what you learn when you think you know everything that
counts the most in life."
Basketball Coach John Wooden
What's the "secret" behind
successful business owners? It's simple - they have a
coach. We all have blind spots, particularly when it
comes to our business. Have you noticed how easy it is to
give advice, but when it comes to your life you can't see
the whole picture? Emotions can get in the way of making
- Who do you turn to
when you need answers?
- Do you operate your
business from the highest level of thinking and
- Do you feel you are
doing all you can, and yet, it just isn't enough?
- The old model of
learning from your mistakes is not effective.
It's too expensive and time consuming. A single
mistake can ruin you in today's fast paced
business environment. A coach is an inexpensive
What is a coach?
Coaching is a profession
that has synthesized the best from psychology, business,
communication, mentoring, consulting, sports, philosophy,
spirituality, sports and finance. A coach challenges you,
and provides the tools, structure and support you need. A
coach draws the answers out of you and bridges the gap
between where you are and where you want to go. "A
coach is like having a personal trainer for your life and
business." Says Seth Lederman, president of Bridge
Why do small business
owner's turn to coaches?
- To get an objective
viewpoint from someone who has no hidden agenda.
- To have consistent
structure, support and accountability.
- To maximize and
leverage every action, investment and opportunity
in your life, while minimizing your effort and
When a business owner
hires a coach it demonstrates strength and a willingness
to take responsibility to grow themselves and their
business. Michael D'Agostino, president of Horizon Foods
describes his coach as a confidant who gives him
impartial wisdom, without any hidden agenda, from a
broader perspective. "It's like having your board of
directors, I discuss things with my coach that I can't
with my partners, family, and friends." After Seth
Lederman, president of Bridge the Gap got results with
his coach, he took a quantum leap and decided to become a
coach. "It's like having a business partner that I
say anything to, get an objective viewpoint but don't
have to pay out half my profits."
Just talking about your thoughts, emotions, and ideas can
generate solutions. Many business owners who continually
churn their businesses in their mind, drain themselves of
the very energy required to run their business with
clarity. Bouncing your concerns and ideas with a coach
who sees things outside the box that you operate from,
can provide obvious solutions.
How does coaching work?
Coaching sessions are
conducted mostly by telephone. Clients love the
convenience of picking up the phone, getting coached and
immediately back to work. No travel, traffic, time wasted
and an environment to speak frankly. "I love calling
my coach no matter where I am. I travel a great deal and
without telephone sessions I couldn't commit to
coaching," says Mike Schneider, president of Ki
Sales. "The advantage to telephone coaching is I'm
more focused and candid and I can hire a coach anywhere
in the world, I'm not limited to my geographic
area." Says Seth Lederman.
You'll find coaches working with clients on the patio,
balcony, beach, mountains, hotel rooms, airplanes and
cars. Clients typically call weekly for their scheduled
30 to 60 minute coaching session. The sessions are
free-form discussions of whatever goal or problem the
client wants to talk about. Some coaches include
unlimited e-mail communication between sessions. The
investment for coaching ranges from $250 -$1,000 per
month, depending on time and the coach.
What Can A Small
Business Owner Expect From A Coach?
1. Increase Your
Business, Make And Keep More Money.
You're probably worth
more than your making. Why charge what you think you are
worth. Charge what others are charging. A coach helps you
identify the hidden assets in your business. i.e. what
other products and services can you market to your
existing client's? Most important, to stop chasing,
selling and promoting your business and begin to
effortlessly attract business. You gain maximum leverage
from every action, investment, and time commitment you
make. "I saved $160,000 last year by talking with my
coach about a new business venture. She came from a
different perspective and uncovered a brilliant
solution." Says Seth Lederman.
Terry Powell, president of the Entrepreneur's Source,
matches people with the right franchise opportunity for
them. " I used to let the business run me, now I'm
in control of my business and finances. I'm proactive
versus reactive with a solid financial plan. Coaching was
the missing piece for me. After being coached I realized
how valuable this could be for my clients." After
getting results with his coach, Terry began coaching his
clients. It's a new profit center for him and his clients
are delighted to have personal access to him. "My
clients are getting results faster and have eliminated
trial and error in their business."
The key here is to have an extremely profitable business.
Fred Greaves, president of East Coast Paper has had
impressive results with his coach. "Because of my
coach's insistence to focus on profitability my business
has almost tripled in earnings. We come up with ideas
together, I'm accountable to implement them and she
coaches me to follow through. She had me question all my
expenses. I've saved over $200,000 last year in expenses
that I had overlooked. The increased sales and profits
are fantastic but it doesn't compare to the improved
relationships I have with my family. For the first time
I'm totally present for my family." Coaches help
clients to leverage their ability to improve the
financial bottom line, make money, add more value to
their customers, and increase productivity. A coach helps
you to have money instead of money having you.
2. Eliminate The
Hassles Of Life.
Suffering is optional!
Stop suffering, tolerating and hoping. There's a huge
addiction in our culture among entrepreneurs that's been
rarely recognized. It's the addiction to adrenaline.
Adrenaline is a source of energy. It's not the healthiest
source of energy, and yet people will do anything to get
it. Adrenaline is a habit that creates an unhealthy
lifestyle. Here are some symptoms of adrenaline:
- Rushing around and
juggling as many projects as possible all at
- Speeding in your
- Always looking at
- Filing up your gas
tank on empty.
- Messy desk with
- Never saying
"no" to projects.
- Over promising your
runs rampant among entrepreneurs because the common
belief holds that adrenaline equals success. Gordon
Bahary, president of Electric Kingdom Records used to run
his life on adrenaline before coaching. "I used to
create situations that developed adrenaline. I would
drink coffee, eat sugar, get hyped, angry and excited
more than was necessary. I planned my execution of tasks
in an erratic fashion just to get the adrenaline rush. I
was dependent upon something external pushing me and used
adrenaline to get through my day. Now I'm clear about my
real talents and draw genuine energy from within. I have
time to stop and think and gained a love for my
discipline of not running on adrenaline."
The paradox of attraction is - if you want to achieve
more, do less. It's called irresistible attraction. By
eliminating adrenaline you naturally attract success,
reduce stress, integrate all aspects of your life,
simplify, and reorient around what makes you the
happiest. What good is increased productivity and
profitability if you're not happy?
3. Get Your Needs Met
And Communicate More Effectively.
It's important to be clear about what you need
and to communicate it elegantly. A coach helps you to
identify your unmet needs. Needs are not optional. It's
what you don't know about you that really runs you. Unmet
needs can run your life, until you identify them and take
complete responsibility for fulfilling them in healthy
ways. Tom Aagaard Wendy's franchiser, kept running to his
business to get his personal needs met. "Now I
understand my needs and get them met in my personal life
with ease. I stopped searching and running towards my
business to get all my needs met. Now I have a balanced
life and fully enjoy my personal relationships."
A coach helps you to have the language you need to handle
confrontations. When people avoid confrontations their
lives get messy. Having the skills to communicate
effectively, allow you to have quality relationships and
restore integrity. A business owner learns how to come
across better, listen, influence, coach, motivate,
inspire and support others.
4. Create Reserves.
Business owners tend to run their business on the edge.
They get so caught up with their ideas that they invest
everything into their ventures and want to make it happen
all now! Business owners tend to exhaust their reserves
quicker and faster than any other group of people,
because they are creative and come up with so many ideas
that require attention. The solution is to create
reserves in every area. You want to have more than enough
so that you are always operating from reserves. When you
operate on close to empty you react to every situation in
life. With reserves you respond to life. When you respond
you're always at choice. " I was running my company
on empty. Now that I have reserves, my awareness level
has doubled. I see opportunities everywhere and implement
them easily." Says Terry Powell.
How do you build reserves? Begin by creating new
standards of doubling everything, i.e time, money,
opportunities, clients, friends, energy, etc. Fill your
gas tank when it's on half a tank instead of waiting
until it's on empty. Buy two boxes of fax paper versus
one. Hold money in separate reserve accounts for new
projects. Say "no" more. Stop over promising
and begin to under promise. Operating with reserves make
you more attractive. People will gravitate to you and
seek you out to do business. With reserves comes fewer
errors, space to create the future, time to do complete
work and the ability to maintain integrity.
5. Work "On"
Your Business Instead Of "In" It.
An insightful business owner is wise not to work
"IN" their business, but knows that real money
and success come from working "ON" their
business. When you work "IN" your business you
think like an employee, do tasks that you can do that
others should be doing, and work really hard. When you
work "ON" your business, you orchestrate the
work of others, you step back daily to get a helicopter
view of where you're heading and plan your business for
long term growth.
It's very easy for new business owners to get engrossed
and consumed with their business. While it's important to
understand how to run and operate your business it is
equally important to stop and set up structures and
systems so that anyone can do the job the same way.
"I took a vacation with my family two weeks ago and
for the first time and didn't have to call into the
office, because of the systems we put in place. In the
past, I would have called in 4-5 times a day. Today I
spend quality time with my family and am fully present.
Life has become effortless." Says Fred Greaves.
"My coach helped me to stop making a living and
start making a life" Says Mike Schneider.
6. Get Rid Of All The
Stuff In The Way
Eliminate the distractions of problems, incompletions and
tolerations and increase productivity. Everything you
tolerate claims a piece of your creative and physical
energy. Tolerations drain you of the resources required
for a successful business. " Getting rid of my
tolerations was the most freeing thing I've ever done. I
never realized how much energy was being drained from
tolerations. Everyday I walked in and got annoyed at my
messy desk. Now my desk is organized, I have more energy
to use on more important things, like growing my
business." Says Mike Schneider.
What are incompletes and tolerations? The piles you have
in your office, projects you plan to start, unfilled tax
receipts or forms, unread magazines, legal matters, the
dent on your car, conversations you need to have, etc.
Set up a plan to resolve tolerations and structure a way
to eliminate them permanently. How? Identify and
eliminate the cause of your tolerations, so they don't
come up again. "I constantly look for ways to make
my life easier. When issues comes up I don't just look to
resolve them, I look for solutions so the problems never
resurface." Says Pete Fioretti, president of
7. Discover Your
Strengths and Orient Your Business Around Them.
What are your strengths? Unfortunately we learn
as children to get good at the things we are not good at.
For instance, if you had a natural talent in art and
failed in math, your parents would hire you a math tutor
instead of an art teacher to embellish your innate
strengths. When you spend your life trying to get good at
things that don't come naturally to you, mediocrity is at
best what you can expect. The secret key to effortless
success is to identify your strengths and talents and do
only those things.
"My coach reminded me of what I already have. We
figured out my strengths, talents and vision and
cultivated my business from the core. We created a clear
new path instead of repairing my old business." said
Gordon Bahary. Jan Guarino, president of Guarino Graphics
was struggling with her growing business. She spent her
time wearing every hat in her company. By the end of the
month profits were not growing. Her coach asked her to
stop doing what she didn't enjoy. She delegated the
administration, and took control of graphic design and
sales, and her company profits more than doubled.
If you are not certain what your gifts are, it may be
difficult to discover it yourself. How do you discover
your strengths? Ask five people that know you well what
they believe your gifts are. In that dialogue with them
you'll discover it.
Nancy M. Powers is a freelance writer and success coach
who also leads seminars on personal development and