Browse Category: Brand development

Peter Botting on The Daily Politics

Daily Politics Appearance

Last Friday I was contacted by the Daily Politics team who had read my blog posts on the 5 worst and 5 best US political adverts. They seemed to like what I had written and invited me on to the Daily politics show on Monday to talk about them. Sam and I arrived at the BBC at 11:45 and were ushered into the green room. Sam was given a tour of the Daily Politics set and I sat waiting in the green room. It was exciting to be there. I knew what I wanted to say and to be honest I had an easy gig ahead of me as there were no tough questions coming my way as my 4-5 minutes was more of an amusing filler than main stream news and I didn’t have positions to defend – apart from my views on the videos.

Paul Uppal, Julian Huppert and Lisa Nandy were the guests for they day and Alan Milburn was a guest. Eventually I was called into the studio around 12:50 and say in a corner watching the 4 camera crew and the the rest of crew quietly and calmly do their thing. Then I was miked up and told to follow the chair. Then the videos were played – I was greeted by Jo Coburn who was lovely and then the questions a started. It was a fun discussion and I managed to to get Jo and her 3 guests agreeing with me!

Thanks to the Daily Politics team from Robbie Gibb to Jo and all the others who were so cool and friendly to us!

Have a look and tell me what you think!

 

Performance Coaching is best one to one and designed for those who hate losing.

Group Coaching

I used to do a lot of group coaching. I do very little now and when I do, I take another coach along to help make the coaching more effective.  The groups I used to coach were typically groups of 12-15 from companies like Grace Chemicals, ThyssenKrupp, BASF and SAP. They were very typical corporate coaching sessions for middle management and the budget for the day was split between all the participants’ personal development budgets. German firms are better at this most – personal development is both encouraged by the companies and sought after by the employees.

Coaching PyramidThen Mercedes hired me to do an 1-2-1 session over ten days with a senior guy on a very sensitive issue and I loved it. More importantly than that – the results were better too.

Norming Training

Group corporate coaching normally is what I call “norming training” – it gets everyone up to a minimum level of competence. Or at least it should! Far too often norming coaching is seen as just something to survive and it is approached by participants and coaches without focus or energy.  Coaching without a specific target is harder to focus and too often includes handouts that soon become, and remain, dusty on unvisited shelves. Tennis coaching is fine and good and important – but preparing for a match against a specific opponent on “that court” is far more fun!

Norming training gets people from the bottom of a pyramid to half way up. It is important but it has its downsides and its limits.

One is the fact that the participants can’t open up completely to the coach with making them themselves vulnerable to the others in the room – who invariably are, will be, or are friends of, current or future competitors in the corporate or political career race.

Secondly – the higher you get up the performance pyramid, the less coaching is about transferring skills and the more it is about what’s in your head. Ian Barclay coached me in Johannesburg. He was Pat Cash’s coach and I was a young, ambitious tennis coach totally focused on learning all his best coaching techniques and skills. He said that teaching beginners, like he taught Cash initially, was all about skills and just 5% about what’s in your head. By the time Cash was playing serious professional tennis, the ratios had reversed and it was now at least 95% head and the rest skills. If you are helping people with what’s in their head – it’s personal. Huge trust is needed and that’s best done very carefully and sensitively without others listening in.

Performance Coaching

Most of what I do now is performance coaching – in other words coaching aimed at a specific event with a time limit and a specific outcome.* It is taking people who are already quite competent and pushing them up the pyramid – leaving good, and the competition, behind. Coaching people who want to work to step up from being “good enough” and who now want to make Partner, bring in the business and the bonuses and get promoted. Since that session with Mercedes I have worked in the same way in politics, career development and with corporates: –

  • Politics – preparing wannabe MPs for selections and selection speeches, successful MPs for their maiden speeches, campaigns for elections, the No2AV referendum campaign and even the Sri Lankan Prime Minister for an address to the United Nations
  • Career/Personal Development – preparing graduates and senior executives for interviews
  • Corporate – preparing business development, management and MBO teams and individuals for major events, pitches and proposals.

All of them are focused on specific events, with defined time limits or dates and a specific win/lose outcome. It is for those want to perform as well as they possibly can – not just a bit better than the others and who resent being called “good enough”. It is for those who, like me, hate losing or coming second. If you know somebody who might fit into one of those categories – why not forward this post to them and introduce us by email?

 

*I have also worked on ongoing campaigns, e.g. against Human Trafficking, but there is a difference to this type of campaign – they are drip, drip, drip although they obviously include specific events and critical dates.

communicate new ideas

Communicating for dreamers – crafting messages to communicate new ideas

Last night I got petrol in my tank by being part of a discussion dinner co-hosted by Dr Pritpal Tamber  and addressed by TEDMED speaker coach Denise Graveline. Denise asked what people wanted out of the evening. Themes included how to communicate new ideas and concepts, how to get a minority view across, how to be seen to be influencing within an organisation, how to pitch to a VC and how to make a distant possible event relevant to an audience used to thinking conventionally and in the present or immediate future. One person said that they had no communications issue but wanted to meet interesting people. I meet interesting people every time a client walks through the door – but last night I met a whole table full and it was great.

I don’t know if Chatham House rules applied so won’t mention names – but I was excited by the people. There were lots of titles, doctorates and serious jobs around the table including TEDMED and IGNITE speakers – but that wasn’t what created the buzz.

Everybody there was trying to achieve something – often reframing whole “things” into new categories rather than just tweaking existing solutions to acknowledged spaces and problems. There was an excitement and an eagerness and an almost revolutionary spirit co-hosting the great food and the intoxicating “what if” thoughts. Many of the people there had left great and well paid jobs to DO stuff. New stuff is often hardest to describe and communicate because it doesn’t fit tamely into our lazy mental filing and classifying boxes of “Ah, I know what you mean – that’s A or B or C.” New ideas, new vocabulary, new thought processes and new concepts…new thinking.

Conservatives are often accused of being backward thinking – and some are. Conservatives are at their best when they keep testing and pushing the status quo, and then combine CONSERVing that which is good and solid and sound and being revolutionary about that which is not.

George Bernard Shaw said “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”  Last night there were loads of dreamers at dinner.

It is more fun being with dreamers and doers. Some may laugh at the thought of taking dreamers seriously – but then they will probably also use a laptop or a tablet and post updates on Facebook. Both of which few would have dreamed of a couple of decades ago. Perhaps, we Conservatives should test the status quo and the “givens” more rigorously, conserve less blindly and think more like revolutionaries. Looking back at our past, the great leaders of our country are those who have done just that.

Storytelling tips – Stories outsell Concepts

Storytelling tips – Stories outsell Concepts

Hat-tip – the anonymous author who proves that storytelling is far more potent than bland abstract concepts and theories.

This is a great example of how stories are more effective than abstract concepts. Especially stories that are based in the real world and include normal people.

An economics professor at a local college made the statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.

The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.


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