Volume 8 Number 11 | November 2018
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I’ve had clients tell me what they believe they need (which is, actually, merely what they want). They are fond of saying that what’s needed is a month of coaching, or a two-day strategy retreat, or a workshop on priority setting.
My coaching clients occasionally argue with me about my process and technique. Yet they came to me for coaching, they’re reading my books and I’m not reading theirs, and they’re the ones with the income and labor troubles.
Here’s an analogy for all of this: People sit around talking about “cash flow” issues. Yet they don’t have cash flow issues, they have marketing issues. In other words, they’re not generating enough cash! Yet they’re focusing on the wrong end.
It’s up to you and me to tell them that.
Often, our first job is to disabuse the buyer of what he or she is convinced is the issue and the resolution to that issue. Too many of us see “easy” money by complying instead of arguing, so we create a strategy retreat or coaching relationship that, ultimately, accomplishes nothing.
Meaning that we’re blamed for poor performance. Our poor performance wasn’t in the delivery but rather in accepting an inappropriate and ineffective assignment.
I’ve been asked to coach a star performer about whom other employees are complaining. I have to point out to the buyer that it’s the complainers who are the problem—they’re not producing as much as the star and are trying to undermine him or her.
How prepared are you to confront buyers, to point out that their understanding and approach to the issue are incorrect? This might seem uncomfortable, but it’s a key element of success and far less pain than being perceived as having failed in some incorrect attempt favored by the buyer.
Our job is to improve the client’s condition. The buyer has to be better off after we leave. If you keep that in mind, you need to create the right mindset on both your parts before you even begin.
© Alan Weiss 2018
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