Category Archives: Learning

Decision-making (part 2): when design influences our decisions

How much does the design of the world around us influence our decisions?

What would you say?

After all, everything that isn’t natural is designed, so we are surrounded by (for want of a better word) ‘unnatural’ influences, whether we like it or not.

Here’s an example to help explain what I am talking about:

Our Driving Licences include a photo of the holder, and have to be renewed every 10 years. At the time of renewal, we are also given the option to enrol on to the Organ Donation Register.

Take a look at the graph below. It shows the rate of organ donation enrolment at Driving Licence renewal, for a number of European countries:

As you can see, there are two distinct groups: a group with a relatively low enrolment rate (on the left), and a group with a relatively high enrolment rate (on the right).

You will have spotted that the differences between the groups are significant. So what is the cause?

Could it be, for example, to do with an individual’s beliefs, or could it be for cultural reasons?

After all, by the time we donate our organs, we are no longer ‘here’ to be concerned by it.

Even countries that you might argue are culturally similar have very different enrolment rates:

Denmark (4.25%) vs Sweden (85.9%)

Germany (12%) vs Austria (99.98%)

Netherlands (27.5%) vs Belgium (98%)

and, depending on your view of cultural similarities across Europe:

UK (17.17%) vs France (99.91%)

But, what has caused these differences?

Well, it turns out that it was almost entirely caused by the design of the renewal form.

The group on the left, with the low level of organ donation enrolment, had a form which included a box similar to this:

As we have all done when filling in a form, they didn’t check the box, so didn’t join the Register.

The group on the right, however, the group with much higher enrolment, had a slightly different box on their form. Something like this:

Just as the lower enrolment group did, the people completing this form still didn’t check the box, but, in this case, they joined the Register!

It really was as simple as that!

But, why didn’t they check the box in the first place?

Could it be because they considered the decision to enrol as, for example, trivial, or too easy, that it was simple, or could it be that they didn’t really care that much about it?

In fact, it was the opposite of these things.

They found the decision to be extremely important, very difficult indeed, highly complicated, and they actually cared so much about it that they couldn’t actually decide on which decision they wanted to make.

As a result, they just left it to the ‘default’ decision that was being made for them…and how many of us have done exactly the same?

So, there you are. Design can, and frequently does influence our decisions!

Along with a number of other influences (which I shall keep for future blog posts), our intuition, which we rely on heavily when we make decisions, is being led astray in a consistent, predictable, and repeatable way by the world around us, so much so that we do not always clearly understand the decisions we want to make.

A thank you: I’d just like to give a special mention to Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics at Duke University, whose work and research has been of great inspiration in writing these articles.

To find out more about how to develop your decision-making, and the the benefits of professional executive coaching and mentoring, particularly in developing leadership, strategy and growing a business, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

Decision-making (part 1): the ‘zero’ option isn’t useless

How often do you look at the choices in front of you, and think, “What’s the point of that (option)?”

We come across ‘zero’ options – the ones that obviously nobody would choose – surprisingly often.

But, what is the point of them? If they really are ‘useless’, what are they doing to our decision-making?

Well, take a look at this subscription offer run by The Economist in 2009:

In a controlled test, 100 MIT students were asked to express a preference – see the results shown above.

So, if the print only option is a ‘zero’ option (i.e.: nobody chooses it), what is the point of including it in the list?

Or, to put it another way, what would happen if it wasn’t there?

So, the print only option was removed from the list and another 100 MIT students were asked to choose from the revised list, with the following results:

As you can see, when there were only two choices, what was originally the most popular has become the least popular, and vice versa, meaning the ‘zero’ option was actually having an influence on the choices the students were making.

In fact, it wasn’t actually a ‘zero’ option at all. Just because nobody chose it, doesn’t mean it had no influence.

What was happening was the only ‘zero’ element of that option was that nobody chose it.  When it was present, it’s influence on the choices that were made – predominantly cognitive decisions – was important.

What it was actually doing was encouraging the readers to choose the ‘best nearest’ option that was closest to the (obviously) ‘zero’ option. In other words, it helped the readers to make their minds up!

So, next time you see a ‘zero’ option, or if you decide to include one in your own proposals, remember that they’re far from useless after all! They actually help the reader make a decision.

A thank you: I’d just like to give a special mention to Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics at Duke University, whose work and research has been of great inspiration in writing these articles.

To find out more about how to develop your decision-making, and the the benefits of professional executive coaching and mentoring, particularly in developing leadership, strategy and growing a business, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

The EASY way to prioritise ANY list

In my experience, one of the things people in the business world find most challenging is how to prioritise.

Theoretically, it should be easy. In reality, it often ends up in confusion, unnecessary complication, and, worst of all, delays in getting things done.

So how can you prioritise you ‘to-do’ list easily?

Here’s a simple method:

  1. make a list of your ‘to-dos’
  2. number the list, in numerical order, top to bottom
  3. decide on one prioritising question. e.g.: which needs doing first?
  4. compare all of the items on the list with all of the others, see below
  5. best of all, it takes justa  couple of minutes!

How to compare every item on the list with each other

Let’s say there are 5 items on the list.

Start with item 1, and compare it with item 2, asking (e.g.) ‘which needs doing first, 1 or 2?’. Put a tick against whichever item ‘wins’.

Do the same again, comparing 1 with 3. Then 1 with 4. Then 1 with 5. Each time, put one tick against which item ‘wins’.

You have now compared item 1 with each of the others.

Now move to item 2, and compare it with item 3 (you do not not need to compare it with item 1 as you have already done so above), and add the relevant tick. then compare 2 with 4, then with 5.

Now move to item 3, and compare it with item 4 (you do not not need to compare it with items 1 or 2  as you have already done so above), and add the relevant tick. then compare 3 with 5.

Then compare 4 with 5.

List Prioritised!

You now have a list of 5 items, and the number of ticks against each quickly and easily shows you the priority – the more ticks, the higher the priority.

It’s then easy to rearrange the list in order of priority.

TIP: you may end up with one or more items on your list with no ticks at all. So, these are obviously of a lower priority when compared with the other items on your list. However, it may also be a sign that they might not have any priority for you at all (double-chek by adding them to a list of different items, or by using a different prioritising question).

To find out more about how professional coaching, mentoring and consulting can improve your productivity, thinking, and decision-making, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

The essential 21st century leadership tool: emotional intelligence (part 1)

This is the first article (of 3) looking at the contribution emotional intelligence (‘Ei’) makes to leadership.

No doubt, you will have heard the term ’emotional intelligence’?

What do you think it means? Here are some common responses:

  • does what it says on the tin?
  • trendy psycho-babble that will disappear as soon as the next trend comes along?
  • new neuroscience that is yet to be proven?
  • or something else?

Firstly, let’s look at a very common misunderstanding about Ei: that is it ‘new’.

Of course, humans have always had ’emotional intelligence’, but did you know that the roots of our current understanding of it and when it  was specifically identified date back to the work of Thorndike circa 1920?

That’s right! Our knowledge of emotional intelligence is almost 100 years old! Certainly not new!

The term ’emotional intelligence’ was certainly being regularly used in American academia in the 1960s, and it reached the world of popular science in the early 1980s. Since then, research and our understanding has continued apace, not least as shown by the plethora of books on the subject (not all of them good, I hasten to add!).

So, it’s probably been around longer than you thought, and our understanding of Ei has now reached the point where we can accurately measure it, we understand how to change it, and we know how to develop it in making those changes.

The really ‘good’ news is that Ei is something you can continuously develop.

But what is Ei?

Whilst it has many measurable component parts, here’s a summarised description:

“Emotional intelligence is the awareness and understanding of the relationship between our attitudes (thoughts), or feelings, and our behaviour, how they influence each other, and the impact they have on our relationships with ourselves and with others.”

To think of Ei in graphical form, see the image at the top of this post – trying to keep the three elements (thoughts, feelings, behaviour) balanced is where we should aim to be.

But, how does Ei apply to leadership in simple terms?

As this is the first article in this series, I’m going to briefly look at the ‘cornerstone’ of Ei: attitudes. Attitudes are the core ‘building blocks’ from which our Ei is ‘built’, supported and developed.

For a leader to be successful, from an emotionally intelligent standpoint, they need to have their attitudes in balance.

By this, I mean how well they understand and develop the regard they have for themselves (how they truly and accurately accept themselves ‘warts and all’), and how they keep it in balance with how ell they understand and develop the regard they have for others (how they truly and accurately accept others ‘warts and all’ without judging them or ‘colouring’ they opinions of them).

As you can see, this is an essential part of leadership as any leader needs to be able to understand themselves and in doing so develop an understanding of the other people they work with and are being asked to lead.

For more information, please try this further reading – my earlier blog  articles:

“So, just what is emotional intelligence? (part 1)”

“So, just what is emotional intelligence? (part 2)”

“Emotional intelligence Trump style: how much Ei does The Donald have?”

(based on the Ei Model developed by JCA Global Limited, and the book “Emotional Intelligence @Work” by Jolyon Maddocks)

To find out more about measuring and profiling Emotional Intelligence, particularly in developing leaders and managers, and in assessing your teams and recruitment needs, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2017. All rights reserved.

 

What ‘science’ knows, and what business does, are not the same thing!

What science knows and what business does 190516 1

Now, this might all sound a bit illogical, but there is so much high quality and, importantly, highly relevant data freely available ‘out there’ to business people, that it seems strange, to say the least, that so much of it is completely ignored by them.

This is not a new, or recent trend, but is something that

Let me give you a few, very basic examples:

  • 80% of start-up SME owners have no experience of running a business.
  • 80% of SME business owners agree they “can run the business”.
  • 80% of business owners never, and I mean never undertake any business management or leadership skills development.
  • Yet 80% of SMEs close before they reach their 5th birthday (long-term average)*.

Spot the link?

(* = the average closure rate in the last ten years is slightly higher!)

(Sources: ONS, HMRC, The Economist)

 

On a similar theme:

  • 80% of start-up SMEs who work with a professional coach/mentor will successfully reach their fifth birthday.
  • 80% of those that don’t, won’t.

(Sources: ICF, EMCC, LSE, and others)

 

When it comes to communication:

  • At least two-thirds of business readers of SME websites just want to find the phone number.
  • If your contact number is a mobile or 08- number, two-thirds of website readers will go elsewhere before they contact you.
  • It is estimated that 30%-40% of website views will be on a mobile device by the end of 2016, and this is expected to peak at 80% by the end of 2019.
  • Approximately 40% of SME websites don’t even have their phone number on their homepage, and/or do not have it visible on ‘first view’ using a mobile device.
  • Over half of SMEs agree that their websites “don’t generate enough enquiries”.

(Sources: Google, ONS, LSE, DBIS, BT)

 

When it comes to how our decisions are influenced by the options we have:

In 2009, the eminent behavioural economist Dan Ariely conducted a study of 100 MIT students by asking them to choose one of the following newspaper subscription options:

Option 1: paper only subscription $59 (16% chose this option)

Option 2: web only subscription $125 (0%)

Option 3: print and web subscription $125 (84% chose this option)

Option 3 is most popular.

 

He then took away Option 2 and asked them to choose again. This time:

68% chose Option 1

32% chose Option 3

Note how the least popular option has become the most popular, and vice versa, simply because the list of options has changed.

How could this influence how you communicate with others?

 

He (and fellow MIT colleagues) also conducted a number of studies in the fields of motivation, including this one in 2003:

Three groups were given a selection of games that involved creativity, motor skills, and concentration.

They were each offered one of three levels of performance based rewards (low, medium, high).

The result?

When the task involved just mechanical skills, the rewards worked as expected.

However, when the task involved even rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward led to poorer performance. Yes, really!

However, when this same exercise was repeated in a remote village in India, people offered the medium level of reward did no better than those offered the lowest level of reward.

But, and this is a big ‘but’, those that were offered the highest level of reward….did worst of all!

In 8 of the 9 tasks in these experiments, higher incentives led to worse performance!

 

So, what science knows, and what business does are not the same thing.

The point I’m making is the same as that old adage: if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got.

  • If people want to contact you quickly and easily, make it easy for them to pick up the phone to you (remember using email takes twice as long as using the phone (source: Harvard Business Review)).
  • If one of your USPs is that you’re a local business, then make sure your phone number is identifiable as a local (not an 0845) number.
  • If you give people too many choices, one of the options may get zero responses, but it might also serve to help the reader to make a decision that is better for them and for you.
  • Take care how you incentivise your teams – higher performance doesn’t necessarily come from higher rewards.

 

To find out more about how science can help your business, and how I can help you build a better, more resilient and more profitable business, please get in touch:

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2016. All rights reserved.

FACT: great leadership = business success. So, why is it so bad, so often?

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Over the last month, I have been looking, as I often do, into the relationship between leadership and success, reviewing recent research from the likes of The Economist, LSE, McKinsey, Harvard Business School, and others.

The outcome is that not only is leadership the single biggest contributor to business success (something I have been championing for years), but that far too many people in leadership positions either have no leadership skills, or no leadership experience, and rarely engage the expert assistance of a leadership coach or mentor, or all three!

In the UK, the single biggest reason for business failure, or a limitation to business success, is because those businesses are not led and run well enough.

Leadership skills and experience are rarely properly developed, and most businesses are created by people who either have a good idea, or are good at something – not by people who are good at running a business.

The result?

More than 7 out of 10 new businesses in the UK don’t survive until their fifth birthday (ONS figures). What is worse is that this statistic over the long term doesn’t seem to be improving, clearly showing that no matter how good you are at something, no matter how good a business idea you have, it’s the essential skills of leadership and management that are fundamentally the reasons for business success.

A opportunity for our education system, perhaps?

Yes, some business founders will develop these essential skills as their business grows. But, these are very much in the minority, meaning the majority struggle on with the risks that brings.

My experience tells me that most people would say they can run a business. Right up to the point where they realise they can’t! Of course, by then it’s often too late.

Also, it rarely makes sense for those with important sales- and profit-generating skills to be spending their time struggling with leadership and management issues.

I readily accept that there are many times when this is necessary. But beware! This can all too easily lull you into a false sense of security, and end up being the start of a very slippery slope.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, first of all, try to remember these three ‘golden rules’:

  • Stick to what you’re best at, and how you can benefit the business most (financially, operationally, etc). Owning the business does not mean you’re necessarily the best person to be running it!
  • Never hesitate to ask for help – a delay could be costly! There is a great deal of very high quality, great value help out there (coaches, mentors, consultants, advisers, etc). The benefits of finding one that’s a good match for you will easily outweigh the cost. Click here to check out my blog post about how to choose the best business coach for you.
  • Do or delegate! We all have a tendency to delay doing something just because it take us out of our comfort zone. So, whatever is in front of you, whatever arrives on your desk, either deal with it there and then, or delegate it to someone who will. Do not ignore it, or add it to the ‘do later’ pile!

Also, if leading and managing is not where your expertise lies, and for the time being it really is down to you, keep it simple. Simple works!

To help, here are a few key elements for you to work on, that will enhance your leadership effectiveness (and so your business success), no matter how experienced you are:

  • Always make clear decisions and let your team/colleagues know what they are, what you expect the benefits to be, who will be involved in implementing them, and the timescales
  • Keep your ‘door’ open to all, especially when there’s a problem. Part of your responsibility as a leader is to solve problems
  • Engage with everyone. Encourage them to let you know their views and concerns. You’ll become a better leader as a result
  • Make sure you don’t create obstacles, or over-complicate things. You’re there to do exactly the opposite!

To find out more about developing your business leadership and management, and the benefits of dedicated professional coaching and mentoring, please get in touch – I’m here to help.

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2016. All rights reserved.

So, just what is emotional intelligence? (part 2)

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In the first part of this article (click here), I looked at these key elements that help to assess your Ei:

Measuring the Attitudes elements

Measuring the Feelings elements

Measuring the Personal Management elements

 

In this final part, I shall look at:

Measuring the Relationship Management elements

Developing your Ei

 

The Relationship Management part of Ei assessment is built up from 5 key elements:

Trust – how inclined you are to trust others

Balanced Outlook – how you balance optimism with realism

Emotional Expression and Control – how well you balance expressing and controlling your emotions

Conflict Handling – how well you handle conflict

Interdependence – how well you manage taking yourself and taking others into account

 

In all of these Relationship Management ‘scales’ there are three core components:

The ‘target/ideal’ component where a high level of attainment is desirable

The ‘under/too little’ component where a low ‘score’ is preferable, and

The ‘over/too much’ component where a low ‘score’ is also preferable

So the ‘ideal’ outcome is to have the under/too little and the over/too much measurements with a low ‘score’, and the target/ideal measurement with a high ‘score’.

However, whilst this ‘ideal’ position is readily achievable, especially through developing your Ei, the majority of responses, at least initially, do not demonstrate this ‘ideal’ combination, but notably higher scores in either the ‘under’ and ‘over’ are more common.

Here are the different ‘scales’ measured within each of the 5 Relationship Management elements:

Trust

Under / too little: mistrusting

Target / ideal: carefully trusting

Over / too much: overtrusting

Balanced Outlook

Under / too little: pessimistic

Target / ideal: realistically optimistic

Over / too much: overly optimistic

Emotional Expression and Control

Under / too little: under controlled

Target / ideal: free and in charge

Over / too much: over controlled

Conflict Handling

Under / too little: passive

Target / ideal: assertive

Over / too much: aggressive

Interdependence

Under / too little: dependent

Target / ideal: interdependent

Over / too much: over independent

Remember, all of these elements and their component scales are associated with how you manage your relationships with others, and can be developed and changed to enhance your Ei.

Finally, a brief look at developing your Ei.

You may well have heard of ‘reflective learning’? It’s a process that is proven to help develop many of the ‘soft’ skills and qualities, particularly those that are people-to-people based, including your Ei.

To develop specifically your Ei, try these (N.B.: a professionally qualified coach will be able to help you with all of these):

  • Build a clearer picture of your strengths and development areas.
  • Actively seek feedback from those around you (including your boss and colleagues), and ask people for their views.
  • Walk the talk! Take time to develop your strengths and close important development gaps.
  • Establish clear development goals and identify what achieving success at the next level up looks like. Remember to regularly assess your progress against these goals.
  • Regularly record reflections on your week, both positives and negatives, your emotional responses to these differing situations, and what you choose to take from these experiences. Ensure you build these reflections into useable information to guide your future behaviour.

 

(based on the Ei Model developed by JCA Global Limited, and the book “Emotional Intelligence @Work” by Jolyon Maddocks)

To find out more about Ei, Ei profiling, or developing any aspect of Ei and its uses in coaching and mentoring, please get in touch – I’m here to help.

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

 

© Adrian Malpass 2016. All rights reserved.

 

So, just what is Emotional Intelligence? (part 1)

So just what isemotional intelligence 220216 1

Whilst there is a great deal of interest in Ei, there is also a great deal of confusion about exactly what it is and what its component parts are.

In much of my work, especially in the fields of coaching and mentoring, I employ the many facets and benefits of Emotional Intelligence (‘Ei’), including utilising powerful Ei profiling tools for individuals and teams in developing leadership and business performance, and in recruiting key personnel.

The good news is that after almost 100 years of research and study, Ei is now well understood to the extent that we know how to measure it (through all of the scales mentioned in this article), change it, and develop it. Ei is continuously developable – you can never have too much of it!

The benefits of developing your Ei are likely to deliver positive impacts in almost every area of your professional and personal lives. Literally!

So, just what is Emotional Intelligence?

In the first part of this article (final part next month) I shall look at the ‘core’ elements of Ei, and their key components, and those of our self management (which is a part of our ‘personal’ or ‘intra-personal’ intelligence).

Here goes…

Firstly, a simple definition of Ei:

“The awareness of how our attitudes and feelings influence our behaviour.”

The first of these, and the most fundamental ‘building block’ of Ei is our attitudes: how we balance our self regard (how well we accept and value ourselves ‘warts and all’), with our regard for others (how well we accept and value others (as distinct from approving of them)), aiming to achieve and develop high levels in both.

Self regard ‘feeds’ into how well you can develop your regard for others.

The attitudes part of Ei supports and helps us develop the ‘feelings’ part of Ei.

This ‘feelings’ part of Ei is about how aware we are of the physical influence our feelings and intuitions have on us, in balance with how aware we are of the feelings of others and, as with the regard ‘scales’, the higher our levels of both the better.

One important thing to remember is that whilst the regard scales provide the ‘building blocks’ of Ei, these awareness scales are where the ‘core’ or ‘root’ of Ei lies. i.e.: your Ei is developed from here.

The third and final element I will cover here is that of ‘self management’: a combination of ‘scales’ that collectively influence ‘how you are’ or, to put it another way, the relationship wyou have with yourself.

This self management part of Ei is made up of six elements (‘scales’):

Emotional Resilience: how effectively you ‘bounce back’ when things don’t go well for you

Personal Power: to what extent you feel you are in charge and have sole responsibility for what happens in your life

Goal Directedness: the degree to which you align your behaviour to your long-term goals

Flexibility: the degree with which you adapt what you think and how you behave to life’s changing circumstances

Connecting with Others: how well you create and develop meaningful relationships with others

Authenticity: the degree to which you invite others to trust you, through being reliable principled, consistent and ‘known’ (N.B.: this does not mean you have to tell everyone your ‘life story’)

In part 2: the relationship management scale of the Ei model

(based on the Ei Model developed by JCA Global Limited, and the book “Emotional Intelligence @Work” by Jolyon Maddocks)

To find out more about Ei, Ei profiling, or developing any aspect of Ei and its uses in coaching and mentoring, please get in touch – I’m here to help.

t: 01242-672440

e: click here

© Adrian Malpass 2016. All rights reserved.

Choosing the best business coach for you

Thinking pic monkey 700 x 400 250116 1

Let’s face it. Choosing a good coach to work with you and your business is a potential nightmare!

After all, what makes a good coach?

How can you be sure you’re getting a genuine professional?

How can you minimise the risks in choosing one and what should you expect from them?

Whilst none of these have straightforward answers, there are a few things you can do to minimise any potential risks, and dramatically improve how you find and select not only a good coach, but a great one.

To start with,  remember this ‘golden rule’: always, always, always do your research before you choose your coach.

In doing that research here are a few simple steps to focus on:

1) Ask the ‘coach’, “What is “coaching”?”

Can they clearly and simply explain the key differences between coaching, mentoring, counselling, training, teaching and telling?

TIP: make sure you know what “coaching” actually is. If you’re not sure, click here to ask me for a definition.

If the ‘coach’ cannot give a detailed and correct answer to this simple question, move on to your next candidate straightaway.

N.B.: most so-called ‘coaches’ cannot answer this question correctly!

 

2) Are they genuinely professionally qualified in coaching?

It is estimated that over 85% of so-called ‘coaches’ are not professionally qualified in coaching.

Alarming, isn’t it?

So, beware! An unqualified ‘coach’ could do untold damage to your development and the success of your business. It also means they probably do not have professional indemnity insurance for delivering coaching services (I am yet to come across an insurance provider who wouldn’t require a professional coaching qualification).

Sadly, there are a vast number of flaky (to be diplomatic) ‘coaching courses’ out there, almost all of which are well below acceptable professional standards, let alone being robust enough to be genuine qualifications.

Establishing the credibility of any ‘coach’s’ professional qualification can be tricky, but a few simple checks can make a big difference and bring much greater peace of mind to the selection process.

In my view, the best professional coaching qualifications in the UK are obtained from UK universities and management schools. Clarify whether the qualification was classroom-based (good) or distance learning (not so good).

There are also a small number of professional bodies and dedicated coaching qualification providers who deliver good quality qualifications. e.g.: the CIPD (predominantly HR focused, for delivering coaching within an organisational development programme), the International Coaching Federation (a dedicated coaching skills qualification provider who has improved the quality of their programmes considerably in recent years), Eurocoach (again another dedicated coaching skills qualification provider who is gaining in reputation for the quality of coaches they produce), to name but a few.

Note: many ‘coaches’ have completed in-house coaching skills programmes from when they were working within large organisations. Be careful! These are rarely genuine qualifications or aimed at developing coaching skills to a professional standard (of course, there are a few exceptions). These programmes are usually designed for the ‘coach’ to be working within the organisation, rather than being independent. If your preferred ‘coach’ has been trained in this way, establish how they have adapted to being a professional independent coach before going further.

(TIP: if you’re thinking about qualifying as a coach, remember the simple ‘rule’ of coaching qualifications – on the whole, you get what you pay for!).

 

3) Check-out their specific post-qualification coaching experience.

It may sound like a contradiction, but the professional qualification does not ‘make’ the coach in the fully rounded, competent professional sense.

It is their post-qualification experience that really defines a coach’s credibility and expertise as a genuine coach.

When I qualified as a coach back in 2004, I completed around 150 hours of post-qualification coaching with a very wide range of business clients before I felt I had reached a level of professional competency and ‘rounded’ coaching ability required in a professional, independent coach.

All professional coaches will understand the need to continuously and pro-actively review and develop their skills and abilities throughout their careers, learning from every coaching session they deliver. As such, an experienced coach tends to work in specific areas of delivery that reflects their skills and experience (as this will provide greater empathy with the subject matter). In my case, for example, I concentrate on working with business clients around their leadership, business strategy and growth management requirements.

So, look for a genuinely qualified professional coach with a delivery focus in the areas you are seeking to change or develop.

Remember, it is not unusual to enlist the expertise of more than one coach in order to make sure their collective expertise is aligned with all of your requirements.

 

So, that’s it!

Three, hopefully, simple steps to help you find the best coach for you.

Just remember to do your research first.

If you’re unsure about anything here, or if you have any questions about coaching, please get in touch – I’m here to help.

To find out more about how I work with business executives, leaders and owners to maximise their potential and success, and the benefits of professional executive coaching and mentoring, particularly in developing leadership, strategy and growing a business, please contact me:

t: 01242-672440

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© Adrian Malpass 2015-17. All rights reserved.

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Business growth: how to overcome slowing growth

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Whether you like it or not, a growing business will, at some point, experience a time when growth slows down significantly, or even stalls completely.

Most business owners – the vast majority in my experience – fail to see this coming (mainly through ineffective planning and analysis) and so, potentially critically, don’t know what to do about it when it does arrive (note I say “when” not “if”).

The result?

Business owners tend to take one of two actions. They either:

Do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Bury their head in the ‘sand’. Assume (usually sub-consciously) that the ‘crisis’ (for that’s what it will quickly become if not dealt with effectively) does not ‘apply’ to them, and that it will soon go away, or rectify itself, and growth will return….as if by magic!

Or

They panic. Rush around like the proverbial headless chickens. Turn everything upside down. Create chaos and unsettle everyone in the business, and end up right back where they started – with growth going nowhere!

Unsurprisingly, the lack of planning and strategic thinking to deal with the situation is potentially disastrous for the business.

So, what do you do when growth slows/stalls?

First, and this is important, do not panic!

Second, as you work through this challenging time, always remember to think strategically – how everything you do ‘fits’ into the ‘big picture’ for your business.

Then, you need a clear plan and process for working through this business risk to truly understand and deal with it. For example…

Step 1: get everyone, especially those with the relevant skills and experience, involved who needs to be involved.

Having a team who can ‘access all areas’ is essential to success, and is vital in getting a complete insight into the causes, effects and solutions for their issue.

Step 2: ensure there is plenty of energy in the team and the process at all times.

Any solution needs to be achieved in a timely manner, no matter how challenging it is.

Step 3: the solutions is reality….not magic!

Take a practical, subjective, ‘here and now’ approach to getting growth going again.

Step 4: give finding a solution your complete focus.

Finding the causes of slowing/stalling growth, and a solution for it has to be your absolute priority.

If it isn’t, by the time you fully understand the causes and have worked out how to move forward, it may well be too late!

Step 5: search, search, and search again.

The only way you will design and implement a genuinely good solution is from fully understanding the causes of this slowing/stalling growth.

So do everything you can to find every cause, no matter how small, no matter how large.

Only then can you be sure of building an effective solution for the whole business.

Remember to search systematically – leave no stone unturned. It is essential you root out and analyse every cause.

Step 6: take responsibility.

Unless you have conclusive proof to the contrary, take full responsibility for the causes of the slowing/stalling growth.

Step 7: remember to have a back-up too.

Just in case the steps above don’t provide the solution(s) you need, remember there is always the ‘plan B’ option – what else can you do for the good of the business that delivers a step forward?

 

Remember, the best leaders take immediate ownership and full responsibility for every challenge, and tackle them all head-on. No excuses.

Make sure you do too.

As always, if you would like to discuss building a successful plan, or how to improve your personal development in the fields of business growth, please get in touch.

To find out how my clients also achieve a 35% year-on-year increase in profits, please get in touch:

T: 01242-672440

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