When a prospective client asked me the question “what is it that you think you can do for me if you have never run a cosmetic practice?”, I was caught a little by surprise. And after a minor pause, I was able to step her through the truth of what coaching involves, and what outcomes we seek to achieve our clients get.
But before I get to that answer, let me preface this with my core belief about business coaching, and that is, we don’t business coach, we business-person coach. Like a sports coach, we work more with the business minds, rather than the business parts. And our fundamental duty is to enable the business owner to realise their dreams, their vision, their why.
I say this because quite often coaching is confused with consulting. And more often, there is uncertainty as to what coaching is, compared to mentoring, training, or consulting. Hence, as a coach, it is imperative that we define the distinctions and ensure that expectations and outcomes are established and agreed upon early on, in the coaching relationship.
In brief, coaching is about bringing out the best in your client. It is about enabling them to understand their deepest values and motivators, and then linking those motivators with their business vision. Once that is established, the focus then moves to agree on specific business outcomes and goals, and then holding the client accountable to those goals. We help empower them through specific techniques that enable the client to develop a high-performance mindset, influential leadership, and effective strategic communication.
In comparison, consulting is about actually completing specific work output required by the business or reviewing specific business processes and improving them. Training involves educating clients about specific processes or elements related to business. And mentoring is simply passing down your experience in the specific area of expertise that your client requires.
An exceptional coach can often take on the mantel of mentor and trainer also. In my opinion, it is best that coaching and consulting remain separate, because in my experience when you dive into the business as a consultant, you give up the objectivity and separation to be the most effective coach you can be.
Whatever the case may be, there is no doubt that coaching is an essential ingredient to all success. Look into the world of the highest-paid athletes, actors and business people, and you will always find coaches, mentors, and guides in the background, helping them shine. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google explains it best “I had years of experience and was hired as the CEO, so I figured I knew what I was doing. Not only did Google make me realize I still had a lot to learn, but my coach, Bill Campbell, ended up being a tremendous teacher. In fact, one of my biggest self-critiques at the end of the year was not bringing Bill on even earlier to help me and my management team. Take it from me – everyone needs a coach. The sooner you find yourself one, the better off you’ll be.”
In light of that, let me list quickly what a coaching relationship seeks to improve;
- Staff Retention
- Return on Investment
- Staff Quality
- Business Culture
- Business Communication
All that being said, let me zero in on the work that a coach specifically does. And even though I do High-Performance Team Training or Success Culture Training etc, I won’t include these here because they relate to training, not coaching. The list below is focused on pure business coaching elements of the work we do.
ESTABLISHING YOUR WHY
If you don’t know why, then you’ll struggle to work out how, when, and what. This is where my work with clients begins. Uncover their values and motivators, and ensure they are in sync with the business values and vision. Once they are aligned, everything flows more efficiently
The key to success is clear communication. And successful communication is one that is understood. To achieve the outcomes, you desire as a business, it is key that your communication with others as well as to yourself is clear and links precisely to your values. In order for that to happen, I help my clients identify how language is affecting their outcomes and ensure they reframe their communication positively
REMOVING UNCONSCIOUS BARRIERS
We are all a result of programming. Whether it be our innate personal program that we were born with, or that from the various influences in our life such as culture, parents, schools, etc. These influences impact how we view reality, and how we decide what is possible. They become our beliefs. Consciously and sub-consciously, beliefs and the rules around them, are playing out all the time. As a coach, we can quickly identify these, and assist in removing the unresourceful beliefs and replace them with beliefs that will serve you
ENGAGE YOUR CREATIVITY
All greatness comes from a moment or period of creativity. When something is brought into existence that wasn’t there before. Whether it is a new technology, or a new way of doing things, or art or music. These creations help humans evolve and grow. As a business owner, creativity is your secret weapon to success. And quite often, business owners get stuck in the “technical doing” and they don’t create. As coaches, we focus on releasing their creative side, which results in true growth in business sales and profits
BUILDING YOUR COURAGE
A drain to all businesses is lost opportunities and wasted time. Often these are the result of being stuck in “fear” related behaviours. Your coach works with you to grow your confidence, certainty, and calmness. Through this courage, clarity of mind is present, which enables the business owner to discover opportunities and solutions everywhere.
ESTABLISHING AND GROWING CONNECTION
A business coach does their most effective work when they connect with their client. That connection allows him/her to work through those limiting beliefs of the client to ensure the business vision is met. And so, it is with business owners. They need to identify the importance of connecting with others, such as staff, suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders. And allowing that genuine connection to develop and grow so that positive results come from the interactions with those stakeholders.
WIDENING THE PERSPECTIVE
Our reality is a product of our perception. And your success is limited to what you perceive is possible. A coach can show you how and why anything is possible. And more importantly, they can show you how to look at perspective not just from your view, but from the view of others. That wider perspective allows for better strategic thinking, planning, and implementation.
We are always engaged because the clients want better outcomes. Perhaps their current outcomes are poor, or perhaps they are great, but they want greater. Whatever the case may be, the client wants better outcomes. And often, they seem to be stuck and can’t change the result. Try as they might, they come back to the same result or worse. In truth, the equation is simple, to get better isn’t always about doing more or doing things differently. It is always about being different, being better. And that means creating a high-performance mindset that will project you forward and upwards
AN ACCOUNTABILITY MODEL
Humans are by majority a better performer when they have someone or something holding them accountable. For the very rare few, they hold themselves accountable to their values, and that drives them to amazing success, but for the other 99%, the accountability needs to be an outside source. A great business coach will develop an accountability model to ensure that certain actions and behaviours are met, the ones that will lead to the outcomes and objectives agreed at the onset.
HAVING A CONFIDANT
A confidant is someone you can share things with, that you wouldn’t normally share with others. In today’s western world, that person is becoming less and less evident as “independence and individuality” are favoured as a sign of strength. And with families becoming less connected, it can mean that business owners find themselves alone, unable to share their fears and doubts. That isolation can cripple decision making through anxiety and stress. A coach can be that person on your side, have your back, and give you support and wisdom when you need it most.
There are other core elements that a coach will focus on, however, these are the fundamentals. An International Coaching Federation (ICF) survey into client results returned the following data
- 70% believed business coaching is “very valuable.”
- 50% confide in their coach as much as their best friend, spouse, or therapist, 12% confide in their coach more than anyone else.
- 4% smarter goal setting
- 5% more balanced life
- 1% lower stress levels
- 4% more self-confidence
- 3% improvement in the quality of life
- 7% more income
Any business owner that experiences those improvements, will have higher profits, more growth, and more joy!
Returning now to my opening conversation with the prospective client. After asking her more questions, I uncovered she was looking for a consultant. A person that can implement the processes and systems into her business, including a CRM software. And those are not my scope of works as a business coach. Therefore, I recommended hiring an office manager experienced in system implementation in a medical practice. That resulted in her getting an amazing employee who is now her right hand, who manages all things not “cosmetic” related. She also decided to engage my service, and our work focuses on building a strategic mindset, as well as communication and leadership, which were not her strength. Recently, she opened her second clinic and we are now making plans for expansion into Brisbane.
If you know that you would like to better your business, and you’d like to do that without throwing money away making solitary decisions, then hiring a business coach may be your best investment.