Monday, 28 November 2011

Career Coaching - Stay Or Look For A New Role?

I am currently working with a senior executive who needs to make a decision about whether to stay in her existing role or move to another role in another organisation.

In fact, she has a job offer on the table and the organisation concerned is so eager to have her that they have given her until the end of the calendar year to make her decision prior to giving notice in her current role.

Are you in a similar position? Perhaps you have dissatisfactions in your current role which are causing you to consider your options.

From personal experience - and in working with many executives in this area - it is important to start by thinking about what is driving you to consider a change within your career.

Can the issues which are causing you to consider change be resolved within your current role? For example, workload, work type or work location?

Have you exhausted all of the possibilities for making the changes that you want within your current role?

If the issue - or issues - are not resolvable and you are sure that you want to make the change, think through your decision carefully first and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the rationale behind the decision? 
  • What are the facts? 
  • What is the logic behind your decision?
  • How do you feel? 
  • What impact will this decision have on your values?

But what are your options and what criteria will you use to assess these options and make a decision?

One technique which I suggested to my client - and we went though in our session - may provide you with some help. Simply answer the following questions and it should help you reach a decision:

  • What would/could you gain if you moved to the/a new role?
  • What would/could you lose if you moved to the/a new role?
  • What would/could you keep [which is important to you] if you stay?
  • What would/could you lose if you stay in your current role?

Sometimes we need to step back and see the wood for the trees.

Sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence when we may be:

  • Jumping from the frying pan into the fire
  • Avoiding handling issues such as relationship management that we may well come across in our next role - the saying 'Wherever I go, there I am' springs to mind here
  • Experiencing the horns effect when we give a high weighting to an issue that we are unhappy about but may have not done enough to address it using all of our strengths and resources.

If you have found this blog to be useful please leave a comment and if you would like support in your career then please do get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling - Career Coaching.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Executive Coaching

Are you an ambitious manager, senior manager or director working within a public or private sector organisation or for yourself or in a partnership?

Have you recently had your performance review and identified with your line manager areas of strengths to build on as well as possible areas for development?

Perhaps you have had some feedback through a 360-degree feedback process which has highlighted areas of development which, addressed, will help you to further your career.

Research shows that managers, senior managers and directors often develop more quickly and better through one-to-one executive coaching than through any other performance development intervention - including traditional classroom training.

This is because individual one-to-one coaching focuses on you and is tailored to your specific and precise needs within a structure that will have you feeling more motivated and confident in achieving your development objectives.

An independent coach will provide the following:

  • A confidential listening ear and sounding board for your experiences, problems and solutions
  • A source of advice should you request this
  • In-time support, being available regularly face-to-face and also available on email and the telephone when you need them
  • Work with you to clearly articulate positive, specific, measurable, realistic and time-bound objectives
  • A structure to achieve your desired outcomes, such as, career progression or specific leadership skills development
  • A coaching model to guide and steer discussions
  • Good challenging questions that help you to think differently
  • Collateral specific to your needs, such as, communication models, tools and techniques
  • A non-judgemental presence coming from a supportive, positive and enabling place.

Managers, senior managers and directors who are serious about their continuous professional development and want learning on the fast-track develop business cases to secure funding for their coaching, which include coaching being an investment to help them to achieve their objectives and also improve the performance and engagement of their teams.

If you are unsure about whether to progress with coaching at this time please see my blog - are you ready, willing and able to be coached?

If you have found this blog useful please leave a comment or if you would like to discuss your personal coaching needs please get in touch in confidence via our website West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Small Business Coaching - Improve Productivity and Morale

Are you interested in learning about one simple, easy-to-implement tool which will boost staff productivity and morale?

How much do you estimate that poor communication costs your business? How much do you estimate not using all of your staff's potential is costing your business?

The truth is that when your people are not managed well it costs your business - That's the impact plain and simple.

What issues are most often behind this?.... These most common issues include the following:
  1. Individual X has a development need that is ignored
  2. Individual Y is only told when they get things wrong and the individual spends much time at work complaining about their manager
  3. Individual Z is a manager and avoids tackling conflict so performance issues are ignored
Using a good feedback model addresses all of these issues and builds your staff productivity as well as their morale.

Psychological research shows people respond best to feedback which is specific, timely and in the ratio of 3 positives to each development point.

So how would you go about this?
  • Step 1: Start with 3 specific positive things that you have seen/heard/read about them – their strengths
  • Step 2: Then focus on 1 specific thing that you would like them to do more/less of that would make them even more effective/develop further/able to positively influence you. 
Focus on what you want from them NOT what you DO NOT want from them.

Ask them how they think they can achieve that - i.e. let them come up with their solutions to get their commitment to change.

Feedback in your business needs to become part of your way of working - something everyone does to get the best from each other and avoid standing still or even regressing.

If you have found this blog to be useful please leave a comment or if you would like assistance implementing this way of working into your business please get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling - Team Development.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Small Business Coaching - Reducing Costs

There is an old adage - 'It's not what you earn but what you spend' - which tends to dictate your personal savings.

There are people who on the surface appear wealthy and have well paid jobs but actually carry a lot of debt -living pay cheque to pay cheque because of lifestyle factors such as a big mortgage, school fees, expensive cars, expensive and frequent holidays and the latest technology.

There are others on more modest incomes who have perhaps lower mortgages and more simple lifestyles.

These people have a budget, always compare the market when they do spend and think carefully before they spend money on non-essentials.

In running your small business - and especially in the current economic climate - your costs play a big part in your survival and if you can pare these down you will increase your bottom line.

I am working with one small business team currently identifying areas where they can reduce costs throughout their whole business model - from staff costs (often your biggest controllable cost whatever your business) through to marketing, rent and consumables.

This organisation is pleasantly surprised at the significant indicative cost-savings they are now working towards and all of the team have found the process to be fun and motivating.

It is easy to lose control on spend and not look for the best deals for your business in the same way as it is easy to lose control of your personal finances.

However, it is very satisfying to save money for your business and increase your bottom line - leaving you feeling in control - just as it is very satisfying to find a bargain during a personal purchase.

But how do you start saving money and where do you look?

First - go through all of your business expenses and make a list of your say Top 10 costs.

Then work out what is a realistic and specific goal that you want to set for your cost-savings? Perhaps start with 10% and then review this figure every 3 months when you may decide to adjust it.

Asking the following questions will help you to act.
  • Which of your costs is ripe for a cost saving because it is currently high? 
  • Have you compared the market in this area? 
  • What options are there to reduce spend in this area? 
  • What criteria will you assess these options against - for example, what will you gain / lose and what will the cost be? Then what will you do?
Once you have a focus on your costs this exercise will become a healthy habit and you are more likely to stay in control of your business and increase your likelihood of staying in business.

Of course, there is more to running a successful business than controlling costs and your focus will also need to be on generating top-line sales but I have no doubt that in any business the latter is often prioritised at the expense of the former.

Focusing on cost control as well as growing your business will help you to run an effective thriving business.

If you have found this blog to be useful please leave a comment and if you would like help in this or any other area of your business please get in touch via our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Small Business Coaching - Dealing With Attendance Issues

Do you have a problem with staff attendance which is primarily short term?

Have you noticed patterns to attendance issues - for example, the individual who is often sick on a Monday or Friday?

I think the best tool to deal with attendance issues is the return-to-work meeting. Why?
  1. It shows the individual that they have been missed
  2. If the individual is a malingerer they will be less likely to call in sick in future
  3. It sends a clear message to other staff that attendance issues will be managed
  4. If there is an underlying problem you can find out - for example, the individual calls in sick but the issue is really a problem at work or home
So what do you say at this meeting..... Have a think about what your goal is? What are your options and what will you do?

Here's a suggested format:
  • Welcome the individual back
  • Tell them that they were missed
  • Check they are ready to return and have not come back early for whatever reason
  • Discuss any issues that may have contributed towards or caused their absence
  • Where any causes are identified discuss what help you as the employer can offer to address them
  • Discuss any further action that may be necessary
You will need to prepare for this meeting and ask yourself the following questions:
  • What are the advantages of holding the meeting in a private place?
  • What information will you need to have in front of you relating to recent absences?
  • What about sensitivity and listening skills?
You will also need to carry out certain actions after the meeting including the following:
  • What about note taking?
  • What adjustments need to be made for the individual if any?
  • Do you need to consider disciplinary action yet?
  • How will you continue to monitor the attendance issues?
  • What action does your policy say you can take if the non attendance issues persist?
If you have found this blog to be useful please leave a comment or if you require an small business support please visit our website West of England Coaching and Counselling - Business Coaching.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Small Business Coaching - Tackling Poor Performance

Are you interested in tackling poor performance before it becomes a formal disciplinary issue?

What do you think are the benefits of 'nipping an issue in the bud' before it escalates?

Where are you now with the performance issue? What is the impact on your business?

What is the impact on other staff? What are your options....ignore the issue and hope it will go away or tackle it?

A really good tool towards tackling poor performance -is the following 6-step coaching model:
  1. Gaining Commitment: Open the discussion in a positive way. Discuss current level of performance, agree that a problem exists and the impact of this on the business, other staff and them. Discuss and agree the size of the performance gap. Do not move on until the individual recognises a performance gap exists and that it is significant enough to warrant change – Why?
  2. Closing The Gap: Discuss options to reach the required performance level. Review the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Encourage the individual to come up with ideas, prompting where you think necessary.
  3. Develop The Strategy: Agree the best approach to close the performance gap. Identify performance measures that will show clearly when the new performance level has been reached. Explore any resources that may be required.
  4. Agree The Action Plan: Who will do what and by when? Agree the time frames for when the new level of performance must be reached. Set review dates to monitor progress - including interim reviews if you think necessary. Express your confidence in the individual’s ability to deliver - keep it positive.
  5. Action: Both of you agree to commit to the action plan. You discreetly monitor and guide 1:1 when necessary. Hold interim review sessions if required.
  6. Review: Meet to review/measure progress towards targets. Recognise, communicate and record in writing achievements that have been made. If performance has not reached the required level go back to step 1 - make the targets more specific, the review periods shorter and be less tolerant of shortcomings e.g... ‘this is the third time we have spoken about this [specify performance gap].
If you have found this tool to be useful please leave a comment or if you would like assistance please contact us through our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling - Business Coaching.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Small Business Coaching - Managing People Tools

Do you have a small business and see that managing people is important to your profitability?

This is the first of a number of blogs which - actioned by you - will help you to increase your productivity, morale and profitability.

The first tool - I want to share with you is objective setting.

Be clear on your business plan then determine what objectives to set each of your employees which will help you to achieve your business plan - few businesses do this really well.

Make sure you avoid duplication of effort when you develop individual objectives for and with your team members.

Also, any training and development should only happen if it helps the individual or your team to achieve their objectives.

Individual objectives are important to ensure that individuals are accountable.

Clear alignment of team and individual objectives with your business plan will help to motivate staff and increase their productivity because they will see how they are adding value to the business.

All these objectives must be SMART - by that I mean:

  • Specifically - What do you want them to do?
  • Measurable - What will be the evidence of success? Aim to make this clear i.e. quantitative or qualitative and both if possible.
  • Achievable - Do they have the resources - for example, skills, materials etc., to achieve it?
  • Realistic - Is it challenging yet realistic - including the timescales involves?
  • Time bound - When are they to complete it by?

Aim to review your staff objectives with individuals every 3 months and set new ones where appropriate.

Check how individuals are getting on a at least every month by asking the following questions:

  • What is going well? 
  • What is not going well? 
  • What support can you give them?

You set the 'what' they are to achieve. Allow them to set the 'how' they are to achieve it.

With inexperienced staff you may need to help them with the 'how'.

People are naturally goal and objective driven and setting them objectives that contribute to the achievement of the company business plan will motivate your people.

Future blogs will provide advice on other people management areas including:

  • How to nip poor performance in the bud early on when you spot a problem
  • How to address non-attendance
  • How to massively improve the way you communicate with your staff and develop them into the bargain

If you have found this blog to be useful please do leave me a comment or visit our website West of England Coaching and Counselling.