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Called to Coach
Learning Through Doing: Discoveries From 8 Years of Coaching
Called to Coach

Learning Through Doing: Discoveries From 8 Years of Coaching

Webcast Details

  • What is the difference between coaching and giving advice or mentoring?
  • How can slowing things down and partnering with others help you fine-tune your coaching?
  • What sales tips do you need to know and practice as you promote your coaching business?

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 10, Episode 10.

Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.

"I would define coaching as asking questions. ... You know yourself better than I know you." Effective coaches tease out the threads of their coachees' talents and strengths, says Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Charlotte Blair, and help their coachees make the connections. In this webcast, Charlotte shares with coaches what she has learned over nearly a decade of coaching, including sales tips like "Be visible" and "Don't be afraid to push back." Join us to learn from Charlotte and move your coaching business to greater effectiveness and excellence.

Biggest change that I've seen in the last 8 years? Well, I think the biggest change has been the appetite to focus on strengths. That's a lovely positive change.

Charlotte Blair, 18:48

I want to give people everything. And ... what I've really learned is that we have to slow down in order to be able to speed up. So making sure that people have a really good understanding [of] their own talent themes and the themes of others before we go rushing into activities.

Charlotte Blair, 16:22

I don't think you need a [coaching] niche. You do need to be clear about what you stand for, though.

Charlotte Blair, 31:17

Jim Collison 0:00
I am Jim Collison, and this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on February 22, 2022.

Meet Our Guest on This Episode

Jim Collison 0:19
Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room on our live page. There's just a link right above me there. Or if you have questions after the fact, or maybe you're listening to this on YouTube or as a podcast, you can always send us an email: Don't forget, if you're on that podcast app, go ahead and subscribe so you never miss an episode. Same thing there on YouTube. Click Subscribe, click the bell, make sure you never miss an episode. Charlotte Blair is my host today. Charlotte is a Gallup-Certified and ICF coach, attaining both in 2014, which seems like a long time ago, Charlotte. After transitioning from Verizon, she now runs two successful businesses and partnering with other coaches and learning organizations to deliver great outcomes. Charlotte is a founding partner in the Strengths Partners, as well as a coach and mentor to other global coaches. I'll say your Top 5 -- she's gonna want to do all 10 here in a second, but -- Activator, Woo, Command, Arranger, Positivity. Charlotte, it's always a great day when I get to spend it with you, or at least an hour in this. Welcome to Called to Coach!

Charlotte Blair 1:28
Thank you, Jim! Thank you for having me. I'm very excited to chat with you and share some tips and insights and learnings with the community.

Jim Collison 1:35
Yeah, we've got some great stuff ahead. And I said you'd say maybe your Top 10. Do you want to, you want to go through, you want to rattle off all 10 and let folks know who, maybe who you really are?

Charlotte Blair 1:45
Yep. So you shared the Top 5. So then I follow with Responsibility, Communication, Maximizer, Individualization and Significance. And then just outside there is also Self-Assurance and Futuristic.

Jim Collison 1:58
We, our Top 10 are very similar, I think it's 7 or 8 out of 10. And we often joke that you're just, you're just me on the other side of the planet, and it's actually really helpful to have you over there. You're a big help in our Facebook groups, filling in for me when I'm sleeping; Ralph the same way. You know, we kind of cover the globe together for those in Facebook. Thanks for taking all that time, I'll just say that -- thanks for taking the time to help me and, and others kind of mentor and be a voice in the community and provide those answers. Charlotte, thanks for doing that. I appreciate it.

Charlotte Blair 2:34
That's all right. I enjoy doing it. That's part of my mission of helping spread this global movement of people discovering their strengths. So if I can help empower other coaches and other strengths enthusiasts, then we get there faster.

Jim Collison 2:52
Well, I appreciate it. And not -- by the way, not everybody wants to do that. It's, you've been doing it, like me, a long time. And if you didn't want to do it, you would have quit a long time ago. You can't fake it that long. So I always appreciate the time and the effort that you put in in covering the other side of the globe for me. We are doing kind of a series where I'm having experienced coaches come on and kind of talk about lessons learned. We started with Brent O'Bannon and had Maureen Monte on a couple weeks ago. Spending some time with you, and I've got some other coaches lined up kind of in this series. Want to talk a little bit about some key learnings. You've been coaching a long time. I think you said to me -- and I didn't look it up, but you did -- you were on Called to Coach back in 2015. And maybe that was season -- was that Season 2 or 3?

Charlotte Blair 3:37
Season 3.

Jim Collison 3:39
Season 3 -- and what was the, what did we talk about? What -- do you remember what the subject was?

Charlotte Blair 3:46
It certainly had a strong flavor of understanding the different dynamics. I think I'd been, well, I'd just really started out, I guess, in the coaching, and it was sharing some of the observations that I had with doing some one-on-ones and some teams and that dynamics of -- I remember sharing a particular situation where somebody had high Responsibility, and she felt that she needed to take everything on. But when she looked actually at her Developer, she realized that she didn't have to take it all on; she could use her Developer to develop somebody else, so that she didn't have to. So I think it was a bit of that theme dynamics, my experience with some of those.

Jim Collison 4:21
Did you, when you started doing this, you know, 2014, right, so 8 years now doing this, did you think you'd be where you're at today? Did you have any idea? Did you have some hopes and dreams? Did you get there or did this kind of happen?

Charlotte Blair 4:36
This kind of happened. It's funny -- people, when I worked at Verizon, so I was in sales at Verizon, when I worked there, some people said, "Have you ever thought about, you know, starting your own business?" Or when I first became Gallup-accredited, "Why don't you start your own business?" And I'm like, "No, I'm a corporate beast. I've always worked for big, blue-chip organizations -- and I would never start my business." So no, it's, it is very funny, looking back and going, would I have ever thought that I'd start my own business? No. And whilst we started off in a partnership initially, it's more me sort of operating on my own. There's a, there's a few things, like I'm thinking of writing a book this year. In fact, I've committed to writing a book this year. And if you'd asked me the same thing probably even only 5 years ago, "Would you write a book?" it'd be like, "No." So it's very much just kind of happened, but really glad that it's just happened.

Jim Collison 5:23
Yeah, I think a lot, in the community that I work with, a lot of coaches have an idea or a dream, and it begins to morph as you're doing it longer. I never thought I'd be in the role that I'm in, doing the things that I'm doing at the times that I'm doing them. I mean, I just don't, it's not something I ever dreamed about. People are like, "Oh, you're in your dream job." And I'm like, "I never dreamed about this. It just kind of happened." And I think a lot of us kind of fall into that situation. And it's as good or as different as whatever we're looking for in it. Let's talk about, we want to spend some time, you're a great mentor to a lot of coaches now. And a lot of folks look to you for advice or for help or for any of those things. And so what I wanted to do is spend a few minutes kind of talking about what have you learned in the last 8 years? And, and, you kind of summarize this in your blog post. We'll have that, a link to that available in the show notes, for those of you who are listening to this as a podcast. But Charlotte, walk us through some of those key learnings -- like what have you, in the last 8 years, what are some things that you've learned?

Key Learning 1: Coaching Is More About Asking Questions

Charlotte Blair 6:32
Yeah, I feel like I've got to go over the hour on some of those learnings. And I'd like to, I'd like to start by caveating that these are my learnings, obviously, from my filter of the world, from my lens of strengths. And for those of you who don't know, and I often share this one, I'm Learner No. 34, Activator No. 1. So I very much learn through the doing. And hey, if I make a stuff up, then my Positivity goes, Well, never mind, you know, let's move forward. Maximizer -- How do we make it better the next time? So I'm going to share some key learnings and then some key tips, I guess, around sales and some key resources. I think for me, the biggest learning is that difference between coaching and giving advice. So I was sort of, I guess, went through the ICF process before I became Gallup-accredited -- not that long before; it was very much in conjunction. And I went yeah, you know, I understand the grow model; I understand the principles of coaching now. But I didn't really do a massive amount with it. I think my biggest learnings have actually been in the last couple of years as I've gone, started off in that ICF process.

Key Learning 2: The Value of the ICF Process

Charlotte Blair 7:40
So I was sharing with Jim earlier in the, in the precall that, yep, before I went, "Yeah, I'm ICF," I did not have the discipline enough to measure or -- not measure -- to track the coaching hours that I'd done and, you know, track people's emails and things. And I went, Oh, yeah, I'll do that ACC, PCC thing later, and I never quite got round to it. It wasn't until the badges came out and, you know, people were sharing "Oh, you know, I'm now a PCC," I was like, my Significance -- I want one of those badges. So I started the process. My biggest learning has been through that process and, you know, having my own mentor and coach and supervisor to kind of help me through that process, but the big difference around what coaching is, versus consulting or mentoring. And coaching is fundamentally asking those powerful questions and having the other person come up with the answer. I will say to people, "You know yourself way better than I know you. You know yourself better than any report knows you. My job is to ask you questions and help you sort of make those linkages back to successful moments and how you can apply it." So I think that's the, you know, the biggest learning for me, going through that, that whole process and the rigor that's involved.

Jim Collison 8:52
Charlotte, sometimes I feel like ICF doesn't leave any room for advice or consulting in, in their framework a little bit. Would you agree or disagree with me? And when's the right place for advice and consulting in coaching?

Charlotte Blair 9:06
Well, I think for, there's, I can see in the chat, there's quite a few people that I have coached/mentored. And I'm quite explicit about the fact that I'm coaching and mentoring in those sessions. Sometimes people do want advice and say, "Hey, Charlotte, you've done this. We haven't done this. What advice would you give me?" And then I put my mentoring hat on. Before I forget, Happy Birthday, Bill Dippel, who's one of the people that I, I coached. It's his birthday today. So Happy Birthday, Bill! I think, yeah, the ICF process, if you are pure coaching somebody, then no, there's not room for advice. And I think that's actually, personally, I think that's a good thing. If, however, you're doing a report debrief, I think that's slightly different, because you're maybe dispelling some myths that exist. You're maybe giving advice. I mean, one of the biggest things I have up is that bar on page 21. Oh, my God, I'm no good at you know, Influencing; it's only got this little bit of yellow. And then I may be giving a little bit of advice there or even still trying to ask questions of, Which of your other themes might you use to influence?

Charlotte Blair 10:10
So I agree that yes, there is the, it feels like there's not much room. But I think that's for a reason. And it's to be able to define with your client whether you are coaching, or whether you are mentoring, is important. I've now started -- I feel like I'm giving a tip already, but -- listening to one of Dean Jones' podcasts. Hearing him say, Hey, I start my calls now with clients, saying, "Have you had a coach before?" And if they say, "Yes," I say, "What was your experience of a coach?" And then I distinguish the difference between what I would class as coaching and what they might have had as coaching in the past. If they say, "No," then I might say something like, "I'm an ICF Coach; I'm bound by ethics and confidentiality. Whatever we talk about today isn't going to go any further."

Charlotte Blair 11:02
But I would define coaching as asking questions. And as I just sort of shared, you know yourself better than I know you. I'm going to be asking questions. So -- not supposed to feel like the Spanish Inquisition. But at first, I'm going to be asking questions, and, you know, have you sort of connect back. And I might be asking "Why?" three times, because I want to drill deeper to find out what's really important. So yes, it feels like there's no room for advice. But I think you have to distinguish in the agreement up front, Are you coaching or are you mentoring? And then maybe at the end, say, "Can I give you some advice?"

Jim Collison 11:34
Yeah, would you? Where would you add consulting in, or is consulting mentoring? Or when you think about consulting, how's that different?

Charlotte Blair 11:44
I guess I would define coaching as asking questions; mentoring as imparting knowledge and experience based on your own experiences. And then consulting, I would see typically -- I mean, when I consulted for Mercer, I was paid to, you know, give advice or share frameworks or, you know, sort of share learning. So I guess consulting can fit in underneath that advice-giving, mentoring piece, but invariably, you're being paid to deliver a piece of work. And that might be, Here we are, leadership team. In order to get better at giving feedback, here's a SBI model that you might want to use. And you're being paid to give, you know, advice and resources in there. But yeah, it can fall under the mentoring banner as well, I think.

Jim Collison 12:31
Yeah, I love that. And there's lots of gray in between that. And I don't think you have to get crazy about nailing those down. But I do, to your point, I think it's really important that we understand what kind of -- this agreement that we're doing, that the expectations, right -- What are you trying to get out of this? -- they can kind of fit into those 3 buckets, to say, Well, this is kind of what we're doing today. I spend a lot of time consulting in my, in my role. People are asking me questions; they need help. And they're, they're like, "What should I do?" It's pure consulting. Right? I mean, I could call that coaching. But that's really more about saying, "Well, this is what I would do to do this." I had three of those calls today, right? I don't spend a ton of time coaching; I spend more time consulting. I think it's just good, it's kind of good to know. Anything else you want to add, before we move on to your, your third learning?

Charlotte Blair 13:19
Yeah. Well, I think if I sort of give an example there, what I try to avoid doing -- and I'm sure I probably do it sometimes, which is why they're recording your coaching, and having that review with your mentor is useful in learnings -- is I try not to say, "Oh, Jim, that's because you're high Woo. You do this because you're high Woo." That, to me, is that difference between, "Oh, I'm telling you what your themes are," versus, "Hey, which of your themes do you think are playing out when you're doing that, Jim?" and you making the connection. I might say, "I'm wondering, I'm hearing a little bit of maybe Maximizer, which I can see is just outside your Top 10 at No. 11. Maybe let's explore what Maximizer is a little bit." So it's that piece of sort of just teasing threads out, as opposed to say, "Oh, well, you do that because of this."

Jim Collison 14:05
Yeah. And I think it's really important when we identify that, that we move on to the Aiming part of that of like, OK, we've identified this now. I think sometimes we can get a little stuck -- I've spent time, enough time with coaches -- we can get a little stuck and, because that feels good. You recognize that, feels good. But I think eventually, because how much does accountability, so Charlotte, when you think about the coaching you do, what's the role of accountability play in that for your coaching?

Charlotte Blair 14:33
Well, being somebody that's high Activator, Command, Responsibility, I kind of do call myself a bit of an accountability coach. And I'm doing some work, you know, with a company at the moment, a big Australian telco, and they have 3 sessions. And there is clear expectations that they, assuming that that's what they also want to get from the session, that they walk away with the development plan and an action plan. So, you know, using my talent themes, I try and make sure that I am holding people accountable to, you know, how are you adding knowledge, skill and experience to your talents in between sessions, so that you're growing? But then what are you going to do with this? So if it's Yes, I'm going for a job interview. Or if it's, you know, I want to be a better leader, whatever they've said up front in the agreement that they want to get from the session. But yeah, that's, that's my, I guess, coming from my lens of my talent themes of I would see myself as a little bit more of an accountability coach, which is why I can get frustrated with people -- "Oh, I haven't had time; I haven't done anything." What?!

Jim Collison 15:36
Yeah, no, I like it. I think that's a, I think that's a question coaches should ask themselves is, at what point, how much accountability am I, is gonna enter in or will I provide in the coaching for it? And I think that's just an area of self-awareness. In your notes, you talk about slowing down to be able to speed up. What does, what does that mean?

Key Learning 3: Slow Down to Speed Up

Charlotte Blair 15:57
Yeah, so my learning No. 3 is being a coach, high Maximizer, there's so much great stuff that Gallup provides us in the trainings and the resources that I want to give people everything. And I cram it in and, again, being Activator, I think Jan Peters sort of put a question out earlier saying, "Hey, Charlotte, how do you curb your Activator?" I don't always curb my Activator; I try my very best. But I want to give people everything. And I think what I've really learned is that we, we have to slow down in order to be able to speed up. So making sure that people have a really good understanding their own talent themes and the themes of others before we go rushing into activities, looking at the team grid or the Best of Us. So to be able to slow down and give them time to connect is important. I also see people say, "Oh, well, you know, I'm doing a discovery session in 1 hour or 2 hours." And I personally don't think that we can rush these things; we need more time. So really getting clear from the client up front on the expectations are, and we'll kind of come on to that in my, in my top tips.

Charlotte Blair 17:06
But I guess I've learned over the years to just slow down on things. And I do a bit of a Goldilocks test on that with, with the people that I'm working with, especially in teams. I kind of go -- if everybody's familiar with the old story, Goldilocks and the 3 bears, you know, is it, is it too fast, too slow, just right? I kind of try and get a feel. And if it's, if it's virtual, it's a, you know, kind of thumbs-up type thing. And if it's in the room, I kind of get a gauge in the room, because we've got other people that are Activators like me that want to go fast. There's people that are, you know, high Intellection that want to think about it. The Relators want to connect with each other. So I'm trying to make sure I get the balance. But I guess I've learned that less is more; less content is better. Going deeper on that is better than just go, Right. I can do this; I could do this; I could do this. I'm going to cram all these things in. But I think the Individualization, I might plan to put it in. And I'm flexible enough to take it out, if I can sense that we need to go a bit deeper on something.

Jim Collison 18:04
Yeah, I think I've learned if I've got 90 minutes, I'm going to get to one or two things. It just doesn't, like I think if I try to jam more in there or jam a bunch of PowerPoint slides in, there's just not enough time. And I'd rather them have time talking about themselves in discovering things than, you know, whipping through a PowerPoint presentation. Bill --

Charlotte Blair 18:25
That's, that's another topic -- PowerPoint.

Biggest Change in Coaching Over Past 8 Years

Jim Collison 18:27
OK. We'll bring that up in a second. Bill, the birthday boy, says, Biggest challenge, Charlotte, that you've seen in coaching and training in 8 years? If you were to --

Charlotte Blair 18:37
Does he say "challenge" or a "change"? I can see "biggest change," "biggest change Charlotte has seen."

Jim Collison 18:41
Oh, yeah, no, you're right. It is "change" -- biggest change. That's OK. Maybe I need some new glasses.

Charlotte Blair 18:48
Biggest change that I've seen in the last 8 years? Well, I think the biggest change has been the appetite to focus on strengths. That's a lovely positive change that I think I'm seeing -- the people that are, you know, want to, want to see the strengths movement. I think the next-biggest change, which I think ICF have actually been helping, is defining what coaching is. Because you could ask 10 different people what they think coaching is, and you're going to get 10 different answers. So I think with the standardization and the competencies, I think it's created more clarity around coaching, I think, in the 8, last 8 years.

Charlotte Blair 19:25
I mean, it's funny, I'll often share that when I first did my training, the first course I ever went to ICF through the Institute Executive Coaching Leadership -- who I highly recommend to anybody who's thinking about starting the ICF process -- they had us all line up. You had to line up, based on your, how you would rate yourself and your coaching capability on a scale of 1 to 10 in the room, you know, 1 being yep, don't know anything about coaching; 10 being I think I'm an expert. You know, I remember walking in, and I went "Yeah, I reckon I'm a 6 or a 7. I think I'm pretty good at giving advice." You know, little did I know actually what coaching was. Now, I should have put myself really right down at that No. 1. So I think there is a better understanding of what coaching is. And I think it's starting to get a better reputation, because people would often see coaching as something that was remedial, as opposed to something that you would benefit from when you're a high performer and you're wanting to move forward.

Jim Collison 20:23
What do you think the, the importance of partnership has been for you in this -- maybe not doing it alone? But talk a little bit about, I mean, yeah, talk a little bit about your partnership model and what's been helpful.

Key Learning 4: Partner With Others

Charlotte Blair 20:35
Yep. So that's my learnings No. 4, around partnering with other people. So obviously, the philosophy at The Strengths Partners is that we are partnering with each other; we're partnering with our clients, are really understanding what our client's needs are. And anybody that follows the Facebook will see that -- I feel like a broken record sometimes, when people say, "What activity would you do?" It's like, "Well, it depends on what outcome you want." I love partnering with other coaches as well. So there are some coaches who ask me to deliver their work for them. There are some coaches where I can't deliver the work, and they deliver the work for me, and we operate on a 80/20 rule. Whoever wins the work gets 20%; whoever delivers the work gets 80%.

Charlotte Blair 21:21
I love -- another example would be Sara in China. I had an opportunity where a client wanted a Mandarin-speaking coach, but I don't speak Mandarin. And it was lovely having the opportunity to partner with Sara over that, where she would be an interpreter. You know, I partner with other coaches on programs. We've got Telstra as a client; I'm partnering with Deon on that one and Jill, where we all sort of deliver different things. But we'll often connect and share our learnings and, you know, what we're seeing and great resources. That's a great opportunity to partner. Masterminds -- I'm part of a couple of different masterminds. They're really valuable, not only for the friendship, camaraderie, the sharing, you know, the learnings on that. So there's, there's lots of different ways to partner, but I, I like the sort of proverb, "If you, if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together." And I, I love and really appreciate this community, because there's a lot of partnering and sharing and collaboration that goes on.

Jim Collison 22:27
It's a good thing you are The Strengths Partners, because I think you give a master class every day in partnership, just watching you from the outside, knowing, you know, we talk pretty often. So I kind of know what's going on in your world. And, and you just continue to give a clinic. And so I think for others who are thinking about a stronger partnership model, I think Charlotte's a great example of that and just the way it works and some of the components to it and the nuances. Marta had asked a question; I want to put it on top of this partnership: What surprised you the most about this experience? So in the 8 years, as we think through, whether in partnerships or just in coaching, what surprised you the most?

Charlotte Blair 23:10
I think what, if I answer that, what comes to my mind straightaway is that actually, I could earn some decent money. I didn't go out with the intention of earning money from this. I thought, yeah, you know, as long as I could earn enough to feed the kids, you know, that's OK. I, you know, being in IT sales, I was paid pretty well, being in sales. I've always been in sales of some shape or form. And I, at first, I thought, well, you know, it's gonna take me a long time to get up and running. And it's going to take me a long time to earn some decent money. And I'm surprised that it happened quicker than it did.

Charlotte Blair 23:55
Now, don't get me wrong: It doesn't just all sort of walk in the door. You have to feed the funnel, and sort of keep things ticking over. And it's the same -- it's not my, that's not my primary driver why I do this. I don't do it to earn money. But yeah, I'm surprised that you know, yes, you can make a living. And a lot of people do say to me, "Can you make a living out of this?" And it's like, yeah, absolutely, you can. You need to put the sort of legwork in, but yes. I think that, off the top of my head, my first instant reaction is yeah, I'm probably surprised that I could earn a decent wage from this.

Jim Collison 24:28
Yeah. So one more question before we kind of move on to tips. Steve asks, and I'll stack these questions because I got one too: At what point did you decide to be a supporter of strengths coaches? In other words, was there a moment you kind of decided, you know, I'm going to kind of double down on this, this partnership aspect? I mean, it's been Strengths Partners, so maybe from the very beginning, but at what point did you decide to do that? And then how -- this is my question: How much of the sales work that you did before influenced that?

Charlotte Blair 24:59
So part 1 of the question. I actually remember exactly when, when it was. I think -- was it 2019 summit, Jim, where you surprised me and invited me up on stage, which was also exciting?

Jim Collison 25:14
'18, '19, one of those.

Expanding Your Coaching Reach

Charlotte Blair 25:16
I remember sharing there that that was my vision, I guess, to help more coaches. Because the way to accelerate this movement would be -- I can only reach a certain amount of people on my own. But if I can help other coaches, then that ripple effect gets bigger. If I can help, you know, Bill and Renee, you know, reach another 1,000 people than they might not have met before, great. So I think it, I had a vision for it, Jim, probably at the summit. And I shared it. I've always been pretty collaborative and open and positive. I think, actually, the start of COVID is what really accelerated it, where we'd see things pop up online, and people saying, "Hey, how do you run breakout rooms with Zoom?" And I'm like, "Well, I don't know. But let's learn together." So we'd learn together.

Charlotte Blair 26:03
And then people would say, "How do you do this?" And I'm like, "Oh, I know how to do that. Let me jump on and share." It's a bit like, you know, I said to you, Jim, Hey, I'm thinking of starting a podcast. Instead of you and I having a call, why don't I invite a whole lot of my other friends, you know, I'm high Woo. So invite friends and join that. So I think, you know, that started. And then I think also after one of the other summits, I had some materials on change, you know, leveraging strengths in change. And somebody said, Hey, in fact, yeah, somebody on the community said, "Hey, has anybody got any materials on change?" I remember Paul Allen saying, "Yeah, Charlotte's just did a breakout session in the summit on change." And then somebody would say, "Oh, can you share that with me? Can you share that with me?" and then I got a me-too list of about 40 people.

Charlotte Blair 26:44
And whilst I think most people will hopefully see and appreciate, I am very willing, and I will give, but that does, has to reach a point of well, OK, it's taken me a long time to develop some of those materials. So I'm not just going to give everything for free. But I charge a very sort of nominal amount. That's, I'd like to think, well, I know, I charge less for other coaches than I do corporate clients, to be able to support and mentor. I, I for the amount of requests that I get, yeah, I could probably, you know, mentor and support other coaches full time. But I do need to, you know, feed my expensive habits of jewelry and stuff like that.

Jim Collison 27:25
The, well, yeah, allegedly, right, allegedly. You actually, when the pandemic first started, you beat me to the punch on supporting the coaches in a way. Like, let's just do this right now. And I was a little, I was, just full disclosure, I was really hesitant and resistant to just doing that. I didn't, I didn't want to, I didn't want to jump on Zoom. I did not want those kinds of calls. And you did it. And, and you kind of taught me back, like, OK, I should probably do a little more of this. It took me a full year -- I'm not gonna lie, I'm just, I'm just being transparent here. Took me a full year to get there. But you taught me that, right. And, and so I, I do appreciate what you did, you know, your partnership for the community, and held a lot, listen, I created a ton of learning, you know, learning content in 2020, some of our best work, because we had all these consultants that were available. So I just, I recorded everybody I could get my hands on. Right.

Jim Collison 28:25
So if you're new to the community, and you haven't gotten back to some of the stuff we did in 2020, there's some great learning in that. But Charlotte, thank you for being there for the community and doing that. I want to, I don't want to --

Charlotte Blair 28:37
I forgot to answer part 2.

Jim Collison 28:38
Oh, OK, go ahead. Yeah. Sales -- how much has sales influenced that? Yeah. It was my question; I didn't really care.

Charlotte Blair 28:44
OK. I think a bit. I think having a sales background obviously helps. But I don't know that I ever intentionally go out trying to sell. I think it's very much, you know, and you think about your own sales style will be influenced through your talent themes. So, you know, being a high Woo, I'm very open and love connecting and just meeting people, and then you start the conversation. I'd say sales is a bit like coaching; it's really just fundamentally about asking great questions and understanding the needs in order to see whether you have something that can, can help, versus, "Hey, have I got a jacket," like a used watch salesperson, or a fake watch salesperson that says, you know, "Do you want this one, this one or this one?" CliftonStrengths is, you know, can solve lots of different issues, but what type of solution might they need is going to look different for everybody. So I think sales helps, but you got to find your own way to sell. The question, Jim, was that where you were going with that one?

Jim Collison 29:49
Yeah, no, I just was, I think what I, what I heard you saying, you know, you had mentioned you were, you were in sales before, and I think, if there was a coach who hadn't done sales, to say, "Well, I've never done sales, so I can't do it." And so I kind of wanted you just to talk through it of like, how much of your sales training did influence some of the work that you're doing? Because I think, well, and for some coaches, sales is not their gift, and you just need to get help, right? You just need to partner with somebody or find some way to get some things going. If it's not what you're good at, again, that would go against a strengths-based --

Charlotte Blair 30:23
Yeah, well, and I think I've, I guess that leads me on to some of my sales tips.

Jim Collison 30:28
Yeah, let's, let's dive into those. Why don't we get started. And this one, I got, listen, we've got 8 tips and 8 -- what are the other 8 -- resources?

Charlotte Blair 30:38
8 sales tips and then 8 process resources.

Jim Collison 30:40
You have 30 minutes, so we're going to these do 2 minutes each.

Charlotte Blair 30:43
Jim's already giving me the "Speed-it-up, Charlotte!"

Jim Collison 30:45
You don't need a niche? Now I, I'm gonna argue with you, but there's not enough time. What does that mean?

Sales Tip 1: You Don't Need a Niche

Charlotte Blair 30:54
And again, I am biased. And this is controversial. I don't believe you do need a niche. I don't niche-niche? Yeah. I don't think you do. I mean, I often joke when people say that. I say, "My niche is humans." My background is IT, but I can honestly, my IT sales, I can tell you how many IT sales teams I've worked with and that's zero. So I don't think you need a niche. You do need to be clear about what you stand for, though. Don't muddy the water and go, Oh, well, today, I'm CliftonStrengths, and tomorrow, Myers-Briggs, and next week I'm yoga and something else.

Charlotte Blair 31:33
So get, get, I think first tip is, Get clear. And you don't have to have a niche. But that's purely my own opinion. I don't have a clear niche. I mean, probably if I, if I ask all those on chat at the moment, What would you say my niche was? I'd probably get a whole -- and feel free to post it in chat -- but you'd probably get a whole load of different things. I'd like to say it's teams and managers and, you know, is coaching and supporting other coaches. But is that a niche? I'm not sure.

Sales Tip 2: Be Visible

Charlotte Blair 32:00
Second tip, which is aligned to that, that leads on to -- I see where you were going now, Jim, with your question. You were trying to guide me on to move on. Just be more explicit! Just tell me, Jim! Yeah, you need to Be visible. So regardless of what platform you're on, so yes, people go, "Oh, Charlotte, you're always on Facebook." Well, that's where certain people might find me. Or, "Wow, Charlotte, you post a lot on LinkedIn." I can tell you, I've had more leads from LinkedIn than I have from my website or, you know, the Gallup Coaching Directory. So get clear about where you want your clients to find you or where your clients are. And whether that's Instagram or your website or Facebook, you, they need to know where to find you. I remember listening to Brent O'Bannon's session about playing the long game, and you need to be able to be found. You do. Your website does not need to be megafancy, though, just have some sort of presence. And if, you know, if anybody needs somebody around the website, and you'd like mine, I'll give you Christian's details.

Jim Collison 33:01
Charlotte, before, before you move to No. 3.

Charlotte Blair 33:04
I am trying to speed up, and you're telling me to slow down!

Jim Collison 33:06
I am, I am, cause this is an important point. Like have your, have your, have some contact information on your website, please, I can't tell you how many, like, I can't tell you how many people -- and I see this in the podcasting space all the time. They have a lot of stuff on their website; I can't find how to contact them. Like it needs to be very, very clear. So make sure on your, coaches make sure on your website, if they land on the very front page, it needs to be -- without moving anywhere, they can find a way to contact you, right? A lot of people put it in the footer, and people just don't make it to the footer. So make sure you're, you're getting out there -- should be very, very visible. All right, No. 3.

Sales Tip 3: Focus on the Outcomes, Not the Activity

Charlotte Blair 33:44
No. 3 -- I'm looking to the side because I'm reminding myself where they are -- Focus on the outcome, not on the activity. I mentioned this earlier; I sound like a broken record. Often when people say, "Hey, what activity would you do for 2 hours? I've got a group of 30." It's like, well, the activity list you could do is huge. But you have to, have to understand what are the outcomes? So, and I, maybe this is some of those sales questions. And on my website under Resources, I've got Top Tips for Great Outcomes. I recommend that you download that and have a read of that. There's some very simple questions on there; things like, Hey, Mr. Customer or Mr., you know, if you're internal, and you're wanting to spread this out to a team, you know, how do you want people thinking, feeling and doing differently as a result of a workshop, for instance?

Charlotte Blair 34:33
And if they skip on the feeling bit, go back of, Hey, what I heard. You know, I heard the, the doing, but I didn't hear the feeling bit. Ask for things like evidence and impact. If they say, "Oh, well we you know, we want to break down silos." "Well, what's currently going on for you right now?" "Yeah, well, people are operating in silos." "Wow, what's that costing your business right now?" "Yeah, we're probably losing, you know, 30 man hours a week." "Well, gee, what's the average salary?" "Well, it's this." So, you know, you're hearing that they're losing $200,000 as a result in operating in silos. So all these questions that you're asking, and you're digging a little bit deeper to What's going on? What's happening now? Where do you want them to be? Our job is to help them shift the dial and move to where they want to be. That then allows you to, I guess, create something that meets exactly the needs, but you have to really understand the outcomes: What do they want by the end of the session? How do they want people thinking and feeling, doing differently? I mean, yes, you have the standard discovery of, Yeah, I get to learn my strengths, but what difference will it make if people have learned their strengths? So I think that, that key piece and focusing outcomes and say that -- that Top Tips on Outcomes, I think, will, people will find hopefully useful.

Jim Collison 35:50
I put the link to that form in the chat room. So if you guys want to click on it, you can take it there. We'll have it in the show notes as well. All right, No. 4.

Sales Tip 4: Tailor Your Proposal Based on Client Outcomes

Charlotte Blair 35:58
No. 4 is once you know the outcomes, then you can Tailor your proposal, based on those outcomes. You can say to the client, "Well, this is what we heard you say, and this is what we believe." So, you know, at this point, yes, you are being the consultant of saying, "This is your problem; this is how we can solve it for you," or "This is what you want to achieve, and this is how we can solve it for you." So, you know, show them that you are the person that can help them by using the language that you heard through the how do you want people thinking, feeling. And, you know, pop a page on your proposal -- This is what we heard, because that makes them feel special that you've listened.

Jim Collison 36:36
You model this every day on the Facebook groups. People will come in and say, Hey, I've got this situation, and what should I do? And a lot of people give advice. And then you say, "What do they need?" basically, like, "What are they looking for? Did you ask some questions to know, like, what are the outcomes that you're looking for?" And you consistently say that; thank you for saying it. It's, it sounds much better coming from you than it does from me, for whatever reason. So I appreciate that. But, but you live that every single day. So thanks for keep asking that -- such an important question, What are they driving towards? Like what are their needs? Where do they, where do they want to land? So great. No. 5.

Sales Tip 5: Don't Be Afraid to Push Back

Charlotte Blair 37:13
No. 5. No. 5 is Don't be afraid to push back. So I, I think when I first started, people would say, "Hey, Charlotte, can you come in and do a 1-hour session?" And I would hear them say, "Yeah, we want people to understand their strengths better, and, you know, break down silos and reduce conflict," or whatever it be. And I was like, "Oh, gee, all right. you know, I don't think we could do that in an hour." But I didn't push back. And then I don't want people to walk away with a bad experience. I don't want people to walk away and go, "Do you remember that strengths thing we did, you know, 6 months ago? I can't remember what it is or what we did." I want people to have a great experience.

Charlotte Blair 37:49
And if I think it needs longer than an hour to do that, which it does, I'll push back and say, "I don't think we're going to be able to achieve those outcomes in that time; I think we really need a minimum of half a day." And if that's going to be virtual now, break it down into, you know, 2 1/2 hours. But if you're the consultant, you're the expert in strengths, which, you know, most of you are, all of you are, you need to kind of push back a little bit on that one or reset their expectations and say, "Well, look, that's a, you know, that's a big ask. I don't think we're going to be able to do it. But let's at least start the journey. What we can cover is X, Y, Z," or "Which of these that you've said are really important that we achieve is the most important?" Let's at least say, right, we're going to have people getting comfortable with being able to Name, Claim their talent themes. So don't, don't be afraid to push back.

Jim Collison 38:40
What, what advice would you give to a new coach? Because this is the hardest thing to do when you first start doing this, and you feel like, if I push back, I'm going to get fired? Or I'm, they're not going to choose me or whatever. What kind of advice would you give to the new coach?

Charlotte Blair 38:54
There again, this is coming from my lens of talent themes. And there's probably a little bit of Self-Assurance and Command in here. But you know, I guess I would tell them to go with your gut; go with what you think is right. And if you think you cannot achieve those outcomes in that time, but you're not comfortable to push back, you, you've got to you've got to go with, with that. But if you know in your heart, it's not going to achieve the outcomes, you know, would you rather push back and be explicit, or would you rather they walk away with a, OK, well, we did a, we did a strengths thing. But I say, this is so clouded by and biased with my own talent themes. Other people may well go, Yeah, look, I can do a really great session in an hour. But I think it's, you know, it's, it's more of a challenge. Or I'm very explicit about saying, "We are only scratching the surface. We're, you know, there's a lot more that we can do."

Jim Collison 39:49
I love that you come at that from your own set of talent themes, because I think we all approach that same pushback. I think folks need to figure out what happens when they push back and what's going to be my response? What's, you know, there's going to be a couple "No" in every -- "No's" in every conversation. How am I going to respond to those "No's" based on how I'm built?

Charlotte Blair 40:07
And I've had the No's, and I'm comfortable that I've had the No's. I know that there are things that I have not won, and that they've gone with somebody else. And it may well be another coach that I know. And I am very comfortable with that as well. And again, I would rather be known for the person that delivered a great outcome -- not saying the other person didn't deliver a great outcome. But I'm comfortable that if they said "No," it aligned, I guess, with my values and principles of what I believe to be kind of right. But there are not many that, where I've said "No," will push back and they've not gone. They've gone, "Actually, Charlotte, we appreciate that honesty. You're the expert in doing what you do. Yeah, OK, you know, we, we're gonna do, can we do 2 hours now and 2 hours in 2 weeks' time?" "Yes." I think there's something else in there that anybody that's, you know, coaches and mentoring with me, I kind of share my pricing -- that I'm the same whether you have me for a day or 2 hours.

Charlotte Blair 41:03
So you're going to pay the same for a day; you might as well use me for a day. And if you want to break that up as four 2 hours, that's fine. But I don't cost it out of OK, well, 2 hours is only going to cost you this, but a day is gonna cost you this; you're gonna pay the day regardless. And that will often rule some people in or out anyway.

Jim Collison 41:19
Yeah, that's a great, great way of doing it. And I think, you know, fear of failure and imposter syndrome are real. And this is where those two things creep in. And so this is an area coaches where I think having a coach who can help you in the sales process is very, very helpful. Having a sales coach or someone who can walk alongside you, especially if you're new to it or trying to figure these kinds of things out, this is hard. It's, it's why I like being an influencer and not a salesperson. Because I'm not a very good salesperson, but I'm a pretty good influencer. If you want to spend some time covering the differences on that, we can talk about that later. OK, No. 6.

Sales Tip 6: Add Value

Charlotte Blair 41:57
No. 6 is Add value. I like this one. I get a lot of people say to me, "Charlotte, yeah, but if I give them all my resources, they might not, they might not need me." And I say, "They will always need you." But, so look at adding value. And if that value is leaving them with a packet of picture cards at the end of a workshop, and a list of questions. And on my website as well under Resources, I've made my list of 30 different questions you can use with picture cards free for 24 hours; otherwise, it's a downloadable resource. But, so add value. Leave them with a pack of picture cards. Suggest that they buy their own version of Cascade, especially if they are a strengths-based organization, you've got more than a little tiny team. Help them, give them Cascade already preloaded or get them to buy it and then help them, you know, preload it. Suggest that they go on and buy the CliftonStrengths, you know, Teams Activity Resource Guide, give them -- and I'll come on some of the resources -- but give them things like the Manager Resource Guide.

Charlotte Blair 43:04
Give them as many things as they need, based on their outcomes, that will enable them to keep the journey going and keep things alive. It's, it feels counterintuitive to say, Well, I'm going to give them more than they need. I mean, yes, you need to kind of cost it in, but I'm going to give them more. They won't say, "We don't need you anymore." Or if they do, isn't that a really great thing for them to go, Oh, wow, so actually, yeah, we're gonna go and accredit 6 of our team to go and become Gallup-accredited. That's a great thing to be able to go Hey, I planted that little seed or I let that little spark and they've gone off and done it. They will still need you. Like I've got organizations that I worked with, 5 years later that still bring me in, even though they've got their own accredited coaches internally; even though they've got a lot of the resources, because they see me as the value-add; they see me as the expert -- the external person that can help them. But there's a lot of people that push back and say, "Surely if I give them everything, they won't need me." I've personally never experienced that.

Jim Collison 44:09
Yeah, being the outsider in that situation can be helpful, and you can still continue to be a coach of coaches to those organizations, so --

Charlotte Blair 44:18
Yeah, I mean there's, there's a lot of organizations, Jim, that use Gallup, you know, they send people away on their, their training. There's a white, big Whites Good Supply here in Australia. I don't know, they've got 7 or 8 of their own internally accredited coaches that use Gallup for their training for managers. Yet they still bring me in, because I'm an external viewpoint. I'm, I'm somebody that can help. I live and breathe this every day, versus, you know, it's, it's part of my, you know, side HR job, for instance. So I can, I can be helpful there.

Sales Tip 7: Ask for Referrals

Jim Collison 44:51
Let's do no. 7.

Charlotte Blair 44:53
No. 7: Ask for referrals. So I always try and make sure that I ask for referrals. And I can't remember who it was -- I think it was Katie, somebody on the Facebook group said -- you know, How, you know, how, if you're new into sales, might you get in front of decision-makers? Or what advice would you give to new people in sales? Ask for referrals. People typically love helping others. And in my blog, I put a little -- at first, I was going, 99% of, and actually, that's not backed by any hardcore evidence. And then I found some study that said, People like helping people. If I said to you, "Hey, would you help me out by giving me a referral?" I would like to think that if I'd done a good job, most of you would say, "Yes."

Charlotte Blair 45:31
And in fact, on my website, a lot of the coaches that I do work with, I've asked for referrals. You know, Bill and Renee and lots of other coaches that I have helped have given me lovely referrals. You don't ask, you don't get. But I think if you ask for referrals or ask for connections -- and that's super useful as well. So if it's, "Well, I'm not the decision-maker," "Who do you think I should be speaking to that might be a decision-maker?" Or if you've just done a workshop with the finance team, "Is there anybody else in another department that you think might benefit from the work that we've done today?" So yeah, just, just ask -- whether it's your Woo or your Relator or your Developer, whichever talent theme you're gonna lean into, don't hesitate to ask for a referral.

Jim Collison 46:17
What, how do you phrase that when you're, in that ask, just because this scares a lot of people to death. So if you could give them even a line they could repeat, what's been successful for you?

Charlotte Blair 46:30
That feels like it needs to be a coaching conversation. What is it about that that scares you? Feel like we need to go deeper on that one. But we're not going to do a group coaching session here. What's the line that I would use? It tends to just fall out my mouth at the time? What's the line that I would use? Maybe I would start with something like, "How was that session?" "Oh, it was really great." "What was your key takeaway?" "Well, I really got to learn so much about my colleagues." "Well, if you found that useful, is there somebody else in your company that you think would benefit? And I'd love to be able to speak to them?" "Oh, yeah, I think you should speak with Jim." "Would you mind sharing Jim's contact details with me?" "Yeah, no problem." Again, what's the worst they're going to say? The worst they're going to say is "No." Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Jim Collison 47:20
Yeah, good. I think it's good to have a practice line that you just say, you say a lot, so that you feel comfortable in it, and you can just, you get comfortable saying it. Because if you start, if you get in there and you feel uncomfortable, other people sense it, and then they're the, you make them uncomfortable. So this is one of the, I think one of the things I've learned about podcasting is I have some lines that I've just memorized, and I just repeat them. And they sound really comfortable. So practice your, I think in, in this case, practice your ask. And I think it's really, really important. You want to add to that?

Charlotte Blair 47:53
Yeah, I would. I think, you know, what I often say my head, and maybe a question that I might ask in coaching, is, What's the worst that could happen? So, you know, if you think worst-case scenario, and often it depends on whether you're talking somebody high Deliberative or Positivity. But, you know, even Deliberative-Analytical people that go, "Oh, my God, I'm really worried about doing this." or "I'm really worried about speaking in front of 100 people." Well, what's the worst that can happen? If you think about worst-case scenario, and then you say, How realistic is that to happen -- maybe using your Analytical -- then you, you get a different, you know, sort of answer, or How often has that happened in the past? And it's like, well, once. OK, well, what, what is the opposite to that of true? You know, how often have people -- you've asked somebody, and they've said, "Yes"? Oh, well, 10 or, 10 or 15 times. OK, so 10 or 15 times, somebody said "Yes," but once somebody said, "No." What are you thinking now?

Sales Tip 8: Let Decision-Makers Experience CliftonStrengths

Jim Collison 48:50
Yeah, yeah, it's still hard. Like this is, I think it's, no matter how you slice it, this ask is hard. And it's, it's a hard sales. There's some people naturally better at it than others. But I think it just requires a little bit of thought and practice to get it done. OK, No. 8.

Charlotte Blair 49:08
Last of the sales tips. And this was the question of somebody: If you're trying to get in front of a decision-maker, so somebody said to me, yeah, you know, What advice would you give for somebody that's trying to get in front of a decision-maker? I think the No. 1 tool or tip that I've found is, Give them the experience. Give them a complimentary code to take the assessment -- I recommend the full 34 and even maybe full 34 and manager code. Give it to them; let them experience it; offer them a debrief, because often it will speak for itself. You know, instead of trying to create a one-pager a proposal or a, you know, pitch, if there is somebody that's key, let them experience it. And then, as I say, it will, it will speak for itself. If it's cost you $100 to do that, but you might be winning $5,000 worth of business, it's worth doing.

Charlotte Blair 49:54
I think every time that I've done that, you know, the people that were maybe sitting on the fence before or not sure have, have decided to go ahead. Now they might have not have decided there and then to go ahead, but invariably they have, they've come back. I don't know that I've ever been in a situation where I've given somebody a code and nothing's ever, ever happened a bit. But I guess that's my sort of top tip of, if you can't have a meeting with that decision-maker and get, and talk to them, or even if you do, and they're still not convinced, have them experience the process,

Jim Collison 50:27
Gonna ask the chat room for some questions here, kind of on the way out. So if you, if you've got some questions we haven't answered yet, drop them in there. How important is the, you know, in our 5 Steps of Building a Strengths-Based Culture, getting executive leadership buy-in is super important. From your experience, how has that helped you? Or is that, do, have you found that to be the truth as well, in some of the work that you've done?

Charlotte Blair 50:54
In some of the work that I've done. So I've got, I guess, two examples of that. I've got, I work with a Australian-based superannuation organization. They work primarily supplying superannuation to schools. That started with the CEO, a big advocate, you know, a real fan -- high Woo, Positivity, Maximizer, Individualization, some of those ones that you kind of typically see grab it and run with it. So that started from the top. We did a 3-day with the leadership team. And then each of the team members, you know, went through a day's workshop, and we've been in and done other things from, with them. In fact, there's a couple of coaches on here that supported me with a workshop with that last year, and I was like, my God, this has now gone virtual. I think I need some backup and technical support -- Lisa Feldman, I think, being, being one of those.

Charlotte Blair 51:41
Now that started at the top. There's other organizations that I work with, like I work with a big government body here in Australia, and we've probably worked with 500 people within the organization. That started down the bottom; that actually started with a, with a, well, in the middle, maybe. It started with the leadership team. They then cascaded it down to their team, and it then jumped across to another team. They cascaded it down. It's, it's jumped across. We've also done sort of half the executive team. So that's been very much fires burning internally, and it's, it's kind of still going. So I've actually seen both. And I wouldn't say that either -- in my experience, I wouldn't say that either are, you know, one's more ahead than the other one, quite honestly; I've seen both be successful.

Jim Collison 52:31
Yeah. It's, I think it's important. But I do appreciate, you know, that it comes in at all levels. Right. And, and sometimes you work with the things you've been given. I told you I may do this to you. You've got some, you've got 8 more tips on product, and we're just not gonna have enough time. I want to ask you, if we could, we started this new series; we did one of them. And I want to do another one called, "How I Prepare for It." And I'm kind of wondering if we can take your tips and move them into that, into that session, along with some other coaches who may have some resources that they want to share. Would you --

Charlotte Blair 53:07

Jim Collison 53:08
Would you be OK with that? This is live; we didn't plan this. I told her, I said, you got a lot to cover here. I don't know if we're gonna get through it all. I said, Well, Dean, he gives me a long list. And it's always like, well, Dean, we'll have to do a Part 2 to this. And so --

Charlotte Blair 53:23
No, I'm, I'm very happy. I feel like I, I, you know, sort of, the, that one of that whole tips at the front, you know, slow down to go faster; don't try and give them too much. I'm trying to give the community lots, which is why I put it in a blog post as well. But yeah, I'm very happy to move wherever you want to move it to.

Jim Collison 53:39
That content would lie nicely in that, and we can maybe get a couple other coaches that want to share some resources that they use to get that done. Let's cover a couple questions from the chat room. Steve had asked, Is there a group you prefer not to work with?

Charlotte Blair 53:55
Ah, I think my Positivity-Woo, I don't know. I don't think there's a team I wouldn't want to work with.

Jim Collison 54:06
And you don't have to use his name.

Charlotte Blair 54:08
Oh, well, when you say "team," I don't think there's a, I don't think there's an industry I wouldn't want to work with -- possibly gambling. Like I often go, you know, if there was a gambling organization that asked me, I think I might be torn between my values on that one. It's a group I prefer not to work with. There's certainly no functions -- probably comes back to that niche piece. You know, humans are humans. It's not like I, I go, Well, I'm never gonna work with the finance team! So no. My preference is always face to face. Like I'm, I, sort of virtual, I don't mind, but my preference is face to face. So I guess the worst group scenario would be a group of people who did not contribute that didn't have their cameras on that didn't want to be there. That would probably be my worst-case scenario.

Jim Collison 54:55
OK. Dan asks, and I'm going to change this question a little bit though. He says, Share the most awkward engagement you've had at a company. Don't, don't share that. I want to ask, How do you recover for an awkward engagement? Because we all have them, right? We all have these moments, and you're like, oh, you know, so maybe any, any tips for coaches on how to, how to slowly back out of the awkward engagement?

Charlotte Blair 55:19
Gosh, I've, I'm pretty good at awkward. I often say to people, "I'm not afraid of public speaking. Because if there's something embarrassing to do, I've already actually done it," whether it be my fly's undone or my skirt tucked in or tripped down the stage. I've already done it. So it's like, most awkward and how did you recover from it? I did put a slide up once actually, with a company that I work with that was all about road safety. And I put the Gallup slide up about, you know, do you pick somebody to race while driving? No, do you pick somebody to race while driving? And that was a big faux pas, because nobody stood up or put their hand up. And they went, Well, of course we wouldn't. We're all about road safety. And I was just like, that's a big faux pas. And I just sort of went Oh, my God, you're right. And I remember next time I worked with that organization to remove that one. I think that's probably the worst, worst one that I've had.

Jim Collison 56:11
Good. Well then you haven't had, it hasn't, it hasn't been too bad. So Charlotte, because you have high Activator, I think you said, "Jump in and start." Could you elaborate on that? How much preparation versus just going for it to, to line up business?

Charlotte Blair 56:28
Oh, to line up business? I think to line up business, fundamentally, it's about relational. So I think what I probably, where I first started on some of that was going along to some networking-type events. So as part of an ICF, I think I would go to Illumina evenings. And I would get talking and what do you do around Cliftons -- you know, I'm focused on strengths and developing strengths-based teams. "Oh, tell me a bit more about that." So that networking piece is probably where it first starts. My first-ever workshop that I ran, the client didn't know it was my first-ever workshop, and they didn't need to know. I think I align a little bit to Amy Cuddy's, you know, "fake it till you make it" piece on that one. It works for me; whether it's going to work for other people, I'm not sure.

Charlotte Blair 57:16
When it comes to the "jump in and do it," I think when it comes to a workshop, if you've understood what the client really wants to achieve in that workshop, you start somewhere; you start with a plan. So I always have a kind of flow and an agenda of this is what, roughly what I think I'm going to cover; this is roughly how long I think it's going to take me. And then with my Individualization and Arranger and Maximizer, I bend and flex, depending on what's coming up in the room. So the Activator jumps in and gives it a go. But you always have to kind of move. And I guess what I would add to that, Jim, is that, I guess, when I first became ICF-accredited, I also did an advanced diploma in facilitation, which gave me some really good core grounding skills around facilitation. And that's some of the stuff that I kind of lean, lean upon as well, and I'll stick on my Facebook page as well, you know, a link to that for anybody that's interested. But yeah, I very much operate in the Jump in and try it. And if it doesn't work, we shift as we go.

Jim Collison 58:19
I agree. OK, last question. Super important. They've been wondering if the dog is real and what is the pup's name?

Charlotte Blair 58:25
Luke! Luke!

Jim Collison 58:29
Well, I think, Lisa -- Judy said he is alive, because they saw, they saw his legs move.

Charlotte Blair 58:36
He's the topic of conversation in most of my coaching calls and my team workshops, But what happens is, my office is my, oh, sorry, this is my office. My office used to be in the door, room next door. So some of you probably saw the same weird ceiling but from the other direction. I used to share the office with my husband; we would compete for air space, and the dogs were in this together. Now what happens is every now and again, the door just opens, and two dogs and a cat come bursting in. He's an old dog; Luke's old. He's 12. He just sleeps all day; he loves it. But it's funny. I've run workshops before, and people have gone, "Is that dog actually alive? Because he hasn't moved." But he's alive.

Jim Collison 59:10
Good, good topic of conversation. That's good to know. The chat was very worried about your dog for a while. Like, Is that a pillow? At one point, they thought it was a pillow? Well, lots, lots more questions that, that are out there we can't cover, but Charlotte, thanks for taking the time today. We'll do that -- How I Prepare for It. So look for that in our Facebook group and other ways; we'll get that planned here in the next week or two or three. Those are kind of designed to go fast. So we'll get Charlotte in here pretty quick, and spend some more time on Zoom.

Charlotte Blair 59:40
He'll coach me to go faster this time, than, you know, than I have today.

Jim Collison 59:43
No, those -- no, it's fine. It's, it's, it's all been great. But Charlotte, thanks for doing this. I appreciate you being here.

Charlotte Blair 59:50
Can I point people to my, you know, I guess if they want to know more, you can either go and visit or please follow me on Facebook. I do have two Facebook profiles. One's more of a kind of business coaching profile; the other one's personal.

Jim Collison 1:00:05
I never know which one to use.

Charlotte Blair 1:00:07
No, I know. You'll get me on both. But please connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn. But yeah, you know, visit There's quite a few different resources on there: a few games, couple of activities. Go in, download them. Everything's free at the moment for 24 hours. If you're interested in getting some mentoring coaching, you know, there's a Schedule a Call and find out more. Learn from other coaches that work with me what it's like to work with me. I'm not for everybody; I often sound like Marmite: You'll either love me or you hate me, so -- and I don't mind.

Jim Collison 1:00:39
I kind of like you. So they should, they should, they should work with you. This is instructions for Mark, who's doing the editing in the future. Mark, make sure Charlotte's website gets put at the top of the, of the post. So while you're typing this, just get it in the top. Thanks for doing that. Well, with that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available on Gallup Access. That would have been one of the tips, by the way, coming on How I Prepare for It, coming up: For coaching, master coaching or if you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach just like Charlotte is, you can send us an email: We'll get the right person in the right region to get back to you on that as well. If you want to follow these live sessions, head out to That would be if you want to know when the How I Prepare for It is going to be; you want to follow us out there. Again,, and I'll post it out there. Follow us on any social platform by searching "CliftonStrengths," and make sure you subscribe to this podcast so you never miss an episode. You can subscribe both on your podcast app or there in YouTube. Click that Subscribe button -- click the bell --- so you make sure you never miss an episode. I want to thank you for joining us today. If you're listening live, stay around for a smidgen of postshow. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Charlotte Blair's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Activator, Woo, Command, Arranger and Positivity.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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