MAXIMISING YOUR LUNCHTIME

Maximising your lunchtime makes great business sense. And, I don’t mean having a sandwich at your desk as you pour over reports or jumping on LinkedIn, Facebook etc.

Making time to have lunch, to step away from your desk/place of business is essential to maintaining a helicopter perspective.

When you’re leading a busy life, especially if you’re running your own business, it can be really tough to squeeze the extra time out of your day.

BUT…here’s the thing…you need to eat! So maximising that time for your own benefit makes good sense – right?

Put down your phone – at least stick it in your pocket or handbag – stand up and walk out of the office.

Walking down the street, stopping to say hello to people and having a quick chat. Sitting quietly in a park/at the beach and absorbing nature, or having lunch with people outside of your normal circle all serve to help either ground or stimulate you.

What you choose to do each lunchtime depends on the outcomes you’d like to achieve.

The key is to make a conscious choice to utilise your lunchtime wisely. After all, it is time. Time is a finite commodity and once passed cannot be recovered.

Alone Time

Choosing to spend time alone, to sit in the park/at the beach will give you silence. In that stillness, you have the chance to reflect quietly. You’ll often get to hear your inner voice that has been drowned out by the chattering monkeys.

Many of our clients who work in front-facing roles that demand they are “on” for most of their business day love these kinds of lunch breaks.

Actively Being Out & About

If you’re working in isolation, then getting out and about helps to switch off that intense focus your work demands.

Walking down the street and stopping to chat with a couple of people can often provide that human connection that is so important to people who work alone all day.

Alternately, if your work causes lots of pent-up frustrations, busts of physical activity like a brisk walk, jogging or working out at a gym full of people can be a great tension reliever.

Group Lunches

Getting together with a group of like-minded individuals, from different industries is another productive way to spend a lunchtime. You gain a different perspective which is so very valuable.

I’m not talking about a boozy lunch at a fancy restaurant. You know, where everyone talks about how great they are and no one remembers anything much afterwards. I’ve been to a few of these over the years. Enjoyable but really very unproductive.

Rather, I mean a quiet place where you actually get to connect with authenticity and help each other out through the sharing of information in a supportive environment.

Lunch & Learn Sessions

Lunch and learn sessions are common in large corporations. Often used as a means to minimise downtime, and maximise employee engagement.

Now, if you’re a small business or solo operator you won’t have this luxury BUT… a group lunch and learn for others in the same boat is not too hard to organise.

We know because we’ve facilitated quite a few over the years.  Topics are always varied so attendees choose which they are interested in.

The objective is always that participants leave having learnt something of value – not just had a great lunch. Details of upcoming sessions are always on our Facebook page.

Scheduling

The key to successfully maximising your lunchtime and being able to get away all comes down to scheduling.

Consider it an important appointment with a very important person. Yes, that’s you!

If you are struggling to get started with this habit, begin with a day a week, and gradually increase it over a period of a month. Once you start to consciously work on maximising your time, you’ll be surprised at how easy it can become. More importantly, the benefits that you gain are invaluable.

Speaking from a personal perspective – my lunchtime habits are one of the ways that I have been able to keep sane during the challenging times. As an added bonus they’ve also brought Dragon Sisters new business connections.

Fly like a dragonFly like a dragon!

Michelle

PS – let me know in the comments how you spend your lunchtimes – I’m always curious 🙂

Why “Me Time” & Self-Care need to be a priority in your life

Practising self-care and taking time out for yourself is something everyone should be doing.

The importance of “Me Time” should never be underestimated. Yet so many women in business fail to take care of themselves first and foremost.

It makes no sense and yet it is such a common practice.

Why is this?

We operate in a busy and demanding world. I understand the outside interferences that can make it tough to carve out time for yourself.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic day to day. And then what happens is that we often put ourselves last on the list of important things to take care of.

I’ve been there myself and it’s definitely not a good way to operate.

Making yourself a priority is not a luxury. It’s an essential.

So why do we do this?

Feelings of Guilt & Fear

At a subconscious level you may be experiencing a feeling of guilt. And of fear.

For instance, it’s common for working mothers to be feeling that time at home needs to be spent with their kids, or doing something for the family – things like cooking, baking a batch of cookies etc…you get the picture.

And, dare I say it, a sense of inability to leave “the team” to cope?  I mean your family, your staff and colleagues.

Does this sound familiar? If it does, you are not alone!

But, guess what? They’ll manage. You are not indispensable – no one is.

Yes, we are each unique and valuable, but that is not the same as being indispensible.

The world will go on without you

Yes, it really will.

I learnt this first-hand many years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Before my diagnosis, I would feel guilty leaving the family. I felt I needed to be there for them all the time.

Time to pursue my own activities would be once they grew up; my daughter was 3 and my son 12 at that time.

I was a mother, a businesswoman and a homemaker. My life was busy and I was needed everywhere – I was the glue holding everything together.

Being diagnosed was a slap in the face and a case of a very rude awakening. The reality that I might not actually live to see my children grow up made me realise…

I was doing them no favours by making myself indispensable to the family.

Plus, I was also cheating myself out of my life. All those things on hold might NEVER happen. A very frightening thought!

Suffice it to say I went through an emotional roller coaster over the course of my treatment. It was no picnic.

But… as I emerged out the other end of the treatment tunnel – a dark and lonely place – I knew that I needed to make time for me. For lots of different reasons.

The world will not end if you step away for a few days.

In fact, being constantly “on” does no one any favours. Not you, not your Board, not your team, not your clients and definitely not your family.

Sure you might be there in body.

But being present means a lot more than just your physical presence.

You need to be there in mind too – to be able to enjoy and concentrate on the moments you are in.

Being on auto-pilot is cheating both yourself and those who you are with.

Me Time

Taking time for your own self-care is absolutely essential. It’s not always easy, but you know what?

Where there’s a will…there’s a way.

Nurturing yourself makes sense on so many different levels.

After all, if you’re not in tip-top condition – how will you service your clients or look after your family?

Making yourself a priority is fundamental to being happy in your life.

Happiness comes from within

No matter what surrounds you externally, it is how you feel within that makes you happy. It is not about money, other people or possessions.

People, places and things do not make you happy.

Yes, they might be giving you a short boost but it does not last…because it is driven by external factors. If you do not value yourself enough to create “Me Time” and practice self-care, you may appear outwardly happy, but internally it is a different story.

Part of being happy, at least in my experience, is making a date with yourself for “Me Time”.

It comes down to making a conscious effort to devote a part of each and every day to self-care. Time dedicated to you.

Using Your Me Time

How you choose to use that time is very much a personal decision.

It’s got to be a space or activity where you get to still the chattering monkeys in your mind and replenish your energy.

Speaking personally, I have a very busy schedule that includes travel, family to care for and a business to run.

This means I need to use a range of techniques that are quick and easy to practice depending on where I am. It’s not a lot of time, but it is some time each day and that is the key.

My Personal Practices

I usually practice 10 minutes of meditation when I first get up, go walking or paddling. Depending on where I am and what my schedule is like that particular day will determine my daily practice.

I never listen to music, podcasts etc as I walk. I like to be in the moment and absorb what is around me and allow my mind to just be. Nothing to think about.

I journal and write regularly as a way of clearing the brain, and I also take time out to sit outside for lunch whenever I can.

Working across time zones makes routines a challenge so I need to maximise my business days. My small daily self-care activities keep me in a positive mindset and allow me to rest and empty my brain sufficiently to have the space to give more of myself to those I am working with and looking after.

Need help getting started?

So often I hear “It’s alright for you Michelle, but I can’t do that”.

My answer is “YES, you can – if you really want to. ” 

It all begins with EMPOWERING YOURSELF! If you need help understanding HOW to do this – reach out to me for some additional tips.

Are taking care of yourself first and foremost?

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

100 day goals

I love 100-day goals.

Why? For the simple reason that they are so tangible and…

Achievable!

100 days is just a little over 3 months.

The reason I love working in 100-day blocks is that you can actually see how you are progressing.

There is a finite timeline, and at the end, you’re expecting a result.

Why it works

The reason is simply this…it’s not too far into the future. You do not have the luxury of taking your eye off the ball.

The focus has to be on pushing to move forward each day. This means you can actually see your progress – or if you slack off, you’ll have to rush to catch up.

Procrastinating is not an option.

100 days may sound like a good amount of time, but the reality is that it goes whizzing pass! It is also far more tangible than setting 6 or 12-month goals

To achieve 100 day goals means being disciplined.

Discipline is the secret

Think about it, it’s really easy to waste a few hours here and there.

For example, spending too much time on social media, allowing your routine to be interrupted without a valid reason, neglecting to switch your email to offline mode, and so the list goes on.

With 100-day goals, you are on a countdown timer. There is a finite amount of time and you have a set goal ahead of you.

To get there needs discipline.

No excuses.

No time to go down rabbit holes – and yes, there are a zillion rabbit holes waiting for you to end up down.

There is no time for saying could have, would have, should have.

You just need to get the show on the road by taking the steps to move towards your set goal.

Measurable, Achievable & Progressive – MAP

Ever action you take towards your goal needs to be mapped out.

If you don’t follow your MAP, it is highly likely that you’ll deviate or get totally lost.

The key to succeeding and achieving is by being disciplined and setting realistic goals that you work towards one step at a time.

Daily Habits

Yes, habits. Things that you do every day.

One of the worst habits is timewasting, blaming and procrastinating. To achieve your goals these habits need to be shut down.

Good daily habits need to be adopted if you want to move forward.

Actionable steps need to become a part of your daily routine.

Breaking your business days into time blocks works wonders.

Time Blocks

Choosing your time blocks will depend on what you are wanting to achieve and the nature of your business.

The minimum blocks that ones I find myself always recommending are:

1. Me Time

Time dedicated just to you. Only you.

It’s at the top of this list because it’s vital that you have time to recharge your batteries and do what feels good for you.

I use my “Me Time” to go paddling, sit down with a book, walk along the beach or chill out with Netflix.  I schedule these time blocks into my day.

“Me Time” can also mean a short break away for a few days when I switch everything off to simply refresh, reframe and relax.

2. Business development time

This is the time that you spend on developing your business.

You need to be spending time daily on business development because it is a way of ‘feeding your funnel’ and ensuring you have ongoing connections. Don’t just do this when you are searching for new business.

Remember that people like doing business with those they know,  like and trust. So maintaining and developing relationships is essential to your ongoing business success.

For Dragon Sisters, our business development time includes catching up with former clients, spending time on social media interacting with other business pages, being a guest speaker, writing a blog post, newsletter, doing some phone catch-ups or investigating a business tool.

3.Work time

Just like it says, it’s all about getting your core business done – it’s about working IN the business.

It looks different for everyone. Some may have regular office hours, others may have flexibility. But whatever the case, your working time needs to be blocked out and you need to be sticking to a schedule.

If you’re a mechanic it means working on the cars, for a writer it’s the time you spend writing, as a coach it means the time you spend coaching or working on material, a B&B means this is the time you’re dealing with guests and making sure your premises are in tip-top condition.

4. Family Time

It is absolutely essential to be slotting in family time. What your personal blocks look like will very much depend on your circumstances.

My children are adults, so family time for me means;  a girls night with my daughter once a week, time visiting my elderly parents every couple of days when I am on Bribie Island; dinner with my kids each night if we are all in the same house.

It also means running my 16-year-old niece to basketball if I happen to be on Bribie. The driving time is a valuable bonding time. I listen as she chatters away about whatever is happening in her life/on her mind.

Family time can take many forms, but the key ingredient is being present it the moment and putting work aside.

The rest of the time is flexible – according to your personal circumstances.

It’s not easy

Yes, it can be a struggle to get the time blocks happening.

I’ve been there.

As a result of my personal experience I also know that unless you get this happening, you will continue to struggle to achieve your goals.

This is where having someone on your side who can keep you accountable is invaluable.

Keeping on track

By disciplining you will have no problem keeping on track simply by using simple techniques like lists, journals and prioritising.

If you are finding it’s a struggle you are not alone. There are different types of goal setters and goal getters.

Now here’s the thing – the 100-day goal method works for everyone. That’s right. It really does work.  Why? It works because it is finite.

Click here for a tip sheet on choosing the right coach or consultant

Talking to a supportive manager, finding a business coach, or being part of an accountability circle are some of the best ways for developing the key skills to move you along the path to keeping yourself and your business on track.

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

 

 

 

So You Want To Sell Online?

To sell online is the dream of many. After all, it’s a vast global marketplace and you can work from the comfort of your own home.

Making money while you sleep.  Sounds fabulous!

The Reality

All too often we start out all fired up only to discover that reality is not quite as simple as we initially envisaged.

Sure, there are a zillion guru’s who’ll tell you how they made their fortunes, that they’ll teach you their secrets and exact methods they used. For a fee.

BUT, the reality is this – it’s hard work.

There is no such thing as overnight success.

Yes, it is possible to be very successful online. It all comes down to strategy.

Regardless of whether you are an Etsy store, an author, a business coach…Before you do anything at all there 5 key areas that you need to pay close attention.

5 steps to successfully selling online

Step 1 – Identifying your target audience.  You need to be really specific because you cannot be all things to all people.

If you are too generic, you miss the mark because people do not realise you are talking to them. When you are niching down you have a much better chance of succeeding.

Step 2 – Start building your email list. This is absolutely essential. It means being able to speak directly to your target audience.

If they join your email list, you know they are interested in what you have to offer.

Step 3 – Get really clear & familiar with what you will need to deliver.

So many people start to plan an online course or product, but then, partway down the path, realise they have no idea on what is needed to deliver the finished product.

In other words HOW all the moving parts need to fit together. If the building blocks don’t fit then there is no way that sales happen. It’s definitely not a case of build it and they will come.

Step 4 – Know the costs involved in getting started.

This can be a very nasty shock and lack of funds can end up stalling your progress.

Step 5 – Create your initial campaign designed to educate rather than to sell. Your audience needs to get to know you. After all, would you buy from a perfect stranger online?

Once you have these five steps in place you are ready to start thinking about marketing your product.

The five steps outlines above are way more important than having a fancy logo or branded collateral. They are the icing on the cake that only come AFTER you have baked the cake. In other words – the solid base needs to be in place before you cn start the decorating.

As business strategists, we all too often see people make the mistake of investing far too much in the ”trimmings.”  This can be a costly mistake.

Selling online is great, but it’s a journey that you need to be approaching strategically if you want to be successful.

Understanding and developing a marketing mindset goes a long way to ensuring a successful online business. It’s not always easy, but it’s most definitely worth the effort.

Dragon Sisters runs a FREE 7 Day Marketing Challenge to help you gain a different perspective on the marketing mindset.

To enrol in the next challenge just subscribe below.



Got an opinion or question on selling online? I’d love you to share it in the comments.

Fly Like A Dragon

Michelle

 

In Your Face Facebook

Not the fastest to take up Facebook, I finally folded when several overseas friends badgered me relentlessly.

Once I did though, I never regretted being able to trade banter, snippets of news and – my favourite – photos, with folk I hadn’t seen in aeons.

Best of all, I got to find, and be found by, friends I’d lost touch with decades ago.

The World Shrunk With Facebook

The world and time suddenly shrunk.

In an awesome way.

At any time of my choosing, I could reach out, connect, reconnect. Spend an hour or a minute touching base with friends, old and new.

And those friends hand-held me through my tentative steps into social media. They gave me great advice and tips. The do’s and don’ts of social media etiquette, security and other useful stuff.

Pretty soon, I’d lost my reticence and was Facebooking like a fiend.

And having a ball with it.

Once you’re confident with something, that’s when you really start to enjoy it, right?

Facebook & Your Business

6 years ago (March 2011) we started our Dragon Sisters Facebook page.

In the first place, we did it because we thought we should have a business presence on the platform.

But it quickly became evident that Facebook for business had enormous potential for Dragon Sisters, and for our connections and clients.

Our reach became exponential

It was a pebble in the pond ripple effect, bringing in other opportunities both on and offline. In other groups. We set up our own closed-member groups for different aspects of our business. We joined and supported others’ public and closed user groups.

We cross-fertilized and fostered relationships on other social media platforms. Used new Facebook offerings and features to get the best results for our business, like Facebook Live.

And it’s all become bigger than Ben Hur.

If you’re too young to know that movie, it’s about a Roman chariot race. Which is a good simile, since Facebook (and other social media platforms) can sometimes feel like a runaway chariot, careening out of control, with you wondering how soon the wheels are going to fly off.

A lot of the questions we get for Michelle’s weekly Q&A Smarketing Spot still revolve around how to handle your business presence on Facebook. How to stay in control. How to create and maximise the opportunities this medium offers.

How to do all that and not be an In Your Face Facebook Freak?

So, I’m re-sharing Michelle’s blog from March last year.

Which includes one of our  free tip sheets- 6 Steps to Strategic Social Media Posting that will save you heaps of time.

Are we Facebook aficionado know-it-alls?

Nope.

Truth is, the platform morphs and moves too fast for anyone to stake that claim.

But we know what’s worked for us. And it can work for you too ?.

Fly like a dragon!

Yvonne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing is all Lattes and Laughs …

The Truth About Being Your Own Boss

On Wednesday Michelle and I sat down together for the first time in over three weeks. Being your own boss is awesome when you can kick back over an excellent fresh ground coffee to shoot the breeze. But we were working. Honest!

Shooting the breeze is a weekly event, even if only via Skype sometimes (which I love because Michelle can’t see my fluffy Pokémon slippers).

It’s when we check out what’s going well, what’s to be improved (for Dragon Sisters as well as for our clients), what’s to be ditched or tweaked. And, best of all, it’s a big fat brainstorm on what we want to do next.

Read: what the business needs next. Or sometimes, right this minute!

One massive advantage of being a small business is that you can make fast decisions and get them happening quicker than Superman can put his tights on.

Being small means being agile is a breeze.

I like to think that whilst we’re Mini in size, boy are we Ferrari fast! By lunchtime, we were ready to launch a new product. For a new market.

Exciting!! Had this been Skype my Pokémon’s would have been doing their Happy Pokémon Prance.

This evening, as I was pondering the subject for this week’s blog, it occurred to me that many of our readers are just like us. Some, are making their first foray into being an SME (small to medium enterprise). And I thought, this really hasn’t been a breeze. Ten years on, it’s easier, but let’s be honest, nothing is all Lattes and Laughs.

The difference between working ON your business and working IN your business

Michelle wrote a very real view on The Truth About Being Your Own Boss last year.

It has some insightful tips, like the difference between working on your business and working in your business.

Plus, 5 Tips for Working ON Your Business. Super easy, super do-able tips you can use now – cos you too are Ferrari Fast.

She also mentions one of our private Facebook groups, which you can check out, and join us there if you like the idea of an authentic Q&A platform with folk just like you and us. You can also promo your business, share and get ideas, and even on occasion, Opportunities ?. You know how I love the O word!

Fly Like A Dragon

Yvonne




The Truth About Being Your Own Boss

Maybe you’re already your own boss, or maybe it’s something you aspire to be in the not too distant future.

Unless you’re totally cut off from the online world and social media, then you’ve no doubt read stories or seen ads popping up in your social media feeds featuring “successful” entrepreneurs posing in fancy cars, jets or sitting on a beach sipping cocktails.

The internet is overflowing with these kinds of success stories – they are everywhere – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and the list goes on.

Are they true? Maybe. But that’s not the point.

My point is this…the stories are all about chucking in boring jobs, starting their own business, making millions and sitting on a beach watching the money roll in.

Sounds like a dream life. Right?

It’s absolutely true that when you start your own business and work for yourself you have the freedom to do as you like.

You have no one else to answer to except yourself. Total freedom.

Hmmm, …idyllic BUT not quite that simple.

Even for those who are at the very top of the tree, there’s still a ton of work to be done behind the scenes.

Yes, it’s definitely true that you have freedom in the sense you get to choose what to do and when to do it. But… only to a certain extent.

I currently have my own business and have owned a couple of others prior to starting Dragon Sisters 10 years ago. I do, on the surface, have freedom and flexibility to do as I like.

The Truth

However, the reality of being your own boss is a little different.

The bottom line is this … It all comes down to your own efforts to succeed. You are in the driver’s seat and 100% responsible.

You are your own hero.

The truth is, as someone who runs their own business, the onus always lies on you to bring in the $$.

Of course, the more successful you are, the less pressure there is on bringing in the basics to cover the day-to-day essentials.

However, here’s the thing…

No matter how successful you are, you still need to be out there smarketing.

You need to be paying attention to your strategy, sales and marketing.

For instance, coming back to my own example, even when I’m fully booked up I’m still out there adding in workshop dates, interacting on social media and attending a couple of face to face events.

I’m actively keeping my brand out there.

Why do you need to do this?

No matter what your product or service is unless you continue to pay attention to your profile in the marketplace, you cannot stay front of mind.

This is why all the top names spend time and money doing tours, running workshops, marketing via social media and much more. They are constantly on the lookout for ways to stay ahead of the game, to be at the forefront.

When you stop and think about this, it makes absolute sense. The world moves at a fast pace today and there is so much competition for attention.

The Danger Zone

As you start to get ahead you begin to feel confident. That’s a great feeling. Things are going in the direction you want, so you start to relax a bit. After all, you’ve done the hard work.

This is the danger point.

Unless you have robust systems in place, you cannot expect to just take off and leave your business to tick along.

I’ve seen this happen all too often. Good people going down the tubes because they’ve failed to famine proof the business by having systems in place. Their radars are not alert to nuances of change or to opportunities for growth.

NOOO! I want to scream out. Sure, take a little break to refresh and relax, but you must also reframe your thinking.

Yes, take a holiday. Yes, take time for yourself, but have a plan in place for things to be managed while you are away.

Make sure you are personally looking over reports, check in on your own social media channels and keep your radar alert for anything that is out of the ordinary.

It makes me want to cry when I see people who have spent months, perhaps years, building businesses to a point of success and then taking their foot off the accelerator when the pressure to succeed eases.

I have made this very mistake myself, and I speak from experience and lessons learnt.

Keep the focus on your business no matter what.

It’s the old adage “momentum flows where attention goes.”

If your attention is not on your business then it loses momentum.

Notice I used the word ON rather than in?

This is a really important differential.

When you work ON your business, you’re taking a helicopter perspective. You have a vision, you see opportunity and you maximise wherever you can.

Working in your business means your head is down, occupied with the detail and minutia. You cannot see the woods for the trees.

As your business grows, it is vital to take the time to work ON the business, as opposed to in it. This is what those highly successful people sitting on the beach are doing. They’re working on their business – always.

The being your own boss formula is simple. Put in the time and your business will grow.

If you love what you do and have a real passion for it, then it no longer seems like work.

6 Tips for Working ON Your Business

1) Set aside 20 minutes a day (5 days a week) dedicated to your personal marketing activities.

This does not mean pushing out brand messages. It means interacting. Remember, people buy people so you need to maintain your presence to stay front of mind.

2) Be consistently attentive

People remember those who bother to respond personally. Don’t fall into the trap of only responding or reaching out when you want something.

3) Regularly view your business revenue streams.

What can you tweak? What should you ditch? What can you add?

4) Delegate/Outsource.

Consider what tasks can be handled by others freeing you up to concentrate on what you do best.  This FREE tip sheet may be helpful when it comes to choosing a consultant to outsource to.

5) Actively listen to your marketplace.

Be truly attentive to what they are saying in order to meet their needs. It’s not about selling your product or service, it’s about offering a solution to their problem.

6) Set aside time for yourself each day – to refresh, reframe and relax.

This is not an indulgence but essential to your personal well being. Time for yourself means you have a chance to allow still the chatter in your mind. Meditation, journalling and walking are some of my personal favourite ways of grabbing “me time” each day.

Nurturing your success

Starting your own business is an adventure. One that comes with many ups, and downs, but brings with it many rewards.

Your ongoing nurturing will ensure your business continues to thrive.  You’ll be able to sit on the beach and your efforts in working on the business are helping it become famine proof.

If you want the freedom to follow your passion, then owning your own business and being your own boss is fantastic. I have never looked back. Sure there are hurdles to overcome at times, but I love what I do.

The photograph I’ve used for this post was taken with fellow Telstra Business Women’s Awards alumni – Denise Dunn from Slappa’s Thongs and Nathalie Hernandez from Ella Bache Palmerston .

To your success,

Michelle

PS Need a little support or got questions? Feel free to connect and ask your questions on our Facebook page

 

The future viability of LinkedIn and how it affects us all

Instead of writing a new post, this week I want to re-share a brilliant write by Samantha Bailey . The article is an excellent explanation of the future viability of LinkedIn and how it affects us all.

I’d urge you to follow the link and check out this very indepth and informative article.

Samantha Bailey is a highly experienced Data Analyst with an impressive range of related specialist skills, including Research, Forensic Analysis, Data Analysis and Analytics.

I’d also love to hear your thoughts once you’ve read the article.

Yvonne

Struggling to network on LinkedIn? Grab your FREE copy of our 8 Top Tips

Coach vs Trainer – What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between a coach and a trainer? A great question.

In fact, it was a question that popped up on the Dragon Sisters Facebook page when I shared my last post . That’s what prompted me to write this article.

Coaches and trainers are used in both sport and business.

Although the titles are sometimes interchanged, there is actually quite a difference between the two roles.

Business coaching has gained traction in recent times, and as I said in my last post, there seems to be an abundance of business coaches popping up everywhere.

A coach is not a magician.

Each coach has their own style of working. There is no wrong or right way.

Different coaches will suit different individual.

Choosing the right coach to suit your needs is essential.

All good coaches will hold you accountable. They keep you on track.

Where you need to do additional learning, they will often suggest, and sometimes even provide resources to help you on your journey.

So what exactly does a coach do?

A coach helps you achieve your goals. If you are confused and unsure of what steps to take next, or unsure of which direction to head in, then a coach can help you sort through the chaos and confusion.

Having a coach will help you achieve more in a faster time space.

Your coach will move you forward. Of course, before starting off , it is important to know and to share what your goal is with your chosen coach; even if you goal is just to gain clarity!

Your coach will help hone your game plan.

When you have the right coach, you are increasingly motivated and more importantly, confident, that you are stepping in the right direction. This is especially true for solopreneurs and small business.

With a coach supporting you, it is easier to develop or hone new soft skills and put them into practice.

Why is a coach so valuable?

Because your coach helps you to understand different perspectives.

A good coach helps with clarifying your thinking. This allows you to start becoming more focussed on what steps you need to take and in what order.

When you’re working with a coach, you gain clarity, develop priorities and thereby increase your productivity.

A good coach will not tell you how to do things. Instead, they will be supporting you to work through your planning and decision-making processes.

When you use a coach, you are paying for their service for a fixed contract period. During this period there will be specific outcomes that you wish to achieve. Your coach’s job is to help you get there.

It is important to note, that as you grow and develop your skills, you may outgrow your coach.

A good coach always aims for their clients to grow to the point where they are surpassing their coach. It is at this point that you need to start to look for another coach to take you to the next step.

So what’s a trainer do?

A trainer imparts information. They train you in a specific way of doing something. In business, almost everyone has attended or experienced some kind of training course. These are usually delivered by an accredited trainer who frequently works from a manual set down by a higher authority.

Trainers work to a specific formula. For instance, a first aid trainer, an induction course, training on a new piece of equipment; it could be as mundane as a new photocopier or the very latest fighter jet. It’s training to a formula. A set way of performing specific tasks.

In a nutshell

A coach helps you to gain clarity – in your own way. The role of a coach is to help facilitate the journey from lots of bright ideas/your raw talent to a systematic, yet highly individualised approach to achieve your goals.

A coach will help you soar to the heights and fly like a dragon – free of a keeper.

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PS – You’re welcome to join me in The SMART Circle, our private Facebook group, where you can gain support, ask and have questions answered – it’s FREE – our way of paying it forward.

Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

 

 

Be Careful What You Wish For

Our guest blogger this week is Mike Duckett, Performance Coach and Director of Coaching for Success.

World renowned British celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal, has this to say about how Mike’s Releasing Creativity coaching helped him regain his creativity.

“I have found our work to explore my metaphoric sweet shop really helpful on a number of levels. At first it helped me regain my creativity and now that creativity has itself fed back into using metaphor to enhancing our customers’ dining experience.” Heston Blumenthal, O.B.E.

Mike is a regular contributor to The UK’s leading networking website for chefs The Staff Canteen, features on radio, as well as in a number of other print and on-line magazines. In the following post, originally written for Canteen Magazine, Mike provides insights and tips on how to create the right goals for yourself and for your business.

Have you ever been taught how to set yourself a goal?

Have you ever been on a goal setting course?

Have you ever listened to any motivational tapes about Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs)?!

Probably not, unless you have a corporate background, so you might be wondering how anyone could make such a meal over this. There is a huge number of books, tapes, videos and courses on the subject but this need not concern us here – suffice it to say goal setting is a subject all of its own that we may return to in another posting.

For the moment the bigger issue is how do you know what goal to set yourself?

You can learn about setting SMART goals – Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant; Time-bound and then set your own goals which might be something like “to open three new branches”. That seems to match the criteria pretty well so it must be a well formed goal. The problem for me is whether you’re sure that’s what you really want. It’s a bit like going to university after school; for some people it’s a real goal but for others it just seems to be the thing to do.

Before setting yourself some big goals you might want to consider how clear you are about what really matters to you. What values do you hold around your chosen career path? What is your core purpose? You don’t have to believe in the gods to entertain the idea that if they are playing a big game with us and we’re just pieces, what is the role your piece plays on the board?

Not to get too deep and philosophical about this, we’re talking about your true values, not the things politicians speak about such as “good old fashioned family values” – that’s just what they call meaningless motherhood and apple pie.

Thinking about this stuff properly can save you years of hard work, striving to get somewhere you never wanted to be in the first place. If – and it’s a big ‘if’ – you eventually achieve your goal of opening those new branches you might find yourself wondering if it was all worth the effort. As a business owner you are almost certainly clever enough and certainly hard working enough to make anything happen if you put your mind to it; so be careful what you put your mind to!

In fact, once you’ve done the thinking about your core purpose (mission if you prefer) and your true values, many things get easier, including the hard work needed to achieve things. Take a look at a couple of famous purpose, or mission, statements:

Walmart: to “…save people money so they can live better”

Disney: to “…develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world”

These aren’t complicated corporate jargon statements; they are pretty straightforward lines that tell us (and themselves) what they are here to do. The real point though is that once you’ve figured out your own you can use this as a decision template for most choices you will be faced with in future. It’s obvious that although selling insurance might be profitable for Disney to get into, why would they; it just doesn’t fit with what they are here for.

Knowing your own real purpose for which you have a passion, the goals you set each year may well vary, but you’ll almost certainly find the energy and commitment to make them happen because they should all continue to be in line with this single purpose. There are many ways to skin a cat, but this way you will end up with a skinned cat and not a dead horse – to mix metaphors!

The trick is how to uncover these unconscious beliefs and principles so you can make clear conscious decisions based on them. Let me give you a couple of tips: Try asking yourself, “if my business were to be closed tomorrow and no-one else follows me, what would the rest of the world be missing (even if they don’t realise it yet)”?

On the basis that you’re going to be spending many hours of your life doing work make a list of single words or very short phrases that come to mind when you ask yourself, “what matters to me about the kind of work I do?” Then take each one and ask again, “why does that matter to me?” Each time you ask “why” you’re getting closer to the real heart of the matter until you end up with maybe 10 key values. Every decision you make from now on can be made with this list in mind e.g. when recruiting a staff. If they have a very different set of values beware hiring them, no matter how competent they are. They just won’t ‘fit’.

Finally to get back to setting that goal of opening 3 new branches, when you’ve done that will it have kept you focused on your real reason for being in business?

Mike

Mike Duckett has a degree in psychology and is a member of the Occupational Psychology division, the Sports Psychology division & the Coaching Psychology Special Group of the British Psychological Society. He holds a diploma in Hypnotherapy & Cognitive therapy and is a certified NLP coach.

With over 20 years experience he was one of the pioneers of applying performance psychology to coach people in the hospitality industry to get the best from themselves, in areas such as creativity; leadership; optimism etc.

As a certified NLP Coach and ANLP Accredited Master Practitioner, Mike has clients ranging from world renowned chefs to senior managers of global corporate organisations

My business has been built on client recommendations and testimonials. If you know of anyone who would benefit from the advice that I offer please pass my details on.

You can also connect with Mike in the Dragon Sisters group The SMART Circle or at Coaching for Success.