Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

August 2010

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A good service provider can be hard to find. You know the kind…they provide prompt, courteous service with a commitment to doing quality work. They exceed expectations regularly. They provide the “and then some” without having to be asked. The value provided far outweighs the price.

Perhaps you’re already contracted with service providers that do all of the above and more. However, if you’re frustrated by the poor quality of workmanship, delays, broken promises, and substandard work, here are a few points to consider BEFORE you hire your next vendor.

  1. Interview your vendors/service providers. Ask about their work history, education, experience, and license, certification, or degree.
  2. Ask about their work philosophies. Do they speak passionately about their work? Or, do you hear a lack of enthusiasm that might indicate a variety of important points for you to consider?
  3. Inquire about their policies regarding service such as delivery times, return phone calls, guarantees, etc. They don’t have any policies? Hmmm…….
  4. Solicit referrals. Most will give you their best clients. By skillfully crafting the questions asked of the referral, you can learn much about your potential vendor/service provider.
  5. Don’t step over anything. If something doesn’t sound, feel, or look right, question it immediately. The seemingly insignificant items that get overlooked are generally symptomatic of a large problem.
  6. Comparison shop. Interview a minimum of three service providers before making a decision. It requires more time up front, but ultimately saves you time and frustration.

Spending quality time selecting vendors/service providers reminds me of something I learned from my Dad. “If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, how much time do you have to do it over?” Words of wisdom for all of us ….

Strategic Coach Takeaway: Identify the five most important qualities of your ideal vendor/service provider. Interview & select your service provider from that pre-defined perspective.

In 1997, when I graduated from Coach University, and in 1999, when I graduated from Corporate Coach University, the professional coaching industry was in its infancy. In fact, there were only 5000 professionally trained coaches internationally. We had lots of questions from the buying public about what coaching was all about, and more importantly, what sort of outcomes coaching delivered.

The extensive training we received focused on the skills and nuances of this profession called coaching. With over 200 coaching competencies and an extensive body of knowledge, it was no small thing to make it through each class and ultimately receive the pigskin.

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a ‘Growth Coach’. When meeting another coach, I can tell by the way they deliver their title whether or not they’ve been trained in the proficiencies of coaching. A hesitancy exists when the word “coach’ is uttered that implies they don’t own or feel comfortable or confident with the designation.

I confess! When I sense that moment of tentativeness, I push the envelope just a bit to question where they received their training. (Is that so wrong?) I generally know the response will be “I’ve been coaching my whole life!” Translation? I’m not a trained coach.

Granted, I’ll admit that many competencies from other professional bodies of knowledge cross into coaching competencies. (Perhaps the coaching profession ‘borrowed’ them?) I’ll also agree that some trained coaches have businesses that resemble train wrecks. I might be exaggerating to make a point but you know what I mean. It’s like the hairdresser whose hairstyle looks like it was created with an egg beater.

There’s something to be said about the extensive body of knowledge and skills that a certified coaching facility can provide to anyone looking to add a coaching skill set to their toolbox in being able to deliver real results. Nonetheless, I’m always amazed by the number of people who hang out there shingle and call themselves a coach – without any training or understanding of what’s involved with the profession of coaching.

So, why should it matter to you, buying public? It matters because you deserve to have the best resource available. When you do, the results achieved with coaching are quantifiable and can change the direction of your business.

Here are a few questions you can use when interviewing coaches:

* Where did you receive your coach training?
* How long have you been coaching?
* How many hours (or clients) have you coached?
* What kind of quantifiable results have you coached your clients to achieve?
* What is your most memorable coaching scenario achieved in the past 6 months?

And, finally, how would you coach me through (fill in the blank)? (It’s not too much to ask for a demonstration of their competencies.)

Once you’ve completed the interview process with several coaches using the same set of questions, conducted your own research, and contacted references, you can rest assured the coach you select will coach you to the result you desire.

Strategic Coaching Takeaway: It’s better to be strategic than sorry when hiring a coach.

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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