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Is Business Coaching Worthwhile in 2020?
What is Business Coaching?
At its core, business coaching is a relationship. A business coach is meant to assist and guide a business owner in running their business, helping them clarify their vision and how it fits in with their personal goals. It is the process used to take a business from where it is now, to where the business owner wants it to be. A business coaching relationship exists to give an owner guidance, support, and accountability, helping them figure out what’s in the way of creating the business they want.
However, business coaching is about more than just having a trusted guide – it’s also about having the right roadmap or plan and then actually sticking to it. This can only be done when the right questions are being asked in the right moments. A qualified business coach can only do that if they have the appropriate training and experience.
When a business coach is qualified, possessing real professional accreditations and associations, their guidance can help any business owner become a successful leader. Especially in the current business climate, many business leaders may feel lost in how to go about directing their organization towards success, and may feel confused as to how to navigate methods of success when workforces are displaced, in-person communication is limited, and all means of business development have been moved to the virtual world. Strong business coaching will produce positive effects in an organization, helping you build a company culture based on commitment and accountability, and providing you the right tools to put your business theory into practice.
Is Business Coaching Worthwhile?
While business coaching seems to yield many benefits in theory, when put into practice, many organizations do not view it as a value-add. But why?
The flaw is not in the practice itself, but perhaps rather the approach taken by business coaches, some of whom aren’t qualified enough to be coaching in the first place. Rather than focusing on implementing proven best-practice systems, strategies, and action steps that will help grow a business, many business coaching programs gear more towards mindsets, motivation, and emotions. These are not inherently negative things to draw attention to but curating a coaching technique exclusively around aspects of a business ideology yields far less results than framing it around actionable tips and suggestions.
Many business coaches invest a large portion of their time into motivating the business owner and discussing how they feel on an in-depth scale. While having a sense of the entrepreneur’s personal standpoints is crucial, a more balanced approach should be dedicated to both the individual (presumably the executor) and a focus on development, marketing, and product and service sales.
Ultimately, business coaching has become synonymous with psychology, rather than business growth and development. There is value in hiring therapists, psychologists, and life coaches, but this is not what business coaching is about. Rather, business coaching should exist to help real business owners grow real businesses, discovering breakthroughs in organizational goals, and implementing proven best-practice systems and processes.
Effective business coaching is worthwhile, but only when executed in balance of the organization’s needs and the individual’s capacity. It can transform any organization, but unfortunately, some modern business coaching techniques tend to confuse therapy sessions more so than entrepreneur business coaching sessions. The proven best practices that can encourage business growth can only be put into action when there is proper coaching and mentorship in place. So, what are the qualities that make up effective business coaching?
What Worthwhile Business Coaching Actually Looks Like
Strong business coaching helps business owners to build company cultures based on commitment and accountability and offers the right tools that help them put their vision into practice.
Listed below are some key qualities that make up effective business coaching.
As we have already discussed, business coaching is not consulting, and it’s not therapy. Effective business coaches do not demand that follow their advice, nor do they listen without giving constructive and applicable feedback and ideas for improvement. Business coaches should be people you can trust, someone with the appropriate training and experience to diagnose specific and systematic issues in your business. A good business coach not only knows what to do to see real results, but also knows that for those results to appear, you must implement the solutions yourself.
A business coaching program should aim to develop a trusted partnership between the coach and the business owner, built on strong communication and a good understanding of the value of hands-off guidance. Being a good listener is part of the equation, but any good business coach needs to have a thorough understanding of what makes businesses successful. Similarly, being knowledgeable about business is part of the equation, but a knowledgeable coach can only help if they truly care about people and want to understand you personally.
Strong business coaches are patient. They seek to help you get a clear sense on what needs to happen next, but they wait for you to take the necessary action. They hold you accountable to your goals, motivating you to continue to strive for them, but they do not force you into action.
Ultimately, a great business coach lives by one simple rule of thumb: you already have the fundamental ingredient needed to transform your business – it is the ability to change how you relate to it.
Curiosity and Courage
Effective business coaching knows how balance curiosity with courage. Curiosity comes in when they aim to analyze every single aspect of your organization to find the root cause for why things are stuck or stagnating in your business. The courage enters when they have to be honest about what they find.
Good business coaches understand that all business owners need to hear the whole, raw truth about the state of their business, even if it stings or means pausing to reflect before jumping into actionable solutions.
Although their job is based around maintaining partnership, a great business coach always hopes that, over time, a business owner will begin to need them less and less. Effective business coaching programs are curated to teach owners how to go about achieving success on their own, and how to eventually perform self-diagnoses on what their businesses need next.
Essentially, the more a business coach helps you, the less you need them. Worthwhile business coaching programs recognize this, and don’t pretend otherwise in order to keep financial relationships with their clients intact. Any great business coach understands that once their client has built a mature and thriving business, their need for meetings will become less and less frequent.
Evaluating Your Business Coaching Program
When meeting with a business coach, whether for the first time or the fiftieth, try to remain aware of how effective their methods are for the actual growth and success of your business. Evaluating every meeting with your coach is an effective way to track progress with them and determine whether they are a good fit for you and your business. This can be especially helpful when assessing their value in the current business climate. Virtual meetings with your business coach may seem awkward or stilted but following a specific criterion can help put their effectiveness into a frame of reference that is useful to you and your business.
Following every meeting, try asking yourself the following questions:
- Do they meet you where you already are? Do they take the time to celebrate your successes, as much as they do support you in developing solutions for failures?
- Do they understand where you’re headed? Do they have a proven map that they use to time their questions correctly, a plan in action that is specific to your business needs and the specific stages your business is in?
- Can they hold a long-term vision while helping you through short-term problems? Business coaches should always be present in fixing problems that exist in your business today, but they should also be able to recognize patterns and trends in the bigger picture. You do not want a coach that simply reacts to your daily frustrations and provides quick fixes, but rather someone who offers wise counsel.
- Do they make you more curious? Curiosity is essential to any business coach, but their ways of thinking should be infectious in order to successfully motivate you. Do you find yourself asking other people the kind of questions they are asking you?
- Do they understand what coaching is? While it is always a best practice to carefully check accreditations for anyone you partner with in your business, many business coaches slip under the radar despite being consultants in disguise or amateur therapists without the appropriate training and experience needed to guide you.
- Do they hold you accountable? A strong business coach does not just praise you for your successes and encourage your effective business strategies. They should also be willing to call you out on your faults, pointing out when you don’t show up, do the work, and make real change in your business.
- Do they hide behind lingo, lists, or tricks? The point of business coaching is to make the actionable steps they put forward actually accessible to you and your business. It should not be a complicated or extremely challenging process to translate the work you do with your coach to the strategies you implement into your business and your life.
Business Coaching Helps You Build Actionable Plans
Running a business can make you feel sometimes isolated, especially in times of failure or hardship. As the owner of a business, every decision rests on your shoulders, and this can feel overwhelming no matter the amount of experience you have. Being a leader of a business in the current climate can seem overwhelmingly daunting, especially when it comes to navigating through challenges that are extremely unique and specific to the current global situation. Business coaches are the experienced mentors that exist to step in and guide you when you can’t turn to a supervisor or subordinates for advice and support. They provide you with the coaching necessary to strengthen your leadership mindset, preparing you for navigating issues on your own. They are perhaps the most valuable resource available to business owners, but their methods are only useful when implemented appropriately.
Staying mindful of the controversies of business coaching practices, and keeping an eye out for those who are unqualified and methods that are not ultimately actionable plans for business growth, are best-practices in ensuring your business coaching program is best suited to you and your organization.