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Stephen Mather

Watson Neale & Mather

Managing Director

Read more from Stephen Mather

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Striking the balance between being motivational and overly chipper

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So if you've been properly brought up as a coach you'll know that it's better to see challenges rather than problems and you give feedback rather than criticism. You help people see possibilities when they feel trapped and you ask questions to people to help them release their own potential. You habitually use positive language and look for ways to make things happen rather than think of reasons why not to try. Of course we know that this way of thinking is particularly powerful and most of us can give examples of how this has helped us or our clients. Having said all of this I have a confession to make. Sometimes I have to admit to a slight worry that I might somehow turn into a coach version of Ned Flanders and at some point during a workshop break out into a Flanderish "okay then trainereenos I'm tickled pink to be working with you today." By the way if you're reading this asking who Ned Flanders is, step away from the PC now and go watch some telly! Actually there is a serious question here about how to "keep it real". I believe that our clients look for coaches who walk the talk so it's important to be genuine about the thinking strategies we coach in others. On the other hand I also think it's important that we don't allow ourselves to become a sort of caricature of ourselves. How do you get the balance right between being the sort of person that demonstrates the positive if realistic view of the world that we know our clients will benefit from and being someone who people can identify with? I believe part of the answer is to expose ourselves to some of the normal stuff - you know instead of spending all of our time writing inspirational blogs or at networking events talking shop, maybe we need to go to a football match or go and buy those shoes we wanted. As well as helping us stay grounded it also has the added benefit that it gives us small talk to use when rapport building with our clients. Okay so having put forward my case I'm off to watch some television!

One Response

  1. Ned Flanders – sickly sweet?
    Stephen I had to chuckle, I wonder if we’re all a bit Ned-like sometimes? ūüėČ

    When I started out in sales (many, I mean, a couple of moons ago) the trainers we had were a mix of; old stuffy and too old NOT to wear braces or young chipper (I love that word) and too naive to appear to know what they were talking about! (The latter would almost certainly be laughed out of the room by our sales team that’s for sure…)

    These days I need something other than “right-oh teamies…time to pick up the phonios and make some appointments…who’s going to ring that bellio?”. For me personally, I find that both my team and clients relate to a sliding scale of ‘fluff’ (some like more than others) but most appreciate a very practical training style that delivers results. After all, it’s only when my delegates see the proof of the pudding that they begin to take the training seriously. Which is a shame as it’s only when they use the training ‘properly’ that they’ll begin to see a difference in outcome. My ability to schmooze with a client as well as my team really is an added bonus and cements my relationship, keeping it real works for me!

    P.S. If only we could all add some flanderish words to our blogs…

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Stephen Mather

Managing Director

Read more from Stephen Mather
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