I had just attended a business/franchising opportunity promotional event that introduces a global business/executive coaching company to both corporate and independent training, coaching, mentoring, and consulting practitioners in the Philippines.
I was genuinely impressed with this organization, its global presence, franchising model, products and solutions, concepts, and of course, the success story of its founder that I was already interested in investing to become certified by them.
Unfortunately, I’m backing out all of a sudden for the reason that the presenter, the one who had discussed everything we needed to know, is a perfect model of a coach, trainer, mentor, counselor, or consultant WE ALL SHOULDN’T WANT TO BE.
I’m drawing out from my personal experience with this person, who I’ve learned is also the firm owner of their local franchise in Indonesia, during lunch break when I asked for permission from the Philippines’ General Manager If I could ask her directly questions and clarify aspects of their offer vis-a-vis my personal concerns.
I was surprised that all along, in the first three or so hours of her presenting to us, that she’d been misjudging me as a ‘pain-in-the-neck’ participant or like somebody who hasn’t been listening to her even before she could even start her presentation.
For someone who claims herself to be one of the best business/executive coaches in Asia and even in the world, even without talking about training, mentoring, speaking, counseling, or consulting (which are all different competencies and specializations), it’s surprising I got such a treatment.
She no doubt acted like someone who’s not receptive to feedback due to her ‘PERSONALITY’ and HIGH REGARD for herself so I decided to just write this article. As someone who helps other people correct, replace, or simply enhance their knowledge, skills, and attitude, I’m compelled to share this experience and since I couldn’t coach her directly in person, to just FEED this FORWARD instead and give other coaches out there a caveat and pieces of advice as well about how to behave properly in the conduct of our job. (If you have employees who aren’t receptive to feedback, perhaps my article, How to Give Feedback to a Person Who Never Wants One can equip you)
Please allow me to explain what, why and how with the help of Malcolm Knowles (1913-1997)’ classic and all-time Adult Learning Principles (ALP), which give us elaborate guidelines on how to train, coach, mentor, counsel, or even speak with adults properly and gain their respect, trust, and commitment without coming across way ‘off’ whenever we educate, equip, encourage, engage, entertain, empower, or escort people to success (My Es to Effective Leadership/Management) or simply present any business, product, or service proposal like this specific instance with this so-called multi-awarded Global Business/Executive Coach.
Malcolm Knowles’ Six Principles of Adult Learning remind us all that:
Adult learners are motivated and self-directed.
Simply bragging about our company having served thousands of businesses and owners around the world or us taking pride in owning 1,000 offices in 59 or more countries isn’t gonna do the trick. At least in my personal experiences and those of others too, these aren’t sufficient to make people sign up right away. We’re impressed but it doesn’t mean we’re already gonna grab the opportunity unless we’re gonna have something very beneficial in return.
We invest in opportunities or in cases of being trained, spoken to, coached, mentored, or counseled, give in to new cognitive skills, competencies, and character (3 Cs of Performance) being instilled upon us only when we fully know, understand, appreciate, and apply (KUAA model) the W.I.I.F.M. (What’s In It For Me and You) or if the opportunity excites our intrinsic motivation and desire to make our personal vision, mission, and values a reality.
I went to this event expecting that a partnership with this highly-interesting global coaching/consulting organization, that I learned originated from Australia (FYI) and now headquartered in Las Vegas, will enhance my brand as an independent training, speaking, mentoring, coaching, and consulting professional in the Philippines and help increase my revenues as I develop more businesses. I just needed to find out whether this is the kind of leverage that their certification can provide to my business and not just a scenario where I’d have to give up the name I established and the business I put up with all the sacrifices here and there and just serve them exclusively.
This person, who claims she’s one of the best business/executive coaches in the world, unhesitatingly told me to my face ‘I’m not the right person, particularly partner coach, they’re looking for’ during the lunch break when I approached her. Wow.
For one thing, we are discouraged to tell anybody we have just met for the first time strong words like these when we haven’t even established a certain level, no matter how low, of relationship yet. Expect to get a passionate ‘Who are you to have the guts to tell me that?’ ‘What kind of relationship do we already have that gave you the right to speak that way?’ ‘What do you already know about me that tells you can easily express yourself in that manner?’
If we want to successfully engage our audience every time we present a business opportunity or convince them to assimilate new KSA, we must first establish an ambiance in which people feel at ease with being there and comfortable to listen intently and express themselves freely. That’s because they can see and feel we’re very willing to listen and be listened to and it’s not just one way. That’s a very common rule of thumb be it training, coaching, speaking, mentoring, counseling, or consulting. It’s not a one-man show.
While I commend this person for facilitating basic presentation or training ideals like facilitate a short ‘get-to-know-each-other’ activity, check on your audience once in a short while, or give them the chance to ask questions, share their thoughts, or clarify details being presented to them, it was very noticeable that she struggled with dealing with people like me who keep asking questions that would catch anyone off guard or make somebody feel like he’s standing on the edge of a cliff. While I admit that I was talking over while she was presenting to comment on what she had just said or suddenly ask a question, I was at least making some effort to get her attention by either raising my hand or moving my head towards her line of vision. I wasn’t supposed to do any of that because I’m an adult and not a high school or college student talking to his professor but I didn’t wanna come off rude or anything. It wasn’t like I was being obnoxious or stuff like that.
Personally, I’m a staunch advocate of ‘Don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do to you’. I’m a presenter and a trainer myself and I don’t want to put any other trainer or presenter in a situation that I myself am scared to find myself in. That’s not my style. I hate to do that. I don’t make other people uncomfortable.
Let’s all remember this. No matter how strong a personality we’re dealing with in class or any other sessions like that, we’re better off maintaining our composure and giving anybody the benefit of the doubt until proven ‘douchebag’.
Adult learners bring life experience and knowledge.
This person, no matter what her stature in life, is a foreigner presenting to an equally-foreign audience. She’s Indonesian. We’re Filipinos. Just check Wikipedia and it’s common knowledge we’re different nations, cultures, etc. despite looking the same physically. When we’re discouraged to prejudge people in our own country, the more that we shouldn’t prejudge people in a different country not our own especially when they’re with different personalities, points of view, purposes, and priorities.
This person who, once again, claims to be one of the best coaches in the world (whether we all believe it or not), told me to my face during lunch break that she already profiled me and presumed that we would never be a great fit anyways right before telling her companion, the General Manager of their local franchise and a fellow Filipino, in my presence (believe it or not) that I’m like a certain individual they had dealt with before and nothing would work between us. When I asked her after she said that if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, she looked surprised by her own remarks and just responded with ‘it’s different’.
Let’s keep this in mind. For one, profiling doesn’t easily work that way. We can’t say we’ve already profiled a person by just speaking with him for very few seconds/minutes or by just perceiving him as something you think him to be based on what’s seen on the outside. While there’s a thin line between perception and observation, these words are literally different. ‘Perception’, according to Merriam-Webster, is the way we think about or understand someone or something. It’s like an opinion. ‘Observation’, on the other hand, again according to the same source, is the act of careful watching and listening. It’s the activity of paying close attention to someone or something in order to get much more information. Perception is just abrupt seeing and hearing. Observation is educated visualizing and listening. There’s a saying that goes, ‘Not everything you see is what you get’. Once again, telling someone we’re not even close with we’ve already profiled them as a person is an insult – a twisted assumption.
Furthermore, when we present to professionals, who are definitely not toddler or teenage youth or students, we respect them as adults who bring to the room varied life, work, and business knowledge, skills, areas of expertise, and success stories. We never step into any room behaving like we’re the boss of anybody else just because we’re in front and owns the microphone at that moment.
Respect demands respect. We ought to treat others the same way we demand to be treated. As adults in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s, our milestones in life correspond respect, trust, and transparency. The moment we step on other people’s pride, wealth of experiences, beliefs, and contributions, we never expect to be able to sell an idea much less be listened to.
Adult learners are goal-oriented.
Adult learners are relevancy-oriented.
Adult learners are practical.
In any business, product, or service sales, marketing, or promotion, we always marry our expected call to action from our prospects with their individual and group goals and objectives. We can just simply call that ‘adding value’.
When I explained to this person I just needed an assurance that I could still pursue further widening my authority in the training, speaking, coaching, mentoring, and consulting business in the Philippines while working with or for their global coaching company, I was just confirming a guarantee that I can continue to leave a mark in my own ways while helping them leave a mark just the same. They have to expect that there are also people who think and operate like their founder, who she so admires, and I was just trying to assess how everything fits in and whether that could still happen with me while taking advantage of their proposition.
This person mistook it as me bragging about my name and that they have to adjust to me and not me adjust to them. Surprisingly, despite us not knowing each other and just meeting for the first time, She was very comfortable to use the word ‘you and your ego’ to my face. I told her that it wasn’t about anybody’s ego. It was just about me bringing to her attention a valid concern and really wanting to work with them without setting aside what I’ve already worked so hard for in line with my own ambitions. It’s just pretty much like how their founder envisioned their company to be after over 20 years since the 1990s.
Here’s another piece of advice. When we sell, market or promote a product, service, or concept, we allow it to mesh with how people want to see themselves and their life in the future and what they value. It’s hard for us to commit to something that we don’t and will never feel like we can own it or we’re a part of it. This person, who claims she’s one of the best coaches in the world, came short of getting across us and instead, sounded and appeared that there would be no mutual benefits and that only their company’s reputation and revenues will be enhanced. That’s unfair, isn’t it?
Adult learners like to be respected.
Trainers, coaches, mentors, speakers, and consultants alike are discouraged to be egotistical know-it-alls. We should love feedback as much as we expect our trainees, coachees, mentees, audiences, and clients to do the same. Isn’t it that we’ve learned from one of the basic communication models out there that we have to be very careful and intelligent with what we say (Verbal), how we say it (Vocal), and how we look when we say what we say (Visual)? Another way of saying it is ‘Think first before we speak’.
Aside from looking too authoritative to a fault, this person raised the words ‘COACHING’ and ‘COACH’ at the expense of the allied terms training, mentoring, speaking, counseling, and consulting. She had explained it, the way I processed it, that coaching is a methodology that is much better or much more needed than training, mentoring, speaking, counseling, or consulting.
I can be corrected but the way I was told and the way I’ve learned and practiced, no approach or intervention is much better than the other one or no method is THE ONLY way to help individuals or organizations over another. It basically depends on the root causes of the need and what the best corresponding intervention should be. Whether it’s training, coaching, mentoring, speaking, or consulting, it should rely heavily on whether any of these is the truly necessary solution to close the performance gaps or to help a business truly succeed in what it does.
The instances I found myself in, the words I heard, and the manner by which this person presented herself made me inevitably conclude that she needs some serious help with knowing the difference between being ASSERTIVE and being AGGRESSIVE.
Being direct to the point is good (especially when we’re already managers or managing our own business), but when we don’t know how to phrase words positively in a way that doesn’t offend people or stomp hard on their individualities, we might want to reevaluate and teach ourselves some GOOD MANNERS and RIGHT CONDUCT. We can communicate what we need others to comprehend without using harsh words and disrespecting other people especially those we don’t have a RELATIONSHIP with YET. (Do you need help with being assertive or being frank without being annoying? I’m sure my other write-up called The Art of Assertiveness can help you)
Also, there’s no need to highlight our company, product, or services’ competitive edge while putting competitors down. That was apparently her way of promoting their coaching company and how magnificent they are. This is absolutely a bad practice that deserves bad karma. There’s a big difference between saying ‘Our company has been creating results for others for more than 20 years’ and ‘Our company is more experienced and has much more results than other coaching firms’. I know we like the first one better, don’t we?
Instead of saying ‘coaching provides you with what to do and how to do it at both tactical and operational levels while training’s results are limited and unsustainable…’ (not her exact words, by the way; just an example), isn’t it better to say ‘Training is an equally-effective approach to helping people and businesses. However, we utilize coaching instead because…(and then you highlight all its benefits and value additions). You tell me which is better.
I feel sad that this amazing global #1 coaching/consulting firm in the world that I actually wanted to be a certified coach of is being involved in this account. Well, at least I’m not disclosing their name. I’m just deeply and sincerely concerned with all the rest of the trainers, speakers, coaches, mentors, and consultants in the world that I had to share this personal experience so they don’t become like this, I’m sorry to say this, annoying person.
I also feel sad for the very kind and accommodating local General Manager, the one who invited me to this event, who I got to talk to after this person had left the building, that the ‘awesomeness’ of this coaching company is marred, at least just from my perspective, by somebody, who by the way claims she’s one of the best coaches in the world, who’s boastful, straight-forward in a not-so-good way, and needs to be coached herself on Positive Scripting. Yes. A coach who needs to be coached.
These are definitely not behaviors, manners, or characteristics that we want to role-model as practitioners or training, speaking, coaching, mentoring, counseling, or consulting experts. How I hope she realizes it one of these days the hard way and humbly improve her personality. Same with the rest of us. It will do us good. Things are gonna get better.
Also shared on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/perfect-model-coach-trainer-mentor-consultant-you-myron?published=t
For tips on how to coach adults properly, correctly, and with respect, you may also read my article published on Linked entitled I.N.S.P.I.R.E: The success-based coaching process for impact
So as not to present like how the subject of this article infamously did, I recommend you read my two-part article about The Goods of IMPRESSentation: Eleven Keys to Winning Hearts and Minds with Words Part 1 Part 2
If you would like to convert what you had learned here into an in-house corporate training for your internal trainers, resource speakers, coaches, counselors, mentors, or consultants, just please give us a call at (02) 919-2734 and speak with our Chief EnterTrainment Officer and Principal Consultant, Mr. Myron Sta. Ana. You may also send us your inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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