October 04, 2005
21 people every coach should know - AND be known by
Now, I've been thinking a lot about this "Coaches are elders in the community" idea. And I came up with a list of 21 people every coach should know - AND be known by - in order to be a leader in the community. AND why they care about coaching.
Remember the old adage: It's not what you know, It's who you know? Well it's not accurate!! It's not what you know, It's not who you know, It's who knows what you know! (think about that one for a moment)
Here are 21 leaders in your town that need to know you!
The Mayor's chief of staff
Chairperson of City Councel
Head of the School Board
Head of the PTA/PTSA
High School Principal
The coach of the High School Football team
Business School Dean of nearest university
Business School leader for nearest community college
Chief of police
Chief of Fire Department
Owner of the local newspaper
Chief Editor of the local newspaper
General Manager of nearest local TV station
President of the local Chamber of Commerce
Head of the local Rotary
General Manager of the closest hospital or health center
The president of the local BNI chapter
The Branch manager of the largest local bank
The HR manager for the largest employer in town
The Minister(s) of the large faith-based organizations
These folks may not be ready to hire a coach, but they will definitely be interested in KNOWING a that there is a great coach in the community because they have a team. And people connect coaching with teamwork and individual performance. Here is why they are interested in coaching:
1) They are overwhelmed and facing tremendous stress and issues of personal productivity
2) They are responsible for so many people but they are feeling isolated and facing communication challenges
3) The feel that people don't listen to what they are saying
4) They have a lack of trust among team members
5) They are facing a lack of accountability and poor implementation of key initiatives
The key thing to remember is that they are just regular folks like you and me BUT they have particular challenges because of the positions they hold. At the same time, they have incredible energy for the vision they are living into. They have passion or they wouldn't be where they are. Find out what the key initiatives are and find a way to add value. You will gradually be known as a "go-to" person for helping people become high performers.
The key to becoming a community leader is to make yourself available and add value. Don't be shy about who you are and what you can offer. Coaching is a powerful skill - and you have it!
September 27, 2005
Spreading the bug – a case study
A few weeks back I wrote an article about marketing techniques which help you spread the word about what you do. One of the techniques that garnered the most attention was that of “spreading a virus.”
Made popular in Seth Godin’s Unleashing the Idea Virus and a hot topic of conversation amongst marketers everywhere, creating online “viruses” is a great way of helping your message reach a wider audience. If you ever played with the Subservient Chicken or listened to “Our Land” during the last US presidential election, then you’ve been hit by a virus. “Word of mouse” is increasingly becoming the way companies large and small reach you and captivate your imagination.
But the big question I got over and over again was, “Okay, but how do you do it? And do you need thousands of dollars to pull it off?” Answers ahead.
The Case Study:
Click here to see the sample: http://www.viralcasestudy.com
This is a simple web movie around women’s spirituality which I created as a way of garnering attention for my upcoming book and the supporting website.
Pre-released to a small list of people who have had direct experience of me (colleagues, readers of my blog, clients), within a day of its release it garnered a 30% sign-up rate for my new newsletter. The following day, 25% of the number who signed up on day 1 came aboard (a mix of people late in opening e-mail and new recipients). That in and of itself is impressive but consider this: in the two weeks following the initial announcement, I have had a subscription rate of 25% of the original number of subscribers per week without any additional effort.
What could you do with results like that?
So, let’s break it down. What are the key components in creating a successful viral campaign? Simple. Here they are:
Know your market
Know what would make a member of your target market moved enough (and moved could mean inspired, amused, shocked or any other emotion strong enough) to want to tell friends just like them “Hey, you’ve got to see this.” This takes a bit of savvy or digging. Don’t know? Ask. Researching the needs and wants of your target market is a smart idea anyway and it’s critical in launching a good viral campaign. My team of advisors (those who fit the target market I’m trying to reach) all gave me extensive feedback on the movie before it went live and the finished result is much better for it.
Script it as if you’re speaking to one person at a time
Always a smart idea in any marketing message. Because guess what? You are. Even if you reach thousands or even millions, it’s still always one person at a time.
Put a lot of yourself into it
I chose every single picture in the movie as well as the music. My all-time favorite line from a movie is in there. When I watch it, I feel at peace and connected to the message. This is important for a few reasons. First, you’ll have to experience your piece a LOT as you perfect it, so you want it to be something you won’t get sick of. Secondly, if you resonate with the piece completely, it’s likely to attract people who will resonate with you.
Pick your medium
This particular case study involves a web movie but there are many other options. Your imagination is your only limit. You can choose to send coupons for programs, e-cards, online games, quizzes, contests and much more. A great site for ideas on viral marketing campaigns is Marketing Sherpa. http://library.marketingsherpa.com/barrier.cfm?CID=2964 Their stuff is “for fee” but it’s worth it. The content is solid, tried and true. Be sure and check out their other viral marketing titles as well.
What’s your outcome?
Be sure you know what action you want the recipient to take and make it easy for them. In the women’s spirituality case study I link to above, the outcome is clear: sign up for the newsletter. Additionally, I want people to pass it on to other interested friends and colleagues, so I make it easy for them by providing those referral boxes at the bottom. Notice how the look and feel is kept consistent with the movie so people have a sense of continuity when they get to the final landing page.
Pick a great designer
Remember this will be the first impression many people will have of you so make it a good one. I worked with an amazing designer out of Australia who made the whole experience a breeze (you can find their contact info at the end of the movie on the newsletter sign-up page). You’d be amazed that you don’t need to break the bank to get a piece that garners you tons of attention.
Good luck and let me know how you do! I’m always happy to review inventive new techniques that coaches use.
Maria E. Andreu
August 26, 2005
A New Way to Coach
Fundamental yet fast-paced, Coaching for a New Age is the ideal introduction to the unique and highly effective CoachVille Coaching System. Led by our CEO Dave Buck, himself a master coach with a decade of coaching and business-building experience, this5-hour introduction to coaching gives you a great foundation. This is a perfect course for you if you're considering your coach training options or want to gain insight into what coaching is all about. Full of demos and question and answer.
June 07, 2005
Identity theft vs Identity Loss
In an article by Jonathan Krim, a Washington Post Staff Writer, he writes that "A unit of financial services giant Citigroup Inc. said yesterday that a box of computer tapes with account information for 3.9 million customers had been lost in shipment, exposing a vast new swath of Americans to the increased possibility of identity theft."
Let's face it...we are all vulnerable to identity theft. Every time we give out our social security number, or credit card number, or fill out a form online that includes our date of birth and mother's maiden name, or some other personal information, we open ourselves up for theft. A hassle and a pain to be sure, but that doesn't stop us.
Now lest you think I am about to rant on this topic...let me assure you that I am not. Instead, I am on a rant about identity loss. Because Identity theft just removes your financial indentity. But so many people have lost who they are.
That's right...identity loss...the condition wherein a person has lost her or himself to the roles that they play, or to the demands that society and responsbility apparently pose upon them. To the extent that they give up on who they really are: their dreams, their passions, their joy. All lost.
April 08, 2005
CV Member Services
Your CoachVille Member Services team is delighted to announce the debut of “A Home For Help”, the one-stop place to visit for complimentary help, support and information at CoachVille. Now, with one click of the “Help” button, you’re connected with the Member Services Team who is ready, willing and able to support you in every aspect of your participation with CoachVille.
Member Services is a must visit if you’re looking for:
- Someone to talk to
- Help locating something at CoachVille
- Someplace to report website troubles
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
- Advice on “where to start”
- The “Suggestion Box”
- A way to get more involved
- And much, MUCH more!
You can easily access these support services by simply “clicking” on, the “Help” button at the very top of nearly every page at CoachVille.
Member Services is here to assist ALL members so they can flourish within this virtual environment, locate and access the learning that’s most important to them and provide guidance in developing a personal CoachVille Strategy for success! Please take a moment to stop by and get to know this group of dedicated Volunteers - they are professional coaches, widely knowledgeable in CoachVille resources and foremost, they’re members just like you!
In tandem with this major step forward in serving the CoachVille membership and in order to provide quality service to our growing membership, Member Services is looking for a few fresh faces and talents to join us. Volunteering with Member Services is fun, challenging, and VERY rewarding. Member Service Volunteers are able to take advantage of special perks too! Participation on the Member Services team truly allows you the o*pportunity to make a difference in the lives of thousands.
You can even exchange your perks for an upgrade to the TLC program! That's right, if you've got the desire, skills and the time, we've got the way to reward you for showing off your talents with Member Services! So, if you're a general member looking for a deeper connection with CoachVille, have a real desire to make a difference, and want a way to upgrade to the TLC program, we'd love to talk to you!
Please come on by and get to know us - and let us get to know you too.
April 07, 2005
Ready, Fire, Aim
With an attention-getting level of synchronicity that I am generally too smart to ignore, several newsletters that I have gotten recently are offering the same bit of wisdom: don't futz about polishing and tweaking your latest "baby" of a project until it's perfect - stop noodling and start selling it. Now. In fact, a few of these authors have made the point that you don't even need to be "pregnant" with that baby to begin sending out the marketing equivilent of birth announcements.
Instead, they suggest that you start selling your products beforehand, and then use the wave of sales to propel your otherwise interminably perfectionistic self into getting the pre-sold item out there into the waiting arms of your adoring fans. Scary? Hell yes. Effective? You better believe it.
The latest incarnation of this advice is an article in Early To Rise's newsletter by author and business expert Marc Charles, called Something Magical Happens After The First Sale (scroll down to the Today's Message section). In it, he describes several income-producing ideas he had and how he went about creating a market for them before delivering on the goods, in a process often referred to as "Ready, Fire, Aim".
As he explains, there's an inherent flaw in creating first, then selling: There's the rather uncomfortably large possibility that no one will want what you've got. And then what? You've just spent several weeks (if not months, or more) of your life invested in a product or service that no one wants, and you've missed the opportunity to use that time for something profitable and useful (which is, in fact, the main reason we keep polishing and fiddling until the idea dies of old age - if we don't put it out there, it can't get rejected).
Of course, sometimes we just have an idea that we need to get out of our heads before it frappes our brain with it's incessant whizzing about, market or no market. But for the most part, we tend to produce products and services with the dual intent to both share our wealth of wisdom, insight and experiences and keep the student loan guy off our backs for another few months. Thing is, unless you...
A) know for a cold, hard fact that there is an eager market out there pawing the ground to crack their wallets open at the sound of your starting gun, or
B) create that market yourself beforehand
C) get really lucky
...not only will you not be able to make nice with the friendly folks at the collection agency, you'll be unable to get your message out to those who may desperately need it, in a form that they are willing and able to receive it.
So set down that polishing cloth and pick up your thinking cap. Come up with a great product idea or grab up that cool project that you never got much more than started on and start putting out marketing copy. Take out an ad in the paper, send out some sales emails to your list, plug your latest "upcoming event" in your blog, your site and any online info-source that will take it and start generating some interest and, hopefully, some pre-paid orders (or at least some folks willing to take a number for when your offspring hits the shelves).
Because nothing motivates real action and live-or-die prioritizing like a hundred pre-paid folks standing around with presents waiting to see the baby pictures.
Soni Pitts, Personal and Spiritual Development Coach
Reclaiming the soul of living
March 18, 2005
Recreating the village in the cyber jungle
When I saw the prior post from team member Donna Steinhorn it gave me the warm fuzzies - my buddies are out there making the world safe for coaching and democrazy (I promise you that was a type-o and it was so funny once I saw it I decided to leave it in).
A certified loner by nature (it's true - I could show you the certificate... IF I ever invited anyone over my house) it perplexes me no end to feel such a warm connection to colleagues. So what's the deal? Have too many years of lonely headset wearing finally turned me soft and desperate for friends? Or is there something funny in the strangely-colored drinks Dave's serving up at the Clearview? (Hey, don't laugh, that would explain a lot).
Despite the appeal of those explanations, it's actually simpler than that. And it points to a commentary on the work we do with our clients, our place in raising human consciousness and the condition of the human spirit (yes, and I'll wrap these all in in 1000 words or less - you should have seen some of my college Shakespeare papers).
First, we need friends. This is not just some warm-fuzzy new age concept - it is a biological need. Marla Paul, author of The Friendship Crisis, points to the importance of maintaining relationships that involve confiding, sharing thoughts and ideas and feeling a sense of community. Interestingly, she refers to research that confirms the common wisdom that if you want a supportive friend, you'd better find yourself one without a Y chromosome:
Men need friendships, too. But the research shows that women are much more soothing and comforting than men. One study placed women and men in stressful situations and it found that people who were placed with a woman had lower stress level than people who were with a man. I think women tend to be better listeners; they don't try to fix things the way men do. And for many men, their best friends tend to be their wives. Men don't seem to be as comfortable sharing emotional intimacy with each other.
Of course most of the male coaches I meet are extraordinary friends and listeners, opening up the discussion as to what is truly innate and what is cultural. Is listening really a feminine domain? As I delve into knowledge about the masculine and feminine in its "raw" archetypal state, I question not only feminism's attempt to imbue us all with equal amounts of testosterone (and you're talking to a long-time feminist here, all the way back to my Women's Studies minor days) but also our culture's desire to define the feminine and the masculine in two-dimension "this is how it always is" types of ways.
Be it a feminine or masculine trait (and I propose here that it is a human one), cultivating good friendship is not only good for having someone to hang out with on Saturday, it's critical to your health. Increasingly studies indicate that a strong social network can be responsible for lowering risk of disease and of helping recover after an illness. An example:
In Alameda County, California, 4,775 residents underwent a 9-year follow-up (102). The investigators found that (1) married persons, (2) those with several close family members, friends, or both, and (3) those with church membership or other group affiliations had half the mortality from ischemic heart disease as those without such social resources, even after adjustments of the findings were made for conventional coronary risk factors. (Read more about social support and heart disease here - study details are there as well).
So what does this all have to do with coaching? Well, a couple of things. First, strong group affiliation is something that's almost hard-wired into us - we need it to be our best selves. Modern life makes it very easy to live in your own box, apart from everyone and everything, unlike the communal life of our ancestors. Working from home can be very isolating so it's critical to keep connected. With the advent of the internet, we are finding new ways of building villages. The jury is still out as to whether this "virtual reality" can provide the complete communal experience. I've been on teleclasses where it comes pretty darn close, but I also like to be able to reach out after a good conversation and give a warm hug or share a smile.
In addition to that, keeping the need for a web of human support in mind is critical to our work with our clients. It's one of the things I find so exciting about CoachVille's Personal Environments work, this acknowledgement of the need to create environments that go so far beyond houseplants and good lighting. Building environments that not only support you but also inspire you and uplift you is critical to achieving the goals you set for yourself. The people you have around you are as important as the quality of the air you breathe.
Which brings me back to the warm fuzzies I got when I read about the CV team. Because I HAVE a strong social network - friends that have hung around me since my frizzed out, rosary-wearing, Madonna-wanna-be 80's high school days, great support from my family, an extended social network of friends and neighbors (Not bad for a certified loner). So what is so compelling about this particular group?
The answer can be found within the shared mission we have - and it's where so many coaches "fall down." Running your own business can rob you of the feeling of shared accomplishment (and shared burden) that is so satisfying in the human experience. This group shares the vision that I have - that coaching can change the world - and is out there day and night working to make it happen. And there's just something warm and fuzzy about that!
So if you're reading this knowing you don't have that feeling and that you want it - what do you do? You can join our revolution, and so many of you have. (It's awesome!) You can start your own. Build your group around a shared passion and feel the surge of energy that comes from doing work you love and sharing it with other equally committed people.
And let us know about it. Shared passion is an inspiring thing.
March 17, 2005
The team is traveling
Our team is on the road (some of us). Dave and Kim are in New Orleans with the gang from Action International, and I'm headed to Los Angeles along with Julia Stewart to do CoachVille certifications. (If you are in the area, let us know...we'll be at the Embassy Suites Airport North!)
If you're looking for the conference blog, it lives here. Coachville conference
Donna Steinhorn, EVP
March 10, 2005
Why a blog?
There's been a great deal of discussion about blogging of late. Blogging is good for your career, blogging is bad. Blogs are extraneous, blogs can take the place of your website.
The truth is, blogs are fun. They are informative. They are timely. They are growing in popularity.
On the "Going" blog, there's a discussion of why blogging is good for your career. Currently it's the top listed post at blogdex.com Link: ongoing · It’s Not Dangerous. Bottom line, blogging is great for both visibility and up to the moment posting. Have something happening...blog it. Want to rant right now...blog it. Want to announce news...blog it.
This blog is a window inside the CoachVille world. And a window to the outside world. And if you are reading this...you're not only an early adapter, but common wisdom has that you are also among the more informed people on the planet.
So come and join us. Feel free to comment or rant. We're glad you're here!
Chief Knowledge Officer, EVP
The CoachVille Weblog Lives!
It's here at last... the CoachVille Weblog. What's so exciting about this new method of communication we're embracing? Well, with thousands of members all around the globe, we expect the conversation will get very interesting pretty fast. We've tried it all, discussion groups, e-mail lists, instant messaging among the team. And while each of these methods have their usefulness (dare I say even their charm?) the blog format is so democratic, so open, so exciting, that I know great conversations will flourish among us.
So have at it... what's on your mind? CoachVille is the home for everyone who is (or wants to be) a coach, everyone who has one and everyone who wants one. There is a place for you here in this grand organization of people interested in personal and business development, as well as in cutting-edge coaching skills. Welcome. And chime in.
Maria E. Andreu
VP of Marketing and Communications