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The Balanced Scorecard Series, Part 2

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Source: www.askacoach.com

The Learning and Development Perspective

As the learning and development (or sometimes referred to as Learning and Growth) perspective feeds into all other objectives, we shall start our exploration of the balanced scorecard here.

This perspective includes employee training and corporate cultural attitudes related to both individual and corporate self-improvement. This is a lot more than just training however. It also includes having mentoring programmes, developing ways to share knowledge amongst key stakeholders, and helping people learn how to take responsibility for problem solving.

Do people know how to do what you expect and/or need them to do? What are you doing to support them develop in these areas? If your team doesn’t know how to perform, or how to perform better than they are now, then their ability to meet operational, customer and financial targets is diminished.

Coaching Exercises

Let’s ask some general questions about your business. There are many more to be asked, so this is just a starting point.

  1. What are your high-level learning and development objectives?
  2. When do they have to be achieved by?
  3. Is there a particular order in which they need to be achieved?
  4. How are you evaluating these as important?
  5. How are you measuring these objectives? In other words, what data and reporting mechanisms do you have in place?
  6. What strategies do you have in place already, or which could be designed, to address each of the objectives? In some cases, there may be more than one strategy required to achieve the desired outcome?
  7. For each strategy, do you have any dates identified to achieve them?
  8. For each strategy, what are the measurement criteria and how specifically are you going to collect the data?
  9. Who is responsible for each strategy? What reporting do you need from them?
  10. For each objective, what financial targets are required to be met to achieve the desired outcome?
  11. For each objective, what internal business process objectives must also be met? These may link to the customer objectives as well.
  12. If you have already been measuring certain learning and development objectives, and have been able to identify that one or more of them is underperforming, which related financial, customer, internal business process and/or learning and development objectives are also underperforming? This information may help you in identifying root cause of the problem, and from this awareness, you can explore new choices and actions to implement to correct the issue.
  13. If you’re unsure about the objectives, the data, causes of problems or opportunities to improve the situation, whom wihin or outside of your organisation could you be turning to for assistance? This is potentially part of your own learning and development.

As always, if you need any further personal support in response to any of these coaching exercises, please consider using the askacoach.com service.

All the best,

Noel

Noel Posus – Master Coach
www.askacoach.com

The Balanced Scorecard Series, Part 1

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Source: www.askacoach.com 

Overview of The Balanced Scorecard

Many business coaches use The Balanced Scorecard with their clients to help identify key business strategies to achieve objectives in the following four categories:

  • Financial Focus
  • Customer Focus
  • Internal Business Process Focus
  • Learning and Development Focus

The Balanced Scorecard is a strategy-focused measurement and reporting mechanism developmed by Kaplan and Norton in the mid nineties at Harvard Business School.

The four perspectives, or focus areas listed above, are all important.

As compared to other management models and approaches, the “balanced scorecard” approach provides a clear prescription as to what companies should measure in order to “balance” the financial perspective.

In other words, many businesses have such a focus on their financial targets, that the attention is unbalanced against other important areas of the business.

For a business to achieve its financial targets, it must be able to meet all of its customer targets. Customer targets can only be met if there are sound internal business process objectives being achieved. And none of this is possible without also focusing on the learning and development objectives of the organisation and its people, in order for them to perform the necessary behaviours in all categories.

According to The Balanced Scorecard Institute,

“the balanced scorecard is a management system (not only a measurement system) that enables organisations to clarify their vision and strategy and translate them into action. It provides feedback around both the internal business processes and external outcomes in order to continuously improve strategic performance and results. When fully deployed, the balanced scorecard transforms strategic planning from an academic exercise into the nerve centre of an enterprise.”

Today and the next four day’s worth of blog entries will provide you with a number of coaching questions and exercises drawn from The Balanced Scorecard which you may find effective in analysing, planning and driving your business.

Coaching Exercises

Today, we’re asking some general questions about your business. There are many more to be asked, so this is just a starting point.

What is your organisation’s Vision Statement? In other words, what is the ultimate future-oriented goal of the organisation, which would also be the reputation you will have earned? How do you curently measure your performance against your Vision Statement? if you are not curently measuring it, what metrics could be used?

What is your organisation’s Mission Statement? In other words, what are the consisten behaviours and strategies you demonstrate and measure which will achieve your Vision? How do you curently measure your performance against your Mission Statement? if you are not curently measuring it, what metrics could be used?

What are your organisation’s Company Values? These are your core operating principles, either in terms of business practice or individual behaviours? How do you currently measure your performance against your Company Values? If you are not currently measuring it, what metrics could be used?

What are the top five objectives of your organisation right now and for the coming year or so? How are these documented and shared with the various stakeholders? If not documented and shared now, what are you willing to do to correct that?

As always, if you need any further personal support in response to any of these coaching exercises, please consider using the askacoach.com service.

All the best,
Noel

Noel Posus – Master Coach
www.askacoach.com

A New Vision for Work and Its Place in Your Life

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This is part 1 of the special series “Discover the Work You Were Born to Do”, by author Nick Williams

By the end of this article, you will discover: 

  • An entirely new vision for work, and its place in your life.
  • How your beliefs about work may be holding you back. 
  • Why the work you were born to do is as unique as your fingerprint.
  • The nature of ‘resistance’. 

The first step in discovering the work you were born to do is to understand the true purpose of work. Work lies at the centre of our adult lives…

… One prevailing belief is that work is, on the whole, an activity that must entail a degree of pain, boredom or suffering. It is something we have no real choice over – we just “have to do it”…

It can seem as though hard work and sweat are what justify our existence on this planet; indeed, many of us believe that the only route to success is through working hard and working long. All too often, it appears as though we are hard wired for suffering – and our work can be yet another area in which this idea is played out.

Similarly, work is often regarded as being a purely economic activity – it is what we have to do, and perhaps suffer for, in return for money. However, work was never supposed to be a form of economic slavery, nor an activity with which to punish ourselves.

If you have grown up with this set of beliefs, you may need to become inspired to a new vision for work and its place in your life.

In the twenty-first century, many of us have divorced our soul and ‘deeper self’ from our livelihood. So it’s high time that we reconnected our spirit with our work. A deeper part of us is calling us to let our work become a more complete expression of who we are, and a more joyful activity in itself.

Through our work we can express the spirit within us and allow our energies to flow out into the world. This is the true meaning and purpose of work – and it lies a full 180 degrees in opposition to the traditional economic and suffering based view.

The true purpose of work has always been to use our unique talents and gifts in order to make a difference and serve others, and in doing so, to inject a little more love into the world, spread more joy, and then get paid for it.

… and as well as the means to earn our living, our work can be about our own creative expression, our soul’s growth, rediscovering our potential and making our unique contribution to life.

We all need to feel there is a reason for our being here – something for us to do that is worthwhile and meaningful – that uses our talents and abilities, and contributes to the lives of others.

We deserve to feel fulfilled through our work, know that people are grateful for what we do and who we are, and at the same time, we deserve to be fairly compensated for our efforts. All of us want this – and even though it may not yet be clear to you – the Universe is set up to support each one of us in achieving it. The noblest view of work is that it can be the way we make our love visible in the world, a means of sharing generously with others.

As such, it has the potential to fulfil and enrich you.

Whether you feel it is your true calling or not, you can nevertheless perform your current work (whatever it may be) with love, thereby making it a more meaningful and fulfilling experience for you. However, I would like you to know that there is other work out there that you are uniquely qualified for and suited to, which will be a perfect match for who you are, your special talents and your enjoyment in life.

This is the work you were born to do, and you will find it at the intersection where your joy meets the needs of the world.

… It is borne in your imagination and YOU bring into the world. This work is not something you can simply sit down, dream up and then decide to undertake; it is something whose seeds have already been sown in your heart, and the memory of this lies safe within your soul.

For fifteen years, I have been helping people discover and live the work they were born to do. Later on in this course I will share with you the nine ways through which people discover what they are really here to be and do.

Who you are BEFORE what you do

Before asking the question, ‘what is the work I was born to do?’ each one of us needs to address the question, ‘who am I?’

Less important than what we actually do for a living is our willingness to access who we really are and bring that to our work.

As well as possessing a personality, we are spiritual beings – each blessed with talents, gifts and resources.

We are made in and from love.

… our existence is a blessing. There is core in each one of us that is whole and intact, untouched by our life experiences. Our mind and heart are the most amazing things in the Universe, and we are souls who are powerful beyond measure.

I agree with the poet William Wordsworth on the nature of our true selves:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home [...]

William Wordsworth,
Ode. Intimations of Immortality

… So your own credentials are pretty sound!

There is nothing wrong with you and yet there is so much right with you.

You have the capacity to inspire and be inspired! You were not born as some kind of blank page waiting for the world to stamp its imprint on you. You showed up in this life as a highly individuated soul, with a specific destiny to fulfil.

You too have unique talents, a calling to enact, challenges to face, rewards to treasure, obstacles to overcome and a Self to become. Your job in this life is not to try to shape yourself into some idealised version of yourself, but to find out who you already are ‘in embryo’ and then become that individual in full.

There is a potential-Self in you that you are here to realise, which holds the answer to why you are here on this planet. Realising this inner Self defines the work you were born to do -and it is your calling and vocation to discover and unlock its latent brilliance.

However, none of us has unlimited choices and it is a fact of life that we can’t all be absolutely everything we want to be. But, your personal calling is as unique as your fingerprint, and the best way to succeed is to discover what you love doing and then to find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, allowing your heart and the energy of the Universe to lead YOU in the process.

Now that you have a sense of what it means to discover the work you were born to do, it’s time to turn our attention to the parts of your psychology and personality that hold you back. In the next section we’ll be tackling the subject of ‘resistance’.

The parts of you holding yourself back

Now, as well as a spiritual nature, you have a personality, and even as you are reading this you will readily acknowledge that there are parts of your personality that may sometimes act as major blocks to your success.

You may have had a lifetime of conditioning that goes counter to the ideas I’m proposing. This conditioning contributes to what I term your ‘resistance’ – the tendency we all have to self-sabotage, undermine ourselves, procrastinate, make excuses, divert ourselves, rationalise away the need for change and hold ourselves back.

In short, resistance is an expression of your fear in its many forms.

A considerable stage in the journey you are embarking on now may be taken up with breaking your old habits and patterns, transforming yourself and liberating yourself from the conditioning you’ve had in fearful thinking, so that you can become a clearer instrument for the work you were born to do.

You may be able to unravel some unhelpful patterns in the twinkling of an eye, whilst other strands of your fearful thinking may run very deep and require hard work to enable you to become free of them.

The freer you become, the more new opportunities will wash up on your shores and the greater the success and rewards you’ll reap. Believe it or not, life is set up for your self-realisation, and you already have a power in you that is greater than your resistance.

You can learn to access and harness that power!

About the Author:

Through his books, and live talks, workshops, personal coaching and on-line learning programmes, Nick has inspired tens of thousands of people to discover the work they were born to do. Nick then helps them to live that either through employment or by being entrepreneurial through their own business. He also helps them develop the wisdom and courage to harness their inspiration, talent and their fears as forces for growth and creativity.

Website: www.nick-williams.com
Blog: http://nickwilliams100.typepad.com

Content Marketing

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Content Marketing 

Most businesses strongly differentiate between content and marketing. They perceive marketing as the distinct process by which they sell their content. (Note: content in this context can refer to any product and/or service). They believe that giving away content is a money-losing exercise.

This thinking is counter-intuitive. If your prospect does not have the chance to sample your (best quality) content, they have no means to assess its worth, and no reason to trust your value proposition.

When you think of your content, you should think of it in the following context:

  1. Free Line Content. Content to attract prospects, get subscribers, build your prospect list.
  2. Relationship Content. Content to connect with prospects, build relationships (also known as ‘Moving parade’).
  3. Conversion Content. Content to make a product offering.
  4. Income Content. Content that is your core income producing product and/ or service. (Note that content 1 to 3 is most often a sub-set of your Income Content).

Thinking of your content as marketing, as opposed to the thing your marketing sells, produces a significant paradigm shift. It switches your thinking from trying to ‘get’ something, to trying to ‘give’ something.

It switches your thinking FROM: “How can I persuade or convince my prospect to give me their money?”

TO: “How can I give my prospect the highest value; how can I get them to take advantage of my knowledge and gain some real world experience; use the content and get some results; so that when I then go and ask them ‘would you like to invest in some of my other stuff’ they say YES, because they TRUST you and have first-hand experience that your products work for them.”

Businesses that use content marketing create more trusting, enduring relationships with their prospects and clients, resulting in better conversion and higher client Marginal Net Worth.

Here’s a 4-step process for how to use your content as marketing:

1. Move the Freeline

  • Identify the most EMOTIONAL need or want your prospect is experiencing.
  • Create a piece of freeline content that helps your prospect achieve their need as quickly as possible.
  • Put the content into the highest perceived value package.
  • Get it into the hands of as many people as you can possibly find to take it.

2. Build Relationships

  • Make a list of the top 10 problems your prospects are facing. (Note that you focus on peoples problems as people are generally more motivated moving away from pain than toward pleasure).
  • Create a piece of “Relationship Content” to help your prospects get results as quickly as possible.
  • Structure this content into a high perceived-value and easily absorbable format and give it away to prospects (IE emails, pdf’s, reports, audios, podcasts, videos, e-courses, etc).

3. Convert Sales

  • Focus on customer problems, frustrations, desires, goals – and continue to learn by asking questions.
  • Start selling individual consultations and move to groups of 3, 5, 10 or more.
  • Build a “Conversion Conversation” based on asking questions and matching your materials to the specific problems your prospects mention.
  • Based on your first 100 “Conversion Conversations” create conversion literature that streamlines your sales process.

4. Lifetime Value

  • Move your clients through your sales funnel using content as the enticement.
  • Continue to deliver Relationship and Conversion content throughout the lifetime of your client.
    • IE Continue to deliver them content and value until such time as they ask you to stop.
  • Remember that it’s OK to ask your prospects and clients to buy from you. Delivering valuable, free content builds
  • reciprocal obligation; your prospects will feel compelled to buy from you to return the high value you provide them.

This article is an extract of Module 30 of Coaching Club’s Ultimate Business Building Program (UCBBP). As a member, you can also access action and assessment sheets, six topic-related articles and audios, and much more. Step up on your development and join CoachIQ’s 30-day free trial today at www.coachingclub.com.au.

Modifying Automatic Thoughts and Core Beliefs

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One of the core objectives of coaching is to identify which thoughts and beliefs are obstructing a person’s pathway to improvement. And once such thoughts and/or core beliefs are identified, it is the coach’s role to challenge the client to change his or her thinking.

In this post, we’ll explore some techniques that are used by coaches to help clients overcome their own negative thinking patterns. Most of these techniques are based on the cognitive-behavioural approach in coaching. Techniques used to question the validity and challenge automatic thoughts and core beliefs include:

  • Questioning techniques
  • Replacing false thoughts or beliefs with realistic ones
  • Use of a continuum
  • Positive data logs

Questioning Techniques

The following are questioning techniques used to challenge an automatic thought or core belief:

Examining the evidence

  • What is the evidence?
  • What is the evidence that supports this idea?
  • What is the evidence against this idea?

Looking for alternatives

  • Is there an alternative explanation?
  • Evaluating the consequences
  • What’s the worst that could happen?
  • Could I live through it?
  • What is the best that could happen?
  • What is the most realistic outcome?

Questioning the effect

  • What is the effect of my believing the automatic thought?
  • What could be the effect of changing my thinking?

Action planning

  • What should I do about it?

Double standards

  • What would I tell _______ (a friend) if he or she were in the same situation?

Adapted from: Beck, J. (1993). Cognitive therapy: Basics and beyond.  New York: Guilford Press.

For example:
 
Mitch is in the process of learning how to play golf as he believes it is an important way to network with clients. However, whenever he heads toward a golfing range he feels exhausted and annoyed.

Through the process of coaching, Mitch, identified that he has an automatic thought that says, “don’t try because you will fail” whenever he approaches something new.

The coach attempts to question Mitch’s automatic thought by using Questioning Technique 5 from the list above [Evaluating the consequences].

Below is a transcript of part of the coaching session with Mitch.

Coach – Mitch, I want you to think about the automatic thought we have just identified, “don’t try because you will fail”. Tell me… what’s the worst thing that could happen if you tried?

Mitch – Well, I guess I could fail miserably at golf and make a complete fool of myself in front of clients, or worse, my colleagues.

Coach – And, if this were to happen, could you live through it?

Mitch – Ha, ha. I guess I would live through it. But I might be the brunt of a few jokes for a while.

Coach – (Smiling) Yes. Well how about you have a think about what might be the best that could happen if you tried?

Mitch – Well… the best that could happen would be that I realise I am a natural golfer and I immediately play rounds well under par.

Coach – Uh huh… and tell me Mitch, what do you think is the most realistic outcome?

Mitch – Well, I suppose the most realistic outcome is that I will be okay. I won’t be great at the game, but I probably won’t be dreadful either.

Replacing False Beliefs

This technique focuses on replacing the false belief (or automatic thought) with a more realistic or rational belief. For example, for the belief “it is necessary to be approved and loved by all people”, you could replace it with, “it is not possible to be approved and loved by all people. I will just be myself and if people do not like me, I am ok with that.”

It is the role of the coach to assist the client in replacing false (sometimes called “irrational”) beliefs with beliefs that are more realistic.

For example:

False (or irrational) Belief: It is possible and necessary to control the attitudes and affections of other people.

Realistic (or rational) Belief: It is not possible for everyone to love and approve of us. Often what one person likes another dislikes. I’m better off being myself and letting compatible friendships develop naturally, rather than worry about pleasing everyone.

Use of a Continuum

“Core beliefs are often constructed in all-or-nothing terms (such as ‘If I’m not a success, then I’m a failure’). The use of a continuum (i.e. a scale from 0% to 100%) introduces shades of grey into client’s thinking, thereby helping them to develop more balanced and realistic appraisals of themselves, others and the world (to arrive eventually at the mid-point on the continuum…” (Neenan & Dryden, 2000)

For example:
 
Imagine a client has a core belief that she is incompetent. The coach can consider the alternative belief… ‘I am competent’ and ask:

Coach – “In percentage terms, how competent are you?”

The client may respond:

Client – “Ahh, I don’t know, probably about 10%”

The remainder of the coaching session may be used to discuss recent experiences that have contradicted the feeling of incompetence for the client. At the end of the session, the client may be asked if she would like to reassess her original percentage score.

The continuum can be used as a regular reference point to monitor the client’s progress toward the middle of the continuum (i.e. to a more balanced appraisal of themselves).

Positive Data Logs

“Keeping logs or diaries encourages the client to collect information over the weeks and months to support their adaptive beliefs; this method reduces their tendency to discount the positive information and focus only on information that endorses the old belief (information processing errors)” (Neenan & Dryden, 2000).

For example:

Through coaching Gemma has discovered that she has a core belief -”I’m incompetent.”  As Gemma works in a sales and PR role, this core belief is impacting on her ability to develop rapport with her clients.

Gemma’s coach suggests keeping a Positive Data Log. The Data Log is used to reinforce a more adaptive belief for Gemma. That is, there are many occasions in which I am competent.

This means that Gemma will be asked to record every event that is counter to her core belief. That is, anytime Gemma perceives she has acted competently, she notes the experience down. Here’s an extract from Gemma’s Positive Data Log:

10/11: I ran into Jacob from the sales team. He said that he had heard (through the grapevine) that my new clients found me to be very personable and friendly. It sounds like they will sign the contract.

13/11: Delia asked me to about the best way to handle a disgruntled client. It seemed she really valued my input.

14/11: Reached weekly sales targets.

17/11: Scouted for clients and added three new clients to my portfolio.

21/11: Surpassed weekly sales targets.

Initially, clients may find it difficult to extract experiences from their life that are counter to their core beliefs. The core belief acts as a strong filter through which experiences are perceived.

It is the role of the coach to be alert to the time that the daily experiences clients report about their life supports an adaptive belief.

Information on Use of Continuums and Positive Data Logs extracted from – Neenan, M. & Dryden, W. (2000). Essential cognitive therapy. London: Whurr (pg. 114 – 115).