Small Business Talk For Coaches

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Travel Inspired Coaching Lessons From Italy and Beyond

Show Notes


Cathy Smith began a journey as a marketing professional in 2001 and has helped thousands of businesses to grow. Cathy specialises in helping coaches and is dedicated to showing you how to get your first clients and then many more. If you are ready to take your coaching practice to the next level, then you are in the right place. Whether you are just starting your coaching journey or you’re an experienced coach not seeing the results you desire, this podcast is for you

I’ve been traveling. Yep. Lucky me. For the last five and a half weeks, I’ve been traveling. So I thought you guys would take you on a little bit of the travel agent, tell you where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and how it actually can be related to coaching.It’s amazing that what you learn on that you can actually use your coaching skills, particularly when you’re traveling. If you’ve been following me on tech coaching on Instagram or Facebook, you can see all the photos of where and what we’re done on the excitement that if not, jump over and have a look. But today’s podcast is about traveling, coaching life and how it can all be related. So let’s go on a little bit of a travel agent.

Five and a half weeks ago we left Australia. We flew from Western Australia on the western side over to Heathrow in London. So we’ve done London, the south of England, Germany, Belgium, and Italy in the last five and a half weeks. So just a bit of that type stuff we’ve never done before. Been to Asia, but never been much further out at Australia with the big trip on. It has been a big trip. I’d like to tell you a few things about highlights and some tips that you can relate to your coaching and your life, and maybe you can just enjoy what we’ve been doing as well.

Tip 1. Be Flexible and Adaptable

We started off by going to England. I went to Heathrow, stayed about four days in London. Did that the nice thing. So we did Buckingham Palace. We did Windsor Castle went down south after that and caught up with some friends and family. The first thing that I really noticed was everything appears to be upside down in the southern hemisphere, down south, below the equator, down under. Everything goes on the left. But even things like the water running down the drain. It runs down the drain in spiral to the right. Whereas in the northern hemisphere it runs the left. People drive on the right-hand side. The directions just all seem to be upside up.

So what we found when we were navigating and no, we didn’t drive, we went that way. Then our whole trip on public transport outside, a little bit more about that in a minute. But what we found was we went to the attack in Athens and think if we thought we should be going broke, go right, because our instincts are very much going to the moment. But we need to be starting to think about our biases. And that’s something really we need to look at when we’re coaching that way. The flexibility, our adaptability by what we automatically putting on somebody else, because that’s the way we think to be lot, but not actually to the right. And just taking that and being flexible and being able to adapt to go, okay, it is upside down. So my instinct says that probably means that go right. Nine times out of ten, that actually worked.

Public transport. Love it, especially to try and travel. It was really interesting to buy a flexible ticket and then just jump on the next train. It meant that we could do that adaptability and we can call our times ahead of time. Now, some of them might going under the channel. They were much better trained and you did actually have to book more like an airline. It simply trying to do specific time. And you did get a specific allocated state. A lot of flexible ones. You don’t get an allocated state. You just get given what you’re given. Thankfully, you don’t have to book them as far ahead and you do get a lot more options about changing the time and what you got to do it. They travel. It was just incredible. We could book a train; we could jump on a train and we could go from there.

So basically, we would work out a couple of days before where we wanted to go next. We had a few markets that we had to make, but mainly we were able to move things around. I call it the Northern Venice. It’s in the top end of Belgium. Originally, it wasn’t on our radar. I kind of heard about it that the chocolate selfishly, Belgium chocolates, but I hadn’t really made the connection. And because we hadn’t looked at tickets, way ahead of time, we were able to use the train system because we had to change trains anyway. So we changed in Bruges and then went into Brussels and then onto Cologne, which was the destination for that day. We were able to work it out. We weren’t stuck on the house. We just knew where we wanted to go and then made the how so we got to it.

We had an incredible morning going through the little boat, something to it around in the van. Now, having gone to this, it is actually quite different. But because it’s built on canal and it’s kind of similar, but not but it’s still definitely a lovely place to visit. I wouldn’t want to have gone to Venice first and then go to Bruges, particularly if you think it is going to be that northern Venice, but it is a kind of bond as well. What are you expecting and how did you end up putting that onto your clients? We need to be making sure that we are keeping our own biases in check by going to Bruges first. We had no anticipation of what Venice was going to be like, so we had a lovely morning doing a bit of chocolate, a bit of beer as well, and it was great. And yes, in Europe it’s 5:00 but somewhere, it’s any time but being on holiday, you can have a beer anytime you want it.  Not totally up to something. I just want to be flexible. It really a great day that we may not have had because we hadn’t planned right down to the nitty gritty.

Now, we did have some milestones that we had to make and we had some places that we had to be. But then we also had flexibility in the middle, which means that we did get to see a few places that hadn’t originally been on that agenda, which really made life interesting for being flexible and adaptable.

Tip 2. Embrace Perspective

So we went to some off the beaten track places, some of the way we wanted to experience the real in this case, Italy. So we went to the savannah and it’s a beautiful wine growing region. It’s in Umbria, it’s just south of Tuscany. It’s not the most popular wine growing region. It’s more about the actual people that make the wine, the real side of it. The little guys that are actually run by the owners as opposed to being a tourist trap. The cafes would be for the country people, the locals, the city people, the people around the region. They weren’t just a tourist trap.

There was quite a lot of areas where people didn’t speak a lot of English or certainly didn’t let us know that they spoke a lot of English. So, we really had to embrace that new perspective and work out okay on how we’re going to communicate. Google Translate, I absolutely love it. That made life really easy because with Google Translate, you can take photos so you can read things like a menu. You can also put in words, just text words, and that can translate, but you can also get people to speak and put it in that way as well. So you could say, “I would like to buy three loaves of bread” and then it will come up in the words. And it was really interesting because in Belgium, they have three national languages, mainly they speak Dutch, French and then English, but quite often they don’t speak Dutch and French.

So we had to work out which shop was serving what. So when we walked in, if they said hello, we knew that that was going to be Dutch. If they said Bonjour French, but it depends on the greeting to which language they were going to speak. But then we had to change our Google Translate. We did a lot of hand signals as well. We did a lot of smiling. We did a lot of thought and instead shaking our heads, that sort of thing. But generally, we got through and there were very few instances where we couldn’t make ourselves understand. And especially when you buy things because it’s all money. So the cash register just wraps it up and then you go up, okay, that’s €20 and you work out which colour is the right one and you hand them the money.

So generally, even though we went to areas where I didn’t speak a lot of English and sometimes it didn’t seem to speak any at all, we were able to get by and it was just being patient and making sure that we were courteous and keeping any go, trying to put it in. And in Belgium we got the language wrong and they would start looking at writing the English and we would realise that we didn’t have the right French or Dutch. So then we duplicate the transcriber and then like, Oh, now we’ve got it. It was really interesting not knowing that they had more than one national language, but they didn’t all think. I don’t know quite how the locals get on. Maybe they understand a little of each other’s language as well. Or maybe they just choose not to it.

Tip 3. Build Strong Connections And Relationships

When we’re in Italy, we did try to use a little bit of Italian and try to say a few words and put it on to translate and ask people in Italian. We were at one particular cafe and we were ordering our lunch and trying to do it and obviously doing it quite badly because the gentleman was laughing but even though they were laughing at it, it wasn’t malicious. We were just having a bit of a joke and we got through it and we ordered our lunch and we had a lovely lunch. And then my husband went to pay at the end and they ask us in a beautiful English, where we were from. He appreciated that we had tried. We could obviously understand the back chatter and the side channels that we were speaking in English, and he knew exactly what we wanted, but he didn’t and save it into the last moment.

So, having those strong connections is the same with coaching. If you can’t feel a connection with your coach in some way, if you don’t think I have the expertise to help you, then what kind of coaching relationship do you have? And if active listening, listening when people are obviously understanding you or they not, and even when you are speaking the same language, sometimes it can be different. Words mean different things.

So, listen carefully. How concise letting people try to work out what you’re saying and not jumping in with the next thing and just confusing them because we’re talking too fast in our words, you know, whatever language it is not working well and then supporting people. So when they are trying to help you, let them help you, don’t keep jumping over them. Don’t talk over the top of them. Make sure that you are supporting your client and giving them the best coaching experience that you can. That was amazing that we learned talking a different language or trying to. And it was great when people would correct us because we could get that little bit closer and makes it easier for the next person.

Tip 4. Appreciate Skills and Expertise

We appreciate that. We didn’t have a great skill set in other languages, but we gave it a go and sometimes you need to appreciate that too. Is there a skill gap that you have in your coaching that you need to upskill now? I’ve spoken about it a lot. Be careful not to just put one competency on top of another. I’m getting all those qualifications. I’m never using them. But sometimes there is a skill set that you are missing. If we look at, well, I guess we’ve got the travel back, so I won’t say if we come again. I’m sure we will. Maybe we need to learn a little bit more of the language. I’ll try to get this pronunciation down a bit more to making sure that your skillset doesn’t match what the client needs and being aware that sometimes they outgrow you.

Sometimes you’re too advanced for them as well, depending on what kind of coaching you are, you’re not that one size fits all. You’re never going to be able to coach somebody for the whole entire time unless your upskilling is well, sometimes that is the case that you’ll get two or three chapters in front of somebody and your upskilling along the way. So therefore I will start with you for quite a while with all seen the coaches that have started with just a small signature program and then they put a mastermind and then they’ve maybe put a VIP on top of that. They don’t start the VIP and then work backwards. That’s not going to help your clients. Or it might if you’ve got different sets of clients, but you’re not going to have that journey for the client. So it’s a case of realising, okay, that’s come to a point sometimes where you have to say, “Client, I think you’d be better with a different coach”. Or they might say to you, “Time’s up, we’re done what we can here”. And it is time to get a new coach. Skill setting is really important as long as you are using it. No point having a whole cupboard for the skills that you never do anything about. And don’t use that as a procrastination not to go out and get client upskilling, making sure you’ve got the right skills at the right time, but using them as well.

5. Self Awareness

Get to know yourself and realising different things. I realised that when I’m tired, I get stressed out when I don’t know where I’m going, and then that’s totally upside down. I get stressed. And that was the great thing about having time. Having flexibility of a schedule is when those situations happen. Sometimes it was just time to find a cafe, stop, get some gelati, settle down and start again. And sometimes it was just a case of you just had to have a little rhythm and then get on with it.

The biggest thing that we found with everything seemed to be outside. So as I mentioned, going against your normal instinct, was much better when you went to some incredible places. We went to Cinque Terre. It’s the Five Lands. It’s five basically fishing villages that have got together. And they have a train line that runs across the back of them. But at a really good thing in Europe is the transit over the hills. They go through the hills, if there’s any kind of hill, they’ve built a tunnel and they just go through in Monterosso, which is that the last of the cities, you could jump on a train and you could go back to any of them. If you’re in the middle, you could either go either way. And it was great because the day that we went hiking, we could then catch the train back and then because we had either done it that day, the next day we could just catch the train and jump off and on.

At each of the cities. They were all very different. One was very much a beach side community and that was Monterosso. Beach, very loosely described. Lots of pebbles, rocks, but fine sort of rocky sand. Yeah, I don’t think I’d even call it said it was definitely European beaches. And then the other one there was a fishing village that still operated as a fishing village. There was one that was higher up on the cliffs that didn’t really have anything to do with that, the water at all. So that was more about olive and citrus. So lemon and oranges predominantly and stone fruit. And that one was quite different. And then there was sort of that one that was a bit of everything really.

I mentioned we went to Venice, I mapped the trains up a little. I thought that our tour was going to start at 10:00 and then once we booked it, it actually started earlier. So working out how to get the trains to there just became a logistical nightmare. So what we ended up doing was going and staying a night in Venice we hadn’t actually planned. But that was amazing because we got to wake up in Venice. Wow. And being able to have that flexibility, that self-awareness, that this was just not going to work out correctly, then we were able to once again adapt and change.



Travel Inspired Coaching Lessons From Italy and Beyond

These are all the things that you can use in your everyday life and can be used in your coaching business as well and they can also be used in your coaching sessions. Obviously, not all of them at once. Had a fantastic holiday and looking forward to going home.

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Travel Inspired coaching Lessons