On the radio this morning, a priest was talking about the importance of our own behaviour if we want to influence others. He was talking in particular about children and parenting, and I think the lesson is just as true for coaches, trainers and business advisors – in fact anyone who needs to influence others (so that’s all business people then!).
We can’t expect people to listen to us, to take our advice, or just follow our lead, if we aren’t doing what we’re teaching – walking the walk as well as talking the talk. Yet so many business people aren’t taking their own advice. We’re all familiar with the tale of the cobbler’s shoes – he’s too busy mending other people’s to mend his own family’s. And we’re told to beware buying a builder’s house – because they never get around to finishing all those jobs they charge others so handsomely for.
And it’s even more important for those of us who make a living from advising others.
A month or so ago, my coach (yes, I have one, the inimitable master coach, Jules Cooper) challenged me – “How come, Mr H,” he asked (he talks like that) “you’re doing all this other stuff, when your Opportunity thingy’s supposed to help people focus?” I was well and truly caught! I’d been allowing odd bits and bobs of unfocussed work to creep into my work-week, until suddenly I found myself with no time for developing my core work.
So I showed Jules how to put me through the Opportunity Matrix, and I culled a whole load of the odds & sods and developed a plan to get rid of the rest. (an upside of me being somewhat unfocussed is that Jules saw the power of the process, so now we’re talking about how he can use it with his clients – and teaching other coaches to use it was on my road-map anyway). So now I’m doing what I’m telling others to do – and with this morning’s reminder, I’ll accelerate the follow-up to cull the rest of the extraneous stuff!
Funny how lessons on a topic all come along at the same time – after this morning’s lesson from the radio, this evening I read a provocative blog from my friend, the trainer and coach Dan Storey. In it he talks about the importance of integrity and authenticity – you can read it here. One aspect of it is, again, if you’re not consistent, don’t expect others to trust your advice, much less to follow it. You need to look to your own integrity (by this Dan means being aligned in all that you say & do) first.
So are people catching the right attitudes from you?