It might look good, but you lose performance when you spin the wheels

January 28, 2013

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A Coaching trend has appeared where it’s OK failing, so long as you partly succeed. Is this strategy in the Client’s or Coach’s best interest?

The majority of people will have come across the mnemonic SMART, when it comes to setting goals. Referring to Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive.

Great goals, reached through individual centric conversations, meet all these criteria. Studies have concluded, time and time again, that clarity of purpose and single mindedness are key reasons why successful people succeed which is why Coaching mimics this.

The Coach’s challenge, is to help clients set goals that really do stretch them i.e. they are just about attainable, with much effort. What you don’t want are goals so simple everyone will achieve them or so difficult that 99% of people will fail.

Because our society tends to measure success/failure in black and white, this creates a dilemma for Coaches. If goals aren’t 100% achieved, unpicking the reasons why can be very de-motivational. It also questions the Coach’s competency too, so the temptation is to arrive at less challenging goals.

Add to this the, “Get out of jail free card”, that it’s OK to achieve 75% (for example) of your goal and you sow the seed that everything is just fine, which it isn’t.

What this approach fails to do is explore the dynamics of the journey, so a clearer line is needed. I prefer adding ER, (Evaluate and Reevaluate) to create SMARTER, rather than SMART Goals. This way you can acknowledge how circumstances change and how reflection and learning are crucial to effective Coaching.

It also means that with appropriate effort, the Client really gets to grip with the challenge, so they sprint off the line reaching their goal in the fastest possible time!

Jonathan Wainwright enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.

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Mentoring means different things to different people; what does it mean to you?

February 13, 2012

There’s no right way or wrong way to approach Mentoring, Coaching or Critical Friends – other than helping clients identify and achieve goals more efficiently. Or is there? How does this work for us all in the real world…….

To find out, please complete my brief survey.

Click Photo to take survey

I can think of many examples where Mentoring has been of great benefit to clients, particularly in the field of talent management.

Here are two. Entrepreneur magazine found that strong Mentor programmes helped small-business owners attract and retain employees and a Fortune 500 company was able to reduce the turnover rate of its employees, with fewer than three years experience, from 50 to 20 percent through investment in a Mentor programme.

So how does Mentoring impact on smaller organisations? That’s what I want to explore. For example, would you find it useful to have a Mentor to:

  • Bounce ideas off?
  • Help you identify the right direction for your organisation?
  • Keep you focussed on the key issues?
  • Provide a confidential sounding board?
  • Work ‘on’, rather than ‘in’ your business?
  • Encourage and motivate you in these stressful and challenging times?
  • Help you identify and achieve your business goals?

So, what’s important to you – what works and what doesn’t?

To find out, click HERE to complete my brief survey.

When you do, I will share the results with you through my report, ‘Mentoring in the East Anglia Business Community’ which will be published in the Spring.

Jonathan Wainwright enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.

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The telephone is still the best way to achieve business to business sales

February 6, 2012

At a recent buyers seminar one buyer commented that he was receiving less and less sales phone calls, yet his email ‘in’ box was jam packed with ‘Dear sir’ selling emails, most of which he deleted without reading.

Email is seductive. At the touch of a button with an e-marketing system, Sales people can blitz hundreds of emails within seconds.

It makes them look productive as the numbers are big. However, unless emails are personalised, targeted and specific, the chances of success are minimal.

So why the switch? The cynical, myself included, will already know that some sales people making a career out of avoiding using the phone to sell and email marketing provides the perfect smoke screen for an excuse to stop phoning prospects.

However, the reality is that, in business to business sales the telephone is an even more powerful selling tool today, than in the past. The Direct Marketing Association’s response rate report, has established that cold calling customers yields the highest response rate. 6.16% achieved, higher than response rates for direct mail, email, paid search and internet displays.

With the market getting tougher, volume of sales calls being made down combined with the chances of getting through higher, opportunity for success increases. But it is essential to communicate the right message, what you say has to be relevant.

These 5 top tips will make sure you get a great start.

  1. Time the call to avoid the gatekeeper. Call before 9.00am, lunchtime or late afternoon and you will have a very good chance of avoiding the gatekeeper, speaking directly with the person you wish to speak with.
  2. Always carefully research and plan the call. Be clear about your objective; sale, meeting, harvest details/information etc. Pitch your opening statement so that the listener can instantly see the benefit of a conversation with you. Know the interests of the person for the human touch. Make accurate follow-up notes.
  3. Keep to the point. Don’t wander of topic or start to waffle. Ever.
  4. Use Psychology. Empathise, build rapport, listen carefully to what is being said and take a genuine interest in the conversation so that you answer questions in a relevant manner.
  5. Act. At the appropriate point ask for the sale, appointment or information you need don’t procrastinate.

It’s not easy, which is why telephone selling is a highly sought after skill. If you are looking to improve this aspect of your business, I would be happy to share my knowledge with you.

Jonathan Wainwright enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.

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Why is the use of Coaching increasing?

January 17, 2011

The simple answer is because it achieves results; even for the most gifted. It would be unheard of for any of today’s top sports champions preparing without one, such is the value that a Coach brings. The same is becoming true within the business world.

So, how can it help?

In today’s market, the challenge is to achieve more with less resource and the timeframes that we have to work within are being compressed too. Keeping up, let alone getting ahead of the game is becoming more and more demanding.

That’s why a study of Fortune 500 Companies found that nearly 40% use Executive Coaching as part of their Leadership development process to help people become more productive.

Unlike Training, Coaching directly translates into doing activity that is directly relevant and this translates into business impact. And this is achieved regardless of the size of organisation.

Coaching is an excellent way of improving leadership and management skills, orientating staff to a new role or job task and generally improving staff interactions, as it can help individuals align themselves to colleagues working styles.

CIPD research has identified that the nine drivers that create a need for Coaching are:

– Rapidly evolving markets
– Individual responsibility for development
– Financial impact of poor performance
– Development strategy
– Supports other learning
– Requested by employees
– Need for lifelong learning
– Improves decision making
– Targeted, just in time development

The Manchester Group reported that moving from Training to a combination of Training and Coaching increased productivity from 22 to 88%.

Is that the kind of result you would like to achieve? Then let’s discuss.

Call me on 07971 006 446 or join me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Succeed in 2011 – KIS and get on

January 4, 2011

Business doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact the basics are very simple, so keep it that way, why complicate things. It’s all about keeping it simple and on track – that’s the challenge most of us face.

So, my 5 Mantra’s for 2011 would be:

– Create a business plan and work it (and it might just be one page)
– Remember, cash flow is king
– Profitability rather than the vanity of turnover should be the goal
– From day one, have an exit route that leverages on what you are doing
– If you don’t love your business, do something else.

If you can manage to do all that you won’t go far wrong.

And if it’s a struggle, executive coaching is a great way to gain clarity, objectivity and focus.

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Just what is a ‘Critical Friend’?

September 16, 2010

Someone asked me about this, as they thought that criticism and friendship didn’t really go together. And in the cosy world of chatting with your mates, they are right!

However, in the tough commercial world these two aspects go together hand in glove. It’s a powerful mix too, a cross between Coach, Mentor and Critic.

What I’m talking about here is adding a kind of ruthless positiveness to your agenda, one that really helps fine tune plans by providing a sounding board and reality check.

There’s an element of tough love, as an outsider I can question and challenge in a way that people working within your organisation never could.

It’s quite possible to be critical and constructive at the same time.

It’s about adding lots of fresh thinking to the mix, in a manner that really assists the decision making process. And this is one of the areas of consultancy that I love, as ideas from different industries can be highly transferable.

Something that never ceases to amaze me is how organisations often organise customer support around their own needs rather than those of their customers. They wouldn’t do this if they had a Critical Friend.

A Critical Friend can also introduce new ideas into difficult discussion areas, and help you take a 360 degree walk around the issues you face. This will help you really think deeply about all the possible solutions, hence becoming more confident with the decisions you are making.

So being a Critical Friend is a mixture of tough love, acting as a sounding board and about injecting new ways of thinking to help organisations?

Yes it is. But above all it’s about being honest and open providing realistic and reflective support so that those you are working with, achieve their goals faster and more efficiently.

If you would like me to be your Critical Friend, please call me for an informal chat on 07971 006 446.

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How to create winning business ideas – part two

August 17, 2010

If you followed my idea from last week, you will have added a new dimension to Brainstorming, to make it more productive. Now that you have gathered information specific to your market and the issue you want to solve, what do you do next?

I’m going to describe the next stage in the process, but before I do click here if you want to read part one .

The next challenge, after the information gathering, is to mentally chew over and digest all this information. It is difficult to describe a type of thought process that goes on inside someone’s head, so bear with me.

Minutely examine each piece of information, from as many perspectives and contexts as you can. Really get to know it inside out; just like the character of a good friend. Then lay the bits of information out in your mind, like the pieces of a jigsaw on a table, and start to bring different pieces next to each other.

Explore their relationship with each other. Where are the connections? Can you somehow get them to fit together?

At this point you are not looking for solutions, simply to bring facts together that seem to have some sort of a relationship with each other, however vague.

Don’t try to examine this information too literally or directly. It’s like listening to music, rather than working out from the score what it will sound like.

Two things will now start to happen.

Firstly, you will get fragments of half ideas. However incomplete or crazy they sound, write them down – it helps the mental digestion process.

Secondly, when you start to get mentally tired – work through this and keep going – you will soon get your second layer of mental energy.

Once you get your second layer of mental energy, keep going, don’t stop too soon. Only stop when everything has become a completely hopeless jumble in your mind. No clear insights, no answers – everything just seems to be spinning about. When you have reached this point the second stage of the process is complete.

Next week I’ll describe what to do next, the last part of the process. If you click on the subscribe link, top right, the post will be sent to you automatically.

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