Reporting in on my 6th day alone in my house on an island in Maine.
My only contact with people has been with clients, friends and family on the phone and occasional waves to islanders as I walk (with a 6 foot berth) on “the back side." There definitely could be worse places to walk and probably way harder places to self isolate:
Like most of us even in normal times, I have a lot of conversations going on in my head. The volume increases in abnormal times and isolation.
One of my internal conversations was “OK, if this is 8 weeks, I need to structure this differently. I can’t just listen to news, talk to clients and connect with friends.”
Then I realize – before going to the structure of it, what do I want to make this experience for? I didn’t choose this isolation, this pandemic or the foundational disruption to so much that I have held as givens to daily life.
I can choose how to respond to it.
I was just reading an article in the NYT from a doctor imploring readers not to sit on the couch but to participate and engage – to help get equipment and to generate solutions for hospitals right now.
The expertise I have isn’t necessarily in that field – but I do know how to support people to remove obstacles, create breakthrough results, and not get stopped by circumstances. It sure seems like there is a need for that when I hear it will take 2 months to get a hospital ship from Virginia to NYC or that the shortage of medical protective equipment is so severe. It’s a call for creativity and being unstoppable. If you or anyone is in a field where my expertise could help right now to speed up results, please reach out to me. I have free time and I’d love to help.
This article is an example of a group of people in crisis mode creating a result you wouldn’t think was possible. They did certain key things: built relationship with one another, created simple principles and acted from them, told the truth to each other, and had quick stand up meetings several times a day to get the facts and address the breakdowns they hit. That’s what we need now in these circumstances.
I also noticed in my desire for structure in this temporary and isolated life, there was a different question to be asking myself. What is the purpose of this time? What do I want to make this time for? My immediate thoughts are: reset, renewal, love and connection. Contribution and generosity fit in there too.
My purpose for this time will inform the structure I design to support myself and others through it. As my almost 80 year old mentor used to tell me: “Your purpose is your leaky life preserver in the sea of uncertainty.” Better to have a leaky one than none at all!
And since they are reducing the ferry schedule to protect the ferry crew, I may need that leaky life preserver.
Stay well, stay creative and be super kind and generous with yourself and others.
Business partnerships can be one of the greatest business structures when it’s going well.
One of the worst when it’s not.
I’ve been in both scenarios over my career.
I often work with business partners when they’re frustrated or struggling. They started the partnership inspired by an idea with probably some sort of very basic business legal agreement.
But that agreement doesn’t cover the most common challenge they encounter:
misalignment of goals, vision, approaches, style and workloads
Miscommunication ensues. The business partners become at odds with each other.
The longer they don’t address the misalignment, the worse it gets.
Think of it like two parents – one with a lenient parenting style and the other strict. As the stricter parent is strict, the lenient parent reacts and becomes even more lenient – and vice versa. So they each get more and more positional, which makes the situation more at odds. There’s often a lot of finger pointing and blame.
These issues are common and can be resolved. I can’t say it always works out perfectly – but a new approach can be created, partners can learn to work together more effectively or even dissolve the partnership amicably if that’s needed. I’ve seen the partnership improve within a month.
This relates to alliances, joint ventures and family businesses as well. There are certain questions to be thoughtfully addressed before you start. Here are a few to consider:
I’ve met with people who were thinking of starting a partnership. After talking with me, they decided not to. They probably saved themselves thousands of dollars and many, many headaches.
People usually request help when they’re already in the business and frustrated. They’ve done everything possible to work better together but it just keeps getting worse. This impacts the partners’ well-being and everyone in the company—not to mention the business focus, growth and profits.
Everyone knows when the parents are fighting.
Watch my video on partnerships here on the Top 3 Tips to Have Partnerships Succeedand please share it with others.
If you know someone struggling in a partnership, I’d love to chat with them. They will get immediate relief and a way forward that works.
From a couple of my clients in partnerships:
"Kerry's coaching has had an incredible impact! Her coaching has helped to create a better working relationship with my business partner, to shift my listening, and help me to be more collaborative with my team. I really believe in her philosophy around relationships and communication. She is incredibly open, upbeat and positive. Kerry sees the potential in you and her approach and coaching have helped guide me to that potential."
"Our coaching experience with Kerry has been terrific. She has pushed us, held us accountable, seen aspects of our business that we've been unable to see for ourselves, helped us to have difficult conversations that have opened new avenues and overall, made us better leaders. Our business has grown as a result of what we've opened up with her coaching."
Just back from a week in Provence with an abundance of divine bread, butter and cheese, vacationing Europeans on the wildest roads I've ever driven (It's oh so fun to have two cars' side mirrors bump with a sheer drop on one side and have the other driver reach out and pop your mirror back -- "Nice to meet you!"), and lovely friends at the most relaxing retreat I've ever experienced.
One of my favorite parts of travel is that I experience "fresh eyes" -- both when I'm away and when I get back. Everything is so new, it challenges my normal (I can hear my children laughing) ways of thinking. Parking a car can be a 30 minute process -- getting the machine to converse in a language I understand (I did understand the French error message that said: "Find another meter"), walk up another long hill to new meter -- only to discover I need my rental car license plate, and down the hill I go.
Then when you get home, it's familiar and easier, but I see things that I didn't notice before that are so American -- such as walking through the Philadelphia airport with more food options than I've ever seen (unfortunately nothing close to that bread, butter and cheese).
Fresh eyes expose what's been invisible to you.
When you have a new hire in your organization, you want to take advantage of their fresh eyes before they get assimilated. They'll ask obvious questions and potentially notice practices that you may have engaged in for a long time that are inefficient or inconsistent with your values. Those observations are gold for your organization if you listen and value their perspective. If you don't listen, they'll start to be quiet.
This is also one of the challenges business owners and executives face. As the company grows or they get promoted, they are challenged to download the gold inside of them to others who will replace them. They don't realize how much they've learned over time and how much mastery they have. I enjoyed discussing this on a recent interview with Rick Nuske on his podcast My Future Business.
You can listen to the podcast here.
If you'd like to discuss creating fresh eyes to increase both your business results and your day to day satisfaction, let's talk: https://calendly.com/kerrywalls. I promise you'll see new ways to approach situations that may be frustrating you.
I find that most of us wait too long to ask for help. That's something I notice as a theme when I talk with potential clients. Sometimes we have to get darn miserable, upset or frustrated -- before we ask for help.
Combine that with the plethora of coaches out there, and finding a coach that's right for you can be a challenge.
As I study the coaching field and watch what's going on, I am concerned about what I see.
I heard from a colleague about folks going into coaching because it's easy to get into and easy to make a lot of money. I'm not sure that's a reason to become a coach.
I'm concerned what coaches post in Facebook groups -- about confronting people who say they can't afford coaching. I gave up confronting clients a long time ago. If you have a strong relationship with your client, confronting them isn't necessary. They just listen because they trust and respect you, and they take a look at what you're saying and see if it makes sense to them.
Here's another cringe worthy example in this promotional email I received from a coach:
"I don't want to waste your time and I don't want you to waste mine, so if you aren't into investing a few thousand into your business - this is NOT the right program for you. Also, if you aren't actually prepared to put in the work and take action to grow your business, this is NOT the right program for you. That said, for the ROI you get on what I've built into the program, (name of their program) is a friggin' steal at the price I'm charging!"
Interesting tone. Does this work? If you're a client of this coach, will you start using that arrogant, disrespectful tone with your clients?
How do you wade through all those coaches to find someone who will work for you and understands your situation?Watch my short video here on what to look for in hiring a coach. (Please like or share it with your LinkedIn network if you're so inspired.)
There are tons of coaches out there. Take the time to sort through the fluff to find one with integrity and caring--who puts you first, and not their own agenda.
If you'd like to discuss to discuss coaching and how it might help, let's talk: https://calendly.com/kerrywalls.
A very common challenge for business owners is that their day-to-day fulfillment decreases dramatically as their businesses grow.
They lose access to the purpose, meaning and inspiration they felt when they started out, and they get bogged down doing things that they don't enjoy. The classic business book The E Myth describes it this way: they get stuck working in the business, not onthe business.
Dave Collins of CleverHiker.com shares his experience when we started working together 3 months ago, and where he is now
Watch the video here. It's short! (Please share it with your LinkedIn network if you're so inspired.)
It's funny. The more fulfilled we are, the more successful we are. They are connected, not in conflict with each other. Extricating yourself out of the day-to-day reactivity of your business helps you be more strategic which grows the business. Business coaching helps you work on the business not in the business by helping you step back and be more thoughtful so you can create the future you envision.
It's easy to neglect our individual fulfillment and vitality in our businesses and careers. If you'd like to discuss how to increase your fulfillment, let's talk: https://calendly.com/kerrywalls.
I hear a lot about what is going on behind the scenes in businesses over the last 20 years of coaching.
One thing that surprises me is that many leaders in business don’t necessarily correlate business success with treating employees respectfully which creates a safe, learning environment. I've heard of public shaming, swearing, gossip, passive aggressive behavior and more.
When employees are in fear (for instance, they feel blamed, they fear losing their job if they make a mistake or speak up, or they feel a need to defend themselves), you won’t get great performance.
They will be in survival and self protection mode which gives them the options of a) fight, b) flight or c) freeze. They lose any access to their creativity and productivity – and they are no longer focusing on the business.
That can't help business results.
The trick is to keep employees out of fear. How do you do that?
Your business will be more and more successful if you keep practicing this. Your employees will step up in ways you never thought possible.
To your success and fulfillment,
P.S. I'm offering a course to Coaches and Consultants: Selling Your Services Through Authentic Connection. Find more details here. Please share this email with coaches you know. This course will easily pay for itself
A lot of marketing to coaches and consultants to help them with sales emphasizes narrowing down, finding your niche. I've explored that myself.
Over the last four years starting my coaching business from scratch, here's what I've discovered. My niche is inside of me. It's not outside of me to be discovered. It's a blend of the following (and this applies to all career paths):
In the above equation, we neglect the blue box: What brings us joy and fulfillment. Not to be neglected! When I notice and follow those breadcrumbs, my business grows substantially. I increase my capacity to see more clients because every session I have energizes me. I attract my ideal client.
It is well worth the inquiry into what fulfills us in our day to day activity vs. what we find draining. First step is to observe ourselves and become aware of it: When are we excited and fulfilled? When are we drained or annoyed? Great data in there!
To your success and fulfillment,
P.S. I'm offering a course to Coaches and Consultants: Selling Your Services Through Authentic Connection. Find more details here. Please share this email with coaches you know. This course will easily pay for itself.
My office is on a 3rd floor of my house.
Thirty years ago, the homeowner of this house was irritated when her neighbor built an addition that blocked her view of the ocean.
She was mad. Very mad.
She built up.
Now there’s a view of the ocean.
And I’m in the trees with a lot of birds.
Look at what I saw this week:
2. Red Bellied Woodpecker
3. Northern Cardinal
4. Baltimore Oriole
So many birds! With different sounds and different activities.
Not that different from employees or coaching clients.
Everyone is different!
So it’s important to adjust your approach and style to the specific employee or client.
The biggest key to that is listening deeply to people and their concerns. I find coaching to be a deeply creative process. I don’t have the answers. But I do listen creatively to provide relief to clients so they take action they didn’t see to take before we started talking.
People are extremely talented, perceptive and smart. If you listen creatively, you’ll see something new and be able to help in ways you didn’t anticipate if you went into the conversation with the answers.
Imagine having big welts on your leg but you never saw anything bite you?
Welcome to the world of No-See-Ums. Here are some internet descriptions:
I’ve noticed another No-See-Um that afflicts business owners and professionals. We “No-See-Um” our accomplishments or progress.
We are much more proficient at noticing what we didn’t accomplish, what’s missing, what hasn’t gotten done, where someone might have been critical of us, or anything else in the negative arena. We-See-Ums!
By stepping over what we’re accomplishing, we negatively impact our feelings of success and connection with others. We feel worse basically.
A lot of this is family and cultural conditioning. We are trained to notice what is wrong, what is missing and internal conversations of shoulds and self judgement. A lot of us think we won't be motivated if we don't criticize ourselves. Not true!
You can break this pattern but it takes practice.
One practice I use is to capture accomplishments as I go through the week and write them down. Otherwise, they disappear. No-See-Ums. Then at the end of the week I can see progress and appreciate my efforts and success.
Even better, share your accomplishments with others. The accomplishments will expand and you'll be able to appreciate yourself more.
Business owners don’t have a boss to tell them “Good job! Progress!” So it’s an important piece to put in for yourself. Try it and watch what happens to your energy and fulfillment.
Start to See Ums, and I promise you won't have painful welts to endure for a week!
If you'd like to connect, schedule some time here.