BUSH AND ASSOCIATES CONSULTING Performance Specialists: News and Views
vol. 10     editor: Maureen Alear           &n bsp; October 8 2002
The work of our teams is grounded in a unified philosophy that - in demonstrable and practical ways - is shaping the effectiveness of organizations around the world.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------
tip of the week
value added coaching
food for thought
the economy
readers Q & A
training courses
--------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------
Advertiement - The Coaching Security Package for Small Business: Wearing many hats to run your business can at times be intimidating at others stimulating. For those times when a second expert view will improve your decision making, solve your problem, or show the real gains available, this is for you. To learn more about this service call (613) 841-5924 or email: Coaching Package, with your name and contact numbers. We will respond within 24 hours to review the package which best fits you.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------
Don't go where the path leads  -  rather go where there is no path and leave a trail.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------
"Inherently, each one of us has the substance within to achieve whatever our goals and dreams define.  What is missing from each of us is the training, education, knowledge and insight to utilize what we already have." -- Mark Twain


As with the vast majority of management or business services available in the marketplace, coaching (as an expanding service) has a wide array of service levels, prices and content. To assist you in selecting coaching services follow the checklist below.

1. Adult Learning Techniques: All effective coaches know the essential techniques required of adult learners. If in doubt, ask them about their understanding of the essentials of adult learning. If you don't hear that adults learn by doing, you're not talking to a coach. For the list of adult learning techniques refer to our monograph on this subject.

2. The Coaching Process must include a level of confidentiality for the candidate to effectively interact with the coach. Their communications must be confidential from the employer unless agreed otherwise. Also, it must be participatory in developing the content and process. By so doing the fundamental criteria of control and vulnerability of and by the candidate are addressed, making the process the learning and growth experience it is meant to be. Any process lacking either of these necessary criteria, will not achieve the expected results or will achieve agreed lesser results.

3. The process also requires feedback from the coach to the participant, from the coach to the sponsoring (paying) organization and from the participant to the coaching organization. This feedback is critical to ensure the quality of the coaching is maintained, the expected results are achieved (or the contract terminated if the results are identified as not achievable) and the coach's intervention is assessed for effectiveness by the coaching organization. Credible coaching organizations have some form of feedback and quality assurance.

4. Coaching timelines should be reasonable and flexible. Since coaching is a learning
process, the results of it are evident from three to six months into the process. Given this norm, it is important that any coaching contract you are offered should reflect these norms. A credible contract will usually provide for a six month contract with a minimum of three months, subject to renewal. Contracts which run longer than six months with no reference to the three month minimum nor renewal without or without adjustments after sixmonths, should not be considered. All credible coaching contracts have exit strategies based on these norms. They also allow for termination by the coach if she deems the candidate will not effectively learn and apply the skills being worked on.

5. Any coaching organization can tell you the specific behavioural and qualitative results you can expect from their intervention. Furthermore, they can relate them to actual performance improvements in your organization be it in an office environment or production line. If they can't tell you, don't use them. If they wont put it in writing, don't sign the contract.

6. If the organization is paying for this service, then it must be involved in setting the areas of growth and learning that the candidates will work on. Effective coaching services understand that an organization which has identified a need for this service, want the returns to impact on those areas which most affect it. Furthermore, it is this focused skilldevelopment which will provide the best return for the expenditure and increase the likelihood of the coached manager to remain with the organization. If coaching is used for personal growth only, then the skills being improved may not be the most critical for the organization; and, as transferrable skills can increase the likelihood of the manager to leave the organization for another, at the expense of the organization.

7. Coaches must be life long learners. Not only must they have some depth and experience as managers, as coaches they must themselves be in an ongoing coaching process. Ask your coaching service what their coach the coaches processes are. Do they have a certification program? Do they have increasing levels of experience and expertise? What is their quality assurance program? Do they compensate for or neutralize the "relationship trap", where the candidate and coach get along well together, regardless of the learnings.

8. If you want a coach, you have identified a leadership or management skill gap between what you want in the organization and what is being delivered. As these are process skills and not task skills they are not specific to a particular area. So, if you want help in marketing, determine if you want the department to operate better or help with marketing issues eg: branding, pricing, and others. The latter require contract managers, consultants, marketing courses and seminars; the former coaches. Before you hire a coach, know what you need. Many services offer consulting under the name of coaching and charge a premium. A simple question to ask yourself is: Is the problem or issue task related or process related? If task, don't use a coach. If process, coaching is your best option.

By considering the above items you can better spend your resources on coaching and coaching organizations which will deliver the value-added services that will make the critical difference in your management effectiveness.

--- Ian Bush, President

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------

Think about each pair, the tension between them, the relative merits of each, and which you value more and apply in different situations. I believe you will find this exercise as enlightening as I did.

1. Complacency vs. Abandonment
Improvement requires abandoning the old and present. When we are complacent, feeling that our performance is "good enough," we seldom make the choice of abandonment. Consider the motivations to abandon old behaviours. Compare them to the choices for holding on. Which provides a brighter future.

2. Difference vs. Conflict
Difference, when understood for what it is and valued for its merits, can help you find better solutions to problems.  Differences come from divergent opinions and ideas.  Unfortunately, too often difference often results in conflict. Think about how you can value and manage differences, without the conflict component.

3. Limited vs. Creative
When working on a project, how often do you focus on the limits?  When you are, how creative are your outcomes? While viewing any limits in the system, they must be questioned and creativity must be encouraged, in spite of those limits.

4. Excel vs. Coast
We might be able to coast for a bit, but take it as a rest and rejuvenation step on the path of continuous improvement and growth. When we have goals to reach, we have to keep building towards them!

5. Dogmatic vs. Curious
Is your style to laser-focus on the task at hand?  This is a great ability, which allows people to shut out distractions and accomplish what they need. Yet, one often overlooks the interesting and intriguing areas of the task. How successfully do you approach a task, particularly one you have done many times, with curiosity?

6. Constrained vs. Humourous
The image we project can set the mood on a situation and influence the outcome.  Work situations are often viewed as serious, where we must constrain many parts of ourselves.  Humour serves to highlight and exaggerate some aspect of a situation that others find to be true. Try to make your most serious situation humourous.  You might be amazed at the outcome. If nothing else, you may get a laugh out of it.

7. Clarify vs. Persuade
When working with another person, how often do you work to clarify your position or thoughts and how often do you work to persuade the other person you are right? Partnerships require two-way streets, with both having an opportunity to decide the merits of a position. Whether or not we want to convince the other person, we always need to work to clarify.

--- Annette P. Day
--------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------

Exchange Rate: The price at which one currency is exchanged for another.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------

Two groups of campers, one on the seacoast and one on a high mountain, drop eggs into boiling water. Which campers will get hard-boiled eggs first? Answer at end of newsletter.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------

Alternatives to Microsoft Desktop Productivity Software in Demand

With 94% of the desktop productivity suite market, Microsoft is not in a position to worry, yet. It will continue to price and license its products (Works and Office) above the competition. Two conditions are increasing demand for alternative products. The first is PC makers trying to keep costs down by offering less expensive software bundles. The second is a more discriminating consumer. The result has been increased contracts for Ottawa based Corel (Wordperfect and Quattropro) and Sun Microsystems (StarOffice). The worldís largest PC manufacturers, HP and Dell have made significant moves in picking up competitive software to bundle with their computers. This may be the beginning of the shift in the software market to open it up to innovation and competition. Under these conditions, you the consumer can win. You may wish to assess your desktop productivity software (costs, licenses, runnability, support) to see if savings can be achieved by changing to a competitive product.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------

The chart below shows where the Canadian economy fits in the global marketplace. You will note that of the top economies, the Canadian economy is most dependent on trade. As an open economy, it is dependent on other economies, particularly, the US. This dependence places significant pressures on Canadian fiscal and monetary policy, pressures which which are not fully appreciated by policy makers.
exports ($)
exports (%)
imports ($)
imports (%)
United States
United Kingdom
(trade with US)
South Korea
source: UNESCO
--------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------

Are there any tips for handling customer calls and complaints. I would like to respond better and feel that they are satisfied with the service.
- Dorothy Beauchamps, Richmond, Virginia

Help your clients by mastering the five phases of a support call

A well-developed call cycle can help you get to the bottom of a client's problem. You can create a call cycle by splitting the basic phases into simple, recognizable sections. Once you've mastered this technique, you can handle a call uniformly and effectively, which will help the caller and the reputation of your company. In this world of increasing indifference to service and others, this will help differentiate you from your competition.

1. Listen: And take control of the call
Take control of the call by immediately asking for the caller's contact and problem information. While the caller describes the problem, you can jot down this information.

You might find it hard to listen if the caller is not communicating well, whether due to frustration, nerves, or anxiety. If this is the case, you can steer the conversation in the right direction by asking closed questions (ones that can only be answered with a yes or a no).

Occasionally, I digress to other subjects during a support call. For example, I might use the time it takes for them to refer to information in a file to discuss the weather. This shows the caller that he or she is speaking to a real person rather than a support-providing automaton. If you digress, however, be sure to move the conversation back to the problem at hand oncethey have found the information.

2. Acknowledge the problem: Show you understand
Recap the caller's problem. This allows the caller to clarify any details you might have missed the first time around. Sometimes, I summarize the problem but alter a detail so that the caller has the opportunity to correct the information. This technique allows me to check that communication is working in both directions.

3. Provide the solution: Make sure the caller understands what he or she needs to know
Be sure to make the solution easy to understand and make sure the caller understands what you just said. Outline why the problem occurred and give concise details of the fix. If alternative solutions to the problem exist, ask additional questions to see whether these potential fixes might work better for the caller. [note: If the call is for someone else, thell the caller it will be referred to them and the estimated time of response. If the person is available, give them your notes to view before transferring the call.]

4. Recap the call: Make sure the caller understands and feels comfortable with the resolution
Recap your conversation and invite the caller to ask additional questions. Close the call with an agreed course of action. Make sure the caller knows to call again if he or she encounters further problems. Finally, thank the person for calling and end the call. Do not hang up too abruptly, however. Let the caller hang up first. I think doing so seems less pushy.

5. Check your facts: Make life easier for your colleagues
Double-check your notes and make sure that they are concise and accurate. Your coworkers may need to revisit the problem later, and they will need to know exactly what transpired because you may not be there to answer any questions. [note: by maintaining a call log, co-workers can read entries daily to keep informed of issues and solutions.]

--- Maureen Alear, Director Administration

contact us: newsletter
--------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------

RIBO Accredited Seminars

Personal Skills: (Not eligible for Continuing Education Credits for Principal Brokers or Deputies)
Tuesday, September 11 to noon Wednesday, September 12, 2002: Problem People or People Problems (OD-0399)
When confronted with people that you have difficulty with, be they bosses, employees, vendors or customers a basic skill set is required. The participant will learn and practice this skill set in an interactive group setting. Specific workplace problems will be identified and action plans will be developed to address them. Workplace applications will be reviewed with the course facilitator(s) to finalize the learning process.
RIBO credit (personal skills, 12 hours)
Fees: $340.00

Management (Continuing Education Courses for Brokers and Deputies)
Tuesday, October 22 to Thursday, October 24, 2002: Supervisory Skills: Managing for the Millennium: (SUP-0199)
Develop, practice and learn the supervisory and management skills and techniques required for the organization of today. The following subjects are studied: Organization Norms and Standards, Employment Law, Communication, Market Dynamics, Problem-solving, Compensation and Benefits, Economics, Marketing, Workplace Interactions, and Job Screening Techniques.
RIBO credit (management, 15 hours)
Fees: $650.00

Tuesday, November 19 to noon Thursday, November 21, 2002: Effective Marketing  (MS-0199)
Through interactive group sessions, case studies and applications, learn and practice the basic principles of marketing products and services in the dynamics markets of today. The seminar will provide principles, practices, applications and direction on how to best use the learnings back at the workplace.
RIBO credit (management, 15 hours)
Fees: $565.00

Tuesday, December 10, 2002: Occupational Health and Safety -  Effective Practices for the Safe Organization:
This seminar covers the major issues in occupational health and safety, with a strong focus on improving your effectiveness at the workplace. It will provide principles, practices, applications and direction on how to best use the learnings back at the workplace.
RIBO credit (management, 8 hours)
Fees: $225.00

All seminars held at Capones Catering & Banquet Facilities, 831 Industrial Avenue (off St. Laurent), Ottawa, Ontario. Canada

Note: All RIBO accredited courses are available as in-house programs. For more information on our full list of courses and the convenience of having our facilitators come to your preferred site, or by correspondence or e-spondence please contact us at:

Phone (613) 841-5924
E-mail: RIBO courses
--------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------

Monday, October 14 and Tuesday, October 15: Report on Lobbying Benchmarking Survey - Veronica Wong
Thursday November 28 and Friday, November 29: Regional and global market dynamics for Canadian business - Daryl Hamilton
Wednesday, December 18: More Techniques to Make Adult Learning Stick - A.P. Day
--------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------
Ans. The campers at sea level. Water boils at 212 degrees at sea level, but the higher up you go the lower the boiling point. Therefore the water on the mountain, boiling at a lower temperature, will take longer to cook the eggs hard.

Please pass this on to colleagues interested in subscribing.
NOTE: This will not affect any other subscriptions you have signed up for.

© Bush and Associates Consulting 1992-2003
top of page