Having courage and trust are two key ingredients for growing as an entrepreneur.

Courage and Trust: 2 Key Ingredients for Entrepreneurial Growth

Written by on February 18, 2014

It takes a courageous leader to say, “I don’t know what to do next. Let’s work together to come up with some new ideas and decisions on how we’ll take things to the next level.”

Successful entrepreneurs typically grow their business without undertaking a formal management education. Their self-directed attitude delivers tremendous advantages in many circumstances; it’s what makes these leaders willing to run independently with great ideas and approach projects with an innovative edge. 

Yet my experience with clients has shown me that these types of leaders are more likely than others to avoid exploring the benefits of working with an external professional coach.

Is It Fear?

The irony in the fear of coaching is that successful business leaders and entrepreneurs are risk takers by nature. In order to succeed, they already took many chances that most people would be afraid to. Financial, emotional, and personal investments are a big part of establishing a new business. Making tough decisions to grow their business reveals they already have a lot of courage, yet when it comes to that next step of having to admit they don’t have all the answers or need to understand themselves better, they tend to have a lot of resistance. But letting go of that resistance and becoming open to insight from others is essential.

Entrepreneurs who want to grow and develop their organizations must eventually allow others to make decisions. Leaders need to acknowledge this and demonstrate that commitment and trust to their team.

Participating in team coaching helps leaders demonstrate openness and trust, yet many business owners will request leadership assessments for all their staff but refuse to participate in the exercise for themselves. They say “not for me”. How ironic that they can be so courageous in making the leap into entrepreneurship and making all the decisions to grow and run a successful business – yet when it comes to being vulnerable and exploring who they are in an emotional context, they tend to turn away.

A New Way of Thinking

Fortunately, the tide is turning when it comes to attitudes toward coaching. I’ve recently see an upsurge of successful business owners who want to jump into the deep end of the pool and be the first in their company to do so. They’re demonstrating their willingness to become even better by participating in leadership skills assessments and sharing their often surprising results with their results with people. They find it’s an ideal time to connect as an open, honest leader.

If they’ve been used to doing things “their way” for a long time, leaders need to find the right opportunity to demonstrate that they’re open to the challenge of coaching-based development. After all, if you’re hiring talented people, chances are they have some pretty great ideas. Not every idea will be right or perfect, but that’s okay. You need to trust and invest in those people. Inspire them and allow them to be creative and innovative and make mistakes!

It’s a courageous leader who allows people to do that – especially a leader who’s used to doing it all on their own!