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20 years of working in business management has taught me the importance of mapping out the company’s journey. ⅔ of that time spent in the market research industry has provided me with one key tool: asking questions. Successful entrepreneurs understand their weaknesses and acknowledge they don’t know everything. They know that with the right questions comes the right answers.
Often, we get stuck in a situation because we aren’t asking ourselves the questions that lead to the right answers. This video will provide you with 4 practical steps to help you think clearly and ask the right questions in any situation.
So, are you asking the right questions?
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I am sure you have heard the saying “the shoemaker’s son has no shoes”. That is because shoemakers dedicate their time to repair their customer’s shoes and neglect their own children’s. I have the feeling that the same saying can be applied to the coaching industry: we spend so much time providing clarity to our clients that we forget to clarify what we do. This situation can lead to misunderstandings about what coaching stands for.
A Definition of Coaching
The best definition of coaching I know comes from Timothy W. Gallwey, the author of The Inner Game: “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”
Coaching, regardless of the specialty, focuses on the individuals. It assumes that people already have the answers in them, but sometimes need external help to dig them out. Coaches recognize that the internal obstacles are stronger than the external ones, facilitate the removal of such internal obstacles, and provide guidance to implement remedial actions.
3 Skills Great Coaches Must Hone
Coaching requires a set of specific skills. Below are what I consider the 3 most important ones.
The 4 Phases of Coaching
The coaching process can be divided into 4 stages:
What can you expect from being coached?
Coaches are not advisors, lecturers, teachers or consultants. They act as mirrors, sounding boards or facilitators. If you are hesitating whether you should hire a coach or not, consider the following benefits coaching can provide you with:
We are always better than what we think we are. Coaches help find the way.
PS: Ready to try coaching and see the results by yourself? Then book a free Coaching Discovery Session with me.
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Joakim Achrén is the founder of Elite Game Developers. His passion is to help people build successful games companies. He has been a game's entrepreneur for 15 years, previously founded Next Games, Ironstar Helsinki, and he was an early employee at Supercell.
In his podcast, we discussed tactical and philosophical topics, everything that goes into leadership, company culture, values and taking care of oneself. We also explored why we both believe that CEOs, taking the game industry as an example, should all hire a Business Coach.
Questions that we cover in this episode:
Listen to the podcast now.
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Finding clients can prove to be a tough challenge for many entrepreneurs.
I recently talked to a friend who, after enjoying a long and comfortable period of having projects come to her through referrals, had to go on the road again.Because she was not prepared for such a situation, she was suddenly taken out of her comfort zone, feared rejection, and did not know how to proceed.
Selling is hard, granted. One can easily get discouraged trying to meet prospects who do not necessarily want to see you. Waiting for the phone to ring is an easier option. The problem though, is that you could have the greatest product or service in the world, if the phone does not ring, you have absolutely zero business.
When clients do not come to you, then you need to go to them. They will start coming to you once you have created enough trust so that others recommend your brand. And even then, you need to remember that selling always continues: What you don't do today will impact your business in 6-month's time. Unlike my friend, you should maintain sales activities regardless of your business economic conditions to reduce future risks.
Here are 5 actions you can take today to avoid such a situation tomorrow:
Switch your sales mode on at all times.
PS: Selling is not a one-off event. You need a process to both getting clients and keeping them on board. For instance, how to deliver on your promises, build relationships and close more deals? Assess your selling process efficiency: book a time on the calendar for a free coaching session with me.
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This month I am celebrating my business 2-year anniversary. I thought it would be a tough journey, and it has kept its promises.
Being an entrepreneur is like being on a roller-coaster of emotions. Some days are filled with greatness, others are simply discouraging.
To keep moving forward, I always remind myself the following 2 things:
1. What I do or don't do today will influence my business in 6-month time. I am running a marathon, not a sprint. I need to act, slowly but steady. As Albert Einstein said: "In the middle of every difficulty, lies opportunity"; when I face adversity I ask myself: "What is my opportunity here?" Then I turn the answers into a small plan of concrete actions. Looking for opportunities, rather than staring at the challenges, gives me focus and boost my motivation.
2. I love what I do. I know that coaching and training have a real impact on my clients. I particularly enjoy those "ahaaaa" moments, when they have a breakthrough, learn something new, come up with a brilliant idea, or do something they did not think was possible. I constantly try to reproduce these situations and help my clients become better than what they think they are.
To celebrate this anniversary, I am offering you 2 gifts:
- Read online or download The Entrepreneur Alphabet. It is a guideline for successfully running your business. It lists the 26 words, A to Z, I believe are the most useful for entrepreneurs. Send me your feedback: I'd love to hear the words that inspire you.
- We are often better than what we think we are. Let me show it to you: book a free online Coaching discovery session. Best thing that will happen to you: ending up with your own small plan of concrete actions.
Thank you for your support.
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In a recent training course I was delivering, I remembered this participant writing an email to her boss while her colleagues were brainstorming in a group exercise. I requested her to inform her manager she was in a training. She replied: "My boss knows, this is urgent". What's the point of investing in a training course for your staff and expecting them to be reactive on their emails while they are supposed to be off learning? Internal communication was one of the issues on the training agenda. l let you appreciate the irony of the situation.
I have often heard people complaining that they spend too much time with emailing, or being frustrated because recipients were expecting them to reply faster. How efficient can they be?
I do not think that you assess your people's performance based on the number of emails they read and write every day. Emails should improve communication, but they often create the exact opposite.
You need to implement a process to properly managed emails within your business so that they remain an efficient communication tool.
Here are some good practices you can apply:
No emails are urgent. Use the telephone for emergencies.
PS: Do not wait any further to take action. Book a time with me now to discuss communication efficiency for your business. It's a 100% free real human conversation.
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Once upon a time, there was this entrepreneur who had launched his business. He was really passionate about his field of expertise, saw an opportunity in a competitive market, and started working very hard to make a difference.
2 years later, he called me. He had not implemented any financial tools since launch, apart from outsourcing the mandatory monthly reports to an accountant. He was facing significant cash-flow problems, had no idea what his company's financial situation was, and needed help to address those issues. He told me: "Now I understand the value of finance. If I do not do anything about it, I am going to hit a wall very soon." He had not looked into it before simply because he did not like numbers.
Does that story sound familiar?
As business owners, money should be your priority because you are ultimately responsible for your company's financial health. Growth requires cash, and cash needs to be managed. Nancy and Chris from Mango Tango Asia highlight its importance in this video:
There are 4 basic steps you should be taking:
1) Hire a Finance Manager
1) Maintain a cash-flow forecast file
2) Prepare an annual budget file
3) Look at the P&L file at least every quarter
If you want to properly run your business, allocate the right resources, control costs, make informed decisions, and plan for future expansion, then you need to integrate financial management in your skill set.
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Let me open this up for you. Business owners need to develop, and as they do, so do their staff.
You may have heard some say: “What if we train our staff and they leave?" or “What if we don’t train them, and they stay?"
Indeed, what if your staff stay while they lack the skills to perform their job to the best of their abilities, because, since you are afraid they quit, you have decided that they should not be trained?
I have met many business owners claiming that they had stopped providing training to their staff because they were leaving the company afterward. Interestingly, I never had that issue in 18 years running businesses. Of course, I had to deal with staff resignations, not because I was offering training courses, but because, one way or another, I had ceased caring about them.
To train the staff or not to train the staff, that is not the question. The real question is: To show leadership or not to show leadership?
If you practice a sport, you easily understand that you need to put a certain amount of training in order to get better at it. The same principle applies at work. Competence is a basic human need. As a leader, you are responsible to develop your people's skills so they keep on progressing.
Here are 5 easy-to-implement suggestions to create a learning environment:
Training is not a cost, it is an investment.
PS: If you understand the importance of investing in your staff, and would like guidance, book a free coaching session with me on the calendar.
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Staff, suppliers, clients, friends, acquaintances, government officials, and many more people constantly solicit entrepreneurs; it is like everybody expects something from them. Yet, they often find themselves feeling lonely.
Regardless of the industry they operate in, entrepreneurs carry many responsibilities, and they usually directly impact others' lives.
The entrepreneurship journey comes with countless emotional challenges. For instance:
- Anxiety whether or not they will be able to pay their staff salaries at the end of the month, and have enough financial resources to support their families
- Fear of making the wrong decisions and the potential consequences on their businesses as well as their staff
- Stress dealing with constant problem solving, coping with high workload associated with a lack of social life
As a result, entrepreneurs bear much pressure. They experience isolation because they believe that no-one else can deal with such tension. While I agree there are decisions that cannot be delegated, entrepreneurs are not as lonely as they might think they are.
Here’s 5 ways to address your solitude:
1. Realize that you are not alone. Most entrepreneurs feel the same way. Join or create a community of peers (online or offline), a place where you can share experiences and discuss ideas with others, because you walk the same path, and talk the same language.
2. Set up a Board comprised of external independent people. Regularly schedule meetings during which you address the day-to-day challenges as well as the 5-year development plan. Use the Board to broaden your perspective, and keep yourself accountable.
3. Get out of the office. Start an activity that forces you to clear up your mind and meet people. Let it become your private moment, during which you will not allow yourself to think about work.
4. Communicate more. Ensure your staff know your business strategy and your expectations. Give them more reasons to believe in your vision, and they will take ownership of it, naturally relieving pressure from your shoulders.
5. Hire a Business Coach. Great coaches are great listeners. They can help you be more efficient, by reducing your stress level, and focusing your attention on getting things done.
"I want you to know that you are not alone in your being alone" - Stephen Fry
PS : If you want to make that first step and find a listening ear, book a free coaching discovery session with me. You just need to pick up a date in the calendar.