventually.

It helps people to follow through with their decisions if they record and preferably display their agreements.

Play the negotiation straight. If you use tactics or manipulation, then people will not use the technique again. They will also become suspicious of all the management techniques you use.

Make your requests small, clear and doable. It is more useful to ask someone to say “Hello” in the morning than to “Be more considerate”.

Aim for equity in the negotiations. If people “give in” to every demand they will feel exploited later. People who want something for themselves for everything they give will lose co-operation. People will think they are mean.

Give the process enough time. The expectations take time to clarify. This is often the first time people have talked directly about how they work together.

I have used these ideas and found that the exercise easily led to free, open and positive discussions and decisions about all aspects of the work together, from the day to day, filing etc to the strategic, about priorities. One common decision was for the two individuals involved to attend some meetings together so she or he would understand more about each other’s work and thus be able to make better decisions about what was important. This tool will not work if the relationship has so broken down that the parties do not want to make improvements.

Finally

Please play with these ideas and use them in any way that makes sense to you. If you stick to giving and receiving practical help and treating both parties fairly it will work well, if the people want to make their relationship work.

I am indebted to Nick Heap for his creation and development of the content above.

Motivating myself by becoming a jobsworth

Strategic Sales Management Training CourseHaving read umpteen books on motivation I knew that the key to success lay in writing a list of activities, prioritise them and reward myself when completed. Note that the key was in writing down the list. There is something about writing it down that somehow seems to make it more real than typing it, or dictating it.

Here are the five things on my list as it stands now:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Johari’s Window
  • How to promote DISC personality assessments
  • Get new client

After my second cup of coffee I sat down to go through the list and found it very demotivating. So much so that I closed my special Moleskin finely crafted notebook, purchased specially as a component of my motivational toolkit, and went off to reflect. This blog is the outcome.

Looking at the list it was obvious that the activities were either huge chunks of work, or not SMART or were outcomes in their own right and not activities.

So I rewrote the list:

  • Website – finish off formatting the text by end of Thursday
  • Write one 400 word blog highlighting an aspect of work that clients might struggle with by 10.00 Thursday
  • Read three articles on Johari’s Window and make comprehensive notes to assess if it should be part of the coaching offering by COB on Friday
  • Review Google analytics for DISC personality assessments to calculate if it is viable as a means of promoting it
  • Using the dB of HR contacts, make 10 calls to discuss their attitudes to coaching and mentoring by COB Friday

Much better. These are jobs that I can crack on with and do. It was worth working on the list to make it work. In fact, the second one on the list is now complete and it is only 09.16!!

 

Make yourself scarce

Exit signMake yourself scarce

No, I don’t mean go away. I mean make what you do or who you are a scarce resource and see what happens next.

It works for me. Too many times in the past I have made myself a commodity and then wondered why no one was prepared to pay a premium. If I delivered copy writing it generated little in terms of value. If I delivered marketing advice it had the same impact. Why? Because they were generic and there are so many others out there promoting a similar service.

I like it rare

So I changed my offering that reflects who I am and what I want to be. My personality, background, training, education, experiences all add up to make me unique. And that uniqueness is where the value is. Because what people buy in the coaching, mentoring, knowledge industry is a point of view. One that is interesting, insightful, worth hearing.

By focusing my offering on my uniqueness I am being authentic and in doing so make it easier to be found by those people who value my point of view.

Slow down a moment

Before you go finding out what makes you unique in the hope of making a fortune there is another part of the puzzle to solve. Uniqueness or scarcity is not enough. If I were an underwater basket weaver I will most likely be alone in my skills sets. But I will not justify high fees because there is no need for this service, no matter how good I am at it. (If I am wrong, let me know and I will start the training to become one.)
The other factor that determines value is the ability to make a positive difference. If your uniqueness makes a real difference in another’s life then they will pay for it. The bigger the difference the higher the premium.

Compare and contrast these two offerings.

One is the ability to rework the formula in a spreadsheet so that it is error free. That is worth paying for if it matters to the person who owns the spreadsheet.

The second offering is the ability to negotiate the best exit strategy for a CEO of a multi-million pound company. This too is worth paying for.

The question is – who gets more? I suggest that it is the latter who gets the bigger paycheck.

So make yourself scarce and make a positive difference and then see what happens next.

Overcoming push back to change

Working through a change programme

Recognise this famous quote?

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – I don’t speak that good French so rely on the translators to tell me that it means: “The more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.”

In my years of working as an executive coach I have found that the hardest thing to overcome is the inherent resistance to change. It seems that in almost everyone I have come across there is some resistance or push-back to change. 

To make sense of this I looked at the various graphs showing how change is perceived and the one that came up most was the Kubler-Ross model, see below.

kubler-ross-model

The problem with this model for me was that Denial was not the first stage. And that Self Esteem was not one of the variables that were impacting on the change.

It took only a few minutes to realise why. The Kubler-Ross model is useful when explaining emotional reactions to a death or serious loss.

It was not applicable for senior business people engaging in a change programme.

What I found was that there were different factors at play and with it came very different responses.

In every single case the initial reaction to change was positive. They all relished the idea of discovery as shown below

Reaction to change

Where things became problematic was during the discovery phase where some of the strongly held beliefs were challenged. That lead to Dissonance.

If it was left untreated the Dissonance overwhelmed the coachee and they gave up.

If they persisted however, they got through this and went through to the design phase where their enthusiasm started to climb and their desire to progress returned.

It is then that an external support network can really help. They can be objective, reassure, be empathetic and open up new lines of thought. That is what a good executive coach can play a part.

So how might you overcome the dissonance and move to the Design phase?

 

Words make big things small

Words make big things small

 

“How do I know what I am thinking until I’ve said it” said a very good friend of mine during a coaching session. She was coaching me and I asked her how she felt about something I had said.

 

Words matter

 

And that is the one point from this blog. That words are the very essence of thought. And if you don’t have the opportunity to say them or write them down, then you are at risk of losing the value of any given thought.

 

Loneliness is such a drag*

 

In any business role we are lonely. Whether it is the CEO or the admin clerk. Loneliness in the business sense is tangible. It has an impact. That feeling of loneliness can bring with it a whole heap of issues. We become anxious about what others think, what they are saying about us and our abilities.

 

Coaching culture

 

The answer is straightforward – develop a coaching culture where people can speak out their thoughts. An open, free ranging, time to talk and listen.

Productivity will increase, engagement will increase and well being will soar.

 

Call us 

 

If you dont know how to set up a coaching culture give me a call on 0117 317 8147

*Jimi Hendrix – Burning the midlight lamp

How not to be found – the junior sales prevention officer fails again – Part 3

This is part 3 of a dialogue between a senior sales prevention officer and a junior seeking to learn the ropes. Sales prevention is ubiquitous. It can lurk in the back ground or be found right at the customer interface.

If you have an example of sales prevention do let me know. Now, on with the story.

Remora!

What do you mean they found your company on the internet! How did you allow that to happen? As a Junior Sales Prevention Officer did you not realise that prospective clients would be looking for your company using the internet? Your excuse that “Only those under 18 years of age would use the internet.” is way out of date. It is THE way to be found. You have been lax in your duties and you may need to rethink your future.

Everyone knows that Awareness is the first part of the buying process. When clients become aware that they have a problem, they start to search for possible solutions. Being hard to find is where you should have focused your energies. I accept that it was easy for me in the past. We ensured we remained hidden by not subscribing to any form of advertising, avoiding any relationship with the press and refusing to subscribe to directories. I did this by informing the Board that our investment funds would be better spent on making further enhancements to the product. A better product would surely attract more customers I argued. They bought it hook, line and sinker. We had so many product enhancement projects underway that the Board do not have the time to look at the languishing sales figures.

With the age of social media however I do accept that your job is harder. But not impossible. Start with the website as that is where most potential customers would go to find you. Imagine a site that allowed the customer to enter the site and then be unable to find what they are looking for. Make navigation or search really difficult, that is the goal. Moving on. It doesn’t have to be too technical. Start with a really slow download speed by using the cheapest server and low tech or free website package. Ensure the navigation bar is poorly worded and links to the wrong pages. Post updates very rarely and ensure that it the site is littered with spelling errors. Done well then they will bounce right off the site. A job well done.

You then cite SEO as being the bain of your existence. It is unless you understand that SEO is Search Engine Obfuscation. Here is how you prevent yourself being found online. Start by using search terms that have absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with what your customer might type into a search engine. Litter the content of your pages with worthless drivel. Use jargon that obscures what you do. Jumble the text around and pack the words in tightly by assuming that the last thing clients want to see is any white space on the site. Avoid punctuation. And most importantly do not seek to craft any form of narrative that might suggest passion or emotional engagement with what you do. Design is for wimps. Branding is for cows. Just words, no images to brighten up the site or videos to ensure they have something to engage with.

Do not help the client by writing about the benefits they may receive from working with you. Just list the features of your offering. That way Google will rank your page as not relevant to your prospective customers and you will wallow on page 15 or 16. You will never be found. That should be your goal. Personally, I set a target that I will never appear higher than page 20. It works for me. It is so much quieter here once the machines sit idle when the incoming orders cease. I can really think creatively about preventing sales and earn my crust.

So my dear Remora, think about ways to hide and not be found. Google is smart but you are smarter. They use spiders and robots whereas you have the god given gift of articulate thought. Sales prevention requires the use of top level thinking if you are to succeed.

Coach, Consultant, Mentor, Advisor – what’s the difference?

How to choose the best coach for you.

How to get the best support to help you to resolve your dilemma.

Executive coaching and sales mentoring BristolA question we are often posed here at the Business CoPilot. But the question is usually posed in a slightly different way. It’s usually more subtle.

“What can you do for me?” or  “How can you help me?” might be the way the question is framed, but the underlying question is actually something like this.

“I am not sure what I want and am equally unsure how you can help. The terms coach, consultant, mentor, advisor don’t help clarify the situation for me. What can I do to resolve this uncertainty?”

Given that you have a specific problem, here is my take on the differences between these terms.

  • Coach – helps you to do it for yourself
  • Consultant – does it for you
  • Mentor –  shows you how to do it, as they have done it before
  • Advisor – gives you advice specific to the problem

Imagine then you have a specific problem with say improving sales.

As a coach I would help you to define the problem, work with you to develop possible solutions that work for you, help you to decide which solution you want to take and then work with you to make it happen. It doesn’t really matter that I have sales experience (which I have), it is more important that I have coaching experience.

As a consultant I would work with you to determine the problem, define a solution and then implement all or part of the solution.

As a mentor I would help you to define the problem, then using my experience in managing complex sales teams, I would suggest ways ahead, obstacles that would be faced and how to get around them.

As a sales advisor, I would offer advice as to how to go about solving the dilemma but would not get involved with the implementation.

So long as the problem is about sales these answers above are relevant. But not in all situations. If the problem was about the impact on the balance sheet of a certain course of action, or about the best way of implementing a tax efficient benefits package, I could coach but not act in any other capacity.

The answer to the question then might be something like this. The it being the problem.

“I want to sort it out myself with some support.” – you need a coach.

“I want to get someone else to sort it out but want it to be right.” – you need a consultant.

“I want to be shown how to do it by someone who has been there before.” – you need a mentor.

“I want to understand what is required to sort it and will do the rest myself.” – you need an advisor.

Hope that helps. What is your take on it?

Click here to go back to read more on executive coaching and sales mentoring in Bristol

 

 

The Ditch List – making room to expand

Executive coaching and sales mentoring BristolHow many hours do you work a day, a week, a month? Loads is probably the answer.

So when someone suggests that you need to take on additional tasks – you groan.

But these new tasks might be the ones that will change things around for you or your business. Time to get the strategic direction right, sort out the offices, resolve that nagging IT issue, reflect on an investment plan. How about those people tasks? Done well you could change the initials HR from Human Remains to Human Resources.

“But” you cry, ” I simply don’t have the time to add to my list”.

Well, that might be true now, but what if you listed all the tasks on to a spreadsheet. Then, allocate a time per day, week, month you spend on them . Using the data sort button, sort them on the basis of time spent, with the largest at the top. Then add a new column. Use the formula to incrementally add the totals, which is the cumulative total. I hope that makes sense.

Now look down the list. And when you get to say 30 hours, stop. Anything below that line needs to be either delegated, ditched or deferred. Play around with it for a day or so, but then take control of your time. It is perishable and can only be used once. Use it wisely.

Hope this helps. Any ideas as to how to maximise time would be gratefully received

Business CoPIlot – Executive coaching and sales mentoring to help keep them on the business flight plan

Writing a plan – what is the point?

Writing a plan – what is the point?

By the time you have written the plan everything has probably moved on and it is already out of date. Or the process of writing the plan has left you in no fit state to carry on the day job.

Executive coaching BristolOK, a plan will give you something to focus on, if you find yourself with time on your hands. It will also help you to work towards an objective or goal. But with so many areas to consider, so many scenarios to incorporate into the plan to make it worthwhile, one has to ask the question – is it all worth it?

My suggestion. Why not write down a completed actions list?

That is one way I have found of capturing activity to reflect if it is going in the right direction. I know in my own mind what i am heading towards, i did that heavy lifting months ago. All I want to see is how I am progressing towards that goal, not how much still lies ahead.

By writing down the work done and the time, I can then look back with a sense of pride about what has been achieved. I can also change direction much quicker if my goals have changed.

So what do you do – do you take the adage that failing to plan is planning to fail? Or do you record activity and let the future take care of itself?

Let me know.

DISC Personality Assessment

Personality Assessments – DISC 

 

Organisations are made up of individuals, each of whom is unique. Gender, age, experience, skills, aptitudes, upbringing and so on. They each have strengths, limitations, motivational needs and have their own individual preference as to how they wish to be treated.

 

Seek to understand and be understood

 

If we can understand ourselves more, then we can enhance the way that we interact with those around us.

The DISC Personality Assessment helps us to decode the language of behaviour, the way we interact with one another and within groups.  What does DISC mean? It is an acronym made up of the first letter of each of the main personality traits.

 

  • D    = Dominance
  • I      = Influence
  • S    = Steadiness
  • C    = Compliance.

 

In less than 20 minutes the assessment provides an accurate insight into how you behave at work, answering questions such as: what are your strengths and limitations? How do you communicate? What motivates you? How can you enhance your value in the work place?

 

DISC – what it means  –  have a look at how it works here.

 

How does it work?

 

Research has shown that behavioural characteristics can be grouped together in four major areas called personality styles or traits. People with similar personality profiles tend to exhibit specific behavioural characteristics common to that profile.

Knowing who you are, what motivates you and almost as important, what demotivates you, is the foundation of a successful and fulfilled life. It means you can play to your strengths and work around your limitations.

Once you know how you would like to be treated, it gets even better.  Once you have a full grasp of your own self-image, you can then start to discern how others might think, act and feel.

After years of research we have concluded that the best determinant of personality traits or styles is the DISC personality assessment.

 

What do I need to do?

 

It is a simple online personality test comprising 28 questions. It takes less than 20 minutes to complete.

Our DISC personality assessment gives you the means to motivate, stimulate and encourage people in your organisation by raising people’s self-awareness, self-esteem and confidence.

 

What are the benefits of assessing personality or temperament?

 

Here are the key benefits:

  • Makes a good team great by building mutual understanding
  • Increases motivation as each person is treated uniquely
  • Improves communication and trust
  • Becomes a powerful force for change
  • Turns around underperforming teams
  • Enhances personal and team courage – breaks down the blame culture

 

Does it show ‘good’ and ‘bad’ qualities?

 

No. It provides an understanding of how a person prefers to behave at work and the characteristics they will demonstrate. There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers or ‘good’ or ‘bad’ qualities.

 

If you want to know more about how the Business CoPilot DISC Personality Assessment can help you or your team call us now on 0117 317 8147 or email me at robh@businesscopilot.co.uk. If you wish to purchase an assessment, the cost is £133.50 plus VAT.

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