“Coaching!? You are an idiot! This is not a football game, this is a workplace!
Whew! This onslaught was the result of a gentle suggestion to one of my small business clients.
Poor me, I had simply suggested that he may need to access or acquire coaching skills. I went on to add that they would help him to deal with certain problems he was having in his workplace.
Wuhloss! I had no idea I was putting my life in danger!
Well…I have news for you Sir:
As a Small Business Leader coaching is one of your best leadership tools. Ever!
You want to know why?
An example of how coaching can help you
Let’s start by looking at today’s competitive environment.
For example, you have technology leveling many playing fields. In addition, you have to respond to the challenges you face, at an accelerated speed.
This means that “management of people” can no longer take the form of issuing instructions which you expect your employees to follow blindly.
You have to transform your workplace into a continuous learning environment, which is focused on developing employees’ skills and building their character.
As for you, increasingly, you will be required to have leadership skills which you must use to add value to your business. To be sure that this is happening, you must be able to measure performance. In this way, you will attract and keep quality employees.
And guess what? Coaching can help with do all these things!
What is coaching?
There are many types of coaching but simply put, it’s a process in which a person helps another person or a team, to do the best job that they are capable of doing. It includes aspects of teaching and training, as well as observation and feedback.
Coaches do not manage tasks but facilitate the functioning of work teams. They identify resources, remove barriers and facilitate the well-being of work teams to enable them to learn, solve problems and improve their effectiveness.
Great coaching helps people to feel safe to experiment with new ideas and engage in continuous learning. It also helps employees deal with work-related emotional issues and support them as they cope with the demands of the learning process.
How is Coaching Different from Counselling or Consulting?
Coaching is not counselling or therapy. These tend to focus on the past and look at issues historically, although coaching does use some techniques derived from clinical psychology.
Nor is it consulting, especially small business consulting. This generally involves coming up with expert opinions, resources, advice and planning, designed to improve your business’ performance and efficiency.
Coaching though, is more action and solution oriented and focuses primarily on both the present and future. The “answers” that you are looking for come about through the work done in our joint coaching partnership.
What is the purpose and benefits of coaching?
Just as in athletics or sports, coaching in the workplace serves many important purposes.
1. It serves as a communication tool – letting employees know what they have done well and what they need to improve. This strengthens relationships and improves communication.
2. Career development is another one of the functions of coaching. First, it helps employees improve their performance. Then it provides them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their jobs and in their careers.
3. Coaching supplements and reinforces the more formal aspects of any training program which you implement in your workplace. This speeds up and increases productivity and also improves the quality of work.
4. It also guides and advises employees, showing them the steps they need to take to improve performance and become stronger, more effective workers. This helps to identify and correct performance and behavioral problems.
5. Coaching recognizes and builds on employee accomplishments as well. This boost enthusiasm and morale.
6. It leads to the breaking of old habits and attitudes and getting your team to focus their energies on important things (those which only they can do). This is key to their success and increase revenue for your business as well.
7. You create your version of existing tools and techniques when you and your employees work with a Coach. These include conflict resolution, managing meetings, time management, project management, etc
9. And if all this is not enough, coaching enhances your performance as a team leader. It helps you to better understand whether you have a “football” team or an “athletics” team and how best to coach each one.
10. It helps you to develop yourself as an influencer, your most important leadership role. You will effectively move your team from resistance to compliance to commitment.
Is it easy to implement coaching in my business?
Well…ahhm…that depends. It’s not that I’m being evasive at this point. But I want to be honest and upfront with you, but you see, coaching is not a quick fix.
This means that your coaching process must become a good “marriage” between the Coach and those being coached.
And therein lies the problem.
Like all good marriages, you have to be aware of the pitfalls so you can enjoy more of the benefits.
So here are some of the common pitfalls that can set you off on a rocky start:
1. Your employees do not trust you/your manager
2. You/your manager have not sufficiently convinced your employees that you know what you’re doing
3. The coaching atmosphere which you created is threatening and not conducive to open discussion
4. Employees do not believe that the stated performance expectations have been properly determined
5. Employees do not believe that the feedback from you/your manager is accurate and objective
6. You/your manager only concentrate on what the employee needs to improve and do not praise things done well
7. You/your manager cannot identify the specific training to correct the problems exposed by coaching
How do I implement it in my business?
Once you decide you want to have a programme of coaching in your business, it’s logical to be preoccupied with how to implement it.
Let me hasten to assure you, that while I believe that many small businesses need coaching in their business, you don’t have to possess all the skills you need inhouse.
For example, at ITDS, we take three approaches to helping you to get the coaching you want for your business fast.
Let me share them with you.
1. The “Train the Coach” approach
In this approach, we train small business leaders and their key managers in aspects of coaching, usually in a small workshop.
This workshop is practical and hands-on, requiring the trainees to practice with the skills and receive feedback. This guarantees that what you learn in the workshop is easily and speedily transferred to the business.
In addition, we oversee the implementation and assist you in working out any kinks that show up on the job that we did not cover in the training. We are also available on request if you have any queries or problems.
2. The “Mentoring” approach
This is where we team up with your business right from the beginning.
It works like this:
We work with you to identify the areas where coaching will help your business. Then you select your “coaching team” and we’re ready to go. The process begins with my team doing the core coaching and your team looking over our shoulders, learning all they can.
At the end of the specified period, we hand over to your team who will continue from there. Of course, you have access to us for a predetermined period of time after we hand over.
3. The “Consulting” approach
Maybe you want to take a hands-off approach to coaching, for whatever reason. In this scenario, you outsource your coaching to us and we act as your coach on a longer-term basis.
Small business coaching support
On top of you coaching programme, whatever approach you choose, we encourage you to support it with Small Business Coaching.
To me this is critical to your growth and the business’ growth. Why? You simply cannot run and lead a $25m business with $10m thinking and skills.
When we serve as your Small Business Coach, we focus specifically on you and your senior management, offering you a unique combination of professional and business development.
For example, we guide you through:
- establishing/emphasising your big “WHY?”
- exposing your hidden holdbacks
- embracing your strengths and “outsourcing” your weaknesses
- using leadership techniques to rapidly scale your business
- understanding and performing your role as influencer
- designing and implementing meaningful business systems
- understanding and speaking the language of financial management
This will be by far your most worthwhile investment.
Your next “coaching” steps
So there you have it…the case for why you need coaching in your business! It really is one of your best management tool.
I’ve shown you the benefits, I’ve even opened up and shared some of the pitfalls you might meet that can slow down your efforts. But I didn’t stop there, I gave you 3 options you can use to implement it.
Don’t forget, your success will not rest only on how much of the latest technology you have in your business. You also need a new way of working with your employees, which starts with the skills and attitudes they already have. From there, you will grow and manage these so that you can achieve more results with fewer resources.
In other words, I’m telling you that coaching can be a great tool to help you scale your business rapidly.
So what’s your next step?
I encourage you to take a good and comprehensive look at your business, especially your mission and vision.
Then contact me, let me show you how small business coaching can help you achieve your goals…
You can do this…can’t you?