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  • Writer's pictureJohn Swallow

Opportunities through Coaching

Updated: Feb 4, 2018

Different people call coaching different things. For me, coaching is all about helping people to open their eyes and take the best advantage of the opportunities available to them.

There are many opportunities that appear in front of us all. Some of us will experience more of them and to different degrees, than others. The difference between us, as human beings and many other species, is that we have the ability to make a conscious decision to choose which opportunity is the most interesting. This will depend upon an array of factors which will include our current situation, interests, resources and appetite for change. We can then react in an appropriate manner and act accordingly.

However, in coaching conversations, it is clear to see how many of these opportunities are missed without them. When coaching, I see it as my responsibility to help uncover these opportunities, some of which may not be obvious and together with the client, to clarify the goal, explore the feasibility and plan the way forward to it's achievement. Now, before I go on, let me put the "missed opportunity" into the context of something I know rather well which taught me a valuable lesson.

Many years ago, in one of my stores, I happened to be reviewing the sales figures and noticed a dramatic increase in sales of a particular accessory. This was historically a poor selling item because of store team members being either too busy or unwilling to offer it and besides that, generally, our sales were excellent. Having congratulated the team around me, I asked the Retail Manager what the reason for this sales increase was? He replied that a new Sales Assistant was talking about this product with everyone. My curiosity peaked, I wandered over to the Sales Assistant and asked her the same question. She looked at me a little nervously and answered that in her training, the trainer had asked her to enthusiastically talk about the benefits of this product to every customer and recommend it's purchase and was she doing alright because not every customer bought the product? Of course, I was delighted.

After a quick calculation, I noted that if everyone in the store did the same thing, the sales achieved would be rather useful and undoubtedly result in an increase in customer satisfaction. Clearly, the assistant had entered the business without any "baggage" and having been freshly trained, was just simply doing what she thought was the right thing. Thanks to her and our trainer, we could now put together a plan to take advantage of this opportunity. As everything else had been doing so well, we had accepted that this particular product would be a low seller. We simply did not have our eyes open to all of the opportunities in front of us. We should have see it before. We could have used a coach!

So how can Coaches help people to open their eyes to what may otherwise be missed opportunities, whether it be through business coaching or life coaching?

Through asking questions to help them identify what the opportunities are, which ones to take, to clarify the goal, support them to generate lots of ideas and then to create a solid plan to get it done...and there are always opportunities to achieve more. Sometimes, you just need to look a little deeper.

I love coaching!

John Swallow

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