Monthly Archives: May 2014

BBW LinkedIn Workshop

As a relatively new member of BBW and just launching my own business, Willing Voices, I was very interested to be able to attend the training on LinkedIn as I know it is a very good tool for furthering connects in the business world. I did in fact rearrange my day so that I could attend and I was very glad to for so many reasons.

Firstly, because apart from setting up my own profile, I had no idea how to then fill in that profile, make connections or comments, how to find leads, make recommendations or get the most out of it. The training was very useful and I now know exactly what I need to include in my profile and just as importantly what not to include.

Rangita Shah’s enthusiasm for LinkedIn was obvious and despite some technical difficulties she was able to show us how to make the most of LinkedIn and why it is such a good tool for building your connections.

One major point that stuck in my mind was regarding ‘direct selling’ or spamming people. Nobody wants to connect with someone if they think they are just going to be bombarded with spam emails and requests to buy their product or use their business, it has to be a two way street. So to choose your connections wisely.

The second reason I was very glad to attend the meeting was more to do with the BBW network. I am a singer and singing teacher and having worked in the music industry and education for the past 20 years, I need all the help I can get to make my ideas a reality and launch my business.

One aspect of my work is running singing workshops, where we sing through the songs from a show and make a joyful noise. I want to take these workshops into a corporate setting and run confidence building sessions. Singing is such an amazing thing to do as a group as it relieves stress, releases the same endorphins as exercise (without the sweat!) and it brings people together, gets them working as a group rather than as individuals and most importantly is fun!

The third reason I was so glad I went was that I met various new people including some one who would like to have lessons. I also made an appointment with someone for a meeting to discuss working together in the future. So had I not attended I would not have made those connections.

At a previous BBW meeting another member got us to focus on why we attended the meetings. Much as the social aspect is great we are there to promote our business so I changed the focus of my elevator pitch and as a direct result made the appointment.

Through BBW I have developed some lovely relationships and my confidence in my new business is growing because the more people I meet and speak to about Willing Voices, the more opportunities open up to me. I have learnt so much from so many different sectors and from people I would never have met, had I not joined BBW.

Jess Wills

Willing Voices

The 7 secrets of hiring a good coach

Guest blog by Sally Brown, freelance journalist

BBW members and coaches Liz Toogood of Elizabeth Toogood Critical Friend and Caroline Clark of Happiness Matters set up shop at the iKan earlier this month to debunk a few myths about coaching (Unravelling the Coaching Myth – Is coaching for you? And if so, who? on May 7). I booked a half-hour session with Liz Toogood who was so wonderfully wise and insightful, I had to be politely encouraged to leave after an hour. Here’s what I learned about making coaching work for you:

  1. Chemistry is crucial. If you don’t ‘click’ with your coach, you’re wasting your money. You should feel understood, accepted and comfortable. According to research from Ashridge Business School, the relationship between coach and client is the most important factor in determining the success of coaching. ‘Trust is very important – ask yourself if you could be trully honest with this person?’ says Liz.
  2. Your best friend/partner is not your best choice of coach. However supportive your friends, colleagues or partner may be, they will have their own agenda and opinions. By contrast, a coach is there exclusively for your benefit. Unlike your loved ones, they won’t glaze over while you talk through your challenges in minute detail.
  3. You may only need one session. Different coaches work in different ways but it is a myth that coaching has to be a long term commitment, says Liz. ‘Some people want ongoing support, but for many, one or two sessions are all that’s needed. You can also dip in and out when and as you need it.’
  4. A coach is not a therapist. Emotional problems and unhelpful patterns of thinking and relating to people that have their roots in your childhood are best dealt with by a counsellor or psychotherapist registered with the BACP.
  5. …or an expert. A coach won’t profess to be an expert in your line of business but should be able to offer relevant strategies and techniques, and more crucially, ask the right questions to help you get to the right answers.
  6. It’s OK to be vague. Most people do have a clear idea of what they want to achieve from coaching. But others don’t – they just know they want things to change. Part of the process is sorting out vagueness and uncertainty. A coach is there to provide clarity and steer you through,’ says Liz.
  7. But you do need an open mind. To get the best out of coaching, you need to be prepared to take on new ideas, and go out of your comfort zone – approach it with a closed mind, and you’re wasting your money.