“As Monty Python said, F*%^ off, I know what I’m doing!” Do you really?
I was speaking to a prospective coaching client just a few days ago. She was talking about how she got into her holistic massage therapy business.
She was working in a retail job for a branch of a well-known high-street chemist and was being managed by the boss from hell. One day after a particular interaction she snapped and let her boss have a piece of her mind which all the customers and staff heard. And she walked out and started her business.
Somehow, she managed to make her business work and getting to be comfortable, then all of a sudden, she had a health scare and had to have 2 operations within a short period of time and she was off work for six months. Now she is well and getting back into business.
But it’s tough to get back into the swing of how it used to be. I think many of us can relate to this as this is an all too familiar story of how someone gets into running a small business and what happens then.
And she was asking me how would I make a difference to her as a coach. “Why would I need you? I did it once and I can do it again.”
I said, “yes of course, I’m sure you can but what a coach gives a client is a whole new perspective and a reasoned voice. But more importantly, the main purpose of a coach is to make you a champion.”
And I asked her, “do you want to be a champion in what you are taking on?” She said, “yes!” I said, “well what does it mean to you to be a champion?” She said “the money.” I said, “what about the money?” She said, “making a lot of money instead of just bumbling along making ends meet.” “How much?” I said. She said, “I don’t know, I am scared to ask for what I want so I ask for what I think I’ll get paid.”
“That’s what a coach would do, a coach can help you to challenge your beliefs and thoughts that limit you like that. And if I were coaching you I could have also helped you to think about opening up new opportunities or markets to take your business into that you didn’t think of taking it to before, which can give you the money you are looking for.”
She said, “Yes that is exactly what I need.”
The road less travelled
I asked her, “why didn’t you look for a coach when you first started your business?”
She said, “I didn’t want anyone’s help, I was full of confidence and didn’t think I needed any help.”
I said, “well that’s a very common misunderstanding people have about coaches. That the coach is there to “help” them or solve their “problems”. That’s counselling, and yes, some coaches do that, but most coaches don’t help or solve problems of their clients.
What they do is to help the client to solve their problems themselves and win. And most coaches have a blue print or a mould for success and they will train the person to fit into that blue print. It is very successful because people don’t really like to think for themselves, they would like the thinking done for them in advance.
A long time ago, I read a book called “The road less travelled”, and ever since then I have been travelling that road. What I do is different. Instead of getting my client to fit into a mould, I help them to figure out a structure that works for them by themselves.
That’s hard, but it is very effective and lasts a life time. In the short term it costs a lot of time and some money. But that’s the problem, most small business owners don’t have much money and certainly a lot of time, so they are reluctant to invest time and money in themselves. They have confidence in the long term it makes an enormous difference.
Every obstacle can be thought of as a problem or an opportunity, and those two ways of thinking are like a fork on the road. One way of thinking will take you to one place where the journey is easy and winnable and the other will take you to a completely different place where the journey is very difficult and can end your business.”
“If you came to me at the start of your business, I would have been able to help you to make the best of the opportunities and secure your business so if or when there is trouble, like your health issue, that is covered, so you wouldn’t have to stop and start.”
She said, “But I wouldn’t have been able to work, I was ill!”, I said “Yes but you could have got someone else to run your business and got paid while you were unable to work. This is a very common problems for self-employed one person run businesses. What happens when you are sick? And no one think they will get sick, but running a business at the beginning is very stressful and actually you are more likely to get sick because of the stress.”
She said, “Oh I didn’t think of that.” I said, “well that’s why you need a coach, to get you to think wider and broader than just what’s in front of you. I call it 3D thinking or thinking from a wider context than just getting the next client or fulfilling your business plan.”
Happens often doesn’t it with small businesses?
Most owners of small business are in business to aspire to make big impacts happen in their life and business and that impact to have a beneficial effect on them as individuals and to the stakeholders of their business such as their family, customers, suppliers and potential future customers.
And when they set off on their way getting to work on those aspirations to make those results happen, they get obstacles thrown on their path.
Then their way to results become an obstacle course. And as they navigate this obstacle course, along the way they accumulate opinions and ideas of how they’re doing and how they are not doing as well as they hope to, in most cases. They get unexpected surprises thrown on their way and the whole thing repeats in cycles. And if you did that for a year or two, you will end up ill or being an alcoholic or some other addict to cope with the stress.
So, they worry and get anxious and look for support when they have a problem. And by waiting to look for support till they have a problem, they let go of the sharpest tool they have at their disposal – their brain, and by which, I mean how they think and by which, I mean their mindset, which they let go to waste looking for answers out there, because they are exhausted just surviving.
That drive they had and the self-belief they had at the beginning has been knocked out of them by issues and circumstances that came up as they embarked on this new journey.
The point is
So, the point of a coach, especially as a small business owner, is to help them to create a mindset that is equal to any challenge they face. To be nimble on their feet and not get stuck with too much self-analysis or as in football “ball watching”.
Not to get heir head stuck in a cloud and think the could is all there is. And to have a 3rd vision beyond their immediate view.
To challenge unhelpful thinking before they get embedded in the mind and to navigate whatever that may get thrown in their way so they don’t derail and finally to help the client to win. But the most important thing is to get them to create their own system which is a key for their success and practice it and make it perfect.
So, getting a coach isn’t a sign of a weakness, it is an absolute necessity if you want to win and have a business and getting a coach that doesn’t give you easy answers or blue prints is a great long-term strategy is also a necessity if you are interested in success that lasts beyond you as a small business owner.