Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Many times I am asked, what is the one piece of advice I would give an entrepreneur or small business owner. Is it wake up earlier? Work harder? Hire a great team? Obviously, those are easy answers, but they are to simplistic and misguided. The best answer: hire a business coach.
According to a study from SBA.gov, “A mentor can be a game changer for small business.”
All of the small pieces of advice any single person can give you, making a real investment into a coach, can literally be the force multiplier that changes the trajectory of your business.
For example, UPS conducted a similar study in 2014 on the impact of coaches and found that 70% of small businesses that received paid mentoring and coaching survived more than five years. This more than doubles the survival rate of businesses who choose to go it alone without coaching.
Does having a Business Coach Work?
Triad Performance Technologies out of Michigan studied the effects of hiring a coach on their sales teams and found that hiring business coaches were tremendously effective. Hiring business coaches along increases sales productivity over $2 million. Further, over 75 percent of workers in the study claimed to have an improved relationships with their co-workers, partners, and clients after working with the business coach.
What are the benefits that come from Business Coaching?
1. Someone To Push You to Take Strategic Risks
Entrepreneurs, leaders, small business owners, and leaders in general all need someone to push them and take risks. Fear is the enemy inside all of everyone and it takes an independent eye to see when fear is getting the better of you. The right business coach will challenge you, push you to be your best self, and make you question your beliefs and take strategic risks constantly. According to a study by The Guardian, hiring the right business coach can “shorten the decision-making process, enabling action to be taking much sooner – a key to survival in a fast-moving entrepreneurial world.”
2. Someone to help shape your direction through their experience
Imagine being asked to walk through an uncharted Amazon jungle with no map or guide. Sounds scary, yes? That’s what starting a business or new product can feel like. Imagine now if you could not only consult with a seasoned guide before taking that hike through the jungle, but also have them on the phone the entire time. That is what a true business coach would be like. They should be able to help guide you strategically every step of the way. You are in control of each step, but their guidance and experience of missteps and pitfalls can shape your experience. A strong coach should be able to use their experience, or network’s experience, and provide guidance that shapes strategy and direction.
3. Someone to hold you accountable
Accountability is the glue of the business coach relationship. When looking at the Office of Personnel Management site, they list some of the studied results of strong accountability:
increased employee participation and involvement
increased feelings of competency
increased employee commitment to the work
more creativity and innovation, and
higher employee morale and satisfaction with the work
Accountability comes in many forms, and small business, entrepreneurship, and leadership in general isn’t like a classroom with assignments and check boxes. Many entrepreneurs and small business owners fail because they fail to hold themselves accountable to the real metrics that matter for their business.
As Nicolas Cole says in his Medium article about Why Entrepreneurs Fail, “being an entrepreneur is a lot less about being recognized as one, and a lot more about bearing the responsibility of serving others.”
When, as a leader, you know you have to report to someone about your progress (that isn’t a spouse and I’d avoid that), you are more likely to keep yourself and accomplish the things you need to get done.
4. Someone Motivate You
So many entrepreneurs and small business owners talk about being self-motivated. As true as this is, and no matter how self-motivated you are, there are times where everyone needs external motivation. Entrepreneurship and business in general is a grind. Your business coach keeps you running when your muscles ache and your ready to quit. As Zig Ziglar famously said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.”
5. Someone To Use Their Network
The right business coach will have a strong network and years of experience. This can make a significant impact to the growth of your business not only terms of referrals and opportunities, but in the strategic partnerships, and raising your professional and business profile as well.
5.5 Someone to ask for help
One of the real differences between the most successful people and average people don’t, or rather won’t ask for help. Too often ego and pride get in the way of them allowing themselves to be their best self. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it is a sign of greatness. A strong business coach helps you realize this. Don’t stay average and do it alone.
WARNING: Biggest Pitfall to Avoid "Career Coaches"
Business Coaching can sometimes be a vaguely defined term. One thing to look for when examining the experience of your potential business coach are the “career coaches.” Many coaches will have certifications that are not the same thing as business experience. Be wary of puffed up credentials and certifications because those don’t always lead to results. Always request a lengthy interview and consultation where you can learn about their background, real experience, customer success stories, personality type, and program for success. Too many coaches lack business credibility or a real established program which is one of the main reasons they don’t work out (according to Inlcenter.org).
In the end, find the coach that’s right for you. Click here to get a Free Strategy session with Accountability Now and see if coaching is right for you.