Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

Life in Israel

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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Considering your business coach as a magician

Describing the role and importance of a business coach or mentor is never very easy. After all, why should a non-expert in your field be able to create extra value for you, your department and your company?

Let me try to explain through a case study. Last month, I completed a fairly intensive set of sessions with a doctor, seeking to build up his practice in the Jerusalem area. I have to admit that my knowledge of the medical world is such that I hate even having the simplest of inoculations. That said, when we started working together, my entrepreneur had been in the profession some time and was barely taking home a salary.

We stopped meeting a couple of weeks back right on schedule, and yesterday he sent me a summary email of progress since then. The bottom line is that he is frantically busy with several revenue streams. In fact, he has now opened up additional premises outside the Holy City.

In one of our final sessions, he kindly described me as a “magician”, a thought I have been bouncing around in my head for a while. I had asked for an explanation. What was suggested was that I have an ability to see through the clouds and excuses of procrastination, carefully cajoling a person towards a better commercial future. I am able to keep the client focused on achieving new and more profitable sales.

Flattered that I was, this blog is not just a subtle exercise in self-promotion. It is an lesson why so many more people can benefit from business mentoring for the same reason.

Let me take the argument one step further. I was interested to read a blog from the Harvard Business Review as to why CEOs and planners should “beware of spreadsheets“. Your detailed excel map simply be too linear, just adding up to meet a predetermined number.

I faced this syndrome last week, while sitting down with a group of sophisticated executives, trying to overcome a downturn in their market place. They came up with a predictive model for 2018, which they felt comfortable with but which was still underwhelming. So I challenged them to raise the target of a specific revenue stream by 50%. After the initial kickback, the ideas began to flow in. (Tackling the other revenue lines afterwards proved less difficult).

No, not all my clients love me. In the middle of June, after some preliminary meetings, a CEO gave me the boot. He claimed that we had not made any progress. My wife compared his behavior to somebody walking out of a doctor’s surgery, before the medic had offered a diagnosis.

On reflection, I disagree. I think he could feel that direction that I was going to tackle, which was to require a massive change from the owner himself. How I was going to spring that trick, I was not sure. There again, for all their fun and how they make you think, not everyone likes magic shows.

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