Olive Strachan North West Export Champion 2016
phone +44 (0) 161 209 3950

With the start of Brexit, Theresa May and her team will have to hone their influencing and persuading skills, which after all, are the key tenets of any negotiation. In a change process or just in everyday work, leaders often come across situations where they need the support of people or groups around them.

One of the key skills of a Leader is the ability to influence others in order to get what they want. To do this effectively they need to be organised in the way they get you to think about the situation and plan their actions. Influencing is the process of gaining the support and commitment of others in achieving your goals.

Influence is about people not things – it comes to a person from another person and it develops through an awareness of what people think about that person and their ideas. What others think is partly to do with the impression a person makes, their manner and the way they speak.

Also, perceived power can give a type of influence, e.g. there is positional power – which is the power of authority or personal power – which is the power relationship building and interpersonal skills.

There are three stages to influencing:

A) Prepare the ground 

This is about building relationships and planning how to handle the situation. There are two sides to preparation, the first is about building relationships and gaining information. Effective relationships take time to develop. We need to invest in others so that they feel we can be trusted. It is also important to keep abreast of any issues which are coming up and could impact on a positive outcome.

The second part of preparing is specific to the situation. Always set yourself clear goals, it is not wise to go into an influencing situation without a clear idea of the outcomes or goals you wish to achieve.

Ask and answer the following two questions every time:

1. What do I want to be doing and feeling afterwards?

2. What do I want others to be doing and feeling afterwards?

You also need to think about how a person is likely to react to any suggestions you may make.

B) Managing the situation

During this phase, it is important to establish rapport to build confidence and trust, this is done by:

- Giving attention to the other person

- Maintaining eye contact

- Greeting people warmly

- Using people’s names

- Being aware of your body language

- Encouraging others to speak and avoid constantly interrupting them

Engaging skills

These are the behaviours which help us gain people’s interest; create empathy and common feelings about critical issues. Building trust and understanding between people includes the skills of: 

- Disclosing

- Listening

- Discovering

- Envisaging and empathising

C) Channelling skills, looking forward and concluding

When satisfactory agreement can’t be reached, highlight key points, summarise difficulties, suggest a way forward, seek reactions and agree how to proceed. It is important to summarise the agreement, decisions and actions, and check reactions and show appreciation.

9 Key Questions You Should Ask Yourself When You Are Preparing to Influence:

1. What do you want to achieve?

2. What are the range of things the other person could offer?

3. What would you be prepared to accept? (In other words, what is your fall-back position)

4. How will you approach the conversation? What tactics will you use?

5. What are the facts and figures behind the situation?

6. What objections may they come up with?

7. How will you overcome these objections?

8. When is the best time to influence?

9. Where will you influence?

If our Brexit negotiators follow a few of the hints and tips above, it should go a long way in helping to achieve a satisfactory agreement.  We wish good luck to Theresa May and her team!

I have just read a report by the World Economic Forum called 'The Future of Jobs – Employment Skills and Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution'. As a Learning and Development professional, consultant and coach, part of my role is to prepare my clients for the future trends which could impact on their business, and the individuals that work in that business. This report together with the CIPD Megatrends report paints a picture of the future where changes in technology, emerging markets, the ageing population, together with a rise in robotics, mean that the jobs we hold dear may not exist in the future.  There may also be a shift in the skills required from technical expertise to interpersonal, soft skills.

The Future of Jobs report predicts that, by 2020, some of the core work-related skills will be overall social skills such as:

  • Persuasion
  • Emotional intelligence
  • The ability to teach others
  • Active listening

One of the most effective methods of preparing leaders, managers and individuals for the future is coaching. Coaching targets high performance and improvement at work, usually focusing on specific skills and goals. As an experienced coach, I see coaching particularly impacting on social interaction and confidence.

A great deal of my work involves delivering training to managers and leaders; so emotional intelligence, influencing and persuading skills are often neglected. Because of the years of austerity and ‘making do with less’, managers have had to focus on achieving goals by delivering on KPIs and aligning all efforts to the organisation's strategic objectives, ultimately ensuring that growth targets are met demonstrating return on investment (ROI). Sometimes, but not always, this can mean that the softer 'people' side of management is neglected.

Why coaching is an effective technique

  1. It focuses on improving performance and developing skills. The starting point is getting the person being coached to look objectively at all aspects of their present situation.  This includes looking at home life, personal life, friends, family etc. as often these impact on their ability to perform well at work.

  2. Personal issues may be discussed, but for business coaching, the emphasis is on performance at work. It is useful at the beginning of the relationship to use a profiling tool, which helps the coachee to better understand themselves and others. This often helps to clarify that the conflict they may be experiencing with others may be because of different personal values and beliefs.

  3. It provides people with feedback on both their strengths and their weaknesses. Working with a coach means that there can be a free and frank discussion, which helps to focus on how the person is perceived by others and their impact and presence.

  4. A good coach will work with you to achieve your goals, whether business or personal. They will sometimes hold you to account, allowing you to push out of your comfort zone to discover your true capabilities. Goals can become just written aspirations without a coach to keep you on track and provide support or challenge when necessary.

  5. The right coach can make the difference between success and failure. Coaching is a skilled activity, so it is important that the person doing the coaching has been trained to do so. Many organisations use internal coaches such as line managers - this can be a benefit or a liability depending on how committed they are to the coaching relationship. As an external coach, I am engaged specifically to coach a member of staff. Often, coaching is bolted onto a manager's job role with no training, so coaching becomes a chore that must be done.

Coaching is not the only way to develop the skills required for the future. In the Learning and Development profession, we recommend a blended learning soluton - this could include classroom, shadowing, a webinar, eBooks, etc. The possibilities are endless.

However, to achieve real behavioural change - particularly when focusing on the soft skills required to build strong relationships and influence others - I feel that at least one of the techniques used should be coaching.

To discuss your coaching requirements, please email info@olivestrachan.com or call +44 (0) 161 209 3950.

"Catch a man a fish

Feed him for a day

Teach him how to fish

And feed him for life"

For me, the unknown author of the above quote perfectly captured what coaching is all about: releasing the potential in someone.

Do you use coaching as a resource to cultivate and develop the employees in your organisation? At Olive Strachan Resources, I have coached and mentored people for many years, and I am a great believer in personal development and training. As part of my quest for continuous personal development, I too have embarked on the ILM Level 7 Diploma in Executive Coaching and Mentoring, an intensive and experiential programme which requires extensive practice and reading outside the formal tutorial workshops.

Historically, most of my coaching has taken place inside offices, which can sometimes - if you are in a confined space, having a one-to-one with another individual - can be a very intense and concentrated experience. The ILM focused on a contemporary programme that specialised in coaching but also utilised the environment to further enhance the coaching experience. This involved working with a coachee whislt walking around Lake Buttermere in Keswick. It was truly an amazing experience; the beauty and stillness of the surrounding environment and the sense of being at one with the elements allowed each person to reflect deeply, making use of mind, body, and spirit.

Here is another famous quote that I feel captures the essence of coaching - this one is from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

As the summer months approach, I am looking forward to the balmy summer weather, which will offer my coachees at Olive Strachan Resources the opportunity to leave the constraints of the office to embrace and experience the beauty of nature whilst discovering their full potential and finding exactly 'what lies within us'.

Tetramap

 

Tetramap® was created in New Zealand, and it offers structured training tools that improve communication and consolidate unity and effectiveness. It maps the complexity of nature into four basic elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. Then, using the power of metaphor, we apply the map to human behaviour. It helps us to choose a balanced, holistic perspective, whether to improve relationships, strengthen teamwork, clarify a corporate vision, or provide a framework for organisational development.

I have found TetraMap® to be an engaging model that lends itself to transforming team performance. In addition to my capacity as an HR/Learning & Development professional and coach, I have also been a certified TetraMap® Faciliatator for 11 years, and I have found that it works well when used in my reflective one-to-one coaching sessions.

OSR have delivered training in 20 countries, and we have worked internationally for 15 years. One of the criticisms that many delegates make is that some of the profiling tools do not lend themselves to diverse audiences. Whilst working with a coachee who could not understand why his manager was always seeking to build their brand externally and was always looking for recognition from wider stakeholders, we used one of the tools produced by TetraMap®: a booklet called 'Why are you like that?' Once we had completed the booklet together and discussed how the elements worked, it gave the delegate an insight into his manager's behaviour, thus reducing conflict in their relationship.

When utilising TetraMap®, I have often found that it works well with audiences from both the private and public sectors, promoting harmony and understanding amongst diverse groups. I have discovered that it works well with my 'Reflective and Contemporary Coaching', where we use the tool to promote self-awareness prior to our coaching session outside, allowing us to utilise the beauty of nature to broaden and deepen the coaching experience. This method allows the coachee to understand that the only limitation to achieving their goal is their own self-belief.

TetraMap® is a registered trademark of TetraMap International in New Zealand and other countries.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us"
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The above quote epitomises what coaching is all about: realising the potential in someone.

I have coached people for many years, and I am a great believer in personal development and training. I have recently embarked upon the ILM Level 7 Diploma in Executive Coaching and Mentoring as part of my quest for continuous development.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) lists some characteristics of coaching in organisations that are generally agreed upon by most coaching professionals.

Coaching consists of a one-to-one, non-directive form of a development discussion and provides feedback to an individual on both weaknesses and strengths. Addressing a wide range of issues, they are usually specific and relatively short-term. Focusing on work-related issues rather than personal, coaching is both time-bound and a skilled activity.

Historically, most of the coaching at OSR has taken place inside offices. If you are in a confined space, having a one-to-one with an individual, it can be a very intense experience. The new reflective coaching approach concentrates on a contemporary programme that specialises in coaching but also utilises the environment to further enhance the coaching experience. The approach will also include Tetramap, the G.R.O.W. Model of Coaching, and a 360 degree feedback model.

At OSR, we will be offering coachees the opportunity to leave the constraints of the office and embrace and experience the beauty of nature, whilst discovering their full potential and finding exactly 'what lies within us'.

For further information on Olive Strachan Coaching Services, visit www.olivestrachan.co.uk.

I have been a certified TetraMap®  Facilitator for 10 years I have found it to be an engaging model that lends itself to transforming team performance but also works well when used in one to one coaching situations. TetraMap® was created in New Zealand and it offers structured training tools which improve communication and consolidates unity and effectiveness.  It Maps the complexity of nature into four basic Elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. Then, using the power of metaphor we apply the map to human behaviour.  It supports us to choose a balanced, holistic perspective; whether it is to improve relationships, strengthen teamwork clarify a corporate vision, or provide a framework for organisational development.

Having worked internationally for some years one of the criticisms that delegates make is that some of the profiling tools do not lend themselves to diverse audiences. Another criticism is that often after completing a personality profiling exercise they soon forget what the outcomes were and how it reflects on how they work with others.  Once when I was delivering a session using TetraMap® in Portugal, one of the delegates approached me and said ‘Ahh so we are all different, and it is ok to be different because ultimately we complement each other and our differences make us part of the whole!’  He got it!

Most recently I have utilised the ‘TetraMap®’booklet called ‘Why are you like that’ whilst working with a coachee who could not understand why his Manager was always seeking to build their brand externally and was always looking for recognition from wider stakeholders. Once we had completed the tool together and discussed how the elements worked and the key traits of each one it allowed him some insight into his Manager’s behaviour thus reducing conflict in their relationship.

As a HR/Learning and Development Professional and Coach - I have often found it works well with audiences from both the Private and Public Sectors promoting harmony and understanding amongst diverse groups. It also works well with my ‘Reflective Coaching’ we use the tool to promote self-awareness prior to our coaching session outside. Where we utilise the beauty of nature to broaden and deepen the coaching experience allowing the coachee to understand that the only limitation to achieving their goal is their own self-belief.

TetraMap® is a registered trademark of TetraMap International in New Zealand and other countries

If you've ever been to see a business coach or mentor, the session most likely took place in an office. There's nothing especially wrong with that, of course, but as any office worker will tell you, it can be quite a stifling, claustrophobic environment. That goes double in a one-on-one situation like mentoring; sitting in a room, face-to-face with your new business coach, can be quite and intense (and even unpleasant experience).

We at OSR love trying new approaches to our work, and we recently hit upon a new idea - namely, using the local environment to enhance the coaching experience. Receiving advice for your business is a far more edifying experience when you're walking around a lake or enjoying the sunshine, and now that the weather has (gradually) started to improve, this could be a great approach for OSR and its clients.

Read more about this approach on Industry Today.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The above quote, to me, epitomises what coaching is all about: releasing the potential in someone.

At Olive Strachan Resources, I have coached and mentored people for many years, and I am a great believer in personal development and training. As part of my quest for continuous development, I recently embarked on the ILM Level 7 Diploma in Executive Coaching and Mentoring. This is an intensive and experiential programme which required extensive practice and reading outside the formal tutorial workshops. In addition, all the participants shared experiences and had opportunities for networking and peer support.

Historically, most of my coaching has taken place inside offices, which sometimes - if you are in a confined space, having a one-to-one with an individual - can be a very intense experience. The ILM concentrated on a contemporary programme that specialised in coaching but also utilised the environment to further enhance the coaching experience. This involved working with a coachee whilst walking around Lake Buttermere in Keswick. It was truly an amazing experience - the beauty and stillness of the surrounding environment and the sense of being at one with the elements allowed each person to reflect deeply, making use of the mind, body, and spirit.

Buttermere, in the Lake District

Photograph by Shaun Ferguson

As the winter months progress, I am looking forward to when the weather is less inclement, offering my coachees at Olive Strachan Resources the opportunity to leave the constraints of the office to embrace and experience the beauty of nature whilst discovering their full potential and finding exactly 'what lies within us'.

One of the most-criticised aspects of the business training industry is the notorious ‘sheep dip’ approach to training and development. This is a slightly silly name for a pretty serious problem: when you see training as the medicine that you feed your employees once a year to keep them productive, your results are unlikely to be all that impressive. Running a business is very different to looking after animals on a farm; dipping your sheep every so often will keep them free of lice, but giving your workers the same old refresher course year after year will quickly lead to diminishing returns.

Of course, training shouldn’t be a routine, token exercise, and a good training provider will always aim to have taught their charges something new or inspired them in new ways by the end of the session. Sheep dip training isn’t something we do here at OSR; managers should invest in training because they want to challenge their employees and improve their skills, not because they have to fill some kind of annual quota. Likewise, a training course ought to revolve around engaging and informing the attendees, rather than reminding them of things that they already know.

Still, even the best training course will come to an end. Once the day is over, it’s up to the attendees to take away what they’ve learned and use it effectively. In this respect, a training course might not be what your company needs at all; you may benefit much more from business coaching.

Where a training course is a one-off burst of guidance and inspiration, hiring a business coach will give you access to ongoing, long-term advice that’s specifically tailored to your situation. The coach will work with you personally to ensure that you get results; not only will they give you far more relevant advice having had a good look at your business, they can then react to any changes and adapt their plan accordingly.

So if you’re looking for a new way to approach your work, or a means of improving a particular aspect of your business, then a good quality training course will see you right. If you want a thorough service that will really take your company to the next level, you need business coaching. Email info@olivestrachan.com today to find out what kind of coaching Olive Strachan Resources can offer you!

Training courses, no matter how thorough and engaging, aren't always the right solution for a business. A one-off, one-day session can have a big impact when delivered well, but it's rarely enoigh to turn a company around completely. If you need something a little more comprehensive, then you might well want to opt for some professional business coaching instead.

Olive Strachan has been coaching for over 20 years, and in that time she has worked with a diverse array of entrepreneurs and executives, helping them to realise their aspirations and, in short, get more from what they do. How many other people have coached the police and the fire service?

Business coaching is a more intimate, in-depth process than an OSR training course; there are no restrictions on how long your coaching sessions can last or how often you can have them. Whether you need an occasional nudge in the right direction or across-the-board guidance that will reinvigorate your entire business, OSR business coaching will bring you that much closer to success.

Olive and the OSR team know that every company is different, and to that end, we create a unique business coaching package for each client we work with. Olive is well-versed in a variety of coaching techniques and diagnostic tools, allowing her to pinpoint a company's issues and tackle them effectively.

OSR offer business coaching for individuals and teams alike. If you'd like us to work with you, call 0161 838 5692 or email info@olivestrachan.com for a quote.

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