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One of the best pieces of advice I can give fellow entrepreneurs is to get a business coach. I should know; I’ve had the same one for 12 years. He has helped me overcome some of the most difficult challenges I have ever faced in my business, and I attribute much of my success to his support. Beyond helping me through difficult times, it has also helped me identify and build on my strengths. Here’s how a good business coach should help you do the same.
They tell the truth
When you’re an entrepreneur, especially one who earns pretty quickly, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a lot of “yes” people. They usually mean well, want to please you and say the right thing so that you see 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 should not be blamed for their staunchly supportive behavior.
However, you will sink if these people are the only ones in your circle. You also need someone to give their honest opinion, no matter how you receive it. This is a big reason why I strongly recommend that your business coach have no agenda or financial ties to your business. They should have a similar experience level to yours, but their sole motivation is to help you become the best version of yourself, so that you and your business can succeed.
This honesty means your coach will also tell you the truth about your strengths. You may think you excel at sales, but they’ve seen that you’re much better suited to lead strategically. If you want your skills to be in a certain area, it can be uncomfortable for your coach to tell you that they are somewhere else. But listen to them. Sometimes it takes someone with experience and an outside perspective to make sure you’re in the role where you’ll contribute the most.
Related: 10 Reasons Why You Need a Business Coach
They also challenge you
Good business coaches advise you on leadership and strategy, but great coaches also address the relational and psychological aspects of owning a business. They help you discover your fears, insecurities, character flaws, relationship mistakes and more. All these aspects will affect the business, whether you face them head on or not.
As you work through these vulnerabilities, you will also find 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 to 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 total belief in yourself and your decisions. Your business coach can work with this.
They can help you overcome your communication challenges while helping you harness your decisiveness and assertiveness in more positive and productive ways. Because coaches should challenge you to be your best version of yourself, they need to understand your assets and liabilities.
Related: If you haven’t hired a business coach, you’re holding yourself back
They hold you accountable
Finally, business coaches worth their salt won’t just give advice and go on their merry way. They’ll also share their ideas, discuss them with you, collaborate on next steps, and be there to see them through. If you fail, they are looking to analyze why and how to avoid doing the same thing next time. If you succeed, they are waiting to evaluate why and how to achieve this result again. A coach is with you everywhere, advocating for you as you explore how you can optimize your own growth and your businesses.
This also means you’ll get yelled at when you don’t hold up your end of the bargain. Maybe your coach helped you discover that you’re great at creating financial projections and budgeting accordingly. But you haven’t followed through on these things because you’ve been busy, and they’re one of your most tedious tasks. You can trust your coach to deliver on his word, making sure you play to your strengths to make the biggest impact possible.
Getting a business coach with the right experience and intentions can be one of the best decisions you ever make as an entrepreneur. Not only will they help guide you through the challenges of running a business, but they’ll also make sure you find your strengths and make the most of them.