Month: May 2012

Entrepreneurs to Lead the Way to a More Ethical Business Future

7 Graces Global ConferenceThe term ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR) has been a buzz word in both the business and environmental worlds over the past few years. The message of those who speak out for CSR is simple: the time has come for businesses to move away from thinking only about short-term profits and look at the bigger impact their business has upon the global economy, people and the planet.

We live in a consumer culture. This means that, today more than ever, the entrepreneur has a powerful role to play in society. We all know that with great power comes great responsibility, and given all the ways business and marketing has affected the world, more and more entrepreneurs are waking up to the fact that it is time to reassess what we are doing and why, and to take responsibility for the impact our choices and actions have on the wider welfare of the world.

This cannot happen if we continue we all act in isolation. To create a tangible and positive shift in the world, we need to come together as business owners, and form a critical mass of key influencers in society. We need both to speak up and to listen to each other.

That is exactly what will be happening at the 7 Graces Global Conference (7GGC). The 3-day conference will take place on Friday June 22nd through Sunday 24th, 2012 in London, England and will also be broadcast worldwide via Interactive Live Stream.

7GGC will bring together entrepreneurs, marketers, media professionals, journalists, conscious consumers and eco-citizens from around the world, who wish to demonstrate their commitment to business ethics, corporate responsibility, social wellbeing and environmental sustainability. Together, they will become a Tipping Point for positive change. You can read about the conference, and book you place, at

The conference will also be offered via Interactive Live Stream, accessible from anywhere in the world with Internet access, where you can share your opinions, questions and innovations with London delegates.

The event will feature 9 dynamic guest presenters including Keynote speaker RACHEL ELNAUGH, former ‘Dragon’ from BBC TV’s hit show DRAGONS’ DEN.

The 7 Graces Global Conference is the brainchild of my good friend, LYNN SERAFINN, a marketer and author of number-1 bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell.

Lynn says, ‘We won’t be “selling” anything at this conference except our commitment to humanity and the planet. The primary question we’ll be addressing throughout the three days will be “How can we heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell?”‘

I am proud to be supporting 7GGC by helping spread the word about this important event, and I encourage you to attend either the London conference, or via Interactive Live Stream. And, as one of my valued readers, you can also get a special 10% discount when you register:

Register for the 7 Graces Global Conference

either in London or via Live Stream at

Then, enter the coupon code: 7ggc-special-10

I hope to see you at 7GGC on June 22nd-24th.

7 Graces Global Conference


Final week of sessions starts tomorrow – ‘Earlybird’ price one week warning!

It is my pleasure as a strategic partner of WBECS to invite you to attend the final week of the complimentary World Business and Executive Coach Pre-Summit. I strongly urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to attend as many 20-30 minute sessions as possible as this will be the last chance to learn from many of the coaching industries leading figures at no cost.

The sessions include:

Having Difficult Conversations – Karen Kimsey-House, CEO of The Coaches Training Institute

Wed, May 23, 2012 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM New York Time

Wed, May 23, 2012 5:00 PM – 5:30 PM London Time

Wed, May 23, 2012 9:30 PM – 10:00 PM New Delhi Time

Register here:

Once registered simply click the pre-summit session button

Secrets To Attracting High-Paying Clients – Bill Baren

Wed, May 23, 2012 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM New York Time

Wed, May 23, 2012 7:00 PM – 7:30 PM London Time

Wed May 23, 2012 11:30 PM – 11:00 PM New Delhi Time

Register here:

Once registered simply click the pre-summit session button

Coaching In This Time Of Change – Sir John Whitmore

Mon, May 28, 2012 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM New York Time

Mon, May 28, 2012 3:30 PM – 3:00 PM London Time

Mon, May 28, 2012 10:30 PM – 11:00 PM Beijing Time

Register here:

Once registered simply click the pre-summit session button

The Number One Reason to Constantly Reinvent Everything – Jason Jennings

Tue, May 29, 2012 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM New York Time

Tue, May 29, 2012 5:00 PM – 5:30 PM London Time

Tue, May 29, 2012 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM EDT

Register here:

Once registered simply click the pre-summit session button

Beyond Overwhelm: Build Your Focus Muscle – Michael Bungay Stanier

Wed, May 30, 2012 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM New York

Wed, May 30, 2012 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM London Time

Wed, May 30, 2012 10:30 PM – 11:00 PM New Delhi Time

Register here:

Once registered simply click the pre-summit session button.

As stated these are the last of the complimentary sessions this year and shortly after the final session the “earlybird” pricing will end. This will see the ticket price rise from $297 to $697. Even at the full price of $697 this is exceptional value but if you can don’t miss the $400 saving. You can claim your earlybird ticket here:

If you have any questions please feel free to direct these through to WBECS President:

Time for massive learning!


Ton de Graaf

Chartered Business Coach™

When To Trust Your Gut

By Stephanie Castillo. This article originally appeared at Prevention. I thought it would be interesting for you as well, that’s why I post it here for your convenience 🙂

If you’ve ever gone with your gut when making a decision—and gotten eye rolls from pragmatic friends in the process—take heart. New findings in the Journal of Consumer Research give credibility to those of us who bring emotions into the decision-making equation. And the more we trust our emotions, the more likely it is that a decision will be the right one.

What Kind Of Decision-Maker Are You?  

Researchers from Columbia Business School conducted eight studies where they compared people who trusted their feelings in making decisions and judgments—such as predicting who would win the NCAA championship or American Idol—with those who didn’t feel confident in their ability to correctly predict events. The results: Those who trusted their feelings were consistently more accurate than those who didn’t.

But before you take up shop on the corner and call yourself Madame Zelda, there is a caveat: You have to be somewhat knowledgeable about what you’re talking about. In other words, if you know less than nothing about the stock market, having all the confidence in the world still isn’t going to help you make a killing on Wall Street.

Dealing With Option Overload  

So what’s behind this instinct phenomenon? “Our findings add to a growing body of research suggesting that there’s more to human rationality than reason-based judgments,” says study author Michel Tuan Pham, PhD, a professor at Columbia Business School. Trusting your feelings isn’t simply random, but rather, involves a subconscious process of drawing upon your knowledge of a particular subject, sort of like your body’s knee-jerk way of making an informed choice. Feelings can help you make the right decision, says Dr. Pham, but only to the extent of what you know.

There’s nothing extraordinarily mysterious about intuition, adds Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology at New York University and co-founder of philosophical website, “Our intuition, or our gut feelings, is just a direct result of the many things we unconsciously soak up.”

So the next time something “feels right,” it probably is. You just have to trust it.


Join the World Business and Executive Coach Summit.

WBECS 2012

As an official partner of WBECS 2012 I am delighted to be able to invite you to attend the second week of complimentary sessions from many of the industries true thought leaders. Last weeks sessions were exceptionally high value with 100% content and no pitches being made by those presenting them and this will continue to be the case this week.

Feedback from the first week’s taster sessions was fantastic and there is a new theme this week so be sure to come and enjoy as many as you can fit in.

The sessions include:

Saboteur Assessment: Breakthrough New Research – Shirzad Chamine

Wed, May 9, 2012 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM NYC Time

Wed, May 9, 2012 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM London Time

Thur, May 9, 2012 10:00 PM – 10:30 PM New Delhi Time

To attend this complimentary session register here:

and you will gain access to all the sessions.

Waken The Dead: How To Get Your Dead, Cold Leads To Hire You This Week – Taki Moore

Wed, May 9, 2012 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM NYC Time

Wed, May 9, 2012 9:00 PM – 9:30 PM London Time

Thur, May 10, 2012 6:00 AM – 6:30 AM Sydney Time

To attend this complimentary session register here:

and you will gain access to all the sessions

How To Become an Extraordinary Coach? – Gary Henson

Wed, May 9, 2012 5:00 PM – 5:30 PM NYC Time

Wed, May 9, 2012 10:00 PM – 10:30 PM London Time

Thur, May 10, 2012 7:00 AM – 7:30 AM Sydney Time

To attend this complimentary session register here:

and you will gain access to all the sessions

Never Stop Networking – Suzi Pomenrantz

Thu, May 10, 2012 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM NYC Time

Thur, May 10, 2012 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM London Time

Fri, May 11, 2012 12:00 AM – 12:30 AM Sydney Time

To attend this complimentary session register here:

and you will gain access to all the sessions

Power Up Your Coaching With a Real Life Game – David Buck

Fri, May 11, 2012 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM NYC Time

Fri, May 11, 2012 6:30 PM – 7:00 PM London Time

Thur, May 10, 2012 11:00 PM – 11:30 PM New Delhi Time

To attend this complimentary session register here:

and you will gain access to all the sessions

Be sure to register for all the sessions you want to attend and remember they are ALL pitch free, 100% value. If you miss any sessions and would like to catch up, you can do so by purchasing a $297 ticket to this years full summit that will give you access to the entire full online Summit in June as well as access to the sessions you miss from the pre-summit.

You can find tickets here:

Time for massive learning!

EFactor: Member Spotlight Full Interview with Ton de Graaf by Pon Thoummavong

Interview with Ton De Graaf, founder of Quest Coaching, and one of the very few coaches in the world who is designated by the World Association of Business Coaches as a Chartered Business Coach.

PT: With your international experience coaching business executives, what are some of the trends you’ve noticed worldwide in entrepreneurship? 


Local is the new global. Rising transportation costs ad concerns about the quality of production in foreign markets will drive manufacturing and the sourcing of services back to local markets. The next generation of low cost, automated manufacturing equipment will restore a competitive edge to localized, small businesses.

It’s all about jobs. The economy’s current job crisis is shining a spotlight on the need for companies to create sustainable job growth. Companies that create jobs will be politically rewarded. But more importantly, the public will expect the brands they patronize to actively engage in job growth, making a job creation a hallmark of corporate social responsibility.

Innovation trumps capital. Growing momentum for startups and venture funding is translating into an environment where ideas and the ability to execute them trumps the size of your bank account. Small companies are poised to be the rock stars of the near future, due to the fact that they can execute faster and access infrastructure at increasingly lower costs. Since commercial funding will continue to be limited, innovation capital will be the name of the game.

Business software actually designed for businesses. While the last generation of business software was created to optimize the back-office (making accounting easier and keeping up with tax rules), next generation business software will focus on creating value for your business, connecting your customers and suppliers in a network and making it easier for you (not your accountant) to do business.

Technology will shift the business landscape again. Business technology will be dramatically affected by three major trends: Cloud Computing, mobile and social media. Software costs are plummeting, allowing you to access solutions and data no matter where your travels take you.

PT: For many entrepreneurs, starting their company may be their first experience in a business management role – how can strong leadership skills better assist them in their new endeavor?

TD: Leadership can be defined as one’s ability to get others to willingly follow. Every organisation needs leaders at every level. Leaders can be found and nurtured if you look for the following character traits.

A leader with vision has a clear, vivid picture of where to go, as well as a firm grasp on what success looks like and how to achieve it. But it’s not enough to have a vision; leaders must also share it and act upon it. Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric Co., said, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

A leader must be able to communicate his or her vision in terms that cause followers to buy into it. He or she must communicate clearly and passionately, as passion is contagious.

A good leader must have the discipline to work toward his or her vision single-mindedly, as well as to direct his or her actions and those of the team toward the goal. Action is the mark of a leader. A leader does not suffer “analysis paralysis” but is always doing something in pursuit of the vision, inspiring others to do the same.

PT: How can executive coaching, such as that offered by Quest Coaching, help a startup company to maximize its fullest potential? 

TD: An Executive Coach acts as a sounding board; challenges thinking; stimulates creativity; provides tools and techniques for dealing with situations; gives encouragement; and builds confidence.

Quest Coaching Netherlands goes beyond that. We support companies on their journey from ‘Good to Great’.

We start with you and your most talented managers and focus on the leadership skills. We then support you with formulating an authentic vision and mission statement. We coach you on implementing the chosen strategy. We don’t produce lively reports, we do produce results. We are non-judgmental, future focused and action oriented. Concrete, no-nonsense, measurable. That is the Dutch Coach Approach.

PT: You’ve described that one of the benefits of executive coaching is being able to see ourselves as others may see us – why is this important for success?

TD: We all have our blind spots. We develop our own set of behavioral characteristicsover the years. It might well be that at some point, without being aware of it, those characteristics become counterproductive in our leadership role.

Strong leaders are therefore open to constructive feedback because they now at the end of the day, it’s not about them, it’s about the company and they never want to become the bottleneck for its sustainable success.

Since your direct reports can develop a way to work around your less attractive behavioral aspects and that it might not be in their best interest to give you some very honest and direct feedback, the view of an experienced executive coach might be very helpful in becoming the best leader you can be.

PT: What are some of the factors a startup company should consider when formulating their mission statement?

TD: Great companies are by and large built by “hedgehogs” – this means that they were able to focus on one big important thing that made their companies great. The “hedgehog concept” refers to a parable of a hedgehog and a fox, where the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. Sometimes it takes real genius to see through all the clutter and grab the one, simple, unique thing that gives you the advantage.

You need to have an extremely clear concept of what your business is.

That business is something you can

1.       Make money at

2.       Be passionate about, and

3.       Be the best in the world at.

Your mission statement should be the reflection of these statements.

PT: Maximizing business results through systemic intervention is one of the principles of Quest Coaching – how can this be blended with the day-to-day running of the company?

TD: Your business is not just the sum of all parts, it’s an organic entity.When one of the parts falls behind and you start working on improvements, it’s sensible to also have a look at how that part is connected to the rest of your organization.

It’s all about people and when some people might see the light and start doing things differently, their colleagues might not see this and continue to deal with them like they’ve always did, possibly even reversing the positive effects of the change. That’s why you have to address change as a systemic effort in order to maximize business results.

PT: Your background in the Royal Dutch Military Police has likely helped you hone y our own leadership skills – how can others leverage their personal backgrounds to be strong leaders?

TD: To understand how you will act tomorrow, it’s good to have a look over your shoulder to see where you’re coming from. What made you decide to start a business? Why is it that you think you can assume a leadership role? What evidence do you have from past experiences that can predict your success in that role? These are questions you could ask yourself before starting a business. Being an entrepreneur is completely different from being an employee, even as an executive in a CEO role.

You’re an entrepreneur 24/7, I say it again, 24/7 all year around! You have to be able to manage your time effectively, have perseverance when things aren’t going as well as expected, be able to live with the uncertainties of an irregular income. And perhaps most importantly, you need a supportive family. Having a close and realistic look at your background and current support group might be a good prediction whether or not you will succeed as a leader and an entrepreneur. Find your passion, discover your purpose, focus on action and success will follow!

PT: Looking to the future, how do you envisage executive coaching fitting in within the ever-connected world that EFactor members enjoy?

TD: One of the benefits of being a member of EFactor is that you’re connected with all kinds of specialist within one mouse click. Being a member of a group of likeminded people means it is easy to share your skills, knowledge and expertise and you can expect the same from other members. Executive coaching can be an accelerator of your business growth as well as your personal development. I’m always willing to share and support whenever I can. When my input leads to a desire to sign up to a more intensive and tailor made coaching program, all the better. That’s how I make a living. Since my clients report a ROI of 629%, they are making a better living from it as well.

More info: