Coaching as a BM

August 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

I take a break from my line of “basic” Marketing that will later evolve into more developed marketing trends, to-do’s, know-how’s, etc. to write a little about a recent 2-day course on coaching given to all first-line managers (all reporting to VP) during my last days in Venezuela.

Coaching is the activity of a coach in developing the abilities of his/her coachees.  

But why does a BM has to be a coach?

One of the main reasons that i write this article is to establish in a clear way that marketing is more than ads, publicity and agencies. Marketing as i know it (please read my earlier posts) includes managing lots of people of different backgrounds and departments that will probably not report to you (or your department) in order to achieve the company’s goals.

And why is important to be a coach?

On a daily basis, we need to establish connections with people around us. Sometimes we need answers to problems, sometimes we need the execution of an order, sometimes we need information; but every time you establish a connection, you deal with people, with their backgrounds, with their emotions and their cognitive intelligence.

This need to interact with people forces us to develop “people skills” in order to achieve greater results or better timing. And coaching techniques make our daily tasks much easier than usual.

BE A GREAT COMMUNICATOR: LISTEN, WATCH, ASK

One of the great skills of a coach is to open its mind and allow new ideas to be.

Socrates once said: “I know that I know nothing” and the argument behind this sentence is that knowledge is similar to a balloon, and the self-awareness of your ignorance is the limit between what you know and what you don’t (the balloon rubber). So as your knowledge increases, the area that limits your knowledge increase and consequently your awareness of a greater ignorance increases.

Now, the real question is “Can you live with it?”

A GREAT COACH KNOWS THAT HE DOESN’T OWN THE TRUTH OR THAT HE HAVEN’T GOT EVERY ANSWER. BY BEING HUMBLE AND INCLUDING WHAT OTHERS THINK OF ANY GIVEN PROJECT YOU’RE:

  1. VALUING YOUR COUNTERPART FOR THEIR POTENTIAL.

  2. CREATING A IDEA-SHARING ENVIRONMENT.

And this as obvious as it might seem, it’s VERY DIFFICULT.

We (humans) are programmed from very little to “be certain” of everything, no matter if it’s a physical good or a good without matter (such as love, god, etc). But that certainty differs from one religion to the other, from one culture to the other, from one person to the other.

We are programmed to say NO, to be afraid of change, to avoid changing the status-quo or curiosity (the one that killed the cat). Because of this early childhood programming, we find very difficult to break paradigms apart, challenge ourselves to new ideas and allow the status-quo to change.

Great coaches open their minds and allow new ideas to flow.

The second great learning was importance of being emotionally intelligent.

I’ve read a lot about EI since my earlier days on marketing. Being a passionate person I have had to control my inner self that sometimes wants to yell something to get the tire moving. But experience has taught me otherwise and by being controlled, and emotionally intelligent we obtain better results.

A couple of exercises on how to handle pressure, how to avoid building up emotions and some other exercises on how to build empathy with your interlocutor allowed me to understand (by experience rather than its definition) the importance of handling correctly your emotions.

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