I’ve owned businesses for 30 years and have worked with a coach for most of that time. I was lucky early on to have a friend mention that a business coach or consultant could help me with answers to questions that I had no one else to ask.
As I came to find out, your coach can and should also be willing and able to give you a good swift business kick in the backside, by asking the questions that you don’t even want to ask yourself.
Some people think that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness when, in fact, it’s a sign of strength. No matter what endeavor you choose, there will always be people that know more about the subject. Seeking out those people as mentors, coaches, consultants, and share groups almost guarantees your success over those that don’t seek any assistance.
If you own a small to medium sized business, you’re probably at least good at your craft or sales. Unfortunately, even if you excel in one area, you’re not necessarily an ace when it comes to hiring, pricing, accounting, marketing, and every other skill needed to run a successful business.
The greatest athletes in the world usually have MANY coaches to help them achieve excellence in all aspects of their game. No high level athlete in any sport would even dream of going it alone.
Whether you’re in a peewee league or the NFL, your coach’s job is to give you pointers, help you develop your skills, and come up with a game winning plan.
Your business is more important than a game (obviously), so why would you try to run it without a business coach during each different phase of your growth?
I recently interviewed several of our Estimate Rocket customers about their experience with business coaches and was pleasantly surprised with what I learned.
I spoke with Bill Carlson of Brush and Roll Painting, Omaha NE, Stephen McPhatter of Southern Painting of North Carolina, Fayetteville NC, Miljce Donev of First Choice Professional Painting, Deerfield Beach FL, and Dalton Tomlinson of Supreme Painting, Fort Worth TX. It was a pleasure speaking with them and I thank them for taking the time to share their experiences with us.
The first question I asked was “What drove you to seek out coaching help in the first place?”
All of these business owners had successes in the past, but the consensus was that in spite of their accomplishments to date, there were barriers preventing them from getting to where they wanted to be, issues like:
Struggling to figure problems out on on their own or feeling like there was a lot they didn’t know.
They could envision the way they wanted their business to run but had hard time getting there on their own.
Or, as Dalton said, “I was stuck at a certain business level and wanted to get past that.”
From there, we went on to discuss how they found their coaches.
Almost everyone I spoke with said they started out with an online search for a business coach, so that can certainly get you started in the right direction.
You can also look to other business owners, trade-shows, and associations (like the PDCA for painters), who may have some information on business coaches who are helping others in your industry.
When talking with Stephen, he said that he had gone to the PDCA website and saw a video about technology transforming businesses. Steve Burnett of DYBCoach.com was in that video and Stephen was totally impressed with his message. He reached out and has had great success working with DYB, as have many other Estimate Rocket customers that I’ve talked with.
After that, we talked about things to keep in mind when deciding on a coach.
Miljce suggested defining what you want to accomplish, then choosing coaches that specialize in that area. If you want help with sales, you don’t want to seek out a former tax accountant as a coach!
Once you define what you want to accomplish, narrow your search to coaches that specialize in those areas. You’ll likely need different coaches during the various stages of your company's growth, and that’s normal.
You need to find someone that makes you feel like they’ll have meaningful answers to your questions and hopefully a proven track record in the area you want help with at that time.
Finding someone with experience is important, but finding someone who also gives positive feedback to help you develop in your weakest areas is life-changing.
In closing, we discussed some of the biggest benefits of working with a coach.
When I talked with Bill, he mentioned that your coach is the perfect person to bounce ideas off of and get feedback from, but they should also hold you accountable for your goals.
They have the experience that you may not and can often share perspectives you haven’t thought of. These conversations can be eye-opening and help you realize what your strengths and weaknesses are (which your coach can then help you improve!)
Have you ever said “If I just do ___, everything will be great!”? That’s almost never the case. Your coach can celebrate those short-term wins with you, but also help you focus and plan for long term success.
Most of the business owners interviewed had worked with several coaches. Each experience was good but like any other professional you hire, if you’re not getting what you want out of the experience, don’t be afraid to move on to another coach that is more aligned to what your business needs now.
Everyone can benefit from having a great coach. Even if you think things are perfect as they are, there is someone else that just hired a coach that is going to eat your lunch. Don’t let that happen to you!
Thanks again to the great people that took the time to talk with me about their experiences, I am sure the time you spent will pay forward to others. Every time I get an opportunity to speak with our customers, fellow business people trying to bring their company’s to the next level, I always learn things that I can bring to our company to make it better too.
What are you waiting for? Get out there, find your coach or mentor, and start improving your business today!