Do you feel overwhelmed and burnt out trying to keep your entire downline in action? Do you have people in your team with the potential to be great business builders, but you can't seem to get them out of the gate? Are some of your best people "stalling out" and giving up on the business altogether?

"Coaching" is helping Network Marketing professionals accelerate their businesses and put the spark back in their teams! As a professional coach, I work with entrepreneurs and leaders in Network Marketing companies to support them in building their business, developing their team, and creating a more balanced and effortless life. Together we partner up to create goals and game plans, meet for weekly teleconferences to check in, discuss challenges, and brainstorm solutions. It is an exciting and fulfilling role, and I feel humbled to be a small part of the many successes that my clients have created through our coaching relationship.

Most exciting of all for me is the coaching I do with leaders in Network Marketing - to teach and coach them to become coaches themselves and to help create a "coaching system" to support their own organizations. These leaders are leveraging themselves and duplicating success throughout their downline. They are learning coaching skills that bring out the best in their people and creating a system that keeps their team in action and accountable to their goals.

What is Coaching and Why Does It Work?

How many seminars, books, and tapes have you and your downline been exposed to? Many of them are chock full of great information and tips that could revolutionize your life and business! The real question is, despite all you have read and been taught, is your life and business where your want it to be?

For most of us, the answer would be no. And why is that? Information alone won't transform your business; there are a lot of people in Network Marketing who "know" how to have a successful business, but they still haven't created one! What can transform your business is getting your people to take consistent action and constantly develop themselves and their skills. Unfortunately, this is where many traditional teaching and training methods have fallen short - until now!

Coaching is an on-going training process that focuses people to take consistent action and develop themselves every single week. It involves a synergistic relationship between a "coach" and a "client" which helps people stay accountable to their goals and ensures that they stay on the path to achieving them. Coaching is like a "seminar in action." It helps your team not only to learn, but, to immediately apply what they learn to create breakthroughs each week. Over time, these small shifts add up to significant changes and results. And best of all, through coaching you can better leverage your time, spend fewer hours developing your leaders, and you don't even need to leave the comfort of your office. All your coaching can be done with just one tool - your telephone!

I believe coaching is a perfect match for the Network Marketing industry. Where else does your own success depend so much on being able to develop people and duplicate your own efforts? Coaching allows you to do both.

Benefits you can experience coaching your downline:

Can Anyone Become a Coach?

The most important requirements of being a coach are simple - the ability to listen to others and a sincere desire to see people grow and win in their lives. Sure, there are many skills and ideas you can learn that will make your coaching more and more effective, but you certainly don't have to "know it all" to be a great coach, or to even start coaching! As in sports, some of the best coaches just have an objective perspective from the sidelines and the ability to direct people to navigate blind spots and play at their best.

I find many Network Marketing professionals have been doing some form of "coaching" all along, perhaps just not calling it so. Professional business and corporate coaches follow a specific system of ideas, structure, and skills that bring out the best in their clients. I would like to offer you some of these proven coaching strategies and tips to help you to set up a "coaching system" for your own downline. What I sincerely want for all of you is to become masterful coaches with the skills to develop other coaches within your own organizations. I believe this alone could transform your business in the next two years, not to mention the Networking industry.

How to Start a Coaching System for your Downline

Step One: Check in with yourself to see if you are ready and willing to become a coach - people are either attracted to the idea of coaching or not. If so, the next step is to find some "clients" in your downline who would like to be coached. I believe it is best to start small - five or so is a good number to start. This will give you a chance to master aspects of coaching and get used to working with "clients" before you start adding more.

Step Two: Identify your top leaders, those on your team who are serious about their business. Initiate a discussion about coaching with them to find out what their interest level is.

Step Three: As far as the "structure" of your coaching, I suggest setting up weekly calls with each of your clients, 30-45 minutes in length, and agree to work together for a minimum of 90 days.

Step Four: Set up an introductory phone call to discuss what your clients' goals are, where they get stuck, and where they could use some support in their business and personal development. I also suggest getting clear on your mutual expectations of each other and what you both need to create a successful coaching relationship.

What Do I Do in a Coaching Session?

There are many ideas and skills that you can use in coaching that create tremendous impact with others - here are just a few tools to get you started:

Exercise #1: Wheel of Life

Setting some goals is a great place to start. It creates a more specific track for the client and gives some structure to the coaching. The "Wheel of Life" is a great goal setting tool and a good "reality check" for your life and business.

1) Imagine the center of the wheel represents 0, the outside edge represents 10.

2) In each area of your life (financial, career, health, etc.) determine where you are in you life right now, on a scale of 0-10. How would you rate your financial area - a 5? Maybe your health is at a 7, your romantic life a 2? There are no "wrong answers" here, so be honest with yourself! In each section, draw a line across each piece of the wheel to represent where that area is at for you. (For example, if your financial area is a 5, you would draw a line at where 5 would be in the financial section, approximately halfway between the center of the wheel and the outside edge of the wheel). Do the same for each piece of the wheel.

3) When finished, shade in the newly defined "spokes" of your wheel, starting at the center and out to the new line you have made in each section.

4) Stand back and take a look at your wheel. What do you notice about it? How balanced is it? How well would your own "wheel" roll down a hill?

Wheel of Life Most people's wheel, like their life, is not very balanced. They may have high "scores" in some areas of their lives, but other areas are suffering or even non-existent. How might this imbalance affect your ability to build your business? Just like a wheel with uneven spokes, is your ride a little bumpy and stressful?

What if you were to bring all these areas into more of a place of balance? Would your wheel roll faster and create more momentum? The same is absolutely true for your life and business!

Coaching is a powerful vehicle to support people in creating balance between their business and personal life. What steps could you take to create more balance in the next 90 days?

Exercise #2: "10 Goals for 90 Days"

Another great tool to start off your coaching is to ask those you are coaching to come up with ten goals they want to achieve in the next 90 days. I suggest including some personal and "fun" goals as well as business-building goals in the list. Use the "Wheel of Life" as a guideline to help your client set goals that would create more balance and fulfillment in their lives.

Some ideas for the coach to consider:

• Are these goals what the client really wants, or do they feel like they "should" or "have to" achieve these? Help them to re-evaluate so that they feel like goals they really want - no shoulds, coulds, or musts!

• Have they included some fun and "easy" goals on this list? By including goals that are fun and easy to achieve, your client will experience the "win" and feel inspired and energized to tackle the more challenging ones.

• Develop a "Coaching Client Prep Form." This is a helpful tool to have your clients report in on how they are doing each week. It helps them to identify and feel good about what they have accomplished, and it helps the coach understand where they are having challenges and still need support. Ask your client to complete the form each week and fax or email it to you before your coaching call. This will help both of you be prepared and get the most out of the time you have together. It also encourages the client to be equally responsible for the success of the coaching, rather than showing up and expecting the coach to "do it all." Below is an example of a form I recommend:

Coaching Call (Client Prep Form)

Get the most out of your coaching call by preparing for it.

Client instructions: Please respond to each question in the space provided. (Provided by Compass Point Coaching)

What I have accomplished since our last call:

What I didn't get done, but intended to:

The challenges and problems I am facing now:

The opportunities which are available to me right now:

I want to use the coach during the call to . . .

What I promise to do by the next call:

Coaching is:

"Action + Development"

Coaching works on two levels: First, it supports your people to take consistent action and stay accountable to their goals. Second, it supports the team in their personal development and to develop the skills, insights, and personal attributes that also create success.

Coaching can help your team think differently, to "be" differently, and to create a deeper perspective of themselves and the world. By having an objective sounding board in their coach, people gain insight into their own behavior and get clear on the internal changes they need to make to accomplish their goals.

There are many concepts that create change and develop people. Following are just two that I have found cause profound internal shifts and can free a person to produce better results in business. Use them with your "clients" as their coach, but don't forget to use them to develop yourself as well!

Concept #1: Simplify Your Business and Get Laser-Beam Focused

Ever feel overwhelmed trying to balance your daily activities with building your business? Who hasn't! Do you have others in your downline struggling to build a business between the demands of family and another career?

Following are some ideas that will help you and those you coach to simplify your lives and create the space you need to grow your business faster.

It's Okay to Say "No"

Be willing to say no more often, and have clear boundaries around how you spend your time. Be very careful about what you commit your time and energy to, and then commit 100 percent. It is better to be productive in a few areas than overloaded and ineffective in many! You can do less and achieve more.

By taking better care of yourself and attending to your own needs first, you will have more to offer your downline.

Adopt a New Battle Cry - "Do It, Dump It, or Delegate It!"

• Make a list of all your "to do" (those stacks of paperwork, follow-up calls, etc.) and do it! Get these tasks complete and off your plate and make it a habit to complete projects so they don't pile up. Loose ends can eat up more of your energy than they are worth.

• All those "extra" obligations in your business - marketing initiatives, research ideas, or Networking clubs you belong to get business (but which are not paying off) - dump it, at least temporarily. Lighten the load so you can move ahead faster.

• Are you drowning in piles of paperwork, emails or phone calls? Delegate it! Hire an assistant; even a few hours a week can create a space that will move you forward. Hire a high school student, a family member, or get creative and barter if you have to! You really can do this, and it is essential if you want to continue to grow your business rapidly.

Be willing to delegate more responsibilities and empower your leaders. Is there a rep who's been in long enough to try her hand at organizing the next group event? Could you ask your top three team members to each be accountable for setting up a presentation and filling the room this month if you'll be the presenter? Perhaps someone else can do the research on this year's area trade shows and collect everyone's contributions to cover a booth. Use your imagination. Ask more and they will become more!

Coaching Challenge:

1) Track all of your activities for a week, both business and personal.

2) Using "Do it, Dump it, Delegate it" as your battle cry, be willing to cut your weekly "to do" list by at least 30 percent. (Yes, you can do this!). What needs to shift for you to give up some of these obligations?

How could this "extra time" benefit your business?

3) Look for ways to delegate and/or create a system to manage certain areas of your business and life. Invest in a computer or a software program to manage aspects of your business - it can pay off many times over. Free up some time by hiring a housekeeper or someone to run errands for you. Find at least one item that you can delegate or create a system to manage this week, and take action!

4) Empower your leaders by challenging them and handing over more responsibilities. What tasks can you be delegating to your leaders?

Concept #2: Eliminate Tolerations and Put Passion Back in Your Business

Most of us are not creating what we want in our business because of one sneaky, invisible, and highly costly culprit: tolerations!

What is a toleration? Simply, stuff we "put up with." Those things in life or business that slow you down or get in your way of creating what you want. They can include things in your home or office that need fixing, not having a proper workspace, constant interruptions, the phone that never stops ringing, or those leads on your desk that you haven't contacted yet.

Have you ever been guilty of:

• Tolerating people in your downline who promise action but are not following through?

• Tolerating draining people who complain a lot and waste your time?

• Tolerating downline who use you as the 24-hour resource center?

• Tolerating lack of action on your part, putting off follow-up calls or prospecting?

• Tolerating family or spouses who are negative and erode your efforts in your business?

Why do we tolerate? In our culture we are taught to "not rock the boat," "don't be selfish," "be polite," "put others first" - all words of wisdom, but is it possible we could take these ideas too far?

What is the cost of tolerating too much in your life? For most of us, the price is much greater than we are probably aware. Tolerations drain us, they rob us of energy, and eventually can kill our passion and motivation.

In Network Marketing, it is my experience that many people are "tolerating" a lot in their business and from their teams. Why? Maybe it is fear that if you don't "put up with all this stuff" you will lose people. Perhaps you don't want to come across as being "selfish" or not supportive enough to those you bring in the business.

However, have you considered the price that you are paying by tolerating too much? How is it affecting your feelings, passion, time, peace of mind, and ability to build a profitable business?

Bottom line, tolerating serves no one! All it does is support on-going behaviors or ways that we relate to each other that aren't particularly healthy. To build healthy and empowering relationships with others we really need to address our tolerations.

Is it possible to not tolerate? Yes, yes, and yes! Can you imagine how great your life and business would feel if it were "toleration-free"? It is possible, and getting there can be simple, elegant, and a powerful growing experience for yourself and others.

Coaching Challenge:

1) Make the shift to being "self-focused" and okay with putting your own needs first. Now, I am not endorsing becoming a really selfish, mean-spirited person. I mean being willing to exercise extreme self care for your own heart/soul/self so that you are empowered and have more to offer those that you work with.

2) Make a list of what you are tolerating in your life and business. Include those tolerations that show up in your physical environment, stuff you put up with from yourself, and anything you have been tolerating with your team. Get as many of these on paper as you can. Don't worry about handling them all at once; you may only need to take action on a few to see some significant change.

3) Take action! Identify one or two of your smaller tolerations, and be willing to take action and make a change. How? Have a conversation, be completely honest, make a request from someone, or set a new boundary. Be willing to take action and get a problem completely handled, once and for all. My challenge to you this month is to start becoming "toleration-free" in your business. Be willing to take two small actions this week so you can experience the powerful benefits of being toleration - free.

My Final Challenge To You

By deciding to become a coach, you place yourself on the fast track to your own personal and professional development. Imagine what your business would be like if you could spend the majority of your time coaching five powerful leaders who were coaching and developing the rest of your team?

I encourage and challenge all of you to look at how you can implement coaching with your own downline. It is a rewarding and fulfilling journey that will greatly enhance you and all those you support. Coaching is powerful - I believe it is the cutting edge in human development and it works like nothing else!

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Sonia Stringer is a sales trainer and Network Marketing "success coach" with over ten years experience working with the top sales and business professionals in North America. She has worked extensively as a National Sales Trainer with peak performance expert Anthony Robbins, and she has conducted training and coaching for over 800 companies and multi-level organizations throughout North America. Sonia has coached many leaders in Network Marketing companies to better leverage their efforts by implementing coaching skills and systems into their own organizations.