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There are a lot of coaches in the marketplace, many different models and specialties. I’ve had people ask me if it is business counseling while some perceive it to be consulting. I’m going to tackle the answer as I would consider myself a bit of an expert on this subject for three reasons:

– I’ve hired 11 different business coaches over a long career
– I have a business coach
– I AM a business coach!

Business Coaching: What It Is and What It Is Not

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines counseling as the “professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes.” Business coaches may offer an initial client assessment to define personality, behavior or other non-psychological attributes to advance the coaching process; however, coaching is not counseling.

Consultants typically have a specific project or problem to tackle within a certain time frame. Consultants scope the problem, gather client input, craft a solution, present the solution to the client, charge them, and often leave the execution to the client. Coaches are not consultants telling the client what to do.

Coaches ask well-honed questions, based on years of experience and training, to stimulate new thinking and better answers from the client. This way, the client has a much higher chance of shifting themselves and their businesses in the direction they wish to take.

Most businesses are small to mid-sized. As a result, many business coaches target them. I’ll use this market segment to paint the picture of business coaching.

Business owners often struggle with execution because:

  • They don’t have high-level executives to leverage.
  • They don’t have a large matrixed organization to absorb a number of new tasks or processes recommended by consultants.
  • They don’t have much cash to throw at recommendations given to them

As much as possible, they need to leverage what they have at hand to reach goals. Experienced coaches stimulate new or better thinking towards critical goals. Coaches work right alongside clients as they reach goals.

Business coaching leverages both the client and the business to reach goals. The client is the first tool out of the toolbox to advance the business. The client is the athlete. The business coach is the coach running alongside the athlete!

Why Hire a Business Coach?

Goals are reached. If we want something different, we have to actually do something different. A wise coach knows how to help the client take new steps, but effective ones as well. My clients and I craft 3-year goals and then break the execution towards them down into bite-sized pieces they can absorb into their workflow. We measure outcomes. No guessing. No wishing. We know where we stand towards the goals.

Fires are put out. All the planning in the world will not mitigate mishaps, emergencies or unforeseen opportunities. As a coach, I run alongside clients while ensuring that they execute now towards important goals realized later, all while tackling challenges along the way.

New possibilities arise. Two heads are better than one. A seasoned coach helps clients explore within themselves, the business, and the marketplace, different pathways to achieve better results.

Things actually happen. Noo one needs someone nipping at their heels. Accountability is a big component of execution and at times it is difficult. Execution is done best when it is continually tied to our greatest aspirations, not to keep our coach off our backs. Skilled coaches know how to keep us running towards goals based on our deepest motivations and highest aspirations.

Fresh new look. Business coaches provide objectivity which is why I still have one. No skin in the game. A seasoned, experienced business coach, will raise the critical issues that a friend, family member or colleague will likely avoid or not even see at all.

Life is better. Let’s face it. Life is better when business is better. We spend a great deal of our time, attention and energy on business. We can actually relax and let our thoughts about business go when we know we are making headway; we have a proven pathway towards our goals; and we have a partner/coach to support us along the way. We have more capacity to actually have a life!

How Do I Know if Business Coaching is for Me?

No one size fits all. Every business leader and every business is like a fingerprint. Think about this. In three years what would you like to be saying differently about your business and your role in it? I’d like to hear it. Feel free to set up a time for a free diagnostic consultation to see if coaching could be a fit for you. Whether you hire a coach or not, it can be well worth the time to capture new insights from the diagnostic as a result. Email and we’ll get you set up for your complimentary session.

I was a geeky college kid who had no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up so I took a lot of classes, earning several majors, one was psychology. Although I am not a mind reader, nor a therapist, I am fascinated by how the mind can be leveraged to make business work so well.

There are dozens of employee assessments available to improve such key issues as collaboration, constructive conflict, performance, innovation and more. Most are based on personalities.

Although I prefer a fun personality like most of us, I have found personality is not as important as behavior in a small business. Let’s face it. We barely know what we think sometimes much less what someone else is thinking. We also cannot know the intentions of another person completely. However, we can observe their behaviors.

We have innate, natural behaviors driven by long-held neural pathways in our brains. I give my clients a short assessment to identify those behaviors so we can leverage them to reach goals. When there are gaps in goal achievement, we fill them by leveraging others whose natural behaviors fill those gaps. Everyone is in his or her zone. The owner doesn’t hate life doing things he or she dreads doing.

Here is one of the magic formulas for running a small business: the right behavior done over time gets traction, gains momentum, then hits the goal. The key word here is “right.” We look at our own past behavior and borrow from the best practices in the marketplace. We define a winning behavioral formula for ourselves and our teams, test it, measure it and, once proven, execute diligently and consistently as we move towards our goals.

Goals are important, but the winning formula for achieving them is paramount.

Let’s talk through your goals. Give me some information and we can have a brief call.

Right now, holiday invites and other demands are hitting all of us. Year-end financials are due soon, and for those of you in the B2B space, it can be quite challenging to develop new business. August and December are the most trying times of the year in this regard.

Despite the challenges of the holidays, and year end, carve out time when you can allow yourself peace and quiet. This is key to be energized, not depleted. Reflect on this year with these questions:

  • What happened consistently that augmented your business?
  • How can you codify those into KPIs (key performance indicators) so you don’t have to keep an eye on so many things next year?
  • What went well in your business?
  • What could be better?

Soon, the week between December and January 1 will arrive. The community gets very quiet. That is the perfect opportunity to carve time out for yourself and do this kind of work. It’s important, so do it for yourself. You deserve it.

Do you need help with this realignment? Answer these six questions about where you want to see your business and let’s have a brief chat.

This is the time of year when we hear a lot of buzz around 2018 planning. I’ll throw in my two cents. Although goals are important, it is key we believe they are possible and our teams think so as well.

In my initial sessions with new clients, it is not unusual for them to look like a deer in the headlights when I ask them how they would like to be able to describe their companies in three years. Some created long-termed goals and abandoned them, just living day to day. As we explore how those goals were defined, I hear about gut-it-up goals and living-on-hope goals.

Gut-it-up goals are those we think we should set. We make ourselves believe we will gut it up and make it happen no matter what. The determination is great and exciting initially, but over time it wanes if we don’t know exactly why we succeed and why we fail. Just pushing through gets old and drags down our teams.

Living-on-hope goals are about those goals we want so badly to achieve and our fans tell us we can do it. If we just believe it hard enough, it will happen. Hope quickly falls to lethargy when our teams cannot get traction beyond our initial enthusiasm.

To create believable goals, we borrow from our past and borrow from the marketplace. In other words, what measurable, key trends did we see in our businesses that we can leverage right on into next year? Where are we languishing and what are the proven steps to improve these areas based on experience and real numbers? What are the trends in our industry? Where are the best practices to leverage, even in other industries?

These questions and more help us shape our 2018 plans based upon believable goals. If we have a plan to get us there derived from our truth and that of our teams, we have a real chance of reaching our highest aspirations.

Let’s talk about your goals. Answer these six questions and we can have a brief chat.

If you go to meetings armed and ready to deliver your latest elevator pitch, please pause for a few seconds. You can achieve much more with another approach and your business will certainly be more memorable!

There are three basic ways we either inhibit or expand an incredibly rich, fertile resource for our companies: employee thinking.

You love owning your own company, away from the constraints of reporting to someone who may not appreciate your problem-solving talents… yet you may find yourself constrained in a new way.

Let’s face it. Sales are hard earned these days. So, what if we flip things around…from the sales cycle of pursuit to the buy cycle of winning?

Business owners often seek to hold on to their companies up until the eventual sale or family transition in their golden years, yet that often does not happen. 

Are there people on your team who just cannot seem to get with it?

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