Why Innovative Businesses Offer Coaching for All Professionals

Coaching Has Power

Competition drives businesses to innovative—but innovation isn’t just for the products and services they market. Innovation also includes how companies get the product to market. With “people operations” being a large cost to the bottom line, businesses are looking for ways to reduce pay or get more productivity from their employees. With change comes opportunities as well as challenges. With a changing mix of generational work preferences and soft skills, business leadership should be asking how the increase in remote working, competition for talent, and managerial coaching will affect their profitability in the future.

Remote Working

In more recent history, the open-floor plan with cubicles and few closed-door offices exploded throughout corporate America, touted by consultants as the next best thing to sliced bread as far as office design went. C-Suite took their bait on the selling points of innovation and productivity. How that concept passed any reasonableness test still baffles me today, but it’s easily explained as a cost reduction exercise in rent per employee under the disguise of collaboration. Open floors drove people to mediate their circumstances by either working from their home office or donning headphones to block noise and distracting hallway conversations. I would argue that employee collaboration took a step back, as technology allowed employees to work more remotely and independently.

Some employees who enjoy the freedom of working from a home office express feel less connected from their co-workers. Without face-to-face engagement, relationship bonds can weaken, and in many cases, remote employees never forge a relationship with new employees. Remote staff have limited opportunities for casual conversations in the break room while grabbing a cup of coffee or in the conference room before a meeting. Connection is built in small interactions over time and keeps the team accountable to each other.

Generational Work Preferences

Technology has enabled people to isolate themselves while working remotely. Even when a boss requires an employee to work in a cubicle, email and SharePoint allow one to communicate without a verbal conversation. Need to learn something new? YouTube probably has an instructional video.

Effective communication requires one to use all parts: words, tone of voice, and body language. Did you know that words comprised only 7% of the message? How much is lost in translation when one primarily uses email and other forms of word-based technology to convey messages.

A teacher recently shared that with every incoming 4th grade class, the students resist more and more when asked to work in groups. They beg to do the assignment by themselves. What happened to the days when the teacher announced a group project, and the kids responded by raising their hands and pleading who they could work with. Are soft skills under attack and underdeveloped based on the technology advances?

Managerial Coaching

Technology has also shifted the responsibilities of supervisors by pushing more administrative duties onto their plates. Managers had to make room for these tasks, and in some cases, even added work assignments to the mix for the sake of increased productivity. What would you think was prioritized out of their day? If you answered, “time coaching their team and helping their direct reports be successful,” you’d be correct. Managers would like to spend 25% of their time coaching, yet many have no time left over other than to make sure the work gets done.

A Professional Coach Is One Solution

How will businesses respond to the changing work climate? They can certainly restructure work and put coaching at the forefront of a manager’s responsibilities. Given the prolonged impact of technology, some managers have never developed the skill of coaching or perhaps need a refresher. A professional coach can help a manager learn to be a better coach for his or her team.

A second option is to make business and leadership coaching available as an investment for all professional employees. In the past, coaching has been reserved for top executives, but the benefits of coaching can be leveraged at any level so long as someone wants to be coached. Many employees like the confidentiality afforded in a coaching relationship and feel less vulnerable asking for help from a coach as opposed to their direct manager.

Coaching Can Be Justified

Companies offer tuition reimbursement, training, and other educational options as a benefit to attract talent. Many also budget for personnel development. How much does your company spend per person on employee education and training? Coaching can be a value-add to this portfolio. Personalized coaching is a win-win and can be a company differentiator in attracting top talent, because it sends the message that we value you and want to invest in you if you are willing to invest in yourself.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

 

 

Assess Yourself on 13 Critical Selling Activities

Sales DialYou may have read or heard of the book Getting to Yes, Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. Many people don’t appreciate the difference between negotiating and selling with some thinking that selling is telling customers why they should buy, highlighting the features, benefits, and great value, whereas negotiating is the fine art of coming to an agreement on terms. I propose that selling is a process that encompasses 13 activities that drive customers to say “yes” over and over again and is much bigger than negotiating.

All sales people have limitations in their selling abilities and strengths. Even if they’re strong in most areas, they only have 24 hours in a day like everyone else. What salespeople should understand are the critical factors for selling success, self-evaluating themselves across those parameters, and finding ways to cover weaknesses within the defined boundaries of work-life balance. Those 13 critical selling activities are:

  1. Defining the competitive landscape
  2. Prospecting
  3. Qualifying leads/customers
  4. Planning calls
  5. Building relationships
  6. Identifying customer needs
  7. Presenting value
  8. Managing customers objections
  9. Negotiating
  10. Closing the sale
  11. Managing accounts
  12. Managing sales portfolio
  13. Developing a customer pipeline

Sometimes a sales coach can provide perspective and tools to organize, prioritize, and help strengthen these selling areas. Sales coaches can be a resource in brainstorming techniques in specific sales situations and markets. They can help you self-assess your impact and work as a partner toward improving skills while providing a non-biased and safe relationship. Dial in your sales success by investing in a sales coach.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, sales, and business coaching. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

When to Choose Myers-Briggs vs. DISC

DISCMBTI

Perhaps you’re ready to learn more about what motivates you, how you naturally show up to others, and why you experience the emotions you do. Two of the most common preference tests available are the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) and DISC. Even if you’re familiar with what each measures, you may question which one is best for your situation.

Both tests measure specific innate preferences, while acknowledging that people can and do choose behaviors different to their preferences because of external pressures and factored outcomes. However, when people are free to choose without constraints, they act in predictable ways. Awareness of your personality attributes and behavioral preferences are useful for career and job selection, team-building, and leadership.

D-I-S-C

The DISC personality profile is a two-dimensional behavioral assessment best suited for those who are starting to learn more about themselves and how they naturally show up to others. As a logical first step, it measures how out-going (faster paced) versus reserved (slower paced) you prefer to be as well as whether your engagement is more task- versus people-oriented. Your survey answers report both your natural tendencies and how much you adjust those preferences based on your environment.

The advanced reports highlight useful strategies in working with and leading people who are not of similar types and the pitfalls of overusing your preferences. DISC gives you a framework on how to understand others and self-adjust your behaviors to maximize connection and ultimately results.

Myers-Briggs

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a more complex preference model with two levels of self-understanding. Step I focuses on the macro view of four personality types which are (1) introversion – extroversion, (2) sensing – intuitive, (3) thinking – feeling, and (4) judging – perceiving. With 16 possible personality type combinations, there is more to unpack and more depth analysis as compared to DISC.

Step II takes Step I to a deeper level by exploring 5 facets under each of the 4 trait combinations. For those looking for rich and complex insights into their personal preferences, Step II provides that insight. Myers-Briggs is a powerful resource for personal reflection and on how to collaborate with others of different types to drive results.

Why DISC or Myers-Briggs?

Today’s workplace is abuzz with Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). Although most people think of age, sex, and ethnicity as the areas to focus their D&I efforts, the more savvy work cultures realize that diversity and inclusion also capture differences in personality types. Inclusion integrates and celebrates the different contributions of those who prefer extroversion, introversion, sensing, intuition, thinking, feeling, etc. Step into inclusion by taking a DISC or Myers Briggs preference assessment.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Why You Should Take the Myers-Briggs Preference Test

Myers-BriggsYou may have heard people share their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) 4-letter code and wondered (1) what would it measure about me and (2) how could I use the information. MBTI measures how a person prefers to (1) take in or gather information, (2) make decisions and come to conclusions, (3) direct and receive energy, and (4) organize and approach the world. Although people routinely choose behaviors opposite of their natural preferences, knowledge of preferences can explain the source of personal satisfaction and discord among colleagues and family. The power of preferences allows people to make more informed choices.

What Does MBTI Measure?

MBTI measures aspects of your core personality and how you are naturally wired, independent of your circumstances and environment. With four pairs of opposite dimensions, there are a total of 16 personality combinations. The four opposing personality traits are:

Extroversion (E) – Introversion (I)

[where you get your energy]

Sensing (S) – Intuition (N)

[how you take in information]

Thinking (T) – Feeling (F)

[how you make decisions]

Judging (J) – Perceiving (P)

[how you approach your world]

These four dimensions are used to create your 4-letter preference code. MBTI is a reliable and valid instrument where 2/3 of all people have the same letter designation when they retake it more than once. [Note: I have taken the MBTI in my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s and self-validated as an ENTJ each time.]

How Would I Use My Results?

People use their MTBI results to improve individual performance as well as to work more collaboratively in teams. MBTI can be helpful in a variety of life situations:

  • Work Style
  • Decision-Making
  • Reaction to Stress
  • Communication Style
  • Leadership Style
  • Approach to Change
  • Team Style
  • Conflict Style
  • Career Preferences

With greater self-awareness and understanding of your personal preferences you can:

  • Improve communication and teamwork as you gain awareness of the personality differences you see in others
  • Work more effectively with those who may approach problems and decisions very differently than you
  • Navigate your work and personal relationships with more insight and effectiveness
  • Understand your preference for learning and work cultures and the activities and work you most enjoy
  • More successfully manage every day conflicts and stresses that work and life can bring
  • Achieve greater satisfaction by choosing a job or career that aligns with your preferences

How Can I Learn My Results?

A Certified Myers-Briggs® Administrator can send you a link to take an online survey after determining what report would be of most interest. After you take a 20- to 30-minute survey, the administrator will receive your results, schedule a coaching session to unpack your report, and help you determine how you might want to apply the knowledge.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com or by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com

Why Should You Take a DISC Assessment?

DISC 4

You may have heard of the DISC Behavioral Profile but unsure what it measures or what value it could have as a life tool. The DISC assessment is a simple, powerful, and practical tool to (1) understand yourself, (2) explain why people respond to you in the ways they do, and (3) provide strategies in influencing others in more positive ways.

What Does DISC Measure?

DISC is an assessment that measures your preferred behaviors without external pressures as well as the behaviors you choose in various work and life situations. DISC is a relatively simple behavioral model, because it measures two dimensions and the degree to which you are:

Outgoing/Faster Paced vs. Reserved/Slower Paced

People-oriented vs. Task-Oriented

With two dimensions, there are four possible outcomes of behaviors which are represented by the letters D-I-S-C. No behavior is better or worse than another or more or less valuable. Teams typically need a combination of all behaviors to be most effective.

Dominant: doer, determined, decisive, demanding, and direct

Inspiring: interactive, impressionable, influencing

Supportive: steady, stable, stat-quo

Competent: cautious, conscientious, careful, contemplative

Although people are a mixture of all traits, they typically have a preference for one or two as they interact with their world and others.

How Would I Use My Results?

People use their DISC learnings to improve individual performance as well as to work more collaboratively in teams. DISC learnings can be helpful in a variety of life situations:

  • Choosing careers, jobs, and work cultures
  • Selecting effective communication styles and techniques
  • Strengthening outcomes in conflict situations
  • Leading and managing teams

With greater personal insight into themselves and how preferences work within relationships, people can make better choices in both their work and home lives. Leaders who are empowered with DISC tend to reserve judgment, become more accepting of differences, and choose behaviors that are more effective with their teams.

How Can I Learn My Results?

A DISC administrator can send you a link to take an online survey after determining what report would have the most value for your situation. After completing the 20-minute survey, DISC will email you your custom report. I recommend clients schedule a one-hour session to unpack the results and put the power of their knowledge to work.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com or by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com

Career Building: What’s in Your Value Journal?

journal

If you’re looking to build a resume or even a career, you might find it helpful to start a Value Journal. You may be puzzled and ask next, “What’s a Value Journal?” If you’re familiar with a Gratitude Journal for keeping daily reminders of what you appreciate most, you’ve got the concept down. The Value Journal serves a similar role to remind you of the value you bring to your job and employer.

When I work with clients, who are choosing a career path or looking for a new job, their resume is usually filled with a list of roles and responsibilities. Employers are less interested in what you’ve been assigned to do and more eager to know what you did, what impact you had, and what value you brought. They anticipate you will bring that same mindset and competencies, which will add value in the job they’re wanting to fill. Start a Value Journal and capture the rich examples of why a company should hire you.

Some may say this concept might work for professional jobs but not for hourly paid positions. I’ve seen it successfully applied to any job, because employers are looking for employee value at every level. Below are hypothetical, yet realistic, examples that you might find written in the Value Journal of a Denny’s Restaurant server:

  • Greeted 100 customers with a smile and asked how their day was going. Five people commented how wonderful the service was and how their day was brightened by my smile and cheerful attitude.
  • Stayed beyond my scheduled shift to cover for a sick coworker, which relieved stress on management and other servers—creating a more pleasant customer and employee experience.
  • Learned the process of closing out/balancing the cash register which expanded my skills and made me more versatile.
  • Showed up 15 minutes before my scheduled shift and punched in early at my supervisor’s request as the restaurant was short-handed. He said my ongoing dependability was recognized and appreciated by management.

Some clients have difficulty pulling out this type of information and concisely wording their competencies and value on a resume. Many find it difficult to think in the value dimension. How do you get your mind to think in terms of value? Start a My Value Journal. Spend 10 minutes every day listing the value you contributed to someone or a business through your decisions and actions.

Not only will you have data and concrete examples to create a stellar resume, you’ll have a more confident mindset for job interviewing. If you’re looking to create a powerful resume or LinkedIn profile, sign up for a Best Practices session or an individual Value Extraction session to pull out the powerful content for your resume or business social media platform.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

What Role Do Men Have in Women’s Movements?

D&I 2

Today’s business world flutters with the buzzword of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). Based on my career experience as a female chemical engineer coming of age in the early 1980’s, I have a few thoughts on this topic. Today’s D&I movement is gaining momentum, likely due to the MeToo movement, and I’m thankful some attention has been directed toward this issue. D&I affects everyone—men, women, and people of all ages and ethnicities; however, I’m not convinced we’re solving the problem, because we’re not including the right people in the conversation.

What I see in many male-dominated industries is the formation of all-female groups chartered to bring awareness, support, and advancement of more qualified women at all levels. This single approach appears not to fully embrace diversity and inclusion, because its gender stratification creates silos of women within a predominantly male population. I believe these all-women groups have the best intentions and do provide internal support for its members, yet likely they have minimal impact in changing the status quo.

Human studies show people don’t care as much or are as committed to a cause if they aren’t invited to participate and included in the dialogue. Men are a vital part of growing D&I in male-dominated industries, because they can be called upon to make changes through their decisions as opposed to watching all-female groups from the sidelines who are grappling with this initiative.

If you’re part of an all-female group wanting to hold greater presence and power in a predominantly all-male industry, I encourage you to invite men into your organization. Ask for their support. Ask men to contribute in measurable ways. Challenge them to be part of the change. Don’t hold one more meeting without experiencing what men can and want to contribute to your cause.

What happens when you turn away men’s support? I share a male colleague’s story regarding his experience with D&I. Joe [not his real name] works in a male-dominated industry. Sanctioned by the national industry association, a local women’s chapter was formed with the purpose of advancing and promoting women in his industry. Joe learned of an upcoming chapter lunch and assumed anyone was welcome. He re-scheduled a few meetings to attend this lunch. At the last minute, he asked for the location details and was told he was not allowed to attend, because it was for women only. This women’s group lost out, because Joe’s stature in the industry would have given its charter credibility and influence. Joe was turned away.

How successful do you believe this women’s chapter will be in advancing its charter? My guess is it will struggle to get traction and may eventually morph into a women’s social networking group as opposed as to a force to create change. I encourage women’s groups to practice inclusion and diversity in order to live out what they seek out.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Are You Living Your Authentic Life and Loving It?

authentic life

What concerns me as a life coach is how many people value themselves based on the world’s definition of success. They pursue careers and jobs hoping for status, approval, and wealth, as if these rewards will fulfill them and make them happy. I also know people who married into wealth instead of pursuing purpose—easy access to the world’s envy.

People join the “right” clubs, pursue the “in” thing, climb the social register, and support the prevailing majority, even if their beliefs and desires aren’t aligned with their choices. Understandably, certain pursuits aren’t necessarily free choice but the result of coercion—relenting to the pressure of well-meaning family and social groups. However, I’ve found the happiest people are those who live authentic lives that align with their core values and what they enjoy the most, even when it goes against the world’s definition of success.

Forewarned, happiness doesn’t come without its struggles and sacrifices. Everyone has to wrestle with the definition of success that was culturized since birth. The happiest people tend to value comfort in their own skin over what the world defines as success. In many ways, you might consider them pioneers of a fulfilled life. They tell the world to go on without them as they are forging their own path through the wilderness.

I’ve not been immune to the pressures of this world, and I wouldn’t be on the pioneer path without my earlier life experiences. As I climbed the corporate ladder, I got a calling on my life to help others be successful—hence my role as a leadership coach. Although I make a fraction of what I earned as a vice president in a chemical company, I love what I do and just smile at friends and family who don’t understand how I could give up the status and income.

And then there’s my daughter with whom I’m most proud. As a parent, I can honestly admit my concern about a few decisions she made such as only pursuing an associate degree in veterinarian technology. I wanted her to go to a 4-year college and make decisions that aligned more with the traditional definition of success. I eventually realized she is the author of her own life story and appreciate her somewhat unconventional spirit. She struggles like the rest of us, and I applaud that she is real and purposefully pursuing use of her gifts while she makes her way in the adult world.

Life can be overwhelmingly hard at times. Even when you’re hating what you are going through, you can love that you’re living it authentically. Are you living your authentic life and loving it? If so, you are a pioneer of a life well lived!


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, premarital/marriage, and financial coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

Coaching: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

With the holidays around the corner, are you struggling with finding a meaningful gift for someone you care about? Are you a manager who is looking to reward someone on your team? Or perhaps, you want to invest in someone who has potential and needs a confidential partner to take their performance to the next level. These are all valuable reasons to consider giving a gift certificate for coaching.

Gift certificate VISTA frontWhereas other gifts get used up, worn out, broken, lost, or become unfashionable, a coaching gift certificate allows the recipient to explore and positively move forward in an area of life he or she wants to address with a trusted, knowledgeable partner. If work, relationships, or financial coaching is not of interest, certificates can be used for Resume Best Practices and Powerful LinkedIn Profiles sessions. Everyone who has taken one of these sessions has come away with useful information to create a powerful resume and LinkedIn profile.

I have a mission to make coaching affordable, so people can be the best version of themselves. Let’s have a conversation and get a gift certificate into the hands of someone you care about.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon, The People’s Coach, is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com

Why You Should Hire a Coaching Facilitator

Team facilitatorCoaching facilitators earn their position on the team. If you don’t have a coaching facilitator, you could be throwing money away on wasted employee hours, missed opportunities, and drawn out decision-making. When you don’t have a coaching facilitator who can float among departments or project teams, you may be missing out on one of the most powerful resources that can extract and optimize the best from your teams. Coaching facilitators add value by:

  1. Ensuring teams have clear objectives and goals
  2. Aligning and maximizing use of team resources
  3. Achieving clarity on member roles and responsibilities
  4. Preparing team meeting agendas
  5. Keeping the team on point, on task, and on time
  6. Asking challenging questions of the team
  7. Guiding the team through brainstorming processes
  8. Building team consensus
  9. Capturing and documenting meeting summaries and deliverables
  10. Holding team members accountable for performance

Some people haven’t had the opportunity to work on well facilitated teams. When teams work with a coaching facilitator, they exponentially grow their impact and enjoy the process. Coaches are also able to train others in the organization with these key facilitator skills. Reach out to learn how a coach facilitator can help your team before better.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com