Why I Love Founder Institute (And You Should, Too!)

hands-people-woman-meeting

And, just like that, I’ve graduated from Founder Institute.

In the middle of September this year I, along with 24 hopeful entrepreneurs, attended orientation for the Melbourne 2016 Founder Institute course. Founder Institute “is the world’s premier startup launch program for talented entrepreneurs”.

Essentially it’s a 3-month course taking people who want to be entrepreneurs through all the steps they may fudge around in over a period of three years. Instead of directionless faffing about, attendees undertake a directed program through stages such as “vision and ideas” and “product development” through to “bootstrapping and fundraising.

The goal of the program is to take the Silicon Valley philosophy and networks and distribute them around the world.

Entrepreneurs need to work hard

There is a lot of work each week, and it’s supposed to be a hard slog. When a course is promising to launch success-ready startups, the participants can’t be of the misguided belief that entrepreneurialism is easy.

Doing coursework 50 to 60 hours a week while holding down a regular gig, as well as attempting to allocate sufficient energy to family, friends and health dispelled any thoughts that starting something significant from scratch is for everyone.

Of the 25 who started, there were nine left at the end. Better odds than most Alien movies, but an illustration that, despite the best-laid plans, things can still go wrong. Founder Institute offers participants who drop out the opportunity to come back at a later semester, so dropping out is better referred to as “deferment”.

It’s all about the team

A highlight of the course was the other participants. We were allocated workgroups at the beginning, and our workgroup (TeamBlack) quickly bonded and became a huge source of support, encouragement and ideas. The benefits to having people who were going through exactly what I was going through were immeasurable and I came to look forward to the twice-weekly Skype chats.

It was while working with my workgroup that I learned a valuable startup lesson – People Like To Help.

You need to understand that I have just spent 20 years in the freight industry. Unfortunately, at least in Australia, the industry is not the model of trust, honesty and collaboration. I believe this is due to the red ocean philosophy predominant in logistics that the only source of new business is to take it from competitors.

Startups, on the other hand, are swimming in the blue ocean. There are unlimited opportunities to expand and develop new projects. In fact, competitors are beneficial as they validate a business model or industry segment.

Another benefit of Founder Institute was the access to a whole network of mentors and advisors.

Entrepreneurs like to help people

There is a strong Australian network of entrepreneurs, startup advisors and people with enormous experience in, and understanding of, the difference between starting a small business and launching a startup. Amazingly, they make themselves available to guys like me – just a middle-aged man with an idea.

For the price of coffee, it is possible to get thousands of dollars of advice. No strings attached. However, if (when?) people ask my advice, I will be ready and willing to give freely of my own time.

And now it begins

The next step is all up to me. Founder Institute, or any launch program, can only take one so far. The real work starts now. My startup, Passel, has received some seed investment, and I’ve got a couple of months to go and find some customers and suppliers, integrate a little tech and start delivering on my promise!

If you want to follow the journey, I do have a mailing list you can subscribe to here.

If you’ve been thinking about making the jump from worker to entrepreneur, you can learn more about the Founder Institute here.

Enjoy 2017,

Marshall

Passel helps retailers gain more sales by providing cheap, convenient and friendly same-day home deliveries for online orders.

Using a flexible crowd-sourcing platform, Passel manages local deliveries by people living and working in the local community.

Passel – same day online deliveries.

For more information, please visit www.passeldelivery.com or call Marshall Hughes on +61419134461.

I have some business rules

Coffee Running and Tech

If I’m going to work, there are some guidelines

I’ve decided on some fundamental rules for how my next businesses will run. My company group is Coffee, Running & Tech, so it’s a fair bet my next venture will fall into one or all of those categories.

The rules:

We only do things that are worthwhile.

We automate tasks.

We have lots and lots of fun.

Customers must be nice people.

Suppliers must be nice people.

We only work with people we like and respect and with whom the feeling is mutual.

We help people. Our solutions are not about cheapest, they are about most beneficial.

Everyone shares in the benefits.

There will be good coffee.
There will be tech.
There will be running.

That’s pretty simple and straightforward. Did I miss anything?

When people ask what’s next after Myfreight

My Productivity Coach - Identify Simplify Amplify

Since announcing I am leaving Myfreight on June 30, I have been asked numerous times about my plans for the future.

Truth is, I don’t really have a concrete plan at the moment.

Most likely I’ll be doing a mix of the following:

 

1) emailhandyman – corporate email coaching. Some companies are burning thousands of hours a year with staff wasting time managing email. We aim to fix that through a simple system of triage, habits and folders.

 

2) My Productivity Coach – in person, online via coach.me, personal and business coaching. I’ve been doing this in my spare time for about 18 months and I’m interested in seeing where this goes.
Would you believe myproductivitycoach.com was available?

 

3) Consulting back to Myfreight from time to time.

 

4) Logistics/freight and IT consulting – as long as it doesn’t contravene the Myfreight non-compete agreement. There are no grey areas here!

 

5) Restaurant pockets – a solution to the lack of space on cafe tables and the overwhelming incidence of people not connecting with one another in cafes.

 

6) Beachies – kids onesies for the beach.

 

7) I’ve applied to Founder’s Institute for their August intake. I have about 50 ideas for tech startups. i enjoyed playing in this space with the development of Myfreight. I think I can repeat that success in new areas.

 

8) Drinking lots of coffee. I may switch to half decaf.

 

9) Other things I am unaware of.
Ideally, I’ll do 20-30 hours a week consulting and coaching while everything else ramps up over the next 6 months. I plan on being busy!

3 quick questions to help decide daily priorities

idea

“But how do I decide what to do right now?”

In my role as a Productivity coach at coach.me , I work with energised, high achieving individuals and the organisations they run. The biggest problem most of my clients face is maintaining focus and deciding which task is the most important out of the thousands of things that must be done immediately.

These unstoppable people don’t have reverse. They are full steam ahead on whatever task is in front of them. They’ll go without food and sleep to beat a deadline, launch a project or secure a deal.

But, what do they choose? How do they decide what to work on, right now?

I have been trying to simplify a system of prioritising, either for daily tasks or individual projects. The question is – can we distill all the productivity information flying around into something basic, fast and effective?

My clients don’t have time to spend an hour a day prioritising and sifting through the work in front of them. Shifting goalposts in their market and new developments mean they have to be agile and they need to be able to get to work on their most important tasks as soon as possible.

As a coach, being able to help these people achieve their goals is hugely satisfying. So I need a solution for them that at least starts to address the question:

“When I have 20 things I have to do right now, which one do I start with?”
 
I’m not sure I have the answer yet, but I think the following shows promise.
 

There are three key cornerstone concepts to Productivity:

 

1) This quote:
“Besides the noble art of getting things done,
there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”
Lin Yutang, 1895 – 1976

 

Essentially, most of your output is the result of a small amount of input. Most people spend too much time on things that don’t matter.

 

3) Batching.
Quite simply, doing similar things sequentially. For example, if you have 5 phone calls to make, then make them one after the other. Check email twice a day instead of every hour.

 

Don’t confuse batching with multi-tasking. Attempting to multi-task ensures work takes longer and is of a potentially sub-optimal standard.  Science proves this.

 

To summarise:

Focus on the important/discard the non-important, apply Pareto’s rule and batch work.

 

Which brings us to three quick questions when deciding what gets done:

 
1) What can I leave undone?
 
2) What one thing will have the biggest impact?

3) When is the best time to do that?

 

As I said, it’s a start.

 

Feedback, questions, comments and criticism are all welcome.

Wasting time contravenes the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

wasting time

 

Time, all the time

If you read productivity books or speak to any professional about effectiveness and efficiency, you’ll hear mention of time more frequently than is possible to count. It’s everywhere and time management is the flavour of the month. I Googled “time management blogs” and returned 2,900,000 results.

We’re spending a lot of time talking about time.

Further investigation reveals that there are a few mainstream beliefs about time management that seem to attract few arguments:

1) Planning is probably good, but not too much planning and not rigid planning;

2) You should plan to do important things first, but not always, and there is flexibility in the definition of important; and

3) Time is finite. A non-renewable resource. It is the most precious commodity.

I’m going to focus on time as a finite resource. More precisely I am going to focus on how, by wasting the time of others, you are not only committing the biggest productivity sin of all, you are also violating their fundamental human rights as outlined in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

But first, this

This post is 1362 words long. At an average reading speed of 200 words per minute, you are about to invest 7 minutes in reading it. I think it’s worth the investment, but is right now the best time to read? Are you supposed to be doing something else? Is there an important phone call you need to make, a report to write or a boat to build?

If so, then please, stop reading and go and put your mind and body to that other task. Reading articles (no matter how well written) should not be at the top of your priority list.

It’s okay; these words will still be here when you return.

Finite and non-renewable

Without delving into science I don’t understand, I think we can agree that time is most likely a finite resource. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. There is no undo or redo button.

Of course, Seneca said it better – “Counting even yesterday, all past time is lost time”.

It was true 2000 years ago, it’s true now, and, even if I understood the movie “Interstellar” correctly, it might be true in the future.

That second that just passed is gone. No value can be placed on an item that cannot be repackaged, rebundled, reused and resold. We can’t barter on getting that second back or change what it was used to accomplish.

Time is finite, non-renewable, and therefore infinitely valuable.

We cannot afford to waste a second

I’m with Ray Kurzweil, and others, in wanting and believing that living forever is possible. Even with that in mind, time is still too valuable to be wasted. Never, ever, should we look back at a moment, a day or a year and say “well, that was a waste of time”.

Even though I plan on living forever, I may not. Hell, I may not even survive this sentence. My heart might give up; I might choke on my espresso or a truck may drive through the front window of this café.

Every minute we survive needs to mean something. There needs to be a constant sense of the value of the activity, the choices we make and how we choose to spend the enormous wealth constantly surrounding us.

Doing nothing may not equal wasting time

I’m not proposing going hard at life 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I don’t believe we should spend every second of the day hunched over a keyboard, an engine or a patient. Time and work are not the same things. Productivity and output are totally different concepts.

There are times when sitting on the sofa for 2 hours reading a magazine is the best thing you can do. Whether it’s washing your car, or standing in line waiting for the best barista to craft you a flat white, or sitting on the beach with your toes in the warm sand, all these things are fine.

If.

If.

If you shouldn’t be doing something else. This is the key. Downtime is crucial to sustained success. Burning out isn’t a sign of Productivity, it’s a sign of a lack of foresight and prioritising. Crashing your car because you are too tired because you stayed up all night finalising a report is not the optimum outcome and does not illustrate good decision making.

So do those things that relax and recharge you. Invest time in yourself. You are worth it!

Everyone’s time has equal value

Not only can we not afford to waste our own time, but how can we be so egotistical and sociologically insane as to think it is acceptable to waste someone else’s time? What is wrong with people who believe this to be a fair exchange? My priorities over someone else’s, or my search for meaning in place of your struggle?

The person you drag into the 3-hour meeting, the co-worker you email at 10 pm because you’re stressed about the final proposal or the supplier you make wait in reception for 15 minutes so you can power frame them in an amateur display at negotiation. These are people whose time you have wasted.

Their time means something. It means the same to them as your time means to you. By definition, a commodity with an infinite value is of equal value to them as it is to you.

In fact, the sin of wasting someone else’s time might just be the worst of all. How do we, as a society grasp the concept of “acceptable” waiting and delays? Is it okay to be 5 minutes late? Maybe. What about 15 minutes? What about 30 minutes?

How do we account for stealing 15 minutes of someone’s time? Can we apply a discount or a surcharge to the next invoice, can we give them some of our time or do we just smile and make an excuse?

There is no excuse

No. There is no excuse and there is no possibility of adequate compensation. We have stolen from them something much more valuable than all the money in their pockets, their intellectual property, or their car and home. We have robbed them of the freedom to choose how to spend their time.

It’s done; it’s gone. Whatever opportunities that time held have now passed. Was there a phone call they could have made or a quick IM they may have sent? All the things that could have been accomplished. In fact, we’ll never know because we don’t get to find out.

We stole their time and we need to promise humanity we will never do that again.

Take the pledge

Commit, from this second, to never waste anyone’s time.

Please don’t ask to waste another’s time, because most often they will say yes. Most people will gladly offer you time, especially if they don’t see the true value it has. In fact, even if they are fully cognizant of the value of their time, many people will say yes so that they don’t feel terrible for rejecting your request.

It’s your responsibility to be conscious of the price others pay when you ask them for a minute, or to attend a meeting, or to read a document. Is the matter so significant that they should sacrifice a small amount of their precious time to you? Is it vital that they should place your needs, wants and desires above their own?

Let’s start a campaign to right these wrongs.

Join me, fellow anti-time wasting crusader, and take the pledge:

“I, <insert name>, armed with the knowledge that time is finite and infinitely valuable, promise never to waste anyone’s time.”

Once you’ve taken the pledge, live the promise. Be the one who cares about everyone’s time and is thoughtful, kind and generous when spending the finite resources of others. Be the change you want to see in the world!

But what about violating our fundamental human rights?

I didn’t forget. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights “sets out…fundamental human rights to be universally protected.”

I contend that wasting the time of others is a violation of Articles 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 17, 18, 20 and 23.

Feel free to leave a comment below. I will respond to all comments when I have time.

Something to think about when applying for a job

resume

Hiring people is a risky business

I am part way through hiring an additional customer service person for Myfreight. Hiring is one of the most important tasks a business undertakes. The right people in the right positions are priceless, whereas bad staffing choices will cause you to lose customers or worse.

I hire well – just ask the people I hired!

I work with a terrific group of people. For most of them, I’ve been the one to read the resumes, manage the interview process and negotiate agreements. My philosophy of finding people we like and then teaching them the skills they need has been an unmitigated success. We frequently receive feedback on the professionalism and capability of the staff along with positive comments about the culture at Myfreight.

The hiring process

When I’m hiring Developers, I run that through an agency (http://circuitrecruitment.com.au/ – check them out, they’re brilliant). That saves a lot of time filtering out the skills on my shopping list. Also, Melbourne’s a competitive market and sometimes the good developers don’t know that they want to come and work with us.

Customer service and administration staff are another matter. Our process is:

  • Ask the staff if they can recommend any friends or family
  • Ask again
  • Try and poach a good person we know
  • Advertise online and wait for the rain

Once we receive the applications online, the next step is a quick and brutal cull. Even with only 100 applications, I don’t have more than 1-2 minutes on each application to file to “Not suitable” or “Shortlist”.

The only information I have to make this decision is the cover letter and the resume.

The cover letter

I am as likely to grant an interview from a cover letter as from a resume. Writing a cover letter shows you have at least given a passing thought to the particular job for which you are applying. It indicates that you want a job with me, not just anywhere.

Your cover letter should be designed to prompt someone to read your resume. It’s a brief window into who you are. You have a chance to highlight the reason you are applying for this particular job. This is relevant information.

For an employer, hiring a new staff member is risky. This is especially true in Australia where it is almost impossible to fire an underperforming employee unless they have been given counselling sessions and written warnings. Your cover letter starts to tell the employer a story about whether you are a safe person to hire.

When writing your cover letter, don’t just rewrite your resume. If you do that, you are wasting an opportunity to engage with the person who has to decide whether you make it past the initial culling process.

Perhaps using a little intrigue is helpful. You have interesting stories, and you have had any success that makes you a good hire. Tell the story, or a few snippets.

If you decide not to provide a customised cover letter, you have reduced your interview chance by 50%. You are putting all the bets in the resume basket.

Resume

The resume should be a relevant snapshot of your career as it pertains to the role for which you are applying. If you are 40, McDonalds as a teenager is not relevant. Your resume is a substantiation of your suitability to either do the job or grow into the position.

Your education is important, your work history is relevant and your achievements, both personal and career, are important.

Here’s some quick Do’s and Don’ts:

Four things you should do on your resume

1. Use spellcheck.

Please. If you have spelling mistakes in your resume, it shows that, not only you can’t spell, but that you don’t have the basic computer knowledge to use spellcheck. Or it means you didn’t think to have your resume proofread. It possibly indicates you don’t care enough about your resume to spend 5 minutes reviewing it.

2. Say why you left.

If you were at one job and are now not at that job, you have left. An employer can figure that out. Do not be afraid to indicate the reason you left a former position, such as “position was made redundant”, or “decided to travel”.

It’s okay; people leave. Don’t leave mysteries. Your potential employer hasn’t got time for mysteries and wants to reduce risk as much as possible.

A caveat to this. If you left a previous position for a bad reason, then you can leave that out. My MD fired a guy who threatened to kill me. Don’t put that on your resume.

3. Present your resume as a PDF

Even in this connected age, some browsers and Operating Systems and programs do horrible things to documents. Protect yourself from a Windows/Apple/Chrome mismatch by saving your resume as a PDF. This means it will always appear the way you want it to look.

While I’m on that, resumes where a person has spent a few minutes on formatting stand out. Just use a simple template that is easy to read and presented in a logical manner.

4. Use a big, bright font.

Some employers are old, others have bad eyesight, and all of us work long hours and get tired eyes. You have no idea how difficult it is to read some resumes. The cursive script goes straight to the “Not Suitable” bucket.

Three things you should not do on your resume

1. Too many adverbs and adjectives

You did not “diligently” enter data into the ERP. You just entered it. Using too many adverbs and adjectives seems like you are trying to bulk out dull or tedious tasks.

Some tasks are straightforward and boring! That’s okay, employers know it, too.

2. Do not over qualify yourself

If I think someone is going to become bored in the role I’m hiring them for, I won’t hire them. If I believe that they are going to leave as soon as a more challenging or better-paying job comes along, I won’t hire them.

This is tough on the candidate. They may say that it is up to them to decide what jobs they want, and what career options are attractive.

My advice to you, on your resume, is not to include your MBA or Doctorate in Mathematics if you are applying for a data entry role. Don’t include your time as a commercial airline pilot if you want to drive a forklift. Just don’t do it.

These things may come out in the interview, but then you’ll be able to explain your reasons for wanting the job, rather than the career path you have been on.

3. Do not use clichés

“Is a team player and can work independently”. Google that and you will get something like About 1,990,000 results (0.64 seconds).

Don’t write it.

Instead, indicate where you have succeeded as part of a team, or independently. Show, don’t tell.

“Can use Windows, Word, Excel, etc., etc.”. Yes, you can. And that’s because everyone can now. It’s 2016. If you are an absolute software guru and the job calls for it, then list your proficiency or qualifications. Be careful and don’t oversell.

“Passionate”, “Dynamic”. Yes. Great. Back to the point about too many adverbs and adjectives. If you are applying for a position with a refugee organization and your previous experience involves three years on the Syrian border, you probably don’t need to write that you are “passionate” about refugees and humanitarian causes.

Final point – be yourself

When applying for a job, be prepared for the consequences of success. If your application does not reflect who you are and the career you want, then neither you nor your employer are going to be happy.

Ensure that your cover letter and resume are an accurate reflection of your history and the future you want.

Good luck with your ongoing search.

My task management system

 task management
I try and keep it as simple as possible.
I’m somewhat dependent on Evernote. It’s on all my devices. I grab links, take photos and jot down notes. In fact, I’m so dependent on Evernote that I subscribe to Premium, even though I don’t know what extra benefits I receive.

I have a note called “Someday Maybe”, and another called “Projects to do”.

Both lists have headings:

Managerpedia (my personal blog)
My Productivity Coach (my new business)
Coach.me (the habit tracking/training coaching platform)
Home and Family

 

On a periodic basis (sometimes weekly and sometimes more frequently) I take items from Someday Maybe note and move them to Projects to Do.

 

Every morning, I look at my diary and check to see what meetings and other commitments I have and figure out how much time I have left over. I’m always conservative with my time because invariably there will be surprises.

 

Then, I grab the tasks from Projects to Do that are either most urgent, more important, or a mix of both and note them down on a “half index card”. On a weekday, I have one side for Myfreight and the other half for a bit of everything else. I call the other side “Me”. On the weekends, there’s just one side – “Me”.

I work on the items on the index card. I don’t number them. I tend to grab the ones I feel like doing. For example, today’s list for “Me” was:

Write a letter to get out of speeding fines. (Home and Family)
Publish blog post for managerpedia. 
Load a week of content into buffer.
Write a blog post about My Task Management System
Coaching
Order more Trubrain. (“biohack” might still work as a 25% discount coupon)
Buy new running shoes. (Pearl Izumi Road N2)

 

Apparently, I’m writing the blog post now. After that, it’s just coaching, and I’m done.

It’s not a perfect system, but I find it simple to maintain and resilient to random events. Some days I don’t get everything done, but I rarely miss anything genuinely important.

 

On the many days when I finish everything I enjoy the sense of satisfaction as I rip up the card, sit down and read, or talk to some folks.

 

What about you? Can you suggest improvements or do you have alternatives I should consider?

Let me know in the comments.

The Tao of Coaching – highlights

Tao of Coaching

The Tao of Coaching – highlights

The Tao of Coaching – by Max Landsberg

First published in 1996, The Tao of Coaching is a terrific read. Not often I take notes when reading, but for some reason chose to in this case. And, here they are. Of course, if you think the notes are interesting, buy the book! The book is better than my notes.

Let me be clear, this is not a review. If I were to write a review, it would say “Buy this book if you want to coach anyone in anything”. It’s my notes, and they’re not neccessarily in any logical order.

Tao (pronounced “dow”). Everything is connected and influenced by everything else.

Coaching – aims to enhance the performance and the learning ability of others.

20 Golden Rules of Coaching

  1. You can’t be a leader without having a following.
  2. Ask questions when helping others develop their skills.
  3. Receiving feedback means active listening.
  4. Coaching also benefits the coach.
  5. Guide – don’t judge – when coaching.
  6. Organise your coaching sessions well – start in the correct direction.
  7. Great teams overcome differences in styles of coaching.
  8. Overcome your coaching blocks – or you will never delegate.
  9. Instant payoff coaching can work – though only if delivered well.
  10. Diagnose your coachee’s will – not just skill.
  11. With a reluctant coachee – first build trust.
  12. You can’t motivate others if they can’t see you.
  13. Take the time to anticipate cultural differences.
  14. Know how to set up teams well.
  15. Use the power of questions to reframe.
  16. Coaches work with observable facts, not just gut feel.
  17. Providing upward feedback to the boss can have its benefits.
  18. Become eloquent in the language of setting goals.
  19. Mentor someone, and be mentored.
  20. The effects of your coaching can be even more powerful than you imagine.

Themes

  1. Overall, the coach is aiming for the coachee to help themselves.
  2. Ask questions, and paraphrase.
  3. Make suggestions.
  4. Trust and honesty are recurring themes throughout the book.
  5. Should all clients do the Myers-Briggs test?

Feedback

Actions

Impact

Desired Outcome

Actions – The things the coachee is doing well, or poorly in the area under review.

Impact – The effect these actions are having.

Desired Outcome – The ways in which the coachee could do things more effectively.

The GROW coaching model

GOAL, REALITY, OPTIONS, WRAP UP

GOAL – Agree on a specific topic and objective.

REALITY – Self-assessment, specific examples.

OPTIONS – Suggestions offered, choices made.

WRAP UP – Commit to Action. Define a timeframe. Identify how to overcome obstacles.

Instant payoff coaching

  1. Problem. Coachee defined.
  2. Ideal Outcome. Coachee to specifically define.
  3. Blocks with coachee, blocks with others, blocks with the situation.
  4. Brainstorm together. Agree on an approach, actions and timing.

Skill / Will Matrix

Skill = Experience, training, understanding.

Will = Desire to achieve, incentives, security, confidence.

High Will / Low Skill – GUIDE

High Will / High Skill – DELEGATE

Low Will / Low Skill – DIRECT

Low Will / High Skill – EXCITE

Reluctant Coachee

“Intrinsic Reluctance”

Unwillingness to admit room for improvement

  • Diagnose barriers
  • Emphasise factual evidence illustrating need to improve (“Push” strategy).
  • Build trust.
  • Postpone to a specific session.
  • Disarm – coaching is “non-evaluative” and “non-judgemental”.

Rules of Motivation

  1. Know where the coachee is in the “Cycle of Motivation” –
    1. Lack of confidence vs. confidence.
    2. Hesitant vs. aspiring.
    3. Poor results vs. Strong results.
    4. Negative feedback vs. praise.
  2. Work on their confidence if they are positive.
  3. Work on praise if they are negative.
  4. Identify needs for support and training.
  5. Learn what motivates the coachee.

Be aware of cultural differences

Directness – “Get to the point”, or “imply”.

Hierarchy – “Follow instructions”, or “debate options”.

Consensus – “Is dissent okay?”, or “unanimity is needed”.

Individualism – “Individual winners”, or “team effectiveness”.

I found The Tao of Coaching very easy to read, and relevant to face to face, online, text and chat coaching. It’s a worthwhile addition to any coaching library.

Get coached on Coach.me

How coach.me took me from coachee to coach and back again…

There and back again
There and back again

Coachee

Like most of you I’m on a constant self improvement journey.

Over 435 days ago I downloaded coach.me with a goal of building habits – such as lose weight, be more productive and other lifestyle goals. The benefit I saw in coach.me was the constant reinforcement and feedback which perhaps other efforts had previously lacked.

A subsequent reading of Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit” has further reinforced that coach.me is on the right track.

Formerly Lift, Coach.me is an online app and website that is your personal one on one coach, going  everywhere with you, helping you achieve any goal, change any habit, or build any expertise.

The concept is cleverly simple: Choose a habit, do it, check in. Build a streak, resist breaking the streak and keep doing whatever you want to do. The app is free to use, and there’s a great online community of people who are a step ahead of you and are willing to share their experience and advice.

It’s also possible to follow other members and give and receive “props” (thumbs up) from people. Great additional positive reinforcement.

I joined up and activated a couple of goals that seemed important to me at the time – daily cold showers, something about weights and measurements and a couple of random habits. I started checking in, building streaks.

Over time I mixed up my habits. There doesn’t appear to be a limit but with too many I found the actual process of checking in became onerous so I’ve stayed at around 6.

I also built up the confidence to answer questions in the Q&A and realised

“hey, I actually do know this stuff”.

It’s an interesting change in mindset to move from being good at something to the realisation that, for whatever reason and in whatever capacity, I’m some sort of expert.

Coach

Late in 2014 I received an email from coach.me asking whether I was interesting in “Accountability Coaching”. For $15 a week, an Accountability Coach takes coach.me to the next level by giving you one on one direct access to a person whose job is to help keep you on track. Through asynchronous chat, your Accountability Coach provides tips, direction and feedback when things are going well and also helps get you restarted if you start to stray.

“Well”, I thought “why not?”

Coach.me provided a webinar with training plus additional resources, plus, of course, an “Accountability Coaching” habit to track along with support from other Accountability Coaches. If you’re starting to get the impression that the coach.me people are pretty awesome, you’re on the right track.

I started coaching and a couple of clients found me and I started working with them. They seemed to enjoy the experience.

I was then approached by coach.me to be a “featured coach” in their weekly newsletter. I’m not really sure why they picked me, but I’m grateful.

“Well”, I thought “why not?”

Erin at coach.me suggested I create a plan – so I did (it’s here), coach.me featured me and about 50 people signed up in the first week. Coach.me has a permanent free 1st week code – COACHME – and, as expected, some people were just trying it out, but amazingly about 40 stayed past the first week.

So far I’ve helped about 50 people on “Inbox Zero” and “Slow Carb Diet by Tim Ferriss“. I’ve discovered that my style doesn’t suit everyone and not everyone who says they want to fix something actually has the time, energy or focus to fix it. It’s good fun and I feel I’m adding real value. Some of the comments are private, but I can share this testimonial:

“INBOX ZERO. OMG It’s actually empty. Not just “empty of newish stuff and junk” but EMPTY, for the first time since 2001. I had gotten my Inbox down to a couple hundred saved messages earlier but now it’s EMPTY. I went through some of those couple hundred saved messages and some are clearly out-of-date (now deleted). The rest got group-glumped into “archive” where they are searchable if needed and will probably never be seen or wanted again. Computer memory is cheap (and virtually limitless). Open loops in my own brain are neither.” – Lee.

Coachee

This is all pretty cool and coach.me generously shares the client fee 50/50. That’s handy pocket money to offset the time investment, but coaching isn’t about the money.

An unexpected benefit of all this coaching is that I am learning from my clients. As they ask questions and probe my knowledge I’ve found I’ve clarified my own thinking around my habits. It’s one thing to be able to do something, but how do I explain to someone else what my thought processes are. Are they even my thought processes or do I just think they are?

I’ve also had to become more effective at dealing with the coaching workload outside of business hours. I’ve got a full time job so I need to be strict – coaching does not occur during daylight hours Monday to Friday.

To get up at 540am I need to go to bed on time at 10pm. (And, yes, there’s a habit for that too!). And if I’m getting up at 540am I’m not going to muck around before getting down to business, so I’m better prepared first thing.

Quite obviously I’m also getting better at my habits so I can stay ahead of my awesome clients! I need to be teaching them and working with them and helping them over the obstacles. This is all much easier to do if I’m in the position I should be.

So coach.me has taken me from ‘coachee’ to ‘coach’ and back again. I’m a better person for the experience.

Joining coach.me is a no lose proposition. I highly recommend giving it a try

Action steps:

1) Go to coach.me or download the mobile app. It’s free.

2) Find something you should be doing, sign up to the habit, and start coaching yourself.

3) Contribute. Follow your friends and help out with the Questions and Answers. Be part of the community.

4) If you think you have some coaching in you, sign up.

Good luck.

For more information about what I coach, my coaching link is below:

Get coached on Coach.me

Welcome to Managerpedia – The Management Encyclopedia

Eventually you will find articles and resources on all areas of modern management, including:

  • HR
  • Sales
  • Logistics
  • Procurement
  • IT
  • Outsourcing
  • Account Management
  • Trust
  • Negotiation
  • Finance
  • Taxation
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Website design and operation

Each topic will be covered by a precis of a couple of paragraphs, an in depth article and, eventually a 30 minute podcast providing you with enough background information to enable an informed decision to be made.

More information, including online courses and one to one coaching will also be available in due course.