I am frequently asked about what Executive Coaching is and how it differs from training, consulting, motivational workshops and therapy.
In a nutshell, Executive Coaching is a leadership development program that is custom tailored to an individual’s strengths and business objectives. As opposed to training workshops and motivational seminars, coaching takes place over time. Coaching engagements happen over a 3-6 month period so that the individual has time to learn and implement new behaviors.
All too often, we get excited after a terrific training workshop and get back to our office with the intent of putting into play all that we had learned, only to revert to our old habits and behaviors.
Coaching helps you move to the next level
Most coaching clients are successful in their jobs, and many have been promoted or are on track for a promotion. Often the skills and abilities that helped them to get promoted are no longer as useful in a new position.
As a result individuals are unsure about what to do next. This is when coaching is extremely effective. It helps newly promoted individuals make the shift to their new role and start to develop the skills that are required for their new position.
I always ask my newly promoted clients to pick one behavior they would like to work on and develop a plan on how they can achieve their goal. For example, before I went into coaching, I was promoted to Business Development for a Fortune 500 company and I was a terrible listener. I was always waiting to talk and start selling, so when I started working with my coach, I made it clear that I wanted to improve my listening skills. Together we developed a plan that consisted of taking a pause before visiting with any client to remind myself to listen, I would then repeat back to my clients what they had suggested was important to them (this showed them that I was listening and helped me pay closer attention) and lastly I would take notes and highlight key points in order to stay actively engaged.
It’s very difficult to work on too many behavioral issues at once, so picking one or two at a time makes the task manageable and will help you be successful.
Stephanie Wachman, Executive Coach, www.stephaniewachman.com, 720-232-3693 © Life In Balance LLC
According to a study in the February 2007 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the APA (American Psychological Association), it seems that being under assertive or over assertive may be the most common weakness among aspiring leaders.
For many new leaders, insecurity within their new position can lead to actions and behaviors that are perceived by others to be under assertive.
For many, there is no formal training on how to communicate in a new leadership position. As a newly promoted manager who has to interface with more senior managers or others on the leadership team, the feeling of inadequacy or insecurity presents itself simply due to lack of confidence brought on by inexperience in the new role.
As a result, new managers may not feel comfortable speaking up in meetings or asserting themselves by voicing their opinions until they feel more at ease in their positions.
To help new managers gain confidence and learn to assert themselves, here are 5 Skills to develop:
1) Make a list of why you were promoted. By reviewing the reasons that you were promoted you will gain clarity and confidence in understanding why you are best suited for your new position.
2) Spend time developing your communication skills. Speak clearly, loud enough to be heard, believe in what you are saying, get to the point and explain succinctly how you arrived there, then check in with your team to make sure the message was received the way it was intended. Consider joining a group like Toastmasters to help you with public speaking.
3) Communication is not just about speaking; it’s also about body language. Stand tall, hold your head up and be sure to make eye contact.
4) Schedule meetings with supervisors, and others on the leadership team to get a clear understanding of how decisions are made and what is typically expected.
5) Believe in personal development, read books like, Strength Based Leadership, take a course, find and internal mentor or engage an executive coach.
It takes time for new managers to build confidence and feel secure in their new roles, that’s why it’s important to work on personal development and….patience.
Stephanie Wachman, Executive Coach, www.stephaniewachman.com, 720-232-3693
© Life In Balance LLC
A few years ago I was working in Business Development for a Fortune 500 Company. My job required me to travel every week. On yet another night away from my family in Tucson, I found myself sitting in the Marriott Hotel room flipping channels and eating a salad from a box that I had put together at Whole Foods. To say that I was miserable was an understatement. For over a year I had been peddling my infection control products to multiple hospitals from state to state and missing my family terribly.
For many months I was struggling with the idea of leaving my job to follow my passion. I kept asking myself what I wanted to do. I knew that I always liked coaching and mentoring my sales team and new hires, but could I earn a living doing that? As thoughts of “is this what I was meant to do?” swarmed through my brain, I happened upon a strange TV show called Billy The Exterminator, Captivated I watched as this leather wearing, stud accessorized “tough guy” from the south, enthusiastically tracked down vermin and released them into the wild.
That night I watched him rid a house of wasps, snakes, rats and raccoons. He was amazed and awed by how much waste and destruction these rats had left. “Wow” this guy has some serious passion for this stuff,enough to have his own company and hit TV show. Pretty impressive I had to admit.
Billy’s passion for extermination and helping people get rid of pests totally inspired me. And as I sat there watching this show with my fork in mid-air and my mouth wide open I thought, wouldn’t it be great to have as much passion for what I do as he has for what he does.
And then…. I got it! A light bulb went off in my head and the word “COACHING” popped in. Why not become a coach. I was already passionate about mentoring and helping others, so why not do it professionally? After speaking with my husband and sharing my enthusiasm for what was to become my new career, quit my job and went to school to study coaching.
I DID IT!! I started my own company.
It wasn’t always easy, starting a business from scratch is not an easy endeavor, but I had and still have such a passion for helping people achieve their life long goals and find success that it out out-ways the tough stuff.
Billy the Exterminator doesn’t know how much he changed my life. I bet he wasn’t even thinking about how he could change the course of someone’s life by exterminating rodents, but his passion certainly made animmense impact on my life and for that I am incredibly grateful. Perhaps Billy can help you to. Ask yourself what you are most passionate about and maybe find your own calling.
Stephanie Wachman, Executive Coach and owner of Life In Balance, www.stephaniewachman.com
Listen, true leaders need to practice active listening. Have you ever been in a meeting with a direct report when you got distracted because your Blackberry went off and you checked it?
Or you heard the bing of email and drew your eyes away from the person you were speaking with and just like that the communication ended. Having sat on both sides of the table I truly understand that by multi-tasking and not giving proper attention to the person you are speaking with that you are sending a message that implies that, “You are not worth my full attention”. This is true for most serious interactions that you are a part of, and is true in your home as well.
1. Create trust by building rapport. Relationship building is the most important part of the sales cycle. If the prospect does not feel they can trust you then chances are you won’t get the sale and if you do it will be at risk.
2. Stay current. Trends, technology, news, sports and current events are common ground on which to build a relationship and rapport.
3. When preparing for any meeting, make sure to set a goal and know what your objectives are.
4. Make a list of questions that you need to ask your prospect and practice them so they sound natural but more importantly so that you don’t forget an important piece of information.
5. Pay attention to your style, make it flow and don’t make a meeting turn into an interrogation.
6. Turn off your cell phone in a meeting. Send the right message that your prospect has your full attention and don’t get distracted by incoming emails, texts or calls.
7. Use your time well and make sure you know who the decision maker is. You may ask, “other than yourself, will anybody else be joining us?”, or “How are decision usually made in your organization”.
8. Qualify your prospect. Is this someone who has a general interest in your product or service?
9. Download. After every meeting makes sure you write down all the information that was obtained in your meeting so that you can refer back to it when building a proposal.
10. Set the next appointment. At the end of your meeting, schedule your next one, so that the customer has to commit to you in order to present your proposal.
11. Follow-Up. Following up after your meetings is critical to the relationship. A hand written thank you card with a picture of something your client is passionate about is a nice touch. For example, if your prospect loves golf, then a card with a picture of a gold course on it is a nice touch that will likely stay on your prospects desk.