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One of the best pieces of advice I can give to fellow entrepreneurs is to get a business coach. I should know; I’ve had the same one for 12 years. He’s helped me through some of the stickiest challenges I’ve ever faced in my business, and I credit much of my success to his support. Beyond helping me through the tough times, he’s also helped me to identify and lean into my strengths. Here’s how a good business coach should help you do the same.
They speak the truth
When you’re an entrepreneur, especially one who gains a lot of traction quickly, you’ll find yourself surrounded by many “yes people.” They’re usually well-intentioned, eager to please you and say the right thing so you’ll view them positively. Often, they’re also your employees, and the power of a paycheck means they won’t want to risk offending or irritating you. This makes sense, and these people shouldn’t be blamed for their staunchly supportive behavior.
Even so, you’ll sink if these folks are the only ones in your circle. You also need someone who will give their honest opinion, no matter how you’ll receive it. This is a big reason why I strongly recommend your business coach has no agenda or financial ties to your business. They should have a similar level of expertise as you, but their only motivation is to help you become the best version of yourself, so you and your company succeed.
This honesty means your coach will also tell you the truth about your strengths. Maybe you think you excel at sales, but they’ve seen that you’re far better suited to lead strategically. If you want your skills to be in a particular area, it might be uncomfortable to have your coach tell you they lie elsewhere. But hear them out. Sometimes it takes someone with expertise and an outsider’s perspective to make sure you’re in the role where you’ll contribute the most.
They challenge you to more
Good business coaches advise you on leadership and strategy, but great coaches also tackle the relational and psychological aspects of being a business owner. They help you discover your fears, insecurities, character flaws, relationship mistakes and more. All of these aspects will affect the business, whether you face them head-on or not.
As you work through these vulnerabilities, you’ll also encounter your strengths. For example, maybe your coach helps you discover that you tend to get defensive when someone comes to you with a concern. Instead of listening and considering the person’s point of view, you start defending your own, often vehemently.
While this habit is something to work on to create healthier internal relationships, it also shines a light on one of your strengths: your passion and whole-hearted belief in yourself and your decisions. Your business coach can work with this.
They can help you smooth over your communication challenges while helping you harness your decisiveness and assertiveness in more positive, productive ways. Since coaches should challenge you to be your best version of yourself, they need to understand your assets and liabilities.
They hold you accountable
Finally, business coaches worth their salt will not just dispense advice and go on their merry way. They’ll also share their insights, discuss them with you, collaborate on the next steps and be there to see them through. If you fail, they’re standing by to analyze why and how to avoid doing the same the next time. If you succeed, they’re waiting in the wings to evaluate why and how to achieve such an outcome again. A coach is with you through thick and thin, championing you while exploring how you can optimize your own growth and your companies.
This also means they’ll call you out when you don’t hold up your end of the bargain. Maybe your coach helped you discover that you excel in creating financial projections and setting corresponding budgets. But you haven’t followed through on these things because you got busy, and they’re among your more tedious tasks. You can trust that your coach will hold you to your word, making sure you double down on your strengths to make the biggest impact you can.
Getting a business coach with the right experience and intentions can be one of the best decisions you ever make as an entrepreneur. They’ll not only help guide you through the challenges of owning a business but also ensure you find your strengths and make the most of them.