What is executive coaching?

This animation describes exactly what executive coaching is, in case you’re thinking about it but you’re not sure if it’s right for you. It describes the uses and benefits and will help you to know if you would benefit from an executive coach. Executive coaches sometimes work with metaphors so, for a moment, think of a coach as your private travel guide for your personal journey of exploration and development. The guide helps you to choose where you want to get to and navigates the journey to help you get there. The journey you take with them will explore challenges, but it is your guide who will help you nurture these into results. Each journey takes a different and personal route, with distinct destinations for each traveller. The coach’s goal is to help you get to where you want to be and ultimately, be the best you can be whilst delivering the best results for your business. Your coach isn’t there to teach you, but to aid your learning and reach your peak. Athletes have coaches; why not business leaders? [...]

5 Keys Ways to Accelerate your business growth

With only four in ten small businesses surviving more than five years, it’s important for business owners to focus on continuous profitable growth. If you’re surviving the strain and running well, but you want to take it to the next level, this article is for you. Truly Understand your Customers’ Needs Ask yourself critically, do you really understand what each of your customers wants from you? You should continually consider your customer needs as it can be easy to get lost particularly when you’ve been working with a customer for a long time and lose track of what you initially set out to achieve. If you haven’t done it for a while, check in with customers and find out how happy they are with your service. If you don’t do this, your competitors may! Understand your Sales Challenges The first step to achieving business growth is understanding the sales challenges your business is facing. Are you struggling to get leads, close calls successfully or increase traffic to your website? You might be great at getting work but struggle to get [...]

What’s the difference between traditional learning and experiential learning?

Benjamin Franklin once said: ‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn’ Experiential learning is different to traditional learning because its purpose is to get people involved and challenge their thinking. How do you like to learn? What makes you remember things? Is it sitting and listening? Is it watching or reading? Is it taking notes? Or do you learn and remember best of all when you’re actively involved in a project or experience? Traditional teaching methods focus on transferring skills or knowledge from one person to another. This is fine and works well, but is not always the best way to engage people in learning and activate their brains effectively enough to make sure the learning sticks. Experiential learning teaches the subject and transfers the knowledge at the same time as increasing learner confidence, self-esteem and sense of purpose. Experiential learning is used regularly in scientific and medical industries because it’s clear that using real-life cases and people will be more beneficial than reviewing the theory. Just as someone learning to be [...]

Scenario planning – Hoping for the best BUT preparing for the worst

The only certain thing about the future is uncertainty, so how do we prepare and plan our business effectively in these uncertain times? In this week’s post I’ve explored scenario planning as a way to help you imagine and prepare for the worst and to make sure your business stays viable if times get tough. Why worry about something that hasn’t happened yet? Professor Ewan Gillon, writing for the Press and Journal, highlighted that as humans we’re programmed for certainty and we do our best to avoid uncertainty. We don’t like to think about the worst potential outcomes, and mindfulness experts tell us not to worry about events before they take place, but in a business environment, this is essential. There’s plenty we can do to prepare for uncertainty and by doing this, we are equipping ourselves to deal with every eventuality. Prioritising and ranking risks Looking at a year, three years, five years in one go will become overwhelming, so the best way to start with imagining scenarios is to look at what could happen today, this week or [...]

Ways to unlock business creativity

Creativity drives growth - there’s no doubt about this. McKinsey reports that creative leaders outperform their peers on all financial metrics. An astounding 67 percent of creative leaders achieve above-average revenue growth. But we’re all so stretched for time, and creativity seems to keep getting pushed to the bottom of our to-do lists. Finding time for creativity to develop new ideas can be difficult, but here are some ideas that can help you start being more creative straight away. Avoid processes, procedures and systems stifling creativity Rebecca, Shambourgh, a fellow leadership coach based in the US, told Harvard Business Review that the biggest thing blocking creativity is processes and systems. If your teams are bound by spreadsheets, tools and software programmes, these could be blocking their confidence and stalling creativity. Teams who are encouraged to try new ways of working will take businesses to new levels, finding ways to boost productivity and profits. If you feel like you teams are creatively blocked, look at your processes and consider to what extent you ask team members to follow rules without flexibility. [...]

Are you listening? One crucial skill to improve business performance

Smart home devices saw record sales over Christmas, according to Business Insider. Amazon's Alexa took the lead in these sales and this technology is taking the world by storm using one key skill – listening. Listening is becoming a lost art in the human world, according to Forbes. In our high-tech, fast-moving world, our attention spans are at an all-time low of eight seconds. Our brains produce up to 50,000 thoughts a day, so we need to find ways to channel those thoughts for positive purposes and remember how to push thoughts to one side to stop and listen when we need to. So how can we rediscover the art of listening, and focus on it as an essential skill? How can we make sure we’re modelling good listening across our businesses? Building effective relationships Children are the most perceptive, wise and simplest way to test your listening skills. Children have a lot to say, and a lot of questions to ask. They know if you’re really listening, and if you’re not, they’ll let you know by repeating themselves until [...]

Where’s my crystal ball? Business planning in an uncertain landscape

Yesterday the Business Desk reported that businesses had held off making decisions in 2018 due to uncertainty, businesses are stockpiling ahead of Brexit, and Jaguar Land Rover announced 5,000 UK job cuts. Airbus’ Chief Executive Toms Enders has openly described the uncertainty of Brexit as unbearable, and large organisations such as NHS trusts are struggling to plan in the midst of such uncertainty. So how can we plan effectively in such an uncertain climate? Of course, we can’t fully predict or prepare for future events, but we can make sure we’re equipped with the right tools, and we can develop fluid plans with multiple scenarios in mind. Below are some ideas to help you prepare for the coming years. Plan for different scenarios If you’ve seen the most recent Black Mirror episode, Bandersnatch, where you get to choose your own ending, and you’re old enough to remember, it will have taken you back to the choose your own story books we all loved in the eighties. It’s this kind of multiple scenario situation we need to prepare for. Imagine that [...]

Where to focus your business efforts in 2019

Happy new year from all of us at Catalyst Coaching and Mentoring. It’s that time of year again when we’re looking at the twelve months ahead and determining how we can make this year THE YEAR.  Have you set your priorities yet?  If not, to help you and give your thinking a boost, we’ve rounded up some New Year advice from top business experts. Bring in the new but keep hold of the old Gregg Schwartz, writing for Entrepreneur, believes that if we’re serious about business progress, we need something stronger and more sustainable than a New Year’s Resolution. He reminds us to take care of our existing customers to keep them happy, not to focus solely on acquiring new business. It’s important to keep filling up our buckets, but it’s no good if there’s a hole in the bottom, so keep your good customers close, and make the most of referral and testimonial opportunities. Embrace digital Schwartz also recommends evaluating your marketing efforts. If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get the same results. 2019 [...]

What makes employees feel valued? Our three top tips for showing your appreciation

What makes employees feel valued? Here are our three top tips for showing your appreciation this Christmas ... What makes employees feel valued? Our three top tips for showing your appreciation.

How to be a more authentic leader

Would you like to be a more authentic leader? Here are our top tips based on some interesting insight. Let me know what you think .... How to be a more authentic leader

What can Tyson Fury teach us about business resilience?

Tyson Fury being denied his historical comeback by judges got us thinking here at Catalyst – we didn’t see his results as a failure, but as an excellent show of resilience and personal strength. As a boxer, I’ve learned so much from his recent fight, but as a business coach and mentor I’ve identified a great deal in Fury’s approach that we can learn from in business. Business Resilience Although disappointed with the judges’ result, Fury didn’t see himself as a failure, and neither did most of his viewers. This man’s priorities are loyalty and connection, and these values mean more to him than mere victory in a boxing match. His values give him the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, the toughness to continue in hard times and the ability to spring back into shape despite all odds. This is a man who has been to the top and fallen again, facing mental health issues and battling addictions with alcohol and food. He knows what it’s like to stand on top of the mountain, but more recently he’s [...]

How Group Facilitation Radically Improves Team Performance

A few weeks ago we focused on executive coaching and mentoring, and this week we’re expanding on that theme to discuss the power of group facilitation. An experienced facilitator will help you and your management group to grow and develop, by helping them to further explore and better understand issues that are standing in their way and also identify ways to overcome these. We distinguish group facilitation from team coaching. Group facilitation is focused on working with a team to address a specific business challenge or issue or capitalise on one or more specific opportunities. It is also powerfully used for complex problem-solving, creative idea generation and building a consensus of thinking within the group. In contrast, team coaching is focused on working with the team to help them display the characteristics of what might be referred to as a ‘high performing team’ for example improving team dynamics, clarity of purpose, alignment with stakeholder expectations, stakeholder communication and the ability for the team to continually learn and develop. According to the Association for Talent Development, group facilitation can lead to [...]

By |November 30th, 2018|Categories: Group Facilitation, Leadership|Tags: , |0 Comments

How does a ‘good leader’ become a ‘great leader’?

At Catalyst we believe that every role within an organisation has a part to play in its overall success. Many organisations can boast good leaders but this week we are looking at how a good leader can become a great leader, who and what business leaders and CEO’s turn to for support and to help them improve their personal performance and the overall performance of their business. It’s lonely at the top Leadership in Business A study carried out by Egon Zehnder surveying 402 current CEOs from various industries, countries and corporate structures, revealed that 49% of respondents felt they couldn’t rely on their senior management team for feedback. When asked who they would turn to for feedback, only 38% of CEOs said the Chairman of the Board of Directors, only 28% any member of the Board, and a huge 24% said they felt they had to rely solely on their own judgement. This is despite the fact that 79% of the CEOs in the survey agreed or strongly agreed that they needed the capacity to transform themselves as [...]

By |November 23rd, 2018|Categories: Leadership|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

4-step Guide to Creating more Dynamic Teams

As business leaders, we’re often tasked with the role of improving team dynamics and efficiency. When dynamics are strong, a team works well together. When dynamics are poor, the team's effectiveness reduces. Achieving optimum team efficiency is not always simple to do, so you may need a little support to make those all-important improvements. If this is the case for you, then this 4 step guide will help. Creating more Dynamic Teams Goal-setting By committing to shared goals at the start of a project, team members can understand and commit to the targets they’re working towards. This will increase the chances of everyone being engaged and committed to achieving their shared vision. Brett Steenbarger discusses the importance of meaning and purpose of goals in this interesting Forbes article. Identifying strengths This Harvard Business Review article highlights the importance of teams including people who aren’t just high performers, but who have a unique balance of skills and mindsets that allow them to keep their focus, agility, and optimism in the face of uncertainty. By identifying these strengths and allocating [...]

Executive Coaching and Mentoring

Understanding executive coaching At Catalyst we believe that business leaders, like top athletes, benefit from having a coach at their side to help them perform consistently at their absolute best. This week we will discuss executive coaching, explain how it differs from mentoring, and outline the benefits. Executive Coaching London What is executive coaching? The coaching process focuses on providing a safe environment in which business leaders build a collaborative partnership with their coach, to explore ideas, opportunities, strategies, challenges and issues, in an environment that is confidential and impartial. A skilled coach will observe then use insightful questions and reflections to help development in an ‘ask-not-tell’ approach. Business leaders set the agenda, focusing on what’s important to them. A coach will then challenge them to explore new perspectives and alternative options, to expand their thinking and support decision making. What’s the difference between coaching and mentoring? It is important to understand the distinction between an executive coach and a mentor. Both are focused on the client’s personal development, both are confidential and both are ultimately looking to demonstrate [...]

Break Free and Rediscover Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

This week we’re looking at how to break free of the norm and rediscover your entrepreneurial spirit. We’ve found that executives who adopt a more entrepreneurial mindset through coaching and mentoring come up with more innovative ideas and understand how to apply them in their own organisations. Business leaders should use entrepreneurial thinking to generate new ideas and develop ways to grow their business. This approach can give you an edge, help you penetrate markets faster and accelerate business growth. Here are some ways to help you get on board with the entrepreneurial approach, no matter how large or small your business is. Look for what’s missing Rediscover Your Entrepreneurial Spirit Entrepreneurial success comes from finding what’s missing and working backwards from that point – it’s finding an innovative solution to solve an existing problem and finding the missing piece. We often think of this as that ‘big new idea’ but more often than not they are linked to the innovative incremental improvements to your products or services. Find a mentor Smart entrepreneurs look for mentors who have experience [...]

Why use a mentor?

Business leaders and managers sometimes ask ‘what is the value of a mentor?’ As it’s National Mentoring Day this week we thought we would tackle this questions and explain not only what mentoring is but also how it can transform performance. Business Mentoring London What is mentoring? The word Mentor originated as the name of a character in Homer’s Odyssey and is now used more generally to refer to a trusted advisor, friend, teacher and wise person. To help distinguish between mentoring and coaching we would say that a mentor has insightful answers for your questions whereas a coach has insightful questions for your answers. Business Mentoring When mentoring takes place in a business context, the mentor will work closely with the client to help meet their business objectives, largely through advice and guidance, based on the mentor’s experience, expertise and insights. Sessions are confidential and are structured around businesses-specific needs but will often focus on exploring the opportunities and challenges that are currently being faced as well as on longer term strategies. How can mentoring make a difference? [...]

Five Great Leadership Values

As it’s World Values Day this week, we took a closer look at leadership values. We’re helping our clients use values-based coaching and mentoring to transition their leadership from good to great.