career

Coaching: How difficult can it be to sell?

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sellDan Pink in his uniquely literary style, “To Sell Is Human” challenges us to accept the fact that although you may not be in “Sales”, we are in fact selling most of the time. The Webster dictionary defines selling as “to give up to another for something of value”. Implicit in this definition is the idea that some form of mutual exchange is actually taking place which we normally consider relative to a product or service in exchange for money.

When you broaden this definition of selling, you are getting into the realm of influencing, cajoling, asking and indeed coaching. Dan Pink argues that selling is all about moving people, and so too is coaching. The term “coaching” was supposedly borrowed from the old stage coach that physically transported (moved) people from one place to another.

What makes this concept even interesting is that when you truly coach somebody, it’s as though the client is making a deal (selling) with themselves – doing something in exchange for a desired outcome. Some examples might be:

  • Actively looking for a new job so that you will be happier with your career
  • Exercising and dieting so you can lose weight
  • Learning and practicing new skills so that you can be a better leader

The intent here is to demystify the idea for coaches that selling is difficult or that some coaches argue that they are not comfortable “selling”. How about you think of coaching as a most effective form of selling? After all it’s about helping the potential client see what they want and the “movement” required to getting there. So just coach and without knowing it, you might be closing the deal or convincing that boss of a necessary change.

Decision Making

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In a recent HBR article, I was intrigued by a piece called Blue Ocean Leadership by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne.  The article was about a strategy one can employ within a business to effectively engage employees and use time more efficiently.  The premise offered was that once you establish the current benchmark, and then understand what you ultimately want to achieve, it’s then all about what you choose to do, or not.

22091317_blogIn the case of this article, the work involved activities relative to various levels of organizational leadership but there is also some relevancy to one’s personal and professional life that I would like to build on.  As we assess where we are at with our career, in relationships, our financial standing, etc, it’s good to often take stock of the present.  By then contrasting this with where you would like to be you then simply make decisions to move you towards what is more desirable.  Based on the principle of Blue Ocean Leadership this can be achieved by doing the following:

1.  Eliminate the actions and activities that are not serving you and you would be better off discontinuing.
2. Reduce the actions and activities that you could do less of and free up time for more important things.
3. Raise (increase) the actions and activities you would like to do more of that are more consistent with where you want to be.
4. Create (commence) the actions and activities you are not doing today that will help get to your desired state.

The above is all framed relative to tangible actions and activities.  However you could also view these relative to how you choose to behave.  What behaviors are not serving you well that could be eliminated or at least reduced (eg temperamental outbursts)?  What about starting some new behavior or doing more of (eg expressing gratitude when somebody does a good job)?

These are all about making conscious decisions and having the self awareness around where you are and where you want to be.  This may seem obvious; but to most, it’s not!

Career Transition – Smart Considerations

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The word transition can have many meanings and also many contexts.  For most when you mention it, the idea of career transition typically comes to mind.  It’s applicable to a wide range of circumstances whether it’s transitioning from college to a first job, or advancing one’s career and moving to a new job, or even somebody contemplating retirement.  Either ways it can be quite a traumatic experience but do people adequately prepare for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead?  To answer this let’s assess what are some smart considerations to managing these types of transitions effectively.

1. Ensure Purpose

In other words think hard about what you ultimately want to gain or where you want this to lead to.  This is not always easy to answer but challenge yourself.  Where do you want to be in one year, five years or ten years?  Is your transition moving you closer to this end and therefore purposeful?  If not, perhaps you should re-assess.

2. Seek Clarity

What if you do not have the answers or have not considered the most pertinent questions?  There are all sorts of resources out there that are free such as friends, family or colleagues to professionals such as a coach, lawyer or accountant.  If you are not sure or looking for greater clarity all of these people are prepared to help you.  All you have to do is ask.

3. Create Happiness

All too often people feel that they must endure or sacrifice something in order to achieve some goal, particularly in career transition.  Make the change for the right reason – do not compromise your happiness.  There are always options and certainly choices to be made.  It might take time or effort but the key is that every day is precious and who knows what tomorrow holds in store.  So work to make your transition a happy one.

There is nothing startling about what is proposed here.  Yet why do so many people find themselves making the wrong choices?  They do so because they pursue money and prestige, which are important to a degree, but only short term fillers.  The real long term fulfillment comes from a place of purpose, clarity and happiness.

Coaching and Choosing a Niche

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Professional Coaching can be applied to almost every facet of life.  This is so because it is essentially a process through which you, as a coach, can effectively leverage your own talents, experience and wisdom to help somebody else.  The uniqueness of this individual approach is what drives coaches to carefully choose a niche.

niche targetVery often people get confused or are simply unsure of what their niche should be.  There are the classical ones such as Executive, Business, Career, Wellness or Life but even within these there are areas of specialty.  What is becoming more apparent is that, in an attempt to create differentiation and also demonstrate some expertise, coaches are getting to a “Core Niche”.  This can be defined as the area of specialization most helpful to the client that strongly leverages the unique capabilities of the coach.

This in turn drives business development potential for the coach.  By playing to the unique strengths, selling becomes easier and clients are going to be more drawn to somebody who knows what they are talking about.  By having marketing materials and communication reflect something different allows the coach to separate themselves and have a unique selling proposition.   So differentiation facilitates getting more clients!

However once you begin to service a client, this is where the expertise in the coaching process kicks in.  By its very nature, coaching adopts a holistic approach to people’s challenges; it looks at them in the context of the whole life because nothing happens in isolation.  As the coach looks at the whole person, they help identify these inter dependencies and really help seek the appropriate and sustainable solution.  It’s truly about getting impactful results.  So coaching facilitates servicing clients at the highest level!

However you view it, your niche, as a coach, should define the authentic you.  When it does, selling and coaching becomes exponentially easier and more effective.

Career & Happiness

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Sadly for many, career and happiness are two words that don’t belong in the same sentence.
Many individuals legitimately pursue a certain career with the best of intentions and yet end up unhappy.  Some might even go as far as to suggest that you are not supposed to be happy; after all that is why you get compensated.  Does it really have to be that way?

Here are some cold facts.  We spend an average of 50 hours per week working when you consider commuting as well.  That represents about 40% of our waking hours.  We also spend 45 years working which with an average lifespan of 75 years represents 60% of our entire life.  This translates into approx 25% of our total life awake on the planet we spend working and for some reason many or most are unhappy during this time.  This does not even take into consideration the indirect affect of this when you go home in an unhappy state.  Is this acceptable? Read more

Coaching & Selling

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

Dan Pink in his latest uniquely literary style, “To Sell Is Human” challenges us to accept the fact that although you may not be in “Sales”, we are in fact selling most of the time. The Webster dictionary defines selling as “to give up to another for something of value”. Implicit in this definition is the idea that some form of mutual exchange is actually taking place. We normally consider this relative to a product or service in exchange for money but what if you were getting something other than a product or service and no money was exchanged?

When you broaden this definition of selling, you are getting into the realm of influencing, cajoling, asking and indeed coaching. Dan Pink argues that selling is all about moving people and so too is coaching. The term “coaching” was supposedly borrowed from the old stage coach that physically transported (aka moved) people from one place to another. Read more

Organization or Solo-Preneur?

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

For the majority of those reading this you are either part of an organization or are pursuing a solo-preneurial career. Whichever you might be on there is always the question as to whether it’s “greener” on the other side. To make a decision to move in either direction is huge and can never be taken lightly.

The following are some key categories and associated questions that one should consider in terms of what might be right for you.

1. Knowledge – Is your area of specialization something that could drive your own business or fit in better as part of an organization? How might your knowledge and experience be most fully leveraged?

2. Motivation – Are you a self starter or do you need others to motivate and acknowledge your efforts? Can you hold yourself personally accountable or do you need somebody else to hold your feet to the fire?

Read more

The Changing Face of Leadership-Part 2

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In the previous blog we discussed how there are a set of circumstances emerging that is forcing leaders to reconsider how they can be most effective in the future. This is being driven by:

The External Environment which is moving from

  • A Local to Global Economy,
  • A Left Brain to Right Brain Education
  • Survival to Abundance
  • Acceptance to Meaning

The Internal Environment pertains to the people that will be employed in this environment. They will differ fundamentally to those of the past and will therefore present new challenges to Leadership. The key differences fall into the following categories: Read more