Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recession Depression? Try Hypnosis!

Rachmaninov was in such a funk after his first symphony was savaged by the critics (he was 24 yrs old - and no, that is not him in our picture) that he couldn’t compose for two years.

Then, according to Linda Mack of Andrews University, friends connected him with a psychologist called Dr Nikolai Dahl who tried to restore his self-confidence through hypnosis.

In a dark room, the doctor would repeat over and over such phrases as “You will begin your concerto…you will work with great facility…the concerto will be of excellent quality.”

The treatment was a success and the resulting 2nd Piano Concerto was a resounding triumph, and is still one of his most popular pieces. It is dedicated to the good Dr Dahl.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Coaching: "I laughed, I cried."

When I start working with a new coaching client I send them a questionnaire to answer before our first session. It gets the juices flowing and helps us to hit the ground running.

The questions are pretty challenging - designed to make you think. A new client this week sent me this along with his answers: "I laughed and I cried answering your questions. Thank you."

Wow - that is a wonderful response. I love my work!

Our clients tell us...

"I don’t know what Pollock said to (my Exec. Creative Director and my Head of Production) but now they’re managing their work a whole lot better. I thought I was going to have to let them go – but thanks to this we are picking up business again."

"Michael (Pollock) has a very strong ability to focus deeply on a company and draw out important, often overlooked, issues. Michael has been instrumental in helping us clearly define goals and working towards achieving them."

"This (coaching) was a terrific experience ... Thank you for your creativity, honesty, and insightfulness. You're easy to open up to. I never felt judged. You were always prepared and able to quote things I had said 2 sessions before. It's invaluable as a human being to be listened to on that level, and incredibly empowering as a businessman."

"I said good things about you to your face and I'll say them behind your back as well. I thought you navigated a potentially difficult internal political situation at our company very well (difficult because of the self-perception differences between the partners), advertised your services accurately and delivered an analysis that is relevant, clear and integral to creating forward movement."

"Your support and wisdom have already improved our business, and we're looking forward to continuing the collaboration."

Executive Coaching for your Firm's Creative Professionals

Experienced and Effective
Michael Pollock, President of Pollock Spark, has helped many talented creatives in advertising, film, and design firms to deal more effectively with clients, become more strategic, reduce derailing behaviors and build stronger teams. He has built departments at TBWA, JWT and Digitas, so he has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by people in creative businesses.

Specializing in Creative Professionals

Pollock Spark only works with creative businesses. Creative professionals are hungry for what coaching can do, but they say: “The coaches I’ve had didn’t understand me. They may be good for bankers, but they don’t work for me.”

To coach creative people successfully takes someone who really “gets them”. Relationships are particularly fragile, due largely to the lack of absolute success metrics. Success is often based on the taste or opinions of a supervisor or client. This leads to high levels of insecurity, often fostered by similarly insecure managers. Coaching can be invaluable in helping manage these challenges so they can focus on the creative work they are so good at.

Executive Coaching Leads to Sustainable Growth and Change

o “Studies show business coaching and executive coaching to be the most effective means for achieving sustainable growth, change and development in the individual, group and organization.” HR Monthly

o A survey of Fortune 1000 clients found the return on investment for coaching services over a 6-12 month period:
• Monetary return was 6 times the coaching investment
• 71% improved relationships with their bosses
• 77% reported improved relationships with their direct reports

Adventures for all!

I met a wonderful PR person last week. We had a spirited conversation about her business and mine and the possibilities and opportunities. And the next day she sent me an email that said "Thanks for making it all an adventure."

Well why not? Every day should be an adventure, otherwise what's the point? I hope yours are.

"Polish here, Shine there." Huh?

A good friend and marketing colleague used an expression I was not familiar with: "Polish here, Shine there" she said as if everyone knew what she meant.

Here's what that's about: You are doing your thing - working it as hard as you can, but often the results can show up where you least expect them. So you were polishing over here and the shine came out over there. Nonetheless you made it happen, didn't you.

I use this now to encourage us all to be putting effort into plans and schemes, into new products and outreach, whatever looks like it needs polishing.

And then we have to be alert to see where the shine comes out and be ready to take advantage of it even if it wasn't exactly what and where we expected it to be.

Phew - let's hear it for extended metaphors.

Are you Shovel-Ready?

We should all have some shovel-ready projects on deck for when things pick up. Yours could be a plan to make a hire, or to open a new business. It could be a new marketing push, or a new service offering. It could be all of these things.

Just have it ready to go. You will know when the time is right. We all know that procrastination is easy - "when things get better I will figure out what to do" you say - but procrastination is a false friend. And having something exciting to plot will make these dreary weeks pass in a flash. And as I just heard from the dean of NYs Angel Investor community at a NY:MIEG event, "right now it is infinitely cheaper to start a new company."

We are unlikely to leap from the recession straight into a boom, so when credit and spending do start, there will be intense competition. So be there and be ready, with your metaphorical shovel in your hand.