16 Aug

Coaching is not a swear word!

“I would like you to coach some of my team members, but I don’t want anyone to know”.  Wow, was my first reaction when I heard this from a manager last week. Besides my initial  surprise this request also made me feel sad.

I liken this kind of request to Richie McCaw doing an under the table deal with his head coach for coaching received or Usain Bolt carrying out undercover sprint coaching in the dead of night, so no one would know. Should I add a dark cloak, dark glasses and large brimmed hats to my business attire?

What is wrong with openly acknowledging the fact that you or your team members need help to improve?

I look at many of my clients and I see bright, intelligent and driven human beings who  want more out of their lives, jobs or businesses. They are prepared to look at their challenges and creatively think of ways to overcome the hurdles in their lives. It takes a special kind of person to do this inner reflection and coaching should therefore be celebrated, not hidden away as if it were a dirty secret.

Unfortunately this attitude is entrenched into the culture of many  businesses. There is an underlying expectation that every employee needs to be a specialist in all disciplines and heaven help you if you ask for help.

I am sure there are many reasons for this mindset, but I can honestly say it’s not helping anyone. By ignoring the need for coaching it causes frustration for both the team member and the business. Instead of employees growing within a business through coaching and training, they get frustrated and leave.

Think about your own team or colleagues. What would coaching do for them or what could it do for you? If coaching was part of your company culture, how would your business benefit?



13 Oct

Toxic teams result in toxic customer engagement

There are certain stores and restaurants that I really enjoy going to, and there are others that I avoid like the plague. And no, its not about how expensive they are, it’s simply because of the attitude of the staff who work in them. Good attitudes, I’m a loyal patron. Rubbish attitudes, I take my business elsewhere.

This morning I was face to face with a cashier and was greeted with a “Hello, how are you doing today?” I answered with the standard “I am great, thank you”  and I then proceeded to open up Pandora’s box by returning the greeting. This is where I hold my breath and wait. Would the nasties erupt from the box? Would I have to be subjected to the wretchedness of this women’s life? Thank goodness, not this time! As a customer I could clearly see from her happy response that this young lady was being genuine (please note that I only shop at the cool attitude stores). Together with her cheery disposition  I was also presented with a lovely smile and great eye contact. She then proceeded to greet her colleague who was walking past us, not missing a beat mind you whilst scanning my goods.

Just from that 2 minute engagement this morning the impression I was given was that this lady enjoyed her job and got on with her colleagues.

Businesses lose money every year, due to customers like me. We won’t patronise your business if your staff are miserable, rude or disengaged. Why should we put ourselves through that misery when there are so many other fantastic businesses out there who look after their customers. It doesn’t matter how many deals or specials you advertise, if your staff suck and the experience is painful, I will not cross over to the dark side and do business with you.

So how do you get your staff to engage positively with your customers? The biggest secret and this may sound cliched, but its true is, if you look after your staff they will genuinely look after your customers. Simple.

Many businesses believe they are in competition with other businesses selling similar products and services, and therefore the business focus becomes external and so often placed on being better than the competition. The thing is, is that your competition could actually be inside your business. You could be competing for customers against your own staff. Disengaged and disgruntled staff, without even knowing it.

By creating a great place to work, building a strong and positive corporate culture your staff will want to come to work and they will come with smiles on their faces and interact positively with your customers.

With “creating a great place to work”, I am not talking about going out and physically building lavish staff recreation rooms and offices. I am talking about creating the right environment, where your team has a safe non-judgemental space in which to work, be acknowledged, be listened to and made to feel truly valued by you.

If you want to have an engaged workforce, try bringing in an external coach to work with your team. Contact me nicole@tikumu.co.nz for assistance.

04 Jun

Are your employees sabotaging your business?

Within the first 21 days of starting in your business, how vulnerable are new appointees? Can you, with absolute certainty confirm that these newbies are receiving a genuine warm welcome from your existing employees?

I recently watched a fascinating Ted Talk, A thrilling look at the first 21 days of a bee’s life, shared by photographer Anand Varma.  Anand’s captivating story describes how the first 21 days of a bee’s life are the most crucial. This is where they develop, grow and become the new generation who inherit the reins of the existing bee colony. Sadly, what scientists have now discovered is that these vulnerable bees are being attacked by tiny mites, hiding deep within the hive, causing the young bees to become  weaker, less productive and inferior adult bees. This is subsequently causing a worldwide honey shortage.

You are probably asking yourself what on earth this has to do with new employees? Well, a beehive could be likened to a business, and the bees to employees. We know that businesses are only as strong and successful as the people they employ. So, is your business setting your new employees up for success or failure? Through hiring new people, is your business growing stronger or weaker?

What strategy have you got in place for new appointees? You might place them into an orientation programme, or buddy them up with an experienced employee to be “shown the ropes”. That is all good and well, but what about the rest of the employees within your business? How are they treating and interacting with this new employee? Do you have mites, hidden deep in your organisation that slowly work behind the scenes, for whatever reason, to make the new person feel uncomfortable and not perform to their potential? Or even worse, resign?

Here are some questions you could reflect on that might help to create a smoother transition and better retention of new employees into your business:

  • What is your new employee turnover rate within their first 6 months?
  • Who is involved in the hiring process? Are direct team members involved with the initial vetting of potential new hires?
  • What is the actual culture or attitude of the business when it comes to interacting with new hires?
  • Does your orientation programme involve all current employees?
  • Who is held responsible for taking care of new employees?
  • Are new employees asked to provide feedback on how they were treated in their first 21 days or are they only asked about their work?

All businesses know that the cost of hiring a new employee is exorbitant. After expending all the time, effort and energy of bringing a new person into the organisation, will your efforts be sabotaged by nasty little mites? What is your strategy to build your team and to promote a happy, productive start for new appointees?