Coaching is … a process that enables learning and development to occur by the coach asking powerful questions which leads to different thinking and ultimately different performance. The coach requires a variety of styles and skills and techniques that are appropriate for each session.
Mentoring is… helping an individual to make significant changes in their work or thinking. This can often be done remotely or face to face. Mentors look at the big picture and with no vested interest and can make bold suggestions.
Coaches can have first hand experience of the line of work or they can be a qualified coach from outside bringing new thinking in.
Mentors are normally more experienced or skilled in the field of work they are advising on.
Line Managers can use coaching techniques whereas the best mentors often have no prior relationship with the mentee.
Coaches ask powerful questions and don’t give advice, and the mentor provides direction and advice.
Mentors and coaches provide a neutral sounding board and total confidentiality, they are both invested in assisting an individual to reach their goals.
Coaching is about learning rather than “teaching” it is much more ask than tell. The insight gained by working with a coach will lead to enhanced effectiveness. Mentoring is helping individuals to develop their career by drawing on their own experiences.
Working with a coach and mentor can lead to new thinking and an enhanced performance.
If anyone tells you to do anything you want to resist. Recently some-one told me to do something and I was in a volunteering capacity and I was incredibly resistant. Asking for help and support always gets a better response.
A potential Client was explaining a team member’s response to attending a team meeting. The employee had called a colleague and said they would not bother coming back to the office to come to the weekly meeting. The Manager was obviously irritated and asked the colleague to phone them straight back and tell them they had to attend.
I asked why as the Manager they had not made the call. They could have asked
“Why do you think that your attendance at the meeting would not add value?”
The brain always has to answer a question, and questioning the value they would bring to a meeting is far harder to excuse yourself.
Ask not tell leadership style is much more empowering. Whenever a team member comes to you with a problem the best approach is to always ask them what they would do first rather than offer out a solution.
Another example is a request for holiday during a busy period, instead of an immediate no, ask how they think the company will survive with their absence. Asking is all about pushing responsibility and getting the brain to work for itself.
Telling some-one not to be late, will make the serial offender repeat their actions. Asking them what they think they can do to ensure they are on time, makes them do the thinking.
Ask not tell is more empowering to you as leader and to the recipient.
Recently found a fantastic mnemonic for sales:-
S – solve problems
A – ask lots of questions
L – listen more than you talk
E – empathise
S – share knowledge
Sadly a poor selling technique is to go straight to sharing the knowledge, particularly when talking about a service. Telling your client what it says on their website is the classic “Value snoozer”, why do I want to know something I know already.
The stage that is above the mnemonic and the most important is the rapport building. How do you make somebody feel really comfortable that they want to buy from you, as they have made you feel valued.
You initially find out the service or requirement they are looking for which is the problem and then when you reach the asking lots of questions, split them into two categories.
There are hard facts that anyone and everyone can give you but the soft facts go into identifying the personal requirement.
Working with property managers you can see the divide easily:-
- Where do you live currently?
- Where have you viewed already?
- What attracted you to the area you are currently living in?
- What did you dislike about the properties you have viewed already?
If you only collated the hard facts you would be providing them with the same properties they have already seen or rejected.
The balance of questions and listening should always be on the buyers side, remember the 80:20 principle. Ask an open question and listen empathetically for the detailed response.
Empathy is always understanding that person’s position at that moment in time, please don’t sympathise with them or make it about you.
Finally when you have collated enough data you can give a knowledgeable response about what service or product you have available.
Please do contact nuggets to explore behaviours around service firstname.lastname@example.org
Greggs went undercover to launch their new summer range.
To break the assumptions around their name they rebranded themselves to disassociate themselves from the “sausage roll” image. They chose an upmarket foodie festival where the audience would be connoisseurs of food.
We can learn from Greggs, how sometimes we need to break assumptions. In order to do something different we need to repackage it. They did this with the name change to Gregory and Gregory. It might be as simple as changing a bit of your look or being brave and presenting without slides. Being original and slightly different to the view people have of you might start them thinking about you differently.
Greggs conducted the exercise as they wanted people who did not shop with them, to start visiting them. Who would you like to see that you have never seen before or who would you like to view you differently.
Once people start thinking about you differently their perceptions change.
As an exercise write down all the assumptions you believe people have about you already and then challenge all of them. You might realise that some do not need breaking and others could be altered by one small action or others by radical steps.
Learn from Greggs about making assumptions…
The old saying was “People leave People not jobs” therefore we must treat are star employees like people.
Invest in a relationship with them, understand their values, what do they get out of bed for in the morning. Some people say work is work, however there is always something behind their motives. Work is a need to fulfil all other areas of life.
Therefore when we are in work how can you ensure they stay on the journey with you:-
1. Get to know your employees.
Meet with them for 1:1 meetings once a fortnight. Take time within those meeting to go beyond current workload.
2. Make it fun
Look for opportunities to build enjoyment into their role. The brain absorbs more when it is relaxed and having fun. Laughter releases endorphins, all the ingredients of creating the right atmosphere for work.
3. Meaningful interactions
Employees who understand the big picture and feel connected to the purpose of the business, foster more loyalty. Get your team members to connect with clients make them feel a part of the whole thing.
4. Harness strengths
Identify the strengths of your employees and make sure they are exaggerated. Leveraging what some-one is good at, could be a better investment than developing an area of weakness. The opportunities within their strengths can lead to new areas of expertise.
Invest your time and money in your employees. Pay for them to be developed and give them your time to understand the future they see for themselves.
Please do contact email@example.com for a workshop on Career Development
Organisations often change their strategic direction, sometimes due to external factors or to their own internal changes.
External could be a price reduction due to competitor or the overall economic landscape. Internally you might have lost several key skilled workers which means reallocation of tasks.
Communicating to your team strategic changes is vital and you should have in place regular team briefings or meetings.
Preparation is key to delivering announcements to your team.
You must be able to deliver the key points in a consistent and professional manner and be able to handle general questions and answers effectively and confidently.
When you have briefed your team you need to clarify their understanding of the message and the next steps.
As a checklist see below:-
- Effectively covered opening statement points. Got to the point quickly but sensitively. Positioned the local picture in the wider context.
- Showed respect and empathy whilst maintaining focus and formality.
- Responded to questions effectively and listened actively.
- Show understanding & handle any emotional reactions effectively.
- Check for understanding and give helpful and factual explanations.
- Give a personal commitment to support the team.
- Make sure you write up action points and that you circulate.
To summarise the things to include:-
- Introductory statement & purpose
- Content and context of announcement
- Q & A
- Review & close
Please do contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a workshop on conducting team briefings.
The “C” word being Christmas.
The countdown to Christmas begins this Friday and it is like any other project it needs to be managed and the focus of what it means to you, must not be lost.
Stephen Covey’s time management exercise “What matters most” is a great way of looking at Christmas. Covey invites delegates to squeeze big rocks into gravel. The big rocks represent “what matters most in life” and the gravel is just “stuff” e.g. work.
The only way the exercise works is to put the big rocks in place first and then pour the gravel on top. Delegates have been known to sweat profusely trying to squeeze rocks into gravel. This feels uncomfortable and to be honest is how life feels when you lose focus on the things that matter most.
Focus on Christmas and work back, ensure you are spending it with the people who matter most and get all the “stuff” into perspective.
We have all done the Christmas Eve shop and regretted it afterwards when the person you care about most is surprised and disappointed.
The biggest rock at the moment is Christmas, so therefore make it your priority.
Please do get in touch for workshop on Time Management email@example.com