You know, the most successful people in most areas of life have coaches or mentors. They are good – even great – at what they do, and they are smart enough to realize they don’t know everything and that they have their own limitations that hold them back from achieving their absolute best.
The examples are all around you – professional athletes, singers, musicians, actors, CEO’s, and so on. Even in my hobby of sailboat racing (we race with a crew of 10 that has to be a tight team), I’ve hired coaches to come out sailing with us from time to time, look at the way we do things, help us see new ways, and our game improved as a result.
“Isn’t a coach for people who don’t have their acts together?” you might ask. Not even close! In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It takes a mature and wise person to honestly look at themselves and see their own strengths and weaknesses. Then it takes courage to get some help so they can improve.
“What are the differences between a coach, mentor, adviser, or tutor?”
Well, some in the industry will put the fine points on these, but I think that’s unnecessary. In general terms, they’re all there for similar reasons.
- They typically have more experience or education in areas you don’t. You can’t know everything.
- They are detached and removed from your day-to-day operations and people. They’re less emotional.
- They typically have the “been-there-done-that” factor. Your shortcut to experience.
- They probably have made more mistakes than you. And they can help you see and avoid them before they happen.
- Perhaps they have expertise in a particular area of your business that is needed. Expertise that makes your company look good.
“What do I get?”
Well, I’ve had several coaches over the years, both in 1-on-1 settings and in peer groups. Here are some of the benefits I found:
- Drawing out your real questions and concerns with effective questions
- Helping you see your business in a different and often deeper way
- Challenging you to move outside your comfort zone and grow
- Setting higher goals for yourself and your business
- Helping you understand and embrace your strengths and weaknesses
- Helping you gain or increase your confidence
- Providing you with encouragement and support
- Helping you organize and prioritize your actions
- Introductions to others (peer groups) with similar concerns and issues
- Helping you hold yourself accountable for changes and actions you decide to do
“How do I find a coach or group, and how do I choose?”
A lot of this depends on your needs and your budget (money AND time). As you know, I always like referrals. Online is a great way. Do you have a blog you like to read or a particular newsletter? Check with your closest Chamber of Commerce to see what they have and who they know.
There are large groups that have specific programs with regional divisions. Three that come to mind are SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), Vistage International (I was a member of this), and TAB –The Alternative Board. All of these are easily found by your favorite search engine. They have different requirements and costs. SCORE is free!
As a member of The Executive Committee (TEC) – now Vistage International – for several years, I appreciated meeting other CEOs (it’s lonely at the top), the wisdom and insights of our group chair, being challenged a deeper and more thoughtful level and being held accountable or reminded of how fast time was passing. “Is this the same VP you were complaining about three months ago? Why haven’t you done anything about it?” And, some ten years after leaving the group, I’m still friends and keep in touch with several of them.
One-on-one coaching is the most expensive of the lot. A Harvard Business Review article I recently read said some coaches charge up to $3,500 per hour. Let’s save that for the CEOs of the huge companies, shall we? Median charge, according to the article: $500 per hour.
Hiring a coach or joining a group is undoubtedly one of the best things you can do for your business. How much time do YOU spend working ON your business every week? Every two? Think about it. It’s probably not enough, and it’s crucial to your success. Invest in yourself.
Disclaimer: I am a business coach, and I am starting a group/peer coaching group, a.k.a. “Mastermind Group” in July. Stand by for more information as it develops in the next few weeks.
Do YOU have a coach?
I am interested in why or why not. Comment and let me know. Don’t hesitate to share with our Business by Day community on your thoughts, or to share this article with someone you think needs it!
As always, make it a GREAT day!