I read a great article in Leaders in Heels, online the other day (read it here) about the reasons for taking on a business coach.
The article got me thinking about my profession, about what I do and why working with me and people like me can make such an enormous difference to your business growth and development, and hence why I firmly believe that taking on a coach from time to time is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in your business.
There is one reason above all others, that you should know about and noone tells you about. And that is this… it’s not the brilliance of the coach, rather it is the commitment you make that makes the difference.
The conventional factors
The article by Ros Cardinal mentions a number of important benefits from taking on a coach, such as:
Time management and prioritisation, clarity, brainstorming and accountability. and those are absolutely great benefits you’ll gain from having a coach (a good one anyway) and there a bunch of others, depending on the coach and the relationship you and your coach may have.
But the biggest one is rarely mentioned, because it actually is not dependent on the qualities, knowledge and experience of your coach… It is the commitment made by you, the client. Obviously coaches don’t like to mention this too much, because they want you to think they are brilliant and that their singular brilliance is going to make you rich and successful… I’m no different really, I am similarly convinced of my genius… but in the depth of the night, when noone is listening, I know it hasn’t got anywhere near as much to do with my talents as I like to make out.
To take on a business coach costs significant time, energy and money. To sign a contract or shake hands with a business coach is not a decision to be taken lightly. It takes a lot of faith and trust and actually not going to make your life easier in the short term. I say to my clients that taking me on as their coach: “Is full-on, it’s intense, it’s made grown men cry… but it works”
And one of the reasons it works is that it is a big commitment, and once you make the big commitment it means you become highly invested to make it work for you by hook or by crook.
Once you make the commitment and I am up to the job of “holding the space” and being there for you every step of the way, the change becomes relentless and unavoidable.
It’s the reason I actually make it quite hard to engage with me (which doesn’t help my business model of course but then the dentists kids have holes in their teeth… maybe I need a new business coach!)
Next time you talk to a business coach who wants to make it easy to sign you up… go and find someone else… I promise you.
More about the various forms of business support, guidance and advice that are available to small business owners here
Or why business doesn’t have to be like playing a game of ‘Whack the Mole’
Let me paint a picture for you… See if you recognise any of it:
Running your business is like playing a game of “Whack the Mole” you never know what is about to pop up next and where.
You run around from crises to crises all day long, extinguishing brushfires along the way. And while you are dealing with the crises, you don’t get to all the business development priorities you know you should get to, marketing, sales, financial management, staff management, planning etc.
A switched-on Business Owner
It’s not that you don’t know what you should be focused on as a responsible, switched-on business owner, but:
1) You don’t have any time left to spend on any of those aspects of business.
2) When you do magically find some spare time, you don’t feel confident to decide which of all those priorities is the most important.
3) And even if you did know what to focus on next and you had the time… you actually feel quite insecure that you know how to do a good job at it anyway… It’s not as if you completed an MBA … nobody ever taught you how to write an operations manual did they?
So you run around from employee crisis, to client crisis, to supplier crisis, to compliance crisis to cash crisis and all the way back to the beginning again.
Your average Week
Have I just described your life as a business owner? Of course I have… The responsibilities that come with being a small business owner are daunting, it’s all down to you and you probably feel trapped in a state of Overwhelm a lot of the time in your business…
So let me tell you about Brian, who was one of my clients a couple of years ago and how Brian freed himself from being trapped and took his business from a single store to a healthy growing multi-store business in just 2 years.
The approach Brian and used is one I’ve used with many business owners over the years, because it is so simple and so effective and because the results have been astonishing … every time.
Brian’s Car Accessories
Brian was a client of mine who owned a car accessories business in Sydney.Brian’s business had slowly plateaued over the past couple of years and Brian was frustrated that he couldn’t seem to push the business ahead any further anymore.
Brian’s head was exploding with all the different competing priorities that were screaming for his attention every day. All the challenges of managing inventories to cashflow, staff, marketing, systems etc etc
Brian simply didn’t know where to look and where to direct his focus.
Working with me Brian created a “Fun in Business” scale. A scale from 0 to 10, where 10 on the scale meant that he had had as much fun in his business as he could possibly have and 0 meant the opposite.
Every week in our sessions, Brian would ask himself 3 questions:
1) How much Fun did I have last week on the “Fun in Business” scale
2) On the same scale, how much “Fun in Business” do I want to have next week?
3) What specific things must I do, what specific actions can I take this coming week to ensure I achieve that number on my scale?
Cashflow… staff training
One week, Brian reported that he was at 6 and wanted to get to 6.1 on his Fun in Business Scale and he decided to spend 1 hr in the coming week chasing up outstanding accounts to increase his bank balance and cashflow and hence to have more Fun in Business.
Another week Brian realized that the greatest opportunity to increase the fun number on his Scale would be to deliver some much needed training in the area of customer service to his staff etc etc.
After a few months of this approach to managing his business, Brian’s business did start to grow again… slowly, steadily, month by month… quarter after quarter.
Now a few years later, Brian’s has opened a second store and warehouse on the other side of Sydney and when I last spoke to Brian he was looking for a site for his third store.
Lessons from Brian
That is the story of Brian… It may seem odd, that I got Brian to focus on Fun in Business instead of ‘Profit’ or ‘Systems’ or ‘Cash-flow’ or ‘Staff retention’ or ‘Customer satisfaction’ and other business concepts like that, but you see… Fun in Business is actually an incredibly simple yet powerful concept that has the potential to transform your business.
Because when your business is Fun:
• It means everything is working.
• It means you are making money.
• It means you’ve got cash in the bank.
• It means you are proud of the output of your business.
• It means your customers love you.
• It means that your staff are highly engaged
• It means that you have the balance in your life you want.
A little more fun next week
So asking yourself how you can have a little bit more Fun next week, will help you focus on the most important aspect of your business to focus on next, while using the “Fun in Business Scale” will help you find the next simple steps rather than getting Daunted and Frustrated by the enormity of the tasks before you.
As I said before, I have used this approach with many clients in the past and I use it myself all the time of course. It is surprisingly simple… all it takes is to put 5 minutes aside for it every week at the same time.
So… get yourself a special little notebook and label it your Fun In Business Book, set the time aside and ask yourself these three questions every week; How much Fun in Business did I have last week? How much Fun in business do I want to have next week? and what simple small action can I commit to taking next week to move me along the scale to where I want to be?
If you do this every week and you commit to taking the small, simple actions that result from the third question…
Your business and your life will never be the same again.
(And the mole can take a break too)
I promise you.
Roland Hanekroot is a business coach and the founder of New Perspectives Business Coaching. He is also the author of the acclaimed “The Ten Truths” books for business owners. Roland runs a webinar called “The Small Business Masterminds” every month, on the 10 key aspects of business that all business owners face when developing and growing their businesses. First time is free, normally $99. Book in here.
Thinking about the Rhythm of business and focusing on making business as predictable as possible, Verne relates how the famous John D Rockefeller had lunch with his key people, every day. Verne says: “Consciously or not, Rockefeller understood that the word company means: To Share Bread. He knew that by gathering his top people every day for a meal that their professional and personal relationships would be strengthened.”
I love that quote by Verne Harnish, because I think it is really useful be reminded what the word company actually means. It is absolutely about a group of people – we are in company with people, we don’t create and run a company on our own, it is all about the people.