Small Business Coaching Tips #Contest

In the world of small business, feedback and coaching is a regular part of the scenery. It comes from clients, customers, co-workers and social media forums. Sometimes we hear things of a positive nature and sometimes we hear the opposite. On the same token, we give feedback and coaching on a daily basis as well. This is in the form of sharing our opinions, thoughts, and advice for improvements.

coaching

How you deliver coaching and feedback makes all the difference in the world as to whether or not it will actually be heard. Are you being diplomatic in nature? Or are you using force? If you are coaching someone, are you talking to them – or at them?

Ask yourself this question, “How Coachable Am I?” How do you receive feedback and coaching? Are you open to it? What techniques do you respond to? Taking a look at how you receive it may enable you to better deliver it. Check out this article over at Business On Main, “How Coachable Are You:”

“Not surprisingly, entrepreneurs aren’t always the easiest coaching candidates. And yet, ask pretty much any executive, and they’ll likely be able to tell you things they would like to improve about themselves and/or their company in a heartbeat. Most of us also realize that we probably have blind spots — areas for improvement that we are not even aware of.”

THE CONTEST

We’d like to hear your coaching tips.  Provide a short tip to other small business owners for how to successfully coach:

  • new employees or existing employees
  • business associates
  • clients

Any kind of coaching tip in a business context or setting is eligible.  Any approach to coaching that has worked well for you is eligible.

How to enter:  Just leave a comment below with your coaching tip (and your Twitter username) by the end of day on April 5, 2012.  Our team of BizSugar moderators will pick the tip that resonates best.

The Prize:  The winner will receive a $100 gift card to Amazon!

The owner of this site has an advertising relationship with Business on Main.

38 Responses to “Small Business Coaching Tips #Contest”


  1. Jen says:

    Figure out what type of learner the person you are trying to coach is. Working in a style that meshes with the coachee will produce top results. Treat it more like a partnership too, you may learn from them as well!

  2. Laura says:

    Listen to your client. Listen listen listen…:o) Figure out what motivates her. Move forward according to what she wants & needs & use motivation that meshes with her style & personality. :o)

  3. My advice to a business associate:

    “If you help enough people get what they want, you will always have what you want.” ~Ashley Neal

    Find a way to be a problem solver. Ask probing questions and listen, and I really mean LISTEN to the feedback that you receive. Take that information and provide the best solutions to the problem. Really commit yourself to helping the buyer get what he/she wants and do this often with all of your clients and you’ll always have what you want.

    @smallbizatlanta (Twitter)

  4. Break the “buts” up into pieces that make sense for the client. If a client believes there “may” be an opportunity but it pulls their time and energy away from what really matters – break the “buts” into specific examples of where their goals really are vs. what “may” be an opportunity and actually ends up draining their energy.

    @carrienardini

  5. The very first step, is to want your customer’s success as much as he wants it. When you have this mindset, you will coach and behave as if you are a stakeholder in his business. This is how he will see how much you care ~ once he knows how much you care, he will listen.

  6. I’d say don’t bite off more than you can chew. We work with a lot of small business owners–real estate agents, small business owners, home service providers. These men and women are working hard to keep their customers happy, at the same time, reach out to new ones. When it comes to finding new customers, we suggest starting a small, targeted campaign and if that’s successful, move on from there. In other words, don’t pull a marketing list and expect to call 5,000 consumers, commit rather to 10-20 a day and go from there.

    Block your schedule, tell your co-workers and try to stay consistent. Same thing with a direct mail and even a social media campaign.

    And be sure to track what’s working. If telemarketing, what’s the right scripting? If direct mail, what’s the perfect postcard? For email, what subject line had the best open rate? Be sure to test and track to see what’s most effective. Then do more of that.

    1. By the way…my twitter name is @loraleau and work is @coleinformation.

  7. Leah says:

    Don’t make it about you. It’s about the client and what they need. So often I hear people recite their credentials to prospective clines. Find out what their goals are first and focus on that. You are only there to help them.

  8. Be a synergistically-oriented leader. You can’t drag people along behind you or heave them ahead of you if they don’t share the same goals. Look for consensus in terms of energy and motivation–when you see the opportunity to take action, coach your heart out to help your employees/clients reach their maximum potential! Using synergy will be much more effective than trying to push or pull inappropriately.

  9. The first question I ask when beginning a coaching relationship is: Where do you hope to see yourself at the end of the day, the week, the month, the year…. your career? Once they acknowledge where they want to go, we can get down to how to get them there.

  10. @vidcdk says:

    My approach is to strive, not for people to learn what I am teaching, but for them to internalize and apply it.

    Therefore (and because I work in cross cultural environment)
    My students have to take the knowledge, and apply it as a part of the coaching.

    This tests their understanding, and their thinking, and usually speaks volume of where to brush up. It also ensures that it is not just useless knowledge, but that they can take it with them. It makes for great feedback.

  11. If you want to influence a person’s behavior whether they are an employee, customer, or associate; you need to understand WHY they might want to do what you’re encouraging them to do. Too many people assume they know what motivates another and this is often why communication breaks down. You can actually have a conversation about why. It’s tricky to do without sounding dorky but it can be done.

    My coaching tip #1 is understand the why before you coach about the how.

    Coaching tip #2 is realize (and communicate) that the other person is free to do whatever they want with your advice. Because they are. There will be consequences to whatever choice they make – good or bad. But never forget they have the choice.

  12. I think flexibility is essential in business. Adaptation is an important characteristic of a leader because business goes through constant change. :)

  13. Isabelle says:

    My advice:

    Entrepreneurs…take the time to work “on” your business, not just “in” your business.

  14. David Manney says:

    Build on the successes, use mistakes as learning moments. We learn more from correcting our mistakes than anything else, including textbooks, advice, etc.

    Point out mistakes with respect. Don’t act condescending, when you see a mistake, make sure it’s an objective opinion, keep your likes/dislikes out of the occasion.

    Most important, smile! I find coaching is so much easier if you are approachable.

  15. joewon says:

    Remember always stay humble and positive!

  16. The one skill that is vital is adaptability, because the only constant is CHANGE. Organizational Leadership guru Peter Senge has even identified ‘learning organizations’ as being adept in adaptability: the more adaptabe a firm, the more of a competitive advantage it has. Even history has shown that the Roman Empire fell because it was unable to adapt. Finally, Darwin’s notion of evolution and ‘survival of the fittest’ essentially acknowledges that the one who adapts best will be the survivor. What are key therefore include folks being comfortable with adapting to CHANGE, folks taking advantage of Changes, folks utilizing unconventional approaches/viewpoints/paradigms, and more importantly for folks to become the Change-Agents (i.e. motivators, groundbreakers, pioneers, founders, etc).

  17. Figure out what type of learner the person you are trying to coach is. Working in a style that meshes with the coachee will produce top results. Treat it more like a partnership too, you may learn from them as well!

  18. Coming from both sides of the coaching relationship, the one tip I would offer coaches is to be in the moment. You’re coaching a person, not just an entrepreneur, small business owner or executive. Seek to understand his or her emotions as well as the rationale behind the topic at hand. Coaching is best when it is an intimate experience.

  19. Whether coaching employees/peers in new tasks or clients in a new relationship, it’s vital to establish clear parameters of what they will learn and what outcomes to expect at the very beginning. Stopping here to ask questions of the person being coached. LISTEN to see where they may have anxiety, areas where they may need extra coaching, or where your expectations don’t align, allows you to tailor your coaching to each individual. This sets a natural agenda that is customized, yet also consistent from person to person. As a small business we don’t have time to keep recreating the wheel, but we do have to build upon our competitive advantage to be nimble and responsive to individuals in every part of our business!

  20. Focuse on strengths not weaknesses. We are all better at somethings and not so good at other thinkgs. The key to being successful is maxamizing our strenghts!

    Have new and existing employees take Strengths Quest (http://www.strengthsquest.com/home.aspx) then post the results outside of people cubes and offices. This is great because it tells the individuals about their learning styles and strengths and posting it tells their co-workers.

  21. To be a good coach, it is important to remember that each client is an individual.

    Regardless of how many times you’ve “corrected a particular type of issue” with your other clients, this is the first time this new client is working with you to resolve the issue (definitely don’t try to skip ahead – help them through the process step by step)…

    Also, what worked for one client may not work for another; so, create a road map to organize yourself, draw upon your knowledge of best practices, but above all strive to understand your client’s situation on a personal level and know when to throw out that old plan. Every time you help a client, the information you share/insight you provide should be specifically tailored according to that client’s unique situation.

  22. Globial says:

    -Let your employees share their thoughts and opinions on a certain project as its always good to view a perspective from different angles.

    -Create a friendly environment. It increases the creativity of employees

  23. My biggest tip first and foremost when speaking with a client is to work with them on gaining clarity and focus in their business. Often people think they know what they want (now and in the future) but can’t clearly articulate it and don’t know HOW to get it. This causes frustration and lack of progress.

    This is do to lack of clarity in their message, what they offer and whom they offer it to. Once you are clear on this you can then focus all your efforts and immerse yourself in your business using these three key elements as the foundation.

    Another key component is WHY having a successful business is important. Getting to the emotional component that allows them to connect to their message is going to be very important in helping them to battle through the challenges when they come up.

  24. Martin Skakala says:

    Get done only what matters; equity is providing value to your clients/consumers through people (staff).
    At the end of the day/month/year ask how you well you served all three of these groups, and how better they could be served in future.
    If it’s tough to find solutions en route get going by generating valuable questions & imagine you are sole owner the business you work for. Do not overestimate the value of business theory but at the same time do not underestimate hands on experience of your’s & your team.

  25. A great way to coach new employees is to help them get a sense of accomplishment, quickly. Help them complete a task, accomplish something meaningful, or contribute concretely within their first week at their new job. This will provided them with much-needed confidence in their abilities, during the typically stressful first few days, and give them an early momentum!

    -Amit

  26. All great coaching tips inspire us to ACT. Action is key to success. My coaching tip is easily remembered by the A.C.T. acronym.

    A is for Anticipate the Future Trends. When a small business owner is able to study his/her industry and anticipate the trends, then the business owner can take action to leverage opportunities and plan specific strategies.

    C is for Customer Super Service. Every business needs customers and when business serve their customers with a “super service” way, then customers remain loyal and are the stimulus for business growth and product/service innovation.

    T is for Teamwork. All businesses must build excited and dedicated team leaders who are laser focused on building and developing team members who live, breathe and push the business brand to the next level.

    So for sucessful businesses it’s all about Anticipating the future trends, Customer Super Service that stimulates customer loyalty and Teamwork that drives leadership development in the business.

    All businesses must ACT!

  27. Julian says:

    I feel online video provides small businesses with a effective (both time & cost) channel for training both staff and customers alike.There are various tools available that will record your screen,camtasia studio being just 1.This enables small businesses to create easy to follow step by step training videos for both staff and customers alike.Videos can be either be hosted online with something like amazon s3.Alternatively a DVD can be created using something like kunaki.A online test/ questionnaire could be created to test those on what they have learned. For those that like to learn by reading pdf manuals can be easily created and again made available for online. The benefit of this means employees and customers. an learn at a time and place of their choosing.
    Julian
    impactlocalmktg

  28. For employee interaction a CEO should: Listen, evolve and then guide. The idea is that a CEO must always and firstly listen to their employee. Really listen. Secondly, ask questions. These are intended to help clarify the employee’s comments but also to subtly evolve the employee’s thinking towards other options and extended considerations. Lastly, when all is said and done, the CEO does NOT tell the employee what to do next, they guide them. They remind the employee of the ultimate goal or objective and nudge them towards that end state.

  29. Ino Canete (@inocanete) says:

    Offer what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell. Too often, people jump into a business built around a product or service they think will be successful, rather than one that is already proven to have a market.

    What do I mean?

    Instead of creating and selling a new sports shoe with the latest trendy design and materials, you’d be much better off from a business perspective to focus on shoe category generally (a proven category because which people buy shoes every day) and then focus more specifically on the niche of high performance sports shoes, (which you may even sell in a section of a shoe retail outlet). Better to have a small slice of a large category than a large slice of no market at all. Lastly, keep the faith…Hard work, dedication, respect and love from family and friends goes a long way.

  30. Model gratitude, express appreciation, say thank you and mean it.

  31. Lou W. says:

    A 110% effort to make sure something goes right the first time, is always going to be less than a 70% effort that has to be done twice.

    @LTWierenga

  32. Write well formed sentences and professionally crafted email correspondence when it comes to coaching clients. Meeting with clients in person is preferred but when you can’t, make sure your emails are proof read at least twice.

  33. Roxanne says:

    Very interesting! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to check on this earlier. I would like to take part on this one and it looks so fun. Oh well, I guess I’ll check on this regularly from now on. More success! This post serves as good information as well. Thanks!

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