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Your Best Coaching – Give Only What’s Helpful
At the age of 15, I gave my grandmother a plaque I had made for her that read, “We are what we make ourselves.” When I was 22, I wanted to start a business called The Listening Post. I didn’t start this business then because I didn’t think anyone would think a 22-year-old wanted to listen to them.
Fast forward 15 years to 1997, when I found out about a new business being created: life coaching and business coaching. And, oh, to discover that the main focus of coaching involved helping people become who they most wanted to be. And, that’s one of the key skills involved: listening. Wow!
At the time, I had successfully started, run and lived three businesses I had created out of thin air: a news magazine for singles; a newsletter creation service for dentists to send to their patients. and a graphic design and writing business where I developed logos, business branding, brochures, business cards and newsletters for speakers, trainers, consultants, psychotherapists and massage therapists.
As I grew these businesses, I discovered and continued to develop my strengths, skills and interests. I also knew instinctively how important it was to find out what my potential customers needed most.
I then offered them any products and/or services that matched their wants, interests and needs and my strengths, skills and interests. This was not only an efficient, but also a personally satisfying way of growing a business. My clients got what they wanted and needed more from me doing what I do best and love to do!
I never did any formal coaching training. I grew my coaching business by learning from the coaches I hired to mentor me and by offering marketing coaching in addition to my design and writing services to my speaking and consulting clients.
I grew my coaching business the way I’ve grown all my businesses in the past: by offering coaching, consulting, and teaching in conjunction with my clients’ wants, interests, and needs, and my strengths, skills, and interests.
Over the years, many of my clients have trained in different coaching programs. I have often found myself in the position of teaching my clients to trust their own instincts when they began to suspect that they were offering their clients more than the “pure guidance” that coach training programs and the coaching industry freely advocate as an appropriate way to coach and grow a coaching business.
“Coaching is not counseling. Coaching is not therapy. Coaching is not counseling. Coaching is not offering resources because the client is resourceful and complete.” So says the coaching industry.
All these ideas come from the ego of the coaching industry, trying to establish coaching as completely separate and apart from any other profession related to personal and professional growth and transformation.
While the concept of coaching as separate and distinct from any other profession may be somewhat necessary for coaching to mature into an established profession, it does not serve the coach and it certainly does not serve the coaching client! And, it’s not entirely true.
The pure coaching process is different from the pure counseling process, pure psychotherapy process, pure training process, pure counseling process and so on… However, long before coaching was called coaching, some of the best counselors offered pure coaching to their clients for hours on end. . And, some of the most effective and successful psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and counselors would occasionally use pure guidance if that was what would best elicit healing for the client.
And, that’s how it is today with some of the best coaches. Drawing from all of their strengths, interests and skills, a great coach can provide clear guidance, a timely resource, a moment of grief counseling, stand-up comedy and a teaching story all in one session! And, many of their clients work with them year after year and refer from person to person.
For the remaining 80% of coaches languish. Frustrated that they can’t get or keep clients, they wonder why more potential clients don’t understand or want clear guidance. Especially since they did as they were taught in coach training, to carefully state on their websites and in their conversations the distinctions between coaching and seven or eight overlapping professions…
Although the coaching industry may not approve, the coach who provides what a client needs that the coach wants to provide, that is the coach who has the best job in the world, making a perfect living. And as the lives and businesses of the coach’s clients are transformed, the clients are thrilled to have been lucky enough to hire this coach!
Are you willing to trust your instincts and serve the customer in front of you with everything you have to offer?
Copyright 2010 Ann Strong. All rights reserved.
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