Hello. Today, I want to talk to you about three myths about coaching in the business world and like every myth, there’s a grain of truth in there, but like the Pareto principle says, 80% of something is true, and 20% of it isn’t. So there’s a grain of truth in each of these myths. But 80% of them are not true.
Just a little bit about me in case you don’t know me. I came out of the corporate world into coaching, and I help coaches and small business owners get their businesses going with ease and joy, and I also work in the corporate arena too. I’m going to talk to you a little bit about that today.
So the first myth is that with business people, and especially in corporate and organizations, you can’t just coach. You have to do some advising and consulting. And while there is, like I said, a grain of truth in that, you may want to start with a 360 assessment if you’re in a corporate arena. Or you may want to start with some kind of a foundation session to get the business owner’s mission, vision, and values.
If you’re working in an entrepreneurial or smaller business, you can do more coaching than you think. And I found this out. So it’s not exactly pure coaching, but there is so much opportunity to ask questions, to listen deeply, to give people space and silence to reflect. And I’ve been working with some coaches who are getting their MCC, their Master Certified Coach certification, and it’s amazing from within those 10 hours, from hour 1 to hour 10, how much more silence there is, how much more they’re trusting their client to really know the answer to their questions, and how much more powerful their coaching is. It’s really, really interesting. You can definitely use mostly coaching in a business or a corporate engagement. So that’s the first myth, I think. It’s a myth that you have to do advising or consulting in addition.
And the other point I want to make about this is your clients who are leaders in corporate or small business owners who have started their own companies, they know what they need to do. They really know. They know what’s going on out there. The coaching session gives them time to step back, to reflect, to think about these things. It is really the most effective way that you can spend your coaching time. So there’s one myth, busted wide open.
Here’s a second myth I’ve thought about and think people are believing: that it takes a really long time to get into a business or a corporate engagement, especially a corporate engagement. And this can be true. I remember I was working with a program many years ago that was selling into large law firms on both coasts. It turned out there was an 18-month lead time because of all of the different layers and the levels that had to sign off on things in corporate.
I have a solution for that though. If it does take a while, some of my clients start working with some smaller businesses while also getting into corporate. If there’s really long lead time (like 12 or 18 months) then utilize some of your time to find out what it takes to get in, nurture your engagement, do all of that. Yet in the meantime, work with either some self-pay or some small business owners, solo professionals, lawyers, doctors, anyone like that because business is business and business people are working at the same type of issues.
They’re working on time management, they’re working on profitability, they’re working on productivity. Whether you’re in a larger organization or you’ve got just a few employees, it’s still business. So if you focus on business because you know that world and you work with some of the smaller clients while also working on getting into the larger organizations, it’s kind of a hybrid, but it works out beautifully. I’ve seen this time and time and time again.
If you’ve ever heard me talk about getting into business you know that I quote the study last year that says it’s 73% of people in business hire coaches based on referrals. This means one way to really shorten the lead time to get into anywhere, a smaller business, or a larger business is to get referred in, to talk to the people that already know, love, and trust you. Tell them what you’re doing and ask them for their support. I found that colleagues are very willing to support each other.
Another point I want to make about getting into a larger organization and maybe even a smaller one is, a really easy way to get in the door is through training. If you bring a training into a business and then you use that to suggest some follow up coaching, it works really well. And there’s a study that was done late in the 90s I think. It’s about 20 years old actually, but it still works. They took a group of I think it was 31 managers and put them through a training. I believe it was a three-day training. The increase in productivity was 22%, which that’s a big increase just to even think about it. Then they took them through eight weeks of coaching. When you think about that, 8 weeks, it’s not that much, two months. And the productivity increased to 88% on that training. So they were able to actually get 4 times increase in productivity just by adding eight weeks of coaching (if you take the 22 and you multiply by 4). What can you do with a longer coaching program? It’s amazing to think about it.
So there’s a very strong ROI with training and then going into coaching and most organizations will have more of a budget for training, even small businesses. They will bring people in for training a little bit easier. So think about that, start with the training and then move into the coaching. Thus, the myth that it takes a long time to get into business or corporate, it can be true, but there are really ways to shortcut it.
Also, I wanted to share this because I think it’s so interesting. I had a client who was working with small business owners and wanted to get into larger businesses and work with them and in organizations with communication; actually, that’s her specialty. She sent out an email to all of her previous contacts in corporate. Now, she had been out of corporate for probably 10 years… and I had a lot of people saying to me, “Oh, well, I haven’t really related to these people, I haven’t connected to these people in years, and now I’m sending them an email. What are they going to think?” But do you know what? One of the gentlemen she sent the email to said, “Oh, my gosh, I know a company,” and brought her in, and she was working with that company. Then one of the people in that company left to go to another company and brought her into that other company. So you never really know what can happen with your connections. I just want you to know that it doesn’t have to take a long, long time and there are ways to short-cut it. So that’s the second myth.
Let’s look at the third myth. This one is actually one of my favorite myths. It really isn’t true, and yet,,, I don’t know,,,, people have this feeling that you have to be a transactional coach in corporate and in business, that you cannot be a transformational coach. By that I mean this, people come in with goals, they want more profit, they want more productivity, and they have numbers that they want to hit. And so it seems that you’re going in kind of the straight line and you’re looking to hit those numbers. And there’s a judgment on whether you make this or not. It’s very tempting to just try to move right into those goals and just tackle them head-on. Yet what we know, we coaches (we know if this) that what people in business need is an ally and a champion. A small business owner needs a silent partner that they can talk to. A leader in the corporate world needs someone that they can trust that can really tell them the truth.
This is what they want. This is what they need from you, and once you do this, once you get deeper into this, they can have huge transformations. And we have a saying, “what got you here, won’t get you there”. What got people to a certain level won’t get them to the next level, but as a coach, we know what will. We can see their blind spots. We can help them. We can ask them questions. We can be curious about things. And we can help them move to the next level and transform.
I had a client years ago when I was coaching at Ford Motor Company and we were talking about acknowledgment and recognition, and he said, “I really want to learn to recognize my people. I want to learn to be better at that.” And he went on further to explain, he said, “My father never acknowledged me.” And then his father was actually very critical of him. And so he said, “I want to learn to acknowledge my people.” And I knew that he had a son. And I said to him, “What’s possible for your son when you learn to acknowledge at work?” and there was dead silence on the line. In fact, I’m pretty sure he muted his phone, and when he came back he was all choked up and he said, “Everything, everything is possible if I learn how to acknowledge here and I teach my son how to acknowledge, too.”
So that was a transformational moment for him, which had everything to do with his work and his team, and yet nothing to do with his work and his team, and everything to do with who he was as a person and who his son would become. So these are the transformational moments that happen when you’re coaching in business or corporate. Whatever you do in terms of listening, questioning, acknowledgment is going to have an effect on the person’s entire life. So that myth, that you need to be a transactional coach and not a transformational, there’s a big part of that that is a complete myth. We know that when people become a better person & are transformed into more of a leader, more of the person that they really are, that all of their numbers are going to go up as they are developing themselves.
Another quick story: I had a client that I was working with a couple of weeks ago. We actually record our coaching sessions. Sometimes we say these really brilliant things and then we can’t remember them like five minutes later. So we record. And in this particular session, my client was talking about 45 minutes of an hour session before I even asked a question or said anything. And then, of course, I asked her a few questions and what did she want to do and we finished our session. The interesting thing is I sent her the recording and I thought to myself, “I wonder what she’s going to say about this,” because she was talking most of the time. I really didn’t do much as a coach.
She sent me back an email and said, “Oh, my gosh, I know I have the right coach. I’m so thrilled with our coaching and all the insights that came out of this session.” Think about that for a moment. You can really do much more coaching than you think, even in the business & the corporate world, and it will propel your clients forward.
So those are the three myths that I want to bust today from business or corporate coaching, and that is:
With businesspeople you have advising and consulting, and not as much coaching. You might have to do a little, not as much as you think.
The other myth is that it can take time to get into business or corporate. There are shortcuts that can really help you do that much easier.
The third myth is that you have to be a transactional coach and you can’t bring that transformational side of yourself into business, and that simply isn’t true either. Transforming clients: it’s what we do. We help people transform their lives. As long as you’re there, that’s going to happen.
Please share your insights with me, share your biggest takeaways. Also, if this has prompted any questions in your mind, please ask those questions. My team & I are here to serve you. We will get back to you. You can send us an email through a contact form on my website too. I would love to get into a dialogue about this with you and find out what your ideas are. Maybe you have some more myths that you want to share with me and that we can talk about. So until we talk, I’m wishing you lots of success, tons of success,,, with ease and joy.