Insights from the latest Mindshop global advisor training round with Dr Chris Mason

In good times clients can afford advisors’ help but in challenging times clients need assistance overcoming hurdles more than ever. But sometimes clients are their own worst enemy. As an advisor you need to adapt your approach, tailoring a specific solution to meet clients’ needs.

With over 40 years’ experience as a business advisor, Dr Chris Mason is in a unique position to provide insights to advisors into how to overcome typical issues faced by clients. During the latest global Mindshop advisor training round he shared a wealth of practical tips on the most common coaching challenges:

  1. How do I stop a client engagement stagnating or drifting?

There are many reasons why an engagement starts to flag, perhaps initial enthusiasm has waned, or an issue from left-field has derailed project implementation. Chris has some tips for ensuring business advisors stay relevant and clients stay engaged:

  • Manage the expectations of the client from the start. Indicate that some projects fail but identify and learn from the root causes and inject those learnings into the next project cycle
  • Demonstrate return on investment and boost the value you deliver by transferring your facilitation, problem solving or strategic planning skills to internal staff
  • Keep clients interested by injecting fresh thinking at every meeting
  • Ensure you have a common long-term goal with key stakeholders
  • Get your coaching cycles right, extending your availability through online coaching and asking, ‘What are the three key issues I can help you with over the next 90 days?’
  • Reset the client engagement annually to refresh intention and enthusiasm
  • Ensure you have a strong and trusting relationship with the client where you feel comfortable enough to challenge them without repercussions
  • Use the Mindshop process tool, developed specifically to free up drifting clients. It focuses on the identification and implementation of an initial small project to uncover and address the issues that may hamper the achievement of longer-term strategies.
  1. How do I build up resilience and confidence in a leader?

Lack of confidence in a leader to make the big decisions can hamper the roll out of necessary change and achievement of business goals. So how does Chris recommend you go about boosting self-belief in the leaders you’re working with?

  • Listen for indicators of the leaders’ belief system, poor beliefs lead to self-sabotaging behaviours and negative consequences
  • Find a project which, with your help, you are 100% certain they can complete (profit, growth, cashflow…). Successes, even small ones build confidence. How can you keep control of the project to ensure success?
  • Stop them biting off more than they can chew. If they are unable to a deliver on a deadline, halve what you ask them to do, and continue doing so until they achieve the goal
  • Use Now-Where-How tool to break down problems and give a clear goal, use the 8-week process to fix the problem, giving a sense of achievement to go on and tackle other issues
  • Use the new Mindshop Change Success Personal Model to help your clients identify how they rate against the nine factors that influence personal change success. Increasing a leaders’ chances of personal change success will alter the behaviours holding them back
  1. How do I fix blockers in a team?

There will always be a ‘problem child’ in a team who’s negative or actively blocking the progress of a change project. These individuals can be highly disruptive to the achievement of goals. Many businesses have failed to address problem children over the years and it’s now reflected in poor results and an inability to change. Chris’ tactics to deal with these negative influencers include:

  • Undertaking a 360-degree review of the team, this will highlight any blockers through the lens of their peers. Having this kind of solid data at your fingertips will diffuse any accusations of bullying or prejudice in the situation. Often you will find that someone will leave of their own accord prior to the completion of the review process.
  • When providing feedback to the blocker about the results of the review, ensure that there are at least two senior managers present to witness the conversation. Make sure you have updated all the stakeholders on the results first but send the results individually.
  • Ask questions of the blocker – where the results as you expected? What actions can be taken to address these issues or behaviours? What time frame can we set for rectifying these issues? What happens if we don’t fix them?

And some last thoughts on effective coaching of clients – four things to do differently this year

  1. Adjust your pace to suit the client in every engagement, having finely tuned emotional intelligence is critical
  2. Never take the first issue as a real one, ask ‘why?’
  3. Spend twice as long understanding the real issues, undertake individual interviews prior to a meeting
  4. Embed change success thinking into every problem solving or strategic engagement.

Want to learn more about addressing client challenges with the support of Mindshop? Contact your Mindshop regional manager here.

About Dr Chris Mason

After years as a successful independent consultant in the Australian market, Dr Chris Mason was approached by other advisors to learn the tools and processes he had developed and was using with such success. As the number of advisors grew, Chris founded Mindshop in 1994, the organisation now supports over 1,000 advisors and business leaders across 10 countries.