Coaching for small business owners
Business coaching is a relatively new discipline. As a result, many small business owners are probably unaware of the coaching process and why they might consider coaching as a resource to fuel their business growth and personal leadership development.
What benefits can a coach bring to you and your small business? Will a coach help you be more effective in the day-to-day management of your small business? What specific skills or experience should you look for in a business coach? How to find a business coach?
Coaching can offer a number of benefits to those who accept the possibilities and enter the experience with a positive attitude. Ed Rankin, executive coach and founder and president of Manera Group in Dallas, Texas, believes that training offers small business owners a greater level of self-awareness regarding their strengths and weaknesses, better focus, and tangible strategies and tactics for address real problems. world concerns. He also states that “coaching helps people to be more effective by bringing clarity to real challenges and opportunities.”
Virg Setzer, President and Executive Coach of Performance Point Solutions LLC, has many years of experience as an internal and external business and executive coach. He feels that coaching offers the following benefits for small business owners:
- A fresh and objective view of the situation of a small business owner.
- A unique, competent and confidential resource that may not be available within the organization
- The opportunity to have a “partner” in your small business who is focused on your success
- A confidential partner who is available to test ideas and brainstorm.
- Assistance in seeing the “big picture” and long-term results as well as short-term goals
- The opportunity to be challenged and receive candid feedback.
Opportunity for Strategic Thinking
It’s a well-known fact that owning a small business can be all-consuming: So much time is spent managing daily tasks that little attention is devoted to strategic planning. Gina Duvall, owner of Business Sculpting, expands on the benefits of generating new ideas and focusing on strategic thinking. “Consulting is a great opening for this kind of thinking. Left to their own devices, a small business owner won’t get off the merry-go-round of finding the next customer or producing more widgets long enough to participate in a critical thinking,” says Duvall. “Having a business coach allows this to happen and to happen within a partnership. It’s easier for a business owner to do this kind of thinking in partnership with a coach, rather than just lock himself in his office hoping he won’t get it.” interrupt”.
One might assume that the main benefit of having a business coach would be a comprehensive offer of business advice. Not really: the benefits of a good coach extend beyond management consulting. “Many people start a business without understanding their true motivation and a good business coach can do much more than just work through the business process – a good consultant could do that. We ask different types of questions and have a different quality of conversation.” says Anne Wilkinson, managing director of Executive Playground Ltd in Birmingham, UK. “A coaching relationship is based on skillfully guiding a client through a process of increased self-awareness backed by solid business acumen. This has the added value of increasing trust and establishing a better decision-making process.” long-term”.
In my opinion, a key benefit of coaching is the opportunity for small business owners to develop a special relationship that adds real value to their organization. Francis Laleman, international consultant, trainer and trainer at Beyond Borders Training and Consultancy in Antwerp, Belgium, believes that “just having an objective outsider on hand, someone who provides insights from experience, who asks the right questions Whoever doubts the answers given, who suggests alternatives and reflects on the possibilities and opportunities, can really have a miraculous effect.” In Laleman’s opinion, “the key strength is in the mutual process of the business owner and the coach, working smoothly together to understand the dynamics of growth and change.” What to look for in a business coach
There are some set criteria to look for when hiring a business coach. As with any other position within your small business, experience is a key factor. Gil Gerretsen, president of BizTrek International, Inc in Greenville, South Carolina, suggests looking for a combination of business experience and a track record of proven results and cautions that “too many trainers shoot from the hip with advice based on a limited set of experiences in a place/industry”.
Anne Wilkinson advises you to look for a coach who has general business experience, as well as specific experience in the areas of your business that you know you need to develop. “Personally, I disagree with some of the coaching purists who say you can be a good coach without business experience. My clients expect me to understand their business issues and they wouldn’t tolerate a coach they can’t respect.”
In addition to business experience, Ed Rankin reminds small business owners not to forget that coaching itself is a special and important skill. “A coach needs to be educated and trained in the coaching process. Coaching is not mentoring, consulting, counseling, or advice. It’s something different.”
Training Case Study
Merri Bame, executive communications coach, shares the following real-life coaching story:
A small business owner came to me with a common but fragile issue. He had owned it for several years while his mother was still president of the board.
What “John” experienced was the degradation of his authority whenever his mother was present. From John’s perspective, his staff, managers, and board viewed him with little respect in his presence. He came to me (a stranger; a neutral third party) for a new perspective on how to have a very honest conversation with her because he intended to relieve her of duty. With two major relationships hanging on this outcome, “John” didn’t know how to proceed. Since it was a single circumstance, we met for an hour to guide him on how to focus on intention (restore good relationships) while he tackled a difficult issue and also wished for a good outcome.
John learned that he could speed up (in his career and influence) by choosing to slow down (to approach things properly and carefully). Without an external coach, he did not feel neutrally supported. And using one, he experienced a new way of approaching both conflict resolution and professional growth.
How to find a business coach
Your needs and comfort level will influence your search for a business coach. For example, if you prefer face-to-face coaching, you’ll need to search locally, while telephone coaching presents the opportunity to enter into a coaching relationship outside of your geographic area.
In Gil Gerretsen’s opinion, face-to-face coaching offers more value to small business owners. He suggests looking for someone in your area by checking with your local Chamber of Commerce or asking for referrals from other local small business owners. She adds, “If no one is available locally, check the nearest big city and drive to see them there. Before I first launched my business, I would fly to Los Angeles once a quarter to meet with my coach. It was worth every penny! ! “
Another thing to remember is to ask any prospective trainer for references, training history, and credentialing. “Really, the best way is to find a trainer by personal recommendation because then you know what he’s getting,” says Anne Wilkinson, “Certainly look for a professionally trained trainer, even if he’s not certified.”
Thomas G. Crane’s The Heart of Coaching states: “As coaching becomes a mainstream cultural practice, it will create a performance-focused, feedback-rich organization capable of creating and sustaining competitive advantage.” If you’re open to the process, coaching can bring you and your small business a number of great benefits and offer a new perspective on how to plan, manage, and grow your organization.