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29th August 2011
The clients that I work with in business and career coaching all want to maximise opportunity to be the best they can be. There are usually no “magic” answers, but here are just a few of the ways that my clients have found they are able to create and capitalise on great opportunities to help them achieve their goals
1. Know what you want – it sounds easy, but often this is the hardest part. We are not clear enough about the outcome we want to achieve, or how we will recognise whether we have succeeded or not. Before meeting any current or prospect client, think about what exactly you want to achieve from that meeting and the relationship you want to create with this person.
2. Listen to customers – again, we have all “heard” this before, but do we practice it? Good coaching demands that we really listen to our clients, and as much to what is not being said as to what is. No matter what business we are in, we can benefit from practicing active listening and being 100% present; your clients will notice the difference. What does your client expect from you and the services you offer – what would make them really delighted with what you have to offer?
3. Stay in touch with your network – if you’re busy delivering, it can be a real challenge to stay in touch with people, and keep in touch with what might be the next great opportunity. Manage your time carefully – aim to meet people for coffee, or make a phone call, use social media and brief email updates to let them know what’s happening in your business – if you’re not doing it, someone else will be.
4. Follow through – if you commit to something, make sure it gets done and follow up with your contact to make sure they’re happy with the result.
5. Be proactive – if you’re really listening to your clients, then you’ll be able to anticipate what your clients may want and offer it to them, or refer them to others who can help if you can’t.
6. Get creative –try something new, a new social or artistic activity to meet new people, or a different business networking group- we can get very comfortable doing the same things and getting the same results every time. You may be surprised how you get a fresh perspective or new inspiration and opportunity.
7. Old fashioned research – find out what industry events might be planned for the coming months, see what your competitors are doing and meet them, perhaps academic research is also going on in your field – survey your customers for ideas and feedback.
8. Ask for it – ask your clients to refer you to others and to give you recommendations; see if you can find creative ways to offer incentives to do this.
I’ve recently had great things happen from things like joining a choir, organising a college reunion, meeting some fellow career coaches and asking clients for feedback and referrals – what one thing can you do today to create that next great opportunity for you ?