Do You Need A Success Coach To Grow Your Business?
By Nancy M. Powers
  "It's 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 clear decisions.
  • Who do you turn to when you need answers?
  • Do you operate your business from the highest level of thinking and action?
  • 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 insurance policy.

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 The Gap.

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 risks.

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 once.
  • Speeding in your car.
  • Always looking at the clock.
  • Filing up your gas tank on empty.
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Messy desk with piles everywhere.
  • Never saying "no" to projects.
  • Over promising your results.

Adrenaline addiction 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 Mountain Funding.

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 communications.