Just before I joined Mars Chocolate UK, I heard of a concept called guerrilla coaching, which initially I thought sounded like an oxymoron at its best. However, I explored it thoroughly and was impressed enough to review the book of the same name. It was written by Glen McCoy, a professional coach with 20 years’ experience, who is known for creating original coaching content and unorthodox transformational solutions for companies.
Not surprisingly, this book reminded me of the successful Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. The latter was published almost 30 years ago, but is still relevant to businesses both big and small.
Both books, on totally different topics, share one major concept: that it’s easier than you think to get positive results quickly, effectively and profitably in any business.
In my role at Mars, where developing people and talent is always a high priority, new ideas on how to motivate, inspire and support my team are very much on my agenda.
I know that great marketing is always driven by great people, and you can’t have the former without outstanding success with the latter.
In fact, until the time comes when robots and artificial intelligence take over the planet (I have it on good authority that this won’t happen for a while yet), anyone worth their salt in marketing needs to get a delicate balancing act to work: more-inventive marketing campaigns that will capture consumers’ imaginations, coupled with equally creative ways of nurturing the true genius of our marketing teams. If both can be done at the same time, stand back and expect great results.
This book is a great read because it gets down to business immediately. Using stories and narrative to break the ice, it brings a fresh perspective on people-development, and challenges some legends on coaching. We have all heard, for example, that non-directive support is the essence of great coaching. This book shows how this belief can be counterproductive and frustrating.
Think about it. Imagine coaching your children to grow up without any input or experience from you, their parent. How comfortable would you be with this? Equally, how about handing over your entire marketing budget to a team getting expensive executive coaching where you would not be allowed to offer any input?
If we follow the "tried and tested" routes to getting great results, then we can sentence ourselves to live within accepted paradigms that limit us
What this book also does brilliantly is share techniques that you can use on yourself or with your team very easily. Many of them were new to me, and sometimes quite provoking. I tried a few with a surprisingly high success rate.
What I really appreciated about Guerrilla Coaching, which matched Guerrilla Marketing perfectly, was its warning that if we follow the "tried and tested" routes to getting great results, then we can sentence ourselves to live within accepted paradigms that limit us. With these two books in mind, it also means that we actually make our task to grow sales for the business more difficult and expensive.
There are probably thousands of books on coaching. This one is different. It is unorthodox, thought-provoking and incredibly inspiring.
If you only have time for this… six key points from the book.
1 Realise that true coaching comes from the word co-achievement, which is a joint effort, and that it is about getting results, not performance management.
2 Better coaching can make people more inventive, which is critical in marketing.
3 The right kind of coaching unlocks the talent that already exists inside the individual.
4 You can coach managers to coach more effectively within a couple of sessions.
5 There are a host of simple, yet highly effective, coaching tools that we need to use more often with our marketing teams.
6 Breakthroughs in amazing marketing are still driven by humans – the essential component.