9 Things Small Business Owners Must Do To Get Value From a Business Coach 

Successful business people such as Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin Airlines, have used coaches to advance their careers. Unfortunately, many small business owners are skeptical that a business coach can help them improve their business performance. The fact is that coaching has been proven to provide a return on investment of from 100-500% independent of whether you are a small or a large company. Those successful people are using business coaches because they are getting the return on investment they want.
So why have many business people not been able to achieve positive results from coaching, and why have others not even tried? Because it is not easy. As a follow-up to my earlier article that discussed what to expect from a business coach, this article discusses how to overcome the barriers to effectively using a coach to improve your business performance.

  1. Understand clearly why you need a coach:   You must have a significant goal or targeted performance improvement that will unquestionably move your company forward. This provides a strong motivation and the personal drive to do whatever it takes to improve yourself and your company. Without this clarity of purpose, you will not have the energy or focus to invest in following through on your plans
  2. Have an objective view of your situation: The most important value that a coach provides is an objective view of the situation a business owner faces. This perspective is built on facts based on a snapshot of the current conditions. It is important that you accept this view, and seek to understand why this may be and what the implications are for your business.
  3. Make sure the glass slipper fits:  Personal chemistry is critical in coaching, and so is how the coach and their experience fits your business and capabilities. A coach who works with large companies and high level executives may have difficulties understanding the limit on resources and time that a small business faces. Be sure the coach you choose to work with had a good understanding of your size and type of business, and your culture.
  4. Focus on your return on investment, not just cost:  Investing in a coach is just that, an investment, and it is important that you know how you will receive a return on this investment. That means your objectives should have a measureable financial outcome that provides this return. This outcome should be defined at the very beginning of the coaching process jointly with your coach.
  5. Trust your coach:  Coaching should always be confidential, and you must have absolute trust that your coach is being honest with you, and you must be honest with them. This also applies to any of your employees that will be interacting with the coach. This is the deal breaker. Without trust the process will not succeed.
  6. Keep an open mind:  A key value that a coach provides is an objective perspective. The client needs to keep their mind open to new ideas and different approaches to doing things. This opens the door to innovation and ideally helps to set you apart from your completion, and provides differentiation between you and them. Or the idea may be more expensive or complicated than you are comfortable doing. Focus on how you can get this done, not why it is not feasible. You coach will tell you if it is not something your can or should do.
  7. Don’t let your ego get in the way:   Be flexible and willing to change. Along with having an open mind, YOU must be ready to change. This could be your behavior, how you interpret and analyze facts and situations, or your relationship with other people. If your outcome involves changing your results, it is only logical that other things need to change to make that happen. This usually involves suppressing your ego to be willing to try new ways of doing things.
  8. Be disciplined:   Most clients are distracted by daily crises and the routine demands on their time. It is critical to stay focused on your targeted goals and to manage your time. This is what differentiates coaching from consulting. A coach is there to remind you that you have strategic priorities that need to be balanced against short term issues, and that must receive time and attention every week.
  9. Measure results:   It is critical to set measurable goals in writing and to measure progress in attaining these goals. This provides feedback regarding how well your plan is working, and helps to pinpoint where it is not working. Changes in what you are doing can then be made to improve results. Being accountable to your coach will assure that you stay focused on the goals and the targeted improvement.

Coaching is a process-oriented activity, that when executed in a focused and disciplined way, provides outstanding results. By teaming with a business coach, business owners complement their skills and abilities to overcome inherent limitations to their business growth and success.

More on business coaching from Forbes Magazine ….

As a small business owner himself, Art Helmstetter understands the challenges his clients face in today’s challenging marketplace. At the same time, with a successful career as a manager, marketer, and strategist in large companies, he provides a dynamic set of tools to help the people he coaches to achieve their goals . To understand how coaching may be able to help your company, contact Art at art@ohiobusinesshelp.com or call 937-985-0481.