How do I Pick a Coach?
When I went to source a coach some years ago I found it really difficult. My big obstacle was finding the right one who had the necessary expertise for the various areas I wanted to work on. Other big questions I had were:
- Will this be totally confidential?
- Will they understand my business and context?
- Have they gone through what I’ve gone through?
- Will we develop the right relationship?
- Will I be stuck with them once I ‘sign up’?
- Do I need a directional (tell me what to do) or a non-directional coach (help me find my own answers)?
All these questions prevented me from finding someone. I felt very uncomfortable especially considering I believed in the benefits of coaching and I was even starting to coach some of my clients one to one.
The solution came along accidentally! I started a peer group for some of my clients and a few others. It was called ‘Leaders in Learning’ with the concept that we would meet for half a day every two months to share and learn from each other and help solve each others problems. That was over eleven years ago. The group continues to meet today every second month. After two years I was asked to become a member of the group as opposed to the facilitator.
I find it an excellent forum for expressing challenges that I’m stuck on, can’t see the wood for the trees, or just feel I could benefit from articulating a problem I want to get some feedback or advice on. What’s most interesting is that there are always different perspectives to be heard.
“It’s like having seven other coaches in the room as opposed to one.”
This group inspired me to launch other groups which I would assemble and facilitate professionally. There have been many over the years.
“I named it the Power of Seven – Your Personal Advisory Board”
Power of Seven Peer Coaching
This peer coaching is the most impactful form of coaching I have ever seen. When seven others are giving you feedback for no other reason that they want to help you, when you hear from others whom you respect because they own and run their own businesses, when you hear from others with similar experiences to yours and what they would do differently – you listen and you act, and you follow through. It helps to know that you’re going to be accountable to your peers when you meet them in two months time!
What Areas Do We Cover? How does it Work?
I have witnessed numerous cases where people have made radical changes in their business and lives. We don’t only work on members business, we take a balanced perspective, we look at ‘My Business’, ‘My Family’ and ‘My Self’. The view being that good performance in these three areas results in overall satisfaction, overall success. The meetings have a clearly defined structure and agenda and various processes that are used to achieve different aims. One example is a process we use to update each other since the last meeting. We fill in a one page form in advance of the meeting scoring ourselves on each of the three areas mentioned above, we also answer questions on these areas and identify one or two issues we’d like to get support on from the rest of the group. We then have a selection of other processes to use on addressing these issues.
“Thanks a lot for your help in 2015. The 2nd half of 2015 has been much better for me on all fronts & our Po7 group has helped me a lot with this. It’s an important part of my life now.” (unsolicited email)
“Thanks for all your guidance, patience, wisdom and for bringing me on a journey which I have no doubt has changed my life”. (unsolicited email)
Who Else Will Be in The Group?
The groups are carefully assembled. Each member is individually interviewed to understand their needs and levels of experience, attitude, personality, etc. I then do my ‘Willie Daly’ (of Lisdoonvarna fame) magic and invite the members I think will work best together.
How Confidential is it Really?
Totally Confidential. Everyone signs a confidentiality agreement at the first meeting. The success of the group is dependent on trust and respect. Members are reminded at the beginning and end of every meeting that confidentiality is sacred.
What Does it Cost?
A fraction of the cost of 1:1 coaching. You pay a membership for the year. You have the support of six others plus me the facilitator not just at the meetings but also in between by telephone and email. Quite often members will visit one anothers businesses to learn more and have a chat. The facilitators costs are shared by seven as opposed to a 1:1 cost.
1. Express an interest
2. Meet in person with me to access suitability, needs, etc.
3. Invited to a group most suitable for you for a brief chat and coffee to meet the others.
4. I get feedback from everyone on their first impressions.
5. Opt in to attend the first no obligation FREE meeting.
6. Opt in to joining the group for 12 months.
7. Review annually commitment to group for the following twelve months.
“The benefits revolve around the people in the group and the deep bond and level of trust that has manifested itself. This has created the platform for sharing real experiences and knowledge in a remarkable way”
Notice: New Group Starting in January 2017 (apply NOW, only four places left)
Note: It is not being suggested here that peer groups are better than 1:1 coaching. They have different roles and can complement each other. Indeed many of my Power of Seven group members opt for 1:1 coaching from Barry in parallel with their involvement in their peer group.