What is Success?

November 5, 2010

How do we move from where we are to where we want to be?

How do we know that where we want to be is where we should be?

And if it is not, what do we do then?

Are we hiding from who we are because we fear the consequences of being who we are?

Do we even know who we are?

Are we afraid of the work that is going to be required to become who we are?

And if we’ve been denying our self and know it, and can’t look in the mirror and do it anymore, how are we going to connect the dots between the person we are in the flesh and who we are to become?

How do we connect?

How do we persist against adversity?

How do we make our connection?

How do we change?

This is not about management; it is about surrendering to who we really are.

This is about becoming who we really are.

The answers to “how to do” something is all about technique.  “How to” can be learned.  The commitment has to be born and we have to birth it.

We achieve the outcome by seeing it before it is here, and walking, running, pushing, meditating, cajoling, fighting, driving, diving our way through our imagination to its reality.  And if we are doing that, if we are on that path, at that moment in time, we are successful.

Chuck Markham



Independent Business People

October 21, 2010

Independent businesses contribute tremendous value.

The environment required in order for us to continue being able to do that is threatened every day – threatened by government and by big business.  We need level the playing field so that we are able to reach the public with our message and provide our products and services and show and tell and do what we do best: provide quality service and products at a great value.

What are you doing to elevate the visibility and educate the public of the value of the independent business person?





Often times when people see me that haven’t seen me in a while, they say, “hey, Chuck, you look great! What have you been doing?”  Not wanting to bore people who have know interest, I simply say, “I’ve been on a diet.”

Frequently, the response is something like, “diets don’t work for me, I find that if I just eat a balanced diet, that is the best thing.”  My judgment of their statement, for them, honestly, is based upon my unspoken value judgment of how it seems to be work for them.  One guy in my neighborhood has not only lost weight and kept it off with the, “just eat a balanced diet and walk a lot,” diet.  That is great for him, and frankly, he is a power of example for me.  But, he is not an example of what I can do.  Because, what I know to be true is that for 25 years I tried the eat balanced and walk a lot diet and failed miserably on all counts.  So, it has been necessary for me to eat an imbalanced diet that has as its primary goal, the loss of fat.  That is just what I’ve had to do.

This is something I blog about, because one of the judgmental voices in my head is – “oh come on Chuck, what’s the big deal, why don’t you just man up, eat balanced and walk a lot,” and I’m writing this to remind me that I tried that for a very long time and it was something I personally was not able to be successful at doing.

Interestingly enough, now that I have been successful at knocking off some pounds, I’m becoming more successful at walking a lot and have thrown swimming in there of late as well.  In fact, my increased activity may be accounting for some of the slowdown in my weight loss as muscle starts to form.

The answer for me, once the diet ends, is going to be another lifetime program – such as the Zone diet or something that the nutritionist creates for me because left to my own devices, I must admit, I really don’t make great food choices!!




In April, when my weight loss started, until the middle of August, it was a sprint.  Boom, boom, boom – the weight came off.  Sure there were a few issues (constipation, for instance) but I felt energetic and the diet was working.  Then came a week when my weight didn’t go down.  Let me just tell you, there is the money I’m spending on the diet, the time the … and the internal chatter begins:  The next week, up another ¾ of a pound.

During the previous week, I’d already made some obvious changes that pertain to my specific diet that may have been pushing the envelope.  Now it was time to take a look at some of the other areas where I thought things were okay but in fact were not ok.  For instance, the issue of constipation needed to be dealt with.  This blog is not intended to be a medical blog and what I do may not work for anyone else, so I won’t get into specifics, but suffice it to say that I consulted a nutritionist about that.  Over the weekend was a wedding with lots of my favorite foods.  That presented challenges.  And then Saturday night we went out and the salad I ordered came different than I thought it was going to.

All of the sudden, this sprint is turning into a Marathon.  Today, I feel like I’m settling into the Marathon stride.  It is really testing a muscle of mine that needs to be tested. I’m a person with infinite interests, my mind is like a flywheel, spinning from one thought to the next.  In the type of work I do, counseling and coaching, every hour is a different set of issues.  This requires staying power.




This was the first week since I started the diet that I didn’t lose weight.
It’s amazing how fast the negative chatter comes back. It’s not even that it comes back. It is just there. “See, you can’t do it. This isn’t going to work. Who are you trying to fool? “
Who are these people living in my head and where do they come from? More importantly, how do I get rid of them?
They are me.
Fortunately, there is a me that is not a basket case. There is a me that said, calmly, “okay; did I do this week that was different. I was eating sardines and sauerkraut this week at the suggestion of the guy at the local health food store. I got the sardines in Olive oil. Upon speaking to Dr. Cunic’s office, they suggested I get them in Water. Duh. Okay. That is one thing. The other thing is that I didn’t walk as much and lastly: most weeks I go out one night and have prime rib. This week I went out twice. This week: nix the olive oil soaked sardines, walk more and I don’t know about the sauerkraut.



The weight that I’ve carried is the accumulation of frustrated nights standing alone in front of the fridge eating a pint of ice cream while I figured out what to eat, of comforting moments away from my worries in restaurants where they treat me like a a patron instead of the escape artist I am.  It is the accumulation of emotion, of tragedy that my life has known, and the fears that never happened, of my broken heart and the hearts I have broken. Meals have validated my exaggerated sense of self and buried my low self worth.  My weight has been a burden but it has also saved me from feeling my pain.  Finally, however, the joy my weight has kept me from, outweighed (literally) the pain it kept at bay.  My fear is that it will be back, my faith is in a vision of a better self that takes care.  It is the faith I plan to feed and let the fear slip into entropy and fade, fade, fade away.



Weight Loss, An Analogy

August 19, 2010

A little over sixteen weeks ago I weighed almost 212 pounds. Today, I weigh about 171.  My goal is 150.  I’m 2/3rds of my way there.  When people ask, “how long it has taken,” I say that I’ve been on this diet for about sixteen weeks, but I’ve been trying for twenty-four years.  What has made it so hard?  Is it the right diet? Or exercise?  These technical facts cannot be ignored, but truth be told, in the last twenty-four years I’ve read, studied and even tried many different regiments, some of which have worked for countless others.  They did not work for me.

I think the biggest challenge for me is that twenty-five years ago I went on a diet, it worked, and I gained the weight back so fast I barely had time to go out and replace my wardrobe. The resulting sense of failure and frustration has been a hard mountain to overcome.

What finally moved me forward occurred last Christmas Eve.  The number 212 seems to play an important role in all of this because this past Christmas Eve I was hospitalized with blood pressure of 212 on fears of a stroke.  One could reasonably expect that my dear wife would have been sympathetic to my plight, but as I lay in the hospital bed with tubes poked in my veins, I could tell that she was really pissed.  To my wife, the type “A” attorney that she is, being pissed is her way of dealing with fear.  She was angry that I’d let this go on so long, had not taken care of my self and she was afraid I was going to die.  The anger was what she was willing to show.

I looked at my 9 year old, whose Christmas was being disrupted and the concern in my 24 year old daughter’s eyes.  I want to see more of their life than I was on a trajectory to do.  I want my wife to know that I would do anything for her.  Neither of those things were happening at the moment.

I wish it hadn’t have taken all of this to get me to act, but, the fact is, it did.

Two-thirds of my way to my goal weight, I’m recognizing that many challenges that I have in my life bear a striking resemblance to my issues with weight.  Most all of the issues I have, are deeply ingrained, of long standing to the point that I’ve almost come to accept them as normal.  I just accepted that I was over-weight.  I’d come just say, this is who I am.

Twenty-nine years ago, I stopped drinking.  At age 26, I had, God willing, my last drink.  There had been times when I looked in the mirror of the bar, or above the sink in the Men’s room, and stared into my drunken face and said, “You are just a drunk.  This is who you are.”

For generations, deep into my family tree and broad into every member of the family to which I was born, alcoholism reigned.  I said to myself, “I’m just a drunk and this is just who I am.”

On a hot July morning, in 1981, I woke – or came to would be a better description – and saw my wife curled up in a fetal position in the corner of the bed.  I was never blessed with black outs.  Like a puzzle, shaken up inside my head, events of the night before came tumbling out to me, one piece at a time.  The most humiliating pieces of the night came first, sending a cringe up my spine.  The cringes came in waves.  I reached out to her and she flinched.  The night had been a nightmare to her.  Often she’d seen me stumble in drunk, but never had she seen the process of me deteriorate through the night, from jolly, to boisterous, to humiliating and humiliated to ranting, to giving up and collapsing.

That morning, I sought help, 29 years ago.  There wasn’t much about that night that was different than hundreds of other nights.  But, the combination of things and feelings brought me to my knees.  That was much like Christmas Eve and missing Christmas morning with my family.

As I look forward, from the vantage point of where I am now, in my life and business, I want to change without such extreme circumstance.

Weight is what I’ve carried and it is what I am shedding.  As I shed it, I also want to shed everything that it represents and to do it in a transparent way so that others may understand it for all that it is, and grow from it in every way that I can.




At a networking event, a real estate lawyer and another person were talking.

“I was thinking about investing in homes in foreclosure or underwater with their mortgage … you know; try to figure out a way to make some money out of this tough economic environment.”

The attorney responded, “The problem is …” and proceeded to put the person to whom he was talking to asleep with an astute legal description of all the associated legal issues.

I inserted myself into the conversation and asked the real estate lawyer if he knew of a realtor who would know how to help a client navigate these difficult waters.

“Oh, sure,” he said.

“Who is it?”

He told me.

Being as that we were in a networking situation and they know me as a coach, I asked them if they minded if I rewound their conversation and demonstrated what a good networking conversation would look like.  They agreed.

So, the first guy repeated what he was looking for.

I pretended to be the lawyer and said, “I know a great real estate agent that can help you with that, would you like to talk with him/her?”

That is a conversation that might actually result in business which is the business of networking.  Networking and whatever you do for a living are two different skills.  When entering a networking environment, remember, this is not the place to demonstrate everything you know, but rather, the place to connect and help other do the same.

Coach Chuck



Networking, for the most part, needs to be fun.  The stiff lipped amongst may ask, “Why does it need to be fun?”

Simply put, networking is about making personal connection and we are the most ready, willing and able to make that personal connection when we are having fun.

So, if there is something you love or enjoy very much (such as antiquing, motorcycling, quilting, private aviation, art, fine wines, religious and philanthropic activities) and if the demographics of the other people that enjoy those activities fit the profile of your prospective client, get more involved and have more fun.  Obviously, this is a group where your networking will consist more of simply showing up, being an active high profile participant and finding some way of letting it be known what you do.  This is not an area where others would appreciate being marketed to in a direct way, because, like you, this is where they come to relax.  But, over the long term, being a valued member of this social group and letting them know what you do and that you are always open to referrals, is often a great way to build a high quality network.

When you meet others in your social groups that are interested in building their network, be helpful to them in their endeavors.  This creates a networking friendly atmosphere with the primary focus on Fun.  And when we are having fun, personal connections are easy to make.

Coach Chuck



Effective networking is a process that combines formal or structured networking with informal networking, along with your own commitment to be a part of other peoples’ sales team.  Nothing illustrates this more than the following example.

I walk into my favorite coffee shop, Longfellow’s in Jefferson, New Jersey:

Bruce the Owner says, “hi Chuck,” as he goes to make my usual black decaf and says, “I’d like you to meet Jerry,” (An informal contact) who was standing with his fresh cup of coffee.

“Hi, Jerry,” I reach out to shake his hand, “and, what is it that you do?”

Jerry proceeds to tell me that he has a business where he will help negotiate municipal offences and the client doesn’t pay unless Jerry saves them money on the fines. (gerald.vadas@cjviolations.net).

I was very excited to meet him, because two days previous I’d had a formal networking meeting with Julie Ann Woods from my BNI group that meets at the Marriott on Route 10 in New Jersey each Wednesday morning at 7 AM.  Julie Woods (Julie.woods@sprint.com) represents a product that lets fleet owners know where their vehicles are and everything about what they are doing.

Without skipping a beat, I said, “I’ve got some one you have got to meet,” and had my cell phone out and Julie’s number dialed before I introduced myself.

The connection between these two has great potential.

One of the really joyous things about networking is that I was just as excited about connecting the two of them as I would be about one of them referring to me.  They know that.  They will be on the look out for ways to refer me.  I know that.

Coach Chuck



Networking is how we develop a sales team through the process of personal connections, by building purposeful relationships.  To be an effective networker, we are just as committed to being on other peoples’ sales teams as we are in building our own. That means.  That means we listen to, pay attention to and focus on what other people need.  That is how the personal connection is made.

If we actually listen to some one, we may be the only person that day, or for some people, much longer, who have actually paid attention to what they are saying.  Further, in this age of e-mail, junk mail, pay per click, twitter, digital billboard, we all have the experience of a never ending supply of people trying to extract something from us.  What a breath of fresh air it is when some one actually wants to help.  If they do the same for you, then there is a possibility that a real relationship can be formed.

Coach Chuck




In networking, you goal is to:

  1. Meet prospective referral sources and develop a contact sphere
  2. To meet prospective clients.*

In a networking environment where people meet on a regular basis you might walk up to Mary and say, “Mary, when you were talking, you mentioned that you are a business attorney.  As you know I am a business coach.  When you said that you like to approach issues in (and then you paraphrase something she said) that resonated with me.  I think you and I think about business in the same way.  Maybe we could help each other get business, what do you think?”  If the networking environment is one where you don’t know the people you are sharing the room with, it becomes very key to you develop questions that help you to quickly establish whether the person you are speaking with is a prospective client, referral source or neither.

If you get a positive response, set up a time to either meet or talk on the phone to follow-up further.

If you are a business attorney, for example, and you heard some one say something about their business partner, you might say:  “I heard you mention something about your partner.  I’ve worked extensively with partnerships … I’d like to meet with you to see if there are ways I could be helpful to you.  Would you like that?”

If the response is positive, make arrangements and move on.

This type of approach works well because it sets the table for when you do meet, as to what the meeting is about.

Meet in a way that is comfortable, where both feel free to talk.  This is information gathering.  Whether this is a meeting with a prospective client or a referral source, this meeting is all about listening to their issues to see if you can help.  While the meeting has a high level of comfort, there should also be a structure.  After listening to their situation, this is when you have an opportunity to say something to the effect of, “this is how I see it….” and then let them know that you have heard, digested and interpreted what they had to say.  And follow up with, “this is how I think I could be of help,” and then describe in broad strokes, without giving away the store, what you would do.  If this is a prospective referral source, you might give an example of how you would refer them and then say, “Likewise, with me, you might say …” and then give an example of how you can be referred.  If this is a prospective client, after you have said how you might be able to help them, you simply ask, “How does that sound to you?”  This is one of many times when shutting your mouth and letting the other person speak first is key.  If they say they like the idea, say something to close the deal, such as, “my retainer for this would be X and you would be billed at Y per hour.  Are you ready to get started?”  Another approach is to ask if they have questions about your services and how they work.  This is where they will often ask about pricing.  In either case, this is another moment when silence is important.  Let them work it out for themselves.  This is not a hard sell.  This is one in which the prospective client has articulated their issue, you have offered a solution and it is up to the prospective client to think it through and say what they want


Whatever the outcome of this discussion, you will want to decide what kind of follow-up, if any, you want to have with this individual.  If it is a referral source, my suggestion would be to suggest that two of you touch base in no more than two weeks.  At that time, you will discuss any opportunities that have arisen to refer the other person, how it went and how it might be improved.  Continue this process and a great power team will be created.  If it is with the prospective client, the follow up will be about getting started working together or whatever your business proposition happens to be.

You should always know your conversion rates.  How many prospective clients come out of how many hours of networking?  This will help you evaluate the value of a given networking venue and/or the value of your networking abilities. What is your conversion rate of prospective clients into clients?  This will help you understand your effectiveness when you meet prospective clients.  Likewise with referral sources, it is very important to track where your clients come from to know which of your referral sources are the most valuable.  Certainly it is important to cultivate new referral sources, but it is more important to maintain and improve current good ones.  Just like it is much cheaper to keep a current client happy than it is to get a new client, the same thing applies to referral sources.

In summary, early in the networking process you quickly determine if there is a connection and what the nature of that connection is.  If there is, you let the other person know what the possible connection is you see and that you’d like to meet them and explore it further.  When you meet, you listen until the person has really had a chance to fully express themselves and then let them know that you were listening by saying back to them what you heard and what you think the most important issues are.  You offer a solution and see if they want to continue.  Decide if there is going to be a follow up.  If so, schedule the follow up and describe what you hope to accomplish in that follow up meeting.

This is a manner of networking that has the potential of yielding great results.

*See previous blog, “What is the Purpose of Networking?”

Coach Chuck



Why Do We Network?

July 22, 2010

The purpose of networking can be broken down into two categories:

  1. Meet and arranging follow-up with prospective clients.
  2. Meet and arranging to follow-up with prospective referral sources.

A great referral relationship is created when people meet the same clients in a noncompetitive way and feel comfortable referring them to each other. Ex:  A CPA meets with business owners on a regular basis.  I am a business coach.  I don’t do accounting work.  The CPA doesn’t do Coaching.  This has the potential of being a great referral relationship.

The success or lack thereof of each networking event is measured in the quality and quantity of prospective clients and prospective referral sources that are obtained in the event.

Coach Chuck




Whether we follow our gut or a well structured plan actually depends upon how well we have practiced successfully what we have a hunch about.  If we have successfully gotten the result we want in something we have a hunch to do, then there is a good chance that following our “gut” is a good idea.  What we are actually following here, however, is muscle memory.  We are following a well structured plan that we have practiced so much it has become a hunch.

Even in cases where we have had great success, however, the caveat to following our hunch is to be observant of reality.  One guy had a great investment strategy that had worked well for him. Then, he bought six stocks in a row that went against him.  He became stubborn because of his previous success and did not recognize that the experience he was having with the six bad trades, was a foreshadowing of a changed market.  Consequently, he lost a lot of money.  So, no matter how good we have been, be open to reevaluating the facts in light of new information.

In summary, if you are in the zone, stay in the zone, but when results begin to vary, adjust quickly, let go of the hunch to move on to something new or different.

Coach Chuck


Business Coach Chuck @ 973-670-7215

It’s a Family Busiess

July 18, 2010

The challenges of running a business are huge. They inspire us in ways that we didn’t know they could. Imagine, if you will, these challenges, and then add family to the stew!! Sometimes it is a wonderful stew and some times it is a witches brew.

When I asked a prospective client why she called me, she said, “It’s my employees” she said, “they act like children.”

Two of the employees, I discovered, were her chilvdren. They were key managers. They were acting like children because they were her children. The ones that weren’t her children were working for her children. They patterned themselves after their boss, her children. Later, I observed that not only did they act like her children in the workplace, but, indeed, she acted like their mother. Statements among the three of them were like, “I feel betrayed.” “That is just childish.” This is not exactly the kind of language you’d expect to hear between a boss and an employee. Boss employee language might be something like, “you did not give the support in this situation we had agreed upon,” or, “you did not perform this task correctly.” The language was personal rather than professional.

The approach that has the potential of solving the business problem while supporting the family involves attention to both the business and personal. It involves recognizing that while business and personal in the family should be different, that is not always the case.

Acknowledging this reality results in the potential for a more profitable business and a happier Family.

How this is done is as different as families and businesses are different, but it is what Business Coach Chuck does.

Coach Chuck


Business Coach Chuck @ 973-670-7215

A happy family is 80% support and 20% accountability.

A successful business is 80% accountability and 20% support.

In other words, in a happy family, if a family member has a bad day, home is a place to retreat, renew, refresh and be loved regardless.  In a successful business, if a member has a bad day, week, quarter or year – we want to know why and how is that going to be different next time.  In a healthy family, a reasonable dose of accountability keeps us from enabling self-defeating behavior.  In a successful business – there is enough support to let the individual know that they have a team behind them.  It’s the proportion of one to the other that distinguishes the personal from the professional.

When these proportions get altered significantly, dysfunction erupts.  If one feels like home is too demanding, then joy leaves one’s life while if the work place gets “too understanding” of failure then, well, failure results.

No wonder then that family businesses are often such treacherous places.  Without clear distinctions between work and home, families and or their business can fall into disarray.

The same thing is often true of small businesses, where relationships within the business may begin more personal than business.

Working with families and small businesses to create healthier relationships for happier personal lives and more successful businesses is a very high priority with Coach Chuck.

Coach Chuck



Business Coach Chuck @ 973-670-7215

Golf and Bagger Vance

July 14, 2010

What do God, Golf and Bagger Vance have in common.  First of all, Everything.  But now, let me break it down a little bit. In Both Golf and Business, people on the outside don’t get it.  They don’t get that in each of these endeavors we are constantly called upon to reach deep inside ourselves – usually when no body is looking, like when the ball is in the rough or the woods or on the other side of the fairway – and asks, “whach-ya-gonna-do-now, huh?”  and then we can do the right thing or the wrong thing.  The thing about golf, and the thing about business, is that when we do the right thing – regardless of outcome – the result is joy. It just feels so good to do it Right – oh yeah!!  Joy, joy, joy is the spirit of God.  God could give a rat’s a…, err uh, God could care less about Business or Golf.  But God – and just for the record, I don’t care who or what your God is – God cares ALOT about reaching deep, doing the right thing and feeling it, feeling that joy.  Am I ready for Sunday morning TV or what! at Coach Chuck’s Church of the 1st Tee … I’ll see you at the clubhouse.

There is no book that captures the spirit of golf like The Legend of Bagger Vance.  Golf is a game of mind, it is a game of our integrity, of our past, of what everyone thinks of us.  And ultimately, is a game that asks, “can we just let go of everything, everything that is, or ever was, and hit the damn ball the way it needs to be hit?” And its not about thinking it.  Its just about doing it. The caveat is you go through all the other stuff first, until you find yourself alone with the ball.   Its you, yourself and doing the right thing – with nobody looking. What are you going to do?  Bagger Vance: the book, the real deal, about the game of golf.



Coach Chuck973-670-7215

When involved in a business transition, the business owner typically focuses on:

  • What’s the bottom line?
  • Cut to the chase – what are the numbers?

Unless the transition that we are talking about is the sale of the business, for which the owner is going to get cash, the bottom line is only one snapshot in a dynamic moment in time.  “The Bottom Line,” that which we tend to be hardnosed about, is the result of everything that is done and market conditions and all kinds of “The Soft Side” of business.

Business transitions are as simple as moving from one business season to the next and as complex as purchasing a business to merge with an ongoing business.  A Business transition may be creating sales oriented staff from a group that is currently task oriented.  A transition may be selling the business wherein the owner is going to get paid over time or buying a business where you are going to pay over time.  A transition is any change in business.  When there is a change there is a transition.  The one thing we can rely upon is change.  Therefore, transition is part of business.  The more that transition is built into the business, the faster reaction time the business can have.

So, what does a transition business coach do?  We get very clear about what the business owner wants to transition into.  We get very clear about what the reality of the situation is presently.  We get a handle on what is going to be required to make that transition.  What is going to need to be different?  Then we coach toward an assessment of the current staff, clients, market, vendors or who or whatever is relevant to that change. Included in this coaching process are the vision, mission and intention of the owner and key players.

The result will be a strengths and needs assessment along with a strategy and coaching toward implementation for the soft side of business transition.  Additionally, the foundation will be in place for the recognition of ongoing transition so that change, in the future will be an ongoing intentional part of business rather than being treated as a problem.

Cutting to the chase, the point of all of this is, of course, a better bottom line!!



Coach Chuck973-670-7215

What is a business coach?  What is the process and what could you expect were you to hire a business coach?  Frankly, that is a question that you are going to need to ask the individual coach.  There are many different backgrounds and educations for coaches.  Some have coaching accreditation.  As for myself, my educational background is in psychology and counseling.  This combined with my extensive business experience informs and has helped me to create an effective and individualized coaching strategy.

I have a masters in clinical psychology/counseling where I was educated in both the theory and the practice of assessing human behavior as well as how to aide people to achieve desired results.  My experience in mental health is very broad and is combined with 19 years business experience in the financial markets. The specific experience in mental health that informs my methods more than any others is experience is working with families.  The family is the basic social unit.  The dynamics that occur in families form the basic components of in the rest of our social life, especially in our work life.  Additionally, small businesses are often family owned.  Even if they are not family owned, the personal lives of the owners and the work life of these owners are inescapably entwined.

My coaching method would begin with an understanding of where you see yourself right now. This sounds simple enough and sometimes it is. Most of the time, however, it is not.  Were it simple you would not be seeking a business coach. Your business life does not stand in isolation from the rest of your life, so when we are assessing the starting point, we get a thorough understanding of the rich context of your current situation.

Next, we’d like to look at where you would like to end up.  This is broken down into a few areas.  First of all, we look at how you think things should be right now, but aren’t.  This is not long term at all.  In fact, you might be gasping for air right now and before any planning can be done, we need to address the current situation.  Dealing with current situation may or may not be a significant issue. It almost always takes longer than the business owner originally anticipates.  But, laying the foundation is key to moving forward.

From this foundation, a vision for the business has the where-with-all to emerge.  And, emerge it must. A vision is more than just figuring out what the business should do.  We dig deep.  Business is hard. Things happen.  Economy happens. Employees happen. All kinds of things happen.  Imagine coming home from the beach on a summer Sunday evening.  The traffic is insane.  Imagine it comes to a stop.  There has been a disaster.  No one is going anywhere.  What do you want to do then?  Most people at that point just want to get home.  I’ve never heard of any one in a situation like this simply saying, “Ah screw it!  Traffic is really bad.  I’m not going home.  That would be too hard?”  Can you imagine?

We attempt to tap into and encourage your organic and natural vision.  In order to get through the traffic jams of business life, your vision must be as certain to you as your home is.

And then, we look at the obstacles between now and your vision.  And then we devise strategies to succeed.

In actual practice, this is certainly not a straight line.  Each of the areas described above influences each of the other areas.  You are never completely in one stage or the other.

Something we are doing concurrently to the above process is graphically depicting your business pipeline.  How do customers find out about you?  How do you (Your business) and your client connect?  How is the client treated? What services or products do you provide the client?  How, exactly, is that done?  How do you get paid?  What happens to the money?

If you are providing a product, the same process is done with the product.

We come to understand the ratio requirements of each part of the pipeline to the other parts of the pipeline.  How do you generate revenues while at the same time meet new prospective clients?  This pipeline is a living, dynamic organism.  If you get twice the number of clients, it is not jus a matter of multiplying the rest of the pipeline by two.  Different methods of providing service need to be developed for differing volume numbers.  We don’t just manage the pipeline.  We inspire the pipeline. That is a matter of assessment and transformation all the time.

So, if you were to ask this coach, Coach Chuck, “what is a business coach and what might I expect form the business coaching process?”  You would get an answer similar to what I outlined above.



Coach Chuck


What are the things that you consider when deciding whether or not to go into a partnership?  A partnership should be among people that bring complementary strengths together that when combined are greater than the sum of the parts.  In other words, the two people, if working together with common goals, will achieve more than they could alone.

The key here is complementary strengths. Take two attorneys that practice different kinds of law who are always finding that they often refer the other attorney’s kind of law out to some one else.  This might be the basis of the two attorneys getting together to discuss a partnership.  Could the two together gather resources that would allow each more success in their chosen fields?  If yes, then the process then is to discover whether or not the partnership is a good fit.

A partnership, like a marriage, is a very comprehensive relationship.  Issues of trust, compatibility, shared vision, compatible work ethic and working styles are just as important as whether or not business complement exists.

Very often people will form a partnership based upon the personal issues of trust, compatibility, shared vision, work ethic and style without examining the actual business compliment elements.  Other times, people will form a partnership based upon business partnership without examining the more personal issues.  Either of these methods have a poor prognosis of success.

Strategic Partnerships however can be entered on a very limited basis.  For instance, the two attorneys above may decide that if they share office space and staff and agree to refer each other, without partnerships beyond that, may, in some circumstances, find greater success than trying to bring together a shared vision and so forth.  A Financial Planner and Personal fitness trainer may decide to run a workshop together addressing the needs of retirees, without any obligation to each other beyond the workshop.

When contemplating a partnership, consider the question: what makes us a partnership that is greater than what we would be on our own?  Further, ask if these accomplishments are greater than what could be accomplished through strategic agreements or partnerships, rather than a full-blown partnership.  If the answer to these point to partnership, then carefully consider your commitment of each partner to each of the other partners success and how that would change in good times and bad – to put another way, through sickness and health.



Coach Chuck


As a summary, partnerships are for those joining complementary strengths between compatible people with a shared vision.  This is truly a rare relationship. Strategic partnerships are like dates.  One can engage in strategic partnerships with a greater attitude of experimentations.

This article is about the first meeting after the networking event.  In other words, you were at a convention, BNI meeting or whatever, met some one with whom you thought there could be mutual benefit.  In order to learn how to get up this part you might want to read my article about how to meet people. For now, however, we assume you have met some one and are now meeting with them for the first time.

For the most part, I would suggest something very casual – such as breakfast or coffee in a premium coffee shop.  The idea here is to be at ease.  That is not a cash register in front of you: don’t make them feel like one.  Remember, they were at the same networking event that you were.  They were looking for something.  Make this about them.

  • “Why were you at ________?”  Or “What are you looking for?”

Be completely transparent.  There is nothing to hide here.  You are both business people in search of something.

Now, this is a tough one:

  • Listen.

Listen completely.

Be completely okay with not understanding what, exactly they are talking about.

  • “When you say ________, what, exactly does that mean?”

No one likes a know it all and most people like to talk about what they do know.  When you have really understood them and what they are looking for, stop and reflect.  Is there any way you can be helpful?  Perhaps there is another networking source you have met to whom you may refer them.  If there is, make the referral or suggestion.  If this seems to connect with the person, spend just a few minutes on how to make the connection.

Once the other person feels totally listened to and helped or at least been the recipient of your authentic concern, connect something they have talked about, in some way with what you do.  Remember, most people completely lose interest when it is not about them. Let’s say the person is an interior designer and you are a financial planner.  They say mentioned having spent summers as a youth with an aunt who owned an antique store.  You might say something like, “I was impressed by how you were so influenced by your aunt.  I was influenced with how poorly my parents planned their future!  I think that’s how I got into this field.”

  • Then give a very short version of your background as it pertains to what you do.
  • An even shorter version of what you do.

If they express curiosity or ask questions, answer with examples that are relevant to them.  For instance, with the interior designer, talking to them about what some VP of ABC corporation did is irrelevant, but if you can tell them a success story about a shop owner or some other independent businessperson with whom they can identify, then that will be helpful to them.

At this point, you have some choices – what you want is to either qualify them as potential clients or get a referral. What I do is combine those two into one and ask:

  • “Do you know anyone that might benefit from that?”

Maybe it is because I’m generally diligent up to this point, but for me, about 1/3 of those people say something like, “I might want to use your services.”  They become prospective clients.

What to do from here is subject for another article, but for me, about ½ of those people actually become clients.



Coach Chuck


How do you meet people and what do you do at an event where business people are gathered?  The following is something that is very natural and works for me.  It might work for you too.

  • Walk up, confidently, but in an unthreatening manner and say,  “Hi, I’m _____,” and then be quiet.
  • They will almost always say their name; sometimes they will say their name and whom they are with.  Let them say as much as they want to say.
  • Make an authentic, positive comment about the event.  If the speaker was terrible say – “it feels great to get up and walk around.”  If the speaker was great say, “That speaker really made a good point about such and such.”  Whatever:  make it positive.  Life is good in your world. That’s why other people are going to want to be in your world!
  • Pretty early on, ask, “So what do you do?”  Again, let them tell you as much as they want to tell you. Spend your time listening.
  • Decide if you think the relationship might be one that you might want to develop.  If not, say, “great to meet you, “ and move on. If yes:  ask one or two questions that invite brief clarity on the issue that you think might be of mutual benefit.  If, upon asking those one or two brief questions you still think that there might be a mutual benefit follow that up with something like
  • “That’s interesting, my focus is _________ and it seems like you and I might have something worth following up on in more detail, what do you think?
  • If they say yes, ask for their card, and ask if you could give them a call this ____ or ____.
  • Regardless of the answer, thank them and move on.



Coach Chuck


Maybe you already know: being good at what you
do and running a business are two different things.

If you don’t already know that, I’ll tell you:
being good at what you do and running a business are two different things.

If you already knew that, great. If you didn’t, now you do.

What do you do with that information?
There are many great systems on how to build a business.
Google “how to Run a business” and there are 323,000,000 listings. Many are very
good. Some are great. Intuit has great resources, the book E-myth is great.

But, how are YOU going to run a
business? In other words, let us assume that you find a good book
or program that teaches you how to create
a business,

How is the unique YOU, not some generic you,
but YOU, going to work this great plan? Most people in small
business that get to a suitable answer to this question, get there having been
beaten into submission by the grim facts of life that confront the business
owner that doesn’t build plan and do the plan.

Would you like to get there before the business beats
you into submission.


Maybe you already have been beaten into
submission and that is why you are reading this now.

This is what coaching is about. It is about you. It is about business
and getting you, the unique you, to build your business.

My coaching service is geared for you:

  • Results oriented
  • fairly priced
  • highly personalized

Whether you are ready to get off to a great start or ready to stop the pain
and really do it different this time, Coach chuck will coach you toward your



Coach Chuck


Take the Next Step to Your Picture of Success

Go To – www.businesscoachchuck.com.
– for details of Coach Chuck’s business coaching services and fees.

Take a Test Drive – Call now for your FREE 30-minute exploratory consultation –
Call 973-670-7215 and set up an appointment. There is never any pressure.

Or e-mail me –
. Please provide three dates and times
that would be a good time to call you. I will return the e-mail with a confirmed
appointment time.

The Business Pipeline

June 30, 2010

The definition of a successful business is a business that contributes significantly to the owner(s) happiness.

The reality:

  • Most business fail.
  • Most businesses that don’t fail create become weight on the back of the owner.

Owners often grow to hate the grueling treadmill their dream has become.
How does the business owner sidestep the grim reality that is the inside view of most small businesses? In the early stages and the middle stages of those who make it to the middle, the answer is, “when we get to (some pot of gold at the end of the rainbow) we are doing to do it right.” In the meantime, the attrition of hope and enthusiasm continues. It continues until the grim reality strikes that this monotonous grind is just going to continue and there is no pot at the end of the rainbow that is going to come along to allow them to “do it right.”

What is doing it right?

Doing it right is Visualizing your business as a Pipeline.

  • Reaching prospective customers/clients and then them becoming clients.
  • It involves the process of doing the business that you are in – be that providing product or service and all that entails.
  • It involves the profit, which is the back of the pipeline.

Define your pipeline precisely.

  • Define all of the tasks required in the pipeline, from start to finish.
  • Define exactly how you want each of those tasks performed.
  • Define exactly how the process of quality control.
  • Build rewards and consequences as part of the process.
  • Define how flexibility will be build into the process that is responsive to the market and to your vision.

When is a good time to do this?

  • Preferably before your doors every open.
  • But, if it is too late for that, then the best time is now.



Coach Chuck


Take the Next Step to Your Picture of SuccessGo To – http://www.businesscoachchuck.com/. – for details of Coach Chuck’s business coaching services and fees.Take a Test Drive – Call now for your FREE 30-minute exploratory consultation – Call 973-670-7215 and set up an appointment. There is never any pressure.Or e-mail me – chuck@businesscoachchuck.com. Please provide three dates and times that would be a good time to call you. I will return the e-mail with a confirmed appointment time.

©2007 Charles W. Markham MA. You may not copy, reproduce, post or forward this document in any format. For permission or joint venture opportunities contact Chuck Markham at chuck@businesscoachchuck.com.

“We are always successful.” – Maxwell Maltz

This means

  • we are successful at what we really see happening.

This means:

  • It is important to develop a vision rather than letting it happen.
  • Fear is our first reaction to change. The second reaction is our choice. Without activation of choice, fear, de facto, becomes vision.
  • We, with our powerful brain of our always have a vision.
  • Our brain knows where it is going.
  • The goal is to bring our whole self, including our brain, into alignment.
  • Bring your goals and your vision together.

If you want to make more money and to have a better relationship with your spouse and start the day knowing that things at work are a mess and old issues are suffocating your love life: it is going to be ugly.

On the other hand if you wake up knowing that today is going to be successful and that you have a loving relationship with another caring person, all kinds of doors will open. They may not be the ones you expect. Without the expectation of positive outcome the likelihood of seeing the open doors are remote and the likelihood of walking through them is remoter still.

Vision is the GPS (global positioning system) of your brain. Vision is how you know where to go. So, if you envision failure, your brain will, with all due obedience, open the door to all the opportunities that you need in order to fail. It is trained on that spot.
Vision is what you actually know is going to happen.

So, right now, you may know that if you don’t do x, y and z this terrible thing is going to happen. It is time to develop a new vision. Write it down. Shape it. As the song says, “Make it real or forget about it.”

One of the things that I do with clients is help them to get very clear about what they believe to be true and what they want.

Getting our beliefs and our wants together as one is how we set our own GPS.
Develop effective goals.



Coach Chuck


To learn more go to www.businesscoachchuck.com.

Take a Test Drive – Call now for your FREE 30-minute exploratory consultation – Call 973-670-7215 and set up an appointment. There is never any pressure.

Or e-mail me – chuck@businesscoachchuck.com. Please provide three dates and times that would be a good time to call you. I will return the e-mail with a confirmed appointment time.

In order for business networking to be successful, it must be put to the same tests as any other business activity.  Before engaging in business networking, ask:

a)       What are my objectives in business networking?

b)      What strategies will I employ?

The answers given to these questions should be relatively simple to understand and easy to measure.

For instance, a business person’s objectives in networking might be to:

  1. Get clients.
  2. Build referral source relationships.

Or, for the job seeker, the goals of networking might be:

  1. To get in front of a person who can hire me for a job that I want.
  2. Build referral relationships with people who can get me in front of people who can hire me for a job that I want.

One Strategy for achieving this goal is to look at the process of getting:

From the point where we are now (certain number of clients) (unemployed) (in a job that we do not like)

To where we want to be (more clients) (employed in a job we want)

… as a process.  This process is something I call a pipeline.

To visualize this pipeline,  think of a big open funnel.  At the top of the pipeline we have a) prospective clients and b) prospective referral sources.  At the end of the pipeline we have clients.   In between, we have qualified prospective clients, qualified referral sources, referral sources and, finally, clients.

Open networking is the process of meeting lots of people from which we can feed the front of the pipeline.  How we qualify them and move them forward is how we are going to reach our goal.  This requires that we network with purpose.  Therefore, as people are met, we must make decisions along the way: how are we going to define a qualified referral source.  This is going to be important, because if we spend all of our time talking to people that are not qualified prospective clients or qualified referral sources then we will not have time to talk to people that are qualified.  The net result will be that our net result is random rather than what we want it to be.

Networking results, to be effective, need to be measured:  Measured means with numbers.  How many qualified referral sources and qualified prospects do I have?  How many prospective client meetings or interviews have resulted?  Is that ratio improving or declining?  If it is improving, keep doing what we are doing, if it is declining … step back and evaluate.  Going by feel is not good.  It may have felt good to have three meetings with people at Starbucks today, but if it did not move the pipeline forward, that feeling will evaporate along with the caffeine buzz.

The front end of the pipeline, finding people to network with in order to find prospective clients and prospective referral sources in much easier today than it once was.  Go to meetup.com or Linkedin and find out where groups are meeting that meet the general criteria of people that “could” meet your criteria.  Go there.  Meet them.

When you get home and you find that you have a stack of business cards, divide them into people that are prospective referral sources, prospective clients or neither.  Enter them into your data base.  I use Yahoo, but I’m not pushing them.  Use any data base that allows you to create categories for your contacts.  Have categories for each phase of your pipeline.  This pipeline should be dynamic.  No one should stay a prospective referral source forever.  Most of us are much too eager to have people like us.  What we want to find out from these people is: are they in a position to refer or hire us or not?  “Maybe” is NOT the answer we want. “No” is infinitely better than “Maybe.”  “Maybe” keeps us spinning our wheels.  Come up with your strategy on how to touch base and qualify your prospective referral sources and prospective clients. Then follow through with your strategy.  The pipeline keeps moving.  Your data base changes.  It is moving all the time.  New people coming in.  Old people going out.  Interviews and new prospects, new clients and job offers.  It is alive!  This is when networking is working.

Networking, then, is like any other business process.  It requires purpose, planning, strict definition, implementation, measurement of results and continual adjustments based upon outcome.  This is a process I’ve designed for the purpose of achieving personalized business results.


Coach Chuck

chuck@businesscoachchuck.com – email

https://coachchuck.wordpress.com/ – Blogs on different topics

http://www.squidoo.com/business-coach-chuck a fun site with some testimonials, book recommendations and stuff like that.

www.businesscoachchuck.com – my basic website – about us, packages etc….



If you have a family or small business and you find yourself asking this question to yourself of employees and partners then you are getting business and personal relations confused.

A business owner (whom we will call Mary) realized her manager (whom we will call John) really did not like to work Saturdays. Recently Mary hired a person to come in every other Saturday, thereby giving John the day off. Something came up in Mary’s personal life and she had to call John and ask him to work a double shift. John agreed to. Mary Further offered to work for him on the following Saturday (a day he would normally have had to work). He agreed to that too.
It came to Mary’s attention that John had a really lousy attitude that day and even told a customer that he didn’t feel like doing something because – “I’ve been here since seven this morning and I will be here till nine tonight.” Additionally, John was beginning to act like the owner. Mary had come to rely on John but she was getting very uncomfortable.
This is a situation doomed to blow up. It happens all the time. If the people involved are family members, it is even more explosive.
As for as John is concerned, he still has to work every other Saturday and he is annoyed about that. As for her working for him on Saturday in exchange for working for him … he feels that she is putting personal matters ahead of the business which he would not be allowed to do. In his mind, his power is growing. Perhaps he has even made people think he is the owner. The fact that Mary can call in and just say she’s not coming in (which is how he interprets what she did) and he can’t creates a resentment.
The underlying problem here is that John is not clear as to what his position is. Why? Probably because Mary was so overworked that when he began taking more and more over, she was happy to let him. Michael Gerber, of Emyth, describes this as abdicating responsibility as opposed to delegating responsibility.
Defining position expectations is key.



Coach Chuck


Take the Next Step to Your Picture of SuccessGo To –
www.businesscoachchuck.com. – for details of Coach Chuck’s business coaching services and fees.

Take a Test Drive – Call now for your FREE 30-minute exploratory consultation –
Call 973-670-7215 and set up an appointment. There is never any pressure.


e-mail me – chuck@businesscoachchuck.com. Please provide three dates and times that would be a good time to call you. I will return the e-mail with a confirmed appointment time.

Oh No! Not this Aagain

June 24, 2010

Yes, that is where we often find ourselves – back in the same place again after having said again and again, “never again!”

And then the committees form in the head:
“We told you so.”
“Back again, huh.”
And then there is the thought that if people really knew the real you they wouldn’t like, do business with, hire, love or whatever it is you’d like them to do with and for you.

How do we get in these positions? Sometimes that is an important question and sometimes it is not. Sometimes trying to figure it all out is just our ego trying to rationalize something that we know is wrong. One day in New York, I got out of the Subway on 57TH Street. I needed to go to some street in the Mid-sixties. It was a stop I’d been in before so I really wasn’t paying attention, with my mind more on some project. So as I’m walking along in my own world, at some point I looked up to see what street I was on and I was on 49TH. Obviously, you say, I’d gone the wrong way. I found myself standing, looking at that sign, mentally telling myself I knew I’d gone the right way and giving myself reasons for why I came out of the subway the way that I did. Then I Just cracked up laughing at myself. “Hey brainiac – the sign says 49. You are going the wrong way. Turn around.” I became very amused at myself for the way that I tried to rationalize something that was so obviously wrong. Why I went the wrong way is not important.
On the other hand, if I find myself, for instance, always scrambling to get my bills paid regardless of whether I make a lot of money or a little – that is something that is a bigger problem, over and above simply not having enough money. Were it a simple problem, more money would solve the problem. In order to have a better life with more money requires a change in life-long ways of doing things.
How great would it be to say – “never again!” And be confident that that were true.

Cw Markham



Coach Chuck


Take the Next Step to Your Picture of Success
Go To – www.businesscoachchuck.com. – for details of Coach Chuck’s business coaching services and fees.
Take a Test Drive – Call now for your FREE 30-minute exploratory consultation – Call 973-670-7215 and set up an appointment. There is never any pressure.
Or e-mail me – chuck@businesscoachchuck.com. Please provide three dates and times that would be a good time to call you. I will return the e-mail with a confirmed appointment time.
©2007 Charles W. Markham MA. You may not copy, reproduce, post or forward this document in any format. For permission or joint venture opportunities contact Chuck Markham at chuck@businesscoachchuck.com.

The GPS of Your Success

June 24, 2010

The GPS goes to the very heart of the coaching experience. Like the any Global Positioning System, it establishes where we are. Like the GPS in your car, it is also where we set our destination. Where do we want to go? Like the GPS, when we set it, it is set without judgment. We don’t care. As an Author of the Law of Attraction says, the GPS does not make fun of you for having tried to get there before, or remind you what you mother thinks of you wanting to go there or that your neighbors would or would not approve. We are simply setting the GPS for a particular destination.
When we know where we want to go, most of us know generally what we need to do to get there. By the time we’ve sought help, we’ve tried to get there already and for one reason or another have not been successful. As a coach our goal is to help you to stay the course, make adjustments to the planned route where needed and to keep moving. Along the way, we may run into obstacles that are very old which may require counseling. That is a great opportunity. Our Challenges are our greatest opportunity. If counseling is needed we will recommend that it happen parallel, but different than coaching. When all of this works together, we learn that our challenges, our difficulties are, in fact, our greatest assets, because once they are overcome, the experience of that success can be leveraged in ways that are incalculable from the position before the experience. RD Lang referred to experience as something that changes us. Coaching is an experience. Coaching attempts to move us to places we have sensed but been unable to reach. The GPS is set, regardless of obstacles, we keep moving in that direction

Coach Chuck



Coach Chuck


Take the Next Step to Your Picture of Success
Go To – www.businesscoachchuck.com. – for details of Coach Chuck’s business coaching services and fees.
Take a Test Drive – Call now for your FREE 30-minute exploratory consultation – Call 973-670-7215 and set up an appointment. There is never any pressure.
Or e-mail me – chuck@businesscoachchuck.com. Please provide three dates and times that would be a good time to call you. I will return the e-mail with a confirmed appointment time.
©2007 Charles W. Markham MA. You may not copy, reproduce, post or forward this document in any format. For permission or joint venture opportunities contact Chuck Markham at chuck@businesscoachchuck.com.

Coaching is about keeping your eye on the prize. Counseling and Therapy is about untangling the mess. They are very important. Each are has inherent strength and inherent weakness. If you tell a coach that you just found out you have to go in for heart surgery they are likely to begin developing a plan to keep progress toward the goal in motion, or at least on the tracks while this procedure and the ensuing recovery takes place. A therapist may explore the feelings that arise because you are going in for heart surgery at the same age that your father died from a heart attack.
The strength in the coaching approach is that regardless of your heart condition, assuming the experience does not change your goals, you are going to want that process to be as far along as possible so that you can just get back on for the ride when you recover. The strength of the counseling approach is that our feelings produce results in the real world. The power of our belief is probably one of the most important distinguishing characteristics that separate us from other life forms. We are able to believe that which is not in our present experience and act on it. By acting on that believed reality we make it true. So, it is very important sometimes to come to terms with what it is we believe and why we believe it and decide if that is something we want to believe. As with anything else, the line between coaching and counseling is not set in stone. But, in general terms, what was just described falls into the area of counseling.
The weakness of the coaching model is that one can be so focused on a future goal that one neglects health, relationships and other aspects of the moment. When we achieve our dreams and ambitions, they are empty without those with whom we love. Counseling and Therapy, on the other hand can get so enmeshed in the past and with feelings that it becomes a tangle with no outcome. We can get lost in there.
It’s easy to see how these two areas can work together. While most excellent counselors and therapists have a little bit of the coach in them it is not their primary job. Coaching is not therapy. When coaches and counselors can work together, the therapist can help untangle the obstacles that prevent us from being the best we can be while the coach helps you devise a road map, vision a goal and achieve it.
From a practical application, this approach can end up being very economical. This is because issues that come out in counseling are often worked through quicker. Coaching is often done over the phone. The phone call might be a fifteen-minute call. When its all working together, it can be faster, better and more effective. That is the goal. And achieving that goal makes us feel good!

Cw Markham

Coach Chuck: chuck@businesscoachchuck.com