Do you really need a Business Coach?

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Coping with Ambiguity, Uncertainty and Risk

I guess the easiest way to understand coaching is to look at the sports world. All sports teams or individuals have a coach. It’s almost impossible to think of any sport without coaches.

Previously, coaches were called trainers, but over the last 50 years, this has changed significantly. We became more aware of the impact the mind has over the performance of a player and that it needs much more than just practising to win.

The clubs who can afford it have both: a trainer and a coach. The trainer deals with the physical aspect and the coach concentrate on the player and the game – more of a strategist whose goal is to bring the skills and talents of the players together in a way that they will win.

In the start-up and small business world, coaching is still the exception and it’s only slowly picking up, very slowly. Most business start-ups believe they can do it on their own. They become their own trainer, coach and player at the same time. They deal with everything, despite most of them having little idea how to be a good trainer or a good coach or even a good player. They just hope for the best. We shouldn’t be surprised when we find out that over 80% of all businesses fail within the first year.

It’s all about aiming for the best

If you want to become successful you need to become the best you can be in your field. How else do you think you will ever have a chance to succeed?

Speak to players or clubs in the sports world about their strategies and you will find that all of them who are seriously considering to have an impact in the game try to get the best trainer, the best coach and the best player they can afford. They know that the player is only one piece of the puzzle. Without the right preparation, motivation, coordination and planning the player has very little chance to win any game.

If we now go back to business and look at the risk most people take when starting a business, it sounds strange to me that they don’t plan for the best possible support they can find and afford to make their venture a success. Instead, they rather risk failing.

Being a Business Coach myself I do understand how confusing this market is and how misunderstood the role of a coach is. Let me make a few points clear:

A Business Coach is not a player

This is one of the most misunderstood points. If that would be the case, the coach would be your competition and that would never work. The skill of a Business Coach is his or her deep understanding of the Business World with a focus on the Entrepreneur. A good Business Coach puts the Entrepreneur in a position in which he or she is most likely to win. The focus is on the Entrepreneur in relation to the business. Always looking for ways to improve the skill set and the mindset towards success. A Business Coach is not in the centre of the game, the Entrepreneur is the one who makes it all happen and the Business Coach is the backup they need to be really good.

A Business Coach is not a mentor

A mentor is very important as a business person and plays the game in the same field as an Entrepreneur. He or she is at the point the Entrepreneur tries to get to. To translate this to the sports world, the mentor is a top ranking player and the Entrepreneur is just starting out, working hard to get to the same level as the mentor. In its base the mentor is competition. Of course, the distance between both is so large that the Entrepreneur is not yet a threat to the mentor. A mentor is someone we look towards because we want to learn how to improve our skills and talents to become like them. But you can be pretty sure that the mentor has a coach – that’s why he is up there.

A Business Coach is part of the success and should be reimbursed accordingly

Just to make it clear, business is not like most sports games with just one winner at the end. But it’s similar in a way that the set goals have to be achieved. That is the aim. If a Business Coach helped you to get there, he or she was successful in their task. Often coaching is offered as a training course. You pay a fixed price for some information or a few nice words. It’s like a pre-packaged deal. This is okay if you want to become your own coach. You can learn all the skills a coach has and then coach yourself. But is that the business you’re in? Ask any successful player or business person. They all have their team supporting them in their efforts.

A Business Coach is a business partner

A Business Coach becomes part of your team. He or she is not an employee, but in charge to oversee your success path, prepare you for what’s to come and help you to adjust if required. A Business Coach is a person of trust and should be chosen wisely. You want the best you can afford. You want someone who gets you, challenges you and pushes you to the next stage while backing you up along the way. You want someone with experience and expertise in their field. Someone who never stops improving, learning and practising.

From a Business Coach perspective, let me tell you what I expect from my clients. I like to work with people:

  • Who is excited about the things to come
  • Who take entrepreneurship seriously and know that this is what she is going to do
  • Who knows why she is starting or running a business besides making money
  • Who is committed to going the extra mile to make it happen

It is my aim to be the best in my field and I try to find the best clients I can get to win the game and achieve my goals. And my main goal is to make my clients very successful Entrepreneurs.

That leaves us with one question.

Do you need a Business Coach?

John Di Stefano

An entrepreneur at heart and founder of the Entrepreneur Academy in Brussels, Belgium. He is teaching and supporting entrepreneurs in the skills every entrepreneur needs to create a better life for themselves and the people around them.

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