So what is this business coaching stuff, anyway?

I had the opportunity to slow down for a couple of hours yesterday and have a couple of cold beverages with a friend of mine and a friend of his. 

As a side note, I would highly recommend this.  It’s probably not something you should do daily or perhaps even weekly, but if you haven’t done this for a while, it will do you a world of good to break your routine, get out of the office and just relax, even if it’s just an hour or two. 

It had clearly been too long since I’ve done it and it was good! 

Anyway, during the course of discussion we started to talk about my new business and the obvious question came up pretty quickly:

“What does a business coach actually do?”

It’s a great question and there’s not a stock answer out there that applies to all coaches.  In other words, most coaches do very different things.

So I can’t answer the question for all coaches, and I can’t even answer for all of those coaches that call themselves ‘Business Coaches’.  However I can give you a better idea of what I do…

I work with groups of business owners by facilitating and coaching in a Peer Advisory ‘Mastermind’ type of group called BANG! (Brainstorming, Accountability and Networking Group).  (see here for details).

I also conduct educational workshops that focus on small groups and a lot of interactive discussion to really learn great new strategies and ideas about all aspects of business.  (see here for details).

Finally, my primary ‘product’ is 1 on 1 coaching with small business owners.

With thanks to Adam and Jack from Maximum Value Partners ( I’ve been using a modified version of their model to explain what I do.  (This is a 1 page graphic that I pulled together for a recent chamber meeting).

Most small businesses started with a great idea for a product or a service, and the owner realizes…”hey I should start my own business!”  However at that point they suddenly have to start worrying about Sales and Marketing and all of the other ‘Stuff’ that it takes to successfully run a business.

For the first year or two, it probably doesn’t matter too much what they do (assuming it’s a good product or service).  They’re in the honeymoon period and extraordinary measures can cover up any mistakes they may make along the way.  However they will get to a point – whether it’s because they have to hire their first employee that’s not a friend or family member, or because they’ve hit some sort of wall that things stop working so well.

At that point they have a few choices:  A lot of the time, they will fall back into their comfort zone and spend most of their time on their Product or Service, it’s what they like to do and what they’re good at.  They’ll either blindly delegate the other work, or just let it go and hope it works out.  Unfortunately that will not give them a successful business. 

Without all 3 legs of the stool, it won’t stand for long.

Another choice is to try to do it all themselves, work 60, 70, 80 hours a week and spread themselves thin across all aspects of the business.  Look over everyone’s shoulder and put their personal stamp on every single decision.  This may work for a while, but inevitably they’re going to burn out or drop one of the many balls in the air and bad things will happen. 

Ideally what they do at this point is to start working on their business rather than in it

Building or improving systems in all aspects of their business, with an eventual goal that they personally are no longer needed for the business to continue to survive and even thrive without them.

It may be the ideal solution, but it’s not easy – in fact it can be really difficult, which is why people may need help…help from a trusted business advisor that will work with them on all aspects of their business:

  • brainstorm with them on new ideas,
  • act as an impartial sounding board,
  • help to hold them accountable,
  • keep them focused on what they want and
  • give them access to tools and strategies that successful business owners and coaches all over the country are using every day.
  • help them reach clarity about what they want and how to get there.
    I primarily work with the business owner on the nuts and bolts of their business.  Depending on what’s holding them back, we’ll focus on things like their marketing plan, the system they have in place for hiring, or possibly we’ll look at their overhead and cost structure and together evaluate what changes might need to be made.
    A lot of the structure and the way I work with clients has been leveraged from the Professional Business Coaches Alliance (PBCA)  
    This is a fantastic group of very experienced coaches from all over that I meet with every week (coaches need coaches too…!) and I leverage them for advice and support.
    So in a nutshell, that’s what I do.
    As my friend pointed out after we had this discussion, “So you don’t just quote Successories at them and think good thoughts?” 
    That’s not what I do.
    I’d love to hear what other people think about Business Coaching – what have you seen or heard?
    So what does your business advisor do with you?  Can you think of any reasons why it might be really helpful to have somebody to talk to or work with – share your examples here.

/begin shameless plug/  Now that you know what I do, if you even remotely think I could help you or someone you know, give me a call and we can talk about it  (perhaps over a cold beverage if that’s your preference!).  /end shameless plug/

Have a great day!

Shawn Kinkade  –