We are at a point in development where certain industries need disruption to survive. Almost like a job advert, ‘Market Disruptor Required to Revolutionise Industry Stagnation’. In an ideal world, all companies would be open to change and creativity, marrying young talent with experience and wisdom, to bring continuous innovation and improvement to corporations and businesses of all sizes. If it were that easy, leaders of industry would be able to do it. All companies (and consultants) would have found their niche markets and be earning above average for delivering superior value. Despite the impossibility of every player being able to outperform the market, getting under the skin of your customers to understand them is itself a near impossible skill and getting increasingly more difficult.
For decades marketing departments have struggled with creating winning strategies that use the results market research while pre-empting customer needs. Marketers are fully aware that customers may not always know what they want, let alone what they will be willing to purchase. The reality is that it has always been extremely hard to predict the next big thing, from record music hits to viral social media campaigns. So much of human behaviour is influenced by the sub-conscious, most of the time customers don’t even know what triggers their reaction, let alone be able to explain and justify their preferences.
Coaching is quickly becoming one the fastest growing professional fields and one that is instrumental to the creation and adaptation of radical change and improved performance. When examined more closely, the dynamics of coaching can offer all businesses some exciting new insights on how to develop successful customer offerings and improve acceptance of new solutions.
The concept of the client’s (or customer’s) agenda is one of the cornerstones of coaching. The coach removes themselves from having any judgement or opinion and enters the client’s view of the situation to explore new options. This is very much a similar concept to the old saying that the customer is always right. However, unlike modern marketing, it accepts that there is nothing broken, only a result that is desired. This concept can immediately revolutionise how a business develops it customer strategies by refocusing on customer goals. The non-judgement aspect is critical as it creates the capacity for new ideas and solutions.
Through the art of powerful questioning, a good coach will dig deep into the sub-conscious and bring the coachee insights to their situation. Good coaches know that the coachee’s first impression of a challenge is usually inaccurate and apply questioning techniques for more objectivity. Applied to business, bringing a coaching style to customer service would ensure the solution is better matched to the customer’s need and higher level of buyer satisfaction and delight. Within internal teams, the capacity to understand the difference between assumptions and the unspoken customer need can be profound in delivering superior and intuitive value propositions.
Coaching keeps the client focused on their goal, navigating through emotions, objections, perceived challenges and other hurdles. When applied to business, this can illuminate gaps in how a company defines its market and competition. Often innovation comes from these new market definitions and young new market players take on industry dinosaurs by better recognising the customer’s emotional need rather than only focus on their functional needs. Virgin Mobile have successfully done this in the UAE by giving customers the ability to change and manage their subscription easily via an app. Under Armour and other sports brand manufacturers have done this with built in product innovation that matches the performance aspirations of their customers.
The fascination of the growth of the coaching industry is not as much the speed by which it has grown but the receptivity of the value of coaching in the market. In this modern age of information and complacency, coaching seems to be able to successfully tackle very modern personal and business challenges in ways that traditional methods of support cannot.
Using the successes of one industry as a solution to another may, at last, provide struggling businesses and industries with a solid strategic direction. A greater understanding on the reasons behind the high impact, high success of coaching may just be what organisations need to address declining rates of customer engagement and loyalty.