When we’re inside our business, we can’t possibly get a good view of what it looks like holistically from the outside. Coaching is a valuable tool to expand thinking in order to get to the next level, the next, and the next.
In this post, you’ll learn what coaching is (and isn’t), why it’s valuable, and what to expect from a good business coach.
What is Coaching?
Before we dive into coaching and why coaching is important, we first need to clarify what coaching is—and isn’t.
A coach is someone who asks you the right questions at the right time to show you different possibilities and enable you to see and make new, expanded choices. They teach you to fish as opposed to giving you a fish, so to speak. A good coach opens the door to better ways of doing business that you didn’t know—and didn’t know you didn’t know.
What a coach isn’t is a consultant, which is someone who gives you advice.
There’s value in both coaches and consultants.
If you need someone who will stand alongside you on the journey, helping you think, create, and elevate your business, you want a coach. If you want a template or to-do list for something specific for you to then execute, a consultant might be what you are looking for.
The Value of Business Coaching
A coach that is outside of your business, your bottle, can see things you can’t. As a business owner, you’re in the trenches, making it impossible to get an objective view on the whole picture.
As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get caught up in the shuffle of the day in and day out. As humans, it’s easy to attach our business with our identity and worth, sometimes making it hard for our egos to course-correct or change direction. We also get attached to what we create, making necessary changes difficult to see and execute with confidence. But change is inevitable because your business is in constant motion, constantly evolving. And without an experienced outside perspective, the business is bound to experience stunted growth and eventually atrophy.
The thing is, what got you to where you are now won’t get you to the next level of success. Leadership, team structure, financials, operations, etc—you build what you know and at some point you’ll reach a ceiling. And once you hit that ceiling, you can’t break it and reach the next level without new thinking. Each stage of business growth requires new leadership and organization to succeed.
So, what are some specific examples of the power of coaching?
- Website Development – Finding simple fixes and optimizing design to align with desired outcomes (what’s possible vs. limited by what you know)
- Team Communication – Designing and redesigning communication strategies as the team grows (using tools such as Slack; weekly or daily huddles; productive meetings)
- Customer Engagement – Providing a bird’s eye view of interactions rather than an interpretation limited by individual conversations (what are your customers saying? What do they want? How do they want it? What frustrates them?)
- Market Positioning – What do your customers value most? Are you clearly communicating why choose your business? (hint – it’s not what you sell!)
- Organizational Development – Are you still using outdated ways of operating? Is your organizational structure holding back your growth?
When alone, we’re subject to making all the same mistakes others made on this entrepreneurial journey so many times before. A coach has walked the path and knows what’s ahead, and can help you sidestep mistakes and learn lessons before they become big, costly, and painful setbacks.
What a Business Coach Does
To illustrate what a business coach does, let me share a story.
One of my clients sits on a board, and there was recently an issue with a member who was mismanaging funds and passively bullying the treasurer to approve his spending. Their system required two people to approve the spending, which was the member receiving the funds and the treasurer.
Upset and frustrated, my client didn’t know what to do. After hearing the issue, I immediately suggested that the board change the rule. Instead, could the two people required to approve the spending not include the beneficiary of funds being dispensed?
This may seem like an obvious fix now, but they actually hadn’t thought of this possibility as a solution. This outside, experienced perspective led to a massive A-HA moment. This is what a good business coach provides.
The different perspective could be about any business area, from team to financials to structures to product.
The thing is, as entrepreneurs, we can only build our business up to the point we know. Then we hit a ceiling that we can’t break through until we learn the things we don’t yet know. When you hit that next level, you need to simplify and leverage to create a sustainable foundation to grow, and a good business coach helps with that.
How to Find a Business Coach
There should always be a significant ROI on coaching, because a business coach enables you to identify the pivot points, future growth cycle opportunities, simple changes, and technology add-ons that produce exponential results. By asking the right questions at the right time, a business coach triggers faster breakthrough results that are not otherwise possible.
Finding the right coach depends on what you’re looking for. It can also take many forms, such as:
- Mentor Groups (like EO)
- Coaching Programs (like Strategic Coach)
- Individual 1 on 1 Business Coaching
Be proud of what you’ve done to get you to this point, and recognize that there’s more to learn and more support required to elevate to the next level. In short, don’t do it alone. Reach for what you don’t know and expedite your business success with the power of coaching. That way, the journey will be easier and the outcome greater than you could have ever imagined.
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