Last week, Feiy has hosted a new social entrepreneurship skills training and invited Mila Dorosh, Millennial Coach and Founder of BLV Coaching to share with us some insights on « Why using coaching as a management tool for social enterprises. »
In this session Mila guided the participants to understand what coaching is, taught some basic coaching skills, and shared practical tips on how to use coaching skills in developing talents, solving problems and sales.
Why coaching for social entrepreneurs?
When you look closely at social entrepreneurs’ journeys, far from being identical, they do have a few things in common:
- First, they experience the traditional struggles of any entrepreneurs.
- Then, they experience very specific challenges related to being a social entrepreneur: a well-balanced business model, profitable and impactful, the need of a true holistic approach, the ability to measure your impact, being still less attractive for investors, educating your audience on the problems you are tackling, and also engaging your employees or partners on a long-term despite, usually, limited financial rewards at the beginning.
Coaching is what we call a soft skill, which means a skill that enables us to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. One might think that anyone could benefit from getting familiar with basic coaching skills; Mila does see a clear value for social entrepreneurs, especially as a tool to build long-term engagement with the people inside your organization.
Indeed, managers have two main goals: achieve the company’s objectives and develop people. The second one takes time but is most of the time a condition to the first one.
Social entrepreneurs are all driven by a passion that they like to share and inspire people with. That’s usually how you get people on board, with your passion. But inspirational speeches are usually not enough to keep people engaged on a long run and on a daily basis.
So that’s where coaching comes in. It enables managers or entrepreneurs to build relationships with people, where you listen to them and make them work toward your vision because it helps them achieve their own goals.
Unlike mentorship that is more about guiding people and sharing resources, coaching will rather help people reach out to their own resources, access their full potential and realize their goals.
Concretely, how do we use a coaching style discussion as an entrepreneur or a manager?
Giving ownership (vs mentorship)
While it might be hard for managers that are used to be in charge and to own situations, solve issues - a coach is just a supportive tool. He is here to empower the coachee.
Sharing (vs advising)
Share experiences and knowledge is different than advising. A coach will ask permission before sharing its own experiences and do not expect the coachee to actually adopt the solution suggested.
Appreciative inquiry/ non-judgmental
Think about it twice when you ask a question? Is there any judgment or opinion, even if not clearly phrased, inside? Probably.
Coaching is also the ability and willingness to put all judgment aside and be completely open. That starts with your thoughts and reflections in your questions. On the other hand, feeling appreciation and empathy is helping to build trust.
A coach is turning toward the future. It shifts from details and problems to vision and planning.
What are the steps in a coaching conversation?
It starts with building the trust
It’s important to establish the environment and the purpose of the conversation. We don’t try to coach people against their will! Trust is a 2 ways street & takes time to build.
Just like not being judgmental, the concept seems easy, the practice not so much!
Active listening asks us to put in real effort and energy in order to be 100% present, in the right mindset, keep our minds open, and pay attention to the different levels of listening.
There are a few tips that can help to ask the right questions, and especially in the right way. For example, keep your questions as open as possible; start by “what”, “how” or “when”. However, avoid “why” that is often implying a judgment: “why didn’t/did you do that?”
“What if” questions are useful to challenge the vision, reframe ideas? “Rating questions” or “going forward” questions are also good ideas.
At the cross of psychology, management, and mindfulness, coaching is a true exercise that first asks to hack your brain to think and interact with people in a totally different ways than the ones we are used to.
It makes it harder than it looks but the good news is: it’s within everyone’s reach with good practice and can have a real impact on the way you engage and build a relationship with your team or partners.
Skills training to support social businesses
Coming back to the social entrepreneurs’ journey, we noticed that they are often judged or misunderstood for having business or financial ambitions, wanting to make profits or grow…
But let’s be clear on something, a social enterprise needs to be profitable to have an impact. If the business model is right, the values and intentions good, the more financial value they will create, the more impact they will have.
At Feiy we truly believe that social enterprises are a more relevant way to do business, that can have a positive impact on the environment and the people while answering to certain people needs and creating meaningful jobs at the same time.
The more social business models will be proven right, the more impact they will have, and the less non-social business models will exist out there.
For those reasons, we have decided to integrate skills trainers and experts to Feiy social entrepreneurs network in order to:
- Bring social entrepreneurs external resources aligned with their needs to grow their businesses
- Be part of a continuous learning experience that will improve their business and soft skills
- Encourage all of us to THINK BIG!
And eventually …
Contribute to make the business models out there, disconnected from planet and people, obsoletes!
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