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Learn How to Delegate

Business Development, Professional Development Comments Off

Anyone managing a factory, office, home or any group situation will have tussled with delegation. The next eight points may be used when working with clients to delegate tasks to better manage their time (Le Boeuf, 1985; Moss, 2001):

1. When first delegating a task make eye contact with the other person. This helps to get the message across.

2. Having explained the task/activity verbally, it pays to make sure the requests are written down and understood. One way of doing this is to have the other person read the request and then check for understanding (ie. ask them questions).

If the person does not understand some of the terminology involved, make sure they get this cleared up as anything not understood or misunderstood will lead to complications later. Having a written explanation of the task or activity saves time as the person carrying out these functions can re-read rather than the need for repeating explanations.

3. If you don’t want to write down what you are requesting, at least get the person to say back to you what it is they are expected to do.

4. Orient people towards the final product. There is a difference between “I want you to clean the bathroom” and “I want the bathroom to be clean and shiny and fit for royalty to come and visit”. The first request asks for the activity to be completed to no particular quality. The likely result is a grudging twenty minutes of poor cleaning. The second request asks for something specific which will call upon the person to apply effort and initiative. This is further enhanced if rewards are offered for a satisfactory product.

5. Praise the person at the start of the task, tell them you know they can do it and praise them when it is successfully completed. If it is not successfully completed, praise them for making the effort, ask them if they had problems with it and jointly discuss how it might be improved next time.

6. If you really want to offload the task, don’t interfere with this person as they try to do it. Bypassing them tells them that you are not really relinquishing your ownership of the task, and they will end up leaving it to you.

7. Allow the person to make mistakes. In the long run you will come out on top in terms of time and you will make the people around you feel more useful and productive, thereby boosting your self esteem.

8. If you get the reward system right, such as awarding points for tasks done and having monthly prizes and recognition, you may end up with people coming to you looking for more things to do.

Tracy (2007) advises to watch for ‘reverse delegation’. ‘Reverse delegation’ is where those people we have given tasks to come back to us for a solution to the problem.
 
References:

  1. Le Boeuf, M. (1985). How to motivate people. Melbourne, Australia: Schwartz and Wilkinson.
  2. Moss, G. (2001). Time savers. New Zealand: Moss Associates Ltd.
  3. Tracy, B. (2007). Time power. USA: Amacom Books.

For more information about productivity strategies, subscribe to a free 1-month trial at www.coachingclub.com.au.

How to Give Feedback to Employees

Personal Development, Professional Development Comments Off

Victor has recently started a business. He believes the future success of his business lies in having a great team and wants to build an environment where communication and friendliness among staff is highly encouraged.

To ensure his ideals are in-line with his managerial actions, he has started coaching with you to work on his communication skills and to learn strategies which could be used to motivate his staff. For this purpose, he has made a list of questions which he would like your help answering – with the first question being: “How can I be more honest with my feedback to my employees without hurting their feelings and having them not like me?”

As the coach, what can you suggest to this client? Zahava Starak, LCI Master Coach, answers…

It is normal that a client posing this question is be looking for a way out of a ‘sticky’ situation – as the giving and receiving of feedback is often laden with problems – and in fact it may be impossible to have a ‘win-win’ situation in which both the receiver and giver of the feedback are fully satisfied.

In your role of coach you can inform your client that you can work together to find strategies and learn communication skills that will enhance their performance in offering feedback but your client still needs to know up front that there are no guarantees on how their feedback will be received. 

For an optimum outcome you can approach this problem by initially exploring your client’s personal value system and consider what role communication plays in it. By the nature of your client’s concerns it may be assumed that they place high value on communication skills.

However rather than make this assumption you can provide your client with a list of commonly held values and have them pick ten and then rank them in importance. The discussion that follows will either validate your client’s awareness of their need for effective communication or it will draw to their attention the omission of this value on their list and can encourage some introspection on how they actually view communication in their life.

The ability to be able to communicate with employees and provide feedback in an appropriate manner is a skill that your client will need to learn and by exploring how they value this skill you’ll be able to gauge your client’s motivation and commitment to change.

At this time you may chose to engage your client in a discussion on the ‘philosophy’ of effective communication with the intention of beginning to introduce them to specific skills.

There are many books available on communication skills and you may benefit from reading the works of researchers and writers such as Carl Rogers, Robert Bolton and Richard Egan who are the predecessors to our 21st century coaches.

Such a background may help you to educate your client on what makes ‘good feedback’. Without complicating the issue you can simply inform your client of some of the core concepts essential to communication such as: genuineness, self-acceptance; respect and empathy.

Having a good intellectual understanding of what makes for effective communication serves as a good background for the more practical. Practical in this case equates to a feedback process which includes a number of steps as follows:

  1. Know what you want to say – be sure that your information is accurate and that it needs to be said.
  2. Decide where and when you want to offer your feedback.
  3. Make sure there are no distractions.
  4. State your points clearly and assertively – use appropriate language and avoid inappropriate jargon.
  5. Assure that your body language is in sync with your comments.
  6. Use the listening skills of paraphrase and summary when responding to others.
  7. Ask for Feedback.

With these guidelines in mind your client can now be introduced to specific skills such as the use of XYZ statements; appropriate body language including body posture, pitch, tone of voice, facial expressions, eye contact, breathing, mirroring and the use of silence. You can follow up on the explanation of these skills with a demonstration which can then be discussed for further understanding.

It now may be an appropriate time to learn some more specific details about your client’s situation and through open and closed questions and responding skills you can get a clear picture of what exactly the client wants to say to their employees.

Your client is now ready to put it all together and to practice his new skills both with you and in non-threatening real life situations until they feel confident to address their employees. This may also be an opportunity to congratulate your client on the efforts they have put in so far and to once again remind them that they in the process of offering feedback can only be responsible for their behaviours – not the recipients.

It could happen that your client will not get the response they want and will not be liked as a result of their feedback and so you need to prepare your client for this possibility.

You can remind them of the core concepts of communication which include self acceptance and you can use NLP techniques or cognitive restructuring to reframe their negative thoughts so they view the whole experience as one of learning and enlightenment.

They can be encouraged to

  1. Acknowledge they did the best they could.
  2. Acknowledge that they survived and coped with the consequences of their feedback.
  3. Write down everything they learned from the experience.
  4. Thank the giver of the uncomfortable feedback.
  5. Refocus on the reason they themselves offered feedback in the first place.
  6. If possible clean up any messes that may have been created and perhaps use some conflict resolution skills.
  7. Take time to review successes.

At the end of the day we all want to go to bed feeling that despite conflicts and uncomfortable situations we have done the best we can and your client can be outfitted with knowledge and skills to allow for this.

10 Facts About Products

Business Development 1 Comment »

A product is a packaged and branded educational resource. Successful coaches all over the world know that developing products should be a top of mind exercise to grow their business.

In a nutshell, coaches that develop products are significantly more successful than coaches that don’t. In this article, we review WHY it is so important to have products and; HOW you can use your products to grow your business.

WHY are coaching products important?

Increased Credibility. Delivering high quality, branded products to your niche is one of the most powerful means to build your credibility. There is virtually no other way to accelerate your perception as an expert in your niche.

Better networks. Authorities in your niche are usually very willing to assist and participate in the development of products that assist their industry. Networking with these authorities will give you an immediate, highly leveraged entry into your niche. It will open many doors to Joint Ventures; list sharing; public forums; group meetings; etc.

Less reliance on time. As a coach, what is your commodity? When everything is distilled down, what are you selling? Coaching? No. Happiness? No. Success? No. Health? No. You are selling your time! Time is your commodity. And when time is your commodity, when you are reliant on selling your time, your income potential is extremely limited.

You can only realistically work 8-hours a day. So the only way to earn more money is to charge more. There is a limit to how much you can charge. And when you stop selling your time (go on holidays with your family; get sick), your income stops. Products are your escape from being time reliant. By commercialising products you rely less on time as your commodity.

Switch from one-to-one to one-to-many. Most coaches sell one-to-one coaching as their core service. This restricts your time, and also limits your commercial reach. Commercialising products allows you to leverage your intellectual property by 10, 100, 1000 times. You can be selling hundreds of eBooks; eCourse; tele-clinic seats; per week. Now that’s how to leverage your knowledge and time!

Once you have products, how can you put them to use for maximum affect? We’ll now investigate ways you can use your products to increase enquiries; conversions and sales. Let’s look at HOW you can use your products:

Building your list. In an earlier module we discussed the sales funnel, and how important it is to get as many qualified prospects in the top of your funnel as possible. Using your products is a highly leveraged means to do this. Here are a few examples:

  1. Offer a free eBook as an incentive to join an online club; eZine; newsletter.
  2. Let people download a “Special Report” after subscribing to your list.
  3. Mention your list (education-based) on your tele-clinic call.
  4. Gather business cards or contacts at your seminar.

Loss Leader. You know by now the net marginal worth of your clients, and hence how much you can afford to invest at the front-end on acquiring a client. A strategy to attain client contracts is to use a ‘loss leader’. This means you make a financial loss at the front-end, knowing you’ll make gains over the term of the life of your client.

For instance, you may give away free vouchers to a group coaching workshop to members of your niche. This may cost you $100 per attendee. However, you get 90% of attendees into the top of your funnel; 30% of them to level 2 within 3-months; 20% to level 3 within 6-months. The net result may be a $1,750 gain over 6-12 months per attendee.

Value-add. Products are an excellent way to value-add your services. For instance, you may use a 6-week ticket to your specialist tele-clinic as an incentive to upsell prospects from a 3-month contract to a 6-month contract.

Referral. Your products can be an excellent tool to incentivise referrals. You may go to the prospects in your funnel and say to them “We know you enjoy the information we provide you, and we’re sure you know other that would benefit from it. If you put us in touch with these people, as a thank-you we’ll give you this XYZ product”.

JV Incentives. Products are an excellent way to provide incentives for joint ventures. For instance, just say you approach a gym or a health spa, and undertake some cooperative marketing.

They write to their members and inform them that for a limited time they can go to your website and download a free special report “How to Overcome the 7 Biggest Barriers to Achieving Your Fitness Goals, by specialist coach ABC”. To download the report they have to give you their name and email address.

Conversion. You can use your products to improve conversion and shorten conversion time lines. For instance, offer your product as a value-add to a core service for a limited time.

As you can see, there are many powerful advantages to creating products, and many flexible ways to use them.

Relationship Skills for Couples

Personal Development, Professional Development Comments Off

There are a variety of stages within a relationship, where in the initial stages the mixture of emotional excitement brought the couples together, six or sixteen years later the love that has evolved is very different. 

The various stages that transpire within a relationship are quite normal, and are necessary for growth and development. Every relationship has its teething periods, but the problem really isn’t ‘what’ happens, but rather how you handle and deal with those issues.

Conflict is to be expected in every relationship. Everyone has their own belief systems and personal habits which have been learnt from young and some of these may irritate the other person, no matter how much love there is. In healthy relationships, couples are able to settle their differences whether it be by compromising or acceptance. 

For others, where there is no resolution, tension and frustration sets in, causing the couple to become detached within the relationship and leading emotionally distant lives. There is now a relationship breakdown, and at this point a decision needs to be made to either make the relationship work, or to end it.

Finishing a relationship can be very difficult, no matter how right it is for you to do so. It is normally the choice of one person to end a relationship, rather than the couple together, although the decision affects both persons concerned and their immediate family. It is important to truthfully assess whether the situation is so bad within a relationship that there is no other option.

  1. Are there possibilities for changes in the relationship?
  2. What steps can be taken towards improvement?
  3. Are there any advantages in ending the relationship, and if so, what are they?

Developing Problem Solving Skills

When we are having problems in our relationship, we can feel overwhelmed and have difficulty in seeing a way forward. Developing the ability to apply logical, critical, and creative thinking, enables us to find effective solutions. Problem solving is a process that involves a number of steps that you can follow.

  • Identify the problem
  • Break the problem down into parts – one small step at a time
  • Explore the problem – consider a variety of solutions and strategies
  • Set a goal – what would you like to achieve?
  • Choose a solution and put it into action 
  • Evaluate – what went well?
  • Evaluate – what could you do differently next time?

Communication

Lack of communication is a common problem and the one that probably needs most attention. One partner or sometimes both simply don’t know how to put into words what they feel. They may have grown up in a family where personal feelings were never shared openly, and so they lack the confidence to be open with their partner for fear of looking silly or being rejected.

Enhancing Communication: When problems arise in relationships, it is often as a result of poor communication. In order to communicate our desires and needs to our partner, we need a healthy sense of our own identity.

A successful relationship is dependent upon there being two individuals with a strong sense of self and clearly defined, healthy, personal boundaries. An appreciation of our own qualities enables us to see and value them in another and increases our capacity for intimacy and commitment.

Increasing our understanding of who we are and how we have developed as well as learning practical skills in communication and problem solving, can lead to more satisfying and harmonious relationships, and to personal fulfillment. There are some basic principles that are worth following if we want to have good communication with our partner.

Be clear about what you want to communicate – if you don’t know, they won’t either

  • Use “I” statements, stating what you want or feel rather than making “you” statements about your partner
  • Don’t blame or label your partner
  • Choose a time when you have their attention and there are no distractions
  • Take time to listen to what your partner is saying and resist the temptation to interrupt
  • If you are unclear or upset about what they have said, check for accuracy before you respond
  • Be encouraging and supportive
  • Be willing to negotiate

Unresolved emotional differences: These can put a very firm brake on the development of communication and intimacy in a relationship. Anger, hurt or resentment of one partner by the other, along with a lack of trust or a sense of not being appreciated by their partner, are examples.

Practical difficulties: These can reduce the level of intimacy in some relationships at different times. Examples might be financial concerns, pressures at work, difficulties with children, or just being too busy to really connect with each other.

Childhood experiences: These are often at the root of some people’s difficulty establishing intimacy. A person who has experienced a great deal of hurt as a child will often find it hard as an adult to trust their partner, however much they may be in love.

Examples of childhood pain that affects adult relationships include long-term conflict between parents, physical or sexual abuse, or a loss or death that was never properly accepted and grieved.

Such experiences can lead to a child having poor self-esteem, a basic doubt about whether or not he or she is worthy of love. These doubts can be carried into adulthood, making it very difficult for the person to open up to someone else in case they are rejected and their doubts are confirmed.

Intimacy does not happen by magic. It must be built up over time. This takes some people longer than for others. Often the harder you work at intimacy, the more valuable and rewarding it is. The following are some steps that may help.

  • Be positive about what you have in your relationship and let your partner know what you value about him/her and about the relationship. Put it into words, don’t assume they already know. Everybody likes to be told that they are appreciated and loved.
  • Create opportunities for intimacy. In other words, times when you can be alone together in a situation where you can focus on each other and on your relationship. The harder it is to do this because of the children, work or other commitments, the more important it is that you do it! Try to plan a regular evening, day or weekend for the two of you to be alone.
  • Practise making “I” statements about how you feel. This avoids putting your partner on the spot, and may help him or her do the same. For example “I feel hurt you didn’t ask me before you decided” instead of “Why didn’t you ask me first?”
  • After an argument look at the deeper feeling behind the anger, hurt, anxiety, or sense of being let down. Talk to your partner about these feelings.

For some of us, our best efforts are not enough, and our relationship comes to an end. Rebuilding your life after a relationship has ended can be a painful and challenging process.

The end of a relationship can result in disruption to the extent that we need to create a whole new way of life – often with a different place to live and with different relationships with family and friends. Finding our feet in these circumstances can be very difficult indeed.

Not Repeating the Old Patterns

Each of us is unique. We have learned how to be who we are through the particular circumstances of our family, and the society in which we live. Unfortunately, some of our early conditioning may result in us having feelings and behaviours that no longer serve us well, reduce our capacity for spontaneity and individuality, and our ability to relate well. Low self-esteem, poor personal boundaries, difficulties with intimacy, and feelings of shame and guilt impede our capacity to relate.

Letting go of this negative conditioning is possible. We tend to hang on fondly to old patterns of being and relating, fearing change or of being confronted with aspects of our personalities we prefer to keep at the blurry edges of our awareness.

Whilst dipping into the unknown can be anxiety-provoking, it can also be exciting and enlivening, opening up possibilities only previously dreamed of. Consider embarking on a journey toward something better.

© Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors – www.aipc.net.au

Optimising Lead Conversion

Business Development Comments Off

Most marketing processes have a strong emphasis on follow up. And rightly so. Despite your best sales efforts, there is always only a portion of prospects ready and willing to buy at a particular point in time. This is the cycle of life.

Consumers go through a process whereby their desire for a product or service (actually the benefit of the product/ service) comes into their consciousness. That desire has an intensity that determines their next course of action.

If it’s mildly intense, which is the vast majority of the time; they’re driven to simply ‘learn more’. When the intensity is extremely strong and overwhelming, they buy.

The primary task of sales is to move your prospect from the ‘learn more’ intensity, to the overwhelming ‘need to have’ intensity.

But this is not always possible in a short timeframe. So you need follow up processes. Follow up is a means of gradually and continuously moving your client to ‘need to have’ intensity.

Your prospects are always at different phases of intensity. That’s why it’s crucial you maintain their momentum toward ‘need to have’ intensity.

As it is very difficult to know where on the intensity scale your prospect is, you must always give them an opportunity to buy in EVERY follow up. It doesn’t matter what form your follow up takes, it must contain a call to action and give your prospect the opportunity to buy.

We suggest the best method of follow up is educational, such as:

  • An educational eNewsletter (eZine)
  • eCourse
  • Teleconference series
  • Etc

These educational contacts continue to build rapport and trust, and establish you as a credible expert. Other follow ups to consider include:

  • Email
  • Hard copy letter
  • Phone calls
  • Special invitations
  • Reports
  • “Club” membership
  • Vouchers
  • Joint Venture promotions
  • Gifts
  • Parties/ meetings/ get togethers
  • Cards
  • Fax
  • Blogs
  • RSS subscriptions
  • Articles
  • How-To guides
  • Tip Sheets
  • Etc.

For more information about marketing strategies, subscribe to a free 1-month trial at www.coachingclub.com.au.