Although, we frequently hear about how business coaches can help people succeed in their ventures, still, not all entrepreneurs think they need one. However, if you’re a wise businessman who’s a beginner in your market, you know how vital it is to have a coach who will help you elude the possible mistakes that you may face in the future. A business coach is an experienced entrepreneur, a veteran in a particular field, who’s been where you want to go, and has seen what you want to see. A coach can guide you in your entrepreneurial journey by giving you an outside perspective and thoughtful counseling to help you build a successful business, without you needing to undergo the painful process of trial and error.
A business coach is similar to a sports coach who will help you focus, plan, prepare, execute and regroup, for you to achieve the results that you want. Still, many businesses work in isolation without an experienced mentor who can give outside perspective and feedback. Many business owners don’t have someone who challenges their thinking and questions their decisions. Sure, entrepreneurs may have a couple of people working for them, but these individuals would not dare to challenge someone who they depend on for a living, and tell them what they truly need to hear. Unlike normal employees, business coaches are entrepreneurs who have “been there, and done that”, and can be relied on with their business points, which they learned from their past experiences.
Just as the coauthor of SCALE Jeff Hoffman (co-founder Priceline.com) put it, “What I get out of having a business coach is that my coach has run and worked with so many companies that they’ve seen that they’ve seen every situation. So when I don’t even know how to handle a new situation, my coach says, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’ve seen this pattern a dozen times. Here’s how to best handle it.”
So, if you’re already decided to get a business coach of your own, or if you already have, here are 10 tips for you to get the most of it:
Choose a coach who is truly experienced, and has a wide knowledge-base.
The main point of getting a business coach is for you to avoid potential mistakes, and get passed the trial-and-error stage of your venture. Many business owners still think this risky stage is part of the business building. Although, some mistakes are inevitable for beginners, you will get to avoid a lot of errors when you have someone who can guide you along the way. For new entrepreneurs, crucial steps of business building like managing the team, growing of sales, creating products or services, or controlling your expenses may be unfamiliar fields. Yet, your coach can help you choose the right steps, and give you clarity by drawing on his/her past experiences.
Choose a coach who speaks your language.
Pick a coach who can easily explain to you, in the simplest way possible the step-by-step procedures that you can integrate and put to immediate and effective use.
Meet regularly with your coach, but not too often.
The best time when scheduling meetings with your coach is every two weeks. Meet with your coach frequently that you can have enough accountability, but not too often that it can prevent you from actually doing things for business execution. Monthly meeting with your coach is not enough; so make sure to see your mentor at least more than once a month.
Let your coach know about your weekly progress.
Spend at least 5-15 minutes to update your coach about your weekly progress. Weekly updates will enhance accountability, and will help your coach catch up with your business’ pace, so he can provide the best input about where you are and where you are going.
Transparently share numbers.
It can be daunting to share crucial details of your business like your revenue, gross margin, and operating profit figure to a complete candor. However, being open and honest with your mentor will help you get the best, appropriate feedback and an outside perspective. Thus, never sugarcoat things. Your coach will never judge you, since both of you have a mutual goal, and that’s to make your business grow and succeed, which you can only tap if you share accurate data.
Come up with systematic, global solutions.
Solving individual challenges are good for business. However, targeting issues that will develop and enhance the company’s internal system and control is even more valuable. Besides, ad hoc solutions aren’t flexible enough, but building system-driven solutions are easier to scale, a lot more stable, and can possibly grow.
Let your coach hold you accountable.
The right mentor will always be there for you – even in the darkest corner of your business, who, sometimes, will even be the person who calls you on the mat. Yet, your business coach will be by your side, and on your side. He may be the only person in your business life who can do this. Let him do it, because your employees can’t. Allow your coach to hold you accountable, and you will see the beneficial impact that it can bring to your business.
Don’t rationalize or explain away reality just to win the discussion.
There are times when business owners try to be smart with their coaches, and explain away a situation with a well-rehearsed argument. However, no matter how hard they try to out-smart their coaches, reality will persist, together with the objective facts. There is no use trying to come up with excuses. You don’t need to defend yourself to your coach. You must treat your coaching relationship as the only place where you can be fully transparent with what’s happening in your business. Your business mentor will help you accept the objective facts, and take full responsibility. From there, you and your coach can come up with strategic plans that can effectively harness those facts, and help you reach your goals.
Let go of your ego, and allow your coach to help you.
Ego will do no good, especially for a business. You don’t need to look good in front of your coach, as he has seen everything that you worked on and have dealt with. Allow your coach to help you, so you can save time, energy, money, and emotion by letting you learn from their experiences. This way you will avoid the painful trial-and-error process.
Don’t make excuses.
Let go of your excuses, and fully dive into commitment. Know that you don’t have to do things perfectly, you just have to do something about it. To be able to enjoy the freedom and growth that a business coach can deliver, you just need to let your coach do his job. Of course, in any business, there will be setbacks, but it must not hold you back. Magic can happen over 12-24-36 months of focused, and intelligent action to scaling a company. Thus, embrace the input of your coach, and put it into action. Besides, time is passing either way. Your only option is to choose between what will you say after three years, “If only I had” or “I’m so glad I did”?