Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Life Coaching Articles

Apart from my personal blogs I also contribute to a popular UK women's blog Birds On The Blog.  I write on business and life coaching topics and I thought I'd post a collection of some recent articles on personal coaching topics to share with you here. 

A healthy relationship with money can make for a much easier life in the long term. Do you really understand your beliefs around money?

Beliefs about money - here's an exercise you can use

It surprises me that even now I still see people claiming that Twitter is all about people saying what they had for breakfast. Twitter reflects who we choose to follow and what level of engagement we bring to that platform. We pick it. We can change it whenever we like. 

Our relationships too, don't just happen. We have the freedom to make of them what we will... 

Marriage is like Twitter... pick the experience you want to have with it.

The future is not yet written but its easy for us to predict the worst and plant all the things we don't want to happen as being in our future.  A better idea is to develop a future with memories you want to make happen! 

Live the future you want - Making future memories now

We love to work to become expert in what we do. But not matter how experienced we are, when the paradigm shifts and the way things get done we all go back to being beginners and face the challenge to learn the new ways... 

From expert back to beginner again

Single mothers can face a lot of bad feelings and judgment by people who don't know them. Not all single mothers are unmarried teenagers or a menace to society but that's often the message that we get about these women raising their children alone... 

Spare a kind thought for the single mother

Life is neither good nor bad but we can look at it as though it is. We can expect the best to happen, or the worst. Life doesn't care, but the effect on the choices we make, and the way we feel can be affected dramatically by how we view the world. The good news is that you have the ability to alter these frames ...

Optimism, pessimism and finding a realistic frame to see life through

Internal dialogue is that internal 'voice' that tells us we can do something- or we can't. It can help us or it can keep us down and afraid to try new things, or hope too much. You can use it to help you. Here's how...

Lies we tell ourselves ... Mastering Self Talk

For assistance with personal or business coaching  contact Lindy Asimus.

Like to discuss your business?
 Lindy Asimus Business Coaching
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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

No Money And No Time In Your Business?

Too little money or too little time? 

What's the problem with your business that stops you doing the things you want to do?

There are so many different facets to running a business that can stymie our attempts to have the business that we most want.  Michael Gerber outlined this well in his book The E-Myth and referred to the entrepreneurial myth that exists - where business owners are often acting more like technicians in their business, than they are operating as entrepreneurs.

Too Little Money In The Business

It's often the case when I speak with business owners about the activities in their business that are not happening or don't have budget allocated to them to enable the business to be more effective, that there is simply "no money" for that activity.

No money is a clear sign that the business is not operating at the level it needs to be to deserve the amount of time and effort going into it.

The conundrum with this is that the business won't be able to operate optimally, when it is starved of the money and resources it needs to carry out all of the functions it need to do to be healthy and productive.

Funding for the essential elements of the business is not an optional or "nice to have" expense. It is part of the cost of doing business, and is as necessary to a healthy business, as good food and good lifestyle choices are.

Let's look at the various activities in a business that are vital.

If you create products or make things to sell, or whatever it is that your business does at an operational level, it needs to be able to provide a consistent quality product and output. That might mean ensuring materials for the production is working right and you have all the materials you need to produce what you make. It will include the right levels of staffing to ensure that you can maintain the levels of production you need and ensure that customer are able to buy what you sell when they need it and when they want it. If your business distributes product that others make then your inventory will be important too - you want to have sufficient stocks to cover you for your sales and for the period between when orders can be delivered to you so that you have stock to sell, but not piles of money invested in stock sitting around not selling.

Let's include things like purchasing well in this section. Buying well with not only the right amount of stock, but also at the right price and the best deals you can arrange with your suppliers. There is no "one price" when it comes to negotiating terms and you need to be good at getting the best arrangement you can - and monitoring the suppliers to ensure they deliver at the price negotiated and the quantities specified and the terms agreed upon. Trust is not appropriate at this time and you need to make sure that you are getting what you have ordered.

Admin duties around accounts payable, and best times to pay without making payments too soon or too late and gaining a reputation as a poor customer who can't be trusted.  Ensuring that employees in these positions are on top of their game and not skimming money out of the business - yes it happens surprisingly often - is another of the responsibilities of the owner or manager.

Compliance obligations
Employee benefits and pay rates, managing rosters and staff performance are all things that need to be done, and are not optional, for a healthy business. 

Sales performance
Recruiting well - the right people for the right job, training in product and soft skills. These are vital to the business selling the most they can and at the right price. Discounting is often a sign of poor sales skills and poor preparation and training  - or dud products and lack of understanding of what is of value to customers. Independent businesses are unlikely to be able to compete on prices for the same stock as large companies and online stores, so product differentiation and sales experience for customers in store and in your online store is the key to being relevant to customers. While sales and relationship with customers is where the money flows into the business, there is often precious little training being done to optimise that transaction period during the sale, and in the after sale period.

Marketing is like the lungs of the business. Just as you breathe without thinking about it so too your marketing should be happening ongoing and all the time - not just when you think about it. Not just when you remember. That wouldn't work for your breathing - and it won't work for your business.

What we call marketing now has changed too. The channels for marketing and activities of marketing are much broader now.  Your website, your online social profiles and your ability to engage with both customers and potential customers is much more community based now and the ability to be seen by friends of those who are customers has never been more available to business. That can work superbly for a business doing right by customers - or brand you as a dud if you are not treating your customers in a good way and providing them with good products at prices that are fair and consistent with the wider marketplace. Think you will overcharge for products that are available anywhere and you are dead in the water. Customers know what things cost, so treat them like intelligent people they are. Social media is another facet of business activity, not a game. It needs to be treated with the same respect and professional training as every other aspect of the business.

Customer Service 
Customers pay the wages. Customers pay all the wages. That doesn't mean they are not a pain in the neck sometimes but that's part of managing the business. Providing a service or products in a way that is easy for customers to get what they want without a lot of hassle. That's your job as the business owner or manager to ensure. If customers are regularly complaining about the same things, then it's time to take notice of the feedback and fix whatever is causing the problem. That doesn't mean you put up with customers treating you badly as there is no reason to accept that as part of the day, but developing the soft skills of your staff and having good customer-friendly policies and protocols will help with that. Customers can't fix the problems in your business, you must.

Training is a basic part of running a successful business

What happens when you have a well trained and competent workforce in your business?

Each of these areas of the business outlined require a high degree of good management within the business. That means ensuring that good policies and procedures are in place that serve a desired purpose for the business. Not just haphazard, not just "we do it this way because that's just how we do it". That's not good managing that is letting the business down and bad for the business.

Good management compounds the advantages to the business. 

The upside of good management. Good staff, well trained with checks and balances in place and with good governance and oversight by a good manager has many rewards.

It means efficiency in the operational matters within the business.
It means high sales conversions and best margins possible are attained.
It means product mix and pricing is right for customers.
It means customers feel welcome to shop with you and feel confident they are being respected and well served.
It means optimised profit for the business.

And the spin off for the owner? As well as all that ... it means that you have time to think. Time to focus on the things that only you can do.

It means that you can get time away from the business. You manage your business instead of the business dictating what you can do with your time. 

It means that you have the pressure off and the time to act as the CEO of your business, and not one of the hired hands.

That's a gain in the health of the business.
And a gain for you in Time and Money. 

And that's a nice place to be.


Online coaching and how to choose a coach that's right for you
Prepare your business now to sell it later for the best price 
Your business plan needs a compelling vision to drive it
Manage your effectiveness as a manager with coaching 
New habits are the foundation to motivation and successful change 

Like to discuss your business?
Lindy Asimus
0403 365 855
Business & Life Coaching
Based in Newcastle NSW, Australia.

Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Business and Life Coaching: What To Look For When You Choose A Coach

It's important for coaches to keep an eye on what's happening in the marketplace and how coaching is perceived as well as what's important for those seeking to work with a coach.

"My business has been going for ten years but I feel like for the past few years I just don't have any passion for it and don't really know what to do about it."

That's part of the story of a recent business owner who called me about coaching.

Did he want to sell the business and do something else, I asked

"I don't even know what I want to do..." was the reply.

That will be  the part of what we work on together.

This is such a common issue that doesn't get much airing in stories in the media. Many business owners can be doing as much business as they want and not suffer at all from a lack of business to do but while the business may be ticking along quite well, and yet still have more capacity to do better, the will and drive may not be there. The business owner can feel great frustration and stuck  in a place they would prefer not to be.

Similar feelings of frustration may be the lot of managers who are in paid employment and getting quite a good salary  but feeling unmotivated, unexcited about life and work and frustrated but not sure why or what to do about it.

Who looks for a coach to work with to improve business issues?

The reasons people seek out coaching are varied. The type of coaching that they will find most beneficial will not be wrapped up on a fixed program of 'one-size-fits-all' packaged programs that clients conform to, whether they are relevant or not. Finding the right coach for the right person at the right time in their life is a tricky business.

A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald highlighted the problems that some have found in their experience with different coaches.  A common complaint was that the coaching pushed them through exercises that didn't relate to their problem areas and didn't adequately address those areas they did have a need to work on.

Problems were identified with pre-programmed recorded 'webinars' that apparently people are paying between $7,000 and $20,000 for and they are just automated and are not personalised to the client's needs.

People Don't Come In One Size

Pushing people through a 'sausage factory' system is not coaching. It is a system for turning  people into commodities and selling snake oil dressed up as something it isn't, to people who need something it can't do.

Another business woman complained that in her coaching experience she had paid $100,000 over three years to learn that her coaching was not tailored to her needs.

Which brings me to the reason I thought this was worth writing about.

Coaches - be they business coaches,  or life coaches all bring a different product to market. If they are part of a franchise, they bring a system that is sold to people who may or may not have any personal skills in coaching, who can follow the proprietary system.  This may or may not be consistent with what you need but it is the System they use and that's what you can expect to get.  Some of these plans lock you in for a set amount for the full year - even if you pull out because you find it of no value.

That's a red flag right there.

Common Thoughts On Selecting a Coach 

Some will tell you that to find a coach to work with you should make sure they have this and that academic qualification  and other such criteria covered to base your decision on. Now I don't know about you, but I know many academics. Their academic achievements don't always reflect a broader range of personal skills and business experience that coaching can benefit from.

Often in coaching engagements there are needs for not only an academic approach - but also a intuitive capacity to identify blocks and beliefs issues that may be constraining the client, which allows the client to access perspectives that were new and useful in moving past the limitations to open up new possibilities - and close down non productive thinking patterns. At other times practical knowledge and problem-solving skills are required to be of value to the client.

When I read about the business woman paying $100,000 over three years only to come to the conclusion that the coach was not tailoring the coaching to her, my first response was a bit of amusement really.  That is a fantastic learning that she made, but it also illuminates the value of a good coaching arrangement.

Measuring What Matters When Choosing a Coach 

With a tailored approach, $100,000 over three years is like paying for a junior member of staff for that time, but with the right coach, the growth in sales and value of the business could be several multiples or more of the expense, not counting the value in personal growth of the business owner.

The wrong coaching program, the one with no tailoring your coaching to your specific needs, has no capacity to deliver the results you want so is of no value no matter what the cost. It fails the fundamental basis of coaching which is to help you move from your current circumstance to one that you prefer. To do that you and your coach need to know where that is!

Perhaps John Ruskin said it best:

"There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that is all. 

When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. 

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot  - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you that you will have enough to pay for something far better." 

What Does a Good Coaching Arrangement Look Like?

A good coaching arrangement would be empowering that business woman over this time to be able to distinguish good methods for making decisions and developing her skills in reasoning and applying those skills to her immediate environment.  That is, how to assess upfront what is a good arrangement. how to verify that your strategy is effective and how to avoid situations where finding the real value of something doesn't happen three years after you have been doing it, but instead lets you develop a strong and ongoing method for checking your results and measuring these against a benchmark that is of value to you personally. It should meet your criterion in both objective and subjective manner and be a fit for your values and the outcomes that you want.to achieve.

Your coaching should be aiding your personal evolution and developing your personal abilities to think and operate more effectively in your own life.

For the client who called me this who is experiencing frustration a lack of purpose, his experience with attending motivational seminars and previous coaching that left him feeling like he was there to help the coach work out their own personal issues - it can be tough to find that right match of a coach that has the specific strengths that one needs,  Personally, I think a values match is good as a start point and  yet that alone is not enough.

Your Worldview As It Applies In Coaching

Your coach also needs to have the ability to meet you in your map of the world and be able to see how it looks through your eyes - in order to understand the best way to tailor your coaching to make progress using a language that you understand and makes sense, informed by your experience and internal drivers.

You can't get an automated 'webinar'  or sausage factory approach, that will ever, ever replace the right human being at the right moment in time, with the right skills to give you a hand to find some new ways to the better place you want to be.

We who choose to work coaching others do well to keep that in mind and be willing to go to the effort of providing responsive coaching methods and flexible pricing options that don't seek to trick clients into buying something that doesn't and can't fit their needs.


Online coaching and how to choose a coach that's right for you
Prepare your business now to sell it later for the best price 
You business plan needs a compelling vision to drive it
Manage your effectiveness as a manager with coaching 
New habits are the foundation to motivation and successful change 

Lindy Asimus
0403 365 855
Lindy Asimus Business Coaching

 Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Like to discuss your business?
Lindy Asimus
 Lindy Asimus Business Coaching
Subscribe to Actionbites Blog