Sometimes, friends and prospects ask me to talk to them about how business coaching process would help the growth of their businesses. While they are curious and anxious to do something significantly different from everyone else to change their results, I have had a few individuals say to me… “it’s all stupid, it doesn’t work.” If you fall in the second category of people, it would be a waste of your time to continue reading.
Rather than repeating my thoughts every time I get asked to talk about this, I decided to put it on blog and continue to update it for people to read and understand.
The purpose of every business coaching relationship is to create sustainable transformation. I have not said this because I read it from any book; instead, my training and working as a business coach, helping and inspiring the growth of many successful organizations and leaders across the globe has offered me the opportunity to deeply understand how businesses behave prior to seeking the help of good business coaches, and what they become after the coaching process.
So here are my thoughts on what business coaching, executive coaching, or leadership coaching is…
1. Crystal Clear Vision
Maintaining a crystal clear vision is without doubt the foundation of every successful organization. It is the compass for achieving business objectives and no organization succeeds without creating a compelling vivid vision. Your business coach has the responsibility to help you clarify your vision, ensuring that what you see aligns with your business objectives and passion. Your coach challenges you to demonstrate how your vision evolves in reality over a period of say; three to five years (short term), or ten to twenty years (long term). This time-traveling process is powerful and helps to put you in perspective of the type of goals you want to achieve for your organization.
By applying effective questioning around this objective to clarify the reason behind your vision, the value it brings, and your target beneficiaries (niche); and supporting with genuine encouragement and inspiration, you will begin to see or feel a sense of enlargement in the scope of what you want to achieve, or where you want to be with your vision. This in turn creates a strong conviction and confidence in the direction your business is headed.
You must bear in mind that your vision to accomplish the desired results, the mission and values of your organization must be clearly defined and extremely over-communicated to your teams, customers, and other stakeholders. Your coach or business mentor will help you to achieve this.
2. Strategic Action Planning
Every successful organization I have come across focus intensely on “identifying and doing” only the most important things for the success of their business. The primary challenge here is usually how to identify, and constantly focus on doing what is most important.
When business coaching tools are rightly applied it opens up the best options you must implement to achieve your business goals. Not only will you know them, your coach will inspire you with the required accountability for implementing the agreed actions within agreed time lines. Talking of accountability brings to mind the thoughts of some of my colleague’s on this. Some believe that the word accountability is harsh and frightening to clients.
My belief is that irrespective of what you call it, it is the primary responsibility of business owners and leaders to do whatever is ethically morale to make their organizations successful. They owe it to themselves and every stakeholder, and have the privilege to hold their employees liable for achieving them. But who holds them accountable on a continuous basis to ensure that they are constantly focused on doing their own part of the work to achieve the overall objective? The Coach of course!
I have noticed that in almost every organization, employees are either afraid of expressing their minds to CEOs genuinely, or questioning some of the decisions they made. The reason is obvious; they are on the organization’s payroll and may lose their jobs for acting in what might be misconstrued as disrespectful or insubordinate manner. This behaviour breeds lack of open, honest, and robust communication in the organization and ultimately creates dysfunctional working relationship that sabotages performance and achievement of goals.
In executive coaching or leadership coaching as the case may be, we fill the gap between chief executives, managers or leaders and their employees. We question some of your decisions to make sure that they are in sync with the mission, vision, and values (MVV) of your organization. We also help you to see the impact your decisions will make on your organization, team, and customers… I hope you’re getting the idea?
3. Disciplined Execution
The best business coaching strategy will deliver no results until it is backed up with disciplined execution on the part of the client, in this case you. What you will notice is that every day, CEOs, leaders and entrepreneurs develop all kinds of ideas in the name of strategies some of which are great though. They know what to do but they don’t do them, and very often don’t know how to do them. This is one of the major problems most executives face, something I refer to as the “knowing-doing gap.”
Execution is the discipline of putting the right strategies, actions, and techniques to work to create the desired results. What I have discovered from working with organizations is that it is more difficult to make strategies work than it is to make strategies. Every implementation strategy requires commitment, accountability, and discipline to achieve the set goals. Execution sits in the overall objective of vision, strategy, and result, without which the later is never achieved.
So where does the business coach come into this? Good question. Experienced business coaches understand the existence of this problem and they support their clients to take baby steps, focusing on the smallest but most important part of the actions to get started. As the client progresses in the execution process, week after week and begins to feel positive energy as a result of working with someone he trusts (the coach) that neither judge nor ridicule him when mistakes are made, his confidence increases and he takes on more work. The same is also true with his team as the coach works with them to help develop the same level of commitment and execution.
4. Skills Upgrade
As I said earlier, the primary purpose of every business coaching relationship is to create transformation in the business organization. In an ideal situation, your coach will never leave you at the same spot he met you. It is impossible!