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Insights: Get a life, coach.
June 10, 2008

Get a life, coach!

For a variety of reasons, I’ve recently had to seek out a new accountant for New Insights Africa. I’m happy to say that I met a lady yesterday who really impressed me and whose company will, henceforth, get our business.

Yes, I was certainly impressed by the depth of knowledge she displayed about her own profession and how she could apply it to the obvious benefit of my business. But, more than that, I was impressed by the interest she displayed in the field of life coaching – and the time she took to understand where New Insights fits in and how it operates in the industry.

Ironically, my accountant displayed what I believe to be the very characteristics of a good life coach:

  • great listening skills;
  • genuine interest in others; and
  • a desire to apply their own skills and knowledge to the betterment of those they serve.

As I reflected on this afterwards, I felt surprised that I had been surprised by this! After all, wasn’t that exactly what I had been looking for, a good accounting ‘coach’?

I turned my attention to other professions in the service industry; doctors, dentists, electricians, teachers, plumbers, lawyers, dieticians, tour guides, politicians, you name it. In all cases, my definition of a good practitioner, speaking from the point of view of a customer, would be the same:

Someone who could listen intently to my requirements, have a genuine interest in me and my requirements and who could apply their skills and knowledge to best effect in meeting my needs.

This got me thinking about people in the service industry that had failed to impress me and to whom I would be reluctant to return for assistance. In every case, what had put me off was their failure to listen to me, their apparent lack of interest in me personally and/or their inability to apply their skills and knowledge to best effect to further my interests.

The more I thought about it the more I became convinced that to be considered good at what they do, people in the service business need to redefine the way in which they operate and market themselves.

Quite simply, they need to think of themselves as coaches to their customers.

As I worked through this minor revelation in my mind, I couldn’t help thinking back to ‘Marketing 101’ classes at University. I remember the lecturer ramming home the implications of having a ‘product orientation’ versus a ‘customer orientation’ in your approach to marketing.

In simple terms, product orientation tends to involve an obsession with the product, whereas customer orientation involves an obsession with the customer’s requirements. The former approach tends to reflect a philosophy of:

‘build the perfect widget and the world will beat a path to your door’

whereas the latter is to:

‘understand what the customer wants and build the product to match that want.’

The weakness of the customer-oriented approach when followed too literally, is the impractical implication that all products should be custom built. Nevertheless, this philosophy, when applied in the service industry, has proven to be infinitely superior in terms of marketing success.

OK, so where am I headed with this?

Well, I guess I am advocating that everyone in the business of serving others, whatever their trade or profession, should take a leaf out of the ‘good coaching handbook’.

And, as I’m on a roll, I’m not going to stop there!

I’m going to suggest that every single one of us is – in some form or other – engaged in the business of serving others; if not directly, then indirectly and we could all benefit enormously from learning to appreciate and apply basic coaching skills.

Put succinctly, my message to you is:

Get a life. Coach!

Now, I admit to having been a tad mischievous in the way I titled this week’s newsletter, using a pause instead of a full stop after the word ‘life’.

It’s my way of attempting to convey two messages in one headline. For as much as I believe it beneficial for people to consider themselves as coaches to others, I am even more passionate about the benefits that individuals have to gain from engaging a life coach.

“So what exactly is a life coach?” I hear you saying!

A life coach is someone who will listen carefully to what you have to say, who will feel a genuine interest in you, your life, your hopes and your dreams; someone who has a profound desire to apply their skills and knowledge to assist you to be, do and have whatever it is you truly want in life.

Whether you’re looking for a life coach or you’re keen to pursue a full or part-time career as a life coach, New Insights Africa is here to help.

At New Insights, we’re in the business of working with people who are passionate about people. We train those passionate individuals to help others realize their full potential and follow their own passions with great success. We offer the prospect of personal freedom, confidence and growth to those who have the courage to follow their inner voices.

Please feel free to visit our website or contact me personally if you’d like to discuss this great opportunity further.

With warm regards


New Insights Africa Life Coaching Skills Training - Putting an Extraordinary Business within reach of Passionate People.

If you think you are Life Coach material why not study, at your own pace and in your own time, with New Insights Africa? If you have the passion, we have the skills, knowledge and support to offer you. Please visit our website.

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