Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
I love being a business coach. In my 14th year I can honestly say that it still feels like day 1 when I first meet a new client and we explore their needs and issues. I tend to work with middle and senior managers and small teams, so that together we facilitate organisational change, by developing confidence, bringing people together and accounting for options.
Often when people are first trained in coaching skills they naturally default to a question-and-answer style of work and whilst there is nothing wrong in that, there are times when the client simply puffs out a smokescreen and dupes the coach. It happens to us all and I’ve had several clients who have tried this, only to be disappointed when I cut through the smoke by asking them a powerful question. Powerful questions cut to the heart of the matter and tend to use the word ‘really’ to add emphasis. Such as:
a) Are you really going to do that, between now and when we next meet?
b) Are these two options really the only ones available?
c) Have you really thought through the consequences of not taking action?
These questions poke people hard in the ribs and although they are delivered in a friendly way, the recipient knows they can’t hide and have to cough up a truth or two. We can then explore them and deliver a good outcome between us.
However, to use powerful questions successfully I have found that we need to have built a good relationship, in order to establish a high level of trust between us, so that the client knows I only have their best interests at heart and am only poking them in order to help them. It has become apparent to me over the previous 12 months that I now tend to ask fewer questions overall and instead spend time building the relationship, so the coaching conversation emerges, rather than being a product of a dry process.
Making contact with people is essential in business, whether they are a client, a member of staff, or a supplier. Taking time to get to know them pays high dividends as it builds trust and rapport and creates a sense of safety between the parties. When people feel safe they will tend to be more honest and do better work, which adds more value to our business.
So, this week take a moment to think about how you interact with the people who make your business a success. Do you rush in and expect instant sales? Do you spend time really getting to know your staff?
People buy people. Who is buying you? Relational coaching is powerful and great fun and sometimes I go paddling with clients in the surf on the North Norfolk coast. Building a sound relationship can take many forms! What could you do more of?
Next week: Hand Cream & Success
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