Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

Life in Israel

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Israeli commercial life and society

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

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Does your business coach inspire you?

A business coach or mentor can take on many guises. When starting out a course of sessions, the question lodged in the mind of the client is often ‘will this really do me any good’?

Well, there are two angles to this question. In my view, and I have practiced the profession for many years now, much has to do with the fact if the client is willing to change. After all, they have called in the expert, because something is not quite right in the organisation. Are they prepared to move on?

In parallel, it is the role of the coach to motivate towards the ‘brave new world’. Now, some coaches are rich and famous, so that we latch on immediately to their latest words as they are twittered around the globe.

Then there are the mentalists. Call them showmen or frauds, but they have the power to inspire. Yesterday, I went to a private session with Uri Geller, he of the bending spoons fame. His message was that if you really believe with all your mental capability that something will happen and you concentrate on that subject, in certain circumstances the change will come about. Geller went on to demonstrate what he meant in a most impressive fashion.

However, for most people, they end up scheduling weekly sessions with somebody unknown, and then hope for the best. And then the onus falls on the shoulders of the coach or mentor to motivate, each and every time. It ain’t always so easy.

Take yesterday. However much I encouraged and threw out questions to the owners of a business in the Jerusalem area, I was met with a negative response. It was a case of it can’t be done, too expensive, who cares, or whatever. Then, I had an idea. I encouraged them to learn about their operation by studying successful competitors. They asked the purpose of this action. Simple, I was responded. Years previously, they had taken up a profession. I asked them how this had come about. And the answer was by studying or learning.

Amazingly, the rest of the conversation flowed.

Some achievements are prompted by an out-of-the box approach. One former client was a difficult cookie to jolt ahead. Then I had a brainwave. I returned from an overseas holiday with a token but symbolic memento of a hobby of his, a limp straw of barley. He took it, promising to go there himself. He got the message. As we finished our course of sessions, his business appeared to pick up. (And I have just heard that next month, his dream will come true.)

Then there is sport. As some of you may know, over the years, I have taken up running. This spring I completed three marathons… to my complete surprise. So far, this has prompted four people to move into the sport or go for further distances. In one instance as I was running through Jerusalem, I happened to see a client, who was stunned to watch me pushing myself forward. If this is leading by example, I am happy to take it on.

The point is that a business mentor has to find a unique method to inspire each individual client. That process is kicked off by the client themselves, sincerely wishing to change. After that, the ball switches back to the court of the mentor. that is when the real challenge comes in.

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