What is a business coach?
I am often asked to explain what is a business coach or mentor. To many it seems a nebulous phrase, especially when compared to the definitive titles of a teacher or a lawyer. When I tell people what I do is “add value to their business” and my success rate is high, I still receive some quizzical looks. How?
I sometimes refer to a comparison used by lecturers at Carnegie training courses. Consider 99% of all top sports’ players. For all their talents, they use coaches, day in and day out. “So why shouldn’t you?”
The subject was raised again this week on a LinkedIn chat group by Patrick McMichael. He asked: “What do business coaches do for small business enterprises (SME)?” I would add two assumptions here. When he wrote small, I guess there is a connotation that SMEs cannot afford to pay. In parallel, if Patrick had written ‘big’, would this have implied “too big to need a coach’?
There were three responses to Patrick that I particularly liked
Heidi Tuftee noted: “A coach helps leaders identify barriers and gaps that are hard to see when they are entrenched in daily operations. A good coach helps you put together a plan to address those gaps and barriers. A great coach, will see you through the execution of that plan and help you realize the long term impact your efforts have had on you, your team and your company’s long term bottom line.”
Tara Hooey observed: “The most difficult part of being a small business owner is not running your business, it is recognizing the need to step away for a minute in order to take the greater, necessary actions that will help your business grow.”
Wayne Bidelman was more expansive: “A business coach (or partner) helps fill the gaps for the business owner – be they gaps in business management expertise or gaps in where the business is today and where they want it to be. It could require, to just name a few, assisting with planning, cash flow analysis, sales, marketing, employee acquisition and retention, exit strategies, etc.”
Personally, I point out to potential clients the ‘X Factors’. Even though, I am not an eXpert in their field, my commercial eXperience allows me to bring them a greater awareness. This word has been stressed by John Whitmore.
Coaches (or mentors) help managers, owners, entrepreneurs become aware of their true surroundings; all the skills they have, resources they are lacking, matters that cannot be ignored – at a commercial level and individual level. I help people to appreciate those nuances. I then encourage them to change and monitor those differences. All this converts into a positive effect in the bottom line of the profit and loss sheet.