Transformational Leadership: Leadership Institute Commits to Shift Their Staff, Students, and Prospects to a New Online Social World

Posted by Dean R. DeLisle

By Dean R. DeLisle

The Business/Organization

The Wright Leadership Institute is a human potential business offering both credit and non-credit courses in human performance and fulfillment. Formed in 1997, the Institute today generates 2.5 to 2.8 million in revenue while serving an ongoing base of 200-300 students in addition to the thousands it reaches through its corporate training and consulting, publications, speakers bureau, and media appearances.

Dr. Bob Wright and Dr. Judith Wright began the business as a merger of their existing businesses --- Bob's leadership development and executive coaching business begun after selling his top-ranked national employee assistance program, and Judith's spiritual and personal development business, which she founded upon leaving her joint appointment as clinical program director for the Illinois Department of Developmental Disabilities and the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Today, the Institute's offerings include four main modalities: coaching, seminars, learning laboratories, and time-limited group projects aimed at developing individuals to their fullest potential in all areas of life.

The Partnership

Dr. Bob Wright contacted Dean DeLisle to consult with them. Having been recently engaged in a nationally known social media trainer they were dissatisfied with, Dr. Wright heard from a graduate of one of the Institute's personal transformation programs, James Gustin of Fig Media, that the methods of Forward Progress had helped firms generate sufficient inbound referrals as to replace cold calling and a number of other sales practices that the twelve-member staff of the Wright Leadership Institute engaged in regularly.

The Challenge

Three years prior to engaging Dean DeLisle, the Wright Leadership Institute had begun changing their business model. Rather than engaging a small number of high-dollar clients in one-on-one coaching and small groups as they did in their early incarnation, they began offering large-format public seminars gratis to introduce their philosophy and services. These weekend-long seminars were also the vehicle for selling their year-long signature program, the Year of More, which retails at $8k and is discounted to $6k only on these public weekends.

Having relied on media and book tours in the early stages of the program to generate traffic for this weekend, program enrollment had reached a plateau, and Dr. Wright recognized the need to change the culture to become more of a sales and marketing organization.

The task they gave the Forward Progress team was to coach and train their staff and students on Social Networking in order to increase enrollment into their core programs. Dean's first contact with the Wright Leadership Institute and Dr. Judith Wright were weekly staff social media training sessions they had begun a few weeks prior, in which they auditioned Dean and the Forward Progress team as an alternative to the trainer they had previously engaged. Since this initial meeting, the organizations have developed a very deep partnership. Forward Progress's regulated coaching program empowers Wright students and staff alike at all levels of the organization-from coaching Dr. Bob Wright and Dr. Judith Wright individually, to weekly and as-needed staff coaching sessions, to trainings and seminars for all interested students.

The Approach

In order to support the immediate needs of the Institute, Forward Progress began with a general training engagement. However, with the recognized decline in enrollment, mostly to do with the economy, Forward Progress quickly proposed a shift in strategy to focus on a coaching program for the staff and executive team while maintaining training for their student body.

The coaching was comprised of establishing the immediate goals and objective for the very next weekend training. Since we had less than sixty days to work with, we agreed to use the existing goals they had missed in the last two events to see if the goals were realistic. There also was the challenge of the upcoming holidays, during which the senior management team would be leading training overseas.

Forward Progress assigned a two-person coaching team to assist the twelve-person staff and created an aggressive sixty-day coaching schedule. With no time to spare, sessions began almost immediately. Within those sessions, the coaching staff made sure that the outcome of the event was tied to the personal goals of each participant so they could be emotionally engaged.

With the support of Forward Progress, the Wright Leadership Team began to quickly coordinate, improve, and execute in the following areas:

  • Clarified Objectives
  • Confirmed Target Prospects
  • Defined Partnership and Alliances
  • Assembled Content
  • Coordinated Delivery
  • Aligned Team
  • Conducted Online Community Outreach

The Value Delivered

Within sixty days of the first coaching and training sessions, the staff and student body seemed to respond very well. Being in an environment where "transformation" is enforced and practiced permitted the adoption process to accelerate. Normally, Forward Progress would be hesitant to take such a large group without a pilot program; however with early testing in the first few weeks, they knew this had increased potential.

Enrollment in the next More Life Training weekend program, which took place in the first 90 days of coaching, increased by 40%. Other amazing shifts took place along the way. The Wright staff team's enrollment increased by100%, doubling any previous efforts.

Furthermore, students who were trained reported that the social media skills they learned for the More Life enrollment effort were impacting their sales in their own businesses-vaulting some to trusted advisor status with clients they'd courted, and boosting seasoned salespeople to as much as 180% of their goal in the first two months of the year, among other transformational results.

Since the writing of this article, the Wright Leadership Institute is on pace to surpass this mentioned performance and are now realigning their growth plan to include new facilities and a national expansion.

This proves that with the right mindset and a willingness to transform, there is no bad economy.

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2010, Volume 6, Issue 2). Copyright © 2013 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.





Dean R. DeLisle has proven his ability to accelerate contacts, business development, and operations with sound business practices, the ever-evolving power of technology, and his consulting, coaching, and training skills over the past 25 years. More about Dean in the WABC Member Directory. Contact Dean.


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

Social Media Mania

Posted by Dean R. DeLisle

Social Network Building: A Whole New Approach to Building New Coaching Client Relationships

By Dean R. DeLisle

When you log into a social networking site, it seems very new to most of us. In fact, we just feel lost. Most of us are used to the good old-fashioned process:

  1. Attend an event or get an introduction
  2. Get the card
  3. Connect with the person
  4. Schedule a meeting
  5. Submit a proposal
  6. Close the business
  7. Ask for a referral

Now while we conduct this old approach, we want you to take a fresh approach using the knowledge you have gained to this point.

The goal is still the same! Get the meeting, provide an amazing proposal, close the business, then get a referral and repeat the cycle.

However, we want you to learn two new techniques to get you there quicker. One is a new best practice for when you meet a targeted prospect, and the next is a proven method to getting targeted, closable appointments.

Building Your Network Consistently

Amazing things happen fast when we do them on social networks as opposed to the old way. With the old way, we get the business card, enter the info into our email system, phone, or if we are really efficient, a contact manager or CRM system. What we would like you to do is a network building practice that will pay off tenfold, using just one of your social network accounts. For the example below, we will use LinkedIn, however this will work with most interconnected social networks on today's market; only the numbers will vary based on the size of the network.

Let's assume that LinkedIn still only has about 60,000,000 active members at the publishing of this article. With that in mind, when we connect it's like adding conservatively 1,000 targeted, like-minded contacts into your system. The reason is degree of separation. On average with LinkedIn, we find the following formula to be very consistent.

1st Degree: If you have 90 direct connections (these are people you know directly that you are connected to), it is equivalent to entering these contacts directly into your contact management system.

2nd Degree: Based on average user counts, you should have roughly 15,000 to 20,000 connections that your first degree contact can introduce you to or that you can effectively see to use your own approach.

3rd Degree: Based on the same average user counts, you should now have 1,600,000 to 2,400,000 connections that can turn into introductions.

Using these rough conservative formulas, this means if you have one contact whom you meet at a networking event, speaking event, business meeting, or just casually, you can then determine whether that person is a good prospect for your business coaching. Once you take the time to enter them into your social network (like LinkedIn), then you will have just picked up about 17,000 3rd degree connections just by adding that one person. Now of course these numbers will vary based on the person's connectivity level, but keep in mind it is conservatively the equivalent of adding only 1,000 targeted like-minded contacts to your system. This gives you a margin of error by 16,000 bad connections that your contact has made, which we typically see is highly unlikely!

Getting the Appointment

So you have your core contacts, and now you have visibility and "access" to their contacts. Now, let's get to the appointments!

There are several techniques, though the most important thing is to make sure you don't just barge into someone's network too quickly. We highly recommend the safest approaches first.

  1. Ask for a recommendation from the person you are connected through
  2. Directly compliment/congratulate them on a visible accomplishment, such as an article, promotion, or press
  3. Ask them for advice on a relevant topic
  4. Join a group or sub-community in common

These are value-based techniques that will allow you easier access and a more secure method than just blindly jumping into their network.

Once you have established a relationship, it is more appropriate to invite yourself into their network. Nevertheless, as a best practice, we recommend waiting until some level of relationship is built.


In this business coaching industry, our job is to help people, so building a large network is not always necessary. In fact, many of the coaches that we coach are very successful with working on quality rather than quantity. Whichever type of social network you choose to build, just make sure you have a method by which to communicate and build on the relationships you have worked so hard to secure.

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2010, Volume 6, Issue 2). Copyright © 2013 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

Dean R. DeLisle has proven his ability to accelerate contacts, business development, and operations with sound business practices, the ever-evolving power of technology, and his consulting, coaching, and training skills over the past 25 years. More about Dean in the WABC Member Directory. Contact Dean.

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

How to Use Online Social Networks to Grow Your Coaching Practice

Posted by Dean R. DeLisle

By Dean R. DeLisle

It's not a new way of doing business; however it's a brand new way of acquiringnew business. It's the Online Social Network phenomena. We often see many of our coaches come through and ask us point blank, "Can I really grow my coaching practice using Online Social Networks?" Our answer is always consistent—yes!


Then, of course, comes the "how" question. We begin by telling them that it's similar to when we are coaching: it all starts with the right mindset. First of all, make sure you are ready to do some new things. It's like when you take that bold move to switch from a conventional cell phone to a Blackberry® or iPhone—you want to make sure you are ready to commit. Just like that example, when you make the change, you accept the change, and when you work with the change, it works for you. However, I always repeat this: only when you commit to it are youreally making the change!

Social Networking

Now that our coaches are ready for something new, we tell them that they already know how to do most of this. They look puzzled and we continue to explain. Remember when you first started out in business and you joined a chamber, network club, private club, leads club, association, or even a health club? You most likely did this because you wanted to connect and network with "like-minded" people, people who had something in common, whether it was at a career level, industry level, belief level, health level, or charity level. Then, based on that foundation, you built trust and connected to those with whom you found similarities, who you liked, or who you would consider doing business with until given a reason not to.

The Right Club

Online Social Networks function the exact same way. So let's go through the basic steps of being successful with what you already know. First and foremost, find a club or social network that you think will be the most successful with your "like-minded" people. We recommend you ask those you respect and find out where they hang out. Most of our coaches gravitate toward LinkedIN, as it has a very professional flavor and maintains a high level of integrity with its members. However, you have to like your "club" and Online Social Network, so make sure you know others who are there as well.

Your Image

After you have made your choice(s), make sure you are ready to complete a full profile. Do not skimp here, for if you are complete and relevant to what your website and articles say, and connect this to your coaching practice, the networks will typically do a ton of work for you. Make sure you don't leave anything relevant out of your profile.

Some key areas NOT to overlook in your profile:

  • Picture
  • Full Professional Description
  • Professional Postion(s)
  • Board Position(s)
  • Charity Affiliation(s)
  • All Education
  • Military Background
  • Awards and Certifications
  • Special Interests and Hobbies

Remember, when you fill these out, do not cut and paste the old stuff. Make sure you are extremely current and relevant. We also recommend that you freshen up this area quarterly as you progress with your practice. You are likely to expand your methods, techniques, accomplishments, and approach-update this information on your profile. You might also speak differently depending on the ever-changing economic climate. This will begin to build your Internet footprint and as we like to say, your eReputation!

Your Hard Work

We are not really sure why, but it seems that everyone always forgets their hard work. They write so much web content, articles, Powerpoints, speeches, emails, blogs, etc. and take so many pictures and videos that they actually forget to usethem. Take all this hard effort, your expertise, and your knowledge and extend your reputation to the network that is looking for you. This is the most common part overlooked. People forget to continuously post their hard work all over the Internet for people to find. The network you choose will most likely allow you to feature your items prominently for your new prospects to find.

Start Talking

Remember that social networking the "old way" or the "new way" only works if you are active. Just like everything else in life, you get out what you put in. Decide where you should go within your new Online Social Network and start talking. For instance, there are very relevant groups, subgroups, discussion boards, and blogs in which to partake. If you're new at this, you can simply jump into an existing conversation, making it easy and fun! If you are not sure or are hesitant, then watch others' conversations, responses, comments, and replies first, then begin when you are ready. However, do not wait too long, for while you were reading this article, someone already found a coach just like you because they responded to a post or answered a key question. Don't forget, people are on the Internet because they are "looking for answers"!

Acquire New Business

The last and very important step is that we are doing all this not only to build our reputation, but also to obtain new business, right? It is quite simple. Let's go back to the first section of this article and get back to what we know. Now take those people who find you online based on your complete and relevant profile, content, or expertise and conversations, and take that connection out of the online network to an offline phone call or even an appointment. How? Ask!

You will do fine from here!

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2010, Volume 6, Issue 1). Copyright © 2012 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

 Dean DeLisle has proven his ability to accelerate contacts, business development, and operations with sound business practices, the ever-evolving power of technology, and his consulting, coaching, and training skills over the past 25 years. More about Dean in the WABC Member Directory. Contact Dean.


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