10 Things Distinguishing Magnificent Coaches and Mentors from Poor Ones - dummies

10 Things Distinguishing Magnificent Coaches and Mentors from Poor Ones

By Marie Taylor, Steve Crabb

Set the same magnificent standards for your coaching practice as you would for customer service, and you will have a full coaching diary with clients you want who pay you well and refer you to others.

Customer service comes in two varieties: great or poor. There’s nothing in between. Poor customer service either fails to do its job or simply does its job. Magnificent customer service does its job so well that the customer feels valued, is grateful for the experience and becomes a raving lifelong customer who is happy to refer to their network.

Here are ten things to apply to your coaching and mentoring practice that will have you standing head and shoulders above the competition.

  • Employ a coach or mentor yourself. Imagine a dentist or doctor who doesn’t have his own doctor or dentist. This would speak volumes about how little he valued his own profession. Coaching is no different. Work with the best coach (or coaches) you can find and afford. If you can’t afford one, that’s even more reason to recruit a coach. A magnificent coach will hold you accountable and bring a new dimension to what you do.

  • Constantly work on yourself. Personal growth and development never end. Neither you nor your clients will ever get close to realising your potential; there is always more work to do. Embrace this approach and read the books in your library, do the techniques, join the seminars. Practice doesn’t make perfect – it makes you better at what you do.

  • Be a subject specialist. Understand the world of business in the area you coach in broad terms, and understand how that particular type of business functions. If working with startups, understand what is important to them and what their key challenges are. Know your way around the appropriate trade press where our clients’ business and competition are featured. Get your strategic toolkit in order and have tools to hand that can support your clients’ thinking in the moment

  • Have a wide range of coaching models to draw on. Never be limited by who you have trained with; learn other approaches. Keep filling up the toolkit and master using the tools.

    The tools you use should be fit for purpose for your clients, not simply the latest coaching or trending fad or the favourite tool that you use day in and day out.

  • Exceed your client expectations. Give your clients a wow experience. Go the extra mile. Send them articles, features and things of interest that relate to their current situation or context. Phone them at 6 a.m. and get them out of bed to see if they’ve done their coaching assignment. Be willing to do more for them than they will for themselves. Your role is to serve them throughout the period of coaching, not just in their coaching session.

  • Don’t take on too many clients. Come to each coaching session fresh and alert, and work as if it’s the most important session ever. If you take on too many clients, you run the risk of getting stale and wearing yourself out. It also means you aren’t charging enough. Charge more and work less.

  • Learn to say no thanks. Walk away from work that doesn’t meet your values. Recognise when you or others are wasting your time. Trust your instincts on this one; if it feels wrong, it is. Be willing to say no and be happy with that decision.

  • Pay other people to run and deliver the aspects of your practice. You may be great at accounts and a whiz with websites, but is it really the best use of your time? Think of the cost of you doing admin as opposed to earning a coaching fee. If the fee performance is the same, then you’re not charging enough. Invest your time in where you offer the most value – coaching.

  • Be prepared to sack a client. An unwilling client is a drain on you and potentially your reputation. You want clients who will get results and are motivated to get them. One approach is to tell your clients the following at the beginning of your relationship:

    ‘I have more faith in you than you probably do in yourself at this moment. I also have a great reputation for my clients getting results, and you will not be the first to ruin this. So let’s be clear on a few ground rules: Firstly no snivelling, whining or complaining. Secondly no playing small; I expect a commitment to the coaching programme. Thirdly there will be things for you to do, and I won’t be doing them for you. Finally my approach is that my clients all change or one of us will die trying – and it won’t be me. Do you understand?”

    Of course, all of this is delivered with a smile. If the potential client can’t live by those rules, it’s best to part ways.

  • Take care of your own health and day-to-day needs. When the air pressure of an aircraft drops, the oxygen masks fall and you’re instructed to ‘fit your own mask on before assisting others’. Coaching is the same. Care for your needs first before assisting others. A frazzled, nose-wiping, coughing coach is no fun for a client. Learn to manage your own vitality with vitamins, yoga, meditation, self-hypnosis or whatever works for you.