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Coach's Corner

Entrepreneur's Weekly Update — 15 November 2021

Why You Need a Coach

Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronadlo, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Wayde van Niekerk. All successful athletes – what do they have in common? A coach.

These athletes are playing in the field successfully, winning awards, and setting new records but they know they can’t do it on their own. They see the value of investing in themselves, bettering their performance, and having someone that helps them reach their potential but why do entrepreneurs not see the same?

If your business is barely making it by, why not seek out a business coach who has successfully weathered the storms of business and can help you achieve your business goals. Even if your business is operating successfully why not seek out a person who has successfully scaled a number of businesses and has pivoted their businesses through various economic cycles, someone who can help you do the same. If SARS is on your back, why not seek out that person who has experience in dealing with SARS compliance and can help you navigate that tricky terrain. It doesn’t matter at what stage of business you find yourself in — you need a business coach. Whether you’re at the top of your game, somewhere in the middle, or just starting out – YOU NEED A BUSINESS COACH.

We often speak of entrepreneurship as a lonely journey but the truth is it doesn’t have to be. Being an entrepreneur is like being an athlete, you sweat and cry in the background, without a crowd of people cheering for you. The pressure, the long hours, all of that not-so-glamorous work is done in the shadows. But you put in the work because the reward is worth it. But are you ever really alone or is there someone there encouraging you, teaching you, helping you to fulfill your potential? Someone that is there for every injury and every victory. When you’re in the ring taking knocks, throwing punches, losing your breath, and trying your best to sting like and butterfly and float like a bee, who is at your ringside giving you water during the break, smearing Vaseline on your face and reminding you that you are the champion? Business is a fight. You’re in that ring holding on, fighting for your life, trying to win and be a winner, but you need someone, and like an athlete needs a coach, so do you.

An athlete understands the impact that a coach can have on their performance, which is why getting the right coach is a crucial part of their sports journey. Likewise, business owners need a coach, however many are unaware of how impactful a business coach can be for their business. A business coach can provide great insight, they have an overall view of where you want to go and while most business owners, especially those with SMMEs get stuck in the operations and day-to-day tasks of a business, a coach can help you to work ON your business instead of working IN your business. They are like an eagle, watching over and seeing the direction you are going in, they act as a compass, preempting the consequences of certain decisions and steering you in the right direction. They also steer you away from a lot of pitfalls; think about all the problems a business owner can come across because they do not know anything about putting systems in place, they may be running a chaotic business with no processes in place to structure. With the help of a coach, they can put systems into place that makes the business more automated and efficient instead of dealing with the chaos that leads to problems.

Change is the only constant and having an experienced coach who has dealt with market changes and fluctuations enables you to navigate changes as well. You cannot guarantee that just because your business is doing well currently that it will still be doing well in the next five to ten years but a business coach can arm you and prepare you for the pivots that your business has to take. And “arm” is the operative word: business is a fight, you can get yourself into complicated situations but having a coach is like having a partner. For example, what happens you have guarantees on your products but they are not worded correctly and clients unduly start having problems with your products? A business coach is your best resource. They have experience dealing with buyback policies, return policies and much more. They not only know how to get you out of complicated situations you have may have gotten yourself into but also help prevent it from happening again in the future.

A business coach is not there to be your friend. Every entrepreneur has blind spots. Can you honestly expect the people whose salaries you pay to point out those blind spots and honestly critique you? No, but you can expect it from a coach because their job is to bring out the best in you as an entrepreneur, to guide you to greatness. Simply put, they coach for performance. They are catalysts pushing you to be the best version of yourself. Their responsibility is to be honest with you. They do this by assessing your strengths and weaknesses and helping you to come up with strategies you can implement in your business that will bring you the desired results. No entrepreneur knows everything, a coach is a resource with specialised knowledge who can fill in the knowledge gaps that you may have. They have been there and done it. They have tactics and strategies that work and therefore when you are stuck, they can offer solutions on how to navigate the challenges you may be experiencing. It is also important to remember that you can’t have if you won’t do. If—as a client—you won’t apply what a coach is teaching then you simply can’t have the results you want in your business.

As an entrepreneur, you need to build a relationship with your coach based on trust. Remember when you were a child and your parents would warn you about certain friends? Your parents could see certain things you could not? The same can be said for a business coach who can act as a great tool for your human resources, “…uncovering human resource issues, and unsuccessful processes is a key role of a business coach. Just as they assist in making your business a success, they also need to ensure that those around you do the same”.

Entrepreneurs love independence, but that doesn’t mean that they should not have an accountability partner and that is where a business coach comes in. A business coach is a key resource for your business and for you as an individual. Perhaps the loneliness of entrepreneurship is self-inflicted but as Dr. Maya Angelou said, “when you know better, you do better”. We all need support and guidance, and for a business owner, there is no greater support and guidance than through a business coach. Equip yourself and your business by seeking out a credible, competent, and experienced business coach and see your business transform for the better.

ActionCOACH Thabo Pitse

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