“Why should I hire you?” I get that question a lot. And frankly, I welcome it!

Since I work with established business owners, they want to know how coaching generates results they can see and feel. I can relate as a business owner. I don’t have time or money to waste either.

There are huge expectations for small business owners and most are ready to take on the challenges in front of them. However, it is common to want a place to express your dreams, aspiration, doubts and weaknesses. You want to maintain your authority and still make sure you have a solid support system that keeps you fresh and grounded.

What is coaching?

It’s not good enough to have someone to just listen to you. Sure, that is one function of coaching. Being able to hear your thoughts spoken aloud and reflected back to you can provide clarification and understanding. But coaching is more than that:

  • Area expertise: Professionally trained coaches (from accredited programs) frequently pair subject matter expertise with coaching skills.
  • Performance analysis: Both informal and formal tools are used to pinpoint what areas need to be celebrated as strengths and which areas (weaknesses) could use attention and practice. Surveys, 360 assessments, DiSC, the Myers-Briggs Trait Index, the Leadership Gap Index are examples of performance analyses.
  • Specific goals and schedules are set by the coach and client: Coaching is more effective when the client and coach design an agreement regarding specific goals, frequency of the meetings and length of time of the coaching engagement.
  • Truth telling: A good coach will point out the inconsistencies that show up in language and behavior in a clear way. It doesn’t mean that the coach has to be as blunt as a drill sergeant but being too nice dilutes the opportunity to learn.
  • Reframing: Often people will express something in a negative fashion or dismiss it as ordinary. A good coach hears this and suggests an alternative perspective. The client is free to accept or reject this alternative perspective.
  • Rehearsals, exercises and homework: Sessions focus on how behavior can be adapted, encouraged and/or minimized so that the goals are met. Between sessions, clients are given assignments to promote quicker learning and adoption of the desired new behaviors.
  • Pays attention to the whole person, not just the business: Every business is owned by a person so the person’s ability to manage stress, doubt and work/life integration matters and is brought into the discussion.
  • Provides guidance so the business owner can make the desired changes: This can take the form of encouragement and holding the client accountable to their stated goals. This “just-in-time” guidance occurs so the changes are pertinent to the current challenges and opportunities.

Is there an ROI (return-on-investment) for coaching?

Many small businesses are skeptical about executive coaching so results matter. When ineffective behaviors or self-doubt are affecting or potentially affecting how the business owner leads and manages his or her business, it’s important for the executive coach to facilitate changes that can be seen. If done well, skill gaps are bridged as well as new skills learned and put into practice immediately. Here’s a quick story-one of my clients had a tendency to talk too long about each stage of a project. Through coaching, he learned to stop and listen to his team. He discovered that they had valuable solutions that made the results stronger for customers.

Most of the research on the efficacy of executive coaching has focused on large corporations and the findings have been spectacular. Various studies have reported ranges from 7 times to 49 times the investment. One study from 2005  mentioned smaller organizations and reported positive outcomes. In my coaching business, clients have reported increases in revenue from at least ten percent of their starting point and beyond. It’s important to note that measurable results depend on the agreed goals and length of the coaching engagement.

What is the bottom line?

If you look at professional athletes as an example, you realize that they have sports coaches to help them become better. They know how to play their sport. Tom Brady of the New England Patriots certainly knows how to throw a football. Ronaldo is an amazing soccer player. And yet, they use coaching to make themselves even better. What does this mean for a business owner, even a non-athletic one? Your performance matters. You have a vision to bring your small business to a more sophisticated position with your clients and in your market. If you could have someone encourage you, listen to you and prod you when you’re hesitating, could you and your business meet your aspirations?

Have you used an executive coach for your small business?

What effect did it have on your performance as leader and  manager of your business?

If you haven’t used a coach, what questions do you have?

 About the author:  I’m Elli St.George Godfrey, a small business coach and trainer who guides established small business owners to be comfortable in their own skin. I have a deep appreciation for learning and understanding my client’s business style and culture. Whether you are expanding in your own backyard or into another country, my 3 keys coaching process helps clients move from being excited about a new business opportunity to having the tools to make it actually happen. Curious? Schedule your complimentary coaching session here.