Crisafulli Business Coaching

What Can Business Coaches Help With?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Professional business coaches can make a positive difference for their clients. But how do they do this, and why should a company owner consider working with a coach?

Business coaches are not consultants

First, although the terms “business coach” and “business consultant” are sometimes used interchangeably, the two positions are not the same. To oversimplify the definitions, the coach focuses on a personal relationship with the client, acting almost as a mentor, while the consultant focuses on issues within their area of expertise that affect the entire operation. Many business coaches are also adept at consultancy work, although these two services are different.

The coach encourages personal growth for the individual while the consultant looks for overall improvement in the performance of the business. The consultant is often engaged for a specific time, while the coach will usually form an ongoing relationship with the client. The coach will also help the client set reasonable goals, as well as implementing a way to measure whether the goals have been achieved. Goals without a means of measuring their success are useless.

How does a business coach do what they do?

Once the decision has been made to hire a coach, what can the client expect from their partner?

Like a consultant, a coach will bring an outside perspective to the work, but unlike the consultant, they will take a far more personal approach, helping the client address issues such as whether they find their work truly fulfilling. In other words, the coaching relationship is more intimate than the one between client and consultant. A good place for a client to start this process is to consider whether they would feel comfortable with this method.

A client’s responsibilities

A coaching relationship is a true partnership that demands a great deal from both participants. For it to be successful, a client may well find they have to go far outside their “comfort zone.” The coach will ask the client to examine their lives, as well as their business practices, very closely and be prepared to make changes. They will help the client see how their business fits in with their life plan, and whether it makes sense in that context. If the client’s goals and business are at odds, it will be necessary to make significant changes. Many people are uncomfortable when they are asked to change a routine that works for them, even if that routine is not leading to the success they want.

In addition, coaches are creative and intuitive, rather than relying on research and structured practices. A client who is not comfortable with an unorthodox approach is not likely to benefit from coaching. Also, coaching is unlikely to benefit someone who expects to have a solution presented to them, rather than actively working with the coach.

Coaches will help their clients identify goals, and ways to accurately measure them. Setting a goal without also providing a means to understand when it has been reached is pointless. Goals, as it is often said, must be both specific and measurable. A coach will help their client develop a plan, and devise a set of exercises or practices to get to the end of the journey. Once again, if a client cannot commit to following this plan daily, it will fail. Successful people develop healthy habits and stick to them.

The clients most likely to benefit from coaching are free thinkers, entrepreneurs, and creatives who are comfortable with an unstructured approach to improving their business. However, those who need rigidity and uniformity will be better off with a consultant.

What prompts a client to hire a coach?

There are numerous reasons why a business owner hires a coach, but many are based on feelings and emotions, which is why a coach also operates on a more emotional level than a consultant. Among the ideas that might prompt a client to pursue this relationship is a feeling that their business is not as successful as it should be, or a feeling of dissatisfaction overall.

They may be asking themselves why they have difficulty deciding which projects and ideas to pursue, why they feel “stuck” and can’t seem to move forward, or even why they founded their company in the first place. Underlying all these concerns is the same idea: something undefined is not going well, but is intrusive enough to call attention to itself. This feeling may become so overwhelming, especially when the client is heavily emotionally involved in the business, that they give up entirely.

A coach’s responsibilities

One of the most valuable assets a coach brings to a relationship is their status as an outsider. Although their approach is intuitive, they are not emotionally invested in the success of the business in the same way the owner is. This means they can clearly see where things are going wrong, whereas the owner is often too close to the organization to identify why things are not working. In addition, many entrepreneurs find it difficult to trust others with their “baby,” and believe no one understands the business the way they do. Operating on these assumptions, they refuse to delegate any decisions or actions, tend to get in their own way, and ultimately become overwhelmed by their self-imposed mandate to “do it all themselves.”

If the client is caught in this loop, the coach will help them identify their self-defeating behavior, and why their operating model is failing. Obviously, a client who is thinking this way has a strong emotional connection to their organization, which again is why a coach reaches out on a personal level, rather than the more formal approach taken by a consultant. The coach recognizes that the company is intrinsically valuable to the client as part of the overall plan for their life.

How a coach can help set goals

Perhaps the most important thing a coach can do is help their client ensure their goals and values are in alignment. A client who tries to run a business that conflicts with their beliefs must surely be exhausted and unhappy. A coach can help them rediscover why they established the business in the first place, when it was a means to further their values, and help them return to that state. The coach will help by ensuring the goals they pursue are the correct ones that will not only help the business succeed but bring personal happiness as well.

When a client is unsure about their direction, a coach is the ideal person to help them. The coach can help develop the client’s sense of self-discovery, so they can identify what they genuinely want. The coach will then help create a plan to achieve the goals.

How a coach sets and measures goals

Goal setting is clearly one of the priorities for a business coach, who will help the client develop goals and meet them. The process is well-understood but requires commitment.

The first thing a coach is likely to consider when helping to set a goal is to make it specific. The client may indicate they would like to increase their business, which is vague. A more realistic goal is to increase their revenue by a specific amount or percentage.

The goal also must be measurable. If the goal is to increase revenue by twenty percent over two years, then the coach and client can decide on a schedule to meet that goal; that is, how much business will have to increase during a specific period to reach the overall target. Saying “We need to increase sales by $1,000 per week” is a measurable goal, but “We need to sell more” is not.

However, the goal must also be achievable. If the company is barely keeping its doors open, earning an additional $1,000 weekly may not be something that it can reasonably do, at least not immediately. The coach can help the client decide if they need to decrease the amount, or increase the time they are giving themselves to accomplish their aims, or something else.

In order to be achievable, a goal has to be relevant to the way the company operates and how that fits into the client’s life. If the goal for a client is to also attend school, a relevant goal might be setting the intention of leaving work at a reasonable time so they can get to class.

The coach will also help the client determine the time to meet the goal. A goal that can be met “whenever” is not really a goal. For results to be meaningful, they have to be accomplished in a realistic time. However, if the goal is not met at the end of the specified period, it is reasonable for the client to work with the coach to reset the goal and the time to fulfill it.

Helping a client find their strengths and weaknesses

One of a coach’s missions is to help the client discover all facets of themselves, their hidden strengths and perceived weaknesses, and other traits that define them, and that may keep them from success—or help them succeed.

Many people overlook their strengths because these traits allow them to do things easily. A person who is good at something may tend to overlook their accomplishments because it is simple for them. Instead, they focus on the areas that they find challenging. A coach will help them find their strongest areas and lean into them for further success. For instance, if someone really enjoys public speaking, and is good at it, they could consider adding speaking services to their company’s offerings.

A coach will also help their client identify and deal with weaknesses. Research has revealed that it is almost impossible to create a strength out of a weakness. For instance, if the client has a crippling fear of public speaking, it will probably always be an ordeal for them. Any presentation they give will be strained and anxious, and the audience will sense their uneasiness and be unsettled as well. Instead, a coach can help their client understand and manage their weaknesses so they are not blindsided by them.

A coach provides accountability

As mentioned, a coach will help their client set goals, but will also provide accountability to ensure those goals are met. The coach will know the client well enough to understand how to keep pushing them forward so they can increase the value of their company and their lives. The honest feedback provided by the coach, based on their understanding of their client, will result in success.

However, the coach/client relationship is a long one. Unlike the work done by a consultant, which is usually defined by a contract with a start and end date, the relationship between a coach and their client may last for months, or even years. The coach will always be available to consult with the client. Anyone expecting instant improvement will not be a good fit for this type of relationship.

A coach is professional

Although much of a coach’s work is intuitive, he or she is bound by professional ethics and standards. The coach will be privy to private information, and many of the sessions could become emotional, as the participants work together to reveal stumbling blocks and find solutions. The coach must be a skilled practitioner with outstanding character.

Clients should ask for recommendations, and look for a coach with values including integrity, a passion for excellence, the ability to collaborate successfully with others, and an ability to treat clients with respect.

Talk to Jim Crisafulli when you need a great coach

If you have decided working with a business coach will benefit you, you will want to consult with the best coach you can find, and that person is Jim Crisafulli, the founder of Crisafulli Business Coaching. He has over 27 years’ experience as a coach, and has owned his own small business for more than 40 years.

Jim typically works with businesses that have between five and 50 employees, and a turnover of between $1 million and $15 million. He focuses on helping clients grow the value of their businesses, not merely growing the business.

To find out more, speak to Jim Crisafulli today—he will be delighted to help you succeed.

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