Does the name Bill Campbell means anything to you? Well, he is the most famous business coach of all time. He coached Steve Jobs, Sheryl Sandburg, Ben Horowitz, the Google co-founders, and many others in Silicon Valley, and is the subject of the book, Trillion Dollar Coach, released in April 2019.
Deciding whether to hire a business coach is a tough call and so it should be. It’s perceived as expensive, and a time commitment for both you and your potential coach.
But a successful matchup could have resounding effects on the success of your company, especially if you find yourself at a standstill, and not quite sure what to do next.
So, I’ll share with you why I think you should consider hiring a business coach, how you know it is the right time and what benefits it will bring to your business.
The writing is on the wall…
Tuesday morning, emails done, no new customers knocking at your door so you decide to spend time on your business instead of in your business. You decide to review historic business performance and realise your growth has plateaued, your income is generated by 2 main customers or your marketing efforts don’t work anymore.
When you started you were hitting solid growth numbers and maybe you now have a solid, recently-instated team in place and you are no longer the start-up entrepreneur trying to wear lots of different hats all of the time.
Key topics on your desk are not around that product or service you are so passionate about but around cash flow, leading a team, team performance issues and you start thinking how best to manage your time and lead effectively as CEO and co-founder, instead of trying to do your team’s job.
If you had medical issue, you would book an appointment with your GP who will run some tests and identify your ailment. But in this case, it is your business, so what do you do? Time to consider hiring a business coach…
A day-to-day look at a 1-2-1 Coaching Programme
It starts with a couple of session to run a full audit of sales, marketing and profit related areas of your business, to identify strategic focus as well as quick wins, highlighting the positive revenue and profit impact forecasted after implementation.
The next steps are to prioritise actions, agree an implementation roadmap and identification of resources and timings.
Each week, you will have an 1-2-1 meeting with your coach to review the “Five dials”. Each dial represents a specific goal and provides a key metric to track. They are:
- How many leads?
- What’s the cash flow?
- What’s the revenue?
- What’s the profit?
- How many customers (new, lapsed, lost)?
You agree targets for each goal, either monthly or quarterly, and during your weekly 1-2-1, you review each dial and see if you are on track to hitting the goals.
The results: priceless advice for scaling
For many business owners, assembling a team, could be the first time in a management position or, due to rapid changes of employee’s needs, you feel a bit out of your comfort zone. Alternatively, the lack of structure in the company or clear processes for other to follow may be what inhibits the performance of your team.
As the CEO, you know how critical it is to design and implement a structure that will serve as the foundation that supports the kind of growth you know you are capable of.
You also know, you can’t afford to get it wrong. Even the most efficient framework is no good if it can’t handle the weight of scaling.
Coaching will help you to figure out the systems and processes you need to put in place to grow — it provides that crucial structure.
The implementation of business frameworks will help you to automate recurrent processes, structure departments, communicate more effectively, and delegate tasks. As you scale up, the systems will evolve but still be in place, which allows you to track progress and develop a regular cadence of communication through the leadership team and down into each department.
Guidance on how best to design a robust framework that can handle rapid growth is one of the biggest things you will get out of business coaching.
Deciding if and when business coaching is right for you
So whether it’s to get out of a rut, to get some guidance when you’re feeling overwhelmed, or to level-up your skills as a founder, there are many different reasons to hire a business coach.
As I’ve said already, deciding to hire a coach is not a decision to be made lightly. Coaching could be expensive without a serious time commitment.
It is a deeper relationship than mentorship. A mentor is a valuable asset, especially for someone just starting out, but the dynamic is fundamentally different from a coach. A business coach is getting paid to help you.
It’s a close relationship, and it won’t really work if it’s not. There shouldn’t be any secrets in your business that your coach doesn’t know about.
Unlike an investor, or a partner, or a board member, a business coach isn’t financially connected to the success or failure of your business beyond the fact that he’d or she’d likely lose you as a client if things go sideways.
Whereas you need to be very careful about how you communicate with an investor, you can be blunt with your coach. Their job is to help you succeed, and they need to know exactly what they’re up against to do so.
Hire a coach you trust
Because your business coach will know all about your business, it’s crucial they can understand the pain points of your customers, your challenges and the strategies which lead to success.
You need someone who can quickly evaluate what’s not working, identify root causes and provide you a step-by-step roadmap for the implementation of an agreed plan of action. Most importantly, someone who understands that you need to see quick wins while working on long terms strategies and who can provide you with a reliable system to Track & Benchmark your progress.
Finally, you need to like your coach, and they need to like you. Coaching is a big commitment. You both need to get along for that relationship to bear fruit. Both of you should be able to walk away at any point if things don’t go as planned.
So, should you hire a business coach?
Business coaches can get a bad wrap. Bad ones do little more than dish out the same cliches you’d find on a bumper sticker or ‘inspiration’ posts on Instagram.
But great coaches can change the course of your business for the better. Great coaches are committed to helping you achieve your goals, whatever they might be.
If you’re thinking it might be a good time to hire a business coach, I can’t stress enough the importance of doing your due diligence.
Find someone who helps you formulate measurable, specific goals, and is genuinely committed to helping you level up and scale your business.