Train To Gain coming to an end

If your organisation has between 5 and 249 staff, you may be eligible for a Government grant of £1,000 to spend on leadership & management training, coaching or mentoring.  Bad news is that this scheme will expire on 31 December 2010.

The Train-to-Gain scheme applies to all organizations that:

  • Are private, franchise, public and voluntary bodies.
  • Have between 5 and 249 employees. This is for the whole company, not an individual site.
  • Did not benefit from Leadership and Management grant in the last 12 months.

While the train to gain scheme is applicable to a broad range of coaching, mentoring and training services available to employees in any position within their organization the Leadership and Management section states that:

Train to Gain can help your business:

  • get the essential skills to boost your business performance
  • improve your business efficiency and increase profits
  • help your staff grow in motivation and confidence

To benefit of this service, once checked your eligibility, simply identify a suitable provider for the service you are interested in and then contact the local train-to-gain office.

MaGa Coaching offers a broad range of coaching service to business owners, senior executives and teams.  Please enquire today and check how we can boost your performance: your chance of getting £1000 off your coaching package will expire soon so hurry up!

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This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 12 November 2010

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Finding your inner champion

Courtesy and Copyright © Duncan Grisby

The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about the word champion is sport: being a champion, the first in your discipline or category, can be applied to other areas of life as well as in business. This article will analyse some aspects of finding your own inner champion.  Most champions have natural talents which they develop and expand in sport, as well as in business. Personal performance can be improved and enhanced by strong commitment; in most cases the expert help from a coach can boost your performance as he/she knows how to get the best of your skills and talent, helping you to find your inner champion.

Back in 2007 the exiting committee of the Cambridge University Kickboxing Society (CUKBS) invited me for a meeting to establish whether I was prepared to be their coach.  We had a short meeting a city’s café and and the president for the society for 2006-07 synthesised in a short sentence the whole essence of their request: “we want to win Varsity versus Oxford”.  My instinctive answer was: “yes sure, as long as you guys are prepared to work for hard it…

It was not an easy task but earlier this year CUKBS managed to finally celebrate their victory in the 2010 Varsity match.  How did I know that we could win?  I was and am confident of my teaching and coaching skills, not only about how to punch and kick but how to enhance mental skills that are essential to be a winner. “more then 50% of the fight is won by the coach” states Luca Senatore local successful entrepreneur and student of mine with a short professional kickboxing career among his achievements.

Kickboxing is a complex discipline: physical performance and endurance are as essential as in any other sport but technique and strategy play a very strong role when you are in a ring in front of somebody whose only mission at that instant is beating you up.   As a coach I can notice from the corner things that the fighter simply does not.   My vision is obviously from a different angle but, more importantly, I have a calmer and detached point of view and I can evaluate and take decisions that are essential to help fighters adjusting their techniques and tactic to the circumstances developing before them.

Winning and becoming a champion, in kickboxing as well as in business, is the combination of a number of factors: it is about mental attitude, self discipline, motivation and determination.  It’s about saying “I can do it and I will do it”.  When working with executive clients I always remind them that their personal performance can be improved and enhanced by consciously working on it.  Experience demonstrates at the same time that the following simple steps are more often easier said than done for the average individual:

  • being aware of what you want to achieve
  • identifying what you need to do for it
  • plan carefully what actions need to be done
  • execute these actions and constantly compare results with expectation
  • adjust the plan if anything drifts

As it happens many things get in the way and focus fades… what yesterday was a strong plan gets disturbed by unlimited interferences in today’s super busy, always online life.   An Executive Coach, very much like a kickboxing coach helps you to formulate and keep connected to your plan, accountable toward your actions, you level of progress and always available to discuss issues that could be pivotal for your development and performance for you being the champion you want to be.

Some people think that champions are born and perhaps in some cases it can be true.   In my experience champions can be made, starting from a willing and determined individual:

  • if you want to excel in kickboxing you should approach an experienced coach that can help you to find your inner champion;
  • if you want to excel in your work and career in senior management you should approach an experienced Executive Coach;

In both cases you could ask me for expert help 🙂

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This post was written by massimo on 6 September 2010

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Presentation: peer group for business growth

Please join us at Begin Space (details in the booking form below) for this presentation.  Running your own business, being your own boss, offers great advantages: freedom, independence, autonomy and financial rewards.  At the same time it is easy to get caught into a spiral of time wasting activities, procrastination, lack of focus or inspiration; so if you are:

  • a business owner/partner in a high tech small business, perhaps a start-up
  • a software development contractor or freelance
  • thinking of starting a new business in high tech

you will find very interesting the possibilities that a highly focussed peer group can offer to you and your business.  Please have a look at the following questions:

  • Are you working hard and making less money than you deserve?
  • Have you ever asked yourself why some people work hard and barely survive while others seem to be thriving while working a few hours per day?
  • Do you think there is space for improvement in your efficiency and effectiveness?
  • Would you like to work more on your business rather than in your business?

If you answered yes to two or more of the above you should come along.

This one hour presentation will be run by Massimo Gaetani, business and executive coach, founder of MaGa Coaching.  The presentation will show you the tangible benefits of how working within a peer group, facilitated by a professional business coach, can help growing your business, focussing on essential profitable activities and being accountable toward yourself in achieving important milestones.

This is a free event: coffee and cakes will be available to participants.  Please book your place using the form below:

Events

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This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 9 February 2010

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Interview at Belfry Hotel July 2009

Massimo Gaetani, MaGa Coaching’s CEO, was recently interviewed by Mark Peters and the Star Radio team during a seminar on Social Networking run by Ian McKendrick, a Cambridge based entrepreneur, consultant and social networking evangelist.

Massimo first describes here a few issues about coaching a business and what people can get out of it and then the important aspect of social networking to promote his business.   Enjoy the view:

Maga Coaching Interview 22nd July 2009 from Mark Peters on Vimeo.

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This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 5 August 2009

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Who needs a coach?

In sport having a coach is fact given for granted in order to guarantee performance, focussed effort, attention to details and continuous stretching of your personal motivation to succeed.  Many of the top performers in the show business or in politics are using more or less regularly the expertise of a professional personal coach.  A growing number of large companies and organizations are instilling a coaching culture as a definitive turn from the classic regimented management style based on control and command.

A survey, run by the International Coaching Federation, has revealed a number of highly positive results out of a sample of over 200 business owners, professionals and managers that used coaching.  The main role of the coach was: 84.8 % sounding board, 78.1% motivator, 56.7% friend and 50.5% mentor.  Among the outcomes of coaching we can see:  67.6% higher level of self-awareness, 62.4% smarter goal-setting, 60.5% more balanced life and 57.1% lower stress levels.  The typical issues addressed by the coach we can list: 84.5 % time management, 74.3% career guidance, 73.8% business advice and 58.6% relationship / family issues.

In business people have historically used various sources of education and personal skill to fill the gap between what is expected from their employer or clients and what their natural performance is.  There are obviously many multi skilled people that can plan, organize, manage, sell, invoice, recover credits and grow their business all alone.

As their business grows also the need for more and more specialized skill increases and the single business owner or the partners involved in the business tend to run out of their personal skills. From time to time we all acknowledge the need of a:

  • Solicitor to prepare and check business contracts or to manage some unfortunate litigations with clients and supplier
  • Accountant to prepare the company accounts and tax return
  • HR expert for employment matters
  • Marketing expert for PR, adverts, promotion
  • Computer support to guarantee an efficient and smooth running of our computer systems

The list can be a lot longer depending on the circumstances: it is accepted and common understanding that for a large number of specialized services you will ask for the expertise of a person or company that offers and guarantees success in a particular area.

At the same time when it’s about personal performance, organization, time management, motivation and people management there is a general assumption that these skills can be learnt in the field, with little or no formal preparation or training. A professional executive coach can help you focussing on the two or perhaps three areas you would like to boost or improve in your current job and support you to achieve excellence.

So as a conclusion to this post I would suggest the following.  If we are asking “who needs a coach?” the answer could be: “most people that want to excel in what they are doing”.

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This post was written by massimo on 24 April 2009

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Coaching at the top

Man On Mountain TopI was recently at a talk organized by Cambridge Network where Louise Makin was presenting her 4 years at BTG and the great transformation she managed to undertake in this company.  The first part of the presentation was factual: the company was financially in a very bad shape when she was first offered the position of CEO and she managed to lead a deep transformation in the culture and running of the company itself. A heterogeneous group of different business models and modus operandi that was carrying over £30M of losses in 2004 became a successful money making organization in 2008 when the company managed to acquire Protherics and it is now in a very strong position with £60M in the bank.  While the presentation continued into the more human aspects of running the company Ms Makin explained the continuous difficulty of running a public company where every decision has to be communicated to the market that ultimately will take decisions about buying or selling shares in the company.  She also made a great analogy in choosing the right team between the day to day running of a company with the aim to succeed and being part of an endurance sailing and running race.

She described how at the beginning decisions were tough:  redundancies were unavoidable and causing low morale. As the strategic plan proceeded it was obvious that the strong management team she put together had the right attitude and determination to succeed.  I found interesting her definition for these people is of being great givers: people that were and are truly interested in giving to the company energy, skills and full dedication without necessarily measuring their personal return.

Several times she mentioned her loneliness in running a large organization and the difficulty of sharing her doubts and insights in an environment where uncertainty can surely cause panic and instability to the market.

In my experience, once you make it to the top of an organization, you tend to share similar feelings and experiences, a great analogy to when you climb a mountain on your own.  You get to the top and, as you look around, you realise you are alone.  Many people, particularly those that report directly to you tend to assume you have something extra and they expect that extra from you, all the time.  You do not or cannot share with them your doubts and uncertainties and the pressure on you keeps growing.

In a situation like the one described above an Executive Coach can help a CEO or a top executive in their decision process, acting as a sounding board, a trusted person that can truly facilitate the decision process of the executive being coached while maintaining total confidentiality.  The main task for the coach is to ask questions, powerful open ended questions, without offering any input, suggestion or advice.  Coaching can make a big difference in the way you as the executive are running your business: best results are achieved when the coach manages to stay out of the content, that is the day to day drama, the decisions, the workload and source of stress and concentrates on the process, the coaching process of getting you toward your business goals.

Does it sound too abstract? Try it to believe it.

Posted under Articles

This post was written by massimo on 10 March 2009

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Improve your business performance and get paid for it

Wouldn’t be great to have the possibility of improving your business and get funded to do that? If your organisation has between 5 and 249 staff, you may be eligible for a Government grant of £1,000 to spend on leadership & management training, coaching or mentoring.

Business and Executive Coaching are excellent tools to boost your business performance and they have proven record of delivering an absolute minimum of 200% ROI.  Coaching helps your company to be more profitable while ensuring a smoother running of your day-to-day business and ultimately delivering higher morale among employees.  It is now possible, for a broader range of companies, to get the Government to fund part of this investment.

Have you ever asked if:

  • The senior managers in your company are role models that are inspiring and motivating staff through changes?
  • Anybody in your business could be helped with their management style?
  • Is your knowledge or your business skills up to date?
  • Are you holding your business back by not delegating and following the old rule that states: “If you want to do something right, do it yourself”?

The Train-to-Gain scheme was recently reviewed and it is now extended to all organizations that:

  • Are private, franchise, public and voluntary bodies.
  • Have between 5 and 249 employees. This is for the whole company, not an individual site.
  • Did not benefit from Leadership and Management grant in the last 12 months.

While the train to gain scheme is applicable to a broad range of coaching, mentoring and training services available to employees in any position within their organization the Leadership and Management section states that:

Train to Gain can help your business:

  • get the essential skills to boost your business performance
  • improve your business efficiency and increase profits
  • help your staff grow in motivation and confidence

To benefit of this service, once checked your eligibility, simply identify a suitable provider for the service you are interested in and then contact the local train-to-gain office.

MaGa Coaching offers a broad range of coaching service to business owners, senior executives and teams.  Please enquire today and check how we can boost your business performance.

Posted under News

This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 5 February 2009

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Is your team performing at its top?

Is your company using teams as part of the development or sales organization?  Are your teams operating at their top performance level?  A group of people working together are not necessarily a team, particularly when they all do the same, or very similar, job in parallel with each other.  Often people introduce themselves as members of a team: but what is a team?  The book “The Wisdom of Teams” from Jon R. Ketzenbach and Douglas K Smith (Harvard Business School Press) defines a team as small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they are mutually accountable.

If we think about a football team each member has a precise role that operates in various positions on the pitch (complementary skills), have a common aim (scoring in order to win) and are mutually accountable (the team wins or looses, not the individual).  In the working environment a well performing team delivers results that are well beyond the sum of each individual.  Members of a team tend also to be more motivated, effective and focussed.

A new formed team can sometime fail to take off, particularly in the current economic climate, when the morale in many companies can be below average.   In some cases small groups of people are taken from various companies being downsized, they are put together and asked to operate as a team (for development, design, marketing, sales) from one day to the other.  In other cases a team becomes dysfunctional, due to politics, personal conflicts or friction among members: this can waste precious energy and resources causing long lasting damages for the companies where it operates.

Team coaching can offer a helping hand to ensure the prompt and effective start for a new team or the smooth continuity for a dysfunctional one.  The coach’s role is to manage and control the process and stay as much as possible out of the content, regardless of the kind of team being coached.  Fundamental steps to a successful team coaching is to concentrate and work on the team as an organism per se, avoiding details such as what should be done by each member of the team.  The output of a successful team coaching session will have to establish, to an adequate level of details, the following key factors:

  • A common purpose or mission for the team
  • A common performance goal
  • A commonly agreed working approach
  • A commonly agreed mutual accountability

In those cases when a team is run by a leader the approach to team coaching can take two fundamental directions:

  • The leader is coached together with the team as an integral part of it and for the duration of the coaching he/she has equal rights in the development of the above key outcomes.
  • Team and leader are coached separately: the latter can provide input to the team coach before hand, while following an executive coaching program to help him/her focussing on his/her key goals.

The team coach is usually an individual external to the organization although some larger companies are recruiting their own coaches or training internal personnel to be a coach.

Team coaching uses the same basic techniques and methodologies to other coaching practices while being distinct in two ways:

  • It works on the team as a whole: in some cases each individual or at least the ones causing difficulties might require one to one coaching in addition to the team activity.
  • It operates in 1-3 sessions lasting half day to a day instead of a larger number of shorter sessions.

Coaching can substantially improve the team’s and individual’s performance, having a track record of absolute minimum return on investment of 200%.  Can your company afford to keep its teams operating under their top performance?

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This post was written by massimo on 15 January 2009

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Help for business management: consultant or coach?

Many businesses, from sole traders to medium and large organizations, are taking measures against the recession facing us. Some of them will thrive, others will carry on business as usual and others, perhaps a percentage larger than average, will eventually close down.

Those directors and business owners who are analysing their businesses to formulate a strategic plan are often encountering some recurring, well known problems:

  • Inadequate organization that sometimes duplicates tasks, costs and generates inefficiency
  • Malfunctioning communication that causes information overflow for certain people and lack of information for others
  • Inefficient management that often lacks on focus and correct prioritization of tasks
  • Personal conflicts that cause friction and further lowers the already strained morale.

In many cases hiring an external professional (EP) to help with current management issues has its advantages:

  • The EP can offer a detached view to problems and the daily routine that most employees and managers usually have
  • The EP will be unaffected by the “we always did this way” kind of mentality
  • The EP will be willing to solve problems and sort out the causes involved in them irrespectively of historical events within the organization

For many years the a business consultant was synonymous with the above indicated EP. More recently a growing number of professionals moved toward a different way of helping companies and their business: becoming a business coach.  A business coach can help identifying, addressing and solving company problems. This is done by supporting the business owner or the management team to implement a solution that suits their company, management style and available resources in terms of people and capital.

A consultant, whether an independent freelance or part of a consultancy firm, tends to be highly specialized and specific in the tasks to be carried out. Nonetheless many people that used a consultant for their organization have complained about one main aspect of consultancy practice: consultants are in fact analyzing problems very well, with tools and methodologies that are not necessarily obvious or well known, but then they deliver a report that states what wrong and eventually how to address it. Another aspect of consultancy that can be often overlooked is the quality of people found in the organization they are consulting. Not every manager or entrepreneur has the same business school preparation that most consultants have. The suggested solutions might be difficult if not impossible to implement with the available resources and so the whole plan falls apart.

In a coaching approach problems are truly solved by the manager or the executive being coached. The coach will not simply suggest a solution expecting an automatic implementation. In fact suggesting is definitely the last thing that coaching offers: it supports the client to reach the solution with a structured and properly organized conversation, guiding the client to take action and ensuring these actions deliver the expected results.

While consultants are an excellent way of addressing business issues and problems providing specialized help in very specific sectors the business coach will help focussing on existing, perhaps under utilized skills and talent pulling the solution from the inside, in a very cost effective way.

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This post was written by massimo on 27 November 2008

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Coaching What?

Coaching has been around for some time, many decades: the term is usually very common and well understood when talking about sports coaching. At the same time definitions like life coaching, personal coaching, business coaching and executive coaching are much more recent in history: many people fail to recognise the term or have a very vague, often incorrect, idea about what that mean. While in the US the concept of personal coaching has been around for 20 years or more the in UK and the rest of Anglophone countries people with 10 years of experience are considered absolute gurus.

The sport coach is usually not the super expert or the retired champion: he is somebody that surely knows the sport but also has the right knowledge, techniques and personality to inspire and motivate the people he/she is coaching. We know of football, tennis, rugby or other sport coaches and some of them are real celebrities: behind a great champion or team is always a great coach.

A professional personal coach is an individual that usually mixes a broad background of experiences with one, often several, coaching qualifications that allow him/her to coach effectively a range of clients. Some coaches specialize in very specific subjects like career or self esteem while others tend to have a more general approach. In my experience business and executive coaches need to have the right management background, in order to have a common language with their client when coaching is centred on business.

Coaching, in its simple definition, is about asking questions, the right questions to help the client doing the appropriate thinking around his/her situation that often involves a dilemma his/she is trying to solve. For these reasons a coach should refrain from giving advice. Advice is my solution to your issue: you might like the advice and take it on board but it is proven that in the long term real solutions are the ones you identify by yourself. Once the right solution or direction has been identified then coaching is about action, getting the client to commit to a set of actions that will help delivering the results and achieving the goal.

So if you have a friend, a colleague or a relative that says “I would (should) really loose weight (or do more exercise, or socialize more or sell more) but…I cannot (I don’t have time, it’s the wrong moment)” then the right suggestion might be: “sounds like you need a coach”.

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This post was written by massimo on 21 October 2008

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