Something I am very passionate about that every business needs to sustain growth far into the future is great mentor-ship of future leaders.
I find where many businesses and leaders fail is in the promotion and coaching of leaders on their team. Often “Leaders” of businesses get stuck in the mindset of, “It is just easier if I do it,” “I can’t take the risk of something going wrong,” or, “No one can do it as good as me” mindset. Can I tell you yes, it is easier at the moment, but you are wrong, it is risky, but you are wrong, and yes no one can do it as good as you because you haven’t mentored them, again you are wrong. You are the one holding your business back if this is how you see things. The upside to that is….. you also hold the key to success! It’s completely up to you my friend!
If your goal is to be a business that is a, “one hit wonder” that lasts a good 10-20 years and falls apart when you step away, then stay with that mind set!
However, if your goal is to create and promote a business that competes long into the future and stays alive and well for years and years beyond your tenure then I encourage you to change the way you think, and continue reading!
So what is coaching/mentoring anyway? Based on my experience and training in the direct selling industry on both the corporate and independent consultant side of things it is mentoring, promoting self discovery, growth, and independence, to name a few. Ultimately, leadership, in my eyes, is promoting independent, forward thinkers that continue growing, and promoting growth around them, to propel business far into the future. Does your entire business stop when you step away? If so, it is due to a lack of developing leaders. If you ever want to retire and have your business live on, or simply take a vacation…… I suggest growing, and developing the number of leaders on your team.
First, you must become the best leader you can! Research, seek out books on leadership, emotional intelligence, and mentoring. Seek your own mentor, someone who has a proven history of success in your field, someone that can coach and mentor YOU! THIS IS IMPORTANT! No one is perfect, and if we believe that we are, we are holding ourselves back…. dare I say….. Get over yourself, to better yourself? I always say, “Stay in a student’s mind set, ALWAYS!” We can never stop learning and growing. The day we do, is the day we have nothing new to offer the future! FIND A MENTOR that “Stretches” you. Someone that challenges your comfort zone, and sees things you DO NOT see!
I was a competitive dancer most of my life, from 18 months old I was on a stage performing. I can still here my instructors say, “If it hurts, you are doing it right,” or “No pain, no gain.” The same principals apply in leadership and business! If you feel a bit out of your element, stay there until you feel comfortable again, and then find something else to be, “Uncomfortable” about, and start growing there. DO NOT take the easy road and quit when it gets tough, you will only be quitting YOURSELF! There is no growth in comfort zones!
Before we can coach others we must be coached!
Have you learned to identify areas of opportunity in your business? How many Representatives on your team can you truly say are continuously growing their business? Is anyone declining in sales? Anyone plateaued in sales? Anyone growing slightly in sales each campaign? Anyone growing at a rapid rate in sales campaign after campaign, year after year? Anyone that has started their leadership team, and stopped finding recruits? Anyone building their team at an incredible rate, but not quite growing their title?
What does your 1:1 schedule look like with each one of your team members? Do you know what each of your team members goals are? The reason I ask these two questions together is because you cannot build your schedule without understanding what their goals are, or how much time you will need to dedicate to each team member. Understanding what their personal and business goals are will help you build a strong calendar that promotes growth for each team member based on the time they have to dedicate to their business and the goals they express to you!
Need help getting this info from them?
Take a survey! I find google forms is a great way to gather information as you can text, post and even email out a simple link they can click on quickly and reply with ease!
For example: A team member that states they are looking to build a full time income based business that pays all their monthly bills, will certainly require more coaching/mentoring from you. They may need to connect more than once a week for their 1:1 coaching time with you!
A team member that is simply starting their business for a personal discount may only need or want to connect 1 a month or through email and text only! You see…. we must know their purpose for being here, and where they want to go and by when! The reason we need to know “By when,” is for accountability and a deadline. Knowing when they want to achieve their goals is directly related to their goal.
For example: If the team member states their goal is to pay off their debt in 6 months, depending on how much debt they have you will want to create a sales plan WITH THEM, DO NOT create it for them. It will not promote leadership, if you have worked through the planning on your own. Additionally, it will make the process personal. Create a sales plan each campaign that will generate a certain amount of money each month to go toward their debt. The sales plan must be strategically created so that each month of the 6 months goal is evenly spread and realistic. Setting unrealistic, lofty goals will result in disappointment if they do not reach their goals, which will hurt the retention and moral on your team! We want our team members to ACHIEVE, not fail! Express this to them when creating the plan with them! With a deadline we can set a pace!
Throughout the plan their must be, check points. What are check points? Throughout the timeline (while their is still time to course correct if they are not on pace to achieve their goal) have a 1:1 connection with them. Ask them, “Based on the plan you created to pay off your debt in 6 months, you decided to sell $600 this campaign. We still have 5 days left in the campaign, how are your sales so far?” Their answer will drive your coaching conversation. However, whether they have overshot their goal or undershot their goal, you will want to ask, “What did you do, or what have you been doing to achieve that?” If they are falling short or are ahead of their goal, what they have done up to this point will be the cause. Either way they still have time, due to the checkpoint placement, to impact their progress towards their goal. STAY in TOUCH, recognize them at each point of their journey! Coach them through the process. The sense of accomplishment and overwhelming gratitude they will have for you will be unbelievable! Recognize them personally, and publicly (if they allow)! Set their next goal and timeline, then repeat!
The coaching you give them will be an example of how they will coach their team as they start building! What we do and do not do set an example for our future leaders.
Identify potential leaders! Of course there will always be those individuals that are natural leaders. These individuals simply take off running! Some of these types are what I call “Sprinters in a marathon.” These individuals start out FULL SPEED, and burn out in the home stretch, or when things get tough. I find this type of leader may not necessarily need “Skill building” mentoring on a task per say, but rather consistent recognition along the way, reminding them of the small things they have achieved.
Often this type is a high achiever, that is incapable of seeing their successes because they are only looking for the HUGE WINS, or simply going to fast. The RPM’s are too high! We want them to, “Stop and smell the roses.” It is up to us to open their eyes to all they have accomplished along the way, pacing them to avoid a burnout, and coaching them through the burnout if it happens.
In the aftermath, as their coach/mentor be sure to use the burnout (if it happens) as a tool for mentoring moving forward. “What do you think got you to this point?” (Self Discovery is so important) “How did that make you feel?” Did you reach your goal, or fall short?” (If fallen short) What do you think caused this?” “What do you feel you could do differently in the future to promote a different outcome?” Open ended questions such as this, give the leader an opportunity to not only self reflect, but to also self discover, and recreate their own plan of action for the future.
They may not realize it but this is a huge step in growing as a leader, and the burnout was actually a great event in their journey that will strengthen them as a future leader. However, they may not realize this without a great coach/mentor helping them self discover, and supporting them along the way. Never assume someone, doesn’t need your coaching, believe it or not there can be leaders that need to slow down, to gain speed in the marathon, “Slow down to gain momentum I suppose.” Stay close to them. Many GREAT leaders are lost this way! BUT NOT UNDER YOUR WATCH!
There are individuals that are high personal performers but do not and have nor ever see themselves as leaders. I have learned that most times people do not see their own potential because if they did, we would all be successful leaders! I know this because in actuality, the beautiful thing is, EVERYONE has the potential to be a great leader, leadership is something that can be learned and nurtured with great mentor-ship! Which YOU have to offer!
I find these individuals also, simply need recognition of what they don’t see! Recognize them for their success, have a conversation with them, I bet they don’t EVER celebrate their personal wins! CALL THEM OUT! Share with them, the skills that you see IN THEM, and how they could influence great leadership and foster an incredibly successful team that mimic the same behaviors they exhibit if they are open and willing to learn and grow with your coaching/mentoring!
Yes, I said, IF. It is crucially important to always ask permission, feel them out, are they open and receptive to learning and growing? Or are they happy where they are? Either is fine, but what you DO NOT want to do is, “Sink the ship to save 1 person or a few,” that are simply happy staying where they are. Again, in direct selling we are our own boss, so remember it is perfectly OK that they may want to stay where they are. Not everyone wants a huge business. So give them recognition consistently, but do not spend all your time coaching and mentoring someone that is not interested. For one, you are wasting your time, and their time. For two you are not giving your mentoring talent to someone who is eager and in need of it!
There is a difference between skill and will. A person can have the will with no skill (the skill can be learned), but they cannot have skill with no will, at least not for growth! So essentially, it is very important to 1: know what each member of your team is here for, and why did they start their business? Also, 2: Where do they want to go with their business, and what are their goals? Plan accordingly.
There are individuals that may appear as if they want the business growth, but really just want your time. Again, it is our job to help them self discover. I have worked with many individuals, that I found when I stopped driving, they would, “Fall apart”, or at least their business would. I found that often this type of individual is looking more for, your time, a companion, or friendship, which again, is also FINE! However, help them identify what they really are in need of before you start putting all your valuable time and energy into their growth. If time is all they want, grab coffee with them weekly, and recognize them on their wins each week! However, DO NOT spend all your time coaching someone that is not interested in growing for the growth of their business, to reach their goals.
Many people come to direct selling to socialize and build a circle of acquaintances, and new friends. They may simply want to learn to socialize! So socialize with them, and show them how they can grow their business here and there while learning to socialize, and gain a new network of friends! 2 for 1 special!
There is the “Humble, high achiever” I like to call them! The best quality, in my opinion, in potential leaders, and the ones that win the marathon, are the ones that are, “Coach-able.” What do I mean? The individual I am referencing here is open, and excited about being coached, and often self corrects and identifies areas off opportunity to grow before you even step into the picture. These individuals may be able to recognize it, they simply need help identifying, “What to do now?” They know they want to grow, and where they need the growth, but are not exactly sure how to make that growth happen.
This is where you come in. As always, promote self discovery, ask open ended questions that promote building their own plan, with a timeline, and deadlines. This will also instill accountability, a great characteristic all leaders NEED!
A goal with out a plan of action, time line, and deadline, is a fantasy. Create a plan WITH THEM, and check points to connect on. Identify where they are pacing against their goals. At these check points, adjust accordingly, course correct in correlation with their goals and the deadline THEY’VE set!
VERY IMPORTANT! Know that whether or not the individual achieves their goal, there is a huge lesson and opportunity for growth presented. If the goal is reached, GREAT! Start the self discovery/coaching conversation. Ask them: “What did you do that you felt helped you achieve your goal?” “What do you feel may have off set the achievement of your goal ?” “What will you change in the future?” “How do you feel about your achievement?” (Tying an emotion to an achievement or lack of achievement is so important. Often people may not remember the instance, or what was said, but they will remember how they felt, and if they want to feel that way again. As humans, I feel, we are wired to either chase pleasant feelings again (achievement) or avoid unpleasant feelings (non achieved goals) again. Identifying this emotion will help them set their next goal, or whether the goal was to high or the timeline was too short for the goal they set. Either way let THEM set THEIR OWN goals. Even if we know the goal may be too high or the timeline may be too short. There are times the best mentoring is NOT in the mentor stating, “That is NOT going to work,” the best way to coach in my experience is letting them set the goal and allowing their outcome to coach them the next time. Other wise if you step in and auto correct their decision they will never experience what DOESN’T work, and may try it in the future. “What is your next goal?” “When will you achieve this goal?” If they DO NOT achieve the goal the same principals apply! “What do you feel contributed to this outcome?” “What do you feel may have off set the achievement of your goal ?” “What will you change in the future?” “How do you feel about your achievement?” “What is your next goal?” “When will you achieve this goal?” Be sure they KNOW this is not a failure, or a place to quit, in every “weakness” their is opportunity for growth. I believe there are no weakness simply opportunities!
At the end of the day, they must want it more than you!
- Become the best leader you can -never stop researching and growing yourself!
- Seek out and stay connected to your own mentor, and accountability coach!
- Do what you say, and say what you’ll do! Remember you are a role model for future leaders
- Identify the different types of potential leaders!
- Ask their permission to coach and mentor them!
- Gain their commitment and buy in!
- Identify what they need.
- Have the conversation! Why are they here? What are their goals?
- Create a plan of action (WITH THEM) based on their goals\
- Have check points along the time line to check their pace, and course correct as needed to remain on track to their goal!
- Ask open ended questions that promote self discovery
- Reflect on outcomes
- Offer recognition
- Set future goals!
As always, stay close to your mentor, never stop learning and growing. My mother always said, “No one and nothing can take away your mind, faith, memories, or education.” Fill that brain with as much knowledge as you can! You will have more to offer those that you coach the more you learn! Of course if you know me, I must add a little faith will always carry you! Faith is powerful!