You might believe the word “coach” is one of the most over used in management terminology. I certainly do.
At the same time you need to have someone who is going to help you get better at what you do. The sad news is that as business owners we rarely have someone tell us the truth. Most of the time the people who depend on us for their living (employees, suppliers, and advisors) try to figure out what we want to hear and then find a way to feed that information back to us.
It’s important that someone in our life is willing to say, “Wait a minute.” Sometimes it’s our significant other but even they will often be reticent to ask the tough questions. I like to think of a coach as one who has enough courage to say wait a minute. In my mind this person is the one who holds me accountable for behaving in a way that helps me reach my outcomes.
The point of using a coach is to make us better. A coach has to be willing to ask the tough questions.
You have to give your coach permission to ask tough questions, the one’s that turn your face red. Otherwise you’re just wasting your money and time.
Most of the time you’ll want a coach who has some strategic and or technical skills. If you have a tennis coach you want them to know something about tennis. If your coach is going to help you get better at running your business you want a coach that can do at least two things:
- They need to be able to communicate with you in a way that you’re going to be willing to listen.
- They have to know how to make your business better once you’ve decided what you want to do and why doing a particular thing is a good idea.
The communication part is where the person you’re working with understands your communication style and can appreciate what communication methods work for you. You’re not going to be willing to listen to new ideas if the person presenting them is annoying or doesn’t understand where you’re coming from.
Understand that good change agents (otherwise known as coaches) are going to help you make small changes. No one who is running a successful business or even a business that needs improvement is going to make massive changes at one time.
It’s small incremental changes that are piled on top of each other that provide extraordinary results.
Great coaches not only know how to help you consider different options, they know what many of those options are. They have a significant amount of knowledge in what you want to improve.
Your coach should understand lots of different strategies a business could pursue. If it’s about personal issues, they’ll have worked with others on similar issues. Most importantly your coach needs to know when it’s time to add others to the mix.
As clients we don’t want to be pigeon holed, but we do want some prior knowledge and experience from our advisors in what we want to improve. If you run a business you need people who have the technical and people skills to help you get a better result. Doesn’t this make sense?
We have a good example of how an advisor can help their client to take action. We believe that in many cases being a passive owner is a crucial step for business owners to take. Learn how John Aardvark took the necessary steps to move from active management to passive ownership. To get this case study click on the button below.