July 12, 2010
What is a business coach? What is the process and what could you expect were you to hire a business coach? Frankly, that is a question that you are going to need to ask the individual coach. There are many different backgrounds and educations for coaches. Some have coaching accreditation. As for myself, my educational background is in psychology and counseling. This combined with my extensive business experience informs and has helped me to create an effective and individualized coaching strategy.
I have a masters in clinical psychology/counseling where I was educated in both the theory and the practice of assessing human behavior as well as how to aide people to achieve desired results. My experience in mental health is very broad and is combined with 19 years business experience in the financial markets. The specific experience in mental health that informs my methods more than any others is experience is working with families. The family is the basic social unit. The dynamics that occur in families form the basic components of in the rest of our social life, especially in our work life. Additionally, small businesses are often family owned. Even if they are not family owned, the personal lives of the owners and the work life of these owners are inescapably entwined.
My coaching method would begin with an understanding of where you see yourself right now. This sounds simple enough and sometimes it is. Most of the time, however, it is not. Were it simple you would not be seeking a business coach. Your business life does not stand in isolation from the rest of your life, so when we are assessing the starting point, we get a thorough understanding of the rich context of your current situation.
Next, we’d like to look at where you would like to end up. This is broken down into a few areas. First of all, we look at how you think things should be right now, but aren’t. This is not long term at all. In fact, you might be gasping for air right now and before any planning can be done, we need to address the current situation. Dealing with current situation may or may not be a significant issue. It almost always takes longer than the business owner originally anticipates. But, laying the foundation is key to moving forward.
From this foundation, a vision for the business has the where-with-all to emerge. And, emerge it must. A vision is more than just figuring out what the business should do. We dig deep. Business is hard. Things happen. Economy happens. Employees happen. All kinds of things happen. Imagine coming home from the beach on a summer Sunday evening. The traffic is insane. Imagine it comes to a stop. There has been a disaster. No one is going anywhere. What do you want to do then? Most people at that point just want to get home. I’ve never heard of any one in a situation like this simply saying, “Ah screw it! Traffic is really bad. I’m not going home. That would be too hard?” Can you imagine?
We attempt to tap into and encourage your organic and natural vision. In order to get through the traffic jams of business life, your vision must be as certain to you as your home is.
And then, we look at the obstacles between now and your vision. And then we devise strategies to succeed.
In actual practice, this is certainly not a straight line. Each of the areas described above influences each of the other areas. You are never completely in one stage or the other.
Something we are doing concurrently to the above process is graphically depicting your business pipeline. How do customers find out about you? How do you (Your business) and your client connect? How is the client treated? What services or products do you provide the client? How, exactly, is that done? How do you get paid? What happens to the money?
If you are providing a product, the same process is done with the product.
We come to understand the ratio requirements of each part of the pipeline to the other parts of the pipeline. How do you generate revenues while at the same time meet new prospective clients? This pipeline is a living, dynamic organism. If you get twice the number of clients, it is not jus a matter of multiplying the rest of the pipeline by two. Different methods of providing service need to be developed for differing volume numbers. We don’t just manage the pipeline. We inspire the pipeline. That is a matter of assessment and transformation all the time.
So, if you were to ask this coach, Coach Chuck, “what is a business coach and what might I expect form the business coaching process?” You would get an answer similar to what I outlined above.