The 3 Biggest Misconceptions About Coaching (Sound Familiar, Small Business Owners?)

Written by on June 16, 2014

Are you a small or medium-sized business owner? If so, have you considered the value of coaching as part of your business growth strategy?

Whether you work with minimal staff or a rapidly expanding employee roster, coaching is vital to the success of you and your team. Even though most people respect the role that coaches play in the lives of athletes and performers, many people don’t realize the value that coaches bring to the workplace, especially the new, expanding workplace.

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Three common misconceptions people have about small business coaching include:

1. I Can’t Afford It.

I’ve spoken with many small business owners who expressed interest in having an external professional coach, but they feel they don’t have the time or money to invest in one. Often their success is dependent on “bootstrapping” – bartering, bringing in partners, and doing whatever they need to grow their business.

In 2008 the International Coach Federation commissioned a study which was executed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Association Resource Center Inc.  The resulting report suggests that a client who achieves a financial benefit from coaching can typically expect an ROI in the range of 3.44 times the amount spent.  Additionally, 19% showed an ROI of at least 50  of  their initial investment and another 28% of clients reported an ROI of 10 to 49 times investment.

The reason coaching works so well is that professional coaches won’t try to re-invent their client’s business or tell them what they should be doing.  Coaches can help business owners build on their existing expertise by listening, promoting and supporting their ideas and opinions and by helping to build clarity and purpose for each person.

For clients who want to grow or transition their business, coaches with deep business experience who have led organizations and managed change in their own careers can relate and provide business owners with key insights during difficult times such as managing company spin-offs, mergers and acquisitions and restructuring initiatives.  Coaches can act as a non-judgmental sounding-board while holding clients accountable to their goals.

2. I Don’t Have The Time.

Small business owners typically work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, and feel they don’t have the time to commit to coaching sessions. In some cases, coaching may be perceived as an additional task that goes above and beyond their job requirements. This is exactly where coaching can help them to optimise their priorities, work more effectively, and get more done. They need to understand that this is HOW you get your work done.  Coaching helps clients work “on” their business as opposed to “in” their business – with great payoff.

Coaches help clients make resonant choices as they establish timelines and plans and they hold their clients accountable to ensure their success. They understand what it takes to succeed and the critical steps to deliver a successful vision. Coaching often stimulates business owners to come up with new ideas  on how to optimize their time and delegate more effectively.

3. I Don’t Need A Coach – I Already Have A Mentor.

There are differences between a coach and a mentor and the value that each role brings to your professional and personal life.Many of my clients benefit from having both a mentor and a coach. Mentoring usually develops out of working relationships configured by workplace projects and politics. Its based on a relationship that starts with “I’ve been where you are and I’ll share my experience with you”.  Coaching starts in a different place that asks “where are you now and where do you want to go” – and if you don’t know, we’ll figure that out together.

A mentor’s role is to share their specific experiences with you. As a coach, I use my experience in the background but I believe that you can find your own answers and make your own resonant choices if I hold a highly confidential, safe and non-judgemental environment in which you can explore.

Coaching provides unbiased and non-judgemental feedback in a safe environment. It can provide a basic understanding of the business and industry.  One of the great values that comes from coaching is that it’s delivered in complete confidence and outside of workplace politics.

The business value of coaching extends far beyond that of a trusted advisor, mentor, or friend. With years of successful experience as a business leader, your coach will help you develop goals and strategies that improve your business and life in ways you might otherwise overlook. You can’t afford NOT to work with that kind of expert.