Coaches Corner: Discovering Your Strengths

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As a business coach, I help clients discover what is preventing them for achieving their goals. For example, sales professionals tend to be laser-focused on a number or sales target. Whereas business owners tend to be more focused on business strategy and leadership skills.

My job is to help them get unstuck and discover how to move from Point A to Point B. What is most interesting to me is the wisdom and resourcefulness that they all possess. Here are a few examples.

From blaming others to taking responsibility

Dawn was an experienced Seller with a proven track record of experience. Four months into her new job, she had few identified opportunities and even fewer appointments. She had dozens of reasons: the economy, the pandemic, the company’s reputation, even the weather.

She blamed the operations people for being too busy to answer her technical questions. She blamed the company for not sponsoring the expensive networking events she wanted to attend. She blamed everyone else but herself.

After all, she was working hard, making calls, and reaching out to colleagues and former clients. She was doing everything except what was needed to improve. That was when she realized that it was her responsibility. She was in charge. Once she took full ownership, everything changed.

When you own your results, you also own your failures. The next steps become clear pretty quickly. 

From ignoring the warning signs to trusting yourself

Mark had been courting a client for months. He nurtured him with case studies and content, submitted proposals, offered suggestions, and wined and dined him.

In coaching, he expressed concerns that the client was stringing him along, using him as leverage with another competitor being considered for the contract. His gut was telling him to cut and run, but the client assured him he was a serious contender, so he persisted.

Mark knew the client contact was an avid hunter, so he invited him and to be his guest on a trip with other company executives. Over dinner the first night, the client announced that they had renewed their contract with the incumbent service provider and spelled out all their reasons. Mark was shocked and embarrassed.

He said he was fuming, not so much at the client, but at himself. He never really trusted the client. He felt he was used, duped by an opportunistic buyer who took advantage of him.

He learned to look for the early warning signs and pay attention to those little red flags that grow over time.

From relying on others to stepping out of your comfort zone

When Maggie’s longtime business partner Helen retired, she was overwhelmed with new responsibilities that Helen enjoyed handling. Maggie was a shy introvert who preferred to be in the field, solving operational problems. While Helen was an extrovert who loved talking with clients, employees, and competitors.

Maggie often thought Helen over communicated, particularly with employees. She herself was uncomfortable speaking before others, so she canceled a number of standing meetings. She never made companywide announcements about organizational changes, new business, or other business information that employees needed to do their jobs.

She preferred talking one-on-one and assumed that word would get around. Within a few months, Maggie was bombarded with employee complaints, including key people who threatened to quit. She decided to hold an all hands meeting to brief employees on the status of the company.

During our coaching sessions, Maggie prepared for the meeting and talked calmly and effectively about the growth the company was experiencing and how the company was going to handle it. We did some role playing on the Q&A session that she planned to include. She addressed all of the employee concerns and a few that she anticipated.

When Maggie got on the call with the employees, she changed her entire approach. She avoided all of the known and anticipated concerns. Instead, she tried to imitate Helen, her style, her delivery. The harder she tried, the quieter it became. When she asked if anyone had any questions, no one spoke. The silence lasted a few long minutes until Maggie adjourned the meeting.

During our coaching call, Maggie said that she got cold feet and didn’t trust herself to deliver the right message. She realized that she was a lot like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. She had relied on Helen for so long, she had forgotten that she always had the power. In fact, she had it all along.

She regained her self-confidence and had another meeting. This time, she learned to endure some momentary discomfort in order to have more meaningful, positive discussions with her team. 

It is easy to get caught up in our own head and second-guess ourselves. The truth is we aren’t very good at delivering someone else’s script. And our audience knows when we are authentic, and when we are trying to be someone else.

In coaching, clients work through the obstacles that hold them back. It takes a lot of hard work and self-reflection, but gradually, there is a breakthrough. Clarity, creativity, and solutions seem to overflow. Choppy waters become easier to navigate.

If you are ready to get unstuck, let’s talk.


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