Ask Your Coach: Right-Sized Coaching Services

Sandra The Peoples Coach Rev 2


Why do people and teams hire coaches? Because they want to get better and win!


Shine Crossings offers an “email” and “small call” service that gives you access to an experienced coach when you need it most. Perfect for when you want a different perspective, bounce ideas off a professional, brainstorm options, and come up with your next steps in conversation with a trusted partner.

Do you have an issue in one or more of these areas: (1) managing teams, direct reports, and your boss, (2) job and career, (3) leadership, (4) financial decisions, (5) sales, (6) relationships and marriage, and (7) business strategy. You can get these services by enrolling in the “Ask Your Coach” monthly subscription, which gives you up to 60 minutes of email and call time. Think 15 to 30-minute calls a few times a month.

The introductory price for this new service is $97/month. Have a coach at your fingertips. The outcome of one coaching conversation can influence the success of your next decision. If you’d like to learn more, check out the FAQs. If you’d like to subscribe, reach out to me at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or 281.793.3741.


Ask Your Coach FAQs

  1. How do your coaching services work?

With your paid monthly subscription, you get up to 60 minutes of call or email time per month to use in whatever way you need. Get perspective, ideas, and recommendations on topics covering leadership, team building, job, career, finances, relationships, parenting, and marriage. The only area that I don’t coach on is health, fitness, and wellness.

  1. How do I contact you to use the services?

You can either send me an email with your question or topic and let me know whether you want an email response or call.  You can also text me to set up a mutually agreed to time to talk. My time to provide feedback to your email question or with you on a call counts toward your coaching subscription time.

  1. Are our written and verbal conversations confidential?

Yes. If you want to subscribe, you will be emailed a simple contract that provides me with your contact information, addresses confidentiality between us, and outlines the fee structure. Once we both sign the contract, we can begin your coaching.

  1. How do I pay?

Two days before the start of your monthly subscription, you will receive a PayPal invoice to your email account. Simply pay the invoice by credit card and you’re set for the month. You will be put on an automatic monthly invoicing schedule with no credit card on file. When you no longer want the services, don’t pay the invoice.

  1. Is there a minimum monthly commitment?

No. It is a pay as you go plan, one month at a time.

  1. What happens if I decide I want more coaching services than 60 minutes per month?

We’ll have a conversation to determine your needs and adjust your plan. If the email/short call structure works for you, and you want access to more minutes, we’ll adjust the monthly subscription price. If you want to focus in depth on a specific issue, we can set up a face-to-face or video call to do a deep dive. Regular coaching services are billed at a minimum of 1 hour and prorated for additional minutes.

  1. How easy is it to get a hold of you when I need you for coaching?

For short calls, I try to schedule our call to take place within 48 hours of your contact. For emails, I usually respond in less than 48 hours. If I’m unavailable due to a vacation or business schedule, I notify subscriptions holders by email with blackout dates in advance.

  1. If I have further questions or want to enroll, what is my next step?

Send me an email at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or give me a call or text to 281.793.3741

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

 

 

When to Use a Coaching Facilitator to Achieve Business Breakthrough?

Group Coaching 2Some businesses struggle with developing strategy, implementing a plan, or even determining the best way of addressing an issue. With the pressure of delivering quarterly results, some companies operate in a continual fire-fighting mode. An ingrained fire-fighting culture can make it difficult for a company to think strategically or focus on the long-term. Skills that are not practiced become dull. When a business realizes it has lost its sharp edge and decides to tweak or change course, engaging a coach may be the best tool to pull out of the business toolkit.

If you are wrestling with a business issue or deliverable and having difficulty getting started or completing it, you may want to contract a coaching facilitator. Coaching facilitators can be used to help companies:

  • create high functioning business or functional teams
  • develop business, strategic, and execution plans
  • solve pressing problems
  • build effective processes

Coaching facilitators are typically professional coaches skilled in business, facilitation, human behavior, and strategic thinking. They will help facilitate the journey of the team through team development, problem solving, decision-making, planning, and goal achievement. A coaching facilitator embodies the best attributes of coaching and facilitation and leads the group through a process to identify the issue, bring forward all the information, brainstorm and vet all ideas, decide on a course of action, assign responsibilities, and hold people accountable.

What can you expect from a coaching facilitator? Look for one that will:

  • Work with the team leader to define the issue and team composition
  • Provide administrative support and facilitate the meeting as well as manage the overall process
  • Uncover the team members’ feelings and gut level reactions to an issue
  • Draw out the facts and focus the attention of the team on the issue
  • Help the team to collect data and brainstorm ideas and solutions
  • Ensure full participation of the group members
  • Draw out meaningful dialogue to broaden perspective
  • Challenge and provide feedback to “group think” behaviors
  • Get team to decide on a course of action
  • Help team to frame SMART goals
  • Motivate and encourage the team
  • Help the leader hold the team accountable

Over time a coaching facilitator should help the team operate more effectively on their own, based on the team working through the same general process. The process will become a practiced way of approaching strategy, business plans, and problem-solving. A coaching facilitator can also train selected employees to serve as coaching facilitators for a company’s future endeavors.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales. She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

Coaching: How to Calculate Your Return on Investment

Coaching ROI 10Have you thought about the return on investment (ROI) of personal coaching? I would probably guess not as this investment decision is somewhat analogous to the early days of personal computers.  With every new product or service, there is a small portion of the population who are the early adopters.  In the case of computers, they were likely the technology gurus, who were excited to upgrade their TI or HP hand-held calculators for 256 kB of desktop memory.  I propose this analogy parallels personal coaching.  There is a small portion of the population who are driven towards self-improvement, so hiring a coach is a no-brain decision.  What about the others?

In the early 1980’s, when IBM computers were first launched, companies struggled with the financial decision of whether to buy their employees personal computers. They intuitively knew their employees would be more productive, but did not grasp how to calculate a ROI.  Is personal coaching following the same path? Most people believe they would benefit from coaching, but they struggle with how to justify it.

How much would you pay for coaching services if you thought you would get promoted within the year, add an extra 10% to your base salary that carries forward for 20 years, or have more job opportunities?  What value would you place on coaching services that solidified your performance in a position where you felt overwhelmed? Can you calculate that value and weigh it against the cost?  What about the intangible benefits such as greater fulfillment and your impact on others.  An increase in your leadership abilities helps others lead better.  Accurately measuring all the downstream benefits would prove difficult, so I suggest focusing on what can be measured and let the unquantifiable extras be the cherry on top of the sundae.

My 5-step process to calculate coaching ROI involves answering a series of basic questions to define the opportunity, determine the gap, measure the performance, and calculate the value.  These steps are:

  1. Define the need/opportunity and determine the gap
    • What specifically do you want to accomplish?
    • What is your baseline?
    • How big is the gap?
  2. Calculate the benefit
    • What are the parameters that need to be addressed that will deliver value?
    • What is the quantifiable value if the performance gap is closed?
    • Is the growth in value linear, exponential, or binary?
  3. Develop a coaching approach
    • What is the coaching strategy and tactics to achieve the target?
    • How will progress be measured (the metrics)?
    • How frequently will progress be measured?
    • Who will be responsible for collecting and reporting the data?
  4. Implement the coaching plan
    • What is working well?
    • What needs to be adjusted to meet target?
    • What is the interim analysis and value?
  5. Calculate the ROI
    • What is the total cost?
    • What is the monetary value of the improvement?
    • What is the ROI (net benefits/coaching costs)?

Putting this model into practical use, a client may have a goal to develop and lead more effective project meetings.  After a review of the client’s work and process, the coaching plan may focus on strategies and tactics to improve preparation, organization, and execution that results in fewer, shorter, and less attendees needed at all meetings.  The costs savings is easily calculated by the reduced man-hours in meetings multiplied by salaries over the project life.  The true cost savings are immeasurable as the upgrade in the client’s skills will carry forward into future projects.

When was the last time you attended a meeting and wished the meeting leader was better at preparing himself and the team as well as more effective in leading the meeting and staying on task? Ask me how I can help? The ROI is off the charts.


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

Pulled in Many Directions? What Do You Tackle First?

WhatYouShouldFocusOn

By world standards, Americans lead busy lives? Why? Some believe unknowingly, yet with good intentions, we have jumped on the hamster wheel in pursuit of those things we thought would make us happy. How are we doing? By many accounts, not as well as we had hoped. How are we feeling? Most people would answer, “Stressed!” Some people may have achieved a few of their goals but feel exhausted. Others are still struggling to reach a destination but have run out of energy. Has the time come to re-evaluate what you should pursue and find the best path forward?

Frankly, some people expend a lot of energy worrying and trying to influence other people and events, yet never realized they had little ability to influence these areas from the start. These same people are depleted of the energy to focus on those things that bring them fulfillment and which they can affect the outcome. Instead, everything becomes a priority. When people feel pulled in too many directions, typically very little gets accomplished. Frustration and stress can lead to poor health, attitude, and in some cases poor relationships.

One of the first steps towards more successful living is to get clarity on priorities.  Priorities are usually reflected in those things we feel most stressed about when they are not meeting our expectations. When I have clients, who feel overwhelmed with too much on their life plate and not knowing where to start, I suggest the following initial step:

  • Brainstorm and write a list of all those things you are feeling stressed about and why? [Note: Sometimes self-reflection on the “why” aspect may diminish the stress as you put it in perspective.]
  • Categorize each stressor on whether it is a high or low stress in your life. [Note: Use the full scale; force-rank the list if necessary; not everything can be labeled as high.]
  • Reflect and categorize each stressor as high or low in your ability to influence its change.

Review the list and identify those items that are both a high stressor and where you have a high degree of influence to change.  Those are the stressors or priorities you should focus your time and energy in order to achieve greater peace and satisfaction.  This approach can be useful in all areas of life. When you have set your priorities, a coach can help you develop an actionable plan to change your stressors to “successors.”


144-2 - CopyAbout 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.  

 

What Backlashes Should Leaders Be Aware of with Flexible Working?

working from home signWorkplace environments and their cultures continue to evolve as globalization, technology advancements, and the footprint of the Millennials continue to widen and influence work structure, processes, and the office design.  How are these events changing the way companies internally do business?  What are the potential backlashes from moving fast into the future? How can leaders keep their teams cohesive, productive, and moving in one direction?

Korn Ferry (2017) issued a series of reports on talent recruitment and what employees are demanding when they select an employer.  In 2016, company culture (employee focus and inclusiveness) and career progression were top considerations for new talent as compared to just five years before when benefits and a company’s reputation were top contenders.  By 2022, talent acquisition professionals believe company culture will remain high and flexible working (remote, cloud offices) will be the number one consideration.  Millennial preferences are influencing work design based on their numbers.  In 2015, Millennials accounted for ~ 30% of the working population with forecasts estimating their growth to more than 50% by 2025 (Woods, 2016).

Will companies have a hill to climb in maintaining a company culture with a reputation of being inclusive and employee-focused while integrating cloud offices, remote working, and flexible working schedules?  At one end of the continuum you have the full team, each with an office or cubical, who works together between 8 am – 5 pm.  On the other end of the spectrum, the office is virtual, with employees working remotely through cloud based connection and occasionally meeting in groups at temporary facilities or informal settings. How far down this continuum will businesses move to accommodate their workforce preferences?  Can a virtual company realistically maintain an inclusive culture?

Most people would agree that greater work flexibility is inevitable, because it will be demanded and technology can enable virtual communication.  Despite employees’ favor in having more work-life balance, what are some of its potential backlashes that leaders should be aware of and prepared to mitigate?  Direct costs may be a factor?  Although savings can come from reducing the office footprint, there will likely be increased costs in Cyber security, technology hardware/software, and temporary facilities.  What side of the balance sheet those costs land on will depend on the company, but leaders should also be identifying and evaluating the not-so-obvious costs?

What about productivity?  Can job responsibilities be redesign in a way that allows for remote access without sacrificing productivity?  Some companies may benefit on the bottom line from salaried employees who will voluntarily give back a portion of their 2-3 hours of daily commute time, as they feel more refreshed and focused at the home office.  However, do all employees have the discipline to work remotely?  Some employees, whose jobs can be performed remotely, still do best in a structured environment away from the home.  They may have a difficult time staying focused and making the transition back and forth between work and personal responsibilities. These are all questions and issues employers will have to wrestle with and decide how to accommodate without sacrificing productivity.

I believe a high-risk backlash is the erosion of organizational cohesiveness and having employees feel they are part of the team.  Lack of face-to-face interaction can result in employees feeling alienated, lonely, and disconnected from their colleagues.  Although video conferencing and social media can bring team members together, they cannot substitute for the natural relationship building that is co-constructed in conversation shared over a cup of coffee, lunch, or a hallway chat.  These naturally occurring interactions make people feel valued, affirmed, and more accountable to the team.  These unplanned or casual interactions provide opportunities to form personal bonds, mentor, discuss impromptu business ideas, and consider creative solutions.  Strong co-worker relationships create a shared sense of purpose that goes beyond performing for a paycheck.

Another potential backlash is the concern, anxiety, and wasted energy that employees have about their performance and future opportunities when they work remotely.  Working in an office environment allows employees to receive daily spoken and unspoken feedback on how they are contributing and presenting themselves.  With employees fearing “out of sight, out of mind,” they wonder what implication that remote and flexible working will have on their performance appraisal, future promotions, and general opportunities.

Communication may be another area that becomes more challenging in a working environment where employees routinely call in, video conference, or read an email summary. People have always struggled with accurately giving and receiving communication.  The workstyle of the future may put additional stress on the frequency and accuracy of messaging.  Burley-Allen (1995) has broken down communication into three messaging parts: the words (7%), tone of voice (38%), and facial/body expressions (55%).  Content and intent can easily be lost in translation through a conference call or email.   Do you remember a personal texting incident where you initiated a hailstorm that left you baffled and thinking, “That’s not what I meant?”   The fact that we all probably have at least one story along those lines is not surprising, when you consider that 7% of communication is held in the words and leaves the remaining 93% up for interpretation.  Whoever designed and launched Emojis was a godsend to the texting community.  At least now the receiver can infer some “tone of voice” and “facial expression.”

Changing work structure and processes will naturally change co-worker relationships.  Change is inevitable, so how can a company and its employees navigate this change well?  As is usually the case, there is no silver bullet or one thing that companies should focus on.  Success is usually built by doing several things well, and I believe companies inherently have the knowledge to set a vision for their future, create goals to get there, understand and overcome obstacles, and hold themselves accountable.  Sometimes leadership needs a partner.  Coaches are change experts, and I believe organizational and leadership coaches will be called to work more frequently beside leaders to help them move their teams from where they stand to where they want to be.

References

Burley-Allen, M. (1995). Listening: The forgotten skill: A self-teaching guide (2nd ed.).  New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN: 9780471015871.

Korn Ferry Institute. (2017). The talent forecast, part 1: Adapting today’s candidate priorities for tomorrow’s organizational success. Retrieved from  http://www.kornferry.com/the-talent-forecast/the-talent-forecast

Woods, K. (2016). Organizational ambidexterity and the multi-generational workforce. Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, 20(1), 95-111.


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.  Contact: sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com

What Can You Expect From Your Life Coach?

coaching arrow down pathWhen people think of coaching, they typically think of sports, where the coach provides correction, gives encouragement, and then follows up with feedback as team members practice to improve their performance. Although these types of activities may be led by acting and sports coaches, life coaching assumes that you are the expert of your life, not the coach. The coach’s role is to partner with you to help you assess what is going well in your life and what you want to change.

Step changes in financial well-being, relationships, work, parenting, spirituality, and marriage health are a sampling of areas on which you may consider being coached. Some people come to life coaching clear on what goal(s) they want to pursue such as wanting to change jobs, but they are unsure on how best to move forward. Others come to life coaching with general discontent and question whether there should be more to their lives. Many young adults embark on a journey that aligns with what the earthly world defines as success, yet many years later they question whether they are living out their purpose. The coach has tools to help any client where he or she stands on the continuum of life satisfaction. A few common issues that bring people to life coaching include:

  • My spouse and I are not getting along as well as we have in the past. We’re in a rut and need help getting back on track.
  • I’m a married wife and mother who is getting a divorce and need help transitioning to my role as a single working mother.
  • I’ve been unhappy in my job for years and need a change but am unsure whether my unhappiness is with my specific job, my career, or my company.
  • I’m stressed about not having a work-life balance.
  • I’m a recent empty-nester and do not know what to do next with my life now that my children don’t need me on a daily basis.
  • I’m a freshman in college with an undecided major and need to make a decision on my major and career direction.
  • I’ve been dating a woman for two years and getting pressured for a proposal. I don’t know whether she is the right one or if I want to get married.
  • How can I be a better leader for my family and the people I supervise at work?

What do these situations all have in common? Each person is struggling with a difficult situation or decision. A life coach can help them navigate through the decision-making and goal-setting process which will propel them in a direction of greater empowerment and success.

Although each client and his or her situation are unique, this life coach typically takes a client through all or a portion of the following activities:

  • Assess on a scale of 1-10 your satisfaction in several life dimensions
  • Discuss past and current background content related to possible focus areas
  • Define a vision for your life and specific areas of growth
  • Identify and define future goals that will move towards that vision
  • Brainstorm ways to achieve goals
  • Narrow solutions
  • Develop SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Aspirational and Agreed, Realistic/Relevant and Time-bound)
  • Monitor and overcome obstacles in achieving goals
  • Provide accountability
  • Celebrate successes

If not now whenYou may believe you can take yourself through these steps, but the reality is that in this fast-paced life, we rarely carve out the time and space from daily distractions to invest in this type of personal work. Additionally, we view our issues through our personal lens and can easily get stuck, not seeing all possibilities. Everyone can benefit from a life coach who can provide the needed structure, space, and time to be successful as well as challenge preconceived assumptions and help the client around roadblocks. As Dunbar (2010) states a coach can make a difference in a person’s thinking, beliefs, decisions, actions and ultimately their whole life.

Reference

Dunbar, A. (2010). Essential Life Coaching Skills. New York, NY: Routledge.


144-2 - CopyAbout 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/plans, leadership, business, finances, and pre-marital/marriage.