Friday, March 29, 2013

Why improved time management requires baby steps

In our coaching work with clients, sometimes it's tough to resist the temptation to put them on the "fast track" to improvement. We believe that we already have the perfect solution and intend to give them the details all-at-once. Our hope is that a single intense session will fix the problem.

For simple issues, this approach works. However, helping your clients improve their time management skills is much more difficult. Here's why.

Time management skills, are for the most part, self taught. At some point in their teenage or young-adult years, in the face of demands and deadlines, your clients assembled a set of habits, practices and rituals. They used these elements to form a system that governed their daily lives from that point onwards.

By the time they arrive for their first coaching call with you, they are already unconsciously competent in the use of their system. Most will have forgotten its origin. They'll tell you that they "just do it."

As their coach, however, you need to understand that their homegrown solution is not a total failure even if it has obvious faults. Deeply embedded in their neuro-muscular memory, it's played a part in delivering every single positive result they have produced. Obviously, there are parts of it that work well.

Too many coaches in time management ignore this fact and treat clients as if they were kids. In the first session, they outline a brand new, complex system of habits and practices that needs to be implemented as a whole in order to make it work. However, most clients cannot implement a new system all-at-once. It's no wonder that the failure rate is high for time management training, according to the research.

A far better approach is to teach your client to take small steps. Where would these steps come from?

When I moved to live in Jamaica several years ago after many years of living in the U.S. I was baffled at first by my new inability to manage my time well in a hectic environment. It led me to look for a time management system that could flexibly deal with a major life change.

In the end, I didn't find what I wanted, but the other insights that came were interesting enough to start writing a blog. In my first few posts I outlined 11 ladders of distinct skills, each including rungs ranging from low/novice to high/expert. I discovered that all working professionals manage their time using these skills, but end up with different-looking systems with uneven skills: high rungs on some ladders, and low rungs on others.

This occurs because they are self-taught.

What I did wasn't special - it's something that the average coach could do with some legwork: take a complex behavior and break it down into mutually exclusive but collectively exhaustive practices. In time management, there are many books and programs that describe particular rungs in detail, but clients like to see the entire ladder in order to know what they have already learned, where they are today, and what they would like to accomplish in the future.

When they do this kind of self-diagnosis, they gain an instant comparison against best and worst practices. Many report that it's like looking in a mirror for the first time and being able to see simple opportunities for improvement on their own.

As coaches in time management, we need to be prepared with simple ways to teach clients how to take baby steps based on the principle of gradual but steady improvement. It's far better and safer than offering up one-size-fits-all prescriptions that over-promise a "fast track" of implausible improvement.

By Francis Wade. Francis is a pioneer in Time Management 2.0 at 2Time Labs, whose mission is to make time management easy for everyone, everywhere. He helps coaches, trainers and consultants work with time cluttered clients at http://mytimedesign.com and is the author of Bill's Im-Perfect Time Management Adventure.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How the heck did that happen?

Do you ever look back to significant life events and ask yourself, “How the heck did that happen?” There are always a whole string of events, coincidences and decisions that got you to that moment in time where you experienced the big event. When you look back you say, “Wow, if I didn’t do that then this wouldn’t have happened and this wouldn’t be...” It is sort of like the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”, where George Bailey gets to look back and see what life would be like if he didn’t live it.

8,000 attendees eating lunch. Photo by Denise Maccaferri.
Well, I am having that sort of experience with the Massachusetts Conference for Women. This happens to be the biggest women’s conference in the USA as 8,000 women attended the phenomenal December 2012 event. And The International Coach Federation of New England was there in all it’s glory with a spectacular vendor booth and 40 fabulous coaches who coached hundreds of women at the conference. The energy was palpable and the outcome was beyond our expectations. It was a day not only for conferees but also for the coaches. They enjoyed a world class conference with top speakers and inspiration, a wonderful lunch with 8,000 of their BFFs and the camaraderie of their peers.

This all started with a serendipitous last minute invitation from one of my clients who asked me to attend the conference with her as her guest. I had never been, spontaneously decided to accept the invite and was then wowed by the experience. As I walked the halls, I kept asking...Where are the coaches? Here we have all the enthusiasm, inspiration and dreams being ignited and energy generated by the conference and Where are the coaches?
 
I decided to ask the Conference that question. I sent an email that said,
 
“NOW WHAT?
After all this inspiration,
I still have to go back to reality...
How do I take the next steps?
How do we harness the energy and take it forward?”
 
"The International Coach Federation of New England is ready to help answer that question. Envision 50 coaches working with hundreds of women in the conference afternoon? That would make a positive difference in many lives... That would be one physical step closer to transforming lives. That is what we coaches do best.”

The director of the conference called me the next day and we got to work taking this seed to fruition. We also including the ICFNE committee that spontaneously generated and worked tirelessly together to create all of this. The conference is also held in Texas and Pennsylvania and the ICF in those states were invited by the Conference to participate. One small step that resulted from just noticing an opportunity, has positively impacted thousands of people. It was enthusiasm and curiosity that fueled this adventure. And we are busy working on some exciting plans for conference 2013...
 
In the words of George Bailey, “Well whaddya know about that!!!”
 
Anne Barry Jolles, MBA, PCC, serves as  Chairperson for Partnership of Massachusetts Conference for Women and the International Coach Federation of New England. Learn more at www.annejolles.com. Anne can be reached via email at abjcoach@comcast.net.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to automate online communication for coaches

One of the most effective ways to grow your coaching business and keep your sanity is to automate your online marketing activities where ever you can.

There are a number of comprehensive software programs that can support an online marketing machine; InfusionSoft is a popular one.

These platforms can:
  • Provide templates and schedules to stay in touch with your prospects.
  • Help you stay connected with your community.
  • Systematize and simplify your online marketing.
Once you set up the framework and fill in the templates, the system will generate auto responders and carefully timed promotional messages that enhance the customers’ experience of your brand.
 
 
For example: They buy the product and get a series of e-mails, all automated, up selling them into your next level product. These e-mails describe the next product in detail, including all the features and benefits. Cell phone companies such as Rogers/Fido and are prime examples of this; if they notice you are reaching the limits of your current airtime plan they automatically send you upgrade deals and offers. The same goes for when your contract is coming to expiry; they send you details on the latest handsets depending on the needs your current handset fulfils.
 
So, taking a life coach or business coach example; once a client has been coaching with you for a number of months, you tell them about the incredible retreat where you might work with them in person and really give them the extra support that will help them apply and get the most out of the principles you've been teaching them. After they graduate from the retreat, maybe you go on to offer your premium, one-on-one, full day coaching. If they want you personally, they will pay big bucks for that high level of coaching. All of this can be automated, going on silently and effortlessly behind the scenes, while you’re busy doing what you do best – delivering your service and expertise.
 
When building your community and exploring online marketing, it is important to set up some type of system. It could be a weekly three-minute video that explains a coaching tip. It could be a newsletter, or even just a paragraph on how to take their life to the next level. The most important thing about this type of communication is that it should provide value to your customers; it should not simply be a sell-in. Does your customer actually gain something by engaging with your communication, or is it just adding to the noise? Regular value added contact with your community can provide more impact than any other marketing that you do. How do you think this applies to the Rogers example above? Is this good online marketing?
 
Passion into Profit Coach Challenge: Take a close look at your marketing activities and ask yourself - where and what can I automate?
 
Teresia LaRocque MCC, is the 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. She is the founder and facilitator of the Passion into Profit Program, a customized business building program for coaches and is committed to supporting coaches to take their talent and passion for coaching and make their entrepreneurial dreams come true.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ten ways coaching can help your organization

The below post was written by ICF Global staff for the Human Capital Institute.

In recent years, professional coaching has shown a significant return on investment for companies. Wondering how it can help your organization? Read on for ten ways.

  1. Coaching can assist organizations with key business goals. Within the coaching partnership, the coach will work with your employees to identify and create clarity around key business goals and establish effective management strategies to ensure goals are met.
  2. Coaching can bolster creativity. A coach will support your employees in confidently pursuing new ideas and alternative solutions with greater resilience and resourcefulness. A coach will encourage fresh perspectives and provide inspiration through the questions they ask during sessions and the actionable goals they co-create with your employees.
  3. Coaching can manage the change that accompanies growth within your organization. Professional coaching is an important modality for managing change—including growth. A coach will help your employees assess current needs, opportunities, and challenges, all while maximizing the potential they already possess.
  4. Coaching can boost productivity and effectiveness. This is especially important if you have employees taking on new or leadership level roles. Coaches are trained to work with clients to inspire them to their personal and professional potential, thus increasing productivity and effectiveness. Within the coach-client relationship, a focus will be placed on learning and clarity for forward action. According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study 70% of clients reported a positive improvement in work performance.
  5. Coaching can develop communication skills. The ICF Global Coaching Client Study revealed that 72 percent of those being coached noticed an improvement in communication skills. Furthermore, individuals who have engaged in a professional coaching partnership have walked away with fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision-making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out chosen work and life roles.
  6. Coaching can help your organization attract and retain talented employees. If you have trouble finding great employees (or getting them to stick around), your organization needs to commit to investing in employee development. Coaching is an ideal way to develop your employees and show your employees you value their development.
  7. Coaching can bring work-life balance into the lives of your employees. An employee experiencing the benefits of a balanced life is a happier employee. And a happier employee is a more productive employee. A coach can work with your employees to discover, clarify, and align with what your employees hope to achieve, including a stable work-life balance. According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study 67% of coaches saw an improvement in balancing work and life.
  8. Coaching can help your employees thrive. Virtually all companies who hire a coach are satisfied with the outcomes. The ICF Global Coaching Client Study found that 99 percent of coaching clients were “somewhat” or “very satisfied” with their overall coaching experience. And 96 percent of them would repeat the process.
  9. Coaching can help your company flourish despite uncertain economic times. Coaching is a very powerful tool in the face of uncertainty—organizations of all types and sizes have experienced the value professional coaching brings including: increased business performance, improved product quality, higher employee retention and morale, greater employee commitment, leadership development, conflict reduction, team building skills and more.
  10. Coaching can restore self-confidence to organizations hit hard by the recession. Organizations that have experienced workforce reductions through downsizing, restructuring, or a merger place extremely high expectations on the remaining workforce. Restoring self-confidence to face the impending challenges is critical to meet organizational demands. The ICF Global Coaching Client Study shows 80% of those being coaching saw an improvement in their self-confidence.
You’ve seen what coaching can do for your organization. Now we’ll show you the bottom-line.  Coaching offers a significant return on investment (ROI) for companies. The ICF Global Coaching Client Study found that 86 percent of companies made back at least their investment. Of those, 28 percent saw an ROI of 10 to 49 times the investment and 19 percent saw an ROI of 50 times their investment.

Begin your search for an ICF Credentialed coach in the Coach Referral Service at Coachfederation.org.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Converting interested prospects into coaching clients

As coaches in business we will spend the majority of our time “marketing” (yes even when you are an established coach). To leverage your marketing efforts you want to ensure you have captured contact information.

Once you’ve attracted someone’s attention and captured their contact info, you’re in position to seal the deal – by converting interested prospects into committed clients.

No matter what kind of marketing activities you’re doing – online marketing, speaking, networking, or something else – the goal is to create your community (through your blogs, social media, weekly newsletter etc) and steer people toward a complimentary coaching session.

Before jumping into how coaches specifically can create community, it is helpful to look at how other local businesses are successful. For this example we have chosen local bakery and brand name, Terra Breads. Terra Breads was one of Vancouver’s first artisan bakeries, they have a strong commitment to community and authentic artisan baking remains stronger than ever. They operate four bakery locations around Vancouver. So, how do they garner a community?

First, let’s look at what they do offline:


This screenshot from their website shows how many different existing communities they get involved with. Helping other communities is a great way to introduce yourself into the right circles and start to get your name out there. Depending on what kind of coach you are will make a difference with what existing local communities you can start to penetrate. For instance, if you are a life coach who has experience in personal finance, then making yourself known and offering some hours at the local nonprofit credit counselling service is a great way to meet new people within your community.

Let’s turn our attention to online marketing. Terra Breads have an easy to navigate, well branded and informative website. It tells the visitor everything about artisan breads, shows the visitor some rich media in the form of photos and gives great detail about Terra Bread's story. This on its own is not enough to garner community; however it is imperative to facilitating an online following. Without a central place to find information, how will people find you? Terra Breads also run a Facebook Page and Twitter Feed to keep their followers up to date on company news, local events and promotional offers. It is important to notice that they do not just talk about themselves on social media, they share and comment on other companies Page's in their community (see below). For coaches this means getting online friendly with your local ICF Chapter, nonprofit organizations and other relevant businesses to your type of coaching.


Now for some coach specific points; this is the lynchpin of the marketing process, and there are a few ways to work it.
  • At regular intervals, invite the prospect to contact you and inquire about coaching options. (Have your tiered menu of offerings and new-client package ready).
  • Periodically let your list of prospects know that there is an opportunity for them to get the support they need to move ahead. (“I have three new spaces open in my practice at this time. If you’d like to see if coaching is for you, I’m offering a complimentary coaching session to anyone who may be interested in exploring new ways to get what you really want”).
Another pathway into your practice is to enrol people in a group program. Often, this eliminates the need for a complimentary coaching session. (“In two months, I will be starting a 10-week tele-class series, and the first 10 people to sign up will get to register for half price”).
 
A word to the wise: As you nurture leads and aim to convert prospects, be sure that the majority of your messages are value driven, not promotional. If you’re consistently delivering value in short, bite-sized pieces, people will stay on your list. If you’re too heavy handed with promotional messages, your prospects will soon abandon ship. So be sure you honor their interest and maintain their loyalty by consistently delivering more value than they ever expected.
 
Passion Into Profit Coach Challenge: Be consistent in sharing value with your community and be clear of your call to action strategy.
 
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.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Making the gift of neuroplasticity work for you

Your brain changes all of the time. What was once described merely as learning now has a neuro- label: neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is notion that mental experiences and mindfulness can change the actual structure and function of the brain. The idea of neuroplasticity is good news because it means we can change and grow up until our very last days of existence. It can also be bad news if we don’t attempt to direct our brain toward experiences that will change our brain for the better.

There are at least three ways that the neuroplasticity process occurs:

One way neuroplastic change can take place, is when some sort of dampening down of the usual mind map occurs. So for example, if you were going to learn a new language, you would do well to eliminate as much use of the native language as possible so the new language can build resilient neuro-connections in the brain. The brain doesn’t like competing stimuli. That is why language immersion programs seem to work. Basically you direct your efforts toward a new behavior while resisting the use of an old, competing behavior.

Another way is to bring about can bring about neuroplastic changes in the brain is a mindful, goal-directed approach. Either through self-driven intent or the external guidance, the brain can adapt to the demands placed upon it. The result is resilient change. An example of this would be setting goals around becoming a more effective networker.  Ultimately networking begins to feel more natural because you have deliberately pushed yourself through the learning process via goal setting and the motivation to embrace the process of learning. Your brain changes as a result of this.

Finally, changes can take place in the brain as a result of passive learning experiences. This can either be positive or negative depending on what you are exposed to, but it is generally not goal directed or mindful. Human beings have a tendency to adapt to their current environment, whether positive or negative. It’s probably built into us for reasons of survival.  Unfortunately, this tendency can also derail us from our goals unless we deliberately pay attention to our environment. Are we surrounding ourselves by stimuli that support our vision?

I recently came across the term Self-Directed Neruoplasticity (You Are Not Your Brain, Jeffrey Schwartz 2011).  The author describes the term in this way:

“Using the power of focused attention, along with the ability to apply commitment, hard work and dedication, to direct your choices and actions, you can thereby rewire your brain to work for you and with your true self. “

Actively focusing attention on developing new healthy brain circuits is achieved by having a clear sense of goals and values. It is one of the best ways to get the most out of our capacity to adapt and change at the level of the brain via the wonderful gift of neuroplasticity.

Ann C.Holm, MS ACC CCC. Ann is an ICF certified coach with a lifelong interest in brain science. For 25 years, she coached brain injured clients toward cognitive recovery with an emphasis toward optimal functioning in the community. In 2009, she started a coaching practice in order to serve any client who wishes to uncover personal potential through increased awareness of how the brain works, and knowledge of psychological type preferences. Ann holds a B.A. in Psychology, Speech and Hearing Sciences (1983) and a M.S. in Speech and Language Pathology (1986), both from the University of Michigan. She received Life Coach training from the Coaches Training Institute in 2008.  She is also an MBTI Master Practitioner and currently one of less than 100 MBTI practitioners worldwide certified to administer the newly released MBTI Step III.  Her website is www.annholm.net/.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Need to generate Chapter community? Serve others

One of the biggest challenges for ICF New England (ICFNE) is helping our members get to know each other. It is a problem that raises its head during important events throughout the year – when we are in search of board member nominations, soliciting volunteers or when we are voting for the annual Coach of the Year Awards. At these times, when maximum participation is imperative, it is difficult to rouse significant response when our members don’t feel like they know the other people in their coaching community.

We seem to be up against a “barrier of perceived familiarity.” Although our members see each other at events throughout the year, they are not connecting on a community level. We have incorporated a variety of networking activities into our live events, engaged the community through social media, and invited members to participate as volunteers but still the barrier persists.

When we announce that it is time to vote for the annual Coach of the Year Awards, we inevitably receive requests for our membership list because they “don’t know anyone.” While our members may know each other better than they think, there remains this persistent barrier of perceived familiarity preventing a sense of community within our membership - until now.

Finally, we may have found the answer – not surprisingly – in serving others.

On December 6, 2012, 40 ICFNE coaches gathered in Boston at the Massachusetts Conference for Women to volunteer their coaching services to more than 200 conference attendees. As a Chapter, we saw this as a wonderful opportunity to place ICF on a public stage and reach out to the larger community. What we did not anticipate was the benefit experienced by the 40 coaches: how it fed their sense of belonging to ICFNE, and their sense of community with one another.

Attending coaches agreed to set aside personal marketing initiatives and instead represent the coaching industry as a whole. This meant that we were creating a cooperative environment rather than a competitive one; coaches were working together to help the conference attendees, not against each other in search of clients.

Our agreement with the Mass Conference for Women included a well-placed booth in the conference marketplace. Coaches took turns representing ICFNE at the booth and the cooperative environment we’d structured enabled them to work as a team and to connect and get to know each other.

When it was time to gather for the scheduled coaching event that afternoon, all 40 coaches emerged from various corners of the conference to take their places to do some speed coaching. It was really a wonderful thing to see: 40 coaches each sitting at their small tables, talking to each other, energy building. Close by, the coachees were in line, eager for the event to begin. There was no shortage of clients; we were originally scheduled to work with 200 women and managed to connect with 240 by the time all was said and done.

The post- event energy was powerful—and now there was a connection between all of the coaches.

Nothing describes the experience better than their direct the feedback immediately after the event:

“It was a highlight of my career and my life to be a part of this Fabulous 40 - to meet other coaches and connect so instantly and strongly." – Kim Ravida, CPC, ELI MP

“It was fabulous to get inspired about women finding their voices and then to have an opportunity to coach individuals doing exactly that!!” – Tracy Fitzpatrick, PCC

“I was honored to be one of the "fabulous 40." The Conference was energizing and inspiring--I was so glad to be able to attend. And, the "speed coaching" was meaningful and FUN.” – Lisa Kleitz CPCC, PCC

In the role of serving others, these 40 coaches stood together to represent the coaching industry through ICFNE and ICF Global. It is in that stance that they connected as a community. Unlike so many attempts during ICFNE events throughout recent years, we didn’t encourage the coaches to connect and meet each other; it simply happened.

During the annual ICFNE events where members are nominating, voting and volunteering, we are still going to need to provide a membership list to participants because they still don’t “know each other.” We have a large Chapter and that issue will not go away entirely. Even so, we are hopeful that the level of recognition and maybe even the level of participation in those events will increase.

The best feedback of all? 100 percent  of the participating coaches indicated that they would like to participate in this event again next year. Now that we know what we’re getting into, it can only get better.

Suzan Czajkowski, M.A., ACC, is a Communication & Online Marketing Coach, working with entrepreneurs and small business owners to design and implement online marketing strategies that are customized to their specific business marketing goals. This work often includes developing and integrating WordPress websites, newsletters, blogs and social media. As a coach, Suzan’s goal is to help her clients understand and execute their own online marketing strategies effectively and efficiently. Suzan serves as V.P. of Marketing for ICF New England. You can find her at SuzanCz@mycommcoach.com or visit Suzan’s blog at http://mycommcoach.com.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Get LinkedIn®! Leverage LinkedIn to Build Your Coaching Practice

You go to networking event after networking event, meet lots of business people, but when you get back to your office you leave the business cards you collected on your desk.

They seem to multiply. Lurking in dusty little piles.
From time to time you look at them, and think: Who are these people? What did they want? Were they interested in coaching? You know you need to do something with all of those business cards! But what?

One of the biggest mistakes coaches make is not maintaining a personal connection with their valuable business contacts. But there’s a free tool that can help! LinkedIn® is a business-oriented social networking site that enables users to stay connected with their business contacts and create new business relationships.

Why LinkedIn?
Because LinkedIn has 187 million members, who have an average income of $109,000 (40 percent of which hold a position of manager or higher). And LinkedIn is one of the most used social networks in the world, with an average of 2.8 visits per member per month.

What Can LinkedIn Do for You?
LinkedIn can help you connect with important business contacts on a regular basis and it can help potential clients find you.

All you have to do is type in the names of your business contacts and send a “LinkedIn Invitation” to them (or better yet, scan the business cards and upload them in batches). Once a business connection accepts your invitation, they become part of your LinkedIn network.

LinkedIn is a contact database on steroids. It’s got a wealth of information on each contact:
  • Name
  • Contact information
  • Picture
  • Headline
  • Work and education history
  • List of connections (who they know)
  • Recommendations and information on the writers of their recommendations
  • Group memberships
  • Status updates
Each piece of information will help you in a different way. Their picture can help you recognize them at a networking event. Their work and education history can help you see what you have in common (e.g., you both went to UCLA or worked at United Healthcare). Their work history can help you see if they are part of your target market. Their group memberships can help you determine if they can help you access your target market.

What LinkedIn Can’t Do
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool. But business won’t magically appear just because you’re on LinkedIn. As Chef Gordon Ramsey of “Hell’s Kitchen” has said, “... business doesn’t just come and sit on your lap, you’ve gotta go looking for it and if you don’t you’re going to fail.”

So that’s why most people have a LinkedIn account, but don’t get much out of it. LinkedIn is not a replacement for the in-person contact needed to build business relationships, rather it’s a tool to enhance relationship building.

You still need to talk to people on the phone, meet with them for coffee, see them at networking events, or at the very least, send them a personal note via LinkedIn or email. You still need to interact with them on a human level.

How Can You Use LinkedIn to Build Business Relationships?

Maintain connection:
1. Send “LinkedIn Invitations” to every quality contact you meet. Personalize the invitation to build a foundation for the relationship: “It was nice meeting you at the MGMA Meeting. I enjoyed our discussion about Pay for Performance. I would like to continue to build our business relationship and am inviting you to link with me on LinkedIn.”

Build relationships:
There are many ways to use LinkedIn to build business relationships, for example, you can:
 
1. Review a contact’s LinkedIn profile, once they accept your “LinkedIn Request,” send them an email highlighting the experience, education, or connections that you have in common.
 
2. Review a contact’s LinkedIn profile before a phone call so you can target questions to address their business needs.
 
3. Take a contact’s LinkedIn profile with you to coffee or lunch and use it to build rapport.
 
4. Review the profiles of key people in a networking group, prior to attending an event, to:
  • Select people to look for
  • Help you recognize them
  • Prepare questions to initiate meaningful business conversations
Meet new business contacts:
There are many ways to meet new business contacts on LinkedIn.  You can find them in:
  • A “people” Search
  • A friend’s connection list
  • A group
  • A comment they made in a group or the “answers” section
  • They can also find you in one of the ways listed above
How You Can Use LinkedIn to Enroll Clients
Once you become more active on LinkedIn, you will begin to get more “LinkedIn Invitations” from people. Converting them from a stranger to a client does not have to be a difficult process. Here’s an example of the process I use:

1. Let’s say a woman named Sara sends you a “LinkedIn Invitation.”

2. If you don’t know Sara, look at her LinkedIn Profile (occupation, work history, education and connections) to determine if she is a potential coaching candidate.

3. If Sara is a potential coaching client, write a LinkedIn email to her to ask for a “get to know you” phone call. NOTE: Don’t accept her “LinkedIn Invitation” until after the call and make it easy for her to schedule the call by offering three times you’re available. If Sara doesn’t look like a viable candidate, either accept the invitation (if being linked to her could be beneficial) or archive it.

4. Before the phone call, review Sara’s LinkedIn Profile and create questions to build rapport: “I really enjoyed attending UCLA, did you?” And uncover her pain points: “What keeps you from accomplishing what you want to accomplish?”

5. Come to the call with curiosity and the intent of building a business relationship with Sara.

6. On the call, ask:  “What attracted you to send a ‘LinkedIn Invitation’ to me?” 

If she is considering hiring a coach (I get this response about 25 percent of the time): 
  • Ask: “What is compelling you to look for a coach?” 
  • After letting her know how coaching can help her with her issues, make an attempt to enroll Sara into your coaching practice: “Are you ready to sign up for coaching?”
  • Or if you sense she’s not ready to enroll or your enrollment attempt fails, offer her a sample coaching session.
OR

If she isn’t looking for a coach:
  • Ask her questions to uncover her pain points.
  • Tell her how coaching can help her.
  • Offer her a sample coaching session. (I have enrolled many clients this way).
7. After the sample coaching session, ask if it was helpful. If it was, ask if she would like to engage you as her coach, explain the pricing, and give her three options of dates/times when she can start her coaching sessions.

8. When she chooses a date and time, send her your welcome package.

Works Cited
1. LinkedIn process:
www.linkedin.com
2. Gordon Ramsay quote: I wrote this down while watching the show. Here a reference to it: http://ventstation.blogspot.com/2007/12/marketing-advice-from-gordon-ramsay.html
3. Definition of LinkedIn from PC Magazine: http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0,2542,t=LinkedIn&i=60336,00.asp

Donna Schilder, MCC, Leadership, Career, and Business Coach (and Coach U Graduate) is the creator of the “6 Weeks to More Success Through LinkedIn” Video E-Course: getlinkedinnow.com. In the E-Course, in teleseminars, and in individual coaching sessions, Donna helps coaches and businesspeople leverage LinkedIn to get more clients and/or job offers (with step-by-step instructions for the online process and real business strategies). In addition, Donna coaches executives, consultants, coaches, and public speakers to break through what blocks them from achieving wild success. Connect with Donna on LinkedIn, donnaschilder.com, and @GetLinkedInNow. This article was first featured in the February 2013 issue of Coaching World.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Modelling the ‘dream warrior’

When I started my coaching practice, I was bright eyed and excited about the future.

I organised my website, business cards and started a mailing list. I met with potential clients and talked to those who might promote my business.  I did free talks. I even advertised. I did lots of things.  “If I build it, they will come” was my philosophy. 

But I waited. And waited.   

And you know what? I received more calls from telemarketers than new clients. I spent far more money than I brought in through client revenue.  This was not what I was expecting. What was I doing wrong?

Getting clients as a new coach can be a very challenging process, and I know many new coaches face a similar dilemma. For me the question about what to do next was answered by taking a look inside.

As coaches it can be a challenge to practice what we preach. I myself had put off travel for 12 years as I busied myself with work and day-to-day life.  When I started my coaching practice I did what I had always done- took action.  I thought that I had to spend all my time working on my business, and felt terrible guilt taking time out to do the things I enjoyed.  Putting myself first was still something I viewed as an indulgence rather than a necessity.  But all this activity covered up that inner voice which was begging for a break.  When I started getting colds and viruses every two weeks, my doctor sat me down and explained that I had suppressed my immune system.  She ordered me to take five days off work and do nothing more than watch Dr Phil.  Did she know who she was talking to? I was always doing something- well lots of things, actually.  To do nothing at all but rest was something I found hard to do, but my body was making it clear that I had to change my ways.  After this experience I looked inside myself and asked what it was I really wanted at this point in time. Not what I thought I should do, or what I thought I had to do.  The answer was clear- go on a holiday.  No plans, just go with the flow and experience life in a different setting- my idea of heaven. So I went.

Coming back, I was far more focused and gentler with myself. I pared down the ‘to do’ list and put more energy into myself.  It was interesting that I began to get calls from people who wanted to talk about starting up a new venture after a secure corporate job.  Funnily enough, my ups and downs were just the sort of issues they wanted to know about.  They wanted to hear about a real life ‘dream warrior’- not a seemingly perfect person for whom things happened effortlessly.  I realised that it was okay that I shared the struggles faced by my clients in trying to balance personal and professional commitments, paying the bills, self-care, and striving towards goals.  My experiences began to make sense.

So, dream warrior, what is the most important piece of advice you would give to new coaches?

If I could give one piece of advice to new coaches, it would be to make personal foundation work a priority when starting a coaching practice. The journey toward developing a solid personal foundation provides an abundance of experiences that clients will be drawn to you for, as I found when I returned from my travels.  Another recommendation would be to enlist the help of a coach to support you through the journey. Mine provided me with invaluable insight and gentle, consistent encouragement.  Without it I may have given up in the middle of the road, missing those experiences I needed to help me achieve my goals, and ultimately, make me a better coach.

“Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about”- Author Unknown

For all those new coaches out there who feel like their coaching practice will never get started, keep believing in yourself and your dreams and working toward them little by little. Trust that you were drawn to coaching for a reason, and that you will be supported in sharing your gifts. As Richard Bach said, “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.” Every time something seems to go wrong or nothing seems to be happening, tuck that away as a ‘dream warrior’ experience that will come in useful one day.  Most importantly, keep moving forward. You owe it to yourself and your current and future clients to model the ‘dream warrior’ spirit by working towards your dreams.  May the New Year give you abundant opportunities to make them your new reality. 

Kristina Pawliw is an Australian based coach and writer. Kristina’s professional passions include helping people make their dreams a reality; and developing capacity in individuals, organisations and communities. As a step along her ‘dream warrior’ path, this year Kristina released her book Steps to Success- Sustainable Capacity Development following her experience working in a mentoring and coaching role in Papua New Guinea. Kristina can be contacted via her website a http://www.keytosuccesscoaching.net.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The first step to determine your coaching fees

Are you a new coach? Are you struggling with deciding on how much you should charge for your coaching services? Teresia LaRocque, MCC, Director of Erickson Business Center shares the first thing you need to ask yourself when deciding your coaching fees to make the income you want to make as a coach in business and highly serve your clients.
 

 


Passion into Profit Coaching Challenge:
Decide and claim your intended monthly revenue. 
 
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.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

How I got 1,000 Facebook Fans (in Three Months)

Never before has there been such an open space for anyone to have a podium to express themselves. In the past, only thought leaders, authors, or celebrities could get up on a stage and share their thoughts and opinions, but now with Facebook anyone can do it. So as a coach, how can you use this platform to spread positivity and simultaneously build your brand?

From committing to your status updates to creating ads and ‘promoting’ your posts, growing your Facebook page requires a strategy. Here I’ll share my secrets to developing my Facebook fan following.

Declare It On and Offline
In my latest personal development book, “Don’t Think of a Blue Ball,” I explain how the process started for me by making a declaration.

“When you want to do something and you decide that you will, you will. Since I learnt how powerful the power of declaration was, I started to achieve everything that I dared to declare. When I joined the social networking site, Facebook and created a Facebook Page, I declared that I would have 1,000 ‘Likes’ in three months. And I did it 15 minutes before the date that I had declared it for.

When you declare and announce it to people in your community—you give it power and it attracts the support of that community.”

Since then my page has received more than 5,000 likes in less than two years. As a life coach, we know how to coach ourselves out of fear and into courage. Taking action, making declarations and moving forward in spite of the fear, which after all is only “false, evidence appearing real.” When we make a declaration like this, we are managing our own accountability, we have set a goal and we are designing actions, which are integral attributes of an ICF coach being authentic and competent.

Walking the talk, is how we inspire people rather than “telling” them what to do.

Communicate Directly on Facebook Daily
I used to find this hard to do because in the past I had associated Facebook as “wasting time” but Facebook is not a game. It is a place you go to meet and interact with real life people and the only way to gain “likes” or fans is to be interested and engage with other Facebook users.

I take about an hour in the morning and then another 30 minutes at the end of the day to look through other people’s profiles and I like or comment on them, then I find something that I am inspired by and write a line or two on my Facebook page. Be sure to truly engage, remember that these are real people with thoughts and feelings and they have a message to shout out as well, they want to be heard not just bombarded with your inspirational words or your sales pitch. I learnt this lesson from Katrina Kavvalos—(Social Media Coach).

Be an Active Listener
Browse through profiles and see who your friends and potential clients “like.” Go on and “like” a few pages that interest you at first and then over the next few days, see if you really do “like” their posts. I found that I needed to reduce the number of pages I “liked” as it became too much for me, so I went through them again after a while and “stopped liking” the ones that I didn’t really enjoy, keeping my list of “liked pages” to very few that I truly did “like.” These should usually be made up of people you admire, you aspire to be like, you have learnt from and even your peers. Read what they post daily and “like” or even “share” when you appreciate or agree with them. People who like your page want to see and read content and it does not necessarily have to be all your own original stuff. They need to see that you are human like them on the same playing field and you too like and admire others.

Invest a Little
Although you can build your “likes” organically, it does help to set aside a monthly budget for Facebook Advertising. It is one of the most comprehensive and specific target market aimed tools I have ever come across. You can design ads or you can just simply click on the “Promote” icon below your post and set the budget for that particular post, starting from $5. I usually go for $20-$30 each time and receive at least 40–50 new views and page “likes.” This is far better than advertising the page, as it is promoting two things for the price of one. You have the potential to receive a “like” and you already have the viewer “engaged” and interested. This has worked wonders for me and I use it every time I want to promote a workshop, my book or a new video. There are many tools out there to measure how effective or influential you are being on Facebook including Edgerank and Klout.

Word of caution, there are a lot of sites that offer to get you more likes for $5 or $10 or more, these are not real and they do fall out eventually. You are better off having fewer engaged likes than many silent ones.

To conclude, don’t separate people you meet face-to-face with people you meet on Facebook. Some of my best connections and clients have come from Facebook. They are resourceful individuals just like you and are enjoying this incredible new platform where each and every one of us has a voice to declare, to share and to have an opinion. The “like” key is powerful, the comment key, even more so but the one you really want to get your users to click is the “share” key, for that shows that you have influence. Think about why someone would want to “share” your post on their profiles before you post anything.

Malti Bhojwani, PCC, is the founder of Multi Coaching International (1999). She is also an NLP practitioner and is trained in Ontological Coaching. Her latest book, “Don’t Think of a Blue Ball,” has gained international endorsements and is available online. As a coach she aims to serve, not fix or help, through her personalized sessions, virtual coach program, YouTube videos and her writing. For more information visit maltibhojwani.com.You can also connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, or follow her @MaltiBhojwani. This article was first featured in the February 2013 issue of Coaching World.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Good Life

Note:  This is a blog that I wrote specifically thinking about parents, but on further reflection I realized that the same is true of the space that coaches need to hold for our clients.  In reading, you can think of either the parent/child relationship or the coach/client one.

I am currently preparing a presentation for parents on ways to help their children pursue the future that taps into their greatest gifts, makes them feel most alive, and connects them to their greatest passions.  However, as I am preparing this work I am becoming more and more concerned about my audience and their reaction to my message. Running through my mind are thoughts of “don’t let them think you are discouraging these kids from becoming doctors and lawyers” and “parents aren’t going to support something that leads their children down a path of being a poor starving artist type.” While in no way am I promoting the route of starvation for anybody, I realize that connecting young adults with the things that make their spirits soar can lead them anywhere. There is an uncertainty in this that can be very scary. Most parents desire for their children to go to a good college, so they can be prepared to have a good career, and make good money;  all based on the dream of their children having good lives.

In the thralls of this internal debate between full honest disclosure and the desire to actually get an audience of people to listen to me, I began to reflect on my own children and what I want for them.  Of course I want them to have a good life, but what does good mean? I believe a common explanation of a good life is equated with a life filled with opportunity and happiness. Without our intention, however, this definition has been contorted by society to mean “a secure and pleasurable experience,” but do these things really lead to opportunity and happiness? For some, it absolutely does. If going to that college and getting that job that offers security and great pay also provides personal fulfillment and opportunities for growth, then the answer is definitely yes. For others, however, the answer is a big resounding NO. What do parents do in this case? Do we sweep in to persuade our children that they need to go after a guaranteed paycheck so that they do not have to deal with poverty, adversity, and disappointment as adults? For many, this is our first reaction. Before we jump on that reaction though, I think we need to ask ourselves the following questions:
  • By trying to help pave the safe path for our children, are we cheating them out of the most rich and resonant experiences of their lives?
  • What is more joyful than claiming our passion and working through adversity to become a master at what we love most? 
  • Is having financial security while doing a job that we have no connection to really superior to the fulfillment of producing work that we are passionate about and, then,  putting it out in the world to share with others? 
  • What inner joy, what strength of spirit, what connection to humanity is created by an easy and safe path? 
  • What is the worst thing that could happen if my child pursues his dream? 
  • If my child does not realize his goal, is there still value in the experience that cannot be gotten otherwise?
  • Finally, the most important, profound, and possibly scariest question that we need to ask ourselves is this:  What is possible if my child shows the courage and dedication to pursue her dream? 
It is only by the courage that parents show in saying to their children “I want you to pursue your dream and do whatever it takes to realize it, even though there are no guarantees” that we are giving our children what they need from us more than anything in the world:  Faith, Hope, and Love…not to mention an amazing role model.
 
If all parents had the courage to do this, I wonder what the future would look like for our children as they create together communities of passionate, dedicated, compassionate, and authentic individuals.  Is there a good life out there that we haven’t even dared to dream possible yet?
 
Regina Hellinger is an inspirational writer, speaker, and life coach who specializes in working with aspiring coaches, gifted individuals, and educators.You can reach Regina at www.ReginaHellinger.com or on Twitter @ReginaHellinger.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Only Do What You Love - It Is Your Key to Successful Entrepreneurship

Imagine a cup that represents your internal energy. When your cup is full, even overflowing at times, you feel confident and focused; you're in the zone.  You have so much to give to your clients, your business and your circle of influence.

Now imagine your cup springing a leak. As the energy slowly drains out, you struggle to keep it full. It gets harder and harder to pour energy into your business and the people around you. You feel much less vibrant, and you enjoy your activities less. Things become a struggle when there is less energy to go around.

This cup represents not only your energy but your ability to achieve success. It's not just imaginary; it is a very real part of your life as an entrepreneur. So, if you want to be successful, you have to ask yourself:
  • How do I need to design my business so that my cup stays full?
  • How can I market my business in a way that keeps me energetic and passionate?
These are very important questions, because in the coaching industry, we’re not selling a product; we are marketing ourselves. It's personal, very personal. We’re asking people to invest in us. This can be an intimidating thing to do. It's a high-stakes proposition, and it can bring out our inner gremlins – self-doubt and insecurities. As we go about building our business and coaching others, we want to be engaged in activities that feel natural and effortless, so our inner light can shine and people can experience our brilliance, not our fears.
 
Passion into Profit Coaching Challenge: Embrace the standard that 80 percent of your time as a coach in business you will be doing what you love and find a way to let go of or delegate the rest! Your success depends on it.
 
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.