7 Ways to Adapt Your Coaching Business to Changing Times
By John J. Murphy
The year 2020 has clearly introduced some major challenges to our personal lives and our business practices. Travel has been severely restricted, and in many cases, canceled all together. Obviously, this means we need to pivot and adapt to succeed, especially if we travel for a living. In my case, I had a major contract with a new client in San Diego come to a temporary halt and several speaking engagements around the country canceled. What is a speaker, coach, and business consultant to do?
Here are a few adjustments I have found helpful:
- Educate yourself on alternative methods for teaching and coaching “virtually.” This may not be as engaging, interactive, and effective as live workshops in-person, but it works, especially if your client does not want to wait. In the case of my San Diego client, we elected to use Zoom to teach the classes and facilitate virtual “kaizen” events. A kaizen event is a rapid improvement event where we make changes in a week that otherwise might take a year of struggle. And I must say, after 32 years of conducting kaizen events, this is the first time I have ever done it virtually. Obviously, this meant I had to get educated on how to conduct online learning, including the software available to do it. I also had to redesign the workshop material, simulations, and interactive exercises to be more virtual-friendly. Remember, It’s never too late to learn something new.
- Take inventory of your competencies and skills and find alternative ways to offer them to the market. In my case, this translated into more writing, publishing, and video production. I started with the question, “What can I do to help?” The answer to this question gives us a powerful “Why” statement. As a result, I offered mindful leadership tips and best practices through dozens of articles and short videos. This can help you build your brand, boost your credibility, and expand your audience. Plus, it gives you something positive and productive to do.
- Help your clients and businesses make creative adjustments to help solve problems relating to the pandemic. For example, some friends of mine who run a local brewery and distillery developed and added hand sanitizer to their value proposition. This literally saved the business. The owner told me just the other day that they would have had to close without this pivot. Clearly, a lot of people have not been going out to pubs and distilleries, so they found a creative alternative.
- Recognize that every problem is a solution in disguise. Entrepreneurs and mindful leaders understand this. The same glass that is half-empty is half-full. So, what can we learn from this global pandemic? What can we do to help? And how? What opportunities does this offer to the mindful leader? How are people feeling and what new struggles do they have? Crisis is the mother of invention. Be creative. Contemplate thoughtful questions. Empathize with your audience. Share what you can in helpful ways. In my case, this line of questioning led me to write dozens of articles on how to deal with anxiety, stress, isolation, loneliness, loss, fear, doubt, blame, resistance, negativity – and mindful alternatives!
- Begin with your own empowerment. Look in the mirror and ask yourself, how are you dealing with these uncertain times? Are you afraid? Are you blaming and condemning others – which subconsciously translates into blaming and condemning yourself? Are you getting in your own way? This certainly does not help. Recognize that empowerment is not something that comes to you externally – by another person or role. You have all the power you need available to you right now. You just need to tap into it and allow it to flow through you. This is where meditation and contemplation practices can help. Let go of critical thinking and judgement for 15-20 minutes a day, and then throughout the day, and dial into all the positive things going on in the world. Tune into appreciation and gratitude and inner peace, and you will witness more positive examples all around you. We see what we are looking for. Focus on the solutions, not the problems.
- Reevaluate how you are using your time. Do you spend most of your waking hours on productive activity – activity that generates positive results? Or are you wasting your valuable time on mindless things? We all have 24 hours in a day, and it has been this way for a while. Use your time wisely. Dedicate a portion of your day to education (self-study), exercise, healthy eating, meditation, collaboration, and value-added work activity. Be resourceful. You do not need much to do this. You just need the will and the desire. The internet can bring all kinds of self-help tips right to your laptop or phone. A yoga mat or pair of walking shoes can help with your exercise. Music and an empty space can move you to dance and feel better. Remember, you are surrounded by a powerful field of energy with unlimited potential. You just need to tap into it.
- Experiment. Think like an entrepreneur or a scientist. Ask questions like “What if…? Why? And, Why not?” Consider one change you could make that might be game-changing. What if you start a blog or a podcast? What if you write that article or book you have been dreaming of? What if you enroll in a new class or offer to teach one? What if you volunteer in some helpful way? What if you take on a second job? What if you get rid of a bunch of stuff you don’t need? What if you grow your network by one or two people every day? The possibilities are endless. You just need to approach it with an open mind and an open heart. You will see it when you believe it.
These are just some of the practices I use daily to keep my business alive and growing during this incredibly challenging time. Try any one of them and see how it works for you. Or try them all and take your practice to a whole new level.
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