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Every Top Professional Has a Coach!  Do YOU?

Are you like most business owners?  Are you doing what you do without any outside support? If you answered yes, I wonder why?

There are more resources available for small business than ever before.  Government and non-profit programs are everywhere, but are underutilized.  Coaches and consultants are available to businesses at every stage of development.  Why they are not used more I think lack of awareness, lack of time, and pride all play a role.  Let’s look at each obstacle.

I don’t know what’s available!  It’s true, resources don’t just appear in front of you.  You have to look for them.  The good news is, they are not hard to find.  A little time on the web and the phone and you can be in touch with hundreds of small business resources.  Of course, all of this takes time, so the issue for most business owners becomes the lack of time.

I don’t have time!  Business owners often struggle just to manage the day to day activities and responsibilities of running their business.  This happens when we spend our time “doing the do” and leave no time for working on our business.  We get so focused on the activities that cash flowing that we can’t find time for planning or developing our team to help us grow the business.  We are stuck making just enough money this month to pay next month’s bills.

I don’t need that kind of help.  Most people who own a business are smart.  That is why they went into business for themselves in the first place.  But I have also never met a single business owner that knew everything about everything in business.  That is why it is so important for every business owner to learn from others as much as possible.  Even the Lone Ranger knew that going it alone was not a great plan.

Consider this, every professional athlete has a coach.  And not just athletes – professionals in every field of accomplishment use coaches or mentors to help them get better.  So why don’t more small business owner use coaches?  Here are two possible reasons.

I can’t afford it.  To be sure, coaching costs money up front, but a coach should never cost you money in the long term.  They should be a source of both revenue growth and profit growth.  If you do not have confidence that they will make this happen, don’t hire the coach.  Coaching is not an expense, it is an investment.

I can do it on my own.  If you are already successful, why get a coach?  Simple, as good as you are, you may be reaching only a portion of your full potential.  What would happen if Tiger Woods or Kobi Bryant, or Payton Manning had decided at some point that they did not need a coach?  They would still be good, but not as good.  Business owners are the same.  If you are great, how much greater could you be if you were working with a coach?

So how do you go about picking and working with a business coach?  Here are some keys to use in making a selection.

  1. Look for a coach with practical, small business experience.  You need someone who has been there and done that.  Don’t be afraid to ask them about their practical qualifications for the job.
  2. Check references on the coach. Ask them to give you the names of current and past clients so that you can hear from the clients what they got from the coaching.
  3. Price matters, but it’s not about the money. Consider the value of the coaching you are receiving.  Don’t spend more than you can reasonably expect to recover in the time you are in coaching.  If the coach wants to charge $1,000/mo or $150.00/hr make sure you can afford the cost and make sure you know exactly what the charges will be.
  4. Never sign a contract that does not allow you to stop if the coaching is not working. The coaching industry is different from consulting and your coach should understand that.  Coaching works over time and coaches need to be motivated to provide meaningful services that work.  As a principle, I never pay for that kind of service up front and I don’t sign contracts that I cannot cancel if the program is not working.  Don’t pay retainers.
  5. Make sure your coaching experience includes some form of regular interaction with other business owners with similar concerns/issues. Business is not a go it alone adventure if you really want to reach the top.  Make sure your coaching program includes ways for you to grow with and learn from other business owners who are facing the same kinds of problems you face.
  6. Ask the coach how they will work with you to make sure you are setting and achieving the goals you want to achieve.  A coaching system that does not establish clear goals and objectives and does not match those goals with effective monitoring systems will not work over time.
  7. Ask the coach who is coaching them. The principle applies here as well.  Every professional has a coach.  If the coach does not have someone they are working with to improve their game, they are falling prey to the same pitfalls as the business owner without a coach.
December 2017
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