This time of the year, most businesses tend to power down a bit (not all mind you) and it give us time to plan for 2018. Bad idea.
Ever since I started my practice 15 years ago, I've always offered free coaching sessions to new prospects. Why? Coaching isn't something a typical person has encountered in their life. Also, coaching as a profession is very young - so most people don't even know it exists. That's why I sometimes get weird looks when I say I'm a 'coach'.
The comparison I use at parties and networking events centers around athletic coaching. It's kind of the same thing.
If you ever were in a sport in school, you had a coach. They were there to do a number of important things:
- Teach you how to play the game correctly.
- Teach you the basic moves and strategy.
- Keep you motivated when things get tough.
- Keep you focused on the goal.
- Address injuries and help you get back into the game.
- Play with good sportsmanship.
- Work well with the team.
- Keep your eye on the competition.
- And most of all: A good coach will change your life.
Guess what? That's what a business coach does. Unfortunately, not a lot of people have applied these coaching elements to their business or career. That's where I come in.
That's why I offer a free coaching session — so interested prospects can learn more about me, my background and how I coach. I then take them through a REAL coaching session — where they test drive what I can do for them.
Most of the time — it's transformational. I guarantee two things when I coach someone:
- You will be coached by a qualified professional about your unique situation.
- You will experience 1-2 significant breakthroughs during our session.
If you're interested, why not try it? What do you have to lose?
On with one of my oldest clients this morning and came up with a spot-on analogy about a lot of organizational management today: Your company is a ship on the open sea and your mission is to navigate and guide it into port.
Your captain (management) wants you to take it in slow and steady, so they hit their schedule perfectly. They don't want to expend any more fuel, any more people, or take a chance by accelerating the ship to get to the port faster. It's the way they've done things for years and they are not changing.
Unfortunately, you're guiding the ship and you're seeing all of the competing ships (and some speedboats) passing you by in the night because they are going faster and using innovative techniques and strategies to beat you.
But the captain doesn't see this, because they're sleeping. But you do — and you tell them everyday that the ship needs to go faster and to develop innovative techniques and strategies like your competition.
The captain disagrees. "Slow and steady will get us into port on-time and on-schedule" (and the captain will be rewarded by management with a healthy bonus if this happens).
But you know the competing ships (and speedboats) will hit port way before you do, unload their cargo, sell their wares quickly, and be off before you realize it.
In addition, when they pass, they are making bigger waves that affect your ship's progress. But the captain maintains a slow and steady approach.
They are NOT LISTENING.
And you're seeing the future of your industry happen RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES.
And you're not part of it. You're a spectator. And the competition is EATING YOUR LUNCH.
Sometimes, the captain doesn't notice until it's too late — and then — and only then — they want you to accelerate. But it's too little, too late. And when you tell them, they get mad.
WHAT DO YOU DO? My ADVICE:
Don't open up the throttle — but you should subtly 'click' it forward just enough where management doesn't notice (at first), but where you begin to catch up, pace, and sometimes pass the competition. Add a resource, accelerate the deadline, increase the scope a bit, start a small skunkworks in the basement — but do something.
Also — EVANGELIZE your perspective and strategy all the time. You might be ridiculed at first — but after the competition beats you — you can stand there with a huge 'I told you so' face. They might listen to you next time.
You might get into trouble if management ultimately uncovers what you're doing — but no one was ever fired for doing the right thing and taking a small chance to advance the company forward.
And if you are reprimanded or fired, it makes a great story to tell when interviewing with the competition!
P.S. This happens ALL THE TIME. Think of Kodak, Blockbuster, and Nokia to name a few. What others can you think of?
The other day, I was listening to a podcast and heard the progress and a phenomenal amount of inventions which emerged from the space race to the moon in the 1960's. It was amazing how many advances in aeronautics, science, technology and even velcro — came out of our billion-dollar endeavor.
There are things you know (e.g., how to run a meeting) and there are things you know you don’t know (e.g., open heart surgery techniques). Then there are things that you don’t know that you really know (how to stay focused and calm during an emergency).
Do you find yourself doing replicating a process and each time you do it, 50-75% it doesn't work? Not that it fails entirely, but when attempted, it's either fraught with additional challenges, clients may be disrupted, or it's becomes such a big mess it throws your team into a tizzy?
But you still keep doing it because it's the only way you know how to do it — the only way you've been taught?