Business Coaching: Is It?

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A discussion of Business Coaching: Methods and Goals.

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Business Coaching: Is It?

  1. 1. Business Coaching Is It? Al Walsh Walsh Enterprises Business & Financial Advisors The Capitalist’s Friend Huntington Beach, California USA http://www.awalsh.us [email_address] (714) 564-2749
  2. 2. <ul><li>There are lots of people out there offering Business Coaching . I read an article today that said business coaching is on the rise. I read another article that said tight-budgets are forcing companies to seek new, more economical methods of developing executive competencies - a phrase that figures heavily in this presentation. </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the business coaches I’ve observed interpret their jobs as being motivational speaking. They walk in, deliver a “pump-’em-up” speech, and walk away. If they’re any good at it, the positive effects are felt for a few hours –to- days and then fade away. Not much of a contribution. Little value added. </li></ul><ul><li>Some distribute a book or manual. Those have their place, but they don’t serve as effectively as personal contact and follow-up. </li></ul><ul><li>To my mind, business coaching is the development of the audience’s executive competencies . Anything short of that is just short-duration “noise”. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>When I do business coaching, I try to structure it so that information is imparted - and then reinforced via follow-up. Brief follow-up makes the lessons stick much better. Of course, the primary message is: Think! The audience needs the opportunity to pose comments & questions; both during the initial presentation and in it’s aftermath after they’ve attempted to apply the lessons learned. Effective teachers know that the best methodology is: “ Presentation – Application – Follow-up & Clarification ”. </li></ul><ul><li>I motivate during presentations, but my primary focus is on imparting thoughts & lessons from experience and invoke a response. I’m not trying to tell people how to run their businesses, but perhaps I can offer a few insights that might not have occurred to them – and I engage them in a discourse that hopefully gets the “little grey cells” firing more brightly. My style is to draw the audience out; encouraging their participation. Some business coaches fear audience participation because of their own insecurity. When audiences speak up, I count myself a success. It means I got their attention, and they’ve got their “thinking caps” on; and their executive competencies are advancing. Often, new ideas are generated by the audience. My ego will gladly deal with that. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Business coaching’s not to be confused with business training. If heavy information needs to be imparted, I do it in a classroom setting. As mentioned earlier, when doing business coaching I impart thoughts and suggestions that are primarily intended to get the “creative juices” flowing in the audience’s minds. You can see examples of topics I’ve shared at http://www.slideshare.net/awalsh8174 ; where this presentation is published. </li></ul><ul><li>We all tend to get into mental gridlock and see the world around us in a set way. I try to throw a few “monkey wrenches” into their comfortable worlds and get them thinking in new ways. This is especially fun during the follow-up; after their minds have had a chance to percolate for awhile. That’s when I find out who the real leaders are; because they take the bit and run with it. Natural leaders love to function out of their comfort-zone. </li></ul><ul><li>The presentation approach I use is geared to the audience. Sometimes the conversation can become quite aggressive and confrontational. I love it when that happens because it means they’re engaged. Any CEO worth their salt knows that good management teams will at times fight like cats & dogs. The trick is to channel confrontation in constructive directions. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>In some respects I view business coaching as being like boot camp instruction: “ Break ‘em down and reshape ‘em for their mission.” </li></ul><ul><li>The audience needs to be challenged & motivated. I need to get them looking at their world, their business mission, their roles, and their contributions in new ways. I need to draw them out; even if it means confrontation. Finally, I need to have “thick skin” when their minds fire up; and the ability to channel the discussion constructively. </li></ul><ul><li>The smart ones soon figure out what I’m doing and turn it into a fun event. The insecure and/or less competent ones either clam up or turn confrontational in a mean, petty way. I seldom have to deal with them. They “shoot themselves in the foot”. Hopefully, they learn from it. </li></ul><ul><li>Business coaching is best-done orally. I sometimes provide an outline or brief pamphlet to accompany my presentation, but it’s designed to stress the main goal of intellectual growth. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Reinforcing my main message, business coaching is intended to develop executive competencies. </li></ul><ul><li>By the way, any employee can benefit to one degree or another by business coaching. It’s not just for executives . While leaders can benefit the most, any employee can benefit by being drawn out of their comfort-zone and challenged to take a fresh perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>Once I was asked to make a finance-oriented presentation to a group of salesmen. We talked about ideas like “the damage caused by uncollected receivables”, and “paying commissions on collected sales”, and “the need for sales to be the eyes & ears of the company; helping identify trouble-customers and keeping an eye on the competition”. You can well-imagine that the presentation was not well-received, and the conversation got quite heated. But they knew I was right, and the feedback I got indicated that they became much more cooperative in fulfilling their proper role. They didn’t like me. Was I successful in my mission? You bet! </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>So - </li></ul><ul><li>Mr/Ms CEO: Is your Business Coach giving you value? </li></ul><ul><li>Mr/Ms Business Coach: Do you clearly understand your mission? </li></ul>

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