Mainly business stuff, but not always :-)
Mainly business stuff, but not always :-)
Sunny California… conjures up visions of sun, Rollerblades and beautiful people. Having just come back from there I definitely met lots of beautiful people, but not in the traditional way the location might suggest.
The people I met last week have to be one of the most genuine, authentic, caring, friendly group of business people I have ever had the pleasure to associate with. The beauty and warmth of character radiated throughout the room during our 4 day adventure.
It was the 2016 Immersion class for Emyth Coaching candidates, and it was an incredible experience.
Those of you who know me know that I advocate a spirit of care and trust in the workplace. It is one of my core values, which if you have ever read any of the books from my ‘must have’ library will know where my inspiration comes from. One of those books is ‘Emyth Revisited’ by Michael Gerber.
I am a qualified business consultant in Systems Thinking, but a consultant comes in, analyses the problem, recommends a solution and hopes the implementation goes well as they had of to the next project. I was never quite satisfied by that approach.
The consultant knows it will work, she has total belief that it will work and is completely in tune to the reasons why. More importantly she also has a clear idea of what a successful outcome will look like.
So what is the problem with that? The business owner has his solution, a fix for the issue.
My Problem with Consulting
From experience the first problem with that is the owner does not have the same conviction as the consultant, may even doubt parts of the solution and try to tweak it or water it down to reduce the often painful impact, certainly the disruption and upheaval of change, so the solution is not fully implemented.
If we successfully get past the implementation stage requiring management or owner buy in, the next pitfall is the lack of clarity over the end game, meaning there is no effective feedback loop when things start to go wrong. So when unforeseen consequences appears, as they inevitably do, there is no real internal frame of reference to nudge the whole process of change back on track to where you really want to be.
The default position is to implement the easy and obvious stuff and everything else goes back to the status quo.
The final reason why the consultation process did not quite sit right with me is… even if the entire project is implemented successfully and everyone involved is congratulating themselves for a fantastic job done what happens when the next bout of growing pains or frustrations start to appear. The cycle begins again with a solution sought from another specialist in that particular field.
Consulting by any normal practice does not supply the tools for businesses to fix their own problems nor provide the opportunity to learn every time they apply those tools.
Now to me that is a huge opportunity missed...for everyone involved. Who of us does not gain some kind of knowledge or insight from doing and reviewing, whichever side of the table you are sitting on.
Teach a man to fish…
I have always tried to take the approach in every aspect of my life, at home and at work, that it is better to take that little bit longer to teach someone the tools to enable them to accomplish their goals. I will admit, it was not always for altruistic reasons. Sometimes I just wanted people to stop using me to do things for them that they should be able to do themselves (usually when I was chasing a deadline or running for an appointment).
But often it was for the kick of seeing someone get that sense of pride and accomplishment, the improved confidence. Sometimes the gratitude of not feeling embarrassed at asking for help with something they thought they should be able to do but just didn't know how.
And we all know how that feels!
So whenever I worked as a consultant it was in my nature to try to get the client involved in the journey and give them some of the tools I used. It was important to me that they felt in control of what was going on in their business.
However the scope and timescale usually limited that particular activity.
From Consulting to Coaching
Roll on a few years and I heard the term business coach for the first time ever. It was a definite light bulb, epiphany type moment… that particular journey you can read another time. But once I realised my true calling was called business coaching, and then found out that one of the most influential books I have ever read had a business coach training programme associated with it, I started what I know to be an extremely important journey in my life. (I have only ever had one other life journey this monumental which you may hear about if I ever decide to write a biography)
So last week I found myself starting this journey in San Diego, California with the EMyth coach training programme.
Emyth is definitely big on installing systems and processes to give the owner / manager space to think and breath as per the original idea behind the book. This in turn allows businesses to react quicker, accomplish more, and successfully deliver a consistent service.
But, and here is the huge point and the reason for my excitement, they put the people in the center of all of this. I had no idea how much care and consideration for all people involved in the entire process was put into the EMyth culture and even their processes.
I had always believed it was possible thanks to my System Thinking academic studies (read ‘Open Minds’ by Andy Law, or the ‘Seven Day Weekend’ by Ricardo Semlar, which was part of the required reading, for the basis of my belief that it was possible in any industry, service, creative... even traditional, heavy manufacturing)
But this was the first time I had the joy and privilege of seeing it in action and the opportunity of belonging to an organisation that beautifully balanced both systems and people.
So if the day to day running of your business is grinding you down or you are dismayed that you can't have the same joy and balance in your business life as you do in your private life then please, do yourself, your staff and your family a favour and check out the Emyth principles.
Our trainers for this last week, all veteran business coaches in their own right, relayed story after story about business owners that struggled with things like:
So unlike a consultant’s fix (which has its place, it is definitely needed at times) Emyth teaches the tools, coaches the steps required to achieve your true goals.
And why does this work so successfully? Because at the heart of their programme are people, individuals, they help you discover who you are and what you really want, not who you think ‘should be’ in the business world.
And from there you truly believe the end result is the right one and understand why. With that type of congruence and conviction coupled with someone to help you through the whole process it would be hard not to succeed...whatever your own personal definition of success happens to be.
I want to belong to that world, and I want to help others find it too.