Why You Need a Business Coach
It’s ok to ask for help. A coach can provide perspective, guidance, and accountability when you need it. Here’s a look into my top five reasons why.
You’re a small business owner. It’s easy to see that you are self-reliant and that nobody knows your business like you do. However, nowhere in the definition of an entrepreneur does it say that all the work must be done on an island. In fact, the most successful business owners will tell you that they have found ways to multiply their own efforts through being resourceful. They recognize that they are not alone in their quest, and that includes acquiring the services of a business coach, or mentor, if you prefer.
It’s ok to ask for help. Just as a good friend can be there to talk you through a personal challenge, a mentor can present a sounding board through which you can discuss options, weigh resolutions, or simply vent about the competition. A coach can provide perspective, guidance, and accountability when you most need it. Here’s a deeper look into my top five reasons for acquiring the services of a mentor:
Clarity of Focus: One of the most important skills to develop as a new business owner is the power of clarity. There are times when you feel that there is just so much to do that you dont know where to start. Should you be chasing down new clients? What about the invoices that need to go out to current clients? Did you kick out the website content this morning, as you promised yourself you would? Oh, and what about that neat new version of your product that hit you in the middle of the night – you want to take a few moments to research whether that is possible. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and lose track of the goals and direction that you have set for your business.
A business coach can talk you through all of the possible routes that are available to you and the consequences and benefits to each one. A simple discussion can remind you of the vision that you have set in place and help you compartmentalize (see notes on compartmentalization) and prioritize. Of course, you may be able to do this for yourself, but don’t forget that a coach can also provide outside…
Perspective: There are times on this SMB journey in which you will just need a sounding board. An outside point of view that helps you to see (or recall) factors that you were not previously considering. The mentor is a flexible chameleon, capable of taking on the role of your customers, partners, vendors, or your competition.
Experience provides perspective, and talking through a situation with someone who has been there can be both cathartic and educational. Whether you are working to resolve and issue, or just need a sounding board, a coach can provide insight that exceeds what you will accomplish on your own. However, what you do with that advice is dependent on the actions that you take, and that’s where accountability comes in.
Accountability: Take a moment and think about your own situation – how often do you postpone doing something when no one is relying on you accomplishing that task? Now what happens when you know that you will be held accountable to doing so, or will be required to explain your reasoning for NOT doing it?
It is inherent in human nature to hold ourselves more accountable to other people than to our own expectations. We will falsely rationalize putting off an objective, or contrive reasons for prioritizing one task over another. A good coach doesn’t accept flimsy excuses. A mentor worth their weight in salt will hold your feet to the fire and work you through the barriers and rationale that are holding you back. Simply the act of knowing that you will need to discuss this with a coach is sometimes enough to force action.
However, there are times when your own talent and expertise isn’t quite enough. You may need the outside help of someone who specializes in a specific field. That’s where a coach provides resourcefulness.
Resourcefulness: We started this discussion stating that you don’t have to do everything on your own. That’s especially true when it comes to parts of the business where you may not be as comfortable. For instance, perhaps you are a terrific salesperson, but you have never been very good at accounting for expenses and doing taxes. You could really use a bookkeeper, but you don’t know any that have worked with small businesses.
That’s where an experienced mentor comes to the rescue once again. A good coach will have a large network of contacts across a variety of industries that are necessary to the success of a small business owner. By association, this greatly increases the reach of the entrepreneur and expands their existing capabilities. Based on your experience together, the coach can align you with the perfect resource to fulfill the needs of your business.
That little extra… whatever it is that you need: Finally, recognize that working with a mentor is the creation of a relationship. It provides you with a resource that is vested in your success and that of your venture. The best coaches are those that have the unique ability to read a situation, recognize the needs of the entrepreneur and apply their experience to ask the right questions.
Therein lies the most underestimated capability of a business coach – asking powerful questions. Asking the right question can be more powerful than providing unilateral instruction or advice. Don’t get me wrong, there is some value to having a methodology and there are proven paths to success. However, blindly following those recipes without considering the needs of a given scenario can be a road to the wrong place.
Establish a relationship with a coach that will take the time to understand you, the goals of your business, and the special circumstances of your situation. Allow that individual to see behind the curtain and to provide you the clarity, perspective, accountability, and resources to take your venture to new heights.