How to Never Need a Business Coach

Like many service-based companies, a majority of my business coaching clients begin our relationship through networking and referrals. And typically, during the introduction phase, the next question after “What do you do?” is “Why do I need you?” Ok, maybe not always that to the point. But it usually gets expressed with a couple of images in some form of “I have an idea what a consultant does in a business setting, and I had an old football coach when I was on the high school football team…but what’s a business coach? How does that work? Do you yell at me while I run laps to the copier?” #businesscoach #youredoingitwrong


Digging a little deeper we find they’re actually trying to answer two key questions:

  • What is it you reallydo?
  • Do I really need your service?

But first, a word from the disclaimer department: The thoughts and ideas expressed in this article are solely my own intended to breed understanding concerning the general concept of business coaching. Therefore, any understanding (or potential misunderstanding) should in no way be associated with the ICF (International Coach Federation) or its membership. There, got that out of the way. #legaldisclaimer

Question #1

The way I explain it is: Similar to traditional consulting, business coaches operate on a spectrum using a blend of techniques focused on achieving various outcomes. Some coaching relationships may operate more like traditional business engagements focused primarily on improving finance, strategy, or operations. Some may operate more like life coaches focused on improving intra-personal relationships. Many, like myself, alter their approach as need arises. Unlike consulting, business coaches are less prescriptive and more inspirational in their approach. Meaning, we believe in helping our clients formulate their own path to success rather than laying out formulaic processes. Less drill sergeant, more yoda. Wherever your coach is coming from, they’ll always be fully engaged in enhancing your relationship with your business in measurable ways. #doordonot #thereisnotry

Question #2

But that only sheds light on the first question. Addressing the need for a coach I thought I’d give you some tips identifying when you don’t need one. Because let’s face it, the business unicorn beating the E-myth odds starting and growing a successful business all on their own does exist. They’re the unique blend of Michael Gerber’s Entrepreneur, Manager, and Technician who’ve mastered the below skills…and then some. Maybe it’s you and you don’t know it. Compare and see how you’re doing. #emyth

  • You documented a set of 1-, 3-, and 5-year goals (and, if you’re really bold, 10-year goals.) Goals are a coach’s primary tool in their toolbox and typically follow the SMART framework: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. You also revisit them periodically ensuring you’re always on-message and on-target.
  • You know your critical paths and associated tasks. Every goal has a path leading you to the promised land. With that path comes a list of associated primary, secondary, tertiary, and keystone tasks you’ve anticipated in advance. Regular review of your goals spawns regular adjustments to you paths and tasks.
  • You exercise your motivations and decision-making models. We all know traveling your path toward your goals isn’t as easy as just checking off a bunch of tasks on a list. Business environments are fluid. But you’ve explored your core motivations and, through regular practice, built a reflexive decision-making model through which business decisions automatically pass in order to maintain a sense of leadership continuity.
  • You identified where you add value and stay out of those areas you don’t. As your business grew you systematically identified where to spin-off responsibilities and prepared for navigating the emotional “cutting of the cord” as burdens shifted with each sequential personnel decision.
  • You stay connected with objective mentors and industry leaders. It’s been 15 years since your business started and you’ve fought the tendency of surrounding yourself with “Yes-Men” drifting toward ideologically isolated leadership. You regularly encourage returning to the industry “well” drawing up new ideas and approaches preventing your business from getting stuck in a 15 year old mindset.

If you’re doing all these, you’re more than likely crushing it in your industry. If not, maybe a coach is just what you need. Not a Svengali taking over your business operations (a common, if slightly exaggerated, fear.) Rather, an objective, thought-provoking collaborator focused on building your success “muscles” for future growth and performance. #crushit #askgaryvee


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