I recently received an e-mail from a friend and customer of mine who is managing a size-able enteprise project:
I am using the training that me and the team have had from you to inform a business plan.
We are identifying an issue with people coming to us wanting funding for safety passports, fork lift truck licences etc. We are letting them apply straight away, but then they go away and we don’t hear from them again.
To ensure we have more impact and build the relationship I’m going to look at solutions like using a minimum number of outreach sessions before unlocking other opportunities e.g. funding. Where we have a relationship with the client we find out more about them, including often that they don’t really want what they are asking for in the first instance and rather something else, or that there are bigger issues holding them back. Also this process can weed out those people who can really afford to pay for training themselves – if we pay for them we are changing nothing about them or the world.
I don’t want to go down the Jobcentre route of the client having to be out of work and desperate for at least 6 months or 3 months to access any support but I think if word gets round you have funding then you get overrun with people, not all of whom have many barriers, which is what we’re finding.
I think this sends me back to thinking about who and how we really want to help and work with and to what end. I think a lot of it is in the contracting that you describe in the Enterprise Coaching cycle. Having the opportunity to build rapport with the client and really set out what you are both bringing to that relationship.
This outlines a number of challenges that are faced by enterprise support projects – which few have the courage to tackle head on – because it might make “the numbers” look worse.
As soon as you start to offer funding or direct opportunities to people, you start to attract a lot of the wrong kind of client. Well, perhaps the right kind of client – but with the wrong motivation – and with a fundamental misunderstanding of the power and potential of your offer to them. People motivated by a desire for handouts or quick fixes, rather than those that really want to work towards long term and sustainable progress.
You really want to ONLY attract people who come to you because you can help them by being kind, compassionate, caring, supportive and challenging. ie the ONLY thing you offer is life changing transformational coaching.
All the other transactional stuff (skills, money, training, premises etc) is available elsewhere in the system. Our job is to build the desire/commitment/hunger to help people to use it.
I don’t think the answer is to delay helping people to access what they think they want. Although we should know that most of our clients will initially present us with what I call ‘A BIG LIE’. Very few clients will present us with their truths until we have earned their trust and repsect.
They nearly all tell us a big, fat, safe lie to begin with.
The answer is to help them to get some of that stuff (otherwise they will see us as useless and hard to work with) and challenge them as to what they REALLY want to do with it – and will it give them what they are looking for?
This is all about being able to be acceptant and confrontational – which I also cover in the enterprise coaching training.