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Helping a Client in Managing People

Professional Development Comments Off

Your client approaches you with the following question: “I’ve just been promoted but I don’t have a clue how to manage people. How do I start to do learn what I need to do?” Master Coach Terry Neal answers…

In this situation your client may have come to you with a feeling of panic or at the very least feeling “ill at ease” with the thought of being a manager of people. They may have never been in a working situation where they had to interact constantly with their fellow employees face to face (for example, they may have been an “on the road” representative for a company visiting and staying in contact with their customers sometimes face-to-face, but mostly over the phone and/or via email).

They may also have been working in the same office each day and have gone from being one of the staff to being the manager for a section of the company. Also, they may have come from an entirely different organisation to work for this new company and this is a promotion for them.

Whatever direction they’ve come from, it would be useful for the coach to know this background information in order to assess the client’s current knowledge and skillset against their needs.

Exercises

A suggestion is to start by helping the client to determine the details of their role in this management position. Ask them to describe their new role in as much detail as possible. Through your questioning and summarising you can help your client first to have a clear picture of their new role within the company.

You could also ask if they’ve had any management experience in any area they were involved in the past, whether in business or otherwise e.g. community organisations, sporting clubs and so forth. This could help tease out where they may have utilised management skills before – and what they could transfer to their current position.

Then you could ask questions such as pertaining to the number of people they have to manage and their individual details (their names, location, working area within the organisation, networks or communication circles they belong to within the workplace, experience levels, time working in the company and so forth). This allows your client to assess how well they know the people they are now being asked to manage and where the gaps are in this knowledge.

From this information gathering from questions about themselves and the people they will be managing, you could suggest that they set up a meeting with these people ideally individually as soon as possible.

Now this may or may not be logistically easy but remind your client that they need to give these people an opportunity to meet with you face-to-face to talk about their new working relationship and to get to know each other for the first time in some cases.

To assist your client to understand how this initial meeting could be structured, ask your client to imagine themselves as an employee who is going to be introduced to their manager for the first time. Ask your client to consider such questions as: What would you like your manager to ask you as an employee? What types of things would you like to say to your manager? How would you like your manager to act towards you? Where do you think such a meeting should take place?

So as their coach, you have started to assist them in a number of ways. You have:

  1. Helped them to identify questions that could be asked as well as reminding them to allow time for each employee to talk about what they feel they need to talk with you about. This could be done by asking the question: Is there anything that you’d like to talk about with me?
  2. Identified appropriate time and venue for such meetings.
  3. Initiated a process of building up confidence in your client through suggesting some concrete steps as well as helping them to be aware of skills and abilities that they may have already developed, which they had not been aware of or which they hadn’t thought they could transfer to this new situation.
  4. Reminded your client that both they and the people whom they are now managing will possibly take some time to feel comfortable enough to talk openly and honestly with each other. The relationship here will take time to develop.

Having worked with your client to create a ‘first meeting’ plan, encourage them once again to set up these meetings with staff on a one-to-one basis. Other meetings may have to be in groups due to the numbers of staff but if this one can be individual, it could potentially provide your client with much more relevant information about the group they’re managing as a whole.

Over time you may need to be a sounding board for your client to help them assess their progress in their techniques of managing people and to suggest some next steps in their learning. For example, you could suggest that they contact someone who your client knows, who’s been in a management role and who is willing to be a support person for your client; in other words a mentor.

You could also suggest networking with other managers in similar fields of work, management courses, management journals, seminars and informal gatherings of those who are in a similar role to your client. There are loads of useful articles and information readily accessible over the web.

Through activities suggested above, over time your client will potentially begin to feel more confident and skilled in the management of people.

Helping a Client “Find” Love

Personal Development, Professional Development Comments Off

Your client is in a relationship but has doubts about the validity of his emotions. He asks you the following question: How do I know if I really love my partner? As his coach, what would you do? Master Coach Terry Neal answers…

Initial Questioning

A client with this question needs to be treated sensitively. The client may be in a position of concern about ‘what is love really’ which may have come from comparing themselves in their relationship with other couples that they know personally or have observed in recent times.

Their concern may also have come from reading, hearing about or seeing reports on celebrity couples who are quite often held up in the media to every possible scrutiny and public comment by those who claim to ‘know’ what is and isn’t “real love” in a couple relationship.

On the other hand, your client may be asking this question because he is feeling that the fire or spark that may have been in the relationship in earlier times now seems to have diminished or even disappeared.

The feeling that they may now have towards their partner may not have much or any resemblance to the feeling that they experienced in earlier stages of the relationship.

Initially, you would need to let your client talk about what they see as the core of this questioning. Through careful listening, you will be able to begin to determine some important aspects of their relationship at this time and why they have come to you for coaching.

Perhaps they’re in a relatively newly-committed relationship that has begun to settle into the daily routine (that’s part of most relationships at some stage) or perhaps they and/or their partner have talked about commitment and living together and your client is wondering about their current feelings towards their partner (and whether this will be enough to make this move and to support them in the next stage of their relationship).

Thus, sensitive questioning will help you to establish where the relationship is according to your client and some of the challenges that it’s bringing.

Strategies

Now, if you realise that issues were raised through the initial questioning stage which need to be addressed by a relationship counsellor, then you would be ethically bound to let your client know this (and therefore you will need to talk with your client about a referral to such a practitioner).

However, if you believe that your client is wondering in general about whether they really love their partner, you could begin by asking them to write down what they think and/or feel are the qualities that express love in a couple relationship.

Ask them not to limit themselves with or judge the expressions they write on this list: ask them to write down as many qualities as they can think of, including those they’ve heard others say to be such expressions. This list could consist of actions, words, thoughts, feelings… whatever they feel or think constitutes an expression of love.

Next, ask them to indicate which qualities they consider to be the most important expressions of love in a relationship. Finally, ask the client to indicate the qualities they are expressing or doing now within their current relationship.

Encourage your client to look at the complete list, particularly noting those that they’ve indicated as important in general and especially those that they use now as expressions of love towards their partner.

You could then follow the creation of this list with questions like:

  • What do you notice about your list of qualities in general?
  • What is the correlation between the expressions you’ve considered to be important and those that you actually express now?
  • How do you feel about this correlation?
  • What aspects (if any) of your expressions of love that you already use now towards your partner would you like to change?
  • What would you like to include from the larger overall list?

Once again, sensitivity would be required as your client could start to make negative comparisons about themselves through how they currently express love towards their partner by comparing themselves with their ideal list.

However, there are three things you could do to alleviate this comparison:

  1. You could remind your client that the list of the expressions of love came from them and so this means that they do have the awareness of what love and its expression can look and feel like. If they reply that they were just saying what they’ve heard others say to be expressions of love, suggest that this is OK as initially you asked them to list as many as they could think of or felt were expressions and not whether they would use them.
  2. You could ask them if there are any qualities in the most important list that are ‘shoulds’ for them ie: “I should express this or feel like this”.
  3. You could also suggest some web research about love and relationships from reputable sources that present a ‘down-to-earth’ approach e.g. Relationships Australia, Counselling Connection Blog (www.counsellingconnection.com), etc.

By the end of the session, your client may at least have a more positive perspective around the qualities of love that they already express and can be supported to see that they are perhaps already expressing some or many of those qualities that they regard as important to their partner.

Further sessions with you may assist in highlighting those expressions of love that your client may choose to include and express within their relationship.

Building Value

Business Development Comments Off

One of the main reasons small businesses, coaches included, fail to maximise their potential, is that they do not focus on selling. Small business operators by nature are technicians.

This practice is obviously counter productive to success. If you can not effectively sell your service, you’ll have little to no clients to deliver your service to. It’s similarly counter-intuitive to believe that high technical competence will underpin sales.

If you have few clients, and provide them the best service available, your business will still only grow organically at best. And besides, your clients have little to no ability to discern good technical competence from excellent technical competence. The effective marketer will ALWAYS outperform, in multiples, the technician.

Why selling effectively is crucial?

We often talk leverage. In business, how you leverage each function of your business will differentiate whether you just scrape by or make massive profits. If you can make an advertisement generate 100 leads instead of 20; get clients to purchase 5 times per year instead of 3; upsell clients to a $3,000 ‘package’ instead of the standard $1,500 offer; develop a referral process that generates 1.5 new clients per client.

These are examples of leverage. And this is where massive hidden profits exist in your business. How well you leverage your sales is critical to your success.

Advertising and marketing is one of the biggest cost bases in small business. The money you spend to acquire new clients directly impacts your bottom line profit. If it costs you $1,000 to acquire to new client worth $1,500, you make $500 bottom line profit. If you can reduce the cost to acquire that client from $1,000 to $500, you have effectively DOUBLED your bottom line net profit.

If you extrapolate that across your business you can effectively double your net income almost immediately. You can easily move from $30,000 income, to $60,000, to $100,000. Simply by improving this one stage in your sales process. This is the power and importance of selling.

One of the most important steps in effectively selling your coaching services and products involves building value. Once you’ve identified your prospects buying criteria through the qualifying phase, you need to build value into your proposition.

There are several ways to build value, including:

Quantifying cost/pain of NOT buying. Humans are a bazaar species. They’ll often go years and years in discomfort without seeking a simple solution. It’s likely your prospects have experienced the same problems and challenges, which you can assist them overcome, for a significant time.
 
This means they can survive without your service. It also means they’re well aware of the cost of NOT finding a solution. To make survival easier, people diminish the extremity of the problem or push it into their subconscious. You need to bring it abruptly into consciousness. You need to attach an emotional and financial value on it.

Theory of Contrast. Once you’ve brought your prospects challenges into their consciousness you can contrast the cost/ pain of not having it solved, with that of solving it.

Social Proof. You can build value in a very leveraged way by showing that your prospects peers (and particularly authority figures) are already using your service.

Focus on benefits. When building value it’s important to focus on benefits rather than features. Your prospects invest in, and emotionally attach to, the benefits of your service, not its features. As such you must communicate to them in terms of benefits.

Authority. When you establish yourself as an authority in your niche, rapport is a natural side affect. It’s like social osmosis.

Provide Proof. Where possible provide evidence that your service delivers value. This can be provided by detailed testimonials, data, reports, etc. Use this information in a manner that supports your claims and relates directly to the core benefits desired by your prospects.