Running a business is both exciting and daunting and, of course, driven by the relentless pursuit of profit. But whether you’re a small or medium business owner trying to grow, or a corporate professional stuck in a rut, there are times when it would be really useful to get some help.
Our entrepreneurial instincts tell us that if the business is underachieving, there must be some tweaks that can be made to improve commercial performance. Should the team work longer hours? Would more frequent email campaigns attract more customers? Whatever we come up with tends to be focused on immediate solutions. But what we don’t do is take time out and stand back to reprioritise and look at strategy, working on rather than in the business.
This is where executive coaching can be hugely useful. As Technology Business Coach and Scale-Up Expert, Dominic Monkhouse, puts it: “In the same way that a sports coach will build his team geared towards maximum performance, a business coach will provide clear, objective insights to help you make strategic decisions on how to run your business better.”
With a new perspective on where your business it headed, and specific tools to implement your goals, your organisation has the potential to become more efficient and productive, and grow faster and further than you ever thought possible.
Did you know that according to a recent report by the International Coach Federation, 70% of small businesses owners who hired a business coach, 70% saw increased work performance and 86% saw a return on investment? Take a look at the signs and symptoms below and if any of them ring true, a professional coach to help with management development and strategic business planning may be just what you need.
1. You’re struggling with a sense of direction
Managing Directors and CEOs, particularly those who have built up their businesses from scratch, tend to be jacks-of-all-trades. Used to dealing with every aspect of the commercial operation, it’s easy to get lost in the day to day running of the business.
Perhaps you don’t have a clear set of strategic objectives defined or a written business plan. Maybe your business direction keeps changing course. Or perhaps you are not sure what your role as MD or CEO should be.
A management coach can help you stop flapping, define your responsibilities as MD in conjunction with your strategic goals and teach you how to let go of the temptation to do everything yourself.
2. You’re suffering from stress and overwhelm
Are you working all the hours and then some? When was the last time you didn’t spend the weekend working, or had a holiday? Do you feel that the weight of the business rests on your shoulders alone and that there isn’t really anyone who can help with the important stuff? While stress can be a great motivator to get things done, constant pressure can lead to decreasing productivity levels, poor decision making and, ultimately, burnout.
Working with a leadership coach is essential to review your daily tasks and how you carry them out. Delegate some tasks to other competent team members, and reassess how the tasks only you can perform can be done more efficiently.
3. You’re finding it hard to meet your own goals and objectives
Goal setting is one thing but achieving your defined business objectives is quite another. If you feel that your targets are too ambitious, your plans are too vague, or that you’re not pushing yourself hard enough to achieve your goals, you may need outside help with personal accountability.
Enter your business coach – your new accountability buddy whose task it is to help you keep on track. Together, you can look at your tasks and targets objectively and review where time is lost and effort wasted, making sure you’re heading for success.
4. There’s never enough time to develop new skills
We all know that being a business leader is a huge responsibility, but this shouldn’t stop you from having the opportunity to improve yourself. Strong leadership skills are key – you’re setting the example for the rest of the team to follow – but it doesn’t end there. In order to keep your company ahead of the curve, you may need to sharpen your finance, IT or sales skills too.
Business coaching can be extremely helpful in crystallising exactly where you need further development, and to help you acquire the missing skills. With a wealth of executive and leadership coaches available, choose the most suitable person for soft skills such as sales, negotiation and leadership training, or harder skills such as finance of new technology.
5. You’re unsure how to take your business to the next level
Sometimes it’s easier to keep doing what you’re doing rather than making changes that could be disruptive and risky. If you’re feeling unsure about the changes needed to really make a difference to your business growth, are you stuck in a rut?
An experienced business coach will be able to give you a fresh perspective on your business, enabling you to take a step back and see the wood for the trees. With access to a wealth of different management theories and techniques, your coach will be able to guide you towards the right strategic plan to successfully grow your business, plus give you the confidence to see them through.