As a coach, I am often asked to define what it is I do.
And it inspired me to think about what most of us want.
Directions on the path.
If you can see where you want to go. See the path. See the benefits. If you can envision the impact and the long-term effect. If you can get excited about the direction you are hoping to travel in and can be enthused about the future, then often you will believe you do not need a coach.
A coach, however, can bring to the table, experience or tools or a more detailed map. This can shorten your journey or just make it more pleasurable, less stressful and ultimately by helping you implement – more beneficial.
A coach can be the sounding board of wisdom too. Perhaps your goal or vision is contrary to your beliefs or integrity in a way you don’t realise. Maybe the congruency of what you want is in conflict with other areas of your life.
Overall a clear vision with a defined why and a steer towards improving you, others and the world around you, will add traction and momentum. This style of thinking will make you unstoppable.
Along the journey, you will be often hit with the pugil stick of life. Sometimes you see it coming and sometimes you don’t. Feeling unstoppable will allow you to be resilient. A coach will vaccinate you from bad influences and virus’s that are new to you.
In addition to that, your vision can be clearer and in 3d focus with laser precision.
Make 2020 your clearest drive to what’s best for you and those your goals impact upon. Get your foresight checked through your coach and allow feedback to keep you on track.
You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.
I am curious
If I could, please ask…………?
Would you mind if I suggested……………………?
These statements were shared with me this week by Bernie Da Souza at a presentation that I consider was excellent.
It made me think about how we ask for information and how we expect answers regardless of how we ask. The kinder way to ask is to elicit opinion and then actually listen fully to the answer.
Never one to feel like I have all the answers myself, I continually wonder how I can improve things, and these hit home with me as being kind and respectful.
Bernie is an international speaker, author and coach. He even made the point that we all need a coach and of course he has his own.
So, please let me ask you…
I’m curious, do you use a coach. If not, why not. If so, how is that working out for you?
If I could please ask you, what would be the perfect client for you and how many of them would you like?
Would you mind if I made suggestions about how to find more perfect clients?
What this leads to is a future track to run on, and we all function better with a vision or written plan. Especially if it comes with a timeline.
The final part to any coaching is the need to track, give feedback and be accountable. The best way to do this is to give someone you trust the power to follow you up in a way that you know will keep you on track. If I suggest how to follow you up, then it may not work, but if you suggest how I should follow you up, it is more likely to succeed.
At Compass Business Coaching, we create a follow-up plan that enables you to be motivated, focused and excited about your goals. Plainly some goals have to do rather than want to do, but even just knowing that once these have to do goals are out of the way you can get excited about what follows, its better than relying on will power alone.
We all know how easy it is to be distracted off our hoped-for track. The reality is it is you who holds that key to a solution. We just show you how to make it so.
Check out Bernie Da Souza; you’ll love his stuff if you are mindful of the concept of coaching.
Sharing goals will always be more fruitful. Sharing ideas helps that too. Being accountable gives us power and energy.
When we check Trip Advisor and think who would write such a glowing testimonial report, we know, it’s possibly the best friend of the director or owner of that business.
When we read a scathing one, we know it’s possibly the competitor’s version, of don’t go there, find us instead.
It’s the in-between reports that seem the most genuine and realistic. After reading enough 3’s and 4’s rather than just the 1’s and 5’s, we start to get a picture of what’s really going on.
So as an alternative, perhaps it’s better that when we ask our customers for feedback, and then we decide upon taking this one step further.
Imagine if you would, picking a 3 or 4 from your client feedbacks and reporting on and after the feedback event. Let me explain it this way.
One course we ran recently had a delegate say the following;
“I loved the course but felt it was too superficial. I would love to have some more detailed examples of how the process works. Especially ones that are true stories and an application of how it worked. Otherwise, the course was great, food was nice, venue ideal and the trainer was engaging” 4 out of 5.
So, when it comes to reporting a testimonial, it would be very tempting to just reprint the first and last sentences, missing out the suggestion and the critique.
This makes it slightly disingenuous.
A more powerful way would be to report the whole and then, address the critique and suggestion, and ask for second feedback.
We did just that.
The client was invited back, at our own cost, and we added the suggestion in as well as addressed a bespoke solution to a client issue he had at the time.
This is what he wrote after the second event.
“Attending the follow-up course, I was stunned to realise that my feedback had been taken so seriously. I had more than a renewed understanding of the training concept, I had a practical solution to one of my own difficult issues. I was blown away! The food was nice again. The venue was ideal, and the trainer was just as engaging. However, this time I had a fantastic experience and will be recommending this wholeheartedly. Thank you for listening but thank you more for taking action to improve my experience.” 5 out of 5.
The first and second testimonials, carry so much more weight and honesty.
Feedback is the food of champions. We know that. However, what we do with it is the key.
Are you brave enough to quote both the feedbacks and then give an explanation of why the difference or are you just going to highlight the positive bits and miss the real powerful testimonial?
It is one way to set yourself apart. It is more genuine and realistic. It also shows that you care enough about doing a good job that you will expose where you fell short and prove that you are willing to do something about it too.
That takes guts. You need to be brave to do that. You need to be openly honest enough to admit you are not perfect but are trying always to be better.
Go on. I dare you.
Key people in your company and life.
I remember a significant customer who gave me so much business every year, that I joked about if he were ever ill, I would send my own personal doctor by helicopter to get him well again.
We laughed about it at the time, yet we all know that some people in our businesses, customers, key salespeople, directors and office managers can be so integral and valuable, we would do anything to keep them in situ.
With regard to team members, while this is impossible to guarantee, it is possible to strengthen their position with you to make it unlikely they would leave. It is possible to have the right health plans in place for them. We can pay them more than the open market value too. However, this is not good enough. Yes, it will help, but when you are running a business, you need more than a plan A or A & B.
First, it is not wise to be so dependant on one person. This means having a robust enough back up to replace anyone.
Secondly, it means recognising that this is a vulnerable position to let yourself be in. A table with only one or two legs will fall when one goes.
Thirdly, it means having the right people feel appreciated.
This last one is the overlooked one.
Appreciation is often shown with money, rewards or even recognition. However, the secret to appreciation is based on being real about it.
A heartfelt thank you. A case of wine, A personal thank you note. Perhaps a gift of extra time off.
One of my personal favourites is just a surprise gift. Saw this and thought of you. I knew you liked these, so I got you one.
It can often be like courting. When you are trying to win someone over you, tend to be more attentive than at any other time. Yet if we want people to be loyal and happy and productive, we have an easy option of just paying them the respect they deserve. It is not about money only. It is more about a sense of self-worth or contribution. Making a difference in people’s lives is a strong motivator. Tap into it.
Ask yourself, how can I improve the lives of the key people in my business, or life. They won’t get it easily anywhere, yet if we know how to, we can build a business based on the valuable traits that make people happy.
People will come and go for a variety of reasons. It is important to shore up the valuable assets in our businesses and families and relationships. The most valuable is often the people. Pay respect to that fact and it will serve you well.
When is losing really winning?
No matter how well you get on with someone, it is practically impossible to agree on everything.
For many people who are less assertive by nature and do not like confrontation of any kind, they may pretend to agree on points but actually disagree. In this event, nobody wins
For most people, if they disagree and they are free to express an honest opinion, they will do so.
However, what starts as intellectual disagreement can often engage both peoples egos and thus drop into winning and losing when both parties believe they are right and just argue to win. In this event, both parties actually lose.
So how do you win every disagreement?
The answer is – you don’t see it as disagreement but a chance to learn something. Ideally every time someone disagrees with your point of view you should get really curious.
- Why are they disagreeing?
- What do they know that I don’t know?
- Why have they come to that conclusion?
Coming at any disagreement from the point of curiosity means you win every time.
Because no matter what happens, you learn something you didn’t know before. Either some facts you did not know or something about the person who is holding a different perspective.
Maybe you are better armed with more relevant facts than the other person, maybe your information is wrong, or maybe your world views are just different – either way, you learn something. Learning something means you win from the disagreement irrelevant of whether you end up agreeing or not.
In the end, in most cases, it’s not that important that someone agrees with you and there is no such thing as winning an argument.
So how do you get to the fundamentals of why you disagree?
It’s about exploring the other person’s beliefs. As Stephen Covey points out, this is one of the 7 habits of highly effective people “ Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”
A great question which I am trying to embed in my life is “Why do you believe that to be true?”. This open question followed by more in-depth clarifying questions can really get to the bottom of a person’s belief system and will unearth the answers to the previous 3 questions.
It’s generally good practice to summarise what the other person believes and why to firstly get an agreement that you fully understand.
Once you understand a person’s beliefs and why they believe what they do, you have a solid base from which to proceed.
It is probably best not to jump straight in with your disagreement but to firstly establish common ground on which you agree – this helps build rapport.
If the other person’s beliefs rest upon what you believe to be incomplete or incorrect information, you are now in a position to put that correct ( which could be incorrect) information on the table. They are more likely to listen as you have shown you fully understand their perspective.
At this point, I personally have to be careful. I am a person that both loves to help and is also armed with a huge amount of information ( having read on average 40 books a year on personal development and business for the last 20 years). This very knowledge means I am potentially in a position to help, but sometimes the gap is too big. ( I need to work on my mindfulness to recognise these points more often)
What do I mean?
For instance, for me, (because I have done over 2000 hours of research into this area alone over 20 years,) it is very difficult to help someone on diet, health, longevity and losing weight if all they know are what they read in newspapers, magazines and the odd TV program.
Information and experience is generally what is used to form a person’s beliefs. A belief is like a table – the stronger the belief the more legs there are supporting that table. So to alter a belief where you discover a vast array of incomplete knowledge and a strong viewpoint, is very difficult. You basically have to knock out each supporting leg one at a time.
It’s hard to walk away when someone has incomplete facts and are doing the wrong thing, which may negatively impact their lives. However, sometimes to enhance the relationship, it’s just better to say – OK, we have a fundamentally different viewpoint. I arrived at mine by doing this, this and this which is a lot of ground to cover and today may not be the right time. So let’s just agree to smile and disagree. However, if you are interested in why I disagree please let me know, and I will send you what I believe to be the best sources of information and then you can decide for yourself.
In the end, all disagreements are a chance to enhance relationships and learn something if you engage curiosity rather than ego – I personally have a long way to go to practice what I preach in this particular post. But I learned something from writing it
Enjoy the journey.
A Coach for all. Your purpose identified. Live a great life benefiting others. Get Happy.
I have a purpose to help as many people as possible engage in the process of being coached.
There are many types of coaches — Fitness, Financial, Business, Motivational and even spiritual.
Overall though a coach should be about helping you find a path that works for you, heals your failings, builds you up and engages you to find your passions. It doesn’t need to be a specific type. We are all very capable of achieving so much once we find out what it is we truly want and discover how to use that passion for a greater good or purpose.
If coaching can be boiled down to its basic elements, it would include being an encourager, a guide to a better you and a lifter of spirits.
Not all will see it this way yet in essence, if you find a new desire you hadn’t explored before, and that desire is helpful to others and makes a difference, this is something that can be infinitely rewarding and beneficial.
I remember helping a young man follow his dream to be a teacher, and the hurdles were big, the subject complicated, and, as is often the case, seemed impossible or too hard to achieve at the time. He later went on the fulfil that dream, and the catalyst for his drive was the vision of what difference it would make to others rather than to himself. The fear of failure was high. The probability was against him, yet once he’d grasped the idea of the impact it could make, coupled with even if he didn’t fully achieve his dream, he would have made a big difference. He was so determined, he did, in fact, achieve his desire.
A good coach brings out the possibilities, the motivation and the ideas that may not have been obvious on the initial analysis. This can be achieved in any field and for any person.
Schools should have life coaches. Universities, homeless centres, addict charities, the health service. ALL could benefit. ALL should have access.
My passion is helping others be the best they can be. This doesn’t need to be limited to a business, it can be for anyone. The YOU, that sits inside, that is awaiting the spark and has incredible potential for positive change, is there. It may need coaxing out or releasing, but it is there.
Some have already found it and love their lives and live according to their skills, desires, passions and purpose. Do you want to join them? A good coach will help you find that power and bring it out into the open. The how to achieve will take care of itself, once you find the true desire and drive you have for the things you wish to do. Once you find your uniqueness.
Inspire, save, unlock potential, create a big impact, enrich and many other types of descriptions come to mind. A coach is for all types of people for all reasons. A coach is a coach no matter what the subject.
Letting go of the past and moving on
It is never easy to let go of a secure hand or foothold but to be blunt, how can you possibly climb the wall unless you do?
It takes faith in the new foothold and belief that it will take you to a better position. Until you let go, you’ll never know.
Imagine looking at a climbing wall and seeing climbers stuck in the middle. You shout and encourage them to move on, but they stubbornly say ‘I can’t’ or ‘I won’t because I’m afraid’.
You can see the goal ahead of them, but their face is pressed against the wall, and they can’t see what you see. They will stay there until they fall off or die.
Sometimes people around them are saying the same thing, and they are stuck too! They keep each other stuck by saying, be careful, don’t let go, you may fall off! It might be worse on the next foothold. So, they feel reassured that it best to stay where they are.
Occasionally, people come from below, and pass them and ask as they pass, ‘why are you staying there?’ They can’t understand why people would play it so safe they would sacrifice the rest of their lives in order not to take a risk. Some do fall off, and it scares the ones rigidly hanging on. Some of those who fell, get back on and still climb past them. Some are never heard of again. From the perspective of the hanger on it is frightening.
The coach has climbed that wall already. The coach is at the bottom or in the middle or at the top, offering advice, encouragement, and being the positive ‘, you can do it’
Some coaches are watching from a distance so that they can see the goal, the hurdles, the best strategies and the dangers. They are like your Sat Nav in life. My Sat Nav in the car sometimes says’ Your route has been altered due to the current traffic situation’. Being stuck on the climbing wall of life is like saying to your sat nav, well I don’t care, I’m just going to carry on doing what I have always done.
It’s strange, but that is how some people live their lives. Whether that’s based on fear, laziness, apathy, contentment or even just plain stupidity, at some point, in order to move on, or climb, you need to let go. Deciding what to let go of is part of the solution. Listening to those that have been there and done it is another.
The story of the spider monkey comes to mind when I think of the amount that we give up, by just not letting go of what is holding us back.
The poor spider monkey is a beautiful creature, that is traded as a pet all over the world. They are hard to catch in the wild, without hurting them. So, us ever ingenious humans came up with a way to catch them that is based on their greed and physique.
Their hands are like clubs on the end of a very skinny arm. They love nuts as a natural part of their diet, and this is their unfortunate demise. To capture one, all you need to do is put a thin-necked sturdy bottle in a strong box and put a few nuts in it. The spider monkey can smell them and reaches in to grab some. He loves them so much, he will not let go of them, and his big hand is now too big to pull out of the bottle. He is trapped. His captor then puts a chain on him and he is no longer free. The captor breaks the bottle, because he knows the spider money will not let go.
The monkey has not only given up his freedom for the rest of his life, but it was for only a few nuts which he could have let go and still be free.
What are you holding on to? What do you need to let go of?
Who could help you identify what it is and has the wisdom to reason with you, to ally your fears?
A coach offers this and more.
Do you know your clients? Yes, but do you really know?
We often think we know our businesses, and its true most us have a handle on the numbers and the history. However, Sir Clive Woodward, at a recent conference talked about ‘The Data’, and the story behind the data is not often a true explanation of the facts.
Get the Facts. Truly, deep down can’t get any more data Facts.
You can look at your ROFE, yet behind that could be just a handful of great profitable customers that are masking the truth behind the vacuum of profit customer. Averages help get an overview but break them down and the character of the good bad and the ugly, start to show.
Ask your team, who is a pain to deal with, and why is that so. A client may serve you better by being referred to a nearby competitor. That client may have come from them in the first place.
I remember letting a client go once, and he was horrified. He got quite angry too. So, I explained to him that my average customer spent 20 hours a month of my time and gave me £300,000 turnover a year. I explained that my profit from my average customer was £100,000. On the other hand, he gave me 30 hours work a month and only contributed to £80,000 to my turnover.
Once I had explained the ‘Facts’ to him he calmed down and realised why I was making the decision and that had he known more, he would have looked at what I offered differently.
The result with this client was that I offered to charge him an hourly rate. He declined as he knew he could go and take advantage of a competitor, without paying the fees for his time. So, we agreed to no longer work together.
Unless I had got to the bottom of his way of dealing with us and backed it up with enough comparable facts, I may have continued to be bossed around by this client. It turns out the staff loved that I had ‘let him go’ because he was the proverbial heart sinker. A double win.
Working with clients you like is always a bonus. Ones that are profitable as well make a great business.
The sweet spot of what you offer is one number crunching exercise. Looking at clients who could be ten times more profitable than your average is another.
Which of your clients have the capacity to do so much more? Fewer clients to deal with could be a new option. The numbers will reveal them.
It could be that your top clients are not top clients. It could be that your low turnover/profit clients are capable of so much more, or, would refer you to others that can. Getting to know your clients in depth is important.
By getting ALL the numbers, the decisions are so much easier.
Yes, it felt good to remove Mr Pain. It was easier than I thought because I had got the facts. Numbers never lie if you dig deep enough.
So do you know your clients well enough?
Are you generating mistrust?
Are you always running late for meetings? Business or social. If so you could be generating mistrust in the minds of people who are important to you.
In our society, everyone seems to be rushing from one point to the next. What is the impact on your relationships? How can you build simple habits to improve your trustworthiness?
Integrity is a word that seems to carry different meanings to different people. In this post, I will simply ask you to consider that if you have agreed to meet someone at a certain time and place and if you are not there exactly on time you have no integrity on that occasion. As such you are generating mistrust.
Is that a bit strong? Maybe, but it depends on how you define the words integrity and mistrust. If you take it to mean that you always keep your word on everything you say, including timekeeping, then it’s not strong at all.
A little story might help illustrate this.
Many years ago when my daughter was just leaving school, we agreed on a meeting at my office at 11 am to review her university application. She strolled in 15 minutes late, which bearing in mind, it is one minute’s walk to my office from our home, was not a great start. When I challenged her on the time she got agitated and said: “It’s only 15 minutes – why do you have to be so uptight about it?” I bit my tongue and said, “don’t worry we can discuss it later”.
A few days later I catch 30 minutes with her to discuss the issue of timekeeping and its importance.
I start off with – “You are going to your prom night next week, and you need your brand new dress turning up a few inches. The only person you trust to do it properly is your grandmother who lives 15 minutes’ drive away. However, she can only do the job on the day of the prom itself. You are working all day in your Saturday job that day and cannot get out early enough to pick it up yourself. Therefore, you need one of your friends to do it for you, but as you are working, you cannot remind them on the actual day.
Ok – So make a list of all your friends and then put them in order of who you are going to rely on to pick up the dress for you. Remember, if it’s not done – that’s your prom night ruined!
Why are they in that order?
What makes this person at the top of the list and why is that person at the bottom?
No surprise – It turns out that she judges (as we all do every day) who is reliable by how well they keep their word on many previous occasions. Even tiny little lies, failure to keep promises and continual lateness for agreed meetings have an impact.
I then ask her:
- Where are you on other people’s lists?
- Where do you want to be?
- What do you need to do to ensure you are considered trustworthy?
I would challenge you with the same exercise yourself, and you will probably come to the same conclusion. Keeping your promises count and being on time is a promise made but frequently not kept – especially socially.
People are always and continuously judging you on lots of different criteria. Is trust very high on the list of criteria they use to form an overall opinion of you?
Next time you are late for anything or in keeping a promise, consider you just lost points on the trustworthy scale that everyone keeps in their heads – even if they do not realise it.
How can you ensure you nearly always on time for meetings?
- Ensure all meeting times (including phone meetings both personal and business) are entered into your smartphone and simply set a reminder alarm.
- Ideally set 2 alarms within 10 minutes of each other
- At the start of every week, look at all your appointments and ensure timely alarms are set for each appointment or phone call. (Tip – set a weekly alarm for Monday morning to remind you to set all other alarms)
What is timely?
Just work out the journey time and add 30% to determine the time to leave.
You will normally arrive in plenty of time and better still the journey will be stress-free. Imagine letting other drivers through or strolling along enjoying the rain, rather than running. As you arrive early, you can always chat with other early birds (other stress-free and organised people) or make a quick phone call to someone.
A little side story
A very good friend invited us to a BBQ at his house, and I called him a couple of days beforehand and asked the time to arrive. He said about 2 p.m., so I said OK, see you between 2 and 2.15 pm. For various silly reasons we left a bit late and also go lost on the way and so arrived at about 2.50 instead. (Interestingly there was only one other guest there, and we considered ourselves late).
Later on in the day knowing I had raised the question of timekeeping before, my host teased me by raising the fact I was late. My point is that when you raise these things with other people, they then hold you to a higher standard which is a GOOD thing. Knowing this in the back of your mind means you are likely to put more effort into making sure you are always on time, thus building your trustworthiness.
As you start to use this system and so inevitably almost always arrive early, will notice how many people are always late or rushing around or driving like idiots. Far too much stress! – just because they did not have a personal reminder alarm system that works?
I urge you to build a reputation of trustworthiness and get the icing on the cake of significantly reduced stress in your life.
Set alarms to arrive early and build trust – it’s just a habit.
Enjoy the journey
P.S My daughter is very punctual as a habit these days.
Why I try to prove myself wrong
Our biggest errors in making decisions often occur when we believe we are correct about the facts or information around a subject but in fact we were wrong.
It’s true that you cannot go on second guessing yourself forever and sometimes decisions have to be made with the information that’s available to hand. In most cases however and certainly for longer term goals and strategies it pays huge dividends to double check your information or get expert help from a variety of sources.
A good way of thinking about it is to set a system in place to double check your information and the strategies that are driven as a result of that information.
“In other words when I’m certain that I’m right about something, I will try to prove myself wrong.”
Trying to prove myself wrong is the best way I know of to improve my education around a subject which will then drive my strategies and actions. However it flies in the face of how we are raised and rewarded. Usually, you are rewarded for the “right answer” in a world of education where there is a perceived right answer. So we are subconsciously raised to believe there is one right answer. This also falls right into our preferred method of thinking which is to seek easy answers as anything else raises uncertainty and then takes too much time and effort to resolve.
We tend to skim information and accept what we read and hear at face value. For instance -almost everybody will judge other people diets believing they are healthy on not, based on superficial information and education. Unless you have done at least one thousand hours study and in depth research into an effective human diet or any other complicated subject you have almost no expertise – so presume you are wrong.
There also exists the problem of confirmation bias, which leads us simply to seek out information and facts which support the decisions (often irrational and emotional) we have already made. This effect is even stronger in emotionally charged issues when ambiguous information is used for supporting evidence. It is often easier to try to prove someone else wrong than make the effort to get more educated ourselves.
“When we are open to the possibility of being wrong, we gain knowledge which will help guide our strategies and decisions.”
Even when trying to build your knowledge, you have to be careful about people’s opinions as everyone has some sort of agenda, which while it might be well intentioned, may also be as a result of their own confirmation bias. Most documentaries, magazine articles or blog posts will be written by someone with an agenda and it’s not difficult to research any subject and find a different point of view on the same topic.
However, in big life changing decisions like your diet, exercise program, career or finances it is certainly worth the time to make an educated decision as possible. Trying to prove yourself wrong is an effective strategy as this route usually leads you to find out that the issues involved are much more complex that you originally thought and the world is rarely black and white. You have probably studied your career for over 1000 hours but can you say the same about diet, exercise and financial well being?
We need to start off believing we are right but then really make the effort to prove ourselves wrong and seek out information that flies in the face of our beliefs. When we are open to the possibility of being wrong, we gain knowledge which will help guide our strategies and decisions.
Other than the time and effort it takes to more fully and deeply explore any subject that could lead to big decisions there is little to lose and much to gain.
- You gain knowledge
- You gain balance and empathy with other people’s points of view
- You gain better strategies and decisions
Simply put in taking the time and effort to prove yourself wrong – you gain.
Enjoy the journey
- The 7 year itch
- Directions on the path
- I am curious
- Your ideas and story
- Anti – testimonial
- Key people in your company and life.
- When is losing really winning?
- Holidays vs Time out
- Eight biggest mistakes of business owners
- What is bothering you?
- Do you want a new computer?
- Are you setting yourself up for failure?
- A Coach for all.
- What businesses are going to be the best in the future?
- Begin with the end in mind
- Letting go of the past
- Promise Keepers Rule Ok!
- The high road or the low road?
- Should I put a hammer through my TV? – The power of rituals
- Muhammad Ali – Inspirational thoughts