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



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

Where Are Your Best Conversations?

ConversationsYou’ve likely heard the real estate advice that the three most important factors in deciding which home to buy are location, location, and location. In Bob Goff’s book Everybody Always he discusses the impact that location can have on the quality of our conversations with people. He asserts that “location drives content, [and] if you have the right conversation at the right place, you just had the right conversation” (Goff, 2018, p. 182).

Reflecting on this concept, perhaps I should emphasize more the location where I coach, do ministry, and have work-related conversations. Perhaps I should be as choosy in where I have a conversation as I am on what we plan to discuss. Location can calm or excite, stimulate creativity, or increase nervousness. Next time you plan a meeting or conversation, select a location that supports what you want to achieve. If you’re limited on venues, how else could you change the environment to make it more conducive to the conversation?

I know a salesman who loves to bring a variety of ice creams to his customer meetings held in formal conference rooms when he wants to break the ice and have fun. He stores a freezer bag in his trunk and stops at the local grocery store to pick up Nutty Buddies, Klondike bars, and Good Humor variety packs. He delights when his customers struggle on what colorful ice cream goodie they want and reminisce about the last time they had a Strawberry Shortcake on a stick as they lick their ice cream. You get the picture. He has everyone sharing stories and smiling—creating connection in the room—countering the formalness of the location.

Bob Goff has a lot of creative conversations, so where do you think he holds office hours? Read the book and find out.


Goff, B. (2018). Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books.

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.

What First-time Managers Should Know About Leading People

Coaching ConstructionAmerican business primarily rewards younger top individual performers by promoting them into supervisory positions, because it’s the only mechanism available for substantial pay increases. The transition from independent contributor to first-time supervisor requires a substantially different set of skills to flourish. Many managers, who don’t know differently, focus on directing their teams as opposed to coaching the best from them. The best managers are coaches, who demonstrate more of and more frequently the following actions:

  1. Providing structure with appropriate boundaries
  2. Drawing attention to individual strengths
  3. Assisting with goal setting and holding the team accountable
  4. Encouraging a solution-based work approach
  5. Listening
  6. Asking questions
  7. Providing feedback
  8. Letting the team arrive and own their own solution
  9. Not avoiding difficult conversations

Although these behaviors seem simple enough, they can be difficult to put into practice on a consistent basis. I encourage companies to offer individual coaching for first time managers. It’s worth the investment to the bottom line in terms of increased productivity and reduce employee turnover.

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

Let Me Help You Have More Success

Sandra Dillon Business Card

You wonder how coaching might help you achieve greater influence or impact in your work or career. You ask yourself if you’re a candidate for coaching. Yes, my clients are like you. They work in all industries, hold a variety of jobs, and are employed for a few months to several decades. Although the list is long, below is a small sample of what my clients seek my help for, because they want to be more successful in:

  1. Moving from sales into sales management or from one type of job to another
  2. Changing careers after decades of working in the same line of work to become more fulfilled
  3. Strengthening team skills after spending a significant amount of time as an individual contributor
  4. Inspiring and getting the most from their teams or staff, especially when the teams are cross-generational
  5. Developing and leading powerful meetings
  6. Creating a meaningful resume and LinkedIn profile

Some clients mistakenly believe coaching has to be done in-person, but I coach clients around the world with the use of Skype and Web Ex. With video technology, face-to-face coaching is just a click away.

I would welcome the opportunity to hear what you want to achieve, explain the coaching process, and answer any of your questions. For those connections who will be attending the annual American Society for Industrial Security conference in Las Vegas, we can have a conversation beforehand and schedule a first session during ASIS. Further coaching engagements can be done through video conferencing.

I am booking appointments for sessions between September 24 – 26, 2018. Reach out to me at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or 281.793.3741 and experience the power of coaching in your work life. Coaching is confidential and the benefits are priceless.


Consistent Success: Are You Doing This One Thing?


After studying the attitudes and behaviors of successful people, Gschwandtner (2018) proposes there are 5 key attributes common among successful people in any profession. Consistently successful people do the following:

  1. Understand and operate with strong core values
  2. Focus intently on a life goal or mission
  3. Build and architect their lives
  4. Manage their career decisions wisely
  5. Practice persistence and consistency

As a Leadership and Life Coach, I work with individuals to help them increase performance in one or more of these areas. Driving on one attribute, let alone all five, can be daunting depending upon where one stands on the continuum.

For people who want to make changes that deliver consistent success, I suggest starting with a Core Values Evaluation to understand the top values that drive who they are. They are the foundation upon which everything else is built. If one doesn’t design a life upon his or her core values, the structure will be shaky, and in many cases, may crumble under its emptiness.

Coaching can help drive improvement in each of these behaviors shared among successful people. Ask me how I can help you become more successful in the ways you define life success.


Gschwandtner, G. (2018), Five Tips to Achieve Consistent Success, Selling Power, July 2018.

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

Improve How You Communicate at Work

Sandra Dillon: May 13, 2018

CommunicationMen and women generally have different styles of communication, and when one appreciates and works with these language differentiators, they can help lead their teams to higher performance levels. Across all relationships, men tend to use their words to work through and solve problems; whereas, women are more likely than men to share their feelings to feel better about their problems and build connection. Women tend to talk out their process, while men think out their process before sharing with a group. Not surprisingly, studies show women use about 3 times more words than men do in a given day—20,000 versus 7,000. Statistics may highlight how differently men and women communicate, but they don’t capture how these differences can result in biased judgment. Sometimes judgment can lead to unintentional discrimination in the forms of exclusion from teams and projects as well as subjective performance evaluations based on behaviors that don’t resonate with the evaluator.

Hedging Language Undermines the Message

Did you know that women are interrupted 3 times more than men? Why is that? Ideally everyone should be respectful in allowing others to finish sharing their thoughts, but this isn’t always the case. I believe women tend to undermine their own success in the workplace, when they use hedging language—setups that do not offend or words that soften their position. People who use hedging language find themselves routinely starting their sentences with:

  • I think, but I’m not sure…
  • I hope you can see my point of….
  • I could be wrong, but…

Some men also use this type of language and suffer the same consequences. However, women tend use hedging language more, because they have been culturalized since childhood to be relationship builders. Another expression of the hedger is saying “I’m sorry” when “excuse me” is more appropriate for the situation. These “starters” and “phrases” don’t set people up for success in the work environment, because they discount the idea that follows.

Who Needs to Change?

Most people prefer that others communicate in the style they do; however, I propose that every employee has an obligation to communicate in a way that honors the company’s culture and colleagues without violating their own values. Employees should assess the work landscape and intentionally adjust their natural communication style to support the success of the company, business, or team. So how can men and women adjust to accommodate their differences?

I suggest that women minimize using those undermining prefaces, assert their ideas and opinions, and chose not to get offended. Men should share more about how they arrived at their ideas. They should also be more patient and not interrupt a woman until she has has completed her thoughts. Focus on generating white space—the pause between speakers. While women and men try to bridge their communication styles, both should suspend judgment in how the other communicates.

A Mentor Can Help

I’m an advocate for mentoring and coaching because of the benefits I see mentorees and coachees achieve. Sometimes even the most experienced and successful people need a coach to help them see and navigate the blind spots they’ve developed over time. Understandably, many people are more comfortable seeking mentors of the same sex. If you have the opportunity to have two mentors, or a coach and mentor, I would encourage you to seek one of each gender. I believe there will be at least a few instances where you will get a different perspective that proves invaluable.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and life 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 or engage her as your coach by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Business Coaching: Factors That Influence Customer Intimacy

A Customer Intimacy StrategyAlthough companies manage their businesses along three leading strategies, they usually select one primary strategy to drive revenue and gross margin: (1) operational excellence (low cost manufacturing), (2) technology leadership, and (3) customer intimacy.  Many businesses do not have the resources to build the operational scale to beat their competition on price and gain market share.  Others do not have the patent protection, know-how, or trade secrets to drive on a technology leadership strategy, nor the high product demand as Honda did in 1988 as advertised in its TV commercial: The car that sells itself.  In most cases, businesses choose customer intimacy as their primary strategy to sell their products and services.

Unfortunately, the barriers to entry are typically low in those industries where the majority of companies are driving on a customer intimacy model.  This model can also be the most challenging strategy to execute well, because it involves one person saying “yes” to another based on several factors: prior buying habits, approvals, service quality, ease of doing business, and the personal attributes of the salesperson.  The success of the customer intimacy strategy can be unpredictable, because it involves a buyer and a seller, who may have different worldviews, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that work together to influence their relationship.  Salespeople, who are fully aware of how they “show up,” have a leg up over their competitors because of their ability to make better decisions in how to influence the sales relationship.

Companies that drive on technology and manufacturing differentiators readily invest in research and capital.  What do companies invest in that drive on the customer intimacy model? How often are they investing in the employees who are routinely interacting with customers?  In my experience, few companies are investing in their sales and customer service teams outside of the technical knowledge of the product portfolio.

Each sales person brings a unique worldview, skills, competencies, knowledge, attitude, and behaviors that work together to leave a strong customer impression.  A professional coach can partner with a sales person or team to do a deep dive into each of these areas that affect customer intimacy and build an effective platform and sales presence by which to cultivate and deepen customer relations.  Ask me how!

HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in business development and leadership.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates specific workshops that address her clients’ business needs.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help.

What is a Leader’s Job Description?

leadership helping othersWhat is the job description of a leader?  I believe the number one responsibility of a leader is to draw out leadership in others.  Who is more qualified to develop an emerging leader than another leader?  If a leader will not do it, who else will?  Although investing time in another leader may seem like adding more to a growing to-do list, leaders benefit and perform at their best when they coach and mentor emerging leaders.  True leaders not only make it a priority to spend the time with other leaders, but they create opportunities for emerging leaders to develop their competencies.  Foster and Auerbach (2015) pointed to research that showed that the most effective formula for developing leadership competencies was: (1) 70% on the job learning through shadowing others and stretch job assignments, (2) 20% from coaching and mentoring, and (3) formal training or education.

What does leadership look like?  If you ask a dozen people, you may get a dozen different answers, although I suspect you would get some common themes focused on character traits such as honesty, integrity, initiative, and intelligence, and perhaps skills such as being a good communicator and delegator.  People are usually attracted to leaders who have charisma and display extroversion.  The truth?  Leaders come in all shapes and more importantly styles.  Although the media portrays great leaders as espousing grand visions, the reality is that great leadership is reflected in many different faces.  Bill Hybels (2009) described many of the varied leadership styles that are required to continually innovate and grow an organization.  Each style plays a necessary role, and those organizations that appreciate and leverage these different leaders will flourish.

  1. Visionary: casts powerful visions with an undefeatable enthusiasm to turn visions into reality
  2. Directional: chooses the right path for an organization at it approaches critical intersections where decisions about direction are needed
  3. Strategic: breaks down an exciting vision into a series of defined, achievable steps and brings subgroups into alignment to realize the vision
  4. Managing: brings order out of chaos by establishing appropriate milestones to the destination and organizing people, processes, and resources to achieve a mission
  5. Motivational: keeps the team fired up and operating on all cylinders
  6. Shepherding: builds, nurtures, and supports a team which draws people together regardless of the cause
  7. Team-building: selects and develops the right team members based on their abilities, character, and chemistry and places them in the right positions for the right reasons to produce the right results
  8. Entrepreneurial: possesses many other leadership styles but optimally functions in start-up mode
  9. Re-engineering: like entrepreneurial leaders although functions best in turn-around environments or troubled situations
  10. Bridge-building: brings together a diverse group of people under a single leadership umbrella to stay focused on a single mission

Do you see yourself in any one of more of these leadership styles?  Does your organization value your leadership style?  Is your leadership style needed in your organization and aligned with your job responsibilities?  These are a few questions you should answer for yourself as you plan to grow in leadership capacity.  Regardless of where you lie on the leadership continuum, there are likely other emerging leaders behind you, who could benefit from your leadership knowledge and coaching.  Know your leadership style, and be the leader who invests in other leaders.


Foster, S., & Auerbach, J. (2015). Positive psychology in coaching: Applying science to executive and personal coaching. Pismo Beach, CA: Executive College Press.

Hybels, B. (2009). Courageous leadership: Field-tested strategy for the 360o leader. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.