If you are a start-up founder, you are probably thinking, “so in addition to investors, incubators, accelerators, community managers, mentors, experts, I now have to work with a coach??” Hopefully, after you are done reading this article, the need to engage with a coach will be a compelling one.
Coach Draws the Roadmap to Achieve Goals
What enables CEOs of very large and very successful corporations drive stellar results year after year? What differentiates successful leaders from the rest of the pack? What do BU heads, managing directors, and other senior leaders in these companies do differently? Working with a coach is among the other very key ingredients to this successful formula.
The coach usually works with the CEO and other leaders in the organization, helping her/him define objectives and goals – either personal or for the business. A coach also draws a roadmap to achieve the goals and holds the leader accountable for those actions.
Coaching Provides an Environment Based on Confidentiality
While the concept of coaching itself may sound simple, the real power of the approach is in what the coach brings to the engagement.
Coaching provides an environment based on complete confidentiality. It is a non-judgmental approach based on active listening and questioning skills.
Such an environment is usually not available to a leader within the organization, not for the lack of intent but inherent challenges in organizational design, performance pressures, and a very complex and dynamic market in which global enterprises must play these days.
Lack of Awareness
So what’s the reason start-up founders don’t work with a coach? Quite simply it is the general lack of awareness of the coaching framework and how it benefits leaders and businesses. It is also because founders are expected to be getting enough advice from investors and mentors, and they don’t need more of it. Or maybe they will get a coach when the business grows to a larger scale and they have time to then work with a coach.
In sports, Coaching is Required to Improve One’s Game
Drawing a sporting analogy, it can be said that an amateur understands the necessity to work with a coach as much as a professional sportsperson does. It is seen as a way to get an edge in improving one’s game and be able to climb up in rankings.
If you are a founder of a start-up or a small enterprise, you are probably like that amateur sportsperson who is looking to go pro. Maybe then you want to get a coach.
At this stage, it is worthwhile talking a little about how coaching is different from mentoring or training, and even counseling.
Set duration of engagement, although the relationship can last over a long term
Relationship is ongoing that generally lasts over a long term
Generally short term engagement
Formal structure to the conversations, usually scheduled on a regular basis
Informal, conversations are set up on an ad hoc basis as required by the mentee
Formal structure to sessions, scheduled in advance
Sessions are objective focused with clear action plans for implementation
Sessions are largely guidance, with mentor offering suggestions based on their experience
Sessions are based on a set of issues identified that need addressing
Focused on improving performance & outcomes and can be for professional and personal goals
Focused on overall personality of the mentee and covers all aspects of their lives
Focused on solving deep-rooted issues that are psychological in nature
Largely future focused, past analysis only as needed
Since this is more long term, it can cover past and future
Requires diving into past issues and problems associated with events/triggers from the past
Involves a 360 view of stakeholders, especially in a professional context
The mentor is a guide and usually in a position of influence that can help in professional advancement
Strictly with the individual with very rare involvement from other stakeholders
If you are an entrepreneur getting a good business coach could make that difference between making it and making it great. To help you make up your mind here is advice from 2 entrepreneurs you may have heard of…
Bill Gates, Microsoft “Everyone should have a coach”
Eric Schmidt, Google “The best advice I have ever got was to get a coach”