Friday, 27 April 2012

Business Coaching - Sales Growth anyone?

If you are reading this then you are probably a business owner and therefore interested in sales growth.

Are you interested in doing one easy thing to increase your sales quite quickly?

This blog is really aimed at business owners with a workforce.

In working with a number of business owners recently one intervention keeps yielding increased staff productivity and sales.

That intervention is engaging with your people.

How do you do that?

All employees want to know what the organisation goals are and to have those goals clearly aligned with theirs.

For example if your business vision and goal is to be the restaurant of choice in your area and increase your sales by 50% in the next 12 months then you might agree with your head chef that his/her goal is to devise an updated menu to meet the needs of the residents in the area.

From this goal your head chef may then get to thinking 'I will do my research and find out what people's preferences are and what would cause them to visit us twice as often'.

High performing businesses comprise individuals whose goals and objectives and actions are aligned with the business goals, know what is expected of them and what to do to achieve those expectations.

High performing business leaders know that by engaging staff in what they are doing they increase their productivity and increase the business sales.

Are your staff clear on your goals and objectives, are they clear on their specific role in helping to achieve that? Have they been involved in writing their job descriptions?

Whatever path this blog leads you down please let us know by leaving a comment.

For all of your business development support needs please get in touch via

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Your Life with Goals

Do you want to increase your level of happiness and enjoy your life more?

By doing things you enjoy and helping others you are likely to achieve an optimum level of happiness.

No-one is happy all of the time though optimum happiness is a great place to be.

We are by our very nature goal driven which helps with our motivation, energy, drive and purpose in life.

What I am advocating is that you set yourself two or three goals that focus on what you enjoy and helping others.

According to the athlete Roger Black the joy of goals is not the moment you get there but the struggle through the good and bad times.

Black also said that if you have passion you will always get through the bad times.

If increasing your happiness is at least partly down to doing what you enjoy and helping others then it makes sense to set goals in these areas. As Black purports "people must have an idea of the destination they want to reach or they will not go anywhere" so goal setting is as crucial in life, as in business, as in sport.

Here's your exercise for this blog.

Q1. What do you enjoying doing at work? E.g. selling my services to people

Q2. What do you enjoy doing personally and in your social life? E.g. sailing club and holidays

Q3. What do you want to help others with? E.g a charity that you are passionate about

Now your task is to set three goals for the next twelve months, one for each of your responses to the three questions.

Remember that the more SMART [specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound] you are in your goal setting the more likely you are to have the clarity and motivation to actually achieve your goals.

Please let me know how you get on with this exercise and if you would like help in 'going for gold' to achieve a happier life for yourself please get in touch via www.westofenglandcoachingandcounselling or call 01761 237400 today.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Your Career: What is your vocation in life?

Do you want to find your vocation in life?

We are all by nature goal driven human beings.

What makes some people appear really driven is often that they are passionate about what they are doing.

For as long as I can remember my dad has designed electrical and mecahnical things.

Approaching eighty years of age he has just designed a windmill with a sail fin  as part of a renewable energy project driven by his passion for research in this important area. I just received his eight page report and I am proud that he cares about the world he lives in.

What do you really care about?

Is this reflected in what you do, how you spend your time, the career path that you are on?

An exercise that some of my clients have found useful is to imagine that you are lying on your death bed [a sombre thought I know] and reflecting on your life. Got the image?

Now think about and answer the following questions:

1. What have you achieved personally - what good have you done in your world?

2. What have you achieved through your work - as an employee or as a parent [really hard work] for example?

3. What have you achieved socially and in your community?

Your answers provide a steer for addressing the gap between where you are now and these outcomes.

These answers help you to create long term, medium term and short term goals, objectives and action plans.

And rememnber that we often underestimate what we can achieve in a life time or even a year and we oftten overestimate what we can achieve in a day, a week or even a month.

If you work through this exercsie please do let me know what insights and learning you have.

If you would like support to achieve change in any area of your life please do get in touch via

Monday, 16 April 2012

Career Coaching - Career Review

Are you considering a career move?

Whether you are embarking on a career move or not it's a good idea to conduct a career review I think at least annually.

Your expectations, needs and wants do change and this applies to your career as much as any other aspects of your life and this warrants a review.

A career review does not necessarily mean a career change. In fact the review may tell you that in most important aspects of your needs and wants your current career is well suited. Perhaps with some small adjustments you can make it the career you truly want. For example you are feeling somewhat demotivated because your boss micro-manages you and you decide to have a conversation with them about a level of delegation that would help to lift your motivation level.

A career review is also useful if you are feeling disconnected from your work and this is affecting your job satisfaction. Perhaps you have got to the stage that you feel sick on a regular basis on a Sunday night or Monday morning. 

How do you go about conducting your career review?

I think that a mind map is a good tool to use here and taking the steps as follows:

1. Draw a circle in the middle of a page of blank A4 paper and write your full name plus 'who am I?' inside it.

2. Now brainstorm all of your current values - what is important to me? For example, my health, my family/friends, my work, my finances, my community, my charitable contributions.

3. Now draw lines from the inner circle, one for each of the values that you have identified.

4. Write the value along each line.

5. Now draw shorter lines emanating from each value and write on these what is important to you about each value. For example, you might write on the health value, time to take varied exercise each day, eat healthily, limit alcohol and sugar. Against my finances you might write work to achieve financial independence so I can choose what I do next.

6. Once you have exhausted the development of your values map you can hone in on any area and for now your focus is on your career.

7. Firstly what insight can you gain about your career from your whole map? For example, does your current career enable you to meet your other values such as for example spending your weekends with your family and friends or does it mean working most weekends?

8. Now, looking at the work area, are you doing the things that you enjoy? For example you may have written on the work arm of your diagram 'developing people' though your current work is mostly on your own and there is little scope for developing people.

9. Usually clues will be presented by your 'values map' which may point to you wanting to consider a career move of some sort along a continuum of more or less radical change. For example if the big picture shouts the desire for 'freedom' you may start working at a plan that involves a move to working for yourself.

10. Jot down some thoughts that you have from completing this exercise. The next step is to do some more research. A book I have found to be useful is 'what colour is my parachute?' within which there is a 'flower' to complete which will provide you with a picture of your ideal career. For example on one petal you note what skills you enjoy using and on another your remuneration needs.

Let me know how you get on with this exercise. If you feel stuck in your career and want some help to achieve a satisfying career for you, do get in touch with me via

Friday, 13 April 2012

What can executive coaching help me to change?

So long as you are realistic and pragmatic about what you want you can change any thing that you want and a good coach will help you to make the changes quicker and more effectively.

There are a number of areas in particular where working with a coach will see you well rewarded.

1. Coaching for behaviour change - behaviour change is difficult without a coach that gets beneath the surface of issues. A typical coaching assignment involves my helping you to improve your confidence or self esteem so as to help you to achieve your career objectives, sometimes following a particularly challenging time professionally and/or personally.

2. Coaching for leadership capability/skills development – typical coaching assignments in this area are addressing your planning and communication skills, most notably developing and sharing your vision and strategic priorities, influencing key stakeholder(s), talent management, negotiating, assertiveness and delegation, so as to achieve business goals. For example, I worked with a director to help develop his listening, questioning and debating skills, to improve his effectiveness with his team and clients, following a 360 degree feedback performance review.

3. Coaching for the client’s agenda - for example, right now you may be experiencing work anxieties due to increased work pressures. I worked with a HR Business Partner recently who was experiencing unwanted physiological symptoms as a result of work and life pressures. I am also coaching an individual who I have helped identify his three key career priorities and am helping him to achieve these.

4. Coaching for development or through a transition – for example, perhaps you are new in post and want support though a number of challenges within your new role, specifically confidence and skills dealing with stakeholder management issues in your new role and prioritising a heavy workload.

5. Coaching for performance – for example, do you want coaching to achieve your business development and sales performance targets? Do you want to improve your performance in a number of areas including business planning, influencing and your own coaching skills?

6. Career coaching – for example, are you in an organisation that is restructuring and want to know your career options within/outside of the business? Are you a senior manager returning to work following maternity leave?

6. Team coaching – I have worked with senior management teams and Boards to change key business processes and/or to improve their performance. Some of my clients have used this approach to provide participants with coaching skills transfer as well as to address both team and individual development issues. For example, I worked with a number of senior managers in the NHS in this way. I use a transformational coaching model and process that involves my facilitation of a coach, an issue holder and shadow coaches. I am currently coaching two teams aspiring to be a ‘high productivity team’ using our own ‘High Productivity Team Model’.

7. Stress management – are you struggling with stress management issues? For example, I recently worked with an individual that was highly stressed in their role, experiencing personal problems, to help them feel calmer, address their personal issues and improve their productivity.

8.  Are you a director, MD or CEO who wants a  confidential coach resource to help you to achieve your vision,  goals and objectives? For example, I recently provided coaching to a Managing Director in the run up to his retirement, covering an international company merger and succession plan. I am currently working with a Finance Director and Assistant Chief Executive to provide her with support through a number of sensitive organisational matters.

If you have found this blog to be useful please let a comment and if you want to work with a coach please get in touch via

Monday, 9 April 2012

What does a good executive coaching approach look like?

The purpose of one to one coaching and group/team coaching is to help you and your colleagues to set and achieve your specific goals and improve your performance and that of your team/organisation through changing and improving your thinking, behaviour and actions.

Individual executive coaching gets to the root of those performance issues that lie deep within your belief and value system. Coaching enables behaviour change so that a specific performance issue is resolved and sustained.

My aim is to develop long term relationships with you so all engagements start with a discussion about how I can help you to achieve your targets, designed so as to build trust and let you decide whether you would like to work with me.  From this initial discussion, we develop specific objectives for the coaching and if you want we complete an organisational impact tracking document.

Coaching is a partnership that will help your directors and managers achieve results in their professional and personal lives.   Through the process of coaching, participants learn more about themselves and their goals, improve their performance at work and can enhance the quality of their daily life.

The biggest benefit of professional, structured coaching is that it speeds up the process of moving the team or individual from where they are now to where they want to go. Another benefit often cited by my clients is that it helps them to think differently and more positively so as to resolve a particular issue or to move forward on their career ambitions.

As your Personal Development Coach, you have the opportunity to benefit from a directive (direct feedback and advising) or non-directive style of coaching (ask not tell) whichever best helps you to reach your goals.  The coaching process will have you/your directors and managers more focused and aware of your/their choices, and through this help you/them to achieve goals more quickly.  The process will concentrate on where you are today, what you want to achieve and what you will do to reach your desired outcome.

Prior to the first coaching session, I have a preparatory discussion with the individual/team during which the coaching process will be explained in relation to your needs and situation and you will agree scope and parameters i.e. those areas of focus for the coaching.

This may be followed by an assessment of your strengths and development needs using interviews and an assessment tool.

A specific set of objectives and means to evaluate are developed and agreed with you. This will include specific behaviours that you want to change to achieve the objective. I listen and contribute observations and questions, with the aim of clarifying your positions and options and moving you into a position to prepare yourself well for the actual coaching sessions.

I recommend that your line manager assists in providing input to your objectives to be achieved with coaching support. At the end of this session you will be asked to sign up to a coaching contract.

The length of the actual coaching sessions will depend on the amount to be covered and can be agreed with you following the preparatory discussions.

The actual coaching session will often follow the GROW format [Goal, Reality, Options, Will].

Additional psychological techniques and tools will be used where required to help you to change your thinking and behaviour. For example, certain successfully proven Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques can be used to help change thinking and behaviour quickly and effectively.

During coaching a clear action plan detailing the way forward with dates for review, will be developed with the you along with homework tasks. By following the GROW format, the coaching process encourages you to generate your own ideas and solutions, take responsibility for forward action and to make your own decisions.

I will help you to discover and clarify precisely what you want to achieve, encourage you to learn more about yourself, work with you to achieve your own solutions and importantly to hold you responsible and accountable.

I provide appropriate collateral and book references as we work together which will help you to further develop yourself.

If you would like to learn more about this then please get in touch via

Thursday, 5 April 2012

What is effective executive coaching?

Do you want to know more about what effective executive coaching is?

Effective executive coaching is a process involving skillful and precise goal setting, rapport building, questioning, listening, challenging and observation along with the application of relevant, appropriate and effective tools and techniques.

Effective executive coaching encourages your learning, invites creative options development and develops your motivation to act and to deliver high performance.

Traditionally used in a sports setting, we are now accustomed to life and executive coaching.

Effective executive coaching is a niche within coaching where the coach works with you at work, building on your successes to achieve new objectives aligned with organisational targets or personal needs that will usually positively impact work performance.
An effective executive coach facilitates you to see options for becoming more effective. The coach applies a wide variety of thinking and behavioural techniques, models and methods to assist you to develop and achieve a set of objectives to improve your professional performance results and personal satisfaction, within a formally agreed coaching agreement.

 “One to one performance coaching is the way for both organisations and individuals to significantly impact the bottom line” Fortune Magazine

“Coaching is the art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another” Industrial Society

Coaching is not mentoring or training or psychotherapy.

If you want to achieve changes and would like to discuss these with an effective executive coach then please get in touch via

Monday, 2 April 2012

What can executive coaching give you?

Do you want to be as successful as possible in your work life?

Independent coaching is increasingly recognised as key to management development in all organisations from the CE or MD to management grades. 

It is acknowledged by senior management in many successful organisations that the organisation will thrive if they offer some form of coaching to their key people.

Evidence shows that there are a number of principle benefits of effective corporate coaching

1. Coaching will improve your performance and results.
An example of some well-known research conducted that shows effective coaching does improve performance and results is given here:

Research of Olivero, Bane, Kopelman
“Executive coaching as a transfer training tool: Effects on productivity in a public agency”

•          The authors studied the impact on 31 leaders and managers in a US city health agency
•          In phase one of this project all managers participated in a three-day classroom style training   workshop that included a variety of interactive activities focused on their work roles. The participants rated the training workshop very highly on all quantitative and qualitative measures.
•          In phase two, the managers participated in an 8 week one on one coaching that detailed coaching processes tailored to the agency context. The post training coaching included goal setting, collaborative problem solving, practise, feedback, supervisory involvement, evaluation of end results and a public presentation. The managers met with their coaches for one hour each week over a two-month period.

The authors found that while their training intervention with managers increased manager productivity by 22%, adding a one to one (8 week) coaching intervention after the training pushed the productivity to 88%.

2. Coaching is learning on the fast track because it is one to one and tailored to the individual’s specific objectives that are aligned to those of the organisation.

3. Professional coaching of senior people gives good gearing, in that these people affect many others. They also learn something about how to coach by receiving coaching and so make better use of resources and improve the way they spend their time. A life skill that individuals can use to increase their and other’s satisfaction.

4. An experienced coach will improve the individual’s motivation and self-belief that will in turn impact that of the individual’s team. It is often the only time that an individual will experience dedicated one to one guidance and support to help them move forward.

5. The coaching ethos is about change and being responsible for one’s performance and results. In future the demand for change and flexibility will increase in response to the market and global competition. Only the flexible and resilient will survive.

My clients all share one key criterion that I require – they are all successful already and want to build on their success.

If you want to get more from your work life, do get in touch via