The best ones encourage you to face your fears, insecurities, and character flaws, be willing to speak candidly and challenge you even when it’s hard.
Below is a recent WSJ article that I thought this community would find of interest and value. Athletes and entertainers work with a coach to elevate their already strong performance to a new level. Regrettably, for some reason business thinks of a coach as a tool to work with if you’re broken! I actually don’t want to work with broken people and recommend that they seek professional help. I want to take already high performers and add new skills, help them gain new knowledge, and most importantly, modify their behaviors to reach new heights.
How do you get the most from working with your business coach? David Nour
I’ve had the same business coach for 11 years and before that, I was part of a coaching group. I can’t speak for every entrepreneur, but I can tell you that the time my business suffered the most was the time I didn’t have a coach. Suffice it to say, I can’t praise the benefits of coaching enough.
But what exactly does a business coach do? And how can entrepreneurs and executives use them most effectively? Here is what I have learned.
Obviously, your coach should be smart, pedigreed, and have experience in your industry. He or she also needs to be willing to speak candidly and challenge you even when it’s hard. But the value of a business coach goes way beyond business strategy and tactics.
The best coaches encourage executives to work on who they are, to face their deepest, darkest issues. I’m talking about fears, insecurities, character flaws, and relationship mistakes, among other things. Some people may dismiss this as touchy-feely or simply find it uncomfortable. But the truth is that a business is affected by these issues, whether addressed or not.
Businesses typically grow in a stair-step process with periodic plateaus. When entrepreneurs reach a revenue milestone, it’s all too normal for them to feel like they’re set for success and don’t need to change a thing to achieve the next milestone. That is exactly when a plateau might start and when a coach could be most beneficial.
Coaches can help you identify plateaus and navigate through them so they don’t become permanent. By helping you to see what you’re missing and to tackle the issues that may be holding you back, they allow you to grow with your business, rather than your business outgrowing you.
This has proven true for me countless times over the years. One instance, in particular, comes to mind: I was working through a thorny problem with my board, where I was concerned about control issues in regards to the board encroaching on my authority. My coach helped me to see that I was projecting my fears onto the board, and I was able to resolve the issue favorably. I wouldn’t have been able to see the reality of that situation without the coach’s counsel.
To become a coachable mentee, it’s crucial that you be vulnerable. All too often entrepreneurs don’t want to ask for help or dive into their own limiting beliefs and loaded issues, which are the very things that can keep them stuck on a plateau.
It’s also important that your coach has no agenda or no financial stake in your success. When I was first looking for one, family members and friends offered to be my sounding board. The problem with that is they’re biased. Even if they have my best interests at heart, they still have a vested interest in my success. The same goes for anyone else you’re close to personally.
Finally, when you find a good coach, hang onto them. After all, your next plateau is always just around the corner and you’ll need them then more than ever.