Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Coach

58842033-Dan+Weedin+%22Unleashed%22-21I’ve been asked recently what are the factors to consider when choosing an executive or business coach. In case you are wondering for yourself or someone in your company, consider my Top 10…

Here is My Top 10 Tips to Finding the Right Coach or Mentor for You:

  1. Read Testimonials and Call on References. People aren’t coerced into giving a good and honest testimonial. Watch video and read written testimonials and stay alert for key phrases that hint at results.
  2. Referrals. You use referrals to buy cars, homes, and hire insurance and financial brokers. You should utilize the knowledge within your community to find good coaches and mentors, too. You may be surprised as to how many of your colleagues, peers, and friends use coaching. They may be able to quickly point you in the right direction.
  3. Talk. Call the prospective coach. See how quickly they return your call. Have a conversation rather than an email exchange. This is not about prying free advice out of them. It’s about determining your ability to communicate effectively. Rapport is important, but results are more important. Discern what you can gain in both categories the old-fashioned way…. by talking!
  4. Ask Questions. Ask about fees, expectations, accessibility, and anything else that is important to you. Candor, trust, and transparency are crucial for a successful engagement.
  5. Fees. Lower is NOT better. You’re not buying bananas at the grocery store. You’re investing in your future. Coaches that charge what you might consider a high fee get big returns on investment. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t still be in business. If they charge by the hour, watch out! Don’t trade time for money in this case. You don’t want to ever be put in a position where you are worried about the meter running. Know your investment up front. The best coaches in the business charge high fees, but on a set and agreed to amount.
  6. Accessibility. You’ve hired a coach or mentor to have access to them. Make sure they are giving it to you. I return all calls and text messages within 90 minutes, and reply to all emails within 24 hours. These are my guidelines given to clients. Any coach you are working with will have some similar guidelines to accessibility. You may need answers fast. Make sure they are there for you.
  7. Been There, Done That. You want to choose someone who has done what you want to do. If you want to have someone coaching you on speaking, then they need to be a professional speaker that gets paid and speaks all over the world (or at least country). If you hire someone to help you publish a book, they need to have commercially published one themselves. If you’re starting a consulting practice, hire someone that has excelled in his or her consulting profession.
  8. Watch & Read. After referrals, speaking and publishing attract the most new clients to me. It would seem logical to believe that you can find good coaches and mentors by watching them speak and reading their work. Attend their speeches, seminars, and workshops. Go with an open mind ready to learn. Read their work in trade journals, publications, and online. I often receive calls from interested parties based on an article or column I wrote for a trade publication. You should feel confident in speaking to experts that make the effort to give value to you though their work.
  9. Search. Google was actually the way I found my first mentor. I performed a search for insurance consultants and viola, Scott Simmond’s name popped up. Scott is in Maine and I am in Washington State. Regardless, I called him, we talked, and I made the decision within about 10 minutes to hire him.
  10. Cyber Stalk. Once you’ve found them and talked to them, do a little research online. Check out their websites for resources and examples of work. Read the testimonials and list of clients. Does their web site look professional or built by the neighborhood kid in their basement? Look at social media platforms, not for ratings, bit for presence. Most specifically, find them in Linked in and Twitter and read what they post.

Don’t leave the very vital task of choosing a coach or mentor to chance. Do some research first and make an educated decision. The good coaches make it easy for you. And remember, just like wine and dress clothes, you most often get what you pay for.

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Drum Beats

This week’s focus point…Drum BeatsDan Weedin Unleashed-40

This past Saturday I attended my monthly meeting of the Sons of the American Revolution. The program was fascinating. It was about the fife and drum corp during the Revolutionary War and how their music was part of the strategic plan for the army. I also learned that many colloquialisms emerged from that corp.

For instance, “marching to the beat of your own drum” comes originally from that time. You see, the drums would announce all movements and activities to the soldiers. They were told when to wake up, when to eat, when to march, when to go to bed, and everything in between based on the drum beat. When the drum “called,” they jumped into action! So when one marches to beat of their own drum, it implies someone that doesn’t fall into ranks and goes their own way. Basically, it’s your original outlier.

Many people march to the beat of someone else’s drum whether they recognize it or not – By acquiescing to conformity for fear of failure or rejection; by staying in a dead end job or career because it’s they don’t think they can’t do anything else; by doing the same activities every single day just out of rote repetition – these are all examples of marching to someone else’s drum without questioning why.

No matter what your career – entrepreneur, executive or employee – you get to beat your own drum. Succumbing to conventionality without considering your own talents, skills, and passions will relegate you to being mired in a trap that is difficult to get out of.

Maybe it’s a good thing for all of us to occasionally check and see to whose drum we are listening to, and if it’s time to turn the beat around.

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –

~ Ernest Hemingway

No Weedin Unleashed today. I have business in Seattle and have opted to take my lovely and talented wife out to lunch. We will return to the airwaves next Monday. Thanks for your understanding!

Madness Unleashed Journal #3

You can’t coach “tall.”Jack

I was watching the Kentucky-West Virginia Sweet 16 game last night on TV. Even on the television, it was excessively apparent that Kentucky’s team was just literally head and shoulders better. Any 50-50 ball that was up in the air (including rebounds) was there ball to have. While West Virginia is talented, you can’t change how tall you are. When I coached basketball in high school, I recall we coaches would always joke around and say, “You can’t coach height or speed.” Kentucky is undefeated this year and their ability to bump into the sky while running down the court is one BIG factor.

As a sales professional, entrepreneur, or consultant, you can offer all the same methodology as your competitor – products, services, assessments, trainings, etc. But you always have one thing that is different and can’t be duplicated. You. Too many of you fail to utilize the one thing that can’t be “taught.” You have experiences and gifts that are unique to you. They are manifested in how you influence others and can improve their condition.

Example – in my line of work in strategic risk and crisis management consulting, I can tell stories and draw comparisons based on my experiences as a volunteer fire fighter, a high school basketball coach and a public school board member. In fact, the least scary of these 3 was running in a burning building! My ability to transfer these experiences into something useful is a skill that can be learned (dribbling a ball), yet the fact that I own those experiences are unique to me.

Bottom line – instead of trying to impress a prospect or a client with your insurance knowledge or the number of acronyms after your name, try using what is exclusive to you.

You can’t coach “tall.” So go stand tall.

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved

Madness Unleashed Journal #2 – Confidence

Why is it that so many lower seeded teams in the NCAA March Madness bracket upset the favored team?58842030-Dan+Weedin+%22Unleashed%22-30

These are all factors…

3. Lower seeded teams tend to be more “mature.” They have juniors and seniors, whereas many of the “better” teams are younger due to the “one and done” players. This ultimately means better decision-making.

2. In basketball, often you just need one really good player to carry you. Many teams can ride the shoulders of the “hot” player and overcome more talented teams.

And the most important in my mind…

1. Confidence. When teams that aren’t “supposed” to win get to hang around for the entire game, they get to a point where they believe they can and will win.

Confidence for leaders helps you win your own “championship games.” Confidence allows you to say both YES and NO when each are appropriate (and you will know the difference). Confidence allows you to ask tough questions, make bold moves, take risks, and meet people you might ordinarily be fearful of reaching out to.

Confidence wins in March Madness. It wins in leadership, too. It allows you to be “unleashed.”

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved

Extra Points – Are You Easy?

This week’s focus point…Are You Easy?Dan Weedin Unleashed-40

I just attended a very fun spirits tasting with by brother-in-law on Saturday. There were 30 spirits vendors at this event that was split up over 2 three-hour sessions, one in the afternoon and one in  the evening. We went in the afternoon and the place was packed with people tasting samples of craft spirits from around the region. Matt and I had a terrific time and walked away spending a lot of money!

That being said, I was surprised by some of the lack of business and marketing perspicacity by many of the distillers. Out of the 30 vendors, there were only 2 that had a list out to join their newsletter. When I asked the others, they said that we could access it by going to their web site. All it took was simply having a piece of paper and a pen out and they would have had us at hello! One other distiller had a spectacular blood orange vodka, which both Matt and I wanted to purchase. Unfortunately, they only brought 12 bottles…for the day!

Here’s the deal, if you’re in business, you need to make yourself easy to do business with. That means don’t make your prospect do the extra work, give them the tools right there and then. Have an immediate place to sign up for a newsletter; accept credit cards (don’t talk to me about fees – it’s a cost of doing business); bring enough product and business cards; ask how you can help; and keep your web site and digital products current.

Business is hard enough as it is…don’t make buying your products and services an impediment to purchasing and/or becoming an advocate.

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –

~ Anthony Burgess

Want to discuss this topic? Join the conversation! The next free Weedin Unleashed broadcast is TODAY at 12 pm Pacific. It’s free, fun, and good for your business.  Click here to watch and participate…

Within Decay…Rebirth

58842030-Dan+Weedin+%22Unleashed%22-30I’m thrilled and honored to be today’s guest columnist on Alan Weiss’s blog, Alan’s Blog. The blog is geared to consultants, speakers, authors, and entrepreneurs. Today’s blog article is about how in your own business and career (just like in nature) that within decay, there is rebirth.

Please read and share your comments here on my blog…or on his!

Read Article on Alan’s Blog

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Madness Unleashed Journal #1

Coach from NK Herald Feb 2006I love March Madness. I think it’s the best post-season tournament in all sports – college or professional. What makes it so fun is the unpredictability of the outcomes of the games. Every year, some “Cinderella Team” emerges to knock off heavy favorites and bust the brackets of many millions of fans around the country. The tournament is filled with talented players making incredible plays, the highest level of competition, and dramatically dizzying finishes of games. Even the most pedestrian sports fans are drawn to it and often fill out their own office pool bracket.

How do you bring that same magic, that same “madness,” to your business?

While you aren’t a high profile basketball tournament, you should be high profile in what you do. The same elements that make up a wildly popular sporting event are present in your own potential popularity. For instance:

  1. The tournament is different than the others based on the number of entries and the time span. How are you different than your competition?
  2. This tournament is defined by its drama. Are you an object of interest to your prospective clients? Do you make them lean forward when discussing your value?
  3. The value for the viewer is sheer fun. What do you bring to the table? Is it dull or dynamic?
  4. The tournament is ubiquitous for the next 3 weeks. Are you as visible to your target class of business? How deep is your intellectual property empire?
  5. The tournament is the ultimate water cooler discussion. Are people quoting you? Are they seeking you out as an interview? How strong is your cache?

Here’s the deal…

You don’t have to be popular to college basketball fans, but you do to your audience. During last night’s game between Robert Morris University and North Florida, North Florida coach Matt Driscoll was being interviewed and said he challenged his players by telling them to be “ballers” (hoops vernacular to a dynamic performer). He said “Ballers make plays. Dudes are just dudes…you need to be ballers.” In other words, anyone can go out on the court and be regular. They needed to be special.

Are you just a “dude” or are you a “baller?” Take a cue from the very best of the madness and go be special; be unique; and be a “baller.”

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All rights reserved

Weedin Madness Unleashed

JackHey, everyone has a bracket for the big tournament, right? Why not Captain Jack?!

Join my personal March Madness tournament and if you beat the Captain Jack Jumpers, you get a $100 credit towards any coaching, mentoring, or consulting program that I offer. It’s that simple. Fill out your bracket and see if you can beat us. Let’s have some fun.

Here’s how it works…

My league is on ESPN. There is no cost to play, but you have to be a member of ESPN (free). Go to Fantasy Games and find the “Tourney Challenge.” Search under groups for Weedin Madness Unleashed. That’s us. Join the group with the password UnleashedJack. Then pick your bracket by tip off tomorrow morning. Best to d it today to be sure.

We all need time for some fun and frivolity. Join in and see if you can beat Captain Jack. If you do, it’s worth a $100 credit.

Game on!

© 2015 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved