When I have the opportunity to provide feedback to another coach, I almost always notice their sincerity and enthusiasm. While a coach’s attitude is of paramount importance, coaching requires the consistent application of skills in order to be effective. Over the years, I have observed 1 mistake in particular that almost all coaches make at one time or another. Just because the mistake is relatively common, doesn’t mean it is easy to correct. Admittedly, I have been guilty of making this mistake myself. The first step in correcting this faux pas is becoming aware of it, so here goes….
Without a doubt, talking too much and listening too little, is a very common coaching mistake. A coach that talks too much may feel like they are educating a client, when in fact the client should be finding answers for themselves. The biggest culprit that initiates too much coach “speak”, is when the coach asks a succession of “closed” questions. Closed questions usually only require brief answers, or “yes” or “no” responses. An example of a closed question is:
Coach- “Did you manage to accomplish the action step we discussed during your last session?”
Client- “Yeah, I did o.k.”
It is more effective for a coach to ask open questions. Open questions are questions which require an individual to elaborate, or provide more details with their answers. An example of an open question is:
Coach- “What was your thought process in setting your long term goals?”
Client- “Well, I really had to look at all the areas of my life, and decide what is important to me.”
A well crafted open question frequently leads to a succession of additional open questions. In the above example of an open question, the client responded, “Well, I really had to look at all areas of my life, and decide what is important to me.” From that response, the coach could proceed by asking the following additional open question:
Coach- “What did you decide was important to you in different areas of your life?”
The client’s response to that open question could allow the coach to proceed with open questions that begin with “why.” Such as:
Coach- “Why is getting a college degree important to you at this stage of your life?”
Open questions typically begin with words and phrases such as, “how”,”what”,”why”,and”tell me.” Open questions that begin with “why” are particularly effective at helping a client discern inner motivations and beliefs.
The ability to ask effective open questions is a skill that must be learned and practiced continuously. Our society moves very quickly, which creates the inclination to want answers immediately. An effective coach must curb that desire in order to help a client help themselves. During the training I received to earn one of my coaching certifications, I learned a very effective technique for developing the skill of asking open questions. The technique involved pairing coaches in a role playing situation. The individuals played the roles of coach and client. The coach was only allowed to ask open questions, regardless of the responses from the “client.”
By routinely practicing this technique, I was able to rapidly acquire the skill of asking open questions.
Typically, we think expressions of courage are demonstrated
through physical acts, such as the actions of soldiers in battle,
or fire fighters battling a blaze.
However, I’m here to tell you that courage can be “silent”, too.
Such as the courage it takes to become self-employed.
This is particularly true when one is confronted with the
reality that a regular paycheck is not forthcoming.
It can be HORRIFYING!
I am dedicating my top 10 quotes on courage to solo business
owners everywhere. As Neal Young says,”long may you run!”
*”We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
* “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak;
courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
* “Success is not final, failure is not fatal:
it is the courage to continue that counts.”
* “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
* “It is curious that physical courage should be
so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”
* “One man with courage is a majority.”
* “You will never do anything in this world without courage.
It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.”
* “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived,
but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
* “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by
each experience in which we really stop to look fear
in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”
Have you had success conquering your fears? How have you managed to do it? Leave a comment and help our community face, and conquer their fears. I answer all comments and questions personally, within 24 hours. If you feel that this post provides value, be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook, and tweet it to your Twitter followers!
Let’s face it, we live in a world that promotes negativity.
Don’t believe it?
Then go ahead and crack open the daily newspaper in any given
town in America. With all the murders, mayhem, dire economic news,
and man’s ongoing inhumanity to his fellow man, it just makes you
want to go hide under a rock.
And NOT in a constructive way.
In fact, if you are constantly harboring negative thoughts and
feelings, your business is DOOMED to suffer negative consequences.
Up to, and including, going OUT of business!
Your business will move in the direction that your thoughts
Because our thoughts determine our actions.
Over the years, mostly through trial and error, I have developed
a 3 step process that absolutely CRUSHES negativity!
Yep, STOPS it right in it’s tracks.
So, follow these 3 steps and watch your attitude soar like an eagle!
Far and away, your greatest weapon against a stinky attitude is
expressing gratitude. Before you begin your work day, before you
even boot up your computer, spend 15 minutes or so making a list
of what you are most grateful for in your life.
Don’t leave ANYTHING out.
Read your selections out loud. You see, negativity blinds you
to anything positive in your life. By verbally expressing
your gratitude, you train your sub-conscious to put up barriers
to negative thoughts.
EVERY day that you express gratitude in this fashion, the barriers
become higher and higher. Pretty soon, there is no more room in
your dominating thoughts for negativity.
Expressing gratitude causes you to become more grateful, and less
Step 2) Use Bed Time To Your Advantage
Right before retiring each night, read your favorite motivational
quotations, your favorite inspirational books etc. As you read,
practice visualizing positive images that the words create
in your mind. Also, become aware of the positive feelings you are
Your sub-conscious is programmed most readily by your feelings
and emotions. Essentially, before you go to sleep each night,
reading and visualizing positive messages, is planting a “seed”
in your sub-conscious that will grow as you sleep.
You will wake up each morning feeling positive, and you
probably won’t know exactly why.
Also, it is helpful to listen to soft, soothing music as
you read the words.
Step 3) Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
OK, I’ll add one more….EXERCISE!
Begin an aerobic exercise program, and work up to performing
brisk aerobic exercise, 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week.
Check with your doctor before you begin an exercise program.
Aerobic exercise is any kind of exercise that elevates your
heart rate, and keeps it elevated for a prolonged period of time.
I generally recommend brisk walking to my clients. Walking
does not require any special skills or equipment, and it
can be performed indoors or outdoors.
Prolonged brisk walking triggers the release of brain chemicals
called endorphins. Endorphins are often referred to as the
“feel good” chemicals. They tend to produce feelings of well being.
In the case of long distance runners, these feeling are
often described as euphoric!
There you have it, 3 steps that stop negativity right in it’s tracks.
Always remember, your attitude is the one thing that nobody can
give you, and nobody can take away.
Have you been successful at keeping a positive mental attitude? It isn’t easy, is it? Be sure to leave a quick comment and let our community in on your secrets for staying positive. I answer all questions and comments personally within 24 hours. If you feel like these are helpful tips for staying positive, be sure to tweet them to your Twitter followers and share them with your Friends on Facebook. They’ll appreciate it!
I have a friend that I chat with from time to time at the fitness center that I attend. His name
is Brian, and he is an expectant father.
Brian has been living with Brandi for about 2 years, and has acted as a dad “substitute”
for Brandi’s 7 year old daughter. Brandi had been a single parent until she and Brian wed
late last year.
Last week I approached Brian at the gym, and I asked him how his nerves were holding
up as he anxiously anticipated the birth of his daughter. She will be his first child.
His answer shocked me to say the least!
Instead of expressing concerns about the pain of delivery, or the inherent risks,
Brian expressed fears that are definitely a troubling sign of the times.
Brian had this to say to me; “Michael, I can’t BELIEVE how many registered sex offenders
live in our general area! I checked online, and found out that some actually live not far from our
After I had fully “digested” Brian’s response, I got to thinking about a culture
that has so many of these mentally ill predators, that we have to “tag” them, like
a spawning Salmon.
Then I thought, “If we register these threats to society, why not register those
that deserve our thanks and admiration
I assure you that there are MANY more of them.
* Single parents who sacrifice so much of their personal life to play the role
of both parents. Let’s register them.
* Members of the “Big Brothers” organization, who give up their free time to act
as role models to children without dads. Let’s register them.
* Athletic coaches at all levels who inspire and teach kids the meaning of
sportsmanship and team play. Let’s register them.
* Teachers who instill a love of learning within children and a desire to excel. Let’s
* Older siblings who must sacrifice some of their youth in order to raise their
brothers and sisters, and put food on the table. Let’s register them.
* Moms, dads, and EVERY individual who puts their personal needs aside because
they understand that children are OUR future. let’s register every last one!
In fact…. Let’s register YOU!
Leave a comment and let us know about somebody who inspired you. Was it a teacher, parent, relative, coach, or somebody else? Share this message by sharing this post with your friends on Facebook, and your followers on Twitter. It’s time that we started giving notice to people we admire and respect! DO IT!
Several of my subscribers have sent me emails and private messages
thanking me for writing on topics other than just social media, marketing
and making money.
I received LOTS of feedback regarding that post!
Check out the first paragraph from that post, and you’ll discover
why it commanded so much attention:
“Scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana
analyzed the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over about
13 years, and found that people who sit for most of the day are 54
percent more likely to die of heart attacks.”
Face the facts. Your HEALTH is your most precious gift.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of The Top 10 Quotes On Health
“Just because you’re not sick doesn’t mean you’re healthy.”
“The part can never be well unless the whole is well.”
“To avoid sickness eat less; to prolong life worry less.”
~Chu Hui Weng
“You are as important to your health as it is to you.”
“Our illness is often our healing.”
“If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and loving,
you don’t actually live longer; it just seems longer.”
“So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then
have to spend their wealth to regain their health.”
~A.J. Reb Materi
“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want,
drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not.”
“It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important
to my children’s health than the pediatrician.”
Wise words regarding health can be of benefit to ANYONE. Be sure and share this post with your friends at Facebook, and your Twitter followers. How about you? Are you conscious about how much you sit? What do you do to be more active throughout the day? Leave a comment and let our community in on your secrets! Thanks!
If I had a quarter for every time one of my clients has asked me
this question, I could retire to some remote Caribbean island.
The question is: “Michael, how can I become a coach?”
It’s not that I don’t believe that coaching is a wonderful way to make
a significant positive impact on a person’s life.
Rather, there are SO many misunderstandings and myths about the
profession, that I would end up spending the entire coaching session
with a client explaining to them the realities of being a coach.
So, I decided to solve the problem by addressing what I believe to be
information and personal insights regarding coaching, that aspiring
coaches should be aware of.
In some circles, I WON’T be popular after writing this post.
Myth #1 Anybody Has The Aptitude To Be A Coach
Notice that I used the word “aptitude”, and not “intelligence.” Most people
DO have the basic intelligence to be a coach. However, having the inate skill sets
that coaching requires, is a different story.
For example, many people evolve into adulthood with a desire to control
situations and relationships. They are uncomfortable when they cannot
manipulate the dynamics of their relationships to meet their needs.
An effective coach, on the other hand, must relinguish control in order
to help the client engage in introspective problem solving.
In the coaching profession, control “freaks” end up frustrated and broke.
Another example is that a coach must be inately patient. Let’s face it,
in a society that wants results “yesterday”, patience has become much less
scarce, and much more of a virtue.
Unsuccessful coaches lack the patience to allow their clients to make
“baby” steps toward personal goals. These impatient coaches tend to lead
clients toward what THEY beleive is best for the client, rather than
letting the client discover how to work through the issues themselves.
In conclusion, not many individuals are flexible and patient enough to
be an effective coach.
This is a popular myth that is largely promoted by individuals who sell
coach training programs.
The fact is, unless you have developed significant selling and marketing
skills, making a living as a coach is not realisitic.
Particularly when you are just starting out.
In the real world, many idealistic coaches who lack business skills may
not acquire a client for MONTHS after they hang up their “shingle”
as a coach.
Some may NEVER acquire a client, which naturally forces them to find
another way to make a living.
The peddlers of some coach training programs are so busy appealing
to a prospective coach’s desire to save the world, that they conveniently
neglect to mention the realities of actually making a living as a coach.
Bottom line: If you want to make a living as a coach, learn to sell and
promote yourself FIRST, not as an after thought.
Generally, in the real world of coaches selling to other coaches, there
are two distinct “camps”: Those that sell coaches on their coach
training program, and those that sell coaches on how to find clients.
There is BIG money in selling to other coaches. Be AWARE!
When I am first establishing my relationship with a new client, I always
ask them to explain to me the difference between coaching and consulting.
I don’t keep statistics, but I would guess that only about 33% of my new
clients can explain the difference.
The difference is night and day.
A coach is a facilitator that helps clients initiate positive changes in
their lives. Coaches help clients take an inward journey to discover on
their own what those changes should be.
A consultant provides information, guidance and advice in order
to help a client reach specific goals.
Consultants are most widely used in the business world.
Typically, because my clients are small business owners and solo
entrepreneurs, I act in the capacity of both a coach and a consultant.
Some of my clients need help in determining the specific steps they
need to take to grow their business. Because I have 30+ years of real
world business experience, those clients benefit most from my consulting.
Other clients may be aware of the steps they need to take, but lack
the personal psychologies necessary to implement those steps.
For those clients, my coaching skills are most helpful
When all is said and done, coaching is an amazing profession that
can make a considerable difference in the quality of a client’s
However, when you are making your living as a coach, you are running
a coaching BUSINESS.
Have realistic expectations, keep your eyes wide open, work hard, and
you should do just fine.
Do you know others that are considering the coaching profession? Do you know coaches that are struggling to make a living? Are you thinking about consulting? SHARE THIS POST WITH OTHERS. Share it with your friends on Facebook, tweet it to your followers on Twitter. Let others benefit from this information that is backed by 30+ years of REAL world experience. Go ahead and leave a comment and let our community know about your experience with coaches and coaching. Has it been positive?
Not the least of which are found in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing
whether that nation, or any nation so conceived
and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on
a great battle-field of that war. We have come to
dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting
place for those who here gave their lives that that
nation might live. It is altogether fitting and
proper that we should do this.”
In addition to the great words by Abraham Lincoln, I have compiled 10 quotes that have withstood the test of time as some of the most poignant ever written. I have selected them because they “say” the most in the fewest words. As you read them, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and say “thanks.”
“For love of country they accepted death…”
~James A. Garfield
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves
a memory no one can steal.”
~From a headstone in Ireland
“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men.”
~Minot J. Savage
“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name
and the inheritance of a great example.”
“They are dead; but they live in each Patriot’s breast,
And their names are engraven on honor’s bright crest.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.”
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life
to something bigger than oneself.”
“The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.”
“How important it is for us to recognize and
celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”
If these words hold a special meaning for you, share them. Share them with your friends on Facebook, tweet them to your followers on Twitter, share them with your family members and co-workers. PLEASE leave a comment and let us know what Memorial Day means to you.
Generally speaking, an effective coach develops an acute understanding of human nature and psychology. Typically, this understanding allows a coach to be empathetic without being sympathetic. Coaches are constantly trying to understand themselves, in order to help clients gain new perspectives. In addition to being students of human nature, successful coaches also learn to apply two critical “people” skills during the coaching process. In fact, I would venture to say that without mastering these two skills, a coach would not be a “coach.”
We live in an extremely fast paced world, where we feel compelled to make very quick decisions. The fact that we have endless amounts of information available to us with a few clicks of a mouse, makes us very impatient when it comes to learning.
This impatience has created generations of poor listeners.
The proliferation of texting and sending emails has made listening largely unnecessary, and we are sadly out of practice. Actual conversations, which are becoming uncommon, generally consist of individuals taking turns talking. Very little active listening takes place.
Yep, to be effective, a coach must master the skill of active listening. Active listening is a two part process:
Part 1- Stay Present & Focused
When a client is speaking, don’t simply “hear” the words they are saying. Focus on the concepts and ideas they may be trying to convey. It is important not to let your mind wander or get “ahead” of the discussion. Most importantly, don’t be thinking of what you are going to say next while a client is speaking. Let them complete a thought before you speak.
Part 2- Show Signs That You Are Listening
Clients feel empowered when they feel they are being listened to. An effective coach can provide signs that they are listening that will give a client the confidence to express themselves fully. The signs include nodding of the head, leaning forward in a seat, changing facial expressions, and making comfortable eye contact(avoid staring).
The second essential coaching skill is asking questions. Listening and asking questions are fundamentally linked together. When a coach asks an effective question, a client instantly feels like they are being heard and understood.
Generally, there are two forms of questions….
Open questions are so named because they facilitate a client “opening up” and expressing themselves. Open questions are the cornerstone of the coaching process because they increase the depth of a client’s thinking process. As a client answers an open question, they are consciously sorting out their thoughts.
Open questions typically are formed by using words such as “how,” “why,” or “tell me.” The following are three examples of open questions….
“How did you feel about losing your job?”
Open questions that inquire about a client’s feelings can help a client come to terms with their feelings.
“Why is it important to you to take your time in finding another job?”
“Why” questions can help a client sort out their reasons and motivations.
“Tell me a little about the kind of job you are looking for.”
Notice that “tell me” is not a question at all. However, it is an effective means of helping a client reflect on an experience, or their feelings.
Closed questions generally can be answered with a very short response. Questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no” are classic examples of closed questions. Closed questions should be avoided during the coaching process because they often fail to help a client think through situations, feelings and problems.
The following are three examples of closed questions….
“How many jobs have you applied for?”
“Are you looking for work online?”
“Are you looking for the same kind of job you had before?”
Listening and asking effective questions takes time to learn. Find a coaching practice partner and schedule regular practice sessions. They are skills that are FUNDAMENTAL to your success. To the extent that you master them, will determine the success of your clients as well.
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Go ahead and leave a comment and share with our community your feelings on the importance of listening and asking questions- I answer ALL questions and comments personally within 24 hours!
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If I had to pinpoint the one factor that foils
the success of a majority of solo entrepreneurs,
it would be establishing bad habits.
NO question about it.
My clients, for example, when they first begin to
work with me, are typically equal in ambition, intelligence
However, their bad habits create a vicious form of
Consequently, over 30+ years of being a solo
entrepreneur, and working with them, I have made it
my passion to help my clients kick bad habits.
Over the years, mostly through trial and error(LOTS
of trial and error), I have found that if my clients follow
5 steps faithfully, they can whip ANY bad habit into
I outline the 3 steps in my ebook, “The Alligator Syndrome”,
which is available on my blog as a free download.
However, this post reveals a condensed version of the 5 steps, so here goes….
1) Define your goals and then commit yourself to achieving them.
People who acknowledge that they need to make a change in
their life are more likely to achieve that change than those
individuals who think that they may, or may not, have a problem.
Taking active steps towards making that change (i.e., joining
a mastermind group) will move you closer to success in kicking
the habit. Change is not easy and requires commitment. As a start,
by defining your specific behavior goals, you can begin tailoring
your activities and attitudes accordingly.
2) Establish clear and realistic sub-goals and timelines. Rome was not built in a day – if it was that easy to kick a bad habit, we simply wouldn’t have bad habits. Chart your progress in a diary or calendar that outlines a realistic amount of time to eliminate the bad habit. If you are checking emails 8 times a day, and have a goal of cutting down to checking them 3 times a day, give yourself a few weeks to achieve this. The first big hurdle is to achieve 90-days of the target behavior.
3) Don’t do it alone. Get help. If you choose to discuss your goals with others, choose people who want you to succeed. Quitting bad habits is hard enough without having to watch the people near you enjoying what you have now deprived yourself of. If you want to quit smoking and your spouse is still smoking, your goal will be significantly more challenging. Find someone with the same goals, who wants to kick the same habit. Find support from friends, family, colleagues, or a certified coach.
4) Add, don’t just subtract. Add competing desirable behaviors to compensate for the elimination of bad habits. We often need something to take the place of a habit to help us maintain focus to successfully kick a habit. By replacing bad habits with positive ones, like exercise, meditation, time with family, healthier foods and activities, you are less likely to replace old bad habits with new bad habits.
5) Reward yourself! Continue to acknowledge and reward yourself for the “baby-steps” you take in kicking a bad habit. Let the people around you reward your success and cheer you on the next step. This can be accomplished by setting up a “success amount” that continues to reward you as you continue to succeed. For example, you can treat yourself to a desired CD for every week of success and a DVD player for achieving 90-days of maintaining a target behavior. If you are going to buy these things anyway, you might as well do it in a way that helps you with your life goals.
Want to help your friends kick bad habits? Then be sure to share this post with your Facebook friends and share it with your Twitter followers! How much success have you had breaking bad habits? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know about your success!
Who is Michael Hutchins?
Michael Hutchins is a heart centered coach and consultant
who assists solo business owners in finding ideal clients
by teaching them how to market their business online. he is
a gifted teacher with a great sense of humor and limitless
patience.Michael is unique in that he also helps his clients
double their productivity by turning their time into money.
Michael currently has clients from 7 countries. His clients
include coaches, network marketing professionals, offline
professionals, and small business owners, among others. Read
what Michael’s clients are saying about him HERE:
email: Mike@michaelhutchinsonline.com Phone: (281)558 6373 (US-CST)
Watch This Fun, 30 Second Video Which Captures the Essence Of St Patrick’s Day!
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