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Posts Tagged ‘Coaching’

By David Pasieka

I had a young CEO approach me the other day with a question that had been puzzling for her for some time.

“What is the difference between a Coach and a Mentor? Could I benefit from having Both?”

As I promote my ability to be the Entrepreneur’s Entrepreneur providing both Coaching and Mentoring services, (www.cedarvue.ca) I felt compelled to respond.

Mentors can historically be linked back to the Trojan War when Odysseus, the King of Ithaca entrusted his kingdom and the care of his son to Mentor. A common definition would include words such as : “trusted, wise, counselor, guide, teacher, role model, resource, support mechanism or sounding board”. Mentors are usually self selected by the individual and the relationship is built on a solid foundation of chemistry and trust. The focus of the Mentor’s program is all about the individual and will be dynamic and fluid depending on the client’s changing needs.

A key trait of a Mentor’s work is that the Mentee may choose to be selective of the advice they choose to heed. Mentors will Facilitate, Question, Listen, Challenge, Build and Inspire but for the most part, allow the Mentee to find their “own path through the forest“. Much of my work as a Mentor is personally enriching – there is not a session that I have with a Mentee where I didn’t add to my long list of key learnings.

Coaches on the other hand are established to: “instruct, direct and teach individuals or teams to improve in a sport, skill or subject“. Coaches are usually focused on performance improvement and follow a very specific and regimented program agenda. (When was the last time your hockey coach asked what does the team want to work on today?) Unlike a One on One Mentor program, a Coach could be working on an individual or team basis. Coaches bring both a perceived and real sense of authority or power to the relationship. Ultimately, the Coach is driving “compliance” to the advice and instruction. Results are clearly measured and linked back to the Coaching agenda.

In response to the Headline question it’s probably both. On the personal level, many would suggest that having a wise Mentor would be one of the most valuable career assets a leader could have. Coaches will also be critical in ensuring that individual and team performance levels are consistently challenged and achieved.

David Pasieka is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the RIC Centre. Learn more here. Visit Our Contributors page for more information about David. Read his blog at www.cedarvue.blogspot.com

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By Jeff Bowman

There has always been discussion about the value of sales training, the ROI on investing in people.

Although managers love to measure and see immediate results from their investments, it seldom works that way. Sales training is an investment in your company’s future.

Most businesses understand the value of developing long-term relationships with customers. The salesperson is often the face of the company, so it makes sense to develop highly trained and motivated individuals, who best represent your interests.

A good salesperson is a skilled relationship-builder and solution-provider, who cares about their clients as much as they care about their company. They need training on an ongoing basis and most appreciate the company investment because they understand that in the long run it  means more revenue for the company and themselves.

So, do you invest in training, or do you offer coaching? My first question is always “who is the coach”? It often falls on the sales manager, who may not be the most polished salesperson on staff. They may not know how to provide an environment where feedback is well received and leads to changes in sales behaviour. What do you think about when you hear that your boss is going to work right beside you all day?

Sales people get a bum rap sometimes. When things are slow sales people take the heat. Some companies actually believe the cost of training is too high, or sales people don’t work very hard anyways or that anyone could sell these products. Usually that opinion comes from someone who has never had a door slammed in their face, or never had to explain a delivery screw up or price increase.

Sales training should be ongoing, regular and re-inforced through ongoing coaching.

Imagine an investment that leads to new clients, higher- value sales, increased return purchases, referrals from your own customers and increased profitability for the company due to higher levels of customer satisfaction.

That’s what good sales training gets you!

Jeff Bowman is a Sales and Marketing Specialist with The Marketing Pad Inc.. Follow Jeff’s blog at Blogpad or visit www.themarketingpad.com.

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Reposted from The Marketing Pad

By Jeff Bowman

The preliminary work is done. I have suffered the pain to make the gain and I had help all the way.

Last year I had surgery that reduced my ability to perform certain tasks necessary to my business. You may have read the blogs.

It took a lot of  physical effort to get back to where I was before the surgery.   The physiotherapy at times was painful to endure, and sometimes I questioned my ability to live up to the expectations of my therapist. She pushed me when she knew I could do it, and found the problematic areas and massaged them when I was having trouble or pushing too hard.

Heather is a specialist and knows her job well. She was able to increase my mobility, and decrease the pain while supporting my efforts each visit.

I work with many small business owners who are in the same boat but not for medical reasons.  Business is suffering, times are tough and the hours seem to get longer for less return.

At some point in our business lives we all need outside help to find our weak points and to set us on a regime to improve performance.  We could do it ourselves, but more often than not, that is what got us to this point in the first place.  A pair of fresh eyes, with an outside perspective, and a little support to push us forward is what the doctor orders.

There are coaches out there, who will, for a fee, help you. Before you take that route, I  suggest you consider establishing a small advisory group made up of other business people who you know and trust – a personal networking group that meets with the understanding that assisting one another will benefit everyone.

It takes networking to a higher level where business strategies and best practices are probed and shared by the group, some of whom  have experienced what your business is going through.  These professionals, with an outsider’s view, can help your business by making you accountable to the group to make changes. Ideas are stretched, practices  massaged but you will benefit from the group’s collective experience.

It’s worth a shot.  Be ready to work hard, accept constructive ideas and go into it knowing that suggestions made by others are not criticisms.

I call it Busiotherapy.

Jeff Bowman is a Sales and Marketing Specialist with The Marketing Pad Inc.. Follow Jeff’s blog at Blogpad or visit www.themarketingpad.com.

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By David Pasieka

Fresh out of school I started my career at one of the icons of Canadian business – Bell Canada. Included in the icon group were other national brands such as IBM, Xerox, Petro Canada and Imperial Oil. At the time, the world was still thinking about starting and finishing your working life with the same company. These organizations were legendary for Leadership Training, Skills Development and Coaching programs that included “a new job every 6 months”.

On my first day on the job, I was given a team of 12 individuals who I had to coach, motivate and manage. To support my efforts, I was sent to leadership training courses every 6 months to fill in the gaps. In hindsight, I now realize how fortunate I was to be part of a New Graduate Training program – my education and practical on the job training has been part of my fabric ever since.

In today’s world a lot has changed. Clearly, the concept of employment for life” has a new time horizon and companies are spending less on their graduate programs. Company training and education services have also been severely cut back. Gone are the days where companies would hire you for your ability to learn and proceed to train you to fill in the gaps. Recruitment today is looking for the individuals who can do the job with their existing tool sets and hit the ground running.

Working with our new breed of entrepreneurs has a different twist. A full 50% of entrepreneurs fall between the ages of 19 and 30. How and where do these individuals get their training and skills development in today’s environment?

In a recent study conducted by OI Partners (www.oipartners.net) a number of key items were identified that were consistently leading to the failure of newly minted leaders. Five of these factors include:

  1. Leadership & Delegation – the ability to get results through others.
  2. Motivation – the ability to rally the troops to higher levels.
  3. Communication – the ability to provide clear and concise messages.
  4. Personal Skills – the ability to relate on an interpersonal level.
  5. Recognition – the wiliness to celebrate the successes no matter how small.

When you scan this list you conclude these factors can be theoretically” studied, but the realty is that they have to be “experienced”. So where do entrepreneurs get the experience to fill the gap?

In a previous blog,we chatted about the importance of Advisory Boards and their impact on improving company success. These boards are helpful to gain traction in the marketplace – but today’s young entrepreneurs will need more. To supplement the experience & training gaps, a strong prescription of Mentorship from a seasoned “been there done it” Coach is clearly warranted.

Coaches will come in many forms and range from a “certified” professional, to a relative or simply a trusted friend. Often coaches are joined together in business forums, where the entrepreneur can open up amongst a group of peers in a “risk free” environment. Regardless of the background or format, the coach will need to add value by identifying and filling critical experience gaps. Rounding out the theoretical with practical experience, will clearly enhance the probability of commercial success.

David Pasieka is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the RIC Centre. Learn more here.  Visit Our Contributors page for more information about David. Read his blog at www.cedarvue.blogspot.com

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