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I want to coach IT people...why don't they think they need it?

By Plan B ·
I'm confused. I'm a former long-time IT person that has retrained as a trainer and personal coach. I've chosen IT people as my niche - Executives, Managers, and Professionals. As a former IT Manager myself, I used a coach for a year and it changed my life.

I'm on the West Coast of Canada and coaching of all kinds is very popular here - from life/personal to business to career to executive to relationship. Yet, I'm finding the IT people I approach either don't know what it is or don't think it can help them in any way.

Perhaps I'm explaining it poorly? I know IT people in general are very self-assured and analytical. It's difficult to explain the ROI in "real" terms. I had to be convinced that it was worthwhile before I started.

What advice can you give an aspiring IT coach to help connect to IT people that are looking for/needing coaching? Alternatively, how would you explain the benefits of coaching to an IT person?

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is the

by Jaqui In reply to I want to coach IT people ...

corn ready?

That is what Chlliwhack is best known for, corn on the cob. :)

You have to market your service as a specialist service, to improve top level performance to get anywhere, marketing as a coach isn't going to work.

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In response

by Plan B In reply to is the

No corn until summer time. We?ll just have to make do with the cow manure (also what Chilliwack is known for).

I like your line about marketing it as a specialist service and not as a coach. I think that?s been my biggest stumbling block. Despite coaching being (fairly) well known here on the West Coast, I do still have to explain what it is more than I would like. Perhaps it?s not as well known as I thought.

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You've got it wrong.

by lastchip In reply to In response

To market as a coach means people have to admit to being inferior, thus damaging ego's. You could argue, this is not the case, but it will be the perception. This is a huge stumbling block, particularly for senior managers, who are used to being always right - whether they are or not.

Although I haven't had time to read the whole of the contributions here, the best advice I've seen so far, is to market as a specialist service - the added value style of approach.

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I am not an IT

by oneamazingwriter In reply to I want to coach IT people ...

professional. I state that so I am not misrepresenting myself.
I do know that if I were to accept coaching, the person coaching me would have to be very self assured. As I see it, it's your job to make strong statements about what service you can render, and why there is a specific need for your service. Coaching is as much inspiration as it is perspiration. It requires confidence in one's own abilities that can help another to want to emulate that confidence. You need first to sell yourself on your ability if you are going to be pitching that sale to anyone else.

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In response

by Plan B In reply to I am not an IT

For the most part, this is exactly when I got the client. You're right. It's probably more inspiration than perspiration. In fact, it should be easy (for the coach). The client is the one doing the work, because it's the client's life/agenda that is being worked on.

According to those that I have coached, I am a great coach; I guess I'm just not at as good at pitching a sale though. :)

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Want me to

by oneamazingwriter In reply to In response

coach you on that? I work cheap! :)
When we know our personal area of weakness we are at a point where we can turn it into a strength. It's a matter of turning it around. Instead of asking...make statements. At first it will feel like faking, but that's where the phrase "Fake it until you make it" comes in. Making positive statements about one's abilities is not bragging, if it's true, and what we have to sell are those same abilities. If you don't tell people what you are capable of, how else will they know?

A coach's job is to instill a sense of power into the other...an "I can do this" attitude. In your case that requires knowing the field in which you are coaching. Let others know that you have that knowledge. take the time to point out their strengths, before pointing out areas that they need to strengthen, and they will see the truth in your appraisal. There is a big difference between, "You do that well. I can show you a way to improve upon what you are doing if you like," and "You don't know what you are doing. I'll straighten you out." Coaching, as I see it, is helping someone to improve upon something that they already show an aptitude for. Those who could benefit through being coached, don't always realize that fact.

edit: misplaced quotation marks.

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Don't be scared to ask for Testimonials

by DeskTroll In reply to In response

If you have satisfied clients ask them for written testimonials that you can use as part of your marketing package.

Also don't be scared to ask them for referrals.

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I think when it comes to pitching a sale...

by Becca Alice In reply to In response

...you have several steps that will help.

1) consider what sold you on it - make a list and prioritize what created the greatest immediate impact on your impression of the idea (cost savings? customer satisfaction?)
2) build a case - you say it's difficult to show ROI, and that's something we all face across the industry. Since IT is increasingly expected to be able to detail its deliverables, this is a great time to practice making a corporate-style paper on the value your service provides. Check out a technical writing manual or two as well as some on writing grants or proposals, both of which relate to how you'll need to write your ream of data
3) Boil the ream of data down to talking points - you can give them the material as backup, and it serves several purposes including reassuring them that you know what you're talking about, providing more information to those who will really read it, and in creating it helping to gel the ideas in your own mind so you're better able to give your talking points and respond immediately and confidently to any questions on them. Many people will never read the ream of paper, but it's good to have done anyway so you yourself completely understand what you're selling
4) Examine your talking points and revise the phrasing so it doesn't question the superiority of the IT person (some of us are very prickly) or their approach (some of us are very independent/stubborn) but does positively reflect how new skills can add to the strong foundation any IT professional should have, especially as the field evolves

My Opinion only... ^_^
B

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Get specific

by amcol In reply to I want to coach IT people ...

Most of the advice so far is themed on doing better marketing and exuding more confidence in your own abilities. Good stuff. But there's more to it than that.

What product are you selling? You talk about having a hard time quantifying ROI...how exactly are you articulating what service you're offering?

Do you want to coach me on how to be a better IT manager? No sale...I'm already a good IT manager and I don't need your help.

Do you want to coach me on how to be a better overall business manager? No sale...if I wanted that I'd go for some advanced formal training, up through and including getting an MBA (which I've already done, and believe me, it's served me a whole lot better than anything you could do for me).

Do you want to coach me on how to be more successful generally speaking? At life? Perhaps to find a whole new career, outside of IT? No sale, but that's just me...I'm already happy doing what I'm doing. But you might find your market niche here.

You need a better message that's specific to what you want to do for me. You can't quanttify it in dollar terms, so stop trying to do that. You're selling feel-good medicine...what's your spoonful of sugar that's going to catch my attention?

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"I had to be convinced that it was worthwhile before I started."

by Absolutely In reply to I want to coach IT people ...

Exactly what was it that convinced you? It is impossible to advise without this information.

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