A blank page approach to coaching

There are many misconceptions about what a business coach is and can do for your business: I am convinced that this is mainly because coaching is still an unregulated profession and literally any cowboy can call himself coach and start trading.

Business owners that have been exposed to these lesser professional coaches often report very different experiences to the basic underlying concept that coaching (business or otherwise) should be about.  Coaching is a self reflecting learning experience where the coach brings a structure and helps you to think better and facilitate your decision process while, at the same time, keeping you accountable for the actions you are committing to.

I was recently having a conversation with a business owner in the Cambridge area: in the past he worked with a business coach that belongs to an international franchise and he was trying to understand how I work, compared to them.  The best analogy I could use in explaining my totally different coaching technique was to define it as a blank page approach to coaching.

So I first listed what I don’t do:

  • Supply reading material;
  • Use predefined strategies for sales, marketing, customer services and other business management activities;
  • Suggest what to do;
  • Consult in any way;

Then I listed what I can do for you as a business owner:

  • Ask questions like: “how can I help you” and “what would you like to achieve”;
  • Helping you to define and refine important goals for your business;
  • Bring a well proven structure to help your thinking and decision process;
  • Being an objective sounding board that while understands how to run a business helps you with questions that are allowing you to get to your own solutions;
  • Keep you accountable toward your goals and the actions that you define from time to time.

The blank page approach to coaching is about arriving in front of you with nothing more than a notepad and a pen, asking questions, taking notes and helping you to move from a current situation of uncertainty, dilemma, lack or clarity or direction into a constructive process that culminates with a concise, specific and clear list of actions that tackle essential activities for you to move toward your business goals and achieving them.

Posted under Articles, Coaching in Action

This post was written by massimo on 30 January 2010

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warning: a SPAM that looks like from the VAT office

We have received this morning a SPAM from a source that looks like the VAT office and we would like to warn everyone reading this to ignore it or forward it to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk  We have contacted the VAT office by phone and they confirmed it’s a SPAM.

The Email has an attachment (html form that displays like a web page in a browser) that requires you to enter company and bank details to receive a payment of £256.99 but, stupidly enough, they say that the claim should be received by 15-Jan-2010!  Here it is:

Subj:  Reminder: Please Submit Your Refund Payment

Dear Applicant:

Following an upgrade of our computer systems and review of our records we have investigated your payments and latest tax returns over the last seven years  our calculations show you have made over payments of ?256.99 Due to the high volume of refunds due you must complete the on line application, the telephone help line is unable to assist with this application.
In order to process your refund you will need to complete the attached application form.
Your refund may take up to 3 weeks to process please make sure you complete the form correctly.
As we are upgrading our records we require the completed form showing your full current details by 15 January 2010

Please submit the form attached to confirm the refund.

S. M.Roberts
Senior Manager
HM Revenue & Customs

© Copyright 2010, HM Revenue & Customs UK All rights reserved.

Posted under Free Help, News

This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 26 January 2010


Massimo Gaetani interviewed by Radio 209 Cambridge

MaGa Coaching’s MD, Massimo Gaetani, was recently interviewed by Karl Hartland, station manager at 209 Radio http://www.209radio.co.uk during the 209 talk, a four weekly behind the scene of the community radio and the people that contribute to its success.  209 Radio is a local community Radio that broadcasts from Cambridge on 105 FM.

In this interview Massimo explains the work he has been doing with the various teams at the station as well as various aspects of coaching and the benefits it brings to business owners.

Please listen to the interview here:

Radio209 Massimo Gaetani Interview Jan 2010

If you prefer to listen to the whole program please check this page.

Posted under News

This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 22 January 2010

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Free Coaching Call Jan 2010

Following last week’s success and requests from people that could not make it we decided to run another call for this week.   MaGa offers you the unique opportunity of being coached over the phone during our monthly conference call that will be held on Wed 20 Jan 2010 at 3pm.  The has duration of one hour and several people have the opportunity of asking questions about how to improve their business and being coached live during the call.

If you are interested in being coached for free and have a doubt, a dilemma or a problem that you would like to discuss we want to hear from you!

Please Subscribe to MaGa Coaching by Email and we will send you the details of the next Free Coaching Call.

Please also book your place using the form below: it’s totally free (apart the standard call rate to a land line number) but we need to know who will be calling in to assess the numbers.


Posted under Announcements, Free Help

This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 18 January 2010

Procrastination: a few coaching questions to help you moving on

Procrastination is a common issue that I encounter when working with solopreneurs and people running small businesses.  Procrastination can be defined as “putting off a pending task because of laziness, lack of interest” or different prioritization about what should be done.  Without a precise and well defined mechanism of accountability we choose tasks we like and keep delaying the ones we like less, and this can become a dangerous habit.  The effects of procrastination on many of my clients to date was initially to affect their performance at work then, increasingly, it was producing stress and other related diseases that eventually affected the physical health of some of them.

When clients are complaining to me about how procrastination is affecting their performance and ultimately their well being I am some times attempted to tell them to just get on with the pending tasks they are procrastinating.  That would be logical and easy but then, as a coach, I must (and I do) use a questioning methodology that is helping the clients’ thinking process and it helps them to see a way forward and commit toward the necessary actions.

Here are some of the questions that I use in these situations:

  • Is the completion of this pending task affecting other activities?
  • How often do you think about this pending task?
  • Is the completion of this pending task affecting other people?
  • How would you feel if you could tick this pending task off your list?
  • Do you feel guilty when you think about this pending task?
  • Is something stopping you from completing this pending task?
  • How much time per day/week do you spend thinking about this pending task?
  • Would you behave differently if you promised to complete this pending task to a colleague, client or supplier?
  • How can I help your thinking toward the best outcome for you?

The questions above are not in random order: there is no logical priority in using one before the other and I never needed to use more than 2 or 3 of them to move the client toward a commitment of completion by the following session.  I would usually choose the questions following the content of the conversation that led to the procrastination topic.

Next time you are procrastinating try reading the above questions and see whether they can help you complete your pending task(s) by tackling procrastination head on.

Posted under Articles

This post was written by massimo on 8 January 2010

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