From Average to Awesome! by Ken Ingram

Posted by Ken Ingram

I just received my monthly Toastmaster Magazine and it was a great reminder of many key issues that are affecting all of us both personally and professionally. Many of us read articles or books and find them of interest but how many of us actually put the new knowledge into practice. This is why coaching and training is so effective because it allows our clients the opportunity to learn and practice the new knowledge and skills.

We know from studies that it takes 60 to 90 days to change specific ATTITUDES, SKILLS and HABITS

Attitudes, skills and habits represent at least 85% of a person's ability to be successful., so this is why I often talk to my clients about You Inc. because so much of their success depends on what they do with their key talents and abilities. As coaches, this applies to us as well. In some cases it is natural talent that we are seeking to enhance and in other cases it is a skill or talent we wish to develop.

In the book You, Inc. by Burke Hedges, he talks about finding the CEO within and the 10 simple principals, to dramatically increase your fair market value. As a coach, would increasing your fair market value and that of your business enable you to succeed in creating winning conditions for both, your business and for your customers? In today’s business environment it is not so much what you are doing, but what you are not doing that in the end can have the greatest impact on your business.

Where would some of the top professional athletes be if they did not constantly challenge themselves? Professional athletes recognize the need to have someone in their corner pushing them to do the things most people feel is impossible. To Quote Bob Gainey former GM of the Canadian hockey cub Montreal Canada. We all want the team to get better, so the individuals have to get better. You can go and get other players or you can get the players you have to play better”.  As Mr. Gainey points out, we need to use our talents and abilities more effectively in order to get the results that will grow the business and make us more competitive than the competition. We can all learn much from the sports world, but learning without putting the new knowledge into practice is of little use.

As coaches, we should all have a coach because simply telling or suggesting to our clients that they would benefit from having a coach may be ignored if we as coaches are not putting into practice what we hold to be true. The bottom-line is everyone needs a coach because it is so easy to blame our circumstances on events or issues we consider outside of our control.

John Miller the author of the QBQ (The Question Behind the Question) would say personal accountability begins with you and in many cases ends with you as well. So that being said, to increase my value, I will now re-read my Toastmaster Magazine and then with the help of my coach set some goals to put some of the new ideas into practice. I will share this new knowledge with my clients with the goal of helping them to increase their value.

This is how you will go from an Average Coach to an Awesome Coach.

“I discovered at an early age that I missed the shots I did not take” - Wayne Gretzky.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.

Success Secrets: Selling Your Ideas, by Suzanne Bates

Posted by WABC

Wouldn't you like to know how to persuade others and, in the process, get what you really want?  Persuasion is both an art and a science. The secret is to find out what others want, and then learn some essential skills of persuasion.

Assume that you have an initiative that is mission-critical, but you're encountering a lot of resistance. You're proposing change, it costs money, and it isn't absolutely guaranteed to work. Sound familiar?

As Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish poet and novelist, once said, "Everyone lives by selling something." If you want to lead an organization you must learn to sell. Building support for your ideas, winning converts, and getting things done are largely dependent on your sales skills.

Quick question: What's the most important word in selling?

Answer: The word "why."

You must learn why people would want or need to buy your idea, concept, program, service, initiative or new, new thing. If you do not know about them--their problems, needs and views--you will never successfully sell your ideas, period. People tune out when they know you're only focused on what you want. They tune in when they sense that you have an interest in them as well.

Another question: What's everybody's favorite topic?

Answer: Themselves!

People want to hear about themselves. They want to hear about their projects, initiatives, goals, timelines, challenges and interests. Unless you have factored their concerns into your presentation, go back to the drawing board. Don't show up at the meeting until you've sat in their seats or walked in their shoes for awhile. Actually imagine yourself on their team, working in their office, managing their project. Remember, this is not about you and what you need. It's not about how great your ideas are. It's not even about what's good for the company. Face it--a lot of people really don't care. What they care about is getting through their day, meeting their quotas, hitting their deadlines and making their bosses happy.

So remember, your talk should focus not on you and your idea, but on:

  • Their problems
  • Their hopes
  • Their dreams
  • Their goals
  • Their needs
  • Their timetable
  • Their budget
  • Their success

How do you learn about their problems, hopes, dreams and goals? It's pretty simple. You ask! Long before you give a presentation, make the effort to meet informally, by phone or in person, to ask questions and gain some understanding of your prospects' concerns. At the very least, take any information you already have and extrapolate their highest priorities.

People appreciate it when you take the time to sit down with them, learn about what's going on in their world, and understand what they're up against. If they are going to buy into your proposal, they must first feel comfortable with you, believing that you're on their team and that you are sensitive to their needs. Anyone who can influence a decision, get it approved, or implement it has a choice--support you, ignore you, or undermine you later.

Here are some questions you can ask to find out what you need to know:

  • What is your goal?
  • What is most important to you?
  • What are your priorities?
  • How do you need it to work?
  • When could we make it happen?
  • What are the budgetary considerations?
  • What are your human resources?
  • Who needs to be involved?
  • What does an ideal solution look like to you?
  • What would make this a success for you and your group?

What do you do with this information? Incorporate it into your presentation! You might even mention the great opportunity you had to meet with a key group member and learn about the group's concerns. Then, when you outline what you're going to discuss, address those specific issues, confirming that those issues are also priorities for you. With that reassurance, your prospects will relax and be more receptive to your ideas.

Of course, one of the greatest benefits to doing this homework is that prior to presenting any plan or initiative in the future, you'll be more likely to take others' needs and priorities into account from the very beginning. You'll go through fewer revisions, receive fewer objections, and be applauded for thinking of the big picture. Those are outcomes that get you noticed and win you rave reviews!

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (February Issue 2005, Volume 1, Issue 4). Copyright 2011 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

Suzanne Bates is a speaker, media personality, business consultant, executive coach, and author of McGraw-Hill's new book, Speak Like A CEO: Secrets for Commanding Attention & Getting Results. Read more about her work at www.speaklikeaceo.com. Suzanne may be reached by email at Suzanne@bates-communications.com.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.

Can Coaching Produce Sustainable Behavior Change? By Dr. Sunny Stout Rostron, Part 1 of 3

Coaching is a relatively new profession, so this topic has yet to be exhaustively studied. Until we have reliable research from a wide variety of organizations, no one can guarantee that behavior change is truly sustainable as a result of coaching. However, based on research currently available, there are certainly guidelines for coaching that can help ensure that behavior change is indeed sustainable.

To address this question, I have spent the last four years researching how the coaching conversation helps the client to make breakthrough shifts in thinking, feeling and behavior that significantly impact their performance at work. An equally important question is: how can we actually measure the effectiveness of the coaching intervention—is it just through sustained behavioral change and improved performance? Influencing factors are our cultural worldview and the individual assumptions that drive our behavior.

Cultural Worldview
Our understanding and relationship with the world takes place within our own cultural framework. Because our relation to things is determined by our own individual experiences, intentions and assumptions, our worldview does not necessarily align with those of our peers. This is one of the primary motivations for coaching.

Coaching practitioners either work with an existing coaching model, or develop their own individual model to look at the individual client's concerns in a structural way. A 'coaching model' is a metaphor or analogy for both the coaching conversation, and for the overall coaching intervention—whether across a 20-hour, six-month or a one-year period. Instead of seeing everything as the client's personal, emotional or internal issue, problems can be seen as part of an overall situation or worldview. It is important that coaches adopt a structural approach that is flexible and suitable to the client and the context.

Assumptions and Existential Issues
Because coaching is a relationship-based process, the coach must be as aware of their own potential assumptions as well as those of the client. Ideally coaches divest themselves of their own limiting paradigms, so that they can more effectively question and probe the client's articulated reality and assumptions.

In existential philosophy, all human beings must create meaning for their own lives. Existentialism stresses freedom of choice and taking responsibility for one's actions. Existential issues that arise in the coaching conversation, such as 'freedom,' 'meaning and purpose' and 'choice,' are aligned to anxiety. From an existential standpoint, clients can find themselves in a crisis when decisions have to be made that may fundamentally impact their lives. This requires the coach to be conscious of her own fallibility as she probes the client's articulated reality or interpretation of his experience. Empowering and disempowering assumptions underlie what people say and do, and the coach's fallibility is part of that process.

An existential goal is that of a whole life lived: this is to approach the client as a whole, professionally and personally, working with emotional, rational and spiritual intelligence to understand how they impact self-awareness, self-management, cultural competence and social awareness.1

Working with the client in the coaching conversation, from this point of view, is about coming to a new way of understanding ourselves and our interaction with the world and all systems of which we are a part.

The GCC (Global Coaching Convention)
You may wish to check out www.coachingconvention.org to take part in a global dialogue on the development of the coaching profession. The GCC is a virtual platform for nine global working groups and consultative bodies who are researching the practice and training of coaches worldwide. The GCC is an international forum to create a collaborative framework that represents every stakeholder group (consumers, practitioners, educators, professionals and industry bodies). The nine areas to be explored are:

  1. Mapping the field
  2. Current research agenda
  3. Knowledge base for coaching
  4. Training guidelines for programs
  5. Evaluation of coaching interventions
  6. Core competencies
  7. Code of ethics
  8. Selection of coaches and management of coaching engagement
  9. Professional status of coaching

Guidelines for Sustainable Behavioral Change
Based on my doctoral research, here is a brief description of ten key coaching guidelines for achieving sustainable behavioral change which impact performance. In my next columns I will explore these ten guidelines further:

  1. Build the Relationship
    A relationship develops as a result of the 'coaching conversation,' with client issues and concerns teased out by the skill of the coach's interventions.
  2. Learn from Experience
    Working with our own individual experience is a key to learning. In actively reflecting on experience, coach and client draw meaning from experience, literally entering into a dialogue with 'experience,' turning it into useable knowledge.2
  3. Understand the Role of Others
    Coach and client need to be aware of the powerful role of others in the work they do together. A danger of not understanding the 'system' in which the client operates is that the coach risks becoming another part of that system.
  4. Develop EQ
    The development of emotional intelligence cannot be underestimated in the business coaching environment.
  5. Be Flexible
    Spontaneity is important, so beware of using a formulaic approach in your coaching.
  6. Make Your Ethical Code Explicit
    Part of a coach's code of ethics is to honor confidentiality in the coaching conversation; the client entrusts the coach with confidences, and must feel safe to do so.
  7. Be Coached Yourself
    Create a plan for your own development, no matter how qualified you are.
  8. Measure Coaching Results
    Take measures of the outcomes of coaching from different perspectives.
  9. Create a Development Plan with Goals
    The coach is responsible for ensuring that goal-setting conversations get the best results.
  10. Debrief and Survey
    Identify for each individual client and the client organization overall what has shifted during the coaching intervention, and determine what new behaviors are visible and how performance has improved.

1 Dana Zohar, author of Spiritual Intelligence, defines spiritual intelligence (SQ) as the intelligence we use to imagine how things could be better. SQ is what we use to transform situations, to look for meaning in our lives, to find a sense of purpose. [Stout Rostron, S. 2002. Accelerating Performance, Powerful New Techniques to Develop People, London: Kogan Page.]
2 Boud, D., and N. Miller, eds. 1996. Working with Experience, Animating Learning. London: Routledge.

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (October 2008, Volume 4, Issue 1). Copyright © 2011 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.

An Interview with Marshall Goldsmith, by Wendy Johnson and Donna Mills

Posted by WABC

By any objective measure, you have had an extremely successful career. What are the highlights?

Often, people complain because they don't get enough credit, so I guess someone has to get too much credit. That's me! My work has been recognized in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, The Economist, Fast Company, Business Strategy Review, Project Management Magazine, and by most professional organizations in our field.

My professional work involves four basic activities: Executive education, executive coaching, writing and editing, and providing executive coaching services through our coaching network, Marshall Goldsmith Partners.

My mission is to help successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behavior. My greatest success comes when my clients reach that goal, and help their co-workers do the same. Those leaders serve as role models in their organizations, effectively working with and through others to accomplish objectives. This is what constitutes "good leadership skills." Great achievement is about "me"—great leadership (or great coaching) is about "them."

Who are your clients?

I have worked in all sectors—corporate, non-profit, military and education—with a worldwide client base. Today, my personal coaching is strictly with C-level executives in major organizations. As a pioneer in customized 360-degree feedback, my executive coaching only addresses behavioral change. Coaching helps leaders turn feedback into positive changes in behavior, and changes in behavior lead to changes in attitude. People may change through training, but are much more likely to change through coaching.

What differentiates you from other business coaches?

I only charge my clients if they achieve positive, lasting change in agreed-upon behavior, as determined by agreed-upon co-workers. I don't get paid for "activity" or "time." Prior to an engagement, the CEO agrees that major improvement in pre-selected behaviors is worth the time and money invested in the coaching process.

How did you decide to offer this guarantee?

By accident. A CEO client grunted, "It would be worth a fortune to me if this guy would change."

I replied, "I like fortunes.  Maybe I can help him."

He laughed and said, "I doubt it!"

I thought for a second, and took a leap by replying, "If he gets better, pay me. If he doesn't get better, it's all free!"

The CEO said, "Sold!"

I have been paid only for results ever since.

How has the results guarantee impacted your practice?

Since my clients have high personal integrity, and are definitely results-oriented, the guarantee makes them more likely to do the work necessary to obtain the result. They want to meet and exceed the measurement.

I get paid for about seven of every eight client engagements. When I don't get paid, it's my fault. No one makes me work with anyone, and I always learn when I don't get paid. Perhaps I was just the wrong person for the job or company—there wasn't the right "fit."

How do you translate your personal spiritual practice of Buddhism into your coaching work?

There are many schools of Buddhist thought, and mine has been very important in influencing my coaching process. Letting go of the past and "feed forward" are Buddhist concepts. I have also realized that most of the "issues" I see in the world are simply aspects of myself that I have trouble accepting. Almost every time I become self-righteous or judgmental, I am making more of a statement about my own problems than I am about the conditions of others.

How do you see the links between world issues and self issues?

In 1984 I spent nine days in Africa with the Red Cross, and I saw lots of people who were starving to death. If we want to get upset about the unfairness of life, we can always be upset. When we are upset at what is happening in the world, we are often illustrating aspects of our own ego that we are having trouble dealing with.

What was your best preparation for your work as a business coach?

Experience has been my best preparation. I have worked with over 70 major CEOs and their management teams, and most of what I've learned has come from that experience.

What advice would you give to a novice business coach?

Determine what type of coaching is the best fit for you. Then, either establish a great personal reputation or work with someone who has already established one. Meet the world's experts in your chosen niche and learn from them. Pay your dues.

How about a more experienced coach seeking the next level of success?

Write, speak and network. If you believe in yourself and in the value of what you do, work hard to do the marketing required to establish a great brand and invest in it. Don't be ashamed to market yourself. It is not complicated—it just requires a lot of work!

What issues do the business coaching industry and the WABC need to address?

We need to be clear on the various types of business coaching available. Each type of coach needs to be clear on how success is measured. The WABC can offer examples of great coaches who provide different types of services that meet different client needs, expanding beyond "generic" coaching to include specialists in strategy and organizational execution.

As a proficient self-marketer, what are your top five self-marketing strategies? Are those strategies available to the "average business coach"?

  • My first suggestion is to get published—books, articles, columns and/or interviews. Get writing—someone will read it!
  • Speaking is a great way to promote yourself. Consider keynotes, concurrent sessions at conferences, or local Chamber of Commerce or networking groups. Start speaking—someone will listen!
  • Teach in executive education programs, particularly if you have opportunities at colleges or universities. Start teaching—someone will want to learn!
  • Research (especially on the impact of your work) is very powerful. Research lends high credibility to your work. Start measuring—someone will care about what you discover!
  • Try to "hang out" with people who know more than you do. Many of the top thought leaders in our field are very generous, open and giving people. More experienced coaches may be willing to let you "follow them around" and learn from them.

In terms of the "average business coach," I contend that staying "average" is a choice. There is nothing wrong with average, but no one has to live there. I have made huge investments in marketing that produced absolutely no immediate revenue, and have spent hours writing, speaking and networking as an investment in my future. In life, we "get what we pay for," and some coaches want to get the benefits of being well known without paying the price. Life seldom works this way!

One of my friends was upset because another speaker was making $10,000 per day, while he was making only $1,000. He asked the client, "If my customer satisfaction scores are higher than his, can I make as much money as he does?"

The client replied, "Definitely not! He is famous and you aren't."

Some people's reaction would be, "That isn't fair!"

My reaction was, "Get famous!"

In addition to your professional role as a business coach, what are your other life roles, and how would you personally define success in each of those roles?

  • I am a Buddhist. My philosophy is to be happy now. I believe that happiness is our choice, and it is determined by what we have on the inside, not by what we possess on the outside. We cannot be happy by having more or by having less. We can only be happy with what we have.
  • I am a husband and father. I've been married for 31 years, love my wife and kids, and ask them at least once a week, "What can I do to help you have a great life?" I make no judgments about anyone else as a partner or parent. I have been lucky.

Material possessions make no difference in my happiness. People from 119 countries have visited my website in the past four months to review my material and take away whatever they want at no charge. Some of these people are from very poor countries. What is this worth? It is worth a lot to me.

If I died tomorrow, I would be more than satisfied. I was brought up poor. My whole life has seemed like a happy dream. For example, I had dinner with Bono several months ago. It turns out that he was also brought up poor, and he feels the same way that I do—he is just trying to make the world a little better.

What personal and professional legacy would you like to leave?

I would like to make my coaching process available at no charge to people around the world. Ultimately, my goal is to help as many people as possible to have better lives.

What would you most like to be remembered for?

I'd like to be remembered as a nice Buddhist guy with a great family who gave all of his knowledge away to anyone who wanted to use it—who wandered around the world being happy and helping other people to become the persons that they wanted to become.

That would be enough for me!

Any final advice?

This is a great field. Do good. Help others. Life is short—be happy now!

Marshall Goldsmith is a world authority on helping successful leaders achieve positive, measurable change in behavior for themselves, their people, and their teams. He also works extensively in the field of executive education. Last month, California's Alliant International University named their management school after him—the Marshall Goldsmith School of Management. Marshall plans to work with the school to develop a program which provides practical education at all levels, including a premier leadership development website.

In addition to writing numerous articles and columns, Marshall has authored or co-edited 20 books. The most recent, co-edited with Laurence Lyons, is the seco nd edition of "Coaching for Leadership: The Practice of Leadership Coaching from the World's Greatest Coaches." Released in October 2005, it shares the well-researched best practices of the world's greatest leadership coaches.

Marshall's articles and videos are available at www.marshallgoldsmithlibrary.com. You can also read more about Marshall in the WABC Coach Directory.

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (Summer 2006, Volume 2, Issue 2). Copyright © 2011 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.