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Is Your B.S. Detector Working?

How do you handle a client’s B.S. in your coaching practice? 

It’s no surprise that Thomas once said having a “sensitive B.S. detector” was one of the most important factors in having a coaching practice that stood out powerfully from the rest.

Why?

Because it’s often the self-made excuses, inconsistencies or sheer B.S. that hold our clients back from having the lifestyle or business they desire.  It takes a true professional to not only pick up on this, but to call it out in such a way that the client moves into a place of clarity….not denial or defensiveness.

Here’s a specific example of how Thomas dealt with putrid B.S. in the room:

“I am NOT one to call the client on their b.s. It’s my view that that approach is a power trip and not professional. However, I can/do detect inconsistencies in what the client is saying (and/or how they are saying it) and I do point those out, gently, simply, easily, fearlessly and in what’s called a “charge neutral” tone, meaning there’s no “charge” to my voice. It’s a clean communication. And it’s part of what the client is paying me for. Because most clients don’t even know when they are b.s.’ing and they APPRECIATE your asking for a clarification.

As a coach gains experience, they hear the subtle inconsistencies or things that just don’t ring true. And, the coach who has the Edge brings this up within sixty seconds of hearing it. Not as a confrontive challenge (unsophisticated, unseemly, amateurish) but rather as a simple, shared observation or question. Just doing this will advance the relationship you have with your client, which leads to more honest communication and faster results.”

Have you noticed similar breakthroughs with your coaching clients when you learned how to quickly and neutrally address their B.S.?  Or do you still feel awkward and uncomfortable bringing such inconsistencies to light?

Please leave your personal experience with us here on the blog…and as always, let us know how the timeless words of Thomas still continue to impact your life today.

Are you giving clients what they REALLY want?

Many coaches believe that clients need them to dominate the conversation and forcefully plow through the thickets ahead.

There’s certainly a time and a place for that, but we as coaches also must be sensitive to our client’s needs to be heard.

Some of your client’s most profound shifts may come as a result of letting them walk through their own concerns, frustrations and roadblocks as you stand supportively by their side.

When asked what were the top things he wished he knew early on as a coach, Thomas Leonard replied:

All the client needs much of the time is to be ‘heard

It is OK to just be with the client for a while and say absolutely nothing.

Your value as a coach is not diminished by silence. The appropriate time will come for you to interject and bring more clarity or guidance to the situation.

Action Plan: When coaching, be still.  Give your client a chance to talk.  Let them hear, out of their own mouth, what’s holding them back or what they are still using as excuses.

Give them the assurance of knowing they can speak openly and honestly without the fear of dismissal or judgment.

What are your thoughts on allowing clients to be “heard”?  Is this a struggle for you?  Do you agree with Thomas on the importance of this?  Please leave your insight in the comments section below.

Time to Seek Professional Help?

Do you need professional help? Help in whatever key area of life where you find yourself struggling, frustrated or overwhelmed?

Here’s what Thomas described as the worst time of his life: “Living out of my car for 3 weeks, because I was dead broke and too proud to ask for help.”

Did you catch that last part? He was too proud to ask for help.

Fortunately he did break down and ask (as you may need to now, in an unexpected area, if you think about it) and here’s what he had to say about the experience:

“Big life transitions can be overwhelming to accomplish on your own.

There is no shame in asking for help from your friends, relatives, or from a coach. In fact, enough of the right kind of support can make a seemingly difficult transition, relatively easy.

I’ve had a lot of help in making a couple of big transitions in my life. Being a former lone-ranger, asking for and accepting help from others was difficult at first, but really nice once I got used to it. Now I wouldn’t think of starting a major project or making a big change without relying heavily on my support system of close and loving friends, and my coach.

Do whatever is necessary to make change easy on you. You’re worth it.”

Where could you use some help today? Do you need support in your business? More help around the house? Financial advice? Quit burying your head in the sand and reach out for the help you need. Identify one place that you could use some help and take steps to fill the void this week.

Finally, post in the comments what you plan to do to help yourself (accountability is key to staying on track!) or the steps you personally took to overcome this same problem. Let’s lean on each other and get the help we need.

Feature Article | 5 Ways to Add Value, For the Sheer Joy of It

To make money in business, you need to add value to customers. And to have a very attractive life, adding value is, of course, key. In this Top 5 List, you’ll learn how to add value to others in ways that can also bring you joy.

In fact, the aspect of the practice of adding value which will make you most attractive is the joy that you experience in doing so, not the quantity or quality of the value you are adding. Big difference. The bees do it right.

They do their thing, going from flower to flower collecting pollen as they go. The byproduct/value being added? Pollination of the trees and flowers. Often, the best value is the byproduct to others of what you do for joy.

1. Find out what the other person places a high value on.

Everybody has their own opinion as to what adds value to their life. Take the time to ask and get to know what other people define as value.

You may not want to package or deliver what you have to fit their exact description, but the process of being open will add value to you because it will sensitize yourself to what matters to others. With this expanded perspective comes wisdom.

2. Discover what brings you joy and do lots of that.

Very few people know what brings them joy, but when they find out, they become more attractive to themselves. What does bring you joy? Is it intellectual pursuits? Giving to others? Solving problems? Designing something?

Usually when you’re expressing your values, you’ll feel joy. When you experience joy, you’re probably adding a lot of value to others at virtually no cost to yourself.

3. Find ways to broadcast/share what you have/know, without a cost to yourself.

Thanks to the Internet and electronic distribution of information, you can add lots of value to others, without it costing you any extra time or money. Set up a weekly e-newsletter, teach a TeleClass, trainer trainers/teachers, write a book, create audiotapes.

These are all ways to increase the distribution of what you know, which add value all along the way.

4. Stop trying to sell, convince, enroll or hype yourself or what you offer.

Part of the process of becoming more attractive is to stop pushing yourself or what you offer onto others. Adding value usually occurs least expensively to both parties when one party takes it from ‘your doorstep’ instead of you knocking on their door. It’s a pretty big change in style, but few people who are pushing hard experience joy.

So, stop, and find a better way to make your business work or reach your goals.

5. Help others create tremendous value from what you provide; instead of just giving them more value.

You can overwhelm your customers and potential customers with too much value, just as you can fill your mouth so full with food that it’s hard to chew. So, one way to add more value without adding a thing is to show your customers/potential customers how to make the most of what you’ve got.

Giving them instructions, coaching them, staying with them as they use your product or service, challenging them to invent new ways to use it, etc., are all ways for more value to be created without you having to give more product.

Which one of these points most resonates with you?  How do you personally add value in your business?  Please post your comments here.

Environments – The Elements of an Ecosystem (Excerpted from the 15 Coaching Proficiencies Book – by Thomas Leonard)

Success becomes sustainable when there are environments and fail safe structures which support it. After all, who wants to rely on fortitude and willpower to get things done or to develop oneself?

Designing and installing these environments results in an entrepreneurial ecosystem that sustains your thought leadership for the long term.

Within a given ecosystem, there are many sub-elements which we can call environments which we can design.

Thomas Leonard taught intensively about designing supportive environments in a way that’s very useful for thought leaders.

Key Points/Topics:

1. Environment as partners.

This is a paradigm shift for most people. Your environments can be designed to make things easier for you, to automate processes – whether it be actions, mental processes, or personal habits. Being deliberate about your environments creates a relationship with them – which allows them to support and sustain you in reaching your goals. By creating a relationship with your environments they become much more then tools.

2. Almost anything can be an environment.

You might have to introduce this notion slowly since not many people think actively about their many environments. For example, people, technological systems, the television, office space, pets, the Wealthy Leader training, special interest groups, etc.

3. Environments vs. Self-Reliance.

Relying on willpower to get things done can be done – often at the cost of physical or mental strain and stress if relied on too long. Environments, on the other hand, reduce the stress by setting things up to get done more easily, with less effort.

4. Environments create safety.

Environments do this in two ways. First, they are based on fail-safe structures that provide certainty and reduce stress for the client. Second, by focusing on designing environments, it takes the pressure off us to have to be a certain way – changing the environment to fit them vs. changing themselves to fit the environment. This eliminates, or at least reduce, self-judgment.

You have a right to …

… perfect environments for you.

… to imagine your environments as you wish.

… to craft and recraft your environments.

Environments work as a …
… system so that you don’t have to do all the thinking and working.

… filter so that you can deal with smaller amounts of information or distractions.

… solution to the overwhelm of information you can experience.

Environments naturally …

… evolve you. They keep you responding and growing even when you don’t want to.

… develop. You will re-engineer your environments as your needs and capabilities change.

… support you. They help you do more work with less effort and attention.

Please share – which of these ecosystem elements will you integrate into your environment?

What are some questions you can use to engage in provocative conversations?

I hear what you’re saying. You are a responsible person but you feel trapped and with no options. And I’m just wondering, why are you having any problems at all in your life?

2. What do you think the real truth is here?

3. Are you sure about that? I have a sense that there’s something more. Are you sure it’s about …(i.e. losing someone or something or approval)

4. Is this the kind of life you want to have?

How Do You Learn About Engaging in Provocative Conversations?

Practice the three sets of questions; the duh, the deep and the doubting.

Listen to others in their conversations. See if you can pick these questions out in the dialogue.

Try NOT using these types of questions and watch how boring things can get!

Ask yourself the questions around your own life. Is your life problem free? Why not? Great coaches walk their talk.

What Mistakes do coaches make with engaging in provocative conversations?

1. They stay on the surface accepting their client stories at face value.

They are not careful about being seduced to just follow where the client wants to go, thinking they are letting the client appropriately “set” the agenda. They may actually be letting the client lead them astray.

2. They fear asking deep questions.

They are concerned about prying into private areas. They don’t realize that their job is to navigate with curiosity so that the client can see more truth and do something about the truth if they choose to.

3. They don’t have a relationship with problem free living

Since they are not on a path to problem free living they don’t know how to talk about it. Even if you are not there yet, your process will be highly valuable to your clients.

4. They misunderstand the distinction between provoke and evoke.

Consequently their sessions focus on evoking more of the client story rather than provoking them to see more and want more for themselves.

How will you engage with provocative conversations in your coaching?  Share with us by leaving your comments below.

So What Does “Use Technology Relentlessly” Mean?

3Example #1: Be on the lookout for new technology. Be willing to try it at low risk, and low cost. Hone your instincts for new tools that will last. Claim territory using that new technology.

Example #2: Bend technology to service your market. Don’t just be a user. Be someone who helps others become users. As the saying goes, the people who succeeded most during the gold rush were the ones who manufactured and sold gold pans and scales.

Example #3: Make technology relevant. As a business strategy, no matter what market you’re in, if you can put a human face of technology, you will stand out. Demos, examples, stories, endorsements by people who are techno-phobes, are all examples of exactly HOW to use technology relentlessly in support of your leadership position in the market.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of ways in which we used technology relentlessly to build a thriving multi-million dollar business in the coaching field.

Still today, there are new technologies that certain coaches are maximizing to stand out in their fields.

The 24-hour coaching website that makes use of online chat windows to provide just in time coaching for executives being laid off.

The daily accountability website that enables academics to complete their dissertations.

The coaching-by-cell phone services being offered to Generation Y and younger, by career coaches.

What exotic, or more mundane, yet unleveraged technology is applicable to your market?

First things first, ask…

Coaching Question #1: What technology does your market naturally use?

Coaching Question #2: In what way can you package your coaching services to leverage those tools?

Coaching Question #3: What tools are other million- dollar coaching businesses using in their markets, that can cross-over to yours?

These are the first three question we invite you to ask, in order to begin to apply this strategy.

Exciting, isn’t it? We have to agree, which is why it’s the first out of 12 strategies in the Thomas Leonard Success Strategies Program. It was one of the signature ways Thomas looked at the world, and once you’ve caught that mentality, it is hard to slough off.

Because there’s more to this than something to do. It’s a mindset shift and affects how you look at technology. Not just as a shiny piece of tin foil that distracts you from your main task – to make money and meaning sustainably as a coach.

No, embracing this mindset shift will allow you to integrate the right pieces of technology into your bottom-line focused business strategy. That’s even more exciting, to me.

Your market and your clients – more of them than you perhaps imagine – are waiting. And we hope you’ll seize the moment to think through this strategy for yourself.

Add your thoughts and comments below.

New Release | A Japanese Language Edition of 52 Thomas Leonard Quotations

As part of a multiple-language project, we’re excited to release this completely no-fee ebook for coaches and non-coaches.

Thanks too, to the Japanese Coaching community for their willingness to help us with the perfect Japanese title. Once it’s settled, the appropriate English translation and title will be placed on t he above cover.

Got a language you want to help translate? Interested in a print version of the above? Hit reply to let us know – we don’t have unlimited amounts of time, but if you’re interested in contributing, we’re interested in hearing.

Click here to claim your copy now.

Thanks!

Happy Birthday, Thomas! The 2nd Annual Commemorative Birthday Gathering Held By Coaches in Japan

On Saturday, July 30, 2010, 25 coaches gathered in Yokohama, Japan for an afternoon of celebration on the occasion of Thomas Leonard’s birthday.

As part of the festivities, they studied the first section of the Full Practice 100 materials, listened to a pre-recorded audio message from Mentor Coach Andrea J. Lee former General Manager of Thomas Leonard’s team, and enjoyed birthday cake.

The depth of friendship, love and respect toward Thomas remains very strong in Japan, and even though the economic climate has made it challenging to succeed especially in the last few years, enthusiasm and commitment levels to the coaching profession remain high.

As Global License Holder of Thomas Leonard’s intellectual property, we were excited to launch the Japanese edition of 52 of Thomas’ quotations in ebook format at this party.

Coach Leslie Nielsen was instrumental in making this brand new publication possible through her dedicated translation, interpretation, and patience.

On behalf of Thomas, a big thank you to Leslie-san, and the many coaches in Japan who continue to create change for good.

Click here to check out the Japanese publication now.

Lesson #19 How do you coach a first time business owner who is completely over his/her head?

Given almost no one had Entrepreneurism 101 or Running a Small Business in high school or college, it is completely natural for business owners to get in over their heads from time to time.

Here’s how you can help.

index_clip_image001Where ignorance and optimism meet, arrogance follows.

The great part of entrepreneurs is that they are quite optimistic, naturally driven and open to learning by doing.  The downside of entrepreneurs is arrogance (meaning that they overestimate their ability to handle things well, or they can’t collaborate/learn essential things until it’s too late).

index_clip_image001Entrepreneurs are different than you and I.

Most entrepreneurs are idea people and in some cases, idea-chasing people.  Ideas breed opportunities and opportunities breed ideas.  A dizzying loop if you’re not an entrepreneur yourself.  Logic, linear planning, management and follow through are not generally the gifts of the entrepreneur.  The wise ones outsource these functions or have been lucky enough to attract folks who can handle the entrepreneur’s ways.

index_clip_image001Entrepreneurs are prone to get in over their heads financially.

This again, because they are naturally optimistic if not dreamers.  That is their function in life.  Entrepreneurs are key to what drives innovation in many countries and are the backbone of business creativity in the U.S.  Remember, entrepreneurs have a different relationship with risk than you or I.  To them, it’s a greater failure to have not tried their best, even if the project/business didn’t make a lot of financial sense to the accountants of the world.  Entrepreneurs see so much that could and should work out.  And, on the downside, entrepreneurs are often ahead of the marketplace or get more excited about the idea/product/service/opportunity than they do about testing it out to make sure enough people will actually buy it, and buy it quickly and often enough to keep them in business.

index_clip_image001How to coach the entrepreneur when they get in over their head.

There are two types of “in over their head.”

The first type is when they are bouncing around from idea to idea or business project to business project.  What they most need is to experience some modicum of success.  Without enough people buying their product/service, the entrepreneur loses faith in themselves and to compensate, comes up with another ‘great idea.’  And the cycle can continue until the deep hurt kicks in.

The second type is the entrepreneur who’s in trouble but can’t admit or or can’t admit all of it.  And believe me, by the time the entrepreneur even hints to you that they are in trouble, they are likely days away from a financial crisis.

What I’ve found that can work in these situation are a combination of…

index_clip_image002 1. Get their attention.

It’s not easy to get the attention of an entrepreneur who is in panic mode.  They tend to dominate their surroundings as a defense mechanism.  Rather than clamor for their attention, ask “Bob, how can I get your attention?”  It works.

index_clip_image0022. Help them switch their focus.

From idea/revenue/project/opportunity to the actual customers. Not an easy shift at first, but once made, the entrepreneur often thrives on this new focus.  They apply their creativity to fixing customer and product/service problems.  It also keeps them out of idea mischief for a while.

index_clip_image0023. Be very, very positive and encouraging.

Entrepreneurs are like kids; even when they mess up, they need love and encouragement.  You can be highly positive and encouraging and still ‘force’ the entrepreneur to face the facts and get to work to solve their problems.  But whatever you do, don’t b.s. them.  They are acutely aware of b.s. given they are often on the broadcasting side of that.

index_clip_image0024. Ask them to sort out the problem and come up with a solution.

I’m all for being direct with clients, but entrepreneurs seem to do better when you ask them to come up with their own solutions.  I’ve also found it works really well to challenge the entrepreneur to solve the problem and then some within 30 days.  They LOVE a challenge.  Give them one.

index_clip_image0025. Help the entrepreneur to honestly and accurately define the problem.

Entrepreneurs have tons of ‘reasons’ (aka excuses) for why things aren’t going the way they should be going.  I’ve found it helpful to push/put heads your together and figure out the real source of the current problem/stress/mess.  It’s usually one of these 5 things.

1. The entrepreneur is too idea/opportunity-based and isn’t customer focused enough.

2. The entrepreneur’s overhead or variable costs structure is too high.

3. The entrepreneur is impatient/overly optimistic about sales/revenue.

4. The entrepreneur’s lifestyle is too expensive, causing performance pressure.

5. The entrepreneur isn’t going deep enough with one business or product and instead is scratching the surface of several opportunities, doing none of them justice.  The real revenue and high profits occur when you do deep, not shallow.

6. The entrepreneur doesn’t know how to market or sell well enough, or he/she hasn’t outsourced this function.

7. The entrepreneur is trying to sell the wrong product/service.  It’s truly hopeless and the plug should be pulled.

I hope this was helpful.

Thomas

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