Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Business Tip of the Week "You Don't know What you Don't Know"

For more tips by Mike Tafoya, check out his blog:

The Importance of Business Consulting

Business consulting provides advice and experience as a valuable resource for every country and every industry. There are several different areas in which this position applies, such as organizational development, technology, e-business, operations, communications, human resources, marketing, strategic planning, small business and other organizations that find the advice of professionals necessary for their growth. When this professional advice is needed, executives turn to analysts for their expertise to help them find ways to manage obstacles and create solutions to increase productivity and efficiency.

This consulting is provided with the receipt of a lot of respect in their area of expertise and is heavily relied upon for its skills and talents in every country and in every industry. Their independence is admired because it creates a flexibility when working with clients to meet their needs at a time that is convenient to the client.

It is also known as management consulting as well, and provides problem solving as well as plans and goals to help companies achieve success. In the United States, this position generates in the area of $100 billion each year. Even if the economy is slow and suffering, these specialists are needed to increase profitability for a company.

As an example of the extensive work that is involved in the process to assist clients with their needs, business consulting requires a needs analysis for clients to help them determine their goals and what areas the company needs to focus on for improvement. Once a plan has been laid out, the specifics of the project, the team that will be needed to implement the process, a timeline for results and the budget required to obtain those results will be outlined.

Business consulting is then implemented through the identification of solutions by presenting recommendations through a presentation and then implementation of the recommendations are covered. Once the process has been put in place, clients are encouraged to provide their feed back in a post-project review. This is only a very simplified version of what occurs during a consultation and the actual process includes much more.

Business consulting also includes the qualitative and quantitative ability to research and gather information when completing projects. The techniques used in the implementation of tools to complete projects are interviews, observation, focus groups and case studies, as well as surveys that allow an analyst to determine what the best route to follow will be in helping clients to achieve their goals.

Monday, April 20, 2009

How to Choose the Right Coach for You


The coaching industry attracts consultants, therapists, and people with good intentions who want to help. But because there’s currently no regulatory board or set of, the prospective coaching client should choose a coach wisely.

Evaluate their credentials
A business coach should have some formal training, and have some understanding of organizational dynamics including how to navigate corporate culture.

Other questions: Is the coach part of any organizations? Does the coach publish books or articles? Does the coach offer products and services in addition to coaching?

But don’t take degrees and certifications at face value. They tell you nothing about the quality of the coaching.

Evaluate how they work with clients
Many organizational consultants direct you toward answers without involving you in the solution. That’s not coaching. A skilled coach will engage you in dialogue, give you a new look at an issue, and ultimately let you decide what’s best.

The coach’s role is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that you already have. Coaches are trained to listen, to observe, and to customize their approach to meet your needs. Coaches will elicit solutions from their clients; but a skilled coach also knows when to jump in and provide direction when you get off track.

Make sure they’ve been in your shoes
Make sure your coach has experience in your area and speaks your language.

Many therapists jump on the coaching bandwagon. While the therapists may have skills and knowledge that help them work on personal transformation, they’re not necessarily best at helping you adapt your leadership style or improve work performance.

Other ways to learn about a coach:
-- Read their bio, and ask about their background.
-- Ask them if they’ve worked through the issues you’re having.
-- Visit their website and see how they market themselves.

Look for testimonials and get real referrals
Most coaches will post a client list or testimonials on their website so you can see what their clients think. Beware of anonymous testimonials.

Ask for names and numbers of clients to contact, to validate the coach’s work. Call them. Ask specific questions such as:
-- What was it like to be coached by this person?
-- Did they help you achieve your goals?
-- Would you hire this coach again?

Make sure you fit with your coach
Trust your instincts when deciding whether or not the coach truly understands who you are and what you need. You may want:

-- A coach who’s direct and will act as a constant “swift kick in the behind.”
-- A coach who provides advice and talks about their experiences.
-- A coach who listens as you pull the answers from inside yourself.

Ultimately, you will want a business coach with whom you have great rapport, who you would trust with certain details of your life as well as your observations, who will not judge you.

Different Types of Business Coaches

There are several types of coaching to choose from:

Life coaching – Focuses on inspiring life-transforming experiences. These include: creating personal joy and freedom, developing a better sense of self, building stronger romantic relationships, or learning to let go of old fears and doubts.

Business coaching – Focuses on issues of running a business. It ranges from individual and executive team coaching, to coaching owners of small- to medium-sized businesses. Coaches help executives, staffs, and businesses develop, promote, and grow.

Executive coaching – Builds highly collaborative, individualized relationships. The aim is to bring sustained behavioral change and transform the quality of the executive’s life.

Pick the best type of coaching for you. Then find the coach with the experience, education, and skills for supporting others that you’re looking for. But beware: There are some people without formal training or background who call themselves coaches.

Choosing The Right Business Coach

Consider this scenario. A colleague suggests you get a business coach. Via the Internet, you find one close-by and decide to give them a call. The woman says she’d love to help and that you should stop by. She charges $300 a month for two 30-minute sessions. It seems like a good deal, so you eagerly sign on the dotted line and hope for your prayers to be answered.

Next, you are sent to a website to learn your Enneagram type. This personality quiz doesn’t seem to connect with marketing your business. You call the business coach. She says that you rank a “two” and that you’re trying to please everybody. She says that you should take better care of yourself by taking nature hikes, yoga lessons, and long bubble baths.

You have yet to get real business coaching from the so called expert. Sadly, this scenario plays out often, usually resulting from a lack of understanding on how to choose the best coach for your business.

In the past several years, coaching has become one of the most effective ways to cultivate the professional and personal skill-sets of teams and individuals. Coaching has proven results. Fast Company magazine reports that up to 40% of Fortune 500 companies hire coaches to improve their businesses. There’s a proven, significant return on investment. A 2001 study by the Manchester Review said that the output of executives involved in coaching programs averaged nearly 5.7 times higher than the initial investment.

But you must do your homework before choosing a good Denver Business coach. For coaching to work, it’s vital to have a basic understanding of a coaching relationship.

What is Coaching?
Coaching is a conversation, a dialogue between a coach and a coachee. Through coaching, you will learn how to:
Communicate better
Balance priorities
Make effective presentations
Better understand strengths
Identify new competencies needed.
Understand what you don't know

So how do you pick the right business coach? Make sure to get references or experiences from someone they have worked with in the past. Ask questions like "Have you worked with a business owner of the same size" or "Do you hold your clients accountable"? Make sure they are well rounded and respected in your community. Have they been published in news articles, magazines or even online articles. See if they have a blog. This way you will be able to understand the way they view simple things, do they give any pointers for free?

Hiring a Business coach can dramatically improve your business and cut spending. Just make sure they are the right business coach.
(source: Jim Jenkins)

Friday, April 3, 2009


Mike Tafoya discusses the importance of communication and how meeting agendas can keep your lines of communication clear with your employees and managers. If you would like to see more business video tips like this, check out Mike's video tips of the week.

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Why Have Systems?

Why do companies need systems? That's easy, systematizing your business can provide you with the ability to delegate, track and forecast predictable results. Systems allow you to monitor your company's tasks, sales & marketing efforts, (really every aspect of your business). In addition, let's say you lose a top performer in your business, with systems in place you can provide those proven systems to your new hire and focus your efforts on other high impact areas of your business rather then spending so much of your time on training from memory. Remember, you lead people and manage systems.

Estrada Strategies invites you to sharpen your business skills and devise a working strategy for success. Register today and see what Estrada Strategies is all about "YOUR NEXT MOVE"

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Mike Tafoya
Denver Business Coach
Estrada Strategies-DTC
Phone: 303-524-1270