30 Aug

The difference between training and coaching

The other day a friend mentioned that his business had brought in a training company to conduct some personal development programs with their staff. He commented that he was a little bit disappointed due to the fact that the trainer didn’t conduct any follow up after the training was completed.

Firstly let me say that I love hearing that businesses are investing in their teams, especially on personal development and soft skills training. I wish more businesses would do this.

Secondly, my response to him was as follows: That’s the difference between training and coaching. Quite simple.

So many businesses will do one or the other, but very seldom both. To get maximum return on your training investment, both disciplines, training and coaching need to be taking place within your business.

Training is all about teaching or introducing new concepts or skills. It doesn’t or very seldom alters the training delegate’s behaviour. They learn something new which can tweak their curiosity, but then the training ends and they go home. Perhaps there may be some altered behaviour change for a week or so after the training has taken place, but on the whole, most people will go back to their old habits.

To counteract this and to really get bang for buck I would highly recommend that coaching is introduced straight after every training initiative. Coaching is the safety net or the catalyst for change. The new skills are taught in training and the coaching is there to help reinforce these new skills after the training has taken place.

Naturally human beings find it very difficult to change a habit or implement a newly learnt skill straight away. It is even harder when that change is completed in isolation or not supported. We need help to stay on track and keep focused. This is the role of the coach.

A coach is there to help you define your habit change and then to support you through the change process.

To really set your team up for success, by all means give them the opportunity to attend training sessions, but then make coaching available to them afterwards.

Let them reinforce their newly learnt skills over time so they can then add the right value back into your business.

25 Jul

Reasons why you don’t always reach your goals

Stopping smoking, losing weight or improving your time management. These are common examples of goals we set ourselves from time to time, with many coincidentally being set with great pomp, ceremony and champagne around about the beginning of the year. New Year’s resolutions we call them. We convince ourselves that change needs to take place as a new year rolls around. A new year, a new me! For some this may be what’s required to get moving and achieve the desired results, but for most these “new goals” fizzle out within the first two weeks of the year and everything goes back to normal with the idea of improving ones time management being a dark and distant memory.

So what went wrong? Firstly, goal setting shouldn’t be controlled by the time of the year. If you want to achieve something start doing it as soon as possible. Stop waiting for the new year, a new moon or the next leap year to make things happen. Waiting causes you to lose momentum and motivation and procrastination starts kicking in. Secondly, setting a goal and just doing it, is not always as straight forward as we think. The secret to achieving a goal is understanding that your habits and behaviours need to change first. As an example, to achieve the goal of improving your time management, stop thinking about being a time management king/queen. Instead, start thinking about the following;

  1. What habits/behaviours are  currently preventing you from achieving this goal?
  • Going to bed too late and waking up late.
  • Saying yes to every request that comes your way
  • Not keeping a consistent diary

2. What habit, from the above list can you change right now?

  • Setting an earlier bed time or setting the alarm to wake up earlier.
  • Before saying yes, check what tasks and priorities are currently needing your attention. Then say yes, if you can manage it or get into the habit of saying no.
  • Start using a diary.

These are simple habit or behaviour changes. It’s about focusing on changing just that one habit and making it a part of your everyday life, making it a norm. Once the habit has been altered for the better you, can move onto the next habit-changing task. Very soon, you will  realise that you are actually achieving your main goal. Successful goal achievement is not about big wins, it is about understanding what habits or behaviours are holding you back, and figuring out the best way to change them.

08 Dec

Preventing operational blindness

Have you ever experienced operational blindness? Where you are so focused on your business that you fail to see the biggest most glaringly obvious gaps in your business, that unfortunately every other person including your competition can see.

Unfortunately this is a common occurrence in many businesses and if not addressed can negatively impact your business.

How do we fall into this situation and why does it happen to us? Simple. When exposed to the same environment day in and day out we naturally become accustomed to it. The same behaviours that are practised everyday, whether they are good or bad, set a precedent and lay down the norms within your business for how “things” get done and how decisions get made.

So how can you prevent operational blindness from happening in your business? Think about implementing the following initiatives.

1. Take a break and step outside of your business

This is easier said than done, especially if you are a passionate business owner and want to be involved 24/7. Your passion for your business can be your biggest driver, but it can also be your Achilles heel. By taking a break, this means that you consciously decide to take a holiday every year. Getting out of the daily work routine for a few weeks and forcing yourself to think less about your business. By doing this you are able to break the operational blindness cycle and return with fresh eyes and a more objective view point of your business.

2. Have an objective party evaluate your business on a regular basis

Someone who has your best interest at heart and the most crucial point here is, someone who is not emotionally attached to the business. They should also not be spending every day in your business, as they too could become blinded by the everyday norms and routines. If you are part of a franchise business, then your field service manager or regional manager is the perfect person for this role. Welcome this person in with open arms as they are there to help and assist you.

A fresh set of competent eyes in your business is invaluable and an initiative that you should  continuously practise.

3. Be open to customer feedback and complaints

This can be the hardest thing to do, but one of the most priceless resources you can leverage in your business. Another way of viewing this, to help the medicine go down a bit easier, is that your customer’s negative feedback is free information you would probably have spent thousands of dollars on gathering  if you had conducted a formalised customer survey initiative.

Your customers are telling you, for free, that your business needs to improve. Customer feedback is probably the most untapped business resource you have at your disposal. Be prepared to listen to their comments before trying to justify your actions.

4. Talk to your employees

Your team are a wealth of information. They are the ones working at the coal face the majority of the time. They can tell you exactly what’s happening and not happening in the business. Keep yourself regularly updated with their feedback so you can act quickly to rectify undesirable situations from taking place.

Another way to keep your ear on the ground is to actually spend a day job shadowing your team members. See the true colours of the business through the eyes of an employee.

5. Work with a coach

If your aim is to eliminate operational blindness or to implement any another changes within your business, in order to grow and develop, then bringing a coach on board is ideal to assist you with moving through this change process.

Coaches provide you with a non-judgemental space to brainstorm ideas. They help you cut through the clutter and assist you with defining your key goals and action plans. They are there to support your decisions and help you stay accountable to yourself and your business. Change is hard, why do it alone?

Need assistance? Contact Nicole at nicole@tikumu.co.nz