Thursday, February 28, 2013

Five reasons your coaching business needs your story

You may have heard it said 'Stories Sell'.  It's true.  We really connect to a good story and it's a proven marketing and sales tactic.

You know this instinctively, you only buy something when you really 'believe' it.  And you can take any example from your own life.  Think about the last purchase you made; what was the pitch?  What did you believe when you bought it?  I can guarantee you, it was a great story.
However, I'm not writing about new 'tactics' here.  I want to write about something much more authentic and personal than the latest proven business building gimmick.

And what's this got to do with coaching?  Well you can be the best coach in the world but if you can't sell your services, you simply don't have a business.

Here are the five  reasons your coaching business needs YOUR story and these are also the five ways you can build your business authentically and easily.

1. Your Story is evidence of your expertise. What you have experience; including your personal life events, research, education and approach, is the best evidence of why you are perfectly placed to coach others.

2. Your Story creates powerful connect. When we hear your authentic story we are reminded of our own related experiences and instinctively understand that you get it!

3. Your Story is inspiring. Your potential clients are struggling to achieve something.  You have grown beyond that struggle so by telling that story you are inspiring others.

4. Your Story is the key to attracting clients. Your story differentiates you from others in your market. People always remember the story and be attracted by it. You show up as human, approachable, knowledgeable and most importantly, relevant.  Clients find you when you start telling your story.

5. Your Story makes you money. Add up all of what's said before…more connection, more expertise, more inspiration, more clients – yes, it means you will make more money and have a thriving business. Now what coach would say no to that!

You need a great story.  And you don't have to make it up.  You have a great story.  Don't doubt it.

Your story is who you are, it's how you create your reality, it's how you show up.

Start showing up powerfully with your authentic, compelling story – your business will thank you for it!

Lisa Bloom, PCC is founder of Story Coach Inc. and the Certified Story Coach Program.  Download her ebook ‘Using Stories to Get Great Clients’ at http://www.story-coach.com.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How to make building your coaching business seem fun & effortless

Building a coaching business can feel daunting, especially if the entrepreneurial world is new to you or you don’t particularly like the whole marketing conversation. But let it be known, you do not have to do the hard driving, grit your teeth action to build a profitable business.

If I told you it was possible to market your business through activities that you found fun, energizing and effortless, would you believe me?  I'm going to share with you how to make that vision true for you.

Building a successful business is like building a skyscraper, you need a solid foundation to support a six-figure business. But beyond a solid foundation to support it, you need a consistent source of energy to keep doing the activities you need to do to get the results you desire.

What is this source of energy? We’re talking about marketing. Not flash-in-the-pan marketing… sustainable marketing. And if you want it to be sustainable, it has to be easy. It has to fit with your natural abilities – the things you are good at and enjoy doing. I call these your attractive abilities – your key to successful entrepreneurship.

Every single person on the planet has a unique set of talents and gifts. These are the things that come easy to you and complement your personality. You are good at them, and naturally, you love to do them.

For example, some people are extroverted and enjoy engaging those around them in meaningful conversations, like Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.


Others are introverted and they have an impressive skill set when it comes to processing information and putting their thoughts on paper. An example could be leaders such as Warren Buffett or Steven Spielberg.


Sometimes, these abilities feel so natural that we assume everyone can do these things. But that simply isn't true. These traits are gifts, specially developed aspects of your personality, and they form the basis of your unique ability to contribute in the world.

Give yourself a chance to thoroughly investigate what it is that you are both great at and love doing.

Begin by asking yourself these four critical questions.
1. Which business activities energize you, both during and after you do them?
2. Which business activities make time fly?
3. Think of a time when you were successful as a professional. What activities were you doing?
4. What activities do other people complement your performance on (and you feel surprised because you thought everyone was good at it)?

Passion into Profit Coaching Challenge: Decide today to align your marketing activities with things you love to do and what you are great at and embrace the effortless way of being a coach in business.

Teresia LaRocque MCC, is Director of Entrepreneurship and Business Building Mentor for the Erickson Business Center –  www.ericksonbusinesscenter.com at Erickson College International www.erickson.edu. Teresia is a pioneer in the booming profession of personal coaching, the first recipient of the International Coach Federation’s Master Coach Credential in Canada and cofounder for the Vancouver International Coach Federation chapter. Teresia is committed to supporting coaches to take their talent and passion for coaching and make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Teresia is the founder and facilitator of the Passion into Profit Program, a customized business building program offered through the Erickson Business Center.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Time management for the coach


One of the key areas of concern that will often raise a question to existing coaches is that of time management.

I will cover this in a number of ways today that I hope you find useful and that you can start to apply to your own practice and client work.

Firstly a start up question I would like to ask you is

Do you have “enough” time or are you spending time avoiding what you don't like or feel confident in?

How can you change this?

So, now we turn our attention to the actual session of coaching.

I have often found that this an area that can raise different arenas of challenge for coaches.

It may be that you find sessions are overrunning in terms of time. Initially you have set a time slot for your coaching, whether that be an hour or thereabouts and you see that the session has overrun substantially.

What has led to this?

I see that at times clients will want to share what is on their mind and want to off load and talk. This is useful but at times can also create a question mark for you as the coach. When do you start to coach them and bring them back on track?

Firstly how is allowing them to “talk” useful to them without you needing to create the next steps or an action plan.

Framing the session and setting the scene

When I meet clients I will have already established through an initial discovery session why they have come to me for coaching, and what they are looking to gain from this, so that the actual time spent with my client in the first session is focused on the desire change.

I also say that “ today we have an hour – what is it you would like to gain from todays session?”

This sets the scene and also enables a focus on time up front. I have found this very useful when working with clients.

Checking in

Rapport and connection is very important within coaching and by always checking the time can not only break rapport but also be quite irritating for clients!

That said, it is important to keep track of where you are and what time you have left.

Not only for you but also the client may have further appointments after your time together in the session.

A watch placed to the side of you whilst you coach can be useful. If you are using a mobile phone make sure it is switched to silent! This also sets the boundaries and focus of the session in terms of time.

Emotions and time

How are these linked?

In my experience of transformational coaching I have sometimes observed that as the session is drawing to a close the client will bring to the coaching table an emotional subject that means the most to them.

At first I wondered what I wasn't doing properly or to the best effect. When I questioned this I realised that clients could also be avoiding the most “emotional” areas of their life and throwing it in at the last minute.

How do you do you deal with this?

I would firstly acknowledge it and not just “ignore” it but also say that today this isn’t something that can be explored or resolved but that you are very happy to bring this into the next session.

You may want to also explore why this was not brought up earlier? This can prove very useful for clients to link this to deeper levels of meaning and provide great coaching material for future sessions.

Managing your own time

Prepare for your session – both practically and emotionally.

Don't allow time pressures to creep up and before you know it you are rushing around trying to get things ready for your session.

Coaching slots

If you are working maybe full or part time alongside building a coaching practice then you may want to allocate a coaching day or evening rather than be available whenever you are asked from clients – this can also look good from a scarcity point of view and showing that you have clients on going.

Time for you

Part of being a coach is to help people in their lives. Whatever this means to them. As in other fields of work that involve helping others do allow time to do what you enjoy that will give your life balance and fulfilment. Whatever that means to you.

Paul Kensett is Head of Training and Mentoring within the Smart School. He delivers the Personal Transformation Coaching programme to student life coaches. Learn more: http://www.thesmartschool.co.uk/index.php and http://www.thesmartschool.co.uk/life-coach-training.

Friday, February 22, 2013

How to find a great designer

Hiring a graphic designer can help improve your coaching business by boosting your professional appearance, creating consistency in your visual brand for better recognizability, helping you effectively communicate with clients, and, best of all, allowing you to have more time to focus on what you do best.
Prepare:
Before you begin your search, you will need to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Are you needing a logo and branding package? A brochure? Stationery set? A website? Put together a clear list of what you need to accomplish as well as any expectations, deadlines and budget.


Research:
Search for designers in your area. Ask other professionals for recommendations. Find a website or brochure you really like, contact their marketing department to see who they used. Once you’ve located three to five potential designers, check out their work on their websites. See what companies they’ve done work for, what experience they have, and if they have done work similar to what you are looking for. If the information is not readily available on their site, ask them questions such as their ability to stick to a schedule, their communication with clients, what services they provide, the number of revisions included in quoted prices and if their rates are hourly or by project. If they do not have an online portfolio, ask to see samples of their work.


Evaluate:
Based on their work, their quoted price and your budget, you should be able to narrow down the candidates. Their portfolio will give you a good sense of their personal style and capabilities. If their work does not convey the feel you are wanting for your piece, then continue your search to find someone who will be able to deliver a final product that will meet your needs.


Select:
Once you have located a designer that fits your needs, communicate clearly with them your objectives and keep in close communication throughout the design process. Be sure to get some sort of written agreement before any work begins. It is important to keep up your end of the deal with getting back to them with any content or feedback in a timely manner. Listen to any advice or guidance that they may have. You are paying them to be the professional.


Stephanie Wright is ICF’s Brand Designer. She joined the staff in August 2012 and has since helped strengthen ICF’s visual brand. She was an integral part of releasing ICF’s Brand Manual and has been working with chapters to help them strengthen their brand identity in alignment with ICF Global. Whenever you come across a beautiful brochure, a pretty ICF webpage, or a visually stunning edition of Coaching World—you can thank Stephanie! Find more of her work at swrightcreative.com. If you liked this article, check out Stephanie’s latest piece in the February edition of Coaching World, entitled “Visually Enhancing Your Online Brand.”

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Are you making the most of your online audience?

You may already have a presence on various social platforms, but are you really utilising these effectively to bring in the sales? Nicola Bird reveals how to boost sales and generate valuable income via promoting your business to your online audience.

Have you ever heard the phrase the ‘busy fool’? For many business owners, this is their reality. They work all hours of the day servicing their 1:1 clients, often into the evenings. Time for personal and family activities becomes few and far between. Those whose only revenue comes from selling their 1:1 will always be limited by how much they can physically and mentally deliver in a day, week or month. They will never be able to break through that ceiling, unless they can charge significantly more for their 1:1 time.

For me, the move to online coaching literally transformed my business overnight as one of my first product promotions resulted in $24,000 of sales, the majority of which were a passive revenue stream for me.

I am not alone in my experiences either. There are many people out there making impressive revenues by selling their services online. The great thing about it is that it applies to any type of coaching or training, not just the traditional personal or professional development coaching.

I know one lady who was a personal fitness instructor who made thousands from selling an online fitness boot camp, containing content she had created years before, but never found a way to utilise properly. What I love about that particular story is that it was simply creating additional revenue from what she already had in place AND it was a totally new market, which opened up for her and one that she’d never really thought about before as she could reach clients now that she physically just hadn’t been able to do before.

If you were wondering if this would work for you, I would encourage you to ask yourself one simple question. Are you limiting yourself by not thinking outside of the box and exploring new routes to market and new customer bases? Are there ways of attracting new business that you haven’t even thought of yet and if you did, what impact could they make to you, your family and your lifestyle?

It does take some thought to work out how to package up what you do into products your clients actually want to buy, but once you’ve made that first online sale, you can do over and over again. I still love my 1:1 coaching as it brings me great fulfilment and helps to keep me challenged to develop my skills and experience, but having more than one route to market and multiple revenue streams means I get to live life the way I want to and that is absolutely priceless.

By Nicola Bird. With an MSc in Occupational Psychology and a diverse range of business experience, mother of three Nicola Bird went from earning $0 to over $500,000 online by mastering technology to transform her coaching business. She created JigsawBox as a way for her clients to access her expertise online in a flexible and affordable way, whilst leaving her free to concentrate on growing her business and spending time with her young children. Through JigsawBox, Nicola helps its members to package up their expertise and deliver it online so that they can create more time, money and freedom to do the stuff they love. Nicola is passionate about inspiring women in technology and helping more people to gain a better work/life balance. For more information visit www.jigsawbox.com.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Business Breakthrough – Positioning your coaching programs for profit




Today's business building breakthrough session is with Tania Walter Gardiner of Integral Connections. Tania is a graduate of the Art and Science of Coaching and the Passion into Profit program of Erickson College International. Tania is an extraordinary example of taking her passion and talent for coaching and creating a profitable coaching business. Today we talked about how to use three tier pricing to position and design your coaching programs to make it easy and compelling to have your potential clients make the decision to hire you as their coach. Tania shares her three-tier pricing model and how it has benefited her in growing her one-on-one coaching practice. 

Passion into Profit Coach Challenge: Create your three tier pricing strategy - make it easy for you potential clients to work with you!

Teresia LaRocque MCC, is Director of Entrepreneurship and Business Building Mentor for the Erickson Business Center –  www.ericksonbusinesscenter.com at Erickson College International www.erickson.edu. Teresia is a pioneer in the booming profession of personal coaching, the first recipient of the International Coach Federation’s Master Coach Credential in Canada and cofounder for the Vancouver International Coach Federation chapter. Teresia is committed to supporting coaches to take their talent and passion for coaching and make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Teresia is the founder and facilitator of the Passion into Profit Program, a customized business building program offered through the Erickson Business Center. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Be Real in the Virtual World: Building your Social Media Strategy

When you think about it, coaching and social media are about as similar as oil and water. Coaching is very human and real whereas social media seems intangible and impersonal. Although it seems counterintuitive, coaches who take advantage of “impersonal” social media have better opportunities to deliver powerful experiences, engender trust and build strong relationships with a larger number of their ideal clients.

Over the past decade, I have worked with a lot of coaches, many of whom feel uncomfortable about the Web as a tool for building their practice and building relationships. Here’s some of what I hear:
  • I don’t know where to begin with social media, so I avoid it.
  • I focus on human relationships and the web is impersonal, so it’s not the right tool for me.
  • Working on the web takes a lot of time that I just don’t have.
  • I don’t see the benefit of social media when it comes to finding my ideal clients.
  • There are so many options (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc.) and I don’t know which are right for me.
Do any of these statements resonate with you?
Social media can be your best opportunity for enhancing relationships and expanding your practice. The web is quickly becoming the place to find new clients and convince potential clients who are considering you that you’re the perfect coach for them. And more and more, people are using the web as a research tool – to find the goods and services they seek. And those services include coaching.
 
As Google quickly becomes our primary research tool; you can almost guarantee that prospective clients will scour the web to determine whether or not you’re the right coach for them. So you need to be visible and available in the virtual world if you want to expand your success in the real world! You need to be part of the virtual community so you can build real relationships.
 
When building your social media strategy, integrate these three essential actions:
 
1. Be Real.
Personal branding is based in authenticity. Your virtual world brand must match who you are in the real world. And unlike personal interactions, the web gives you fewer opportunities to build emotional connections with your audience. So you need to be crystal clear about what you want to communicate and committed to expressing the true you in everything you do online. That means branding your bio or social media profiles (injecting your personality, values, passions, etc.), incorporating your style and point-of-view into what you write and post and using your headshots and video as ways for people to get to know you and connect with you on a deeper level. Being ‘real’ when building your brand in bits and bytes will help you stand out and attract the attention of your ideal clients.
 
2. Be Focused.
The web is vast. According to worldwidewebsize.com, the indexed Web contains at least 8.71 billion pages. And there are literally thousands of different social media tools you can use. It would be exhausting to try to be visible everywhere. And maintaining conversations on multiple social media channels will squander your limited communications time.
 
To get focused, start with your ideal clients. Know who they are, where they show up on the web and how they like to interact. For example, if your target audience is sales executives, learn where they go for information, find the sales portals that accept guest posts, identify the top Blogs for salespeople (where you can post comments and connect with readers) and know which social media tools sales people favor (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, something else?).
 
And one last thing. Limit your preaching to the choir. It is great to be part of the coaching community on the web, but unless your ideal client group is other coaches, make the majority of your online contributions where your clients hang out. Sure, it’s valuable to connect with your colleagues on the LinkedIn ICF Coaches Forum; but don’t confuse that with your social media strategy for increasing visibility with clients. In addition to contributing to the coaches forum, join the LinkedIn groups where your clients spend time and become part of those communities too. Understand the difference between collaborating with colleagues and connecting with clients.
 
3. Be Consistent.
Whether you choose Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook or decide to have your own YouTube channel or Vlog, be regular. Social media only works if you work it. By that, I mean that consistency builds recognition and memorability. Strong brands don’t go into hiding and when it comes to the web, that’s doubly true. To make this happen, you need to put social media activities into your calendar or do-list. Strong relationships are built through regular, branded interactions. If you plan out a year of quarter at a time, you will be able to thread a story through your online communications to get your message heard and understood by those you seek to influence.
 
Social media is an outstanding tool for increasing your visibility with your target audience. Build your social media strategy around your personal brand - authenticity, focus and consistency - and you’ll expand your success and increase your fulfillment.
 
Dubbed the Personal Branding Guru by Entrepreneur, William Arruda is the founder of Reach Personal Branding, author of the bestselling book Career Distinction and Ditch. Dare. Do! and curator at Personal Branding TV (www.personalbranding.tv) - the premier multi-media resource for professionals interested in building their personal brand. If you liked this article, check out William’s latest piece in the February edition of Coaching World, entitled “Use Hue to Build Brand You: Eight Ways to Use Color to Get Noticed by Clients.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nurturing is not just for motherhood - it is also a critical quality for a successful coaching business!

You have done a great job marketing your services, you have captured their contact information (they are part of your database) now you must consistently nurture your prospects. What do I mean by nurturing?

Once you have their interest, you have to work to keep it! You can do this by creating an automated follow-up system that puts you and your expertise in front of your prospects on a regular basis. Maybe once a week, they get an e-mail that shares more value – another one of your unique processes, an interview with an expert, a resource – something that will make your ideal prospect glad to be on your list. Or perhaps you will simply set up a monthly newsletter.

These communication pieces should be:
  • Speaking to the biggest problems that your niche faces. Educate them about the causes of their problems; explain certain aspects of the solutions.
  • Delivered in your natural style, in a way that suits your attractive abilities (video, blog entries, podcasts, whatever feels most effortless to you).
  • Highly targeted. Don’t be afraid to lose prospects that would not make good clients.
In every contact you have with your list of prospects, you want to:
  • Speak to their biggest problem;
  • Educate them on the cause; and/or
  • Discuss the solution.
So, in every contact, and they're getting one of these three pieces.

By doing this you are establishing a strong relationship, you are building trust, credibility and sharing information that they experience of great value. Every once in awhile (every 3 or 4 contacts) you will invite the recipient to take the next step – that may be a free ebook, a free webbing, a complimentary coaching session.  You might say something like, “If these tips have created value for you, then you may want to consider a complimentary coaching session. Here’s how to register…. ” That way, by the time they are contacting you, they’re ready to get moving.

All of this can be automated so that every time someone becomes part of your community these series of messages is automatically launched.

Passion into Profit Coaching challenge: Consider how you will continue to nurture your online community. How will you communicate with them? How often? Through what means (newsletter, blogs, audio, video etc) and remember to automate!

Teresia LaRocque MCC, is Director of Entrepreneurship and Business Building Mentor for the Erickson Business Center –  www.ericksonbusinesscenter.com at Erickson College International www.erickson.edu. Teresia is a pioneer in the booming profession of personal coaching, the first recipient of the International Coach Federation’s Master Coach Credential in Canada and cofounder for the Vancouver International Coach Federation chapter. Teresia is committed to supporting coaches to take their talent and passion for coaching and make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Teresia is the founder and facilitator of the Passion into Profit Program, a customized business building program offered through the Erickson Business Center.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Why coaching works

 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Six stress management pillars for you and your clients

It’s a new year! Holidays have been enjoyed, resolutions made, and now stress is back as our #1 complaint. It should be! Constant stress messes up sleep, makes losing weight tougher, weakens our flu fighting ability, and ignites everything from anxiety to zits. For our clients, stress also challenges effective leadership, erodes confidence, paralyzes many public speakers and gets in the way of realizing objectives.

Since the start of a year is ideal for developing goals and plans, allow me to recommend six essential actions for a less stressed ‘13, ’14 and beyond. These are not nuggets of wisdom. Think of them as vaccines--concrete to-dos for you and your clients to consistently consider, select and employ to prevent or lessen the impact of stress no matter from who or where it arrives.

1. Make a stress spreadsheet
Who and what are the sources of your stress? The successful stress manager—like any manager out to solve a problem—starts by investigating the causes of that problem. So, divide a sheet of paper into two columns. Label the first column “Stress Sources” and list some of the situations and individuals currently causing you stress. Call column two “Stress Breakdown” and subdivide some of those stress blobs that you likely wrote in column one, i.e. finances, work, clients, the post office and global hunger. These juggernauts are too big to de-stress as a whole, and breaking them down into more manageable pieces will make you more likely to start reducing their negative effects. I call this exercise Stress GPS because it provides a starting point and routes to stress reduction.

2. Check your body’s dashboard
Part two of Stress GPS means considering your stress symptoms. Turn over that sheet of paper and list how you feel when you are stressed. I bet your list might include:
  • Difficulty concentrating;
  • Upset stomach;
  • Pounding heart;
  • Serious cravings for food or nicotine;
  • Headaches;
  • Back pain;
  • Feelings of panic;
  • Perspiring;
  • Anger
Here’s the important part: circle the items on your list that you are aware of when they first begin. From now on, when you sense circled symptoms, stop  what you are doing and do something to reverse these stress-fueled happenings! These symptoms are like dashboard indicator lights  that warn us to take action when the oil is low and our engine starts to overheat. Since eye strain, for example, often leads to headaches and fatigue, cease staring at your computer monitor for a few minutes and massage your eyes (with clean palms) to prevent that strain from turning into a migraine, bad mood, poor sleep, etc.

3. Counterbalance your stress
Quick! What is the one thing that you need daily to keep you functioning at your best? Did you yell, “8 hours of sleep,” “my run around the lake,” “meditation,” “a lunch break,” or “time with my kids?” Whatever you first uttered is something you should work hard to make happen--everyday. In addition to helping us perform well, these essential activities can also make it much easier to deal with daily hassles and stressful surprises. Counterbalances are timeouts from work and other stress producers and are another vital tool for minimizing stress-induced symptoms.

4. Free your feelings
Emotional intelligence is all the rage, but what about emotional outlets? Another list worth making are the people in your personal and professional lives with whom you can comfortably and confidentially share challenges, process concerns and brainstorm solutions. And don’t just make a list, make sure you use these folks as your support networkers, and let them know you will do the same for them. Bottled up frustration, anger, fear and the like corrode our spirits, and great listeners  and supporters in all forms can produce solutions, epiphanies, creativity and lower stress levels.

5. Get and stay physical
Duh, you don’t need me to tell you to be physically active. All I will say here is that regular and elevated cardiovascular activity strengthens body systems that are the punching bags of our stress, and that this foundation of stress resilience does not require a gym. Walk, walk fast, run, swim, bike, jump rope--just do something everyday.

6. Sleep well
If satisfying sleep isn’t one of your must-have stress counterbalances, please add it to the list in #3. Good sleep is the ultimate tonic for strengthening our defenses against stress’s unwanted side-effects, not to mention a vital ingredient in immune system health. Stress and poor sleep are best friends.
They encourage and feed off of each other like two schoolyard bullies who make mischief and misery. The top non-medicinal sleep enhancers remain:
  • A cold, dark and quiet sleeping environment;
  • Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day;
  • Avoid eating and drinking too close to bedtime--especially foods and  beverages with caffeine;
  • Easing from stressful activities such as work to sleep with non-stressful ones including reading, sex and Seinfeld reruns; and
  • Limiting electronic screen use before sleep as our bodies interpret their blue light as sunshine (so, maybe no Seinfeld).
Like brushing your teeth, these stress reduction pillars require regular practice. They are at least as important as emails, meetings and clients. They deserve attention, respect and slots on our calendars for less stress, more success and lots of smiles in 2013.

Jordan Friedman, a.k.a. The Stress Coach, is a global stress management speaker, trainer and former director of Columbia University’s health promotion program. His Stress Coach U teleseminar is part of ICF’s Continuing Coach Education offerings, and trains coaches and other professionals to teach their clients and students stress reduction techniques (www.stresscoachu.com) Jordan is the author of The Stress Manager’s Manual and co-author of The Go Ask Alice Book Of Answers. He provides free how-to videos, exercises and other resources for coaches, trainers and stress- relief seekers at www.thestresscoach.com. Copyright 2013 Jordan Friedman. Published with permission.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ethics & Coach Subcontract Relationships

When a coach is a team of one (no partners or subcontract relationship) they are naturally aligned with their ethics on issues of confidentiality or contracting or the do’s and don’ts of the coaching relationship.  However once we build coaching partnerships and subcontracting relationships misalignment of ethics may occur.  And this misalignment occurs not because some of us are unethical and others ethical, but rather because we all come from different points of view on the same statement of ethics.  It is important for us to have a conversation on what the meanings of different ethical issues are in order to align the coach and coaching organization, and of course for coaches to be sure they aren’t put into a situation that they consider to be unethical by their partner coaching relationship. 
Let’s take an example.  How do we share client information within coaching partnerships? We promise to our clients the careful management of confidential conversations and client files.  But what if the head of a coaching organization you coach for states that they own all client information - how do you know that that information will be handled in accordance to your own code of ethics?  Once your client completes their coaching with you, do you hand your file to the coaching organization?  Do you do so with a verbal or written understanding of the eventual use of that file?  What if you find out later that the confidence of your client was violated by the coaching firm you worked for – who is responsible?  You?  The firm?

Another example is the internal coaching meetings many of the coaching partnerships may hold to develop the coaches and give value-add to the clients by sharing trends and situations within the client organization.  What kind of information is confidential and what kind of information is ethical to share? And is it the responsibility of the coaching organization to inform the client leadership or each client that that information is shared?  Is it necessary for the individual coach to share with each new client that that type of information is shared in coach organization meetings?

The ICF Code of Ethics includes some guidelines for “sponsors” or multi-coach organizations.  It is worth reading through and having a conversation with your sub-contracting or coach partnership organization to be sure you are aligned in how you view these and other key issues. 

by Sandi Stewart, PCC

The ICF Code of Ethics
Applicable Code Sections:

*The International Coach Federation defines these roles as follows:

  • Client: The "client" is the person(s) being coached.
  • Sponsor: The "sponsor" is the entity (including its representatives) paying for and/or arranging for coaching services to be provided.
Section 1: Professional Conduct At Large
5) I will conduct myself in accordance with the ICF Code of Ethics in all coach training, coach mentoring, and coach supervisory activities.
7) I will maintain, store, and dispose of any records created during my coaching business in a manner that promotes confidentiality, security, and privacy, and complies with any applicable laws and agreements.
8) I will use ICF member contact information (e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, etc.) only in the manner and to the extent authorized by the ICF.

Section 3: Professional Conduct with Clients
16) I will carefully explain and strive to ensure that, prior to or at the initial meeting, my coaching client and sponsor(s) understand the nature of coaching, the nature and limits of confidentiality, financial arrangements, and any other terms of the coaching agreement or contract.


Section 4: Confidentiality/Privacy
22) I will maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality with all client and sponsor information. I will have a clear agreement or contract before releasing information to another person, unless required by law.
23) I will have a clear agreement upon how coaching information will be exchanged among coach, client, and sponsor.
24) When acting as a trainer of student coaches, I will clarify confidentiality policies with the students.
25) I will have associated coaches and other persons whom I manage in service of my clients and their sponsors in a paid or volunteer capacity make clear agreements or contracts to adhere to the ICF Code of Ethics Part 2, Section 4: Confidentiality/Privacy standards and the entire ICF Code of Ethics to the extent applicable.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Want to leverage all your social media efforts? Capture contact information.

Once your website (or social media page) is seen by a new visitor, your goal is to “capture” their contact information so you can continue to develop the relationship.

The most valuable pieces to capture are the visitor’s name and e-mail address. These elements are the easiest to leverage over time because they position you to reach out to large groups all at once, yet you appear to be speaking to just one person. You’re maximizing efficiency and connection at the same time.

One of the most popular ways to capture the contact info is to offer a free, downloadable gift that would make your ideal client light up and say, “Wow! I need that.” The best way to do that is to offer a solution to a common problem that your niche struggles with.

You could position this gift as a way to escape the pain of their problem (by highlighting how hard it is to be where they are and how this gift will help); or, you could emphasize how they can move toward something specific (the dream life they really want). Either way works well, but people are generally more motivated to invest (time, money, contact info) if you’re helping them move away from a specific pain. And, the more pain they are feeling, the more they will invest.

Here are a couple of examples to consider:

1. A coach who supports business leaders in leveraging technology and leadership, could offer a document on the “Top Ten Tips to Ensure Technology is Working for You in Today's Fast-Paced and Technological Workplace.” It speaks directly to the main concerns of the ideal client.

2. A coach who works with overwhelmed professionals could offer a 3 part video series on “The Top 3 Strategies to Take Control of Your Time and Create the Balance You Desire.” Again, speaking to the clients’ biggest desired outcome.

Remember: The goal is to create rapport and credibility instantly, and make your ideal client think, “Wow, I like your style. I feel like I’ve gotten to know you and your expertise through this free gift.”

Passion into Profit Coaching Challenge: Consider your ideal clients biggest challenge or greatest dream, what offering/gift would make a difference for them now? Create that gift and begin to watch your community grow!

Teresia LaRocque MCC, is Director of Entrepreneurship and Business Building Mentor for the Erickson Business Center –  www.ericksonbusinesscenter.com at Erickson College International www.erickson.edu. Teresia is a pioneer in the booming profession of personal coaching, the first recipient of the International Coach Federation’s Master Coach Credential in Canada and cofounder for the Vancouver International Coach Federation chapter. Teresia is committed to supporting coaches to take their talent and passion for coaching and make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Teresia is the founder and facilitator of the Passion into Profit Program, a customized business building program offered through the Erickson Business Center.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Thinking about others, thinking about self...

Here is an interesting neuroscience tidbit: we use the same area of the brain to think about others as we do to think about ourselves. We feel their joys and pains in the way we feel our own. We understand their motivations, frustrations and triumphs as we understand our own.
 
What does this mean for coaching? Well, if we think about others using the same part of the brain as we use to think about ourselves, our ability to understand others is directly correlated to our ability to understand ourselves. Thus, to be effective parents, leaders, teachers, friends and partners, we need to truly understand ourselves. Research on parenting has found, for example, that adults who had troubling childhoods and experienced “bad” parenting, of course tend to be poor parents themselves.
 
But if these adults develop the capacity for self-reflection, they can transcend their own negative experiences and be warm, nurturing and effective parents. By developing the ability to reflect on themselves, they are more likely to respect their child’s emerging developmental needs and reduce the times the child has to use more primitive defense mechanisms.

We simply can’t put ourselves in another’s shoes if we don’t understand ourselves, because we can’t think about them effectively. If the part of my brain that I use to think about myself is weak, disorganized and undeveloped, if I don’t know how I feel and why, then I actually can’t think about you with any coherence either. And if I can’t do that, how can be a good friend, an effective co-worker, a loving partner or parent?

At its most basic level, coaching powerfully increases our self awareness and self-reflective capacity. As coaches, more than anything, we help our clients look at their lives. I often joke about that feeling of hitting the jackpot when our client says to us “Oh, now that’s a good question!” (YES! Dopamine rush, I did it!! I can do this coaching thing. Whew.) This is because it makes them stop, and think, and reflect, and begin to understand themselves better.

My neuroscience studies have shown me that this understanding isn’t just beneficial to to the client, but is crucial to the world they engage with, and thus, benefits us all. In Nepal (and most yoga classes) they greet and leave with the word “Namaste,” which roughly translates to “The God in me sees the God in you.” To really do this, to see this in another, we need to see it in ourselves first.

Namaste.

Ann Betz, CPCC, is a faculty member of the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), where she serves as an advisor to the president and official neuroscience consultant. She is an expert in the neuroscience of leadership, coaching, and human consciousness and is actively engaged in making connections between coaching and current research on the brain. Ann is a founding partner of BEabove Leadership, which offers a cutting-edge advanced coaching program for experienced coaches: “Neuroscience, Consciousness and Transformational Coaching,” available in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. www.beaboveleadership.com. You can also visit Ann’s blog at www.yourcoachingbrain.com.