Many people start out in business without a clue how hard it will be. Creativity and enthusiasm quickly vanish under swathes of paperwork and the excitement of running a company fast turns to hassle and tedium. Most people are unclear how to prioritise or keep focused and as a result work life balance disappears and frustration all too quickly turns to failure. Business coaching can help. The aim of business coaching is to help you develop successfully in the way that you want. Business coaching can teach the skills needed to grow your business, the ability to raise targets and focus time and attention on what really matters. You will get independent and objective advice to help you make decisions.
Business coaches can help you develop a vision for your business, help achieve clear goals to enable the company to flourish. This could include how to create a business plan, provide guidance or obtain outside funding, how to address meetings, network etc. You might want help with effective marketing and sales. You might want to work on a mission, a vision or an organisational structure. Maybe you need help developing and maintaining confidence, or interpersonal skills, time management skills or organisational skills? A highly qualified impartial advisor will focus on your strengths and weaknesses and help you make specific changes.
Business coaching can also help you keep control of your business and get the best out of your staff. You might want to improve overall performance, productivity or effectiveness. Do you need help developing and retaining key staff or addressing performance issues? What about team development to support and build the business?
You may feel your business is doing OK but a good business coach can focus on targets and help you raise them. A good coach can push you to do much more, in the same way as a personal trainer will force you beyond your comfort zone and a result will achieve more results than you would alone.
The coach can target specific areas to change and help you focus your time and attention on the really important issues. Goals need to be established and you need a clear road map of how to achieve them. Which are the most important goals for your company? Who should do what? What can you delegate? Which tasks must you absolutely do yourself to keep control?
Advice and decision making
Good business coaches will have worked with a variety of businesses, know what works well and what to avoid. Because the coach is independent and not emotionally attached him or she can analyse and give insights you may not have thought of.
It can be hard to make a big decision alone. You may talk about it beforehand with family, friends or colleagues, but ultimately it is your business and your decision. It can be lonely and challenging. Coaches can talk you through the process, and look at the whole process. In particular they can help you think outside the box and develop innovatively.
Finding the right coach
Currently, there is no central body in the UK regulating coaching. There are various organisations offering many types of training. These range from one-day courses to part-time courses which can take a couple of years to complete. There are also many books and home-study courses on coaching. Many coaches are trained Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioners. It is worthwhile looking at the International Coaching Federation www.coachfederation.org this is the largest worldwide resource for business and personal coaches, and the source for those who are seeking a coach. The ICF is a non profit, individual membership organization formed by professionals worldwide who practice business and personal coaching. There is a free search directory to find a coach.
What can I expect?
Many coaches follow what is known as the GROW model. The GROW model is applied to all forms of coaching, whether it be in a business or ‘life’ context. You book a series of sessions in which you work through the GROW model and continually review your progress towards achieving your goals.
G – Goal
Your coach will ask you lots of questions to establish specifically what it is that you want to achieve.
R – Reality
This will identify where you are right now in terms of meeting your goals, the progress you’ve made so far and any obstacles that might be getting in the way. For example, you may have made little progress because all time is taken up with paperwork, or you may need to take on help, or get rid of anyone who is not pulling their weight.
O – Options
You will look at all the options open to you. Your coach will look at things that you could do, but not necessarily should do and look at issues in a way you had not thought of.
W – Will or way forward
You turn your ideas into action points. You will agree with your coach what you will do and when you will do it by. This will be reviewed at your next session. Having clear action points will help you focus and the deadline of another coaching session will force you to do something about your action points.
Coaching is not for everyone, and it is not cheap, but with the right coach it can be money well spent and having a professional survey of your business can be very revealing.