Author Profile

Scott Ballard

Through his experience in his own business and life, Scott had the impact of finding a Coach that guided his company from the brink of disaster to an amazing comeback, and from uncertainty, to the most amazing transformation that he could have hoped for. As a result of his lifetime of learning, he now gets to guide people through the process of achieving their goals and dreams for themselves and their business.
executive coaching

The Three Days Of Your Life

Your life is made up of three kinds of days. In our coaching practice, we call these days Game Days, Practice days, and Off-Season.

Game days are when we’re doing our biggest work; we’re contributing in big ways, serving our employees, our customers, and our business.

Practice days are the prep days. Those are the days of study, of learning, of rehearsal and anticipation. These are the days that, when done well, contribute to a great game day.

Off-season days involve no business at all; we focus on those things which restore, relax, and rest us. Things that bring life to our soul. These are, in fact, the most critical kinds of days.

To understand which days of your life fall into which of these categories, ask yourself four questions:

What are you doing? Who are you doing it with? Is this activity within my God-given abilities? And what does my life look like while I’m doing it?

Now, using those questions, my challenge to you this week is this:

Take out your calendar, and for the next month designate your days. Which ones are Game days? Practice days? Off-season days? Write them into your schedule and plan accordingly. And let me know how this changes your life.

Not sure how to start? Schedule a free coaching session with me today.

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The Business Of Marriage

After thirty-six years of marriage, after experiencing every kind of failure and success that a business could produce, after coaching business owners of all kinds, my wife and I have had a revelation. There’s a reason that most business owners are either hugely successful in their business but struggling in their marriage, or doing great in their marriage while their business is barely surviving. Those two things should not be mutually exclusive.

So today, we wanted to take a minute and talk about how to build a successful business and a successful marriage at the same time. Because there’s a direct correlation. As we talk about this, we can talk about how we treat our wife, and how we treat a customer. How we decide to make an investment in our business, and in our relationship with our spouse. We all know how important it is to love and respect our spouse; we also know how important it is to deliver 110% to our customers above and beyond what’s expected. What’s more, how we treat our employees should not be too different from the way we treat our children. Being a business owner with employees is being a father or a mother. And, obviously, having literal children is a full time job and commitment through all it’s ups and downs.

So what if we started looking at both of these parts of our life and began by asking ourselves the question: What can I learn from my marriage and my family that can serve my business? And what can I learn from my business that can serve my wife, my husband, my children?

My wife and I know and believe and experience that we can have both. We know that. Let’s talk about it. Click here to learn more about our business coaching!

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Shifting Your Entrepreneur Mindset

I was coaching a client the other day, a guy who started his company a long, long time ago. Over the last couple of years in his business, he’s hit a real plateau, and I’ve been trying to coach him through it.

“Think back when you started the business,” I said once, “when it was just you. How did you tackle it when you ran into an obstacle in your business? Did you get excited about problems? Or did they drain you?”

His response? “I love problems! The bigger the better! I always knew if I could solve my customers’ problems and make their lives better, then I could have anything and everything I ever wanted.”

That’s a smart business owner. So I told him: “I want you to close your eyes and I want you to go back thirty years. It’s just you. You are the business. And I want you to think of the biggest problem that you have right now in your company, and I want you to think exactly as you would have thought about that thirty years ago.”

And guess what happened? He had a breakthrough in his mindset. “I’ve become complacent!” he said. “I’ve fallen asleep at the wheel. I have to change. I have to start thinking and acting with the mindset of an entrepreneur! And I have to lead my people with the courage and belief that problems are our greatest opportunities.”

As a coach, I couldn’t agree more. Run to the problem, for that is your biggest future in the success of your business.

Where is your mindset today? If you’re looking for a turnaround, click here to schedule a free thirty-minute coaching session.

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A Business Owner’s Approach To Money

If you’re like every other small business owner, you’re thinking about the money, the budget, the capital of your business 80% of the time. And that’s a good thing. But what are you really thinking? Are you thinking about it as a tool? Are you thinking how every dollar can be put to work to make three dollars?

Most importantly: Are you actively soliciting the input of your whole team about whether or not that dollar needs to be spent? Could it be spent in a different way? As a small business owner, you might be coaching a small team — and a small team is sometimes the toughest source to hear criticism from. Are you open to that kind of feedback? Because as one person said a long time ago: I only know what I know. And that’s a scary thing.

You have all these brilliant people that you’ve hired. These employees could know, understand, and have insights that could positively impact your bottom line in ways that you’ve never even imagined! You’re already investing in them in the payroll. Why not tap into their brilliance about what they know? And how money could be invested as a return in your business? Your money should be working for you. Your team has ideas for how. Ask them.

And if you really want to take your leadership skills to the next level, download our free book on employee engagement.

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An Executive’s Perspective On Employees

For most businesses and companies, their greatest investment year in and year out is in their payroll. If you’re like most business owners, you think of that payroll and see those people as a cost.

The way we use the word ‘cost’ immediately has a negative connotation. We see these people as what they’re not doing, or being, or delivering for us; we might even see them as a potential liability down the road. So we’re always looking at payroll as a problem. But the conflict arises when we realize: without them, we cannot achieve our hopes, dreams or aspirations for our business! So today I challenge you with a different way of thinking about your employees: What if you thought of your employees like any other investment?

Think about it. If you bought a commercial building, well, before you ever signed the paperwork you’d already have calculated the return. Wouldn’t you? You’d anticipate and be actively looking for ways to increase the return on that investment, every day, all the time. So my thought for you to ponder on this subject is: Why aren’t you doing that with your employees right now?

If you did that, and had a simple, systematic way to adjust how you thought about them — so you could see your employees as an investment instead of a cost — what would that be worth to you in profit, in peace of mind, and for the culture of your company, over the next three years? Want to make a game plan?

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time management

Your Business’s Greatest Asset

For every business owner, down to a man, the greatest scarcity in their life is time. Every day ends with a longer to do list then the day before! This becomes a spiraling source of stress event that gets worse and worse — every day, every week, every month, every year. Once the business grows and becomes more successful, this problem actually accelerates!

So how can we get back control of time in our business?

The first thing to do is to recognize that time is our single most valuable asset. It’s more important than money, than product or service, than our customers and even our employees — because, the truth is, we can always get more of all that other stuff. But no one can ever get more time. So the question becomes: Are we really looking at time as an investment, like everything else in our business? Or are we ignoring it?

For 99% of CEOs, leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs, they’ve never given this much thought. Which means it becomes a bigger and bigger stress and problem. Very few leaders think of time the way you’d think of an annual budget, or consider it the way you’d consider how you’re going to scale employees, or discuss it the way you’d discuss improving your product or service. Which means in our Portland business coaching programs, we see time and time again the same thing: the entrepreneur who might have a successful business, but who also has a mounting feeling of time stress — there’s burnout, there’s frustration, it shows up in poor relationship with employees, it even follows you home at night to your family and children! Whether you realize it or not, in your heart and soul there’s a clock ticking — and this clock stops for no business.

SO: What we love to talk about in our coaching is this: look at time as a tool. Actually think about it, plan for it, and ask the right questions. Start seeing time as the greatest asset in your business, instead of the biggest problem.

How you invest your time will decide the success or failure of your business five years from today. I’m giving some away for free right now — so click here if you want some support.

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millennials, portland business coach

Working With Millennials

Last week we talked about supporting your employees’ dreams outside of work. One of the biggest demographics driving this trend is millennials; here in Portland, where we do our business coaching, millennials make up a huge percentage of the workforce. Companies often complain about this group, about how they care more about their own life purpose than their loyalty to the company. That might be true, but I can’t help thinking that it’s incredibly narrow-minded and foolish to complain about this. It’s is a good thing! I WANT my employees to be driven! I want to find out what they want to do, and I want to make sure they feel connected to that dream! When my employees are driven by a purpose, that’s when they’re doing their best work. When they’re driven by a purpose, I don’t have to try and motivate or threaten or micromanage them, which I never want to do. I’m busy; I have a company to run. They should want to be there, which they only ever will be if it’s connected to their purpose.

Companies complain that millennials are transient, but that trend’s not going away anytime soon. Why not leverage it, instead of whine about it? When your employees leave your company, remember: they’re either going to be a raving fan or a block to your sales. I want to build that tribe of raving fans. Is this employee going to be sending you customers for years to come, proudly proclaiming how much they loved working for you? Or are they going to tell everyone and their mom to avoid your product at all costs? Your relationship doesn’t stop the day they get their last paycheck.

The lifetime value of an employee after they leave is an unknown factor to most business owners, but it should be something you put in your ROI equation. Before you even hire anyone, you should be asking: When this person leaves, can I make them a raving fan? If you can’t make them a raving fan, don’t even hire them. Have a game plan in place before their first day of work. Trust me, if you don’t have a plan, it will end negatively — with hurt feelings and bad reviews. How many people will they tell that story to?! But if you’ve intentionally set up a game plan, you’ll be stoked that they’re leaving. You’ll be thrilled to have a transient disciple headed out into the world.

If you want to learn more about how to build a tribe of raving fans, click here.

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dream employee; executive coaching

How To Make Your Dream Employee

When we do executive coaching, it’s clear that every CEO, business owner, or entrepreneur comes to us with the dream to build something. That’s the mission that drives companies from a kitchen table to a billion-dollar empire. Unfortunately, there’s one thing almost everyone forgets. It’s the reason why disengagement is up to 80% and turnover is the highest it’s been in decades: We forget that our companies are made up of people.

Each of those people has a dream, right? Everyone has hopes outside of work. But those hopes and dreams are often seen as liabilities to mitigate instead of assets to leverage. But think about this: If I could connect my job in accounting with my dream of learning to ski, how much more would I put into my job? If I knew my company was supportive of my dreams, how much more committed would I be to that company?

We train business owners to ask the question: What are your hopes, dreams, and aspirations? Tell your employees, show them, that you actually care about this. It’s not about spending money, although if there’s budget for it that investment can go a long way — it’s about showing support. When they run that marathon, maybe you make a fun video about it and send that out to customers and employees to celebrate their accomplishment. Show them that you want to celebrate with them, because you care about their dreams.

This isn’t just about being nice. When people are in the process of achieving their dreams, that’s where real productivity happens — that’s where growth and creativity and connection happens. A bonus can’t do that! A bonus can’t motivate your employees longer than a week. A bonus can’t drive connection amongst your team. As an employer, you can’t compete in this world anymore with just a paycheck. Employees want to live for a purpose, and if you can help give that to them you’ll have the most motivated team of employees you could dream of. There’s nothing like purpose to drive your team towards real productivity and customer connection.

Everyone has to live and work in their own greatness. If you can harness and build that up, you can make a huge impact on your team — and together, you’ll have an even bigger impact on the world.

Want to read more about building your employee engagement? Download our free e-book with tips from experts across every industry, for free. 

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leadership training

Tips For The Introverted Manager

Last week, we talked about the Walkabout that we teach in our leadership training. For the introverted manager, talking with everyone in one day might seem overwhelming. But consider this: with training in the Walkabout, you’ll always know exactly what you’re going to say. You won’t have to stress about coming up with conversation topics, because it’s all about asking only two questions:  What’s going on in your life? And have you noticed or learned anything interesting that can help the company succeed? It’s interest — and feedback.

Introverts can also thrive in the one-on one nature of a Walkabout – these check-ins aren’t before a group of hot shots talking over each other. That defeats the purpose. This is ONE on ONE. It’s having a conversation individually, looking your employee in the eye, letting them know you care.

Most introverted managers, once they learn this, can finally rest — you don’t have to be everything to everyone, after all. It’s just about a little interest, and a little feedback. Once you practice this, it will become second nature; you’ll be starting each day in a way that’s respectful to other employees. You’ll be creating a culture of respect in your company. Once that happens, the product or service will be dramatically improved.

At the end of the day, every business is just a group of people trying to provide a product or service to the world. It’s not a thing you develop; it’s a group of people working together to create value in the marketplace today. If you can’t do that, you don’t have a business.

Are you an introverted manager? Schedule a free consultation with me to maximize your unique management strategies. 

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manager meetings, employee engagement

What Every Manager Should Be Doing Every Day

Consider adding this one habit to your day, and watch your employee engagement explode.

We call it the Walkabout. Make it a daily habit to go and individually connect with every single person on your team. Yes, every single day. Whether it’s over a video chat, or the more traditional ‘water cooler’ talk, make time to speak individually with every member of your team, every day. During this conversation, make sure to do two things: 1) Ask them something about their life outside of work. 3) Ask them if they have any feedback for the company, any ideas or issues they’ve come across in their work.

This is how we train our business leaders to start each day, and it’s essential. Your team needs to know you’re there for them; they need to feel known. Because, if you really think about it, who is your company’s most important customer? It’s not the one who’s paying with their dollars — it’s the people who are paying with their time. Your employees! They spend more time with your product or service, know more about your history and background, than any paying customer ever will. And yet, for some reason, most business owners give their employees the least amount of actual interaction. Most people don’t do the Walkabout regularly, and it’s an incredible untapped asset. Instead, we go to work and don’t think about anyone else. If Sally’s got her job in accounting, well, that doesn’t have anything to do with me! We forget they’re human. The number one need we have as humans is to be heard and be known; if you want engaged employees, you have to meet that need.

These check-ins don’t have to be an hour-long scheduled meeting; it’s a casual few minutes, a spur-of-the-moment conversation. It’s not about checking off a list, it’s about intentionally saying, “I care about you. I want to know what you know. I want to listen to you.” After all, isn’t that how you want these folks to treat your customers?  If we want to have great relationships with our customers, it has to start with our employees. Model the culture for how you want your clients to be treated.

This may sound simple, but it can have profound results.

Want more tips on building employee engagement? Download this free ebook, full of tips from all the experts.

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