Category: Diagnostic

Game, Set, Match – get them in the right order

To win a tennis match means winning a series of games. The games won will then turn into sets that will then turn into matches.

Balls win matches

“Isn’t that insulting my intelligence?” I hear you rant at the screen. “I know how to win a game of tennis!” Agreed. How about winning in business though?

I come across a lot of business owners who want to win matches but don’t accumulate enough games to win the match.

They are too busy doing the other things assuming victory is theirs as a right. Using the tennis metaphor they will be writing their victory speech or reflecting on the press conference rather than getting on with the grind of winning games.

In business a game could be completing the marketing collateral, writing the job specs, filling in the expenses, doing the budgets, reviewing client satisfaction ratings. Al the small but essential tasks that need to be done and done well.

Do enough of them and you will see progress. The equivalent of a set perhaps. Persist and the match might be yours. Time for you to grasp the racket and head for the base line.

New balls please …

Transform your business performance with coaching and training

runOne vital part of every athlete and sportsperson’s development is finding a coach who fully understands their situation and abilities, and can bring out the very best in them. Business coaches and trainers provide the same service for business people, so why is it that there is still a vast gap between the way coaching is perceived in sport, and the way it is considered in business?

Coaching and training are just as essential for reaching the top in business as they are for sport, and are the best way to make sure you rise from the Sunday leagues to the top flight. Here’s how we think about it:

Development

Coaching and training are vital to your development as individuals and as a business. No matter how much business acumen, knowledge and experience you have, there is always more out there to learn. Coaching helps identify the areas where training is most needed, and helps you to systematically put it into practice when you leave the training room and re-enter the office.

Growth

Often, what’s needed to really push the business up a notch is the impartial outside view of a coach, combined with the focussed direction of a business plan. When you have these, it becomes easier to see where you’re headed and how exactly you’re going to get there. A business coach will help you through the plan you create together, providing an accountability partner and ensuring you aren’t veering off course.

Health

A coach or health expert is an integral part of making sure that an athlete is healthy. As in-tune with their own body as they might be, nobody can give themself a thorough check-up, not even if they are a doctor. It takes someone with the necessary expertise and impartiality to see what’s not working properly, and in business it’s exactly the same. See our article here about the importance of thorough diagnosis in business.

Strategy

Most sports involve some kind of strategy, whether this is psychological or otherwise. It is vital to operate to a strategy in business too. The strategy might not be as straightforward as a 4-4-2 formation – It might instead involve analysis of your current position and deciding what you want to change and how. It might involve preparing for potential setbacks. Your strategy is dependant on your business, and it’s vital for making sure you are a fierce competitor.

trainIf you want to transform your business with coaching and training, there are several options available to you. We are holding an event in partnership with GrowthAccelerator which is aimed at business owners with 5+ employees who are looking to grow.

Former World Number 1 squash player Peter Nichol will be speaking about the importance of training in sport, and in business. There will be an opportunity to talk to us about business coaching and to a Growth Manager from GrowthAccelerator about what you can expect from the service.

Event details: 
Tuesday, April 30th
5.30-8pm
Colston Office Centre, Bristol, BS1 4TR,
Free to attend
Sign me up!

Consultancy is cheap when done early

While browsing the website of a contact we met this week, we saw one quote which really stood out.

“Consultancy is cheap when done early.”

The saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is one that most are familiar with, and consultancy is often seen as a ‘cure’. We choose to see it differently. Enlisting the help of a coach at the beginning of your business can mean avoiding potential pitfalls later on. The key is not to wait for these pitfalls, but to anticipate and circumnavigate them.

While we might wish that we had the benefit of hindsight before a mistake happens, this is usually impossible. But as experienced business coaches, we can give you the benefit of expertise and past experience, which can prove invaluable when faced with a new venture, idea or problem that you’re not sure how to deal with.

We encourage you to think differently about consultancy. To refer to our flight metaphor, when you are ‘in the hangar’, about to take your first flight, it’s important to do the appropriate checks to ensure that all the components fit for purpose. Having a business coach on board at this stage can ensure that robust foundations are laid (see one example of a business we helped take off).

If you are in flight, but want to gain altitude, consultancy can also help. By assessing all aspects of your business, we can find pinch points and areas which are stopping you from breaking through the clouds. The important thing is that you don’t wait until the engines fail to call in an engineer.

Those kinds of repairs can be extremely costly, but with a little work beforehand, many of them could be avoided. One particularly extreme example of advice not followed was the Challenger disaster. Two of NASA’s engineering consultants from Morton Thiokol had spotted a defect in one of the parts of the shuttle, meaning that launching at a low temperature could cause a catastrophe.

Despite their whistleblowing, they were ignored and NASA chose to launch regardless. The result was catastrophe. Had they taken the advice which was readily available, they could have avoided this disastrous outcome.

We are not suggesting that your business will fall foul of such disaster if you don’t enlist a consultant; but the advice and information is available, and it could be the difference between a good business and a great one.

So, consultancy can be cheap – will you choose to spend less now, or more in the long run?

To book a one-to-one with us to find out how your business can gain altitude, call 0117 317 8147 or email us.

When to speak – and when to listen

There are plenty of tales out there of sales pitches which for one reason or another, completely bombed. This one from the Harvard Business Review is one such example.

So, what can we learn from it? A quick summary of the situation: a consultant was referred to a potential client. The referrer gave him plenty of background – he felt prepared. The meeting was unexpectedly reduced to 20 minutes. The potential client complimented the consultant on a recent book, boosting his confidence and encouraging him to cut to the chase. The consultant explained what his approach would be and presented his view of the situation.

At first glance, it might not be clear whether this meeting went well or not. However, the consultant didn’t win the work, and the potential client was not impressed. But why?

Knowing when to speak and when to listen is key.

The consultant felt that he had a good grasp on the situation and could appropriately treat the problem. The potential client was not looking for an approximation of possible treatment, but to be listened to and understood, fully. The pitch was centred around “here’s what I can do for you”, rather than “what do you need?”

“I was listening to gather enough information so I could make a case to Dan that I could solve his problem. In other words, I was listening simply to empower my speaking.”

At Business CoPilot, we live by the mantra “treatment without diagnosis is malpractice”. It’s a saying which, had the consultant known it, might have prevented him from failing in the meeting. His was a botched diagnosis, coloured by what he wanted to gain from the meeting, and how he wanted to be perceived. He made no attempts to listen and react to the potential client, or to see things from his point of view.

“What would I do differently next time? I would sit in the chair I was offered and listen to Dan tell his story. Then I would ask him a number of questions to make sure I could see the situation with his eyes, analyze it from his point of view, and feel his emotions.”

And that is exactly what you get from a 1-to-1 with Business CoPilot.

Contact us now if you would like to start the diagnostic process. Call 0117 317 8147 or email alexh@businesscopilot.co.uk.

7 benefits of business coaching

Here on the Business CoPilot blog, we can sometimes get caught up telling you so much about pertinent business issues that we forget to tell you about what we do and why it works so well. Well, no more!

We know that there are proven benefits to having a business coach (and if you don’t believe us, let these people tell you).

Here’s a list of some of the most cited benefits of our service:

1) You’re the Technician

Some people can find themselves in business without feeling that they are a natural business person. Many of our clients are what Michael Gerber would call ‘the Technician’.

In Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited, the Technician is someone who has skill and expertise in an area, such as an architect or lawyer, and are great at what they do, but might not know how best to build a business around that skill. We use our business experience and knowledge to help you craft a strong business around your talents.

2) We provide an impartial view

It can be difficult to take an objective view of your business when you are a vital part of it. We naturally approach your business with an outsider’s view meaning we can give you impartial advice and opinions. We won’t be critical, only constructive, offering advice on how to grow.

3) “On” rather than “in” the business

This impartiality means that we can help you to work on rather than in your business. We work with you to find the focus and direction necessary to grow, to see your business objectively in all of its component parts, and to assess your vision for the business as a whole.

4) Your confidential sounding board

We provide you with a confidential sounding board and ask you to throw as many ideas at it as you can. We understand that the things which affect you personally also affect the business and your performance, and sometimes talking to someone who can see both the personal and business side can open up sticky points that you weren’t even aware of.

5) Trust

Part of our role as confidential sounding boards means that a trusting relationship is essential, and we are proud of the strong relationships we build with our clients. Opening your books to an outsider can be daunting, but we will always approach them positively and with your interests at the centre of our work.

6) Flexibility

We understand that when you are busy developing your business, time can be an all-too-scarce commodity. We can flex the frequency of meetings and provide the level of support you need, whether it is more or less. Advice is always available at the end of a telephone or via email, if time is not on your side.

7) Vision, plan, focus

Above all, we aim to provide clarity and confidence, through inspecting your vision, helping you create and enact a plan and helping you focus on the business and your goals. We provide support via regular coaching meetings and email and phone contact throughout the process.

Together we think, we plan, we make it happen.

If you’d like to find out what it’s like to have a business coach, we provide a free initial 1-to-1 consultation. Call us now on 0117 317 8147 or email alexh@businesscopilot.co.uk to book a session with us.

It’s Not Enough Just to Know – It’s What You Do that Counts

Business Coaching in Bristol and Bath

Why are you reading this blog?

There are three possible answers to that question:

a) For fun – which I think is unlikely!
b) For practice – which again I think would be highly improbable
c) For knowledge – which, by process of elimination, is the answer most would give

My hunch (and hope) is that you’re looking to gain knowledge on subject matter that is either of interest or importance to you. That’s fine, but perhaps the more important question is: How is gaining the knowledge going to benefit you?

It seems the pursuit of knowledge is something we’re hardwired to do from an early age to improve our opportunities in life; we associate knowledge with power and power with money. One of my favourite gurus, Deepak Chopra, puts it a little more eloquently when he talks about us all having two Goddesses residing in our hearts: the Goddess of Knowledge and the Goddess of Wealth. The more time we focus on the Goddess of Knowledge, the more the Goddess of Wealth vies for our attention by giving us the wealth we desire—a causal reaction, if you like.

Whilst logical enough, for me this doesn’t go far enough, as the gaining of knowledge in itself shouldn’t be the end goal. We can all gain knowledge very quickly and cheaply with the Internet at our fingertips, but what differentiates us is how we use the information.

“Knowledge without action is vanity, and action without knowledge is insanity” – Iman Ghazali

“Without knowledge action is useless and knowledge without action is futile” – Abu Bakr

Applying this thinking to our own business situations, whilst it’s important to know all about our progress via our key performance indicators, website analytics, and management accounts, this knowledge in itself isn’t going to improve performance or help growth without us acting on it. As another of my favourite gurus succinctly puts it:

“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” – Anthony Robbins

There’s therefore a four-step recurring process you should implement and master in your business metrics, which looks something like the cycle pictured here.

A very topical example of this process in action is the SKY racing team’s success in the recent Tour de France. Those running the team realised that by monitoring everything that could be tracked on its own wasn’t enough, as all the other teams also had access to the same or similar data. The differentiator for them was their ability to interpret and react to their findings more quickly and effectively than their competitors. They used “non-cycling” experts in their own specific fields to determine the ideal path to success.

In the same way, business owners could and should set up their own “data utilisation” cycles—either with internal or external experts—to help them collect the most relevant data and realign their strategy/action as a result. As in sport, those who do this faster and better than their rivals gain a critical competitive advantage.

Business Coaching in Bristol and Bath

Online Personality Testing

Understanding DISC Online Personality Testing

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.

The DISC acronym stands for

  • Dominance
  • Influence
  • Steadiness
  • Compliance

Over the coming weeks we will be outlining what each of these mean, the main motivator, the basic fear and other valuable insights that will help you build that successful career and live a life that reflects the real you.

Do keep coming back to see how it all works or call us on 0117 210 32166 for a no obligation discussion.