A Business Coach can be essential to growing your business while reducing your stress and allowing you to work ON your business instead of IN your business. I have found that many times someone may say they want a business coach, but as we talk it turns out they want a mentor. Or, sometimes, a consultant or a trainer.
Consulting, training, coaching, mentoring. All are valuable, and each has its place. What do you need? How do you know?
Let’s start with what they have in common. They should each be focused on YOU. YOUR growth and improvement. They have to be conducted in a way that adds value to YOU! Even on-line training should be focused on you and your growth. Each can be done one on one or in groups. Done well, they should include ways you can move forward beyond the current program and recommend next steps for your continued growth, but they should add value to YOU and not just be a tool for additional sales for the presenter. They also need to drive action.
How do they differ?
Training is focused on conveying information. Training is very dependent on the trainees being able to absorb, comprehend, and apply the information presented. I’m sure most of us have had the experience of attending a week long training event. On the Friday before, we operate normally. On Monday we show up at a training event, and spend five days attending interesting and exciting training sessions. The attendees get the recertification credits they need for whatever certification they have, and all agree the experience was great. On Friday, they leave the event excited and full of new information. The following Monday, however, what happens? Most often, everybody goes back and behaves as they did the Friday before training. There is no change in behavior! The business received no true value for the time and money spent.
At BtenConsulting, we think there is a better way. Training will be conducted in smaller sessions, perhaps in eight hour increments, each training day increment one to two weeks apart. This format gives attendees the opportunity to try some of the things they learned, see what works for them, and discuss implementation issues during the next session. As Chris Robinson, another John Maxwell Team member, says “Learn a little bit, do a little bit.” Learning actually occurs, and behavior changes. Those changes are reinforced in subsequent training sessions, and the organization actually improves.
Mentoring is the act or process of helping and giving advice to a younger or less experienced person, especially in a job or school.
It may be focused on helping an individual or smaller group, as opposed to consulting which is generally focused on an issue or problem. Mentoring requires the mentor have a degree of expertise in the area under consideration.
Finally, coaching is a process that helps the individual or small group find answers that are already inside those being coached. As my coaching mentor, Christian Simpson, has said, what we are aware of we control. What we are not aware of controls us. Coaching is about increasing your awareness. It consists of asking probing questions that forces the individual(s) to think through the situation and develop a course of action. The Coach then holds the person or team accountable for following that course of action, asking how it worked out and what was learned. The Coach will ask what adjustments are called for and how the individual or team will move forward.
Of all these methods, Coaching requires the most work because it requires thought and, as Henry Ford said “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” It is also the method with the greatest reward, because once you learn to think through situations you can apply that discipline to any situation on your own and come up with better solutions.
Ultimately, BtenConsulting will build a comprehensive program tailored for your business. Executive Coaching for you and your senior leadership team, leadership development for all levels of leaders with tailored training for the problems your business needs to solve, and consulting to implement solutions.