What is Coaching in Business?
The reality as a business owner is that you are your own leading expert in what you do. It doesn't necessarily mean you are the ultimate guru, as your competitors may produce comparable products. But within your business, with your product, built your way, fulfilling your market niche, you are the ultimate expert. A coach, unlike a consultant, does not pretend to be an expert in this area of your business. However as you built your business, if you are like most people, you didn't study marketing, or finance, or sales or even latest business trends and practice. You went on and produced the product that you now promote with expertise you had. It is often these areas of non specialisation that will challenge you to work through looking for solutions and therefore it is these areas where a business owner looks to coaching to help them work through the issue.
Coaching is a development technique where the coach encourages the coachee to expand their thinking and produce the best options to get the result they desire. The coach asks questions which get the coachee to explore different approaches to solving a problem. A skilled coach will ask questions that steers the thoughts of the coachee, to cover approaches they otherwise wouldn't otherwise have considered. The underlying skill of the coach is to guide the coachee, to ask themselves questions about areas they possibly had not considered, but the coach knows from their experience these are areas that could be worth considering further.
The Benefits of Coaching
Human nature is such that we always want to be right as this makes us feel good, boosting our ego. This raises a problem with traditional teacher, pupil education techniques, as there is a natural tendency for the pupil not wanting to be told he is wrong. A common result can be that the pupil just stops listening and can abandon the education, just continuing what they have done before. Ironically often they then subsequently remember the situation as the teaching didn't help them at all, not that they did not engage with it!
The difference with the coaching approach is that the coachee is the one who comes up with the choices and makes the decisions. This creates buy in to the action that is going to be taken and hence the success rate for making changes is significantly improved
Types of Coaching
Coaching in business can be segregated into three main types, life coaching, executive coaching and business coaching.
Life coaching is all about your internal well being, your emotional state. It works on mindset, helping the coachee to develop a more positive, can do attitude, overcoming mind blocks and self limiting beliefs.
Executive coaching usually involves coaching senior executives and helps them develop their own careers within the company they work in. The coaching covers personal mindset, combined with helping them develop a strategy to work their way up the corporate career ladder.
Business coaching is about developing the business, working through the business owner, using proven business development techniques. This is combined with planning and accountability to get changes implemented and hence get results. The coachee presents a goal or vision to overcome issues with the business and the business coach helps them expand the goal and identify what actually need to change to get results. The coach then introduces them to proven solutions as required from their toolkit of knowledge and previous experience. Business coaching tends to be more structured in its approach than Life or Executive coaching and helps the coachee work through a process to develop the business and meet their goals.
Business coaching is also different in that it is normally self funding where the changes made in the business, boosts the profitability by more than the investment in coaching hence permitting a long term profitable engagement.
Getting Business Change Through Coaching
Firstly your mindset has to be in the right place to work through the changes required and this includes having an emotional reason that will be your motivation to keep working on the changes to get results. The next stage is to develop a detailed plan to get the results you want and then work through the plan, adjusting it as required to keep to the set timescales.
So the principle is simple but its the detail and its application that is required to keep you on course and help you overcome challenges such as:-
- Its easy to come up with the initial plan but what are the plan B and Plan C alternatives to get results when things start to slip and you need to pull things back to the planned timescale
- Can you hold yourself accountable to get the work completed each week, or, are other things likely to come along putting the changes on the shelf?
- Your buy in to making the changes is only the first step. Can you get your team and your network onboard to support you and help you?
- To change your results you will need to change the way you work and the way you are. This requires you to learn new skills and techniques. What education program are you undertaking to help you get the results you require?
- Everyone encounters situations, reaching an impasse and can benefit from an alternative perspective. Who can you turn to in your moment of need?
A business coach can help you approach the problems with the right mindset, help you keep to your plan, keep you accountable and focused on the future vision and achieving your goals. They can be your network of specialists, help you with the right educational material at the time you need it and give you an independent respective on things when you need it.