One of the questions I am asked at the very beginning of any communications with a business owner is… Why business coaching and what can it do for my business? My initial answer is always very similar and packed with questions… Well what do you want to do? What are the problems or concerns you have currently? I.e., Why did you call? What are you looking to achieve? What are your succession plans? …and many more!
My answers are varied and detailed and will come in the form of questions, as every business owner has unique desires around their businesses and future. Yes, every owner wants greater success, more profits, and to build a business into a saleable item for retirement or moving onto pastures new. However, with all businesses there are a great deal of unique complexities or issues that need to be covered, understood and resolved before they can achieve or move on. Businesses continually stagnate because of these issues and owners struggle to find ways of making the necessary changes and improvements to create that desired set of end goals.
“The initial steps in the coaching process are to create a comprehensive alignment with the business owners to discover their long-term business and personal aspirations and then put this information into a format for reference and measurement in the future.”
Let’s answer that question and put some emphasis on some of my questions – Once we have looked at the aspirations and desires around the business, it will then be reviewing the incumbent barriers the business faces and maybe some of the fears the owner projects. We look for answers and resolutions to changing mindsets and removing barriers.
With this in mind, I thought it very useful to put down in succinct language some answers to the original question and how I approach business coaching in regard to preparing for growth, my unique methods and why these methods have been extremely successful for my clients. I will do this by highlighting some of the regular barriers to achieving high growth and desired success, and how to overcome this.
Staff issues, including lack of motivation and direction – Your staff are absolutely key to your success and, if they lack in motivation or indeed direction, they cannot be expected to achieve the standards needed to impact positively on the business. Part of my role is looking at the internal teams, their performance and their needs. The question to ask is, ‘what changes are needed to create the necessary performance?’ I work with many members of staff, especially the second tier of management within a business and I want to find out what their barriers are and what they need to be able to perform better than they are already. Very often it is a process of breaking down the barriers between owners and managers, creating a culture where they can work together more effectively, or indeed coaching managers to get the best out of their teams. Either way, making significant improvements in this key area is an absolute must for all businesses and something business owners should be working on continually. Team development, improvements to recruiting systems, training and individual personal development are key ingredients to creating a high performing team. Something that is unfortunately continually overlooked by business owners and still they anticipate performance improvements at the same time. That really doesn’t work!
Business and financial health check – You cannot help any business to improve unless you have a total understanding of the company’s financial situation. This in itself can be a barrier between owner and coach, and sometimes not all the facts are in plain sight. However, it is hugely important for me to have that complete understanding of the financial situation to be able to advise accordingly moving forward. Unhealthy or healthy, the facts need to be known and meticulously understood. Once I have an understanding I can create tools that will help businesses manage finances a great deal more astutely, breaking down that fear barrier some business owners have where they think they know or hope the financial situation is OK, and inherent fear of understanding the complete facts just in case they find something they may not like. You cannot hide in business and knowing your position will help you to improve it.
“The human tendency is to believe anything that comforts, and deny what discomforts, so that unpleasant truths are simply ignored. A successful business person realises they sometimes need to get uncomfortable first”
Operations and the functionality or lack of – Undoubtedly, this aspect of the business coincides with staffing but also looks at systems and how the business operates. Can savings be made through improved infrastructure or simply down to the day to day operations in how the business functions? Every business I have ever coached has made operational improvements, some of which have had a major and positive impact on the bottom line almost immediately.
Marketing strategy, is there one? – It still amazes me now just how many businesses don’t have any form of marketing strategy. We live in a world of incredible methods of almost instant communication, with every end user or prospective customer expecting to receive information rather than having to search for it, they simply don’t have time. Every business has to become convenient to their clients and prospects by divulging a regular and consistent level of information and content about their products and services. Without this proactive ongoing process being implemented, monitored and improved upon continually, any business will lose its way in regard to keeping up with competitors who do have a coherent strategy in place. Planned marketing strategies are an absolute must for all businesses and should align perfectly with your sales processes.
Sales performance and are you winning? – Conversion rates are very often not being monitored and this is incredibly important. How much you are winning is just one part of what we look at in regards to sales performance and we go into a great deal more detail, exploring marketing assets to help sales performance, methods and how you leverage on existing sales. If your business involves the opportunity to repeatedly sell to the same customer, how do you nurture this process through your sales and marketing methods to build loyalty to your brand? Sales and marketing are the lifeblood of every business so we spend some considerable time exploring improvements in both of these areas.
The popular misconception around business coaching – It may be the case or experience of some business owners that a coach is there to encourage you, pat on the back when things go well, build your confidence, but they don’t ask to look at or consider the detail. More of an association with a life coach I would suggest and any business coach who isn’t looking at a business in meticulous detail to find those answers is not doing his or her job properly.
My success with clients is based on detail and I look to completely unravel a business and then built it back up making the necessary changes in agreement with the business owner. A team effort that requires a process of understanding and implementation. This ultimately leading to greater profits and complete focus having established a more productive business model which will create greater success in the future.
If you would like to learn more about my coaching and understand what coaching is really about, I offer a totally free initial two-hour introduction meeting which, all too often, starts to nurture some very positive opportunities moving forward.
Contact me today to book your introduction meeting. What do you have to lose?