CorporateCoach eNewsletter

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Editor: Richard Winfield,

Welcome to this first issue. CorporateCoach is a free newsletter for senior executives and teams in organisations interested in using coaching to improve corporate performance. Please share it with colleagues and contacts who will benefit from reading it.

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Issue No. 1 February 2001


  1. Editorial: The genius is in the simplicity
  2. Coaching notes: Basic coaching competencies
  3. Tools notes: Setting well formed outcomes
  4. Book review: Built to Last
  5. Survey results: Use of search engines

1. Editorial: The Genius is in the simplicity

Last week I went to see the Lion King musical in London. It is truly a fantastic and dramatic spectacle. This I had expected, from the reviews that I had heard. What I did not appreciate was how the whole effect was achieved. Counter to the expensive high tech sets of many modern productions, this was ultra low tech. Animals were seen to leap around – but were part of the costume of a dancer, or were mounted on wheels which, when they spun, gave the effect of groups of antelope running. Grass grew and trees swayed – all in the costumes of the actors. Sophisticated but simple.

We have in West Wales a wonderful leisure park – Oakwood. It is a study in the use of gravity. Water slides, toboggan runs, daring drops. Great excitement for kids of all ages – but simple.

My son was on an Internet course where they were told about a supermarket chain that ran its e-business by printing out the e-mails, faxing them to the local stores and then sending someone around the shelves with a basket. Great derision from the techies, how crude an approach!! But that supermarket was the first in the field, has established a lead in the marketplace and has gained practical experience for when it designs its cutting edge automation. Others, developing technical systems first, were left behind in the market. The genius is in the simplicity.

The book review this month is Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. I believe that this is THE most important book for leaders in organisations to study. So I was very interested to read about further research being done by Jim Collins. He has been investigating how eleven mediocre companies became great companies. It was not charismatic leaders. He found that the key is a leader who is more like Socrates than Caesar: Who led with questions not answers. For example, Darwin Smith of Kimberly-Clark. For two years he asked simple but powerful questions "What could Kimberly-Clark be best in the world at? What would ignite its passions? What would best drive its economic engine? Quietly but insistently, sparking internal argument, searching for a penetrating understanding of the organisation's future. Then he settled on a radical change and 25 years later Kimberly-Clark was beating Proctor & Gamble in six out of eight paper product categories.

The genius is in the simplicity – just asking questions. A coaching approach.

Look out for Collins' book Good to Great, due out in the autumn.

2. Coaching notes: Basic coaching competencies

Over the next few issues we shall investigate the benefits and characteristics of corporate coaching. But, first, let us discover what the International Coach Federation defines as the basic coaching competencies:

  • Meet ethical guidelines of the profession
  • Ability to establish a coaching agreement
  • Ability to establish an intimate and trusting relationship with the client
  • Ability to express active listening
  • Ability to ask powerful questions
  • Ability to be a direct communicator
  • Ability to create and raise the client's awareness
  • Ability to design and create action plans and action behaviours
  • Ability to develop plans and establish goals with the client
  • Ability to manage the client's progress and hold him/her responsible for action

The core of coaching is building rapport, asking powerful questions and setting goals. So, our notes for this issue are on setting well formed outcomes.

3. Tools notes: Setting well formed outcomes

For many years executives have been taught to set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. This is logically rigorous. But there is a more effective way that builds the process into neurology and sets in motion a subconscious motivation.

Setting well formed outcomes (download the checklist ) is an iterative process that ensures that when an individual or organisation sets an outcome, or a manager and subordinate agree to delegate a task, they are wholly congruent with the process. These notes refer to the checklist.

  1. The subconscious only recognises the positive (don't say don't forget – do say do remember!!), so the first step is to formulate the outcome in positive terms.
  2. The subconscious is motivated by positives. So seek out the personal benefits of achieving the outcome.
  3. Step three is a key difference from SMART and one reason why the process might have to be repeated. Search for the hidden blocks!! Do not accept the outcome until you have dealt with them. Repeat the whole exercise until benefits clearly outweigh saboteurs.
  4. This is more than the M of SMART. Really explore and experience what it will be like when you have achieved the outcome. Set up the anchors that will tell you that you have succeeded. This future pacing will set the subconscious plotting its journey.
  5. Steps five, six and seven help you expand on the journey so that you can anticipate both needs and challenges along the way. Deal with them now by preparing yourself for the moment they arise.

And finally, when all is well for you, consider the impact on others. Their response can often be the greatest saboteur of all. Remember the rule of unintended consequences? There must also be one about misinterpreted intentions. If this seems likely, explore it with them, clarify their understanding of your purpose so that they, too, can sign on to the greater benefits of its achievement.

Download the form and try it in a variety of situations. You will find that as the process becomes a habit you become more successful.

4. Book review: Built to Last

Built to Last is a classic. Seriously researched, with a rigorous approach to selecting visionary and (successful) comparison companies, it identifies the characteristics of companies that are able to thrive over long periods and under different leaders, some companies going back over 150 years.

The subject of Collins' and Porras' study was "What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the other companies?" During the period 1926 to 1990 general market stock grew by 415 times, the comparison companies by 955 times - and the visionary companies by a staggering 6,356 times!

The theme of the book is about building a clock, rather than telling the time; and repeatedly they are able to contrast clock building practices of their visionary companies against the time telling of the comparison companies

"Just about anyone can be a key protagonist in building an extraordinary business institution. The lessons of these companies can be learned and applied by the vast majority of managers at all levels. . . . You can learn them. You can apply them. You can build a visionary company."

Read the full review by clicking here.

Order Built to Last today

5. Survey results: Use of search engines

In order to improve the impact of our web sites, it is helpful to know about the search habits of UK users. We asked some coaches, trainers and entrepreneurs what they use. Here are the results.

Which search engine(s) do you most frequently use?

Google     15
Yahoo     6
Altavista     4
Copernic     2
Dogpile     2
Ask Jeeves     2
HotBot     2
Ask     2
Northern Night     1
Netscape     1
AOL     1
GO     1
Lycos     1
Ixquick     1

If given the choice, do you search the whole Web or the UK only?

UK only, when relevant     10
UK only     7
Whole web     3

If given the choice do you drill down into directory categories, or use key words?

Key words     18
Directories     2

Do you have a favourite portal? Only one person mentioned one: MSN. Many did not know what a portal is.

A small sample, mainly of coaches and trainers.

Conclusions seem to be, therefore, that it is important to get score well with the key word searches of search engines and that directories and portals are not very relevant. Getting into key word searches requires skill in the design of the web site and determination in terms of frequent submissions to search engines. Very often you have to pay to get into directories!!

You can lose out if you offer a UK service and only have a .com address.

Google is the up and coming search engine.

You can download the Google toolbar for free at This puts Google on your browser and gives you various additional facilities like searching within a web site.

We aim to make CorporateCoach the premier UK coaching web site for teams and individuals in organisations, so do please send us your suggestions and requests for further development. And let us know what you think of the newsletter, and comment on the content.

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Telephone: +44 (0) 7970 891 343
Fax: +44 (0) 7092 276 223