Marie is a sales representative for her own small company, offering businesses printing and web design services, but she has not been making much money at it. She wanted coaching to do better, but she didn’t feel she could afford it.
Last month, Marie took on an additional job as an account manager, and decided it was finally time to contact me and get some coaching started.
However, our first session did not go well, because Marie started to panic. Maybe she didn’t want to grow her sales business while she was training for her new job. Maybe it was a mistake to invest in coaching while trying to balance her two careers.
But we made it to our second session, during which the underlying issues became clearer. Marie’s husband, a talented graphic designer with a very sporadic work history, was currently working at a temporary job several states away from her and their two children. “Money fear” was a constant theme in her life. She also felt like she was losing control at home. The children, who were “given everything by their parents,” weren’t helping her to keep her house the way she wanted it. Marie felt overwhelmed.
“What’s the point of working with someone if I don’t know what I want, and my plate is too full to even think about it?” she moaned.
“Let’s start with the things in your life that are making you feel overwhelmed—the things you know you DON’T want,” I suggested.
Marie’s focus went right to her children and how little they are helping her while her husband is away and she’s trying to learn her new job. We discussed how she was constantly yelling at them for all the little things they could easily do to help out, and usually didn’t do.
“Do they know exactly what you want from them?” I asked her.
“Why would I need to ask them to do something like putting their dirty dishes in the dishwasher or emptying the dishwasher when it’s clean?” she asked in response. “These are things I’ve asked them to do a thousand times. I shouldn’t have to keep asking again and again.”
“You’re trying to accomplish something through expectations, instead of by agreement,” I told her. “Make a list of exactly what you want them to do and exactly what you are willing to do—what you already do—for them in return,” I continued.
“Then sit with them and obtain an agreement from them about each item. Ask if there’s anything else they expect from you—like not constantly yelling at and scolding them—and if there’s anything they need from you to help them keep their agreements. With a “contract” like this, if they don’t do their part, you have the option of not doing yours.”
Marie suddenly understood that I was coaching her, but not about business or sales.
“But I hired you because I needed help with sales!” she exclaimed. “I had no idea we’d be getting into this.”
I explained to her that most of the professionals I work with already know what they need to do to market and sell their services. Coaching often deals with what is happening to keep them from doing what they need to do, and it usually involves an examination of how their world is occurring to them.
We then went on to agree that she would make a list of the agreements she wanted from her children; she would literally sit them down and work out a “contract” to explain and protect her needs. We also agreed that she would make another list for herself of all the things in her life that she didn’t like, as a means of finding out what she did want her life to look like. Lastly, we agreed that she would treat herself to the yoga class she’d been wanting to take—if she could fit it in around music lessons for her son and dance lessons for her daughter.
If you’re not getting the results you want in your enrollment of new clients, or in any other aspect of your work or personal life, you probably don’t need more “how to” help. You most likely need to look at what’s in the way or hidden underneath, and to make clear agreements with yourself and those around you, instead of simply hoping and expecting that things will go a certain way.
Coaching is one way to take a good look at how the world is occurring to you and at how that view affects your results; it’s also a great way to ensure you’ll be held accountable when you move to make the necessary agreements. Find out just how I can help you, and whatever you do, keep REACHING…