Apparently, putting things down on paper increases the chances that plans or commitment get to be put in motion and stuck to. Making commitments in public increases the odds again. Making a written public commitment is a double whammy. So I think its time to do some writing. I’m selling myself on the idea here-yet this may read as a sales pitch somewhat.

First a little bit of history, then the PITCH idea, then I ramble on about working with valueable staff members.

Remember, my brother says I think with my mouth*. He’s right. I do the same via a keyboard. A real sales page would be briefer and far far more professional :-). *Yeah, thanks for that Anthony-git, you are right.

I’ve been reading for the past two years many many books on NLP, brief therapy and other practical psychology books.

In the process I’ve had to throw away some crap, ignore some crap and identify common elements of anything effective. However, in all this reading and studying, there’s a big thing missing. The answer to the question of “why”.

I thought I was simply trying to understand myself, through the lens of various models of psychology.

I also thought I was trying to understand others, through the same lenses perhaps.

Actually, I was assembling a sort of toolkit. Something I could use, whereever I ended up. That assembly is far from complete however.

 My biggest weakness? Turning book + theory information into practical, free flowing and useful skills. Also I have the, “never knowing quite enough” trap as well.

The toolkit, as I view it, needs to include these:

– Memory,problem solving and  creativity skills
– Rapport skills,
– People reading,
– Influence and persuasion,
– Motivation and coaching skills, 
 -Selling and negotiation*,
– Speaking and writing skills.

This is a view of *my* practical toolkit, for my use, business and pleasure. Of course, selling and negotiation are partly built on the other skills listed. Some of these entries I wish they would teach at school however!

A good friend, if only rarely seen these days, has suggested I teach this stuff myself.

Immediately the excuses come: “I’ve never done selling” “I’ve not had any experience” “I’ve never done any presenting or teaching before” “I’m too damned scared” “I’m too beginner at this stuff (true-I believe” “There’s plenty more professionals out there”.

Then he asked the question-“How are you going to get out of the catch 22 then?”
Then I asked, as he owns a successful and fast growing company, “would you use me if I set this up then?” He said “Yes”.

I said, “I’ve got a head full of theory, and never applied this stuff.”
“You can still help folks with the theories” Was the reply.

It all boiled down to a few obstacles and I was scared. Damn right I was..well am actually. I’m 29, I’ve had a pretty patchy “career”. I left IT, and a pretty fine oppurtunity because I couldn’t stretch my comfort zone to match the role that was appearing there. My confidence in meeting new people isn’t a problem-on a casual basis. My confidence in the idea of ME being in business, well that’s a whole other issue.

However, yet I’ve started writing possible modules down. Things that, yes are available from other trainers and books, and things that should seem quite straightforward too. However, I would be selling me and my ability to use the material to help people, in business, sort out some fairly common issues.

Right now, I’ve some hazy notions of where this should go. Firstly I have to deal with a burning phobia :-). Stage fright. I’ve never presented successfully-instead I screwed up a sales interview at Listers by being unable to present my neighbour coherently to the group. So, the answer? I’m going on a course, for beginners, in the art of public speaking. Am I nervous? YES! I’m also looking forward to it.

Then what? One plan is to join Toastmasters and get practice. Another plan is to turn one of my hazy dreams into reality and actually build a modest 4-8 hour module that I can sell. In the process, perhaps I can turn all my learned theories into useful skills.

Here’s an outline of both a seminar, and how I could use my skills to work on a valuable but “problematic” staff member.

The acronym-PITCH

Perfect Rapport – Does mirroring and matching *really* work? Or would making your client the centre of your world for a short time naturally produce genuine “mirroring and matching”? How many people enjoy being TOTALLY listened too and made to feel as if they (to you) are the most important people right now?

Impact-Creating an impact. You’ve got rapport, can you give them an experience to remember? An experience of you, the company you represent and the products you are selling?

Thoughts and feelings-Self coaching and gaining control over your reactions and emotions. Using Rational Emotive Behavioural Techniques, you can learn how to dispute distorted thinking of all kinds and give yourself greater choice and flexibility in how you deal with difficult situations.

Creating relationships-People buy from people (thanks Garry). Building on rapport and impact, you can make a business friend first, and be sure to do business time after time as a result. Business having many meanings here.

Honing your feelings-Feelings *can* tell you a lot, and can be an ally. Building on the earlier work on thoughts and feelings, you can turn your feelings into useful allies, once you know what they are…and why they turn up at particular moments. All feelings are good, and they are information-from deeper parts of yourself as to what is happening. Sometimes it’s an instinctive reaction to false fear or other distortions, sometimes shifting feelings are genuinely telling you something to consider about the situation you are in. Questioning these quickly may help you turn the tide in a complex situation.

Of course, this is simply something I’ve put together on the back of a book, whilst anxiously deciding if and how to take action. I’ve never really taken much action, I could write a book on how to procrastinate like you wouldn’t believe. However, writing this now, and making it available to my good friend to read and others, will be something to help push me to actually develop this, take the training I need and give myself the skills to genuinely do this for people. I like win/win games. Kiyosaki appeals to me, he’s the right kind of greedy for me.

I do think that to be a “motivation” coach, I need to be firmly focussed on how to effectively bring about lasting change for each delegate who chooses to pay for my assistance. I won’t be looking to “hype” up a room of people, instead, I will be looking to give everyone in any room I teach effective ways to work with themselves and to work with their clients. In the process, they can easily learn to be as “hyped” up as they feel they wish to be :-).

A final part to this possibility however, is the tailered coaching work.

For example, company Z has one employee who goes “BANG” every time things don’t quite work out well. This employee, John I shall call him, then usually goes home early, comes back sometimes 2 days later and costs the company thousands in lost time. John on good days is worth many thousands of pounds. He’s their top sales executive or top problem solver. He earns them millions a year. Yet his tantrums are making life hard for his staff and causing problems with clients.

Company Z has some options. They fire him…and try hard to find a guy as good. Meanwhile, this new guy somehow has to estabilish relationships with John’s contacts, and Company Z find out that he’s not half as good.

They give him a good talking to. He backslides soon enough. He doesn’t know how to deal with his frustration or anger.

They offer him counselling. Out of pride, he refuses point blank to see a “shrink”.

They send him on a motivation seminar. It helps for a while, the peak and the enthusiasm is good for weeks.
However, for him, the seminar didn’t have all the tools he needed to learn to handle his frustration. He learnt great motivation skills, yet motivation wasnt’ the problem. The solution offered was the wrong tool for the job.

Finally, they hire a personal coach. This coach, namely me, tells them to organise for a handful of key staff members to be together for the coaching. He offers a full days’ course, covering the material mentioned earlier. He doesn’t poke and prod at any one staff member especially, instead trains them all equally. Sells them solidly on the PITCH techniques. Using good salesmanship and rapport, with each staff member, he is able (well I hope!) to identify individual frustrations without highlighting it to the group. Each staff member feels there is something they would like individual help with. The coach takes the group off individually, John perhaps in the middle, so that no-one appears targetted at all. Then, because John feels the coach is trustworthy, and is genuinely helping his colleagues, volunteers freely his problems at work to the coach. In all of this, the coach has avoided being a “shrink” or singling out someone with an “issue”.

Instead, casually and in the context of continuing the coaching they’ve all come for, he addresses the issues of frustration and rage. John relays the things that set him off. The coach, having various options to hand, may use a little NLP to demonstrate to John how to alter his feelings some. He doesn’t promise miracle “cures”, just elegantly demonstrates a few things John can try. He then adds a few rational techniques, where John can sense when the frustration is about to build.

John gets to listen to himself, and pay attention to the causes of the feelings. He can dispute them first. He can give himself some alternatives. He can take the time to decide if anger is at that point in a negotiation a useful tool or a dangerous weapon. He may use one of several techniques to gain the emotional space to control the situation. He is then taught a few more problem solving techniques appropriate to his work.
Perhaps for a bit of fun, if any memory or creativity issues are thrown up, a couple of these can be added-it depends of course on how the whole interview goes. The coach is constantly working out the whole time, what will work for John long term.

Of course, such an approach would mean a day for a seminar and a day for the individual staff sessions. A part of the cost would be the coach spending time in the company learning about the roles of the staff involved. This preliminary research would throw up various angles that the coach has to consider for the individual sessions.

The end cost to Company Z, on successful completion would be 2 days of the coach’s time, and just over a day of each member of staff’s time.

Laid out here, is literally, chucked onto paper, my first thoughts on the direction such a business could take should I personally take the right actions.

Should this work out, I still blame Andy :-).