Online coaching has never been more available than it is now, with the increased ease of face-to-face communication.
If you're not making the progress you had hoped for in your business, online coaching could be the solution you need to “un-stick” you.
All too often budding entrepreneurs discover that having technical knowledge or skill is the easiest part of their new venture.
Why Do You Need A Coach?
You are – or about to become – your own boss, possibly for the first time. It’s not enough to have technical knowledge and/or skills. You’ll quickly find that you need to call on a wide range of skills and talents. Some businesses consider using consultants or mentors, but their role will generally be based round a specific task – either guiding or fact gathering. A more effective approach – because it is general purpose – is to have coaching.
Successful coaching doesn't require that the coach has specific experience of a client's trade or profession – often the very absence of this adds to the effectiveness of the coaching procedure, as the coach will stand apart and “see the wood from the trees”.
There are two common traps that new entrepreneurs fall into:
- The first is that, being passionate about your field, sometimes it's easy to focus solely on the practical skills you have learned, forgetting the business side of entrepreneurship. If you are a sole-trader, this is even more likely.
- The second common trap is neglecting the rest of your life: family, your own health, finances, relaxation and leisure are the main ones, but other areas include personal development and contribution to society in general. And you will probably have your own specifics.
Your Wheel Of Life
Many coaches first work with you to check your “Wheel of Life” and ensure that it's in balance. We all know what happens when our car (or cycle!) wheels are out of balance – you get a rough ride. It's even rougher when your Wheel of Life is out of balance.
A simple exercise is to grade the areas of your life shown in this “wheel” from 1 to 10, where 10 is”my life is perfect in this area”. Or you can choose your own areas. Then join up the lines from the scores. If the perimeter is rough, your life is probably bumpy too.
Set mini-goals in each area to move towards that perfect ten. Make sure that there is something you can do in the next 48hrs.
Note that in this example of the “wheel” work and financial well-being only represent 2 of the 8 important areas. Are you neglecting the others?
(The image of the wheel of life is credited to Chrysos Consulting, (Accredited Specialists Providing CIPD & CMI Qualification.)
How Will Online Coaching Help Your Business?
An objective outsider, experienced in setting up a business, will understand the problems you face and how others have overcome them. The typical challenge is that you are highly qualified in your trade/profession and love what you do, but didn't expect it would be this hard to run your own business – beset by problems such as:
- Cash flow
- Lack of funding
- Lack of clients
- You don't understand how to build or run a business
- Lacking solid procedures for making business decisions
- Difficulty in setting realistic goals and meeting them
- You have no natural aptitude or interest in marketing or sales
- You feel uncomfortable with the sales role
- You may even feel uncomfortable talking about fees to clients
- How to keep focused on one main task, without getting side-tracked by your many ideas
- Nervous about leaving the security of a full-time job
- Should you, or shouldn’t you recruit staff – how to find the right person
- Coming from a background of employment where you had lots of resources at your finger-tip (e.g. access to IT technical support) it can be a big shock not being able to have the same support in your small business
- Time-management problems – What to “do”, “dump” or “delegate”
- Stress – at home and at work – often one feeding into the other in a vicious circle
- Need to quickly recoup the costs of any training and start-up costs
- Need to expand your comfort zone to tackle these challenges
Note that the list above hardly touches on the specific technical problems you may encounter when you are setting up an online business. With 30 years as a computer programmer I thought I was pretty “tech-savvy” – but boy did I flounder with online marketing.
At the time, if I had taken the advice of a coach I would probably have outsourced the technical aspects and my life would have been less stressful – and probably more profitable!
My Experiences Of Coaching
Working with the right coach you will achieve results that are realized faster, last longer and – most important of all – are widely applicable to all areas of your business and life. But the trick is to choose the right coach for YOU.
I have used coaches myself – some successfully and some unsuccessfully. Maybe I had too high expectations – or maybe I didn't do my part of the bargain. Of late I am so short of time I am spinning!
That's not to say those people I failed with were bad coaches because I saw some people following the same course achieve spectacular results whereas mine were dire.
- I had life-coaching when I was going through a particularly dark tunnel in my life. Happily I came out at the other end a much stronger person. That I can count as a great success.
- My first online coaching course never recovered the cost of the course, but I have to confess it wasn't a complete failure because I learned so much about the online world from a standing start.
- In the middle of my online career I worked with coaches who promised much but didn't deliver on their promises or were unrealistic in the amount of time required to achieve the results they promised.
- More recently I have had much better results. In a recent one-to-one session my coach gave me an exercise that just cut through the muddle in my head and showed me a better way forward.
- After another online coaching session, I saw specific problems with a particular project I have been working on for about two years, and am restarting it with renewed enthusiasm.
So overall I heartily recommend online coaching. It's just a matter of finding the right coach for YOU.
My Offer to You
There are many online coaches to choose from, and many different methods of delivery.
Group coaching is more affordable; one-to-one will naturally be more expensive. A “pure” coach can help you achieve results whatever your and their background, but there are pitfalls in choosing.
Some coaches specialize in their own particular niche. For instance corporate coaches, working in large organizations with very different needs from the small business, might probably not be a good fit for a one-person band.
As always, the KLT (Know, Like and Trust) factors are important. A one-to-one chat / Zoom call can help you see if that chemistry is there or not.
Best results may happen when the coach you work with comes from a similar background to your own – especially in the small, or even micro, business area. Such a background gives an immediate understanding of the problems you might be facing.
A coach can help you, not only in the above business areas, but also in the rest of your Wheel of Life. If your personal life is out of balance it’s bound to have a detrimental effect on your business life – and vice versa.
Remember, your coach doesn't do things FOR you… they are a facilitator – YOU have to have a realistic goal and the ability to put the hours in yourself.
I don't take coaching clients myself, but I have some colleagues who do, and it's to one of them that I would like to recommend you.
The Coach I Recommend
Please get in touch with me so we can have a chat and you can tell me a little about your circumstances.
- What you're trying to achieve – specifically! Your coach will need to know before deciding if they can help you, so you're only saving yourself time by getting your head clear right from the start.
- What is your budget for coaching? I have contacts who can help at various levels of budget, but it's no good for me to set you up with an exploratory call with a 4-figure coach if you're down to your last bean. Connect with me anyway, because I have lower cost trainings I can recommend instead.
If I feel you are a good fit for one of my trusted colleagues I will recommend the online coaching I feel is the most suitable for your stage on your business journey.