Here is a collection of coaching tips and topics, written by our Coach Central coaches. Just click on the title of interest to you

HOW TO BUILD A GREAT SMALL BUSINESS

Learn what you need to do to join the ranks of the those that run a great small business or professional practice.


MARKETING YOUR COACHING PRACTICE

Want to know what’s the single most powerful way to market your coaching practice?  Check out the surprising answer. 

EI WHAT IS IT AND HOW IT CAN HELP YOU


Learn more about this skill set which is the simple most important determinant of your success.

THE MARKETING MAGIC OF BRANDING

Tired of being lost in crowd of competitors offering the same service as you?  Learn how to brand yourself and get the attention, and success, you deserve.

ARE YOU 100% COMMITTED?

Read Katie Bennett's article on the power of commitment, and gain some powerful insights on how to get what you really want.

 

 


HOW TO BUILD A GREAT SMALL BUSINESS 
OR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE

By Steve Mitten B.ApSc, CPCC, MCC
President – ACOACH4U.COM 

What does it take for any business to move from being good, to being great?  In his book "Good to Great" author/researcher Jim Collins observes that in Corporate America, organizations that truly excel are those that have found a way to unite their passions, (the things they truly care about) and their strengths, (the things that they are really good at) in an economic model that they understand and can optimize.  

This is not news to the coaching profession, as this process lies at the heart of masterful coaching.  And for the entrepreneurs, business professionals and new coaches I work with in my practice, this process can lead to some amazing breakthroughs.  So here is a quick overview of the process of identifying and aligning your strengths and passions in a way that you too can become great at your business.  

In the diagram below, imagine that each of the three circles represent a very important area to your business success; your passions, your strengths and the business model or vocation.  What you are setting out to discover is where these 3 circles intersect and overlap. 

                  

Step 1
With my clients I start this process by looking at what they are passionate about, in other words what is it that gets them most excited and engaged in what they are doing.  In coaching we call this fulfillment work, and it involves an exploration of an individual’s “peak” or “flow” moments – those most memorable times in life - to uncover the underlying values. For example some of my key values are creativity, the ability to learn, grow and make a difference and have great relationships with people.  These values must be present in anything I do, if I want to really get enthusiast about it.  

Step 2
Strengths are the next area we work on.  And properly identifying your strengths can be a challenge.  It seems that many of us take our strengths for granted – because they come so easy to us - and focus the majority of their energy trying to shore up our weaknesses.  This can lead to mediocrity.  Finding your strengths involves looking into the activities that come most naturally, where the learning is the most rapid, where glimpses of excellence are routinely seen.  These indicators point to some of the areas where you either are, or have the capacity to be, the best in the world at what you do. 

Step 3
The final piece we help clients look at is their business model or vocation.  And here one wants to intimately understand what drives the economic model at the heart of their business.  What is the value you add to your clients?  What is the most productive way to provide it?  What are the key elements you need to manage to optimize this process? 

Summary
When you have your passions aligned with your strengths, you’re doing what you love and what you are really good at.  The traditional boundaries of work and play often blur and for any given amount of effort, astonishing results are possible. When you couple this energy and enthusiasm and harness it in a viable business model, you really begin to experience near effortless progress.  Good things happen with the minimum of effort.

Becoming great at what you do takes time, discipline and commitment to being open to learn.  Always, the most important learning is what you learn about yourself.  As authors Kouzes and Posner say in their bestseller, The Leadership Challenge, “we'll find in the years to come that the most critical knowledge for all of us -and for leaders especially- will turn out to be self-knowledge”.

So, what are you passionate about?  What are your most productive strengths?  And what is the best vocation of business model to best leverage yourself?  These are good questions to pursue.   They will lead you to some important changes.  And while big changes don’t happen overnight, by working through this process with a qualified Professional Coach, you can achieve significant breakthroughs - and move from good to great in your business.   

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WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO MARKET YOUR COACHING PRACTICE?   

By Steve Mitten B.ApSc, CPCC, MCC
President – ACOACH4U.COM 

Want to know what’s the single most powerful way to build your coaching practice? Whether you are just starting out, or wanting to move your existing practice to the next level, the single most powerful way to build your coaching practice is to give your coaching away. 

Let’s face it, selling coaching can be tough.  And unfortunately most of the training schools do a poor job of equipping coaches with the skills they need to fill their practices.  Too many good coaches are stuck in the paradox of providing a service that is highly valued by 98.5% of the people that experience it, and yet the coaches themselves struggle to fill their practices.  

Think about it.  Coaching is a new profession. Less than 1 in1000 of your prospects has ever tried coaching. They simply don’t know what it is.  Most people just don’t have a clue what the benefits of coaching are.  Would you buy something that you didn’t understand?  Not likely.  So unless you have unlimited time and a colossal budget, running ads, sending out announcements, simple networking, and many of the conventional ways of promotion are relatively ineffective.   

Here’s the important secret.  A great coaching experience sells coaching.  Note, the word here is experience not description. You definitely don’t want to fall into the very natural trap of trying to explain coaching to prospects. You can be as eloquent as a poet, and yet your finest words will at best translate into a state of bemused interest – which is not enough for most prospects to make the leap of faith required to become clients.  The single most effective way of communicating the very powerful benefits of coaching - and getting more clients - is by giving away experiences of great coaching.  

When you give people a great experience of coaching, they connect emotionally to; who they really are, what is most important to them, what is possible for them, and they begin to see that coaching is a powerful way to realize their heart’s desire.  If you are a competent coach and you do this with 3 qualified prospects, chances are you will end up with at least one new client. 

So, the bottom-line here is if you want to build your practice, find ways you can give away your coaching. Whether you are doing personal coaching, business coaching or executive coaching, you can find a dozen very effective ways to connect with prospects, and help them see how coaching can change their lives. 

Coaching is a great profession. It really helps people.  And the market for coaching is huge. (Less than 1/10th of 1 % of the civilized world has ever experienced coaching.)  However you can’t succeed in coaching by simply being an order taker.  Get going.  Think creatively about how to get in contact with the largest number of the people you want to work with.  Be authentic. Seek to add genuine value. Be unattached to the outcome. Be fearless. Be organized.  Seek the support you need to be great.  Continue to develop as a coach.  And if you give away 6 good experiences of coaching this week, to qualified prospects, chances are you’ll end up with a few new clients.  Good luck and remember, FREELY SHARE YOUR GIFTS.

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EI, WHAT IS IT?  AND HOW IS YOUR SUCCESS LINKED TO IT? 

By Steve Mitten B.ApSc, CPCC, MCC
President – ACOACH4U.COM 

EI, is short for Emotional Intelligence, which is a general term for a very important set of skills we use everyday.  These skills determine how well you know and manage yourself, how well you deal with all that happens to you, and how well you deal with others.  And the reason we are talking about it is EI is emerging as the single most important determinant in your success. That’s right, nothing is a greater predictor of your success in your life or career, than your level of EI. 

The Research
Here is sampling of the research on EI: 

Study 1
In 1991, bottom-lined oriented, American Express
commissioned an in-house team to evaluate why their financial advisors were not selling more of the AMEX life-insurance products.  Research had indicated that the product was good, and the customers needed the product, and yet few were buying.   

The team discovered that the problem was emotional.  Specifically, negative emotions in both the prospects and the advisors. Prospects were fearful, suspicious, and distrustful. For their part many of the average performing advisors felt incompetence, dread, and humiliation.   

The study also revealed that the high performing advisors, looked at things differently. They were able to forge more trusting relationships with their clients.  They also had their core values and motivations for selling insurance in alignment, and were more aware of their own negative feelings, and better able to re-frame or re-direct them.   

Amex set up a program to help a group of their advisors better identify and deal with their negative beliefs, and helped them define and align their values and motivations.  The result was that the group that had the soft skills training out performed the control group by 12%.  In a company that does $2.1 billion in sales this can be significant.   

Study 2
In a 1990 study (by Hunter et al),
200 companies and organizations were examined.  It was found that top performers were 127% more productive than average performers. The competency research indicated that about one-third of the difference was due to technical and cognitive (IQ) ability, while two-thirds was due to competence in the area of EI.  (In top leadership 4/5th of the difference was attributed to EI competence.)   

Study 3
In another study (by Spencer), 300 top-level executives from 15 global companies showed that those who were stars, exhibited higher competencies in influence, team leadership, self-confidence, achievement, drive and leadership.  (All EI skills.) 

So EI is important. And if you are like most people, odds are you are pretty good at some areas of EI, and pretty average at others.  Overall you are probably average.  (That’s the bad news – and before you move into denial, remember 80% of the population self-reports that they have greater than average intelligence.)  The good news is that, unlike IQ, where what you got is what you got, every single EI competency can be further developed. 

What you can do?
Your competency in EI does matter. It can make you much more successful and a lot more happy. Many serious business thinkers believe that high levels of EI competency will soon become the litmus test of successful candidates for sought after positions. 

Whether you are a coach, corporate player or entrepreneur, here is what you can do to increase your EI: 

  • Find someone who is certified in the EQI (most widely used instrument for measuring EI) and get yourself tested. 

  • Identify the areas of competency most important to your success. This varies with your profession and position. (See the example below.) 

  • Work with a qualified coach to build these competencies.

 Example of EI in action
Peter was a Engineer with strong technical skills.  Upon promotion to managing a small business unit, he knew he would benefit from some coaching to build his skills communicating and leading his team. Early into his new role, Peter noticed that he was having a hard time building trust and rapport with the rest of his team.  We decided to have him complete the Bar-On EQI to better identify his strengths and weaknesses in the EI realm. 

Peter tested out as being slightly about average overall, with strengths in assertiveness, independence, self-regard and reality testing. However one of his lowest scores was in the general area of interpersonal relationships.  As someone who had spent most of his career focusing on independently solving technical problems, this was not a big surprise.   

Once we identified his weakness in this area – a crucial one for managers – we were able to develop some specific exercises that Peter could work on to build his awareness and competency in areas of empathy, social responsibility and building trusting, mutually satisfying interpersonal relationships.   

As an example of an exercise to build his competency in the area of empathy - which is the ability to detect and discern the emotional state of others – we had Peter simply try to notice and journal the emotional state of the various colleagues Peter ran into each day.  Was this individual anxious, excited, discouraged, or what? 

When Peter began this exercise he had to admit that he had never really bothered to notice other’s emotional state.  As he began to notice be became better and better at flushing out the nuances of different moods.  And, as was part of the exercise, he was able to confirm his assumptions by asking the individuals.  As this competence grew, Peter was much more successful in connecting with, managing and empowering his staff.  

Coaching and EI.
If you are interested in developing your EI, and fully leveraging the greatest determinant of your success, you can learn more about the topic at
http://www.eiconsortium.org/ 

If you are ready to start growing now, the week-to-week, one-to-one, process of working with a Certified Coach, qualified in the EQI, is the most effective means of developing your EI skills, fast.

Get out there and make things better. 

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THE MARKETING MAGIC OF BRANDING

By Steve Mitten B.ApSc, CPCC, MCC
President – ACOACH4U.COM  

Unless you are involved in some esoteric profession such as Tomb Raiding, chances are there are thousands of people that offer the very same service you do. Why would someone choose you?  And even if they wanted to work with you, how could they find you among the sea of practitioners all clamoring for the same business and claiming to offer good service at a fair price?  The answer is through the marketing magic of branding. 

Branding is a marketing term and it deals with how you position yourself uniquely in your clients mind.  Let’s face it, one of the outcomes of the technological revolution is that it is getting easier for everybody and his dog to show up on the world stage, and offer their wares.  Competition is truly global and your ability to stand out in the growing crowd is directly related to the success you will experience.  A powerful, unique, memorable brand will help you establish who you are, what you offer, and why you are the obvious choice for your customers. So let’s get started. 

First, take a moment to imagine the mind of your potential customer.  In a word, it is noisy.  In two words, it is noisy and confused.  In three words, it is noisy, confused and suspicious. Look into the mirror.  We are all consumers.  All are minds are like this.  We get hit on by hundreds of pitches each day, suggesting our life can be miraculously changed by buying a new deodorant or toothpaste.  So we consumers are a cautious and doubting lot.  And if you want to sell us something, you need to get to know us, and we need to get to know you.  We are talking about creating relationship here. We are talking about creating a relationship based on a consistent, unique and meaningful message.  We are talking about branding. 

Here is an exercise that will help you get a better feel for the process.  Ask yourself:

  • Who are my customers and what do they want? - Few of my customers want coaching.  Many want practical solutions to specific situations in their life that will give them immediate value. Find out what your customer’s special needs are.

  • Who am I? – Describe yourself and your service in a sentence or two. 

  • What makes me unique? – List 3 ways in which you are different or offer more value.

  • Who is my competition? – Describe them in a few paragraphs.

  • Identify the important distinctions. –  Take a customer’s eye view of the differences between you and your competition.  Try to come up with a branding statement for your competition.

  • Claim your position – What are the key, unique benefits customers can only get from you that sets you favorably apart from the rest of the pack.  These should be stated clearly and memorably.

  • Check it out – Try your branding on a few of your confidents and some friendly clients.

O.K., let’s say you have done all this and come up with the guts of a branding proposition that will set you apart from the pack and claim a special spot in your customer’s mind.  You now need to do two things very well.  

First you need to repeat this branding message in all your communications, advertising, webs, letterhead, introductions, etc. so that whenever anybody thinks about you they will also think about how you are special and unique. (Volvo does this very well.)  You also need to be patient. It does take some time to benefit from this, as the average consumer needs to be exposed to a brand at least 6 times before its qualities can be fully absorbed.  But if you persist you will succeed. 

Secondly, you need to resist the urge to dilute your brand, and try to be all things to all people.  This is a particularly challenging task. If you are like most people – including me – you will resist giving up any of the competitive turf.  But if you don’t, you will loose your brand and end up back with the rest of humanity struggling for a consistent identity.  

If you still have problems thinking about branding or positioning yourself in a niche, take heart.  There is something called the “Halo” effect.  Simply put, this means that if you are seen as an expert in one field, you will be generally perceived as an expert in others.  So even though you may be marketing to a narrower segment of the market, you will attract customers from other segments. 

Isn’t marketing wonderful?  Learn more about all this. Apply it to your business, and watch the better results come in. 

Good luck. 

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WITHOUT COMMITMENT YOU HAVE NOTHING!

By: Katie Bennett, HBA, CPCC
Professional Coach, Speaker and Workshop Leader 

How many times have you said you want something, really want something, and yet you never make it happen. You have a dream of changing careers, buying your first home, running a marathon, traveling to a far-off place, striking a better balance in your life and actually making it to your kids ball game or starting your own business. How many things have you wanted but you never make them happen?  

The biggest thing that likely stands in your way is a lack of commitment.  A lack of full, non-negotiable, 100% commitment. 

I’ve worked with so many clients who claim over and over and over again that they want something and yet they consistently stand in their own way of achieving success. If this is you, you may want to question your level of commitment.  

 A place to start

With all my clients, I ask a few key questions to gauge where they are: 

  • How long have you wanted this in your life?

  • How long are you willing to wait?

  • Now, ask yourself: “Out of 100%, how committed am I to doing this?”  

If your answer is anything less than 100%, stop now. Know that it will never happen. Unless you are 100% committed to making something happen IT WILL NOT HAPPEN! Sorry to tell you, but its true.  

So now you have a choice – either get 100% committed or let it go. It does not serve us to hang on to things that we never intend to actually do. It only drains our energy. If you know that you will never do this, do yourself a favor and let it go. Release it and all the energy contained within it.

If you are unwilling to let it go, then you know you need to get 100% committed. So how do you do that? There are a couple of different strategies that can work very well.  

Create a compelling vision.

One strategy that works is to create such a compelling vision of what you want that it gets you committed and into action. What does your dream or goal look like? Really explore it in all its detail. Perhaps you can even create a “dream board” with pictures and ideas of what you want. Other questions to consider are: What will be the impact of doing it? How will your life change? How good will your life be when you achieve this goal?  

Create a “Painful” vision.

It is said that we will do more to avoid pain then we will to move toward pleasure. If the compelling vision is not enough to get you committed and into action, find something incredibly painful to “punish” yourself with for not doing it. 

Let me give you an example from Anthony Robbins book “Awaken the Giant Within”. He cites an example of two friends who for years could not lose the weight they wanted. They had tried everything and always failed. Finally, they made a deal with each other that if they didn’t reach their target weights by a certain date that they would eat a can of Alpo dog food. UG! Can you imagine? They told all their friends and family about the deal and they carried around their can of Alpo dog food wherever they went, and whenever they thought about cheating or missing a workout, they took one look at the can and got back on track. And they finally reached their goal! 

The key was they associated a significant enough amount of pain with failing that they stuck to their commitments. And it worked. Now its your turn to try this exercise – what would be so “painful” if you don’t do what you want that it compels you to get into action and stay committed?

Tell people what you want to do

There is amazing power that comes from telling someone else what we have committed to do. For many of us, this simple act of telling others is enough to compel us to do it. Try it. Tell 5 close friends what you want and watch yourself get into action and make it happen!

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