Businesses have been around for years without coaches, so why would anyone need a business coach? It’s a common question I hear people asking. Coaching, in general, isn’t a new concept, but business coaching is. And the reason is as complicated as business has become.
Business used to be much simpler. Heck, everything used to be simpler. With the development of technology, new market accessibility, the blurred lines of work/life, and so much more, business has become much more all-consuming and all-confusing.
- Maybe you’re on track. You’re meeting your goals, but you’re also working…a lot…and wondering, “Where is the life/work balance?”
- Maybe you’re doing ok on your own. If you stay the course, you’ll get there without spending money on a coach, right?
- Maybe you’re struggling, really struggling and if you can barely pay the rent, how could you possibly afford a coach?
Do any of those sound familiar? Maybe even all three at different times?
As an entrepreneur, you know your business inside and out. You have the passion, the conviction, and the drive, but that doesn’t mean you have to take on everything, by yourself, all the time. Take it from a fiercely independent person who rarely wants anyone to help me with anything. But what I’ve learned from having a coach, myself, is that just having the desire to work hard and do everything to the best of your ability does not inherently make you a better (or worse) leader or business owner.
So WHY would a business owner get a coach?
1. Because you know something needs to change, but you don’t know what that is. If you’re happy with your business and life, and haven’t even considered a coach, then you probably don’t need one. And that’s great! But not every business owner at every moment in their business will feel that way. And that’s ok, too. Just because you recognize a need for something more or something different, doesn’t mean you are not a good business owner. But what if:
- You just aren’t meeting your goals.
- You aren’t confident in your team or you want to make changes, but are worried you won’t be able to find replacements.
- You feel overwhelmed all the time and you don’t know what you are doing wrong or where you need to focus your attention most.
- You have too much on your plate and nothing is getting done.
- You are working 24/7 and your other relationships (even with yourself) are starting to suffer.
- You feel like the market is getting more and more saturated and your competitors are succeeding in stealing clients.
- You want to grow as a leader and business owner, but don’t know where to start.
If any (or all) of these sound like you, then you might really need a coach, even if it’s just for a short while until you do get some clarity and direction.
2. Because you lack the skills, strategies, or knowledge you know you need. There is no shame in admitting you don’t know something. In fact, in business, admitting you need to seek out a professional is a very real indicator of your self-awareness and honest acknowledgment of your own limitations. No one can do everything.
A coach can help fill in the gaps and take you from faking and “life-hacking” a situation, to actually knowing exactly what to do and when. And that’s a powerful thing. We’ve heard it before: knowledge is power. A good coach has education inside and outside of a classroom and can take those real-world experiences (and yes, failures) to help guide you to see real, tangible results.
3. Because you want a competitive edge. Competition is only getting greater. From actual brick-and-mortar facilities to the infinite online options available today, your customers have more and more options than ever.
And what’s more, if it’s not an actual competitor taking you down, it could be scary statistics. Most small businesses (some say as much as 70, 80, or even 90%) just won’t make it. So that might mean that you have less than a 10% chance of making it in your business. What?!?
With those odds, who wouldn’t want a road map to success? A coach will be able to guide you against some of the most common and damaging mistakes new business owners make because they already made them—giving you the benefit of the “trial and error” method, without all the costly errors.
4. Because you want to fast-track your success. No one is saying that you aren’t 100% capable of being an incredible business owner and achieving all your goals, but if you want to get there faster, a coach might be just what you need.
Imagine skipping all the start-up errors, all the navigational missteps, all the uncertainties and stress! That’s what a good coach can do for you.
To put it into another context, imagine you want to start a gorgeous and extremely productive home garden. You have all the materials, you have all the passion, and you’ve done research on fertilizers, seeds, sun exposure, common pests, etc. You’ve chosen the perfect place on your property for planting and you’re ready to go.
And you could start right there, or you could consult a professional landscaper who tells you about upcoming moisture concerns, or how planting one plant too close to another can alter the growing process, or how the spot you thought was perfect has improper drainage, and on and on.
It’s not that you wouldn’t eventually figure out everything that the landscaper had to say, but because of that advice, your garden was prosperous in one season…instead of five. You get the idea.
5. Because you want to be a better leader. You want to be a leader, not just a boss or manager. A leader inspires their team to greatness whereas a boss just tells people what to do. As your business grows, so will you, and the duties and responsibilities you oversee will constantly evolve, too.
A coach will help you assess company problems, make educated and calculated decisions, and prepare for certain inevitabilities with grace and confidence. From hiring (and firing), complex problem solving, difficult conversations and situations, and anything else your business (and your people) throws at you, a coach will be there to help you navigate.
6. Because you want to work on your business, not just in it. When you start your entrepreneurial journey, you are usually wearing all the hats, simultaneously, while juggling balls and plates and sometimes flaming chainsaws (at least, that’s what it felt like to me). And though that may be sustainable for a while, you can’t do that forever, especially if you expect to grow your business in any significant way.
Growth takes thought and time and you don’t have those if you are doing everything else. In order to make the big decisions that will make the big changes, you need the time to focus on what you want to see your business do and how you want to see it grow. Your business deserves intentional, proactive thought.
Coaching provides this possibility, this opportunity, to self-evaluate and choose the path you really want to follow.
The hard truth:
Business coaching is a lot of things, but it’s not free or instantaneous. It’s a relationship, like any other, and that means it takes work and commitment. You will need to put in more effort than you realize because a coach can tell you a lot of things, but in the end, it’s still your decision and your business. You are ultimately responsible for anything and everything that happens.
Business is inherently a risk, but you need to ask yourself, is the risk of staying the same worth more or less than the risk of growing exponentially?
If you have a business coach already, then you know why it was the best decision you’ve ever made (myself included). If you don’t have one, hopefully this will convince you why it’s so important for you and your business that you get one, and soon. One of the most common objections to investing in a coach is the cost and to that I recommend asking yourself two more questions:
- Is your life and your business worth the investment?
- Can you afford not to make this investment?
So, what are your answers?