I’ve been watching the interplay between the business coaches and the travel professionals who participate in TRO’s Community. As John Frenaye pointed out in his column last week, the dialogue is often lively! It is also highly instructive and important for those serious about the travel profession. Let me explain why.
Most of us have had the experience of working with a coach, whether in school sports or as a business person. The coach’s task is to bring to the fore the best the student has to offer. The best coaches work with no hidden agenda, helping the student to better understand inherent strengths and weaknesses. Coaching is indeed a powerful tool.
But two conditions have to be present for coaching to work its magic. Firstly, the student must be coachable. Secondly, the coach has to have the ability to enroll the student, to gain their acceptance. Sometimes, the student resists mightily.
Wax on, wax off.
A good coach has to be a good communicator. Coaching, like being a travel professional, is all about relationships. That’s an important point because coaching is also one of the best models for the role of the travel professional. Doesn’t a good travel counselor play the role of a coach for their client, teaching the client to make good buying decisions, imparting experience and expertise?
Want to be a great travel coach for your travel clients? The best step toward that goal is to examine how coachable you are. Certainly at points in our life we are more coachable than at others. Most often, real opportunities for coaching arise when we are unhappy with our performance, when the ideal we sense as potential clashes with the reality of our practice. When we are not hitting our goals we look for every opportunity to improve and enhance our understanding and technique.
If your clients are perfectly happy with their fixation on price and the “do it yourself” methodologies, then you will have little room to enroll them. A willingness to be coached has to be undertaken in the context of a willingness to change, and that does not always come easily.
It’s really just the other side of the same coin – when we are satisfied, even when satisfied with less than we can be, we are less likely to be coachable.
Entering into a coaching relationship is not just about learning the skill at the core of a lesson. It’s also about learning to be coachable and, therefore, a better coach for your clients.
We invite each of you to spend some time taking a look at TRO’s Community and it’s Professional Business Coaching Program. It’s fun, it’s free, and you will have the opportunity to engage with your peers in a professional business forum.
And along the way, you might learn something about being a better travel coach for your clients!