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What is Business Coaching?

When I meet a business owner for the first time, they’ll often ask me: ‘what is this business coaching thing?’ Or sometimes, they’ll take a defensive stance and say: ‘I know it all already; why do I need coaching?’

I find in these situations, it’s always useful to draw on the parallels between fitness coaching and business coaching.

For a lot of people, personal trainers are quite an exclusive thing to have. You’ve got to have money, be highly successful, fairly fit or have the desire to be, driven and know what you want.

For you as a business owner, do these things not also ring true?

When it comes to the world of business, there is often confusion between coaching and consulting.

Simply put, a consultant will come into your business and do the work for you, whilst a coach trains and mentors you to do it for yourself.

It might sound strange, to pay somebody for something that you are ultimately going to do yourself, but let us revisit that personal trainer analogy:

Imagine going to the gym and your trainer informs you that the main activity for the session will involve working with 30kg dumbbells – deadlifts, curls etc. Instead of you doing the work, however, you get to sit down with a drink and watch them do it.

How would that work? Would you ever get fitter as a person? Absolutely not. Would you be paying your trainer to get fitter? Absolutely.

When consultants are brought in to make changes to a business, it often doesn’t work in the long-term. The business owner sits back and pays the consultancy to do all the work, however, once the consultant is taken out of the company, everything reverts back to how it was before they got there. This is because the business owner and their team will have learnt very little.

As a coach, it’s all about you, the business owner, learning. It’s about getting the best out of you and developing you. If you don’t grow and develop, you will be the person holding back the business.

You might be thinking: ‘is a coach right for me? Can I afford one? Is it the right time?’

Coaching is for everybody.

Steve Jobs had a business coach, Larry Ellison has a business coach; all of the successful people in business have been coached. In the beginning, however, they started out just like you. Bill Campbell who was the CEO of Intuit was the coach to Steve Jobs and countless other Silicone Valley CEO’s.

Now so often I hear that coaching is for businesses that are in trouble only. Well if the likes of Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg are all businesses in trouble then that’s the kind of trouble I can handle.

In fact Eric Schmidt the Chairman of Google, talks about the management lessons the team at Google learnt from Bill in the book “Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell”.

You need to decide who the right coach is for you. Do you need a coach that is going to give you confidence? A coach that is going to educate you? For a lot of people, they need an accountability coach; somebody to ensure that they get things done.

As a business owner, you’re at the top of the food chain; you answer to nobody. When you work in a corporate environment, you have somebody pushing you, but when you own your own business, you are reliant on yourself.

Some people have an extreme amount of self-discipline and they can push themselves; the majority, however, do not.

With my clients, I tend to work as an accountability coach. I push them to work on the areas of their business that they already know they must focus on, but haven’t been disciplined enough to do so.

Think about your business from a physical training point of view; there’s a reason that a personal trainer will work on your whole body and not just one area that you like working on or find easy.

Imagine a person with a bulky upper body and really skinny chicken legs; that’s a horrible look, but sadly, that’s how most people build their businesses.

They focus on their strengths and the areas that they enjoy, but proactively avoid the things they find less enjoyable or most challenging.

Having an accountability coach will ensure that you work on your whole business and therefore as a result, reap the rewards. An accountability coach also operates in your blind spot. Too often Business Owners are just too close to the day to day and cannot see the wood from the trees. A coach is often gives an impartial third party perspective that will ask the awkward questions you never will or would have never though off.

If you’re a business owner and anything here resonates with you, get in touch.

Remember, failing to learn is learning to fail.

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