Archive for February, 2009

February 25, 2009

Coaching Tips for Managers: Coaching is a Repeating Relationship Cycle

Step 1: Valuing

Valuing the employee assigns worth and importance to that person and must be present to begin the relating process.

 

Step 2: Hearing
Hearing the employee goes beyond the obvious auditory hearing and even beyond the use of listening skills. It is translating what is said into what is meant. It is hearing with compassion.

 

Step 3: Understanding
Understanding the employee is a choice made by you to place importance on and know the significance of what has been heard by you and ultimately meant by the coach-ee.

 

Step 4: Reacting
Reacting is an inevitable, natural and unfiltered internal response to what is understood by you about the client. Your reactions must however, into appropriate and accepting responses. As Stephen Covey would say, “There is a gap between reacting and responding.”  That gap is accepting.

 

Step 5: Accepting
Accepting is the choice to receive a person gladly, without disapproval, blinding judgment or compromise of our own personal integrity. It does not mean to endorse, buy into or agree with whatever is being received.

 

Step 6: Responding
Responding is the external relating step. All the others are internal, but filter the actual responses made to the client. 

 

Step 7: Honoring
Honoring the employee by showing that person respect through every step of the relating cycle and the entire coaching process is the filter through which all relating activities and phases must be screened. Honoring confers distinction on a client, and shows your desire to give credit to them.


Relationship Building is a continuous cycle.

February 12, 2009

“Being Positively Practical in Your Business”

With the current economy and market changes I certainly feel it is important to keep a positive attitude, be positive and focus on what’s working versus what isn’t working. I know without a doubt that this helps me stay productive, peaceful and creative which makes me better at what I do daily. I have started exercising more, praying more, meditating and reading more uplifting books just to stay in a happy centered place.

 

As a business coach I am recently seeing a trend with several of my small business clients who always, always maintain an admirably positive attitude. Uncharacteristically, I am seeing avoidance, procrastination and a kind of refusal to look at their business situation; however I must remark that they are maintaining a positive attitude.

 

One client voiced, “If I just don’t look at it, I am not afraid.” Who wants to be afraid?  I understand this all too well. After Christmas vacation I took a hard look at revenue projections and realized I had to cut employee hours. Honestly, I should have looked three weeks earlier but instead of looking at my numbers I looked at my vision board and hoped for more business instead of looking at my financials or my new strategies for earning revenue.

 

It reminds me of the three monkeys; see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. A positive attitude may be easier when we are not looking, listening or talking about the economy or loss of revenue but is it practical and is it empowering? Is it really the healthiest way to deal with the business challenges we face and what about our own well being?

 

Its human nature I guess to avoid looking at what’s changing, an understandable phase for any and all of us to move through but not a good place to hangout and get stuck. As business owners, if we don’t look at the reality of what is happening we can’t powerfully make our next move. We can’t anticipate and head off potential crisis and we can’t make the adjustments needed to stay in business and even potentially thrive.

 

Here are some questions to ask yourself and your team:

 

What are your financials telling you? How will we strategically cut operating costs? Will we reduce your ability to compete effectively if we do?

Will we reduce the quality of our product with these cuts?

Will we reduce the clients’ experience with our company?

Will we reduce the goodwill we have worked so hard to build?

How are our employees feeling? What layoffs are coming, if any? How will we prepare them? How can we all pull together? How will we have to change our business development plan? Has our market dried up? Do we need new markets, services or products? What habits will I have to change or adjust? What business practices will change? How will our marketing messages change?

 

Of course, none of us want to be in “fear,” maybe that’s a phase as well, just another emotion to move through? I find I have much more energy, peace and power when I am practically looking at what is happening in the world and in my business. After all when you are awake and paying attention you don’t miss any of the miracles either!

February 9, 2009

Does your staff cooperate or collaborate with you?

As small business owners we move fast, change course and shift gears daily. Operating a small business demands that we have the ability to be flexible and change as needed. What about our employees? How flexible do they need to be? How informed? How engaged in the success of the business? How do we know they are aligned with us and the business vision?

Sometimes we overlook informing, including, asking or collaborating with our employees. We are often satisfied with cooperation from our employees, unaware of what is possible if we instead were in collaboration with our employees.

“A leader is someone who steps back from the entire system and tries to build a more collaborative, more innovative system that will work over the long term.” –Robert Reich

Here are some great ways to start collaborating with your staff:

Know the vision for the business, share the vision often.
Include them often in the planning for the business referencing the vision
Work on not just in the business with them.
Tie in daily tasks or monthly projects with the overall business vision.
Create and measure goals against the vision with your staff.
Report in on goals with your staff and/or have them report in on their goals.
Start asking great questions of staff instead of telling staff what to do.
Start asking your staff for solutions that you are really trying to solve, take their advice sometimes. Let them know you did.
Let them set the agenda and run the meeting.
Create and post a visual organization chart that shows future roles (do not include names).
Have very clear roles and responsibilities for each staff member.
Change your language to “we”. Speak about business in terms of we, not I or my. For example instead of saying “I need this on my desk by tonight” say “ We need this one and have a deadline of 5pm today can you get it done?”
Do evaluations of job performance in a timely way.
Have raises, bonuses and incentives based on company performance as well as the individual.
Become a great manager. Read books and go to seminars as well as get feedback from your employees on how you could do better.

What are the potential costs of no collaboration?

If the employee is not in tune with the business goals they will have difficulty prioritizing and focusing on what is important.
If the employee does not know what is going on, they will make up stories, causing unnecessary miscommunication and hard feelings.
If they only have half the information they may feel insecure thinking that the company is failing or their job is in jeopardy.
When we don’t allow and ask for their opinions and suggestions, we miss the perspective our staff may be able to contribute. We also inadvertently send the message that what they think doesn’t matter. Poor performance is directly linked to employees feeling powerless to affect change in the business or in their current role.
Employees will not stay in step with the vision for the business, they will be “I” focused instead of “we” focused .They will not be able to see where their job role fits into the business vision.
We will likely lose touch with what is important to our employees, will not know how to incentivize and morale will deteriorate.

February 6, 2009

Being Positively Practical in your Business

It reminds me of the three monkeys; see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. Three Monkeys

 

With the current economy and market changes I certainly feel it is important to keep a positive attitude, be positive and focus on what’s working versus what isn’t working. I know without a doubt that this helps me stay productive, peaceful and creative which makes me better at what I do daily. I have started exercising more, praying more, meditating and reading more uplifting books just to stay in a happy centered place.

 

As a business coach I am recently seeing a trend with several of my small business clients who always, always maintain an admirably positive attitude. Uncharacteristically, I am seeing avoidance, procrastination and a kind of refusal to look at their business situation; however I must remark that they are maintaining a positive attitude.

 

One client voiced, “If I just don’t look at it, I am not afraid.” Who wants to be afraid?  I understand this all too well. After Christmas vacation I took a hard look at revenue projections and realized I had to cut employee hours. Honestly, I should have looked three weeks earlier but instead of looking at my numbers I looked at my vision board and hoped for more business instead of looking at my financials or my new strategies for earning revenue.

 

A positive attitude may be easier when we are not looking, listening or talking about the economy or loss of revenue but is it practical and is it empowering? Is it really the healthiest way to deal with the business challenges we face and what about our own well being?

 

It’s human nature I guess to avoid looking at what’s changing, an understandable phase for any and all of us to move through but not a good place to hangout and get stuck. As business owners, if we don’t look at the reality of what is happening we can’t powerfully make our next move. We can’t anticipate and head off potential crisis and we can’t make the adjustments needed to stay in business and even potentially thrive.

 

Here are some questions to ask yourself and your team: What are your financials telling you? How will we strategically cut operating costs? Will we reduce your ability to compete effectively if we do?

Will we reduce the quality of our product with these cuts?

Will we reduce the clients’ experience with our company?

Will we reduce the goodwill we have worked so hard to build?

How are our employees feeling? What layoffs are coming, if any? How will we prepare them? How can we all pull together? How will we have to change our business development plan? Has our market dried up? Do we need new markets, services or products? What habits will I have to change or adjust? What business practices will change? How will our marketing messages change?

 

Of course, none of us want to be in “fear,” maybe that’s a phase as well, just another emotion to move through? I find I have much more energy, peace and power when I am practically looking at what is happening in the world and in my business. After all when you are awake and paying attention you don’t miss any of the miracles either! 

 

 

About the author  

 

Alicia Marie Fruin is the owner of Profit Consulting Co. a business education company that provides coaching, training and tools for business owners and career employees. She is grateful and excited to work daily with extraordinarily talented professionals in all types of industries around the country. Her company mission is to teach people how to express themselves fully while modeling timeless business principles.

She lives in the Austin TX area and is happily married with five adult children.