In social settings, I get lots of practice explaining what I do because I get a blank stare if I just say, “I’m a business coach.” Business coaching is just starting to catch on in the US and I don’t blame anyone for not knowing a lot it.
So it’s a nice assist when Google’s CEO hires a business coach and goes on record saying, “Everybody needs a coach.” You can watch this 42-second video of Eric Schmidt here.
In this week’s post, I share my “usual” explanation of what a business coach does…
I help business owners in any industry who want more from their business. They want to resolve money issues. Maybe they want their team to be as motivated and productive as they are. Some want their life back from what can sometimes feel like the clutches of an all-consuming business.
A business coach works alongside business owners to find real solutions to real problems in real time and then helps implement those solutions. A business coach shares the burden of finding answers to issues that are dragging the business owner or executive down and then provides implementation support… for every step of the way if necessary.
Someone who can watch what you’re doing and say ‘is that what you really meant?
If you’ve ever had stagnant profit, worked too many hours, struggled with slow growth, or just lost sight of a way forward, you’re not alone. I’ve been there. When I first started my business I went through a terrifying 6-month dry spell during which the debts started to rack up.
I knew a lot about business models, cash flow, marketing, leadership, etc. yet, I struggled to apply them in my own business. Finally I brought in expertise from outside—an expert problem solver, someone to help me identify solutions, methodically help me implement them, and hold me accountable. I partnered with a business coach that brought out the best of my expertise and together we expanded my operations, strengthened my cash flow, and improved profits… and life balance
You bring your industry expertise, a business coach brings the business expertise
Businesses, by and large, require the same basic components to operate successfully. Like an Indy racecar and your Aunt Bertha’s sedan have the same framework—motor, tires, fuel system, etc, every business has common systems. A business coach’s expertise isn’t in any one industry but in all the systems that make up a business: sales & customer service, accounting & financials, marketing & operations, strategic planning & mergers, leadership & teambuilding, family business & partnerships. Sound business principles apply to any industry, any size, and in any location. It’s a mistake to confine business improvement discussions to people within your own industry or worse still, within your own company.
As a business owner, just the way you need an accountant, a lawyer, and a banker, you need a business expert, someone to hold you accountable, give you a 2nd opinion, give you an outside perspective, keep you up on the latest business advice. It’s tough to have confidence that you have the best answer or to get an objective opinion from yourself.
How business coaching works
The business owner is in the driver’s seat and decides how fast to progress. It could be 2 30-min. coaching sessions per/month, 4 30-min. sessions per/month, or 4 60-min. sessions per/month. You and the coach look at your schedule together and determine how to carve out an hour or two a week to work ON your business instead of IN your business. At each session, together you agree on the highest priority actions and how to implement them. In between you can pick up the phone for pop-up problems or just to get a 2nd opinion.
It’s a ‘customized MBA’ in real time, tailored to the business and the owner.
Having a business coach has been a blessing to me. I pray I’m a blessing to my clients.