It all started with a cup of coffee…
One of the best things that I have ever done for my business is that I got a business coach.
It’s hard keeping yourself in check when you are an owner in a business, regardless of whether it is just you or you and partners.
We get used to functioning on our own everyday, making decisions and working, rarely having time to look up and take a step back for the larger view.
And when we do take a look around and try to plan for the future, how often does everything get carried out? How often are the correct scenarios and analytics played through to insure proper decision making?
Instead our focus lies on paying the bills and satisfying our customers, the items that are right in front of our faces that have to be done — but what about the grand plan?
It doesn’t matter whether you are in technology or farming, crop consulting or pastry making, owning a business is all the same; The action and decisions that you make for your business affects the bottom line, and your quality of life.
A year and a half ago, over a cup of coffee with a friend, I was complaining to her because I felt as if I had a tiger by the tail — my business.
I was struggling with all of the directions and possibilities that were coming at me. I worked hard every day — which was good, but I felt as if I was erratic in the directions that I was taking. Nothing ever quite got completed the way that I wanted it to because I was always dealing with a fire or with something else that needed my attention immediately. The path seemed very crooked and fragmented and certainly wasn’t moving as fast or as straight as I wanted it to.
During the conversation, like a lightbulb, I realized that I needed someone to vent to, someone who made it their business to understand my business and be able to offer me good perspective. I was tired of constantly explaining things to people who didn’t really understand what I was going through, or didn’t know all the details before being expected to offer their advice. How could they possibly know? They didn’t work in my business every day. I valued their opinions and appreciated their ears but I needed someone who understood the daily struggles AND the finances of the business.
I hired my editors, I hired my book keeper, my accountant, insurance person, and even a financial advisor. So why had I not ever considered hiring someone to listen to me about my business and then help me solve problems and grow opportunities? I needed to spend money and hire someone to supervise ME.
So, I decided to hire her, my friend, to be this person for me. Whenever we connected on a personal level it always turned back to business because that was something that she and I definitely had in common. And when I walked away from our dinners and lunches I always felt better for a bit, like we had solved world problems and I felt more focused. Now I felt as though it was time to put money behind it, I wanted more of her… more than what just a friend could do.
The difference that she has made to my business has been huge, invaluable. And these are the reasons why.
She got me organized. I needed to reinstate the overall mission of my business. All of those ideas and projects that had been swimming in my head needed their own spot and needed to be organized. Just having her there, holding my hand practically, asking the questions and pressing me for answers served as a reminder of what I was setting out to do every day.
Then we validated, pushed the numbers with the pencil. Some things I knew, some things I didn’t… about the finances in the business. Some of those items that I thought were making me money, weren’t, and other things that I didn’t give the time to, were, and could have been making me more! When you get so busy it is easy to lose track. She helped me spell it out in terms that I couldn’t ignore.
She helps me make the hard decisions. My coach pushed me to let go of some things that I had emotional attachment to or was just being lazy in tackling. She took the emotion out of it and put the dollars and cents behind it. We weighed the pro’s and con’s and suddenly the answers became very clear. Because she stands outside and looks in, yet knows the numbers and the circumstances, she could be objective and push me to be so too. This was something that by myself, I struggled with. Thank you for being a tough coach, I needed that!
Follow through. It’s one thing to make the decisions, it’s another to actually carry them out. My coach gives me homework after every meeting that is due the week before our next meeting. It forces me to stay on course and stick to the plan. As you know, it can become so easy to push the items off when you are in charge. Because my coach knows what I do day in and day out, she won’t let me slide away from doing those things that we have identified to make my business healthier. It’s nice to have a partner looking out for me, ensuring that I take the time to hit my goals… even if it does mean the whip is being cracked on me!
She reminds me to celebrate. It can be very hard to recognize yourself for doing something well. It’s easy to look over the simple things that were really BIG to figure out. I love the fact that I have someone to pat me on my back without me prompting it. So often she is the one to recognize an accomplishment and give the praise. I like praise, I respond to it, and it forces me to actually sit back and be proud — for a moment, until the next homework assignment is due. 🙂
She helps me carry the good habits over into my personal life. Because I have a place to ponder and share, complain and celebrate, even dream, everything in my personal life feels better too. I don’t have to go looking for someone to share my business challenges with. I leave work and feel that those things that used to sit in the corner of my mind and bug me are now in the front of my mind and being dealt with. And that equals much happiness at home. I feel so much better inside.
A coach is not just about business, it’s about accountability to the life you are living as well. For me, it started with my business. Maybe for you it starts with your life in general. Where do you want to go? How are you going to get there?
Whatever your reason may be, I am here to say that a coach is worth the hire IF you are ready to do the work. It’s easy to let life pass you by and just keep riding the status quo. If you want more, become accountable to someone else.
The right coach makes exactly the right difference.
Thank you Avon!