Archive for the ‘Helm Coaching’ Category.

I Don’t Know Where My Time Goes!

Does these statements sound familiar?

  • “I know exactly where I spend my time daily. The only problem is I never have enough of it.”
  • “I do everything I can to make sure that each day is productive. I even list the things I want to accomplish that day, and five days out of five, I never get through the list.”
  • “It’s not that I think I can’t accomplish things daily, , that’s really not the problem. The problem is all the interruptions. Someone stops by to ask me something, and there go fifteen minutes. Someone calls, and there go another ten minutes and so on and so on”
  • “Then there’s the truly big time wasters such as printer jams, computer upgrades, and office celebrations only getting me side tracked more.”

There are two basic types of problems that waste time. The first are mechanical problems such as the jamming printer. Other mechanical problems could be phone issues, system upgrades, and so on. When the mechanical things don’t function correctly, time is spent putting up with them until, hopefully, a solution is found. Usually the solution can be discovered quickly and management can fix any of these glitches.

Mechanical time wasters are easy to identify. Personal time wasters require you to recognize them for what they are. There are countless ways you can waste time in the workplace and below are the top five time wasters YOU can prevent.

1. Visits from your coworkers:. Office chit-chat around the water cooler or at your cubicle is one of the worst time wasters. Not only does it take up your time, but most coworkers are too polite to ask a colleague to leave them alone for the sake of work. If you have a door that you can close, do so. People should get the message that you’re busy. Otherwise, try to find a quiet place such as a meeting room where you can be alone and left undisturbed.

2. Making and receiving phone calls: Another classic time waster is personal phone calls. If you have caller ID, you can use it to screen calls and let certain calls go straight to voice mail and then handle them when free time is available.. If you find that phone calls are hurting your time management, try to block out time when you make and receive phone calls if this is possible, so that you are not simply answering the phone every time it rings.

3. Clutter: If your workspace is messy, you’ll spend more time looking for things, than doing things.A cluttered workspace makes for a cluttered mind. De-clutter and simplify, this will lead you to work more efficiently. Before you leave the office, rid your office of unnecessarily clutter (food, cups, papers). Utilize a file cabinet for something other than your afternoon snacks. Recycle paperwork you’re never going to use. And don’t add unnecessary items to your files – if you don’t need to print something out, don’t. Your company’s shared drive is perfectly suitable for storing documents.

4. Email: One of the classic time wasters, sending and receiving emails can certainly be a big time waster. Like receiving phone calls, responding to emails the moment they arrive can help to decrease your time management if you allow your email to rule you. As with your phone, you might decide to only send and respond to emails at certain times.

5. Internet: Like email, Internet usage (social media in particular) can be a big time waster. Actually, even work-related Internet usage can be a big time waster too. Use common sense here. Wasting time using the Internet probably just means you have to end up staying late at work or bringing work home that you could otherwise do at home.

To be truly effective in the use of your time you need to introduce new processes of for time management. Take a look at how your time is wasted in a given day, pick out one specific thing and then define the specific action you’re how to turn this wasted time into productive time.

Coaching Plan of Action for Managers

serveAt Helm Coaching Group there is a word we use for coaching employees and that word is Search. Search stands for: skills, experience, attitude, results, cognitive skills and habits. Through these facets you’ll know whether an employee is ready for coaching.

Refers to specific knowledge and abilities required. These may be technical in nature, such as programming languages, application and design ability; or non-technical skills, such as
the ability to effectively communicate verbally and in written form. You can coach the employee and help them to work on this skill by either directly working with the employee to improve these skills or giving them tasks that will help them improve their skills in the following areas:

• Questioning
• Listening
• Analytical
• Creativity
• Computer
• Closing
• People
• Persuasive
• Rapport building
• Self-motivated
• Problem solving
• Ability to handle adversity
• Follow-up
• Goal setting
• Social
• Prospecting
• Training

Refers to having done the type of work, assumed the kinds of responsibilities, and applied the specialized knowledge required by the new position. You can enable your employee by training them through these key areas:

• Sales
• Life
• Training
• Reaching decision makers
• Delivering
• Leadership
• Goal setting
• Needs assessment
• Traveling sales

Refers to the state of mind the candidate must have in order to perform effectively in the position. For instance, does the bestfit candidate need to be someone who is open to suggestion
and able to handle critical input without taking it personally? Personality is hard to change, but by modeling proper workplace behavior with your employees and letting them know what’s expected of them you should see an increase in these areas around the office:

• Positive
• Passionate
• “Can-do”
• Selfmotivated
• Up-beat
• Respects self and others
• Trust
• Learns from failures
• Persistent
• Ownership
• Enthusiastic
• Adaptable
• Pro-active
• Loyal
• Caring
• Work ethic

Refers to the accomplishments that verify one’s ability to successfully apply specialized knowledge and skills. These can speak for themselves, but performance should be considered using the following as a guideline for the employees readiness for coaching.

• Exceeds expectations
• Promotion candidate
• Develops growth charts
• Sets goals for growth
• Kinetic awareness
• Recognition
• Advancement

Cognitive Skills
Refers to one’s ability to learn information and processes necessary to the job, such as the ability to quickly assimilate and organize a large amount of data. If your employee can do the following then they are showing signs that they are ready to be coached.

• Process in place
• Quick thinker
• Conversant
• Knowledgeable
• Teachable
• Trainable
• Oral and written communication
• Focused
• Creative
• Strategic
• Problem solver
• Learns from failures

Refers to specific behaviors and actions required of the job. Promptness is one example; keeping accurate notes to document progress is another. This will be harder to train because behavior is deeply ingrained in adults, but you can help develop a better habits by enabling these in your employee:

• Self-starter
• Organized
• Consistent
• Timely
• Follows up
• Professional appearance
• Disciplined
• Goal oriented
• Professional
• Team player
• Administrative
• Manages time
• Detail oriented
• Going above and beyond
• Debriefing after sales call

Letting your employees know that you are considering coaching them in some area may also cause an improvement in their skills. It’s always helpful to let the employee know that you are considering coaching them in an area when you’re conducting peer reviews.

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

ID-100152548If you have not heard of Emotional Intelligence yet, you will very soon. Emotional Intelligence (EI), is being studied by prestigious universities all over the globe, and what these institutions are finding is that EI is closely connected to success and failure.


Workplace attitudes and behavior can have obvious and subversive effects on coworkers and customers alike. EI is the ability that we have to monitor our behavior and self awareness in relation to other people and situations. People with high emotional intelligence are self aware and monitor their behavior closely in situations at work and in their personal life.


That doesn’t mean that a person with a high emotional quotient (EQ) is a door mat, it means that they know how to behave and keep their attitudes in check. On the flip side, some one who has a low EQ is not destined to remain that way. The best thing about EI is that you can learn how to adopt better attitudes and behaviors.


Forbes has recently published an article on EI and how to improve yourself using five techniques that will help boost productivity, ( Now you know how serious this subject matter is when Forbes publishes an article about it.


The basic principle of EI is this, the higher your EQ the more influence you have and the smaller your worries and troubles will be. The lower your EQ, the more troubles and worries you have and the smaller your circle of influence is.


If you are still unsure what exactly EI and EQ are, there are plenty of articles on the web that explain what they are and how they work. If you feel that your workplace could use more EI, then contact us for more information on training, call Tanya Papuga at 407-508-9650, or email her at,


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Establish Proper Sales Goals


In order to reach your sales goal you must effectively prepare by recognizing your true goal in making the sales call. Plan your demonstrations, rehearsals and presentations ahead of time. Feedback from your peers is invaluable. The goal of the sales call is not to ask for a chance, or for a little bit of the prospective customers time, but more of an interview to see if the prospect should be a client. Ask yourself these questions:


1) Does the prospective client meet the criteria for doing business with?
2) Once contact with the prospective customer has been made, do you decide whether to conduct an interview or ask for a time to meet?
3) Are your beliefs in the features and value of your product/service enough to convince the prospective client to buy, or are there other reasons for making purchases?
4) How can you make use of the brochures and literature at your disposal effective in your interview, or sales pitch? (Most often the brochures are used to end the sales pitch by the prospective customer.)
5) Are you doing demonstrations at any cost? Even if it means you don’t make a sale?
6) Is there the pressure of a time limit for the interview/demonstration?
7) Who created the time limit? You or the client?
8) Are you going into the meeting with the intention of helping or selling to the prospective customer?


Many sales people confuse the purpose of their call with the goals of their call. In order to confidently make sales calls and meet clients, the salesperson must be professional and see themselves as professional. The sales call should mean an interview with the prospective client, because the ultimate goal is to sell your product, not give demonstrations or education on your product or company. The salesperson should maintain control over the sale, don’t wish and hope for the prospect to be a customer.


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Social Media Marketing

ID-100113751Did you know that roughly 1.2 billion people world wide use social media. Most likely you have a private Facebook page, or a Twitter account, but do you have business account on these social media sites? In today’s marketing you need to have these tools in order to be successful and reach your clients. However, like all things in life there are rules to using these tools for your business strategy.


The most important thing to remember about social media is there will always be a permanent record of what you post available for clients, managers and everyone else in the world to see and read. That is why when you use these tools you must always separate your personal profile from your professional one. Furthermore, you must make sure that the content you post on these sites, whether it’s pictures or typed content, must be reflective of your business. And remember, the people who follow you on Twitter and Facebook choose to follow you, and if they feel like they are being spammed, they can just as easily choose not to follow you.


Your posts should be engaging, asking your followers for input. Posting an interesting and relevant article is also a way of shaking things up so you don’t come across as all business and no fun. Don’t be afraid to interact with your followers, if they contact you or post something interesting to you let them know by commenting on what they’ve posted, or re-tweet it in Twitter. This lets your followers know that you are interested in them, it’s investing in your relationship with them, which will ultimately pay off for you.


You may be wondering how often you should be posting to these sites, and if you follow certain industry leaders you will see that they are on there everyday, posting multiple times a day. Now you don’t have to be prolific writing more often than you have time for, but you should definitely let your followers know that your social media presence has a pulse. And as stated above, it is the networking and relationships you build on these sites that will help build customers and clients.


If you are new to all this social media business, get your feet wet by starting a personal page, get used to the feel of the sites and how they are used. Once you have it figured out, then you can feel comfortable and confident starting a business account using Twitter or Facebook, or another social media site. Just don’t let social media be the total concentration of your efforts, or you will forget to interact in real time.

Managerial Up-Front Contracts

ID-100194379Up-front contracts are commonly used between salespeople and their clients. These contracts are mutually agreed upon expectations between the individuals that establish what will happen next and provide a specific set of events that will occur. Establishing the parameters of this relationship before moving forward in any endeavor ensures that there will be no surprises.


In the relationship between employee and manager the up-front contract performs the same task by laying out goals and expectations of the department, the employee and the manager. These contracts allow the employee the opportunity to participate in setting and reaching their own goals whether these goals relate to their well being, pay, advancement, or another reinforcement that is meaningful to them.


A manager will sit down with an employee and each individual will agree upon what they will work on and what to expect of the other person. This is the primary means of establishing the supervisory function over the agreed upon period of time. These contracts typically encompass the function of supervision, coaching, mentoring and training.


Up-front contracts lay the formation of the working relationship between the manager and the employee. The language of the contract may describe the behavior expected from the employee in order to complete departmental goals which the employee is responsible for, an example of this is a computer analyst who is responsible for  a component of software, or a salesperson who is responsible for filling a sales quota.)


Discussing mutual expectations sets expectations of employees and management, which can explicitly describe the training an employee needs, coaching the manager gives to foster behaviors of the employee towards a certain goal, or supervisory checkpoints to maintain flow and pace of work.


However, the up-front contract can limit the manager’s ability to provide services in certain cases where the implicit function depends on employee cooperation, such as mentoring. An employee must wish to utilize their manager as their mentor, but should more than one employee look for mentoring the manger will be spread too thin because mentoring is done on a one-on-one basis.


Many workplaces opt to overlook setting up contracts because gaining understanding of their function has a steep learning curve. But once a contract has been created there can be a continual process to improve the contract. The investment of time and energy does pay off in the end results.


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Presentation Guide



At some time in your career you’ll have to give an important speech or present a proposal. Following are three techniques for giving an efficient presentation.


First, create an outline for your presentation. This outline is the bones of your speech. It is the opening message, ideas you wish to express, and the conclusion or wrap up of ideas from your proposal. Also, knowing in advance what you will be speaking on and where you want to go with your presentation makes it easier to choose only pertinent information to your topic.


Secondly, when you are writing your speech make sure that the introduction includes the purpose or reason for speaking. This will determine the goals you target, the approach you take and the materials and content you will select to communicate to the audience. Also include in your introduction the main points that you will be discussing in your presentation. This prepares the audience for the information that you will be going over in detail.


Thirdly, when choosing topics to cover, make sure to choose only between three and five main topics. The reasons being that most people can only remember no more than five  central ideas at a time, more than five ideas in your presentation may make you seem lost, and failure to identify your main points leaves you open to forgetting important ideas you need to express.


By using these techniques you have a greater chance for success of your ideas being accepted by your audience, and for your message to stick with them if it’s easy for them to remember.




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How to Become a Customer Service Expert

frontlineIf you want to set yourself apart from your competition the best way to do that is by becoming an expert in customer service. You might think you already know everything there is to know about giving excellent customer service, but there’s more to it than a friendly face and a good attitude. These tips will give you an advantage over your competition because they are client centered.

Ultimately your goal should be to meet and try to exceed the expectations of the client. You can ask every client individually what is most important to them, but this is time consuming and not every client wants the same thing. You can try to keep track of all your different clients’ needs and expectations, but this will be a difficult task if you have many clients.

It’s smarter and more economical to anticipate the needs of your client rather than guess or ask them. Your clients shouldn’t have to tell you how to make them happy, you should know how to make them happy. In order to maintain good customer service you should be able to define it by how you perform it. You can do this in five easy steps.

1)You customer service should be quick. Time is money and your client needs their product from you as quickly as they can get it. If your product is delayed it may wind up costing your client money for every day the product is late. Your ability to be prompt and fast will reward you with repeat business. Being late will cause headaches and possibly losing your customer.

2)How affordable id your product. Although there are bargain hunters even in the business world, the client wants to know if the overall value of the product is worth their money. If they go too cheap will it wind up costing more money than if they had spent more for a quality product in the first place? Customers want value for their money, so show them the value in your product.

3)Get it right. Don’t make promises you can’t deliver because the client will find out soon enough exactly what it is they have bought from you. Your customers should expect to get quality, reliability and functionality out of the products they purchased from you. If they can’t then there will be no repeat business. A flawed product that has to be repaired or services that don;t live up to expectations are not acceptable no matter how cheap they were.

4)Make your product or service convenient for your clients. If there is a steep learning curve, or the information or product is too complicated this will wind up costing your client precious time they may not have. Always make sure that your clients are fully informed and that you yourself are available to them should they need your help with anything. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting around for help while being sent from one employee to another.

5)Make a statement to the customer that they are important to you by giving them personalized service and attention. There is value in customization, it can be as simple as sending them a card, a fruit basket, something that says thank you and your valued. People love validation, they want to be heard and acknowledged. Your products and services may not be customized for you clients, but you can be. Make sure that you are individualizing the sales experience with your clients, they’ll love it and will be more willing to pay more for a product or service if it comes with special details and attention.

Make sure your using the five points of customer service; Quick, Affordable, Right, Convenient, and Personalized will make your customers appreciate what your selling and who’s selling it to them. Remember your customer can find what they’re looking for somewhere else if they’re not happy. Use these tips and you’ll make your clients happy and yourself.

Conditions for Success


In order to succeed in your current job and move upward within the company you must be prepared to pay the price. You can’t move forward unless you are not only willing to pay the price for success, but condition yourself towards that success. Conditioning is as simple as using a set of rules both philosophical and practical which will allow you to access the professional systems around you.


The Sandler Sales Institute © has charted the success and failure of sales people and what they have found is that the success stories stand out because of their daily conditioning. One method of conditioning involves focusing on your professional tasks during working hours (ie-9am-5pm if these are your working hours). After hours are better spent planning, conditioning, learning more about the products and services your company offers and attending meetings.


Using working hours for after hours activities results in less income and work production. You may even feel guilty for  not focusing on professional tasks during work hours. If you’re in a sales position the repercussion of not focusing on professional tasks could be termination from the company. If you’re a salaried sales person you may want to think about switching to commission for an extra incentive to perform.


Another way to condition yourself is to set daily goals. Start everyday with goals you want to achieve and chart your success of accomplishing your goals. A daily journal can help maintain quality time management. To get to the top of your sales profession be consistent.


Here are 12 great tips from U.S. News and World Report on how to climb that corporate ladder.

1) Online Networking
Don’t only talk about yourself and your achievements because you’ll bore your followers. Start an interesting and engaging dialogue that your followers will appreciate. And never post about work, this can’t be stressed enough.

2) Networking in Person
Improve your people skills and learn to listen.

3) Stand Out
Think about what you’ve done that others haven’t done or couldn’t have done. These also make good talking points for a job interview.

4) Be Discreet
If you’re job searching while currently employed let the recruiters know that discretion is key. You can potentially use the offer to negotiate with your current employer, but this can result in your termination as well. Some companies don’t like you looking for work while employed.

5) Beware of Blunders
Common pitfalls involve not being specific about your accomplishments, being too wordy and giving generic objective statements. These are true of your resume as well, a key point of your resume is to put current and relevant material there, don’t keep college accomplishments if it’s been years since you were in college. Also watch your typos when corresponding with managers, it can mean the difference between success and failure.

6) Phone Prep
Always keep talking points in front of you during a phone interview. Also keep a pen and paper handy to take notes. In order to speak clearly, stand up and smile, possibly watch yourself in a mirror. Or you can always practice with a friend.

7) Interview Information
Research the company ahead of time. Be prepared to ask questions. Ask who you’ll be speaking to so you can do research on them as well. Send a thank-you note immediately after interview.

8) Staright Talk
Don’t pretend that you don’t have a weakness. Think about your weakness and how to overcome it.

9) Keep Anxiety at Bay
Be patient. A single thank-you note and your patience are all you need.

10) Get Off to a Good Start
Ask questions and pay attention to company culture. Always make sure that you are: reliable, outer directed, common sensical and bottom line oriented.

11) Play Nice
When you’re feeling frustrated with your boss or coworker look inward and change your own behavior. This will let them know that you are trying and it can stop the micromanaging and stree on the work relationship. Share the credit if a project goes well and don’t duck the blame if a project goes poorly.

12) Climb the Ladder
Before asking for a raise, ask for more work. Even take on jobs that no one else is wiling to do. This shows your manager that you are able to handle a greater amount of responsibility. Lastly, over perform on the job. Your work and how you work says the most about you in the workplace.

The Ins and Outs of Consultation Price Quoting

ID-100194379When you are an industry or area expert you don’t typically consider yourself a sales person, you see your role more as a consultant. Consultants however are sales people on some level, after all they charge money to a company or client who wish to use their knowledge and expertise. Sometimes when a consultant tries to earn business they accidentally give away their expertise for free or quote a price to their prospective client too early. The following are tips on how to avoid these pitfalls.


Give Away Your Expertise

When you meet with a client they want to know three things 1) what do you know, 2) how can you solve this problem, and 3)how much is this going to cost.
In the initial interview if you answer these questions with out agreeing on a price first you have just given a free consultation. Another downfall of providing this information is that you are likely not the only consultant the client has met with, now you risk becoming another name in a pile.The client may possibly even sit on the information you provided deciding not to do anything just yet. Or you may quote a price higher than your competition and lose the contract because your price is higher than some one else.


Provide a Price for Services Too Early

Oftentimes clients underestimate their problems. They simplify the problem in order to communicate quickly and then ask, what can you do. In reality you won’t be able to give a precise quote because you don’t know the extent of the problem yet. If you give a quote for your services that is too low and wind up in the end going back and saying that you miss quoted the price it reflects poorly on you.

Don’t give into the pressure to provide a price too early. Be honest and say, “From what you’ve told me you have A,B,C going on, but once I take a closer look there may be D,E,F happening too. This is my estimate for A,B,C, if you need more than that it’s going to be extra.

It’s a gutsy thing to do but it’s your expertise and services that are your money in the bank. Don’t give it away for free. Charge what you’re worth. get your price and make it stick.