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Being Ready for Business Coaching

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When business owners talk about the possibility business coaching, I often hear “As soon as I get organized…” or, “As soon as I know what my goals are….” That always strikes me as someone saying “As soon as I’m ready, I’ll have a baby.” Is anyone ever really ready?

Both situations are about significant change. Although we may think we know what those changes are and how they will affect us, we never really know until we’re in the thick of it. Additionally, there is an infinite list of possible steps you could take to “get ready”; in business, you could decide as soon as your desk is organized, your office is settled, or you know what your five-year goal is, then you will begin coaching or a mentoring program.

On the personal side of things, as soon as the room is painted, your older child is sleeping through the night, or you have a new job, then you’ll be ready. These are all fictitious lines in the sand drawn by you. What you most likely mean is “I want to be in control and taking a step towards unknown change scares me and makes me recognize that I will not be (and never will be) in control.”

Phew. Unknown change. What do you really need to take a step towards unfamiliar territory? It’s not a business plan or a vision statement. It’s an open mind; curiosity. A willingness to look at the possibilities. Entering a coaching relationship is not about knowing the answers ahead of time. It’s about choosing to take a first step, even when you don’t know what the second step will be or where you’ll end up. If you have children, chances are that feels familiar.

– Helen Dutton, Business Coach

Let it Be Easy; Use Your Natural Abilities

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Using Natural Abilities leads to ExcellenceMy daughter is a gymnast, as in CRAZY gymnast. She’s been at it for more than ten years and you could easily guess she’s a gymnast just by looking at her. Her natural tendency is to try just about anything. On a good day she’s mostly successful, even if it’s something she’s never tried before. She runs into trouble, though, when she starts to think too much about it, starts to analyze what her body has to do in order to complete the skill. That’s when I say to her, “Just let your body do what it knows how to do.”

We all have natural abilities that we were born with – just like our eye color, hair color, and our dominant hand. When those innate talents are nurtured and developed they become second nature to us, as flipping is for my daughter. Think of an artist or musician you know; we all instantly can tell the difference between those with natural talent and those, well…without. Reasoning styles, rate of idea flow, spatial/non-spatial orientation, and various types of memory are also part of our genetic make-up. When we use these special gifts we were given in our business and career, our work feels easy. Isn’t that a wonderful way to create a living?

Reflect on what comes most naturally to you. What can you easily do all day and time flies? Find commonalities (dig below the surface here); then, see how to incorporate those skills into your daily “work”.

I’m all about making things easy. When you use the gifts you were given, you and your business will flourish. Just as I say to my daughter, “just do what you know how to do.”

– Helen Dutton, Business Coach

Twitter Up

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Twitter for Customer FeedbackPresident Obama held his first Twitter “town hall” meeting on Wednesday, where he answered questions submitted through Twitter. A White House statement said that the purpose of the Twitter town hall is to “try to find new opportunities to connect with Americans around the country”. Tweeting is about connecting, about one avenue to build relationships.

Tweet questions were submitted from which curators filtered down for key topics; the two leading concerns accounted for over 40% of the tweets. What other communication mechanism could provide insight into what tens of thousands constituents wanted to know?

If you want more information from your customers and prospects, consider using Twitter to ask. Pose a question about their needs and wants; ask for feedback on a new idea; ask for insight on a product or service.

So, my tweet to you is: what business challenge are you facing that you’re ready to tackle? Send me a tweet!

   – Helen Dutton, Business Coach

Head, Heart, Gut; Make A Decision

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head heart gutLast week I suggested that if you’re having a hard time making a decision, chances are you need more data. There’s another alternative, and this time the answer won’t be found in facts. The decision lies in lining up your head, heart, and gut.

Small business owners are smart, sometimes too smart. We read lots of books, listen to podcasts and broadcasts, subscribe to newsletters and receive lots of information. We like to use our heads to think our way out of a challenge. Our minds have generally served us well so why not keep relying on this tool? The problem is when our heart or our gut (intuition, wise self, whatever you want to call it) aren’t in agreement with all that information.

Wait a minute, you’re saying, didn’t you tell us to get data? Absolutely. Reliable information is a valuable piece of the puzzle, but it’s not the only piece. We have several internal sources and they need to come to an agreement on our path. Our heart tells us which course of action feels right and is in line with our values. Our gut helps us know which decision is right and true for us. If you have relevant data and you still struggle to make a decision complete the following sentences:

  • My head tells me that the right decision is… because…. I know this because….
  • My heart tells me that the right decision is…because…. I know this because….
  • My gut tells me that the right decision is…because…. I know this because….

You have three wonderful decision making tools within you; let them each have a voice and bring them to an agreement. 

   – Helen Dutton, Business Coach

Helen Dutton, A Vision of Your Own, has provided business and personal coaching for small business owners since 2000, providing online and face to face coaching for entrepreneurs, small business owners, start-up businesses as well as established businesses across the country. Clients come from New Hampshire, her home state, but she has also acted as a mentor to business owners in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Denver area, and closer to home in the Boston area. Helen helps her clients develop their small business ideas, create marketing plans, improve operation efficiency, build customer service systems, build management and leadership skills, and develop confidence as a business owner. Helen provides business tips and resources through her blog and her newsletter, where you can also find business templates to help your business prosper.