As you well know, there’s much much more to being a coach than just coaching.
There are so many things to be done in your coaching business and it’s tricky (and extremely boring) do everything all by yourself. But, for many of us, hiring a full-time staff is out of the question.
A virtual assistant can be an amazing resource for coaches who want to take those repetitive, time-consuming tasks off their plate and get back to the money-making side of business.
The problem often comes when we try to train a new VA. It’s usually a rushed, disorganized process that frustrates us and confuses them, and it leads something we all hate: waste.
We waste our money paying a VA to do low quality work that’s filled with mistakes. Then, we waste our own time backtracking and completing the work ourselves. That makes the work the VA originally did a waste of their time too!
It’s not because of a culture gap, or because the tasks are too complicated, or because the VA isn’t “smart enough” to figure it out. The real problem is that we did a poor job of training.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a much better way to systematize your business and off-load tasks so your VA can get them right. I call it 5 Minutes To Freedom, and it all starts with tweaking the way you communicate with your VA.
Context Before Content
The first key to training a VA is to teach context before content.
Imagine a jigsaw puzzle. Is it easier to start by staring at individual pieces, or by looking at the picture on the box to get a frame of reference?
We all look at the box first, because context is everything, right? You know how individual pieces fit into the puzzle as a whole.
Each task we give a VA is like an individual puzzle piece. We need to show our VA the ‘picture on the puzzle box’ by giving them context. To do that, before we ever delegate the task, we need to make sure our VA understands these three things:
1. Why The Task Matters
This task is really important because when we do it, we get [desired result]. When we don’t do it, we get [undesired result].
2. Where It Fits in the Big Picture
Every time a new client comes on board, we do [Task 1, Task 2, etc.] to help everyone stay organized.
3. When It Occurs
We do [Task 1] every single Thursday at 9:30 AM.
When you start with context, your people can bring their best to the job and avoid making silly mistakes. Here’s why starting with context works:
Context Encourages Leadership
I’ve learned that the method we use to do a task — the HOW — will change over time. That’s usually a great thing. It means the method is becoming more efficient.
But, if your VA doesn’t know the context of a task, even the smallest changes can cause problems for them.
When you share the WHY behind a task, your virtual assistant can use common sense and leadership to pick up on the changes in the method.
When they understand the goal of the task, it’s easier for them to piece together what needs to be done.
A friend of mine, Grant, told me that a long time ago, he was on his morning walk and saw two men walking along the edge of the path — dressed in gardening uniforms and carrying shovels.
Every five meters or so, the man in front would stop and dig a small hole. Then the man behind him used his shovel to fill the hole back in.
Grant watched this for a while and finally spoke up. He said, “I’ve been watching you guys dig holes and then fill them back in, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. What’s the point?”
The man in front responded, “Well, there are usually three of us. The person in the middle plants seeds for flowers in the holes, but she’s sick today so we’re just doing our job.”
Sure, it’s a funny (probably made up) story, but it’s a great lesson for what happens when we have content without context.
Before you delegate a task, I want you to share why it matters, where it fits, and when it happens with your virtual assistant so they can do a great job for you.
Remember: context before content.
How often do you communicate with your VAs? Leave a comment below!
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