Leslie Hocker

In today’s world, the two most common types of coaching are business coaching and sports coaching. Business coaches are skilled at helping clients create a vision statement (your why), a mission statement, set monthly and annual goals, and holding clients accountable to achieving their vision and goals. Business coaches do not have to be skilled or have experience in their clients’ specific industry or field.

Sports coaching, on the other hand, requires a different approach. No one is interested in a sports coach who has no experience in the specific sport he or she is being hired to coach. An effective sports coach is really a mentor, as he or she needs high level, successful experience in the sport they are coaching. They also need to be able to function as a life coach to help athletes stay on track with their goals.

An effective network marketing coach is similar to a sports coach. He or she needs to have successful experience in the field of network marketing, which helps to build trust; and to have learned the skills necessary to build relationships, which creates additional trust. Because so many network marketing leaders come from an employee background where they were told what to do by a manager, or they were the manager, they fall into the trap of managing instead of empowering their team through coaching. They don’t understand that coaching in network marketing is really mentor coaching, which involves two equally important prongs.

  1. The first prong is more of a traditional business coach approach. You first help the individual discover why they have started a business. We call it your why, but if you ask a person, “What is your why?” they most likely will be confused, because very few people have been taught to think that way. In general, the educational system teaches people to be employees. I try to keep it very simple by asking, “What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever wanted to do or have?” Once you know their biggest dream, you can create a plan of action and goals that are in line with what the person wants. Always keep in mind that the only form of lasting, self-sustaining motivation is personal motivation, not money.
  2. The second prong to mentor coaching is focusing on helping another person learn in ways that allow him or her to keep growing. It’s the art of empowering people, which is based on leading by example. It’s been referred to as “Tell, show, try, do.” You tell them, which is simply teaching or training, not coaching. You show them, which is mentoring. They try the activity while you observe and give feedback, which requires coaching. Then they do.

The single most important thing a coach can do is to help people grow to the next level. An effective coach helps people to clarify the milestones or measures of success, and then holds people accountable for reaching them. A coach who sees people’s potential and believes in them is far more effective than a coach who judges people based on past and current performance. A coach who believes people can only be born leaders or that one can only be born with courage will not make a strong effort to engage an individual or the team for optimal performance.

Most network marketing coaches make the mistake of letting people set unrealistic goals, as in “Shoot for the moon! If you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” I help people to set three types of goals.

  1. First is your minimum/acceptable goal, meaning you will and can do whatever it takes to get there, this month or year.
  2. Second is a stretch goal. If you really stretched, you could do it.
  3. Third is your dream goal. This is your shoot-for-the-moon goal and it’s important that you set this goal.

I recommend that you look at your dream goal every day, but at the end of the month performance is evaluated based on your minimal/acceptable goal. This way you will always win and be willing to go to the next level.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary coach of Manchester United, said, “Few people get better with criticism. Most of us respond to encouragement instead. So I tried to give encouragement whenever I could. For a player—or any human being—there is nothing better than hearing ‘Well done.’ Those are the two best words ever invented. You don’t need to use superlatives.”

When coaching I try to catch people doing something right and compliment them with “Well done” or “Good job.” Then I ask, “Do I have permission to coach you with a couple of tips that will help you be even better?” Asking permission helps to create buy-in so the person will be listening instead of tuning you out or feeling they’re being criticized. It helps to create a safe environment to learn, because they agreed to be coached by you.

One of the greatest skills a coach must practice is active listening. It’s critical to develop your listening skills and keep an open mind, because that will enable you to ask more effective questions and get to the heart of an issue to assist people in finding solutions. Helping others to gain self-awareness and insight by asking questions is one of your key jobs as a coach. Always keep in mind that perspective drives awareness. Thinking about thinking is an important part of the coaching process.

My focus in coaching is to develop leaders. Here are some other keys to effective coaching:

I personally have a business/life coach and I recommend that anyone who wants to learn how to be a better coach for their team, rather than taking a course in coaching, learn from your own experience of being coached and being held accountable. To be an effective mentor coach, you need the experience of your own success in network marketing, and that, coupled with being coached yourself, will take you and your team to the next level.

Once a collegiate scholarship athlete, LESLIE HOCKER is a network marketing leader and coach based in Texas. She was featured with her business and life partner RON FORRESTER in the May/Jun 2013 issue of Networking Times. Together Leslie and Ron have over six decades of experience in the network marketing profession.