Coaching skills – real life reminders

We run many coaching  programmes and sometimes real life reminds you of how relevant and important some of our frameworks and ideas are in practice.

 Example 1 

I was chatting to a friend who asked how business is for DTC. I was enthusiastic and also mentioned we had been on the receiving end of a couple of last minute cancellations recently which are always annoying. In our business that represents loss of earnings and it is difficult to replace the lost income at short notice. I also happened to mention that we don’t charge cancellation fees.

The rant that followed was interesting. They spent 5 minutes lecturing me on the importance of clear contracts and the need for clear guidelines for cancellations. They fell just short of marching me to a lawyer to draw up revised terms of business that clearly outlined the penalties for last minute changes.

I was struck by how many questions a good coach might ask instead of the outpouring of unsought advice. Here are a few of the ones I thought of:

  •  How important is the customer to you?
  • How much business do you have with them in the future?
  • How much business have they given you in the past?
  • What is the impact of the cancellation?
  • Why do you choose not to apply cancellation charges?
  • How do you feel?
  • How do you think the customer feels?
  • What is your relationship with the client?
  • Why did you get this last minute cancellations?
  • What  benefits do you gain from not charging cancellation fees?
  • What problems does this cause you?
  • What would you change?

It reminds me of one of the things we point out on the course. Beware of giving unsought advice because in most instances. It doesn’t work. Try listening instead.

Oh and in case you were wondering, our policy on cancellations remains in place.

 Example 2

I was talking to my daughter (aged 9) about friends at school. I had met a parent at an open evening who mentioned that her son had joined her class. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: I met someone at parents evening that said her son is in your class. Do you have anyone new in your class?

Sophie: No we don’t have any new people in the class.

Me: That’s odd because I am sure she said that a new boy has joined your class. He is called Gabriel.

Sophie: We do have a boy called Gabriel but he isn’t new

Me:  Oh OK. So when did Gabriel join you.

Sophie: At the start of term in September (about 6 weeks ago)

A simple reminder of the need for coaches everywhere to explore different ‘maps of the world’ . We may understand the language but the same words mean such different things to different people. As we say on the course, words like ‘quite old’ ‘urgent’, priority’ busy’ have many meanings and interpretations. Make sure you notice words like this and ask questions to explore their meanings for the person you are talking to. Don’t make assumptions that you are on the same wavelength.

 Music in the office

We are playing the best album we have bought for some time in the Office this week. The new album by London Grammar called ‘If You Wait’ is just sublime. It comes highly recommended to just about anyone.