A LATE SAS BLOOMER, WITH NO REGRETS

We all live in different life circumstances.  Some blossom early in their lives while others like me, took a longer time. In short, I was a mediocre student throughout my 10 years in St Anthony’s. I achieved no A, scored no sports medal and neither held any high position at all.

But I have something proud to show; a unblemished record of staying a true blue Anthonian for my entire schooling days till 1969.

And I got many blessings out this loyalty although not accolades for I did not make a mark in other pursuits.

Here’s how.

My first blessing is in receiving 10 best years of Christian brothers’ education that enriched my mind, body and soul for my future use. What made it better was the support of a lineup of exemplary teachers who modeled the Christian brothers’ way of growing people.

And my second one is the precious opportunity to live during the SAS Golden Era. And studied with towering giant students who put our school on the national and world maps through their brilliance in the academics, sports and leadership arenas.

Throughout these years, I remained a silent spectator, watching all these goings-on with envy. But somehow, I was soaking in all these Anthonian values and practices that finally showed up some many years like a slow and late bloomer.

Today I am a Master Certified Coach with my Coaching School that teaches leaders to be better leaders that uses the same Anthonian principles of Faith, Charity, Discipline, Integrity, Health, Relationship and Excellence.

I continue to use them whenever I can as I journey on in my mission to teach and share with my children, students, coaches and others.

So the Anthonian Way Of Life lives on for a late bloomer like me.

Many thanks to the Christian brothers and teachers for ‘raising me up to stand on mountains and to walk on stormy seas’! (Josh Goben)

Michael Heah, PhD, MCC, Class of ’69

Character Flaws That Can ‘Kill’ a Coach

One day a coach-student tearfully confided in me that her introductory coaching session with a mentor coach was in shambles.  She said, “I went into the session feeling big and was really looking forward to meet my mentor coach, but I came out, feeling so small with every bit of my confidence destroyed”!

What should have been an uplifting coaching conversation to motivate the coach-student to become a better coach became a demoralising session where she was criticised and talked down for doing the coaching wrongly!  Obviously, a bad experience like this not only harm most people but can be traumatic to the point that it can destroy them for a long time to come.

But an incident like this is not a one-sided affair as it can also harm the coach’s reputation as well, and eventually his coaching career because this bad experience will be shared with many other people.  His future as a coach will be in flames, so to speak.  

Sometimes, coaches forget that their success depends many times more on their character than their skills and knowledge.  They can go on and on to build them but without a good character, nothing is going to work.  Whether it is in upgrading or adding onto their qualifications, clocking in more coaching hours, or exposing themselves in international conventions and seminars, it will all come to nothing if little is done to build their character as coaches. 

Here are five killer character traits that coaches should avoid having. 

The first one is arrogance.  Being a coach does not mean you are above others, especially the ones you are coaching.  Never think you are smarter, luckier and more superior than others.  When you have this attitude, you will likely be talking down on people with an “I-know-it-all” image.  This is not all.  You will also be making lots of judgements, criticisms and telling people what they should do instead of helping them to discover their answers.  Thus, the most fundamental principle of Coaching is being contravened!

The next one is a negative outlook on people.  Instead of supporting their coachees to see the bright side, they get into the “detective” work of furrowing further “holes” in their lives, causing more emotional pains to them. How can they enjoy a coaching session when it is more of a hell ride for them?

Another is the lack of passion for people’s growth. Many a time, coachees often wonder whether their coaches are genuinely helping them, or are after their money. If they are of the latter, you can see through them in their lackadaisical attitude, dull face, lifeless voice and their lack of energy.  A coachee can never be lifted up by coaches with such kind of negative persona.

One other is the lack of integrity and strong self-discipline. They compromise with themselves on quality, give in or give up too easily, lack discipline, tell lies, exaggerate facts and many, many others.

The final character killer is the stress in the coach caused by his own messy personal life either due to financial issues, relationship problems, health challenges and many others.  His life is somewhat in a mess and this is usually manifested in his erratic behaviours, wrong choice of words and disturbed appearances.  Somehow you will know that something is not working well for him.  So how on earth will you have the trust and confidence that this coach can help you?

Avoid the Boring Way to Explain What Coaching is

Every sales item needs to be well-packaged for greater selling success. Jewelleries are displayed in nicely lighted display showcases; foods are photographed to look really appetizing, and the list goes on. This applies when explaining or selling Coaching to people.

Many coaches describe Coaching in a dry, textbook way by explaining that “it is a process to help people find their answers through using listening and questioning.”

The tip here is to find a group of compelling words that sound nice to the ears about Coaching that will make potential coaching clients take action on it.

One of them which I use often is: ‘Coaching is simply a very insightful conversation between 2 persons where the coach helps the other person to see the many more opportunities before his eyes that they otherwise can’t see without a trusted companion next to them’.

Find those words that also fit well with the background of the person. If the person is, for instance, a lecturer or trainer, then words like being a personal tuition teacher to the person are nice words to his ears.

So go out there and attract potential clients to your Coaching with the right compelling words that sends music to their ears.

Don’t Tell People You are a Coach!

The word ‘coach’, or the verb in the sentence ‘I can coach you’ can be very intimidating words that can put people off or make them defensive.

Why? People don’t like to know that they need the help of a coach. They don’t like to know they are a weakling, or they have a problem and that a coach is their ‘saviour’.

I know of coaches who get nowhere with their clients when they pitch their business this way.

The tip is not to be too eager, even too loud to say you are a coach or they need coaching from you. Be gentle, even polite to use other more accepting words like a trusted or professional friend, a close partner, or collaborator to help them find brilliant ways/solutions for their issue or goal.

When in the conversation, be patient, respectful, and show curiosity and deep interest in their issues instead of being anxious to push them to find solutions.  Make them always feel that it’s their session and that you are there with them because it is their decision.

Doing it this way makes them feel that you are a trusted partner, and not a coach who is there to coach them.  Such nice feeling helps them to open up to share, resulting in them achieving their goals faster and better.

What Makes A Good Coach

Although John and Sam are both coaches who have been in professional practice for a while, they have different measures of success. John is enjoying far more of it than Sam who is still struggling to make ends meet.

5 factors attribute to this disparity.

The first is purpose. For John it is a calling. He wants to a difference in people’s lives. He loves to give a helping hand to someone who either wants to grow or overcome an issue in their lives. The authenticity in him is obvious. People are naturally drawn to him.  As for Sam, he got into this profession out of ‘no choice’ option as according to him ‘there’s nothing else better to do. So for him ‘its just a job’. It’s obvious how he would behave when he’s with his clients.
 
The next factor is the sense of responsibility. John is highly responsible in many areas. He does everything to improve himself for he wants to do more for his clients. He keeps his words and delivers on his promise. His clients trust him greatly.  As for Sam, he works more like a ‘clock watching’ employee. He does little to improve himself. He’s calculative and gives the minimum to them.  His clients see him as someone who’s only waiting for his fees to be paid and nothing beyond this.
 
The third factor is the firm and fair way that John engages with his clients.  He holds them accountable to what they promise to do and is assertive to take them back when they fall off the line; yet he’s fair when they need some breathing space at times.  His clients respect him and this enhances his influencing abilities on them. The results tell it all. Success rates are high too.  Sam, on the other hand, is too relaxed and too compromising on almost everything. Whether they succeed or fail, it makes no difference to him. He has no performance standards to guide his practices. As expected, results are few, with disappointments more.
 
The fourth factor is John’s process mindedness where smart game plans are built with clear pathways to the goal.  As for Sam, he has none because he’s not all rounded in his thinking. His clients have no clear direction on how to move forward.

Lastly, the fifth factor is being observant with the ability to self-observe himself to know what feelings and emotions need to be managed for greater self-awareness.   Sam, on the other hand, doesn’t have this which explains why he’s temperamental without knowing how to be in control during challenging times. He loses credibility in the eyes of his clients. 

A BOOK DEDICATED TO EVERYONE

An excerpt of my book launch speech at the 13th Coach Convocation, Awards & Networking (CAN) event held recently….

I stand here today feeling very fulfilled and proud that I have gone full circle to become a full-fledged coach-author with the launch of my fourth and latest coaching book Dialogue with the Sales Coach.

Technically, I have completed my writing life mission in contributing to all the 4 coaching niches of: organizational coaching, life coaching, leadership coaching and business/sales coaching, written in 4 distinctly different coaching books in my name – Dialogue with the Coach, Dialogue with the Life Coach, Dialogue with the Executive Coach; and today, Dialogue with the Sales Coach.

What makes it even more fulfilling for me  is being able to launch this book in front of my own coaching community (that I have built in my 18 years in coaching) and on this grand occasion of the 13th Coach Convocation, Awards & Networking event, which I always regard as the highest point in Coaching and in my own coaching career.

Dialogue with the Sales Coach is a coaching book written and dedicated to everyone: sales and non- sales people as everyone is in sales and we need to be good at it as well – be it selling a product, service, idea, proposal, or even selling ourselves to others.

However, there is a special group of people that I have also written this book for – they are the Coaches who are exceptionally dear to me, and whom I have always want every one of them to be successful in their lives, and in their coaching careers.  I want them to be ‘Coach Movers’ always – a term that I coined 3 years ago.

Typically, Dialogue with the Sales Coach is a coaching cookbook – everything about how to be successful in selling together with all the recipes for sales success. They are all well-captured here; from how to set a strong sales foundation, to how to get customers, how to close the sales and how to take your business successfully to the next level.

Written in the same style like my other 3 books, this one also has 100 sales cases, 100 successful methods and 400 powerful questions to stretch your imagination for even better ideas and ways.

It is very simple, short and very easy to read. This book can be used in many ways: as a reading book, a story book, a reference book and even as a coaching workbook.

I started this journey of writing in 2009 and now it is 2018, averagely, writing a book every 2 years and I am glad that I have been able to keep to this pace with focus, discipline and also with the support of 3 very important people to me: my 2 ‘Angelines’: my wife Angeline (who is in Melbourne and unfortunately is unable to be here, and my 2 children),  and the other Angelin Loo, and  Josephine Ong, my 2 sidekicks who have been with me all these years, as well as in my writing journey.

Before I end, with honor and appreciation, I like to give this latest book of mine to my very dear friend, Tan Sri Datuk Dr M Jegathesan. He too has been with me through most of my coaching career and journey.

Thank you again for being here at this 13th Coach Convocation, Awards & Networking event and at this launch of my latest book, Dialogue with the Sales Coach.

OF GRIT. PURPOSE. LOVE. FAITH.

Seldom  we see these 4 words being stringed together as one.

But they are in this story that holds a very special meaning for us, parents and even much more so to the hero and heroine – our son, Kian Joo and his wife, Danielle. 

Here’s their heroic story……

Most newly-weds would usually prefer a romantic and stylish holiday as their kind of honeymoon.  But for these 2 newly-weds, theirs is not. Their idea of a honeymoon is one few would not want, even think of.  It’s one that is built around grit, purpose, love and faith. It has all the trappings of toughness, discomfort, adventure, with no place for beaches, fine dining and moonlight romance.

Their long-term planning was a pledge that they made together to do the rarest form of honeymoon which was to walk the 800 km route taken by Saint James from northern France to Western Spain to a sacred place called Santiago de Camilo where his tomb lays.

It was a torturous honeymoon journey that took them 44 days to walk.  Unless we are made of the tough materials that they have, there’s a high possibility that we would break under the heavy strains of a long journey that seemed to have no end, the scourges of burning  heat, excruciating pains oozing out from feet blisters over blisters, without proper nourishment and living conditions to comfort them.

The power of the mind over matter can’t be better illustrated here than in their epic story which will be forever etched in their minds.  Even as parents, theirs have a thing or two to teach us about life that when we have high purpose and faith in God, we will find the grit to make the impossible, possible.

When they wept openly with joy upon stepping on the soil of this sacred place, we  too wept inside us for we could feel the euphoria that was inside them.

Somehow, their story reminds us of a saying: ‘Challenges are what make life challenging and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful’.

We are truly proud of them and thank them for this invaluable lesson they taught us and everyone about living life to the fullest. 

 

 

THE POWER OF QUESTIONING

There is a saying that questioning and listening are like the fragrant coconut rice and the sambal in a nasi lemak dish. You cannot have one without the other!

When you listen well, you automatically ask questions. Not just ordinary questions but powerful ones.

  • What are powerful questions?
  • How can people ask powerful questions?
  • Why are questions so important? 
  • What are the types of questions and when is one better than the other?
  • Read on……