Insights Blog

Useful tools, tips and strategies to help your business learn, develop and expand.

Happy New Year for 2018!

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We hope that this year proves to be the best year ever in your business and personal life.

Keep your eyes on this space this year as we have big plans for 2018 to help even more businesses this year with greater growth and success.

Ready to kickstart growth in 2018?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionWe have a number of open slots available for strategy sessions with businesses who we think have potential for serious growth in 2018. Request a free strategic session below and find out if our growth strategies could help you become an even bigger business. Request a Free Strategic Review


Crème de la Crème 2017: Top 10 Articles

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As we near the close of 2017, it’s the perfect time to take a beat in your business. Stop and reflect on the year gone by. And hopefully plan for an even bigger, brighter and abundant year to come.

This year was full of some pretty popular blogs that have helped people take those steps towards being even better businesses this year. Below we have listed our top 10.

During whatever break you are taking, it may be worth reading (or listening to!) at least one of these articles to make that incremental step (you know, that slight edge) towards taking your business to the next level of growth.

Our Top 10 Articles of 2017

  1. What is the Opposite of Fear? [Video]
  2. The 4S Framework for Focus [Video]
  3. How to Get Your To-Do List Done [Article]
  4. Stop Adding Value [Video]
  5. Three Flawed Ideas About Business Plans [Article]
  6. The Powerful Opening Gambit in Power Negotiation [Video]
  7. Are You Stretching in Your Office [Framework]
  8. 5 Growth Strategies Successful London Businesses Use [Article]
  9. I Prefer Small Fish [Article]
  10. When Planning, Remember This Step [Video]

Enjoy the holiday season, and I hope we can help you in some capacity next year to make 2018 your most successful year on record!

Need help kicking off in 2018?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionThe beginning of the year is the best time to look back at what you’ve done, and get the external view you need to take your business up to the next level going forward.

Consider requesting a strategy session and find out if our strategies can help you make 2018 your best year ever.

Book a Free Strategic Review


Our Top 10 Articles in 2016

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2016 is nearly done, and we hope that 2017 will prove to be a year of change, growth, and abundance for everyone.

As we come to the end of the year, this is a natural time for most business owners to pause, reflect on the year that has gone by, and prepare for making 2017 the best year yet. Remember to reflect on what has gone well, as well as what could have been done better. And remember to celebrate with your team (we like to do champagne!).

We, too, have been doing our own reflection (and drinking of champagne!), as we prepare our clients for the Strategic Growth Intensive in a few weeks.

We thought we would share the 10 articles that we discovered were the most enjoyed on our blog this year.

It may be worth reading at least 1 of these articles before the year comes to a close. Take at least one small step towards making 2017 your best year yet.

Our Top 10 Articles of 2016

  1. The 3 KPIs for Managing Directors
  2. 3 Ways to Recruit Staff that Fit Like a Glove
  3. 4 Decisions Every Business Owner Needs to Make
  4. How to Upgrade Underperforming Team Members
  5. I Am The Greatest – Confidence Lessons From Muhammad Ali
  6. 3 Rules for Hiring Your Business Number 2
  7. The Best Day to Start a New Hire
  8. How to Encourage Integrity in Your Team
  9. 6 Skills the Most Effective Business Leaders Learn
  10. Why Delivering a Baby Can Help With Running a Business

Have a fantastic holiday season and we look forward to helping you in whatever capacity we can to make 2017 a year worth looking forward to.


How to Master the Art of Executive Coaching

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Are all coaches proficient in their chosen fields?  It depends on how you look at it.  Coaching is, in itself, a discipline which can be mastered, but that mastery doesn’t necessarily have to fully encompass the discipline being coached.  There are many coaches who have been particularly successful as coaches without ever having mastered the material they taught.  Bill Struth, for example, is one of the UK’s most successful football managers in history and yet he never played the game of football on any sort of professional basis. 

So, if you are an executive coach, or are thinking about a career in the field, it is important to understand that it is absolutely possible to be an effective coach without dictating business moves.  The best coaches exhibit a leadership quality in their approach, yet are never domineering, and it is this quality to which executives respond.

Instead of focusing solely on the material with which coaches regularly interact, it is more important to master the ability to inspire creativity, leadership, personal management, positive thought, and the development of strengths.  This ability should then be added to the fundamental responsibilities of a good executive coach, which we will now briefly discuss.

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The Main Duties of an Executive Coach

If you want to achieve excellence in the field of executive coaching it is important to make a point of constantly improving in the following basic sectors:

  1. Relationship Building

Many executives seek coaching of their own free will.  This is a most welcome improvement experienced by the industry in fairly recent years.  Aside from helping to raise the quality of Britain’s business leaders in general, it means that coaches don’t have to break through the defences of executives before they can start helping them.  That being said, it is still important for executive coaches to create a sense of trust early on in the relationship.

Given that it is always easier to learn from someone who you trust, building a relationship early on in the coaching experience is extremely important.  It is vital to set realistic objectives early on in the relationship, and then work towards these in a way that makes the executive feel most comfortable.  Early on, the progress made toward these objectives will demonstrate the coach’s patience, judgment, and proficiency, which are all important for the establishment of trust on the part of the executive.

  1. Instilling Thought Processes

Many business leaders have natural leadership tendencies, which often consist of the thought necessary to motive and inspire others.  That being said, the thought necessary for leadership can take many forms, which can result in difficulties for some leaders.  Some might approach a problem from a certain direction, and continue to try this approach even in the face of resistance.  This can be detrimental to leaders and the tasks at hand.

Good executive coaches should thus equip themselves with the skills necessary to inspire new thought processes in executives (as well as themselves), as opposed to simply offering alternative solutions.  A great deal of attention should be paid to business thinking, and how to best formulate new modes of thought.  Executive coaches can accomplish this by encouraging multi-directional thought paths and calculated risks, as well as inspiring creative thought in executives through the use of open-ended questions.

  1. Support over Guidance

Executive coaching is not about being an advisor for specific matters.  It is instead about providing executives with the right tools to be able to better lead in difficult times, as well as make hard decisions.  Simply put, executive coaches aren’t crutches, they’re support beams.

Instead of telling executives what they could and should do in certain situations, executive coaches are there to ask the right questions at the right time with a view to helping executives make their own progress.  Instead of offering easy answers to difficult questions, this promotes success in executives and allows them to visualise solutions from various perspectives.

  1. Creating Results

Executive coaching is goal-based, whether referring to the coaching itself or its overall outcome.  Executives seek out coaches to assist with building their leadership capabilities and boosting their skill set.  They do this both for their own personal growth and the growth of their businesses.  But, in either case, the setting of objectives that drive results is the best way to accomplish this.

A great coach should help an executive set objectives for the coaching itself by identifying its ideal outcomes and then creating strategies which are best suited to their realisation.  This same model can, and should, be used for the future growth of the executive’s company.  Objectives are not only important for the motivation necessary for forward motion, but also for the measurement of success.

  1. Evaluation

Here again, evaluation is important for the coaching itself, but it is also an important skill to strengthen in executives.  Executive coaches have to monitor and assess the progress made by executives during the coaching in order to work towards their desired outcomes.  But it is equally important for coaches to nurture the ability of executives to monitor and assess their own progress.  Providing an executive with self-awareness is an integral part of executive coaching.

By nurturing personal insight, coaches empower executives to weigh their progress against their objectives.  It causes them to ask themselves where they are in their progress versus where they would like to be.  By applying evaluative procedures to both themselves and their companies, executives can identify inconsistencies between the ideal and the reality and formulate the necessary strategies for change.

How to Think Like an Executive Coach

The ability to strengthen the above factors in others is certainly important for effective coaching.  But, how do the best coaches manage the mastery of these factors?  The instinctive ability to reinforce leadership qualities in others is certainly helpful, but it is not an absolute necessity.  Fortunately, this is something that can be learned.  Here are some tips on how to best support executives in a coaching environment:

  1. Ask, Don’t Tell

Executives don’t require coaches to tell them how to run their businesses.  They are often natural leaders with more than enough experience.  The goal of a coach is to help executives explore and strengthen their lesser-used skills, and refine their strongest skills.  Thus, adopting a condescending attitude will harm the coaching experience as opposed to help it.  It is better to support the executive along the road to self-discovery through the use of questions which promote action.

The best questions to ask in order to promote action are open questions.  These are questions which require more than a simple yes/no response.  These questions should be aimed at reaching a specific outcome, but worded in such a way that the executive is able to reach it without much prompting.  Questions like, ‘What are your thoughts on x?’ or, ‘What can be done about y?’ are good for this task.

  1. Focus on the Executive, Not the Company

Executive coaches are not necessarily business consultants.  Instead of being brought in to help a business reach its goals, coaches are brought in to assist executives with strengthening their own leadership qualities with a view to helping the company.  It is thus important to avoid getting involved in the direct management of the company and rather identify the parts which need attention and then build the necessary skills in the executive for the effective management of these parts.

Always remember the fact that executive coaching is about developing individuals.  Through this development, the companies which they head will then develop as a result of your progress.

  1. Remember Executive Coaching is not Rehabilitative

Executive coaching is not about trying to fix the faults in company leaders, but rather about addressing their current skills in a way that will make them even more effective.  Never approach a coaching situation as if the executive needs rehabilitation.  Not only does this make it difficult to establish a relationship of trust, but it has the unfortunate effect of painting the entire process in a negative light.  As you well know, negativity is not conducive to effective learning.  It is only when the entire process is seen as being something positive that the best results can be achieved.

  1. Don’t Rely on a Rigid Structure

It is important to have desired outcomes when coaching, and these can often be made more attainable if considered against a time-frame.  However, failing to deviate from this structure under any circumstances can often result in many missed opportunities. 

Executive coaching does not take place before executives are in their leadership positions, so they are almost always running their companies during the coaching process.  This presents many opportunities to address certain issues as they arise and require practical attention.  This may not fall into your schedule of objectives, but learning is always easier as a result of experience rather than discussion.

Master Coaching as Its Own Business

Trying to be an effective teacher by having all of the answers to business leadership situations has many pitfalls.  As you will no doubt make clear to your executives, being an effective leader doesn’t mean you have to be cleverer than everyone else.  Leadership is about discovering the best qualities in the people around you and using those to create forward momentum.

So, instead of focusing solely on business practices, aim at mastering the art of executive coaching.  Granted, expertise in modern business practices is certainly required to be an effective coach, but it shouldn’t overshadow the importance of the coaching itself. 

The above tips should help you along the road to perfecting the art of coaching, but remember that the road surface is always changing.  Thus, your idea of perfection should always be changing, too.  If you can apply the above tips to your own objectives, you’ll already be ahead of the curve when it comes to mastering executive coaching.   

 

This article was contributed by Shirish Agarwal from Flow20, who offer web design, SEO and other digital marketing solutions.

Ready for the benefits of Executive Coaching?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionExecutive coaching is something that has become a necessity for every business leader. Yet many people are still hesitant, and unsure if it will actually help them.

We offer you the chance to get a free session so you can find out whether or not we are capable of helping you take your business to the next level.


Our Top 10 Articles of 2015

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Happy New Year! I hope you have had a fantastic 2015 and that you are looking forward to an even greater 2016.

This is usually a moment to stop and reflect on the year gone by. See what worked really well, what goals were met and what needs improving. (That’s why we do run the Strategic Planning Day early in the New Year!)

In this vein, we thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the blog and highlight our top 10 articles from this year.

These were articles most read and enjoyed by our readers – so if you missed one of them, might be worth having a read as you take on the new year.

10. Stop Giving Feedback to Your Team

9. Why UK SMEs Struggle to Get a Bank Loan

8. 3 Reasons Why You Should be Targeting A Niche

7. The Biggest Mistake Made When Hiring a New Employee

6. Why Business Owners Are Like Icebergs

5. Why You Shouldn’t Manage Your Team

4. Business Reading: You Could Be Wasting 80% of Your Time

3. Markup vs. Margin – And the Winner is…

2. The 3 Signs of a Broken Team Model

1. Death of an Entrepreneur: 3 Pieces of Advice for Business Owners

Hope you enjoy reading those. Happy New Year once again, and may 2016 bring you all the accomplishment you desire!

Ready for 2016?

business coaching london business planningHave you prepared your business for 2016? Do you have a clear plan for growth? Are you confident you and your team can actually achieve everything this year?

If you would like to find out how it is that business coaches ensure that you achieve success – through planning in the right way – consider coming along to the Strategic Planning Day coming up very soon!


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