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Success Story: How to Inspire COI Advocates

I’ve been encouraging advisors across the country to talk to women who are centers of influence when they want to develop more business.  Stop telling & selling.  Ask for help.

Women don’t mind asking for directions and we don’t mind being asked (it’s practical). One of my financial advisor clients did this with great success. Here’s what he did:

1. He asked 5 influential women COI’s to a meeting.  He also included his fabulous female client associate.

2. He shared his values and vision to serve women.  He was genuine about why he cared and what he does to help. 

3. He asked for their help in reaching more women.

4. He listened for 3 1/2 hours while they strategized on growing his business.

The advisor humbly admitted, he hit the wall on listening long before they were done. BUT, he was incredibly smart and let the women continue working on his behalf.

Big Results from Asking COI’s

One is introducing the advisor to all her friends who work at a large corporation.

An attorney is connecting the advisor to more influential COI attorneys.

Three women are planning a networking event for three different professional networks, featuring the advisor.

Another is nominating the advisor for an important role on local board, where his financial expertise will be highlighted.

All out of inviting a few women to a meeting and asking for their input!


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People Prospect Like This? Really? (Enjoy a Good Laugh & 3 Tips)

We all want new business.  Sadly some are still prospecting old-school and bombing out. You’ll get a good laugh from these fumblers who killed their chances in 60 seconds. Read on for a laugh & 3 Tips.

Sales Death by Wise-ASSumption:

I was recently at a trade show with my husband.  As we walked the booths a vendor tried to differentiate himself with humor. He joked about my husband as the primary decision-maker and “owner” of the money.  BIG MISTAKE!  This poor soul made the wrong ASSumption.  I suggested that he might change his approach since nearly half of women earn more than their husbands and might find his jokes insulting.  His female partner shrugged and rolled her eyes apologetically.  She was clearly embarrassed for him and by him.

Sales Death by Obnoxious Elitism

Believe it or not, people still cold-call with aggressive, obnoxious elitism.  I got a call from a young man trying to prospect new investors clients.  I was curious how this young man was being trained to cold-call, so listened.  He talked rapidly about his investment offer and then aggressively asked who I worked with and my specific investments.  When I politely declined to reveal highly personal information, he launched into an elitist list of requirements to qualify for his great offer.  Since he didn’t want to waste his time or mine (really his), I needed to reveal my specific investments upfront.  I replied “Since, I won’t discuss my investments with a complete stranger, I guess our conversation is at an end.”  He quickly tried recover and re-engage me.  I felt bad for the guy.  Who in the world is training him to cold call like that?

A Good Laugh: Wow, such ineptness really makes us feel good about what we’re doing to reach new prospects.  Hope this gives you a good laugh and a boost to your day.

3 Tips:  Seriously, even good professionals may accidentally de-motivate a willing referral partner. Learn how several professionals made it hard to refer and 3 tips to help your advocates refer.  3 Referral Killers & 3 Referral Rescues (pdf)

Next Steps: We all (me too) need to make it EASY for advocates to refer. If you’d like to explore getting more referrals:  Contact Me


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Coach or Lead: YES!

Recently, I was privileged to work with a national team on leadership and coaching. Coincidentally, I received a sample assessment that’s supposed to measure a Leader’s ability as a Coach. I took it.  Guess what?

If you’re a good Leader, likely you’ll get a poor score. The sloppy psychometric design rewards coaching and punishes leading.  Unfortunately, this further muddies already murky waters.  Leading and coaching are two distinct roles and both are important. 

A critical part of working with this leadership team was differentiating coaching from other roles.  In fact, the team had an “Ah-Ha” moment as they realized a past consultant had not clarified this distinction.  They lost time and effort being confused in their work together.

Learn how coaching and leading are different but powerful forces together:  Lead or Coach YES!

Quick Tool:  Leadership Self Assessment

Trusted Assessments:  Sample Assessment Reports

PS.  I don’t profit from assessments.  There are 1,000′s of assessments many poorly designed. I’m happy to review any tests clients use, work with their providers or help get new tools.  The goal is to serve the best interests of the individuals, teams and leaders.




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3 Teams Poisons & 3 Cures (Part 2)

Teams are built by the 3 Pillars of Team Success (Part 1).  They’re also destroyed by 3 deadly poisons.  These can surface at anytime in the life of a team.  Great teams inoculate with the cures before they’re infected and maintain a discipline of prevention.

Beware 3 Deadly Team Poisons:

Conflicting Interests   Partners who fundamentally disagree on what they want for the team and from the team.  Unless partners agree, it’s painful journey filled with disappointment and resentment.

The Cure   The courage to be clear about what you really want and what you’re really willing to give.

Inflated Value   It’s easy for us to see our value.  The value of others is less clear.  Psychology calls this Attribution Bias.  Bottom line, We truly think we’re better than we are AND that others are worse than they actually are.  This multiplies the error.  We raise our self up AND lower everyone else. Given this psychological reality, it’s easy to have an overinflated sense of our worth on a team.  

The Cure   Consistent generosity toward others and humility for yourself.

Inflated Rights   Members of close knit teams can expect a lot of support but with a cost, service to the team.  Members of loose teams have more freedom to serve themselves, but shouldn’t expect much support. Unfortunately, our natural desire is to serve ourselves and take team support.  This urge to “have our cake and eat it too” combined with Attribution Bias creates an inflated sense of personal rights.  Too easily, we feel entitled to take from team and serve ourselves, while expecting teammates to deny themselves and serve the team.

The Cure  Being highly self-accountable and highly gracious to others

Resources:  Contact me for a complimentary team evaluation tool

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3 Pillars of Team Success (Part 1)

People frequently ask me to share the secrets to great teaming.  They want the perfect formula.  I want to deliver and here’s the secret.  Successful teams can be very different, but the good ones have mastered three keys to success.

Successful teams can be tight knit; everything is joined like a close family.  Other good teams are loose; independent partners who merely share some resources.  There’s not one perfect structure, but there are 3 foundational pillars that are critically important to all teams:

3 Pillars of Team Success

Agreement on Fundamentals including: Purpose (why we are a team and what we want from team) Authority (who makes what decisions) Responsibilities (who is doing what) Expectations (how we treat each other)  Accountability (how we correct each other) Rewards (who gets paid for what)

Disciplined Communication  This is one of the biggest challenges for many teams. Consistent communication both tactical and strategic takes time and commitment.  If your team is finding it difficult, you are not alone, keep at it!

Proactive Succession  Individual and team transitions are filled with mixed emotions.  It takes a lot of courage and grace to move-on, give-up, let-go or give-over.  Thoughtfully planning and executing transitions before there’s a crisis is a hallmark of an outstanding team.

Next:  3 Poisons that Kill Team & 3 Cures

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