Professional Business Coaching
I'm an I.T. consultant first and foremost, assisting clients with their computers, networks, and other tech. Making sure it's all safe, secure, and getting the most from it. And I've written a lot of articles on that.
But some of my articles, like the one on Comfort and Productivity, discuss other topics that help contribute to a more healthy person and business that aren't necessarily centered on tech.
In that light, this article discusses some of the benefits to working with a professional business or executive coach. It's a growing thing these days to seek advice and inspiration from people who specialize in helping business professionals with a wide variety of topics. It's not just about motivation, either.
Seeing with New Eyes
Business professionals, especially those who've been doing the same type of job for many years may be in a rut without even knowing it. If we stop to think deeply about -- really contemplate -- the past ten years, say, we might begin to see how the rut we're walking in is growing deeper, ever so slightly, as we go forward.
If you otherwise love what you do then seeing that rut in a daily context isn't too likely. You're generally happy when you rise in the morning, you enjoy work, and life seems pretty good all-in-all, so what's to think about, right? Maybe that rut isn't very deep, either. But maybe it is -- and you just aren't seeing it.
This is where an executive coach may help. Coaches with long experience have worked with many clients who present a wide variety of their own experiences, wishes, and feedback to the coach with what has worked and what hasn't. Such a coach may help you see with new eyes -- perhaps that new business opportunity. Or ways to re-energize your connection with current clients and your business community.
Business Succession Planning
Perhaps you are nearing retirement or you desire to pursue an entirely new opportunity and are interested in selling your business. A business coach isn't a broker (although they'll likely know a good broker) but they can definitely offer advice and guidance on how to structure your "pitch" to potential suitors.
A coach can bring together other specific professionals to help valuate your company, perform audits of various aspects of your business, assemble a position statement, and create a coherent transition plan that'll make a buyer much more comfortable.
Fighting with Partners
This is an age-old problem. Business partnerships that start with the best intentions but then turn sour -- either right away or over the course of many years as unexpressed frustrations mount and strategic visions diverge. Left to fester unresolved, such issues can and frequently doom a business to failure.
A coach can work with partners and other key personnel to help root out underlying catalysts that may possibly have been forgotten. This can be a long slog but it's pretty much always better than the alternative. An unbiased coach, with no dog in the fight, can probe and assert in ways that involved persons could never do.
I've witnessed the failure of otherwise successful businesses for want of directed cooperation and vision. And for what? Stubborn pride? All while everyone else suffers -- spouses, employees, and customers.
Being a Good Boss
Some business professionals are good at what they do but are crappy bosses. Back when I worked in the I.T. departments of major energy companies (Gulf Oil, Shell Oil, Duke Energy) I had mostly pretty good bosses -- and one was outstanding. But I've had a few stinkers, too. Sometimes they were new to management and needed some training of their own but others just didn't care. And now, being on my own, I've had a few clients (business owners) that aren't very good with their employees.
Most successful small businesses started out with just one person -- or a small partnership. Then as the business grew, and maybe expanded in scope, employees were hired. Now you're not only running a company, you're running people as well. That's not easy and being good in that role doesn't usually come naturally.
This is especially important in today's economy (early 2019) when the unemployment rate is so low. Employers can't get away with treating employees poorly, either deliberately or simply from lack of skill or experience. An employee feeling unappreciated, or worse, will simply up and leave. If you're a small company and that employee has a comparatively uncommon yet critical skill that is key to your business, well, then you could be screwed.
A business owner may be great at forging relationships on the links or at a professional club of some sort, but that's very much a different type of person-to-person interaction than the one you should have with employees. Again, here's where a business or executive coach can help you with employee satisfaction. Learn what is appropriate, how to earn your employees trust and respect (it's not automatic just because you're signing their paycheck!), and make them want to make you successful.
Also learn how to stay out of legal trouble. Flirting with your employees, even with all innocence, or making other inappropriate comments, hostile or otherwise, can land you in a huge world of hurt. You cannot afford that kind of trouble.
People successful at the business sometimes fail at the personal. The best kind of success isn't measured with money. In the end it doesn't matter -- nobody's getting out of here with the money they've made.
"I wished I'd spent more time at the office" said no one ever while lying on their deathbed.
Do you live to work? Or work to live? That's an easy bumper-sticker slogan but so often the former is true.
Here's yet another way a business coach can see what you cannot -- it's those new eyes again. Learn new ways to look at work as an enabler for your life. A way to achieve and make possible things that bring pleasure.
There's probably many other things I have not discussed that a good business coach can help you with. Someone that helps you "be all that you can be" (to borrow a slogan from the U.S. Army)
One of my business colleagues, and a client, is just such a person. Michael Armfield of The Armfield Group is a business or executive coach. He invites you to complete a fairly brief online assessment and, upon completion, will give you two hours of his undivided time at no charge. You will leave that two hour session with new knowledge and insight! If that leads to an ongoing engagement with Michael, that's great. If not, that is fine, too.