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The Innovation blog is aimed at encouraging members to share their ideas on new insight, innovations and ideas. Please ensure that the ideas you share are relevant to the coaching industry.


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Three Good Reasons for Coaches to Blog

Posted By Jacqueline Ann Surin, 01 July 2017

At the end of last year, I started thinking about what else I could do to market myself as a coach and facilitator. Coaching, as a means of getting support for one’s professional or personal goals, is still quite foreign in an Asian country like Malaysia. What’s more, Clean Language, the kind of coaching I do, is fairly new even in the established coaching community in the West.

One of my marketing decisions was to regularly blog about my Clean Coaching practise for the Association for Coaching, UK. Four of my blogs have already been published on this website so far. 

I was a journalist for 20 years before I became a full-time coach and facilitator. So it was a joy to marry my passion for writing with my new passion for coaching. Even if you don’t have the same writing experience, there is benefit to blogging about your coaching practise. Here are three good reasons:

1. Blog postings are like book chapters

The conditions that support the kind of discipline, rigour and dedication in writing and producing a book don’t happen without effort. I know that if I wanted to write a book, I would likely need to take time off from paid work. That isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. 

However, I don’t need more than two hours to write a 500-word blog and to work with the editor so that it is publishable. 

If I am regular about these postings and write enough of them to interest the coaching community and clients, I could eventually put together a book. Writing blogs makes it infinitely more possible that I will author that coaching book.

2. Marketing to the world

When my blogs are published, my professional profile becomes accessible throughout the world. Blogging for the AC or any other internationally recognised coaching website expands my potential client base beyond Malaysia. 

I’ve already had one reader contact me to find out more about the complimentary 20-minute coaching I offer on Skype. Even if that doesn’t result in paid coaching, that’s OK. It gives me an opportunity to keep using my coaching skills with minimum time investment. And who knows, I might get recommended to another person because of this complimentary session.

3. Case studies 

In my blog postings, I make it a point to add value to readers’ understanding of what coaching can do. I also demonstrate, by sharing real-life examples from consenting clients, how Clean Language works and how it might be different from other ways of coaching.

This means that I am contributing to a body of case studies that the Clean Language community can refer to, whether for their own client work or for research. What do I get out of it? I build up my reputation as an expert with client experience. And the smarter the Clean Coaching community is because of such case studies, the more innovation and support we can all expect from each other in our respective practices.

I hope this posting inspires you to blog as well. Good coaching skills and practices, like good ideas, are definitely worth sharing.

Jacqueline Ann Surin

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What do your three brains know? Part 1

Posted By Andy King, 01 July 2017

When I was working for large businesses I became increasingly aware that in order to get something on people’s radar it had to be distilled to one page of A4 and be supplemented by a spreadsheet. This seemed to be part of the reductionist trend, in the west at least, where we have to be able to prove something for it to be valid and valued. To me, this leads us to place a disproportionate emphasis on what we think, at the expense of what we feel, or know in other ways.

Imagine my delight when I came across an approach1 where cognition and intuition have been synthesised together as neuroscience is now beginning to confirm what esoteric and spiritual traditions have known for millennia – that we have three intelligence centres (brains). The Head, the Heart and the Gut.

As Dr Henrie Lidiard says “We have had a great many years of our cultures, governments and organisations focussing on cognition and intelligence at the head level, however the evidence that this hasn't been wholly sufficient is overwhelming and all around us. As the world becomes more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA), and as the pace of change becomes greater and greater, interest is growing in discovering what defines our most effective leaders, what goes in to making wise, sustainable decisions, what makes people really creative in solving complex problems, what makes them truly compassionate and deeply intuitive and resilient.

The answer? These attributes are found in people who do not function solely from the neck up. They are consistently found in people who have access to all their innate intelligences and who furthermore, who have access to them in alignment.”

My interest is in how we can all be at our best more of the time – whether we’re going to be leaders of nations, of business teams, of a local sports team or of our families.

I did a bit of synthesising of my own and combined the head, heart and gut concept with my practice of Clean Language2 and came up with the following questions to experiment with.

“And when …. (client’s words) what does your head know about …. (client’s words)?”

“And when …. (client’s words) what does your heart know about …. (client’s words)?”

“And when …. (client’s words) what does your gut know about …. (client’s words)?”

I was surprised by how easily people answered these questions, often without even raising an eyebrow – until they realised what they now knew.

I’ve shared the idea with colleagues who have no Clean Language experience and they have used them to great effect when facilitating business strategy conversations. So far I’ve noticed that the head usually knows facts, data and has ideas; the heart knows emotions, feelings and has passion; and the gut knows what to do, or what needs to happen and has energy.

Whilst all the knowledge might have come out without asking the individual questions it seems to be easier for people to be able to generate the information in bite sized chunks and helpful to be able to identify the separate sources.

I found it important to keep it light and move on so that the brains were kept discrete and used for what they were best at. All the information is then brought together with a “and what do you know now” type question. I’ve also experimented with the order and further variations of the questions – of which more in part 2.

I even experimented with asking the moderators of this blog to give me their feedback as answers to the three questions. Their responses were.

“My head likes it. It’s interesting and thought provoking.”

“My heart is happy, as it doesn’t need much editing – apart from two typos.”

“My gut…I don’t know…which suggests I don’t do anything right now although it’s something to explore further at some point.”

Lovely – succinct and distinct feedback which was easy to give.

If you're curious about how your head, heart and gut work, try it. The next time you're facing a dilemma or want to explore something, ask yourself the questions. And notice what happens. I'd love to hear your stories.


Andy King


1. mBIT multiple Brain Integration Techniques by Grant Soosalu & Marvin Oka as shared by Dr Henrie Lidiard www.nlpinthenorth

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How do you grow your coaching practice?

Posted By Kevin Oubridge, 28 June 2017

Your clients have the answers.

A recent discussion post in a LinkedIn group I’m a member of simply stated:

Getting started – pearls of wisdom sought.

The very first response said:

Get clear on what urgent problem you solve and who you solve it for.

It was beautifully clear with no messing, a genuine pearl of (marketing) wisdom.

It took me back to the ‘target, problem, outcome’ marketing message format I learned on a marketing course I went on some years ago – be clear who your target market is, the problems you solve for them and the outcomes they want.

It sounds simple, however, I found it the most incredibly difficult thing to get down on paper.

I wrote, rewrote and wrote again countless target, problem, outcome statements. Endlessly changing how we described our target market, the problems they typically faced and the outcomes they wanted. Nothing sounded right or credible and I had pretty much given up trying to come up with anything coherent when my business partner, Sue Burnell, had a brilliant idea.

Why not ask people we’ve coached what they got out of it?

OK, they might not have been a particularly homogenous bunch, including a friend who was struggling to decide on her next career step, a team supervisor in an insurance company and leader in an ICT company, but it had to be better than what we’d been doing up to then.

And it was, a lot better!

We found out exactly the problems each of them had, as well as the outcomes they were looking for through their coaching. All we had to do was put what they told us into the target, problem, outcome format and we had a number of possible marketing messages. It was so much easier than trying to conjure up their problems and outcomes out of thin air.

We were able to think about who we wanted to coach in the future with much more clarity about why. We quickly narrowed down our target market to where we’d enjoyed coaching most and had got the best results, meaning we were able to choose which marketing message we wanted to go with, which was:

We work with high performing leaders in global ICT companies, who are driving change for business growth and are dissatisfied with progress. We help them focus on what’s important so they can get where they’re going faster and with fewer mistakes for improved business results.

Anyway, we started using our target, problem, outcome message with potential clients – and to our amazement, it worked!

I can’t claim our coaching practice was an overnight success as a result of using it, however, we were more comfortable and effective in engaging potential clients in conversation and they were more taken by what we had to say.

It was a good start, and following that good start we could focus on the next step and then the next. It was a lot of hard work but we started to win coaching clients in global ICT companies and now have a thriving coaching practice. All because we asked people we’d coached what they’d got out of it.

Surely, that’s the sort of marketing any coach can do?

Kevin Oubridge

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The Bee Keeper's Guide to Winning Coaching Clients Part Two

Posted By Kevin Oubridge, 28 June 2017

In part one of this blog I explained how we turned things around at Accelerated Success, our coaching practice, with three key fixes for winning more clients: 1) Know who you want to work with, 2) Know how to introduce yourself, and 3) Know how to continue the conversation.

Those three things certainly helped us a lot but, as far as we were concerned they were the easy bit. The hard bit was then to convert the people we met to paying clients. So how did we do that?

4.   Follow up

Sounds obvious but you wouldn’t believe the number of business cards we got and then didn’t contact the person again. I don’t know if we imagined they’d contact us. Anyway, they never did.

So, having used your article, The Top Ten Perils of Beekeeping, to get potential clients’ contact details, follow up with a phone call. The sort of questions we ask here are:

Did any of the top ten perils resonate with you?

Which ones are most relevant?

Any others specific to you and your situation?

Then bring them back to the challenges they face and outcomes they want that you briefly discussed when you first met them. 

5.   Offer them something of value

Towards the end of the conversation, if we think we can help the person we’re talking to, we say something like:

From what you’ve told me, I think you would get value out of a Strategy Session. A Strategy Session is where you get the opportunity to talk through your work situation in more detail.

You’ll get a report on the session and it’s free.

How does that sound to you?

As I write this, it all sounds too simple but it kind of is. We offer potential clients a Strategy Session, from which they get an experience of our coaching and it leaves them wanting more. We then follow the Strategy Session with a report back meeting, where we go through a summary of the discussion and ask them:

Are you in a position to make a decision on whether to go ahead with a full coaching programme?

We’ve tried all sorts of ways to sell our coaching but this approach is by far the most successful.

6.   Have something tangible to offer

At the start of one of our coaching programmes we agree measurable outcomes, the middle is the actual coaching and the end focuses on measuring success. It may feel easier to sell your coaching by the hour or ad hoc, however, our clients love a more formal programme. It’s easier for them to understand how we add value and it also makes it easier for the coaching participant to pick up and maintain momentum, leading to better outcomes at the end.

These final three fixes help us win coaching clients as well as enabling us to win further business from our client companies, meaning we’re not having to chase new connections all the time. They play to our strengths and we enjoy marketing our coaching as much as we enjoy delivering it.

Kevin Oubridge

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The Bee Keeper's Guide to Winning Coaching Clients

Posted By Kevin Oubridge, 28 June 2017

You want to win coaching clients, but the approach you're using isn't working?

That's just how we were at our coaching practice, Accelerated Success, when we launched in 2003. We didn't know where to start with winning clients and tried pretty much everything, from face-to-face networking to cold-calling. All with very limited success.

Thankfully, things are very different now. We work with high performing leaders in global ICT companies. We build long-term relationships with a small number of client companies, where we win a lot of further business year on year. And we enjoy our marketing!

We've identified five key fixes that got us up and running, here are the first three (the final two crucial fixes will be featured in Part Two of this blog):

1.  Know who you want to work with

In the early days we targeted anybody and everybody as potential clients for our coaching. We ended up with no one. We got on a lot better once we'd nailed down who we wanted to work with. All of a sudden we were clear on:

-   Where to connect with them

-   How to connect with them

-   What to say to them when we did connect

If you do the same, you'll start having conversations with people you want to work with. It's a start.

2.  Know how to introduce yourself

We used to attend a lot of networking events. Chasing likely looking people around until we finally got in front of one.

We would then excitedly chuck everything we had on coaching at them in a 2 minute tirade, while at the same time wishing, hoping, praying very hard they'd buy some coaching. It didn't work.

When you first meet people you want to tell them who you are, who you work with, the problems they typically face and the outcomes they want. Something like:

Hi, I'm Kev. I work with bee keepers. They're always getting stung. What they want is protective clothing to prevent this.

If they're a bee keeper, they'll know you work with people like them.

You can then ask:

How have you managed to solve the getting stung problem?

An open question. They're talking and you're listening. What could be more natural for a coach?

3.   Know how to continue the conversation

I enjoyed networking. The trouble was conversations would end and the potential client would walk away. Blast! They didn't buy any coaching. Or you could say:

I've written an article, The Top Ten Perils of Bee Keeping, that I think you'd be interested in. If you give me your card I'll send it to you.

And would you mind if I call you next week to see what you think of it?

Clearly, your article would have to be relevant to your target market It could be a 'ten mistakes' or 'how to' article, or a case study of a previous client. One of ours is called "The 12 mistakes to avoid when writing a 10 mistakes article"!

Whatever it is, the principle is: offer your potential clients something of value and follow up.

These crucial fixes helped us build more relationships, in the second part of this blog we'll go on to explain the final two fixes that helped us turn those relationships into loyal clients.

Kevin Oubridge

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