I Teach…

This week, we are going to discuss something so essential that you can’t do business without it. This essential by-product of a business relationship is trust. A great relationship with a client can be a hard thing to build, but the foundation must be one of mutual trust.  There is no reason to have a poor rapport between yourself and your clients, so we are going to discuss building bridges and making relationships work. Let’s get started!

 

Be Professional—But Approachable

How you present yourself in your initial communications with new and potential clients is crucial to building trust. That doesn’t mean you need to be formal. An effective email is more about being relevant, brief and to the point while remaining friendly. Speak to your client in the same way you would a colleague. Depending on their style, you can keep it casual, but be sure to present yourself as the professional and business owner you are. Take the initiative.

Time Is Money

Both you and your client are busy, so be respectful of everyone’s time. That means keeping calls or meetings to the amount of time scheduled, not canceling or rescheduling last minute, not forgetting to show up or showing up late, etc. Admittedly, the more clients you have, the more difficult it gets, but also try to be flexible to their schedule when planning communications.

Communicate—And Communicate WELL!

Depending on the type of process you and your client have set up, make sure to deliver. This could be weekly check-ins or recaps via Skype, follow-up emails, monthly reports, etc. Be sure you’re communicating what it is you’ve accomplished and how it has impacted your client’s business. Clients love to see how freelancers are spending their time because every hour spent is budget spent. Make sure to keep your client in the loop.

Keep Up To Date!

If for some reason you need to let a client go or realize you’ve taken on too much work, do what you can to transition out smoothly. Finish the project whenever possible. If that’s not possible, try finding a replacement you can recommend. No one likes to be left holding the bag.

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I Teach…

This week, we are going to look at a major problem. The issues that arise between businesses and clients that damage business relationships are one of the biggest problems you will face as you build your business. This blog identifies all the major issues—and should help you fix them. There is no reason to have a poor rapport between yourself and your clients! If you do, let’s fix it!

Not Listening

This is one of the most obvious signs of poor communication in every business relationship. Someone who always cuts off their client every time they speak can send a wrong message to that person; for example, that their opinion and their thoughts are insignificant. Try to improve your listening skills and always try to understand what your client is telling you. This is one of the best ways to prevent any misunderstanding.

Being Passive Aggressive

Passive aggressiveness is one of the most dangerous forms of communication. By using it, you can put the other person on the defensive, and in the long term, this type of behavior can affect the stability of your relationship.

Losing Your Temper Very Easily

If you have anger issues, and if you easily lose your temper, then you might have communication problems, too. Anger will not allow you to express yourself rationally, and your behavior may hurt your client’s feelings or cause them to get angry in return. Despite this, everyone is accountable for their actions and for their reactions. If you remain calm during an argument, you can discuss things rationally to sort things out and not risk damaging the relationship.

No Nagging

Yes, nagging is indeed a sign of poor communication in your business relationship.

If you constantly nag, repeating the same demands over and over, you are not communicating efficiently, and the other person will not receive the message you are trying to send. Learn straightforward communication techniques that allow the problem to be addressed productively.

Ignoring That Person

Ignoring your client is not a way to improve the communication in your relationship. Not talking to your client when you are upset over something they did is never a good solution if you want to solve the problem. Ignoring your client will only cause more problems in your relationship, and you will only sabotage yourself and your business.

Shouting, Screaming and Using Poor Language

Even if you’re upset, this doesn’t give you the right to offend or to hurt someone, especially in a professional environment. Don’t use profanities, and be respectful!

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I Teach…

once uponWe’ve been talking about communication here for a little bit, and I would like to spend this week talking about the importance of being a “people” person. Now, that’s going to scare a few people out there. There are those of us who believe we are not “people” people. But everyone can learn to communicate with others, help others, and understand the needs of others. I’d like to look at some of the reasons communication skills are some of the most important skills a person can have.

Builds, Maintains and Creates Relations

Relationships are built and can be maintained by positive encounters with others. Communication will be key to this process – without effective skills, it will be difficult to properly construct and nurture productive relationships.

Want to Make Something AMAZING happen? Learn to Communicate

When people feel comfortable in openly communicating new ideas, cooperation and innovation will be at an all-time high. In addition, if they are unable to convey their ideas due to limited communication skills, it is likely that the idea will not be implemented to its full potential.

Growth Is Based on Communication

A lack of communication can lead to the collapse of any relationship. Let’s face it, without proper communication internally and externally, most relationships, including within groups and organizations, will struggle to survive. Communication can also lead to productivity and helps to avoid unnecessary delays in the implementation of ideas.

Looking After a Team? Communication Is KEY!

If communication within a workplace is encouraged, a more cohesive and effective team will emerge. Good communication within a team also tends to boost employee morale. When employees feel that they are well informed of the company’s direction and vision, they will feel more secure within their role. Regular internal communication can also lead to an improved work ethic if staff are reminded of achievements and feel that they are working towards a common goal.

Bad Management? Is Your Communication at Fault?

When managers are effective communicators, they are more able to inform staff adequately of their responsibilities and what is expected from them. Good communication skills also help managers to provide constructive feedback to their staff, build better relationships, and understand personal goals that staff may wish to work towards. Try it—it works!

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I Teach…

fear11As a follow up article to last week’s discussion about the importance of communication, I’d like mention a few more thoughts. These are proven techniques to increase your communication skills. If you are having trouble connecting with your coaching clients, or having trouble making them understand what you are saying, you may want to give these tips a chance. As a great communicator, it’s important for you to be able to listen and show your client how much you value what they are telling you. It’s important to maintain eye contact. It’s also important for them to feel comfortable with you. Let’s work through the list.

Share, Express and Love

Instead of jumping right in to your meeting, why don’t you try to express your thanks for the other individual’s time? Time is an extremely precious resource, and it important to be respectful and considerate of that. Also, complement or recognize any positive contribution they are making. Appreciation and praise can go a long way towards building good rapport.

Connect and Appeal

Connect on a personal level if possible. Look for places where interests overlap. Even in a professional situation, there may be some personal interests in common: hobbies, sports, children, music, career choices. Take care to avoid controversial topics like politics or religious beliefs. A real sense of connection makes a difference in the tone and outcome of the current conversation and most likely future communications, as well.

Be Exuberant… Be Positive

Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial to productive communications. Be constructive rather than negative or complaining. People shut down, effectively ending any real communication when they feel attacked or criticized. Be encouraging and kind, even when expressing concerns or displeasure.

Just Focus

It’s important to figure out what result you are after before you start any kind of dialogue. Knowing your objective helps you to direct the conversation and to remain on point. What are you hoping to accomplish? Are you trying to give help, resolve a conflict, or collaborate on a project or issue? Are you seeking advice or trying to influence behavior? Your desired outcome helps to determine the flow of communication.

Don’t Talk All the Time… Listen All the Time

Eye contact is crucial when you are meeting someone face-to-face. Try to be polite and, whatever you do, don’t interrupt. No one likes being interrupted, and though it’s natural to want to rush in to make your point, it’s very disrespectful of the other person’s thoughts. Try to understand the other person’s perspective. Maintain an open mind.

Do They Understand?

Try to confirm that you have a mutual understanding of what’s being communicated. We often think that we’ve reached a resolution and come to an understanding, only to find out that we have completely misunderstood the other person’s thoughts. Ask for input and feedback. This not only confirms that you have successfully communicated, it also makes the other person feel that they have been heard and understood.

Always try to end your communication in a friendly manner. Remember to reiterate your thanks and try to leave the other individual feeling understood and valued. Productive communication involves respect, consideration, awareness, and clarity. It is possible to be both direct and kind and still get the results you want.

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I Teach…

sleepAs a coach, you have to be able to communicate with people. It’s crucial to keep the conversation rolling and to understand how people communicate. This blog article is all about communication. If you want to be able to really help people, you have to think like the people you are trying to help. Why don’t you try these new tips to try and get the best out of your coaching sessions?

What Subject?

It’s important for you to try and get a feeling for what the other person wants to talk about. Different people like talking about different things. Finding what the other person enjoys talking about could mean the difference between a humming conversation and a faltering one.

Be a Good Listener, Be a Good Friend

A conversation is a free flow of ideas. Those ideas, however, should be interconnected. If you listen closely to what the other person is saying, you’ll be able to store away nuggets of information that will keep the conversation going.

Be Aware of the World

When you run out of things to talk about in a conversation, it can be helpful to talk about other things that are going on in the world. Try and keep ahead of the news so you can find common points of interest with your coaching client. It’s good to be on the same page.

Body Language Says It All

People listen to your words and your body language when you’re talking to them. It is said that our body language accounts for 55% of whether we are liked. Nod every so often and lean forward, face the other person and don’t fidget. These are two important tips to know about your body language.

Project the Confidence Your Client Wants

It’s no secret that other people are naturally attracted to individuals who have confidence. It may seem unfair, but it’s a fact of life—people will judge you based on your own internal confidence. If your confidence level is high and you’re fun to be around, people will cut you breaks when conversation slacks, or make up for lulls in the conversation by trying harder themselves.

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I Teach…

once uponYou’ve gained clients and you have a full meeting book, but you find that your clients are too on edge to be comfortable and allow themselves to develop. This blog post is all about building a relationship with your client and getting them to open to you. If you can’t connect with your client, you won’t be able to do your job. So when you meet a client and start a meeting, why don’t you try some of these top tips…

Gentle Sounds

Music can help your clients feel relaxed. Try slow, relaxing, gentle music and allow the mood to do its job. If your client is relaxed, you will have them talking about the real issues in no time at all. The right music puts people into a great mood—and that’s your first goal.

Be the Host with the Most

Offer your client a coffee or a soft beverage. Nothing alcoholic. You’ll find that the client will feel more important and will start to work with you. Be a good host to get the most from your clientele!

Be Modern, Be Comfortable

A fan may help relax a client and help to keep them cool and calm.  Make sure the room is warm first.  The most important thing you can do is keep your client comfortable. If they are too hot, their mind won’t be on the task at hand; same if they’re cold.

Keep the Conversation Going 

Chat about your client – the upcoming wedding, the kids, the job. People tend to ease up when the conversation is about them. Make everything about your client.

Reassure

You will do well to reassure your clients that they are doing a great job during the entire coaching session. You want to make sure you are reassuring them as much as possible towards the start when they will be the most nervous.

Fake It ’Til You Make It

If you’re fairly new at coaching and you’re scared of appearing unprofessional—just fake it. The more comfortable you are, the more at ease your clients will be. Never give the impression that you don’t know what you are doing.

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I Teach…

once uponFor those of us who are new to coaching, this blog article is all about connecting with your customer. Sometimes it’s easy to build a relationship, sometimes it’s hard— but it is a crucial part of your work. You must be able to connect with the people who hire you. Let’s look at some steps that will help you build up your clients. It’s not as hard as you may think.

Warn Them, Inform Them… Let Them Know What to Expect

When you meet with a client for the first time, it would be advisable to explain to them what they’re expected to be able to do. Give them some notice. You can turn an advance warning into a relationship-building opportunity. Ask them about things they’ve wanted to do, what they’ve been trying to achieve, and actually show interest in your clients.

Take Responsibility

You’ve made an error? Turned up late to a meeting? Accepting full responsibility, while recognizing the consequences of the error, shows that you’re prepared to take it like a grown-up. People respect that.

Tone Down Your Voice When Giving Bad News

Literally. Lower the tone of your voice and your rate of speaking. Generally, when people get excited or emotional about ideas they tend to raise their voice pitch and pace. When you’re giving bad news or feedback that could be construed negatively or critically, you want to give the impression that you are thinking clearly, logically and reasonably – not emotionally – and certainly not irrationally.

ALWAYS Begin with the Good News

When you have both good news and bad, start with the good. When people hear bad news, they have an internal stress reaction that causes them to tune-out other information. Try to ensure that the client fully comprehends and appreciates the entire message by making sure you give the good news first. Always give them something to feel good about.

Express Those Negatives as Positives

Rather than saying, “We can’t meet until Tuesday,” instead try, “We can meet up as soon as Tuesday.” It’s the same information, but wording it positively enhances your message. It makes the client feel important.

Try to Remind Them of the Bigger Picture

Sometimes clients don’t realize that the ‘bad news’ is in their own best interest. Try to always frame things inside the bigger picture. Yes, this is negative today—but how does it change the plan positively? Don’t let them go away feeling as though they failed.

Follow-up! Always Follow-up!

With some clients, a well-timed phone call after bad news goes a long way in proving to the client that you’ve gone the extra mile. “I just wanted to check with you to see how things are going with that discussion we had…” That raises the perceived value of your service without spending more money. Try it. People like to feel important.

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I Teach…

once uponSeeing several clients each day can sometimes spin your head and make you lose focus. This week, I’d like to talk about a checklist I keep with me each time I talk to coaching clients. This list helps me to keep focused and allows me to understand what I need to do to help my clients. I think this list could be useful for you, too. Print it off—and use it daily. It will really help you get down to the nitty-gritty of what is important.

Build a Relationship of Mutual Trust

The foundation of any coaching relationship is rooted in your day-to-day relationship with your client. Without some degree of trust, conducting an effective coaching meeting is impossible. Try to make sure the relationship is one of working together, rather than working apart.

Open the Meeting and Take Control

In opening a coaching meeting, it’s important for you to clarify, in a nonevaluative, non-accusatory way, the specific reason the meeting was arranged. The key to this step is to restate — in a friendly, non-judgmental manner — the meeting purpose that was first set when the appointment was scheduled.

Find Common Ground and Agreement

Probably the most critical step in the coaching meeting process is getting your client to agree verbally that a performance issue exists. Overlooking or avoiding the performance issue because you assume the person understands its significance is a typical mistake of coaches. To persuade a client that a performance issue exists, a coach must be able to define the nature of the issue and get the client to recognize the consequences of not changing his or her behavior. To do this, you must specify the behavior and clarify the consequences.

Explore All the Alternatives

Try to explore ways the issue can be improved or corrected by encouraging the client to identify alternative solutions. Avoid jumping in with your own alternatives, unless the client is unable to think of any. Push for specific alternatives and not generalizations. Your goal in this step is not to choose an alternative, which is the next step, but to maximize the number of choices for the client to consider and to discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

Look for Commitment and Action

The next step is to help the client choose an alternative. Don’t make the choice for the client. To accomplish this step, the coach must be sure to get a verbal commitment from the client regarding what action will be taken and when it will be taken. Be sure to support the client’s choice and always offer praise.

Make Sure You Handle Those Ever-Present Excuses

Client excuses may occur at any point during the coaching meeting. To handle excuses, rephrase the point by taking a comment or statement that was perceived by the client to be blaming or accusatory and recast it as an encouragement for the client to examine his or her behavior. Respond empathically to show support for the clients’ situation and communicate an understanding of both the content and feeling of the client’s comment.

Provide Crucial Feedback

Effective coaches understand the value and importance of giving continual performance feedback to their people, both positive and corrective.

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I Teach…

sleepThis week, we are going to look at coaching and beginning a career in coaching. You’re now in a position to be a coach, and you’re ready to begin… but where do you start? How do you get those crucial first clients? How do you know how much to charge? What do you do? What have others done? This article is all about the first crucial steps towards success as a coach. Let’s take a look…

A Clear Path to Success

One of the most useful pieces of advice is to have a plan and see how you will fulfil your goals. In the meantime, have smaller, doable goals, so you know you’re on track. Each time you achieve one of the smaller goals, you will find yourself closer to success with the bigger goals. You should always be looking at the bigger picture—where are you and where do you want to be?

Keep It Simple

Nobody in the world can do it all. That being said, you should plan on putting in lots of hours and energy into your business, at least for the first year or two until you have a good clientele base with a waiting list, and you have a reliable marketing engine. Later, however, you will want to learn the power of saying “no.” Nobody needs to work 100 hours a week.

Family Support

Your loved ones can also assist you in your endeavors and make it easier. Rather than feel bad that you’re not doing as much for everyone else, use your coaching skills to fully communicate what you’re really up to. When you share your inspiration and how much this means to you, the people who care most about you will whole-heartedly join your team, and they may even help you find clients.

Look After the Money

When you know you have enough money coming in already, you can afford to trust the process of attracting clients. Starting a business is not like starting a new job. You won’t get a reliable paycheck every two weeks. But your time investment up front will pay off handsomely if you go the distance. Reduce debts by negotiating for lower interest rates. Stop paying for things you aren’t using. Be careful with your money, and you’ll go far.

Promote, Promote, Shout

In your first year of coaching, even if your coaching skills aren’t fully honed yet, share your excitement and inspiration about coaching with pretty much everybody. Don’t be attached to getting them to understand coaching the way you do. They probably won’t. But do share your energy.

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I Teach…

fear11Many life coaches themselves fail, and that failure can be caused by a multitude of problems they personally have not dealt with. These can range from not understanding the amount of energy and time required, not having a motivational touch, or simply life coaching only for money. To succeed in anything, you have to have a love for it—not just a desire to cash in. Let’s take a look at five reasons why coaching businesses fail.

You Aren’t Living It!

Why on Earth would you coach someone on something you don’t—or wouldn’t—do yourself? People can smell a lie a long way. If you want to be the best life coach in the industry, you need to do more than just learn and give your knowledge. You need to start living it! Walk the walk, and lead by example—don’t just lead with words.

You Just Haven’t Mastered It

There are coaches who are pretty good at a lot of different things and are so excited to share their knowledge with their clients, yet fail miserably to differentiate themselves because they are, frankly, a dime a dozen. The best thing you could do as a coach, for your coaching business and your clients, is to pick a maximum of 3 very specific topics to coach on. If you’re a life coach, which specific parts of life will you focus on? The more targeted and focused you are, the more focused your clients will be, and the better results both you and your clients will see. If you’re an expert—be an expert!

It’s Not You… It’s Me

Just because you are able to get people revved up, doesn’t mean you’re bound to be a great coach. In fact, the definition of motivate is to give someone a motive to do something. That does not mean they’ll actually do it. Most coaches can give great strategies. The difference in going from good to great in coaching is getting your clients to actually take action.

Your Own Motives Have Priority

As a business or life coach, it is imperative that you focus on what your coaching clients want and need, NOT what you personally want. Your motives should be their motives. The second you prioritize what you think is important versus what your coaching client thinks is important, you have failed.

A Single Approach Is the Wrong Approach

If you’re not getting through to your coaching clients, it’s not them, it’s you. When you have only one approach, your level of influence will suffer tremendously, and neither you, nor your clients, will see results. Having only one approach is like driving down a dead-end road; it’s unlikely you’ll ever reach your destination. Just because one approach or strategy worked for you before, it does not mean it’ll work every time.

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