Thursday, June 17, 2010

What A Business Coach Isn't - Or Shouldn't Be

It can be hard to know how others see the things that we see. This is particularly so when the topic is something we are close to, like our work.

Over some time I have heard it said more than once, that it is hard to refer a business coach to another business. I'm not sure why. From my own perspective, it should be the single most easy business to which one can refer. So when I heard this said yesterday by someone I just met, a member of a different BNI chapter than that to which I belong, I was intrigued, and asked him what he thought the reason was for that difficulty. His response was quite brilliant, and heartfelt, and I thank him very much for sharing this with me, because it would not have occurred to me in a lifetime. He said "It's like your wife telling you what to do in your business..."

My initial thought when I heard that was bewilderment. As I thought about it more I realised I was not entirely surprised, because it forms part of that great misunderstanding around coaching (well deserved, probably), that some have, which goes something like "If I need a coach... then I must be bad at what I do and that means that getting a coach would mean I am a failure." Of course this is utter nonsense and the most likely business owner who will hire a coach to help them in their business, is very good at what they do, have - or will have - a very successful business and are clear and determined enough to do so. They are able to see very well what they do well,and importantly, what they don't do so well. Unlike "the wife telling you what to do" a good business coach will find out what it is that you want... and help you determine how to get that, and support you on the journey.

But it brings me back to the same problem that coaches face, namely identifying those people who are in a place where they know they have issues in their business they would like to improve, but don't know where to find the help they need to do so.

Friends, colleagues and business aquaintances who know them are in the prime position to help them to access the help they need. A referral to a business coach is one step toward that. Will the business owner hire the coach? Well that should depend on the result of any meeting they have with that coach. Coaching is a profession that requires some close work with clients and not all people are a match. Not all coaches are the same, and the help that the client is seeking needs to be a fit with the skills and knowlege and areas of experience of the coach in question. This fit is only something that the client (and the coach) can know when it is right. Referring a business owner for a meeting to find out if this is the match that is right for them, is a great gift to bestow on a friend.

Thinking Of Getting A Business Coach?

Lindy Asimus
Business Coach
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Christie Lewis said...

Thanks for sharing that, Lindy.

It's interesting to me that anyone would have that perception. In my mind, a business owner who seeks the services of a coach is a person with a mindset to succeed. As much as we try to 'do it all' and 'know it all', the reality is we very often cannot and do not. IMO recognising our own strengths and limitations is essential for business (and personal) development.

Unfortunately, it is often those who fail to see a value in outside assistance who desperately need it the most!

lindyasimus said...

That's my belief too Christie.

But it makes me wonder. Where might this kind of response come from? What leads someone to make this kind of assumption? Is it something to do with the way coaching is portrayed, perhaps?

Really something to think about here.

Jeanne said...

I agree Christie and Lindy with what both of you have expressed and to take it all one step further I would ask WHY are the ones who need it so desperately not able to let themselves receive it? Is it how coaching is portayed as Lindy said OR is it somehow the make up of some and not others to "see" that there are ALWAYS ways and choices for getting to goals? I wonder if it starts at that level of "I believe I can" or I believe I can't". I hope that made sense! Anyway - great article, thank you so much!

lindyasimus said...

That's a good point Jeanne. How to generate sufficient curiosity for those who could benefit from some help along the way, that is the challenge for coaches.

It has to be something someone takes on willingly. As a coach, I am always there for the outcomes the client seeks. That's my outcome that I'm looking for, for them to reach their desired result.

Glenn Kirkwood said...

Thanks Lindy, I am sure you already know this but I have found that not everyone wants to be accountable for their actions. Whilst I don't subscribe with that thinking, for some it is easier to blame. Most people want success but not everyone is either willing to do the work or take the action needed.

lindyasimus said...

Hi Glenn

Many thanks for your comment.

Spot on. Probably very few who really want to be accountable. Those that do probably already hold themselves to account fairly well already, but they are able to see the gap between where they'd like to be operating, and where they are now.

Being accountable and setting targets that stretch us are bound to take out of that nice comfy, don't-have-to-bother-or-change- anything frame of mind.

Perhaps it is the curse of the "rough enough is good enough" mindset.

Or perhaps "good enough for me... because I don't deserve TOO much..."

It takes a bit of ticker to step over the line to being at the "Cause" side of the C <- vs -> E Cause and Effect equation. To move out of being at the mercy of any and every thing that comes along that affects us and gives us a tidy excuse to play "hard done-by" (victim) in the equation.