Move to the next level
Business owners know their company and industry, but still get stuck in the day-to-day business. Often times they hit a plateau and find it difficult to reach the next level of performance. Many of these executives and business owners look inside their organizations for the solution when the answer just simply is not there. They need to be seeking support from someone outside the company.
Professional athletes use coaches to improve their performance because someone from the outside can see things the individual cannot. The coach can observe and communicate what things need to be changed and support that change. Even the best golfers in the world employ coaches to help them improve every part of their game. Business is no different.
Executives and business owners run into new situations every day and have a limited set of reference on how to deal with them. An outside coach can help them put these situations into perspective and support them in adapting to either internal or external situations.
I work with one business owner that is an expert in his field, but was looking for help figuring out what his future would look like. He needed help with developing an exit strategy, ie: sale to an insider, sale to a 3rd party, or passive ownership; to include increasing sales, and adding resources. In our meetings we discuss what is going on in his day-to-day business and progress against our action items. He has found tremendous amount of value by having someone he can talk through the issues and opportunities in his business.
The following are areas to consider if you move forward with a coaching relationship:
Can you take outside advice?
It is not unusual for a business owner or executive to feel inadequate asking for help. The entire organization looks to them for direction and they tend to be very intelligent. If you cannot check your ego at the door however during a coaching relationship, then don’t waste your time looking for help.
One-on-one or Group setting:
There are a number of very good peer advisory group organizations that provide coaching in a group setting. The organizations I know of all are all high quality and the participants tend to do much better than their competitors in areas of business growth, client retention and organizational development. BUT, group settings are not for everyone! If you cannot openly accept input from others in a group setting, and cannot provide balanced support to others you should look to a one-on-one coaching relationship.
There are a wide range of choices when it comes to business or executive coaching. Prior to meeting with any business coaches perform an inventory of your issues, opportunities, and areas you need help developing. This will give you a starting point when having initial discussions with coaches. Be honest with yourself and assess how you will interact with someone providing feedback. Share this with your coaching prospects during initial meetings.
How to Find a Coach
1.) Ask others that you know about their coaches and solicit recommendations from your network. One of the best ways to find a coach is based on feedback from your network.
2.) An internet search will provide you with a wide range of options. Look for someone local so you can have face-to-face meetings, and not just telephone coaching.
3.) Industry is not important. Don’t get hung up on whether the coach has experience in your industry. They provide the outside look to your industry expertise.
4.) Find out how they operate. Discuss how the meetings work and assess how this matches your style.
5.) Assess the personality of the coach. You will be spending a fair amount of time with your business coach and it is important that you feel comfortable with that person.
6.) Ask for references.
In most cases you will find that coaching for you or your business is very cost effective and can support you and your management team.
Understanding if you are the right candidate for coaching is the most important step, followed immediately by your coach’s approach and personality. Most business owners find benefit from most coaching relationships within the first few meetings and measured results within a few months.