By Ron Tanner, Shirlaws UK Business Coach
I often find myself taken aback by a client’s commitment to the quality of the work they do for their customers. At the same time there is this niggling question in the background - ‘how do we grow this business and keep delivering the same levels of service?’
Often they go looking for help and wind up sitting in front of me. My first step is to find out whether they actually need a business coach and if so, am I the right match for them. When I meet a prospective client for the first time they often want me to fix a specific problem in their business. It could be “How do I get more sales?” or, “How do I get my staff more engaged?” but in some cases, they don’t really have a problem. Some clients just want to know what levers they need to pull to get the business to the next stage. They are frustrated at the plateau they have reached and can’t agree how to move forward.
Consultants and business coaches are two different things. Business coaching is a relatively new industry and many business owners don’t fully understand what we do. Consultants fix ‘problems’ in businesses. Coaching is different; it’s about the client acquiring the skills themselves to deal with the issues that arise day-to-day in their businesses.
How does coaching help? I use a golfing analogy (even though many of my clients look like they’ve been too busy to go anywhere near a golf course for a long time). On the course the business is playing off about a 13 handicap. The simple questions I ask are “what handicap do you want to go down to?” and “how long do you want to take to get there?”
That’s when the silence happens… After an unusually long pause one client asked another question: “Can you help us with that?” Yes, is the simple answer.
It’s my job as the business coach to provide the framework for them to see their business issues and for them to have the clarity and confidence to act accordingly. At times, because of my 30 years business experience and drawing from the hundreds of businesses that I have taken to the next level of success, I’ll also provide some direct consulting advice. I call it the “magic mix”.
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