I have a close friend who runs marathons. The first question I always ask is, why? Generally speaking, there is no particular reason – it’s just something he wanted to try. He now travels the world seeking out difficult marathons to experience and conquer. So who or what helped him along the way?
By Annick Donat, national offer manager, Securitor & Licensee Select
My friend knew that whilst he’d done a few fun runs, and was generally fit, the requisite skills, capability and discipline he required to achieve these lofty goals involved a specialist.He found that in his running coach.
As business owners, you are often faced with others asking for your help, guidance, advice and support. Your team, business partners and clients look to you for direction.
But who helps you? Where do you go to get the same valued counsel and guidance?
We all know it’s not enough to hire or engage the help of an external expert. You need a framework to ensure the relationship creates a viable, commercial and rewarding outcome for you as the business owner (and hopefully, your coach grows with you along the way).
A simple and powerful framework I use when coaching businesses and my team, looks like this;
If you are going to trust someone to help you grow your business, you both need to understand what the deal breakers are. For me, when it comes to priorities it’s husband, family, work. As long as what’s required of me doesn’t put my husband and family at a disadvantage, I’m happy to commit heart and soul to my work. I think the most valuable thing you can do for yourself is to understand your personal code and how it impacts your relationships with others – especially your coach.
Who does what in this relationship? And how far are you willing to be pushed? A fairly simple way to work that out is to test how compelling and critical the end result is. Are you driven by the end result? Do you know that when you get to that destination, the outcomes, emotions and achievement will have outweighed the pain, anxiety and sleepless nights? My personal litmus test is how I will feel when I get to the end and the excitement of ticking things off along the way. Is your vision and desire to succeed so compelling that you willingly allow your coach to hold you accountable to the actions required to achieve your full business potential? Moreover, are you disciplined enough to hold yourself accountable? Pick a coach you trust enough to have some very tough conversations with.
We all know what gets measured, gets done. Defining a relevant set of metrics towards your goals and objective helps accountability. I always get a buzz when a business owner says to me “we hit this target,” or “we exceeded our activity/profit/revenue number by X per cent”. I was speaking to a business owner recently, who is transforming her business by focussing on the convergence of her accounting and advice business. She said, “I really understand what it is to be a business owner now. Our focus on the numbers for each of the businesses has helped our communication and we [her and her accounting partner] can see how we’re going to achieve our numbers.”
Sharing success, challenges, achievements and roadblocks is infectious. Problems get solved when you put a few brains in a room to sort them out. Achievements get magnified in a positive way. Team members become engaged when they are part of the goals and objectives of your business, understanding the strategic direction and seeing the commitment and investment of your personal energy.
Sound familiar? I’m guessing your engagement and experience with your clients as their financial coach is not dissimilar. It’s always easy to give advice; it’s not always easy to take it. One thing I do know and have learnt from many tumbles along my own professional journey, is that having a coach to help me consider my decisions, options and the questions that keep me awake at night, seems to ease the burden.
- Understand your personal code – what are your deal breakers when taking advice?
- Be held accountable – Pick a coach you trust enough to have some very tough conversations with
- Get the metrics right – what are your measures of success?
- Communicate your objectives – help others help you
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