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A New Coach’s Fresh Perspective on Her Business
May 20, 2019 | By Neil Ducoff | 3 Comments
We recently graduated four new Certified Strategies Coaches. To graduate, they had to complete a rigorous training program and demonstrate mastery of Strategies Team-Based Pay Business Model and the systems that drive it.
One of our new coaches is Alayne White, who is the owner of the two Alayne White Spas in Rhode Island.
Alayne, who is a prolific writer, decided to write the following blog post that describes how her Strategies Coach Training changed the way she looks at her company and her employees.
There are so many insightful takeaways, that I decided to share it in my blog post.
A Fresh Perspective
I walked into my first training with an extra bounce in my step. I was excited to start my new alternate career path of becoming a Certified Coach for a company I had been born and raised with called Strategies. Because I have been a recipient of their wisdom and business strategies since I opened my business over seventeen years ago, I considered myself already a member of the team.
Some of the new Certified Strategies Coaches I had the privilege of training with (left to right) me, Frank Prescuitti, Andrea Birst and Nate Flick.
For the first time in over twenty years, I was about to become a sort of “employee,” not in the sense of a real employee, but someone who would be working more as a per diem so that I could still run my own company.
The beauty industry, salons especially, are notorious for wacky compensation. Like so many of us who have had the starry-eyed notion of opening our own businesses on a scrap piece of paper, we are often technically savvy, but lack the business acumen to operate and grow it successfully. We wing it. A lot.
What fascinates me is how we succeed with barely a math course in our tool belts, but we all need help in the way we run our companies. Just like we had to learn our craft, whether, hairdressing, facials, nails, we learned quickly that this is only one component of running a successful operation. This is what I have learned in my business life and this is what I am excited to teach others, because without the important skill of business, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What has given me the biggest thrill in this experience thus far, in addition to the intense learning and presenting, has been the birds’ eye view of a fresh perspective on another person’s company.
This has led me to consider how valuable new employees are to my own company if I can make them feel safe enough to share their first impressions. For me, this is easy because I believe in this company like it is my own. This translates into feeling safe enough to offer my insights and first impressions and know I will be genuinely listened to. This is not something I take for granted and it speaks volumes of their leadership style.
When I consider sharing my voice, it is with the layer of interest and care for this company’s success. I know my intent and if I don’t share it, I am leaving valuable information in the closet that surely serves no one. It is risky opening your mouth and giving an opinion on someone else’s story. But as Strategies teaches, there are a lot of brains to be accessed in the employees who show up to work every day. We just have to access them.
As single operating business owners, it is common to leave new employee thoughts and ideas out because we get so wrapped up in our own day-to-day. We forget to simply ask, or even encourage their valuable opinions. “My way or the highway” serves no one. It certainly doesn’t make for a happy team and a strong culture that someone can believe in.
Here are some of my thoughts and observations that I have brought back to my own company:
- When someone walks into a company for the first time, they see everything with fresh eyes. How does the company clean their space, how do people participate, where do they eat, do they eat together or apart? Is the environment encouraging and supportive using simple and sincere language like, “Thank you” and “Great Job” on a regular basis? Do they ask for help and are they open to yours?
- New employees watch for how hierarchy demonstrates itself. Does the leadership team show up and act as if they will roll up their sleeves to assist, or do they stay away? Is the leadership team gender centric or is it diverse enough where a new employee feels like they not only could be a part of the tribe — but want to be?
- How does leadership communicate with the new employees? Do they say hello with a cheery smile, and do they make it a point to say good bye first when they are leaving the building? Or do they lack consciousness? Are systems in place for leadership development right out of the gate? Does advancement seem possible or is it not mentioned anywhere? Can one only rise up by happenstance? Is the top tier of the company a part of the bottom rung; do they have a true open-door policy or is that just jargon?
- Then there is the dynamic that is like a vapor. How does everyone communicate with each other, with customers, how do they discuss each other when that “very each other” is not in the room? All of these play an integral part in the binoculars of a new employee. And it’s all happening with barely a conscious thought. The vapor is both subtle, and tremendously powerful because this is the time when these belief systems are formed. Then there is the mirroring that goes on. Do the behaviors of the team and the essence of the company mirror what the new employee just learned in the employee manual on the company’s culture and philosophy?
- The most revealing aspect of watching the dynamics of a company from this perspective is how much I learned about my own company. I learned about the way its very personality shows up, not only to new employees but the veterans as well. Is there a clear path that encourages movement and change for their own careers and do they feel like they have options within the company’s future? Is it career development or just a job? If a new employee is asked or made to feel welcome in sharing their perceptions, magic can happen.
After my final training, I came back to my business with more than a book load of actual information. I returned with an entirely new outlook on the way I welcome and honor my own team every day.
As I embark on my journey as a Strategies Coach, I am proud to say that most of my observations matched their philosophy. This affirms my choice to be part of the party because as much as they said, “YES, Alayne, you passed the training and we welcome you to our family,” I too was able to answer with a clear “yes” that I want to continue with them as much as they want me.
This is an important lesson here. How often have we worked for companies that don’t match our own visions, or that the companies don’t even have their own vision for one to match?