One of the upsides of travelling a bit for work is that I get to catch up with people I know in various places around the world. I’m working on a project at the moment that’s bringing me to Brisbane on a fairly regular basis and tonight I had the pleasure of catching up with Casual Marketer Newsletter Subscriber, Stephen Morgan.
When I meet with people and talk about life and business, these emails become so easy to write. I could probably sit down and smash out four or five of these emails just from our two-hour dinner conversation.
One topic that we discussed tonight revolved around coaching.
We were trading war stories and we got to talking about my thoughts on people offering coaching programs and the value to people who are being coached.
Before we delve into that, Stephen asked me a good question, “Why do you (Sean) like running a coaching program?”
For me, the answer is a bit complicated. It’s not a greatly leveraged use of my time, but the thing is, I actually enjoy doing it. I like getting on Skype or meeting up with someone in person occasionally and spending an hour brainstorming ways to move whatever the person is doing forward at a rate faster than if they were doing it by themselves.
It’s pretty straightforward, I do it because I enjoy it.
The underlying question though was, “Why do some people who get coaching succeed and others don’t?”
I think there are few different types of people who are suited to getting coaching and maybe it would help answer the question if I go into each of those a bit.
I’d say that a large portion of my coaching clients over the years are basically people who lack confidence. You can’t teach confidence, it’s earned – that’s a saying I learned when I was young playing hockey. For most of us, having confidence makes us much better at everything we do, but the only way you can get confidence is by making progress and putting runs on the board.
When I work out that one of my coaching clients has a confidence issue then I immediately turn my attention to shortening up the delivery cycles for them and helping them get to positions where they start having some wins. I’m not talking about fluffpreneur wins like, “Hey, look at me, I created a blog post” or rubbish like that. I’m talking about tangible wins, things that move the dial. Once people start building momentum, they become more confident which makes it easier for them to drive forward on their own.
Another group of people that come to me for coaching are people that have all the pieces, but maybe they’re not sure which order to deploy them in. This is really a “go to market” problem and it’s unbelievably common. For many online entrepreneurs, they know all the things they have to do, they have a product or service they can offer, but they have so many things going on, that that just can’t work out how to tie it all together.
This is actually a form of the dreaded “overwhelm” that gets talked about online. What happens is that the person is so deep into running and creation part of their business that they’ve lost perspective on the bigger picture – they can’t see the forest for the trees. For coaching clients like this, we focus on abstracting them from the detail and talk about desired outcomes, what things have to be in place for them to get that outcome and then we sort through what they have like a jigsaw puzzle.
Over dinner, Stephen mentioned accepting payments online – you’d be floored if you knew the number of people I’ve worked with over the years who simply hadn’t figured this out or had missed it entirely. They’d done tons of work but had no way to take money and hadn’t really thought of that as a problem.
The focus for people in this situation is to simplify and remove things. The idea is somewhat cliche, but to make them see that for some of the time, they need to work ON their business rather than simply in it. Once they get that, then usually these people are able to kick on and move forward quickly.
And the last group that I see a fair bit of are people with solid business experience who are moving into the online world, but what they want is to work with someone that can help them avoid the potholes and accelerate their journey. I wouldn’t call this teaching so much as mentoring. In my experience, this group of people would be successful eventually without my help because they have all the right attributes and talents, but by going into a coaching program, they are buying access to experience.
One oddity is that this last group are often the coaching clients that I end up working with for the longest period of time. They understand the value of the relationship for what it is, gaining access to a trusted advisor. With these folks, the most common feedback is that every session they get one nugget that gets them a massive return on the investment and when they’re ready to move forward on their own, they often ask for some kind of retainer system whereby they can keep me on speed dial.
One consistent theme you might have noticed is that I always talk about coaching clients moving forward on their own. I think this is a really important element of the relationship – as someone coaching or mentoring someone, my goal is to help you get to a point where you’ve progressed and have enough momentum to move forward on your own. I’ve seen some people’s coaching program where it becomes a crutch and every decision has to be checked and double checked with the mentor.
That’s not right.
Coaching and mentoring is about getting you what you need and helping you be better running your business. The sole focus of the coach should be to load you up with enough confidence and clarity that they do themselves out of a job.
If you’re interested in talking to me about coaching or mentoring, click here and let me know.