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Why Would a Successful Entrepreneur Hire a Coach? It's not as if coaches have secret powers, but good coaches can help you see what you're missing and identify your blind spots.

By Michael Cooper Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you're already successful, why would you want to hire a coach?

It's not as if coaches have secret powers or have some deep-seated knowledge of your industry that could open the door to more success. Coaches are mere humans like you and me. However, good coaches can help you see what you're missing and identify your blind spots.

Related: The 8 Qualities You Need to Look for in a Business Coach

Coaches have great BS detectors that can help us learn where and how we're lying to ourselves. They're trained to help people grow. While most successful people work hard, had some luck and are "self-made," all of us hit plateaus and have blind spots. Many of us have entire areas of potential that we've never explored or pursued. A good coach can recognize and help you address that.

Take my client, Arun Apte, CEO and founder of two bio-tech companies in India, PREMIER Biosoft and CloudLIMS.com. His businesses are growing and they are profitable. His customers share their needs with him and it allows him to address those needs and create new products, which results in even more success. Why would a guy like Arun want to hire a coach?

"I hired a coach because I want and need accountability. I want to push myself -- and that's hard to do without someone holding me accountable," Arun says. "I want an outside perspective. I want to learn from people who've helped run dozens of companies, not just two, like me. My coach has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the past 15 years. He's seen companies come and go -- he knows where to look for problems and he has a knack for knowing when I'm slacking off or what I'm avoiding. It's like hiring a secret weapon."

Or Jeannette Bitz, chief strategist and managing principal at Engage, who says: "As a business owner, I'm focused and motivated, but I don't always make time for strategic thinking because I'm busy serving clients and running the business. My coach helps me take a step back and think more strategically about the business and determine how the employees and clients can best address my vision. In one hour a week, I make significant progress on business issues and the strategies that I believe have a strong impact on the agency. It's invaluable."

Related: Are You Coachable?

Arun continues, "I'm often surprised by my coach's advice and counsel. Once, when I really wanted to put in more hours, he cautioned me to think about my age and how my businesses were running and what stage of development they were in. He told me to take it easy because it's the only time in my life that I would have the opportunity to travel and enjoy myself. He was right. I took a month off and had the time of my life. When I came back, my companies were still doing great. I'm so glad I listened to him."

Often success is elusive or simply unfamiliar -- most people who experience success aren't ready to slow down or relax because they've spent years building a company or a career and they habitually push themselves. A good coach can ask you questions that you wouldn't think to ask yourself and no one else would dare ask, such as:

  • What do you really want?
  • What's most important to you?
  • Why are you working so hard?
  • When are you going to celebrate your success and how?
  • What kind of legacy do you plan to leave?
  • What kind of impact do you want to make on the world?

Beyond those questions, after any successful period, it's important to take stock, re-evaluate and decide what's important to focus on next. With every level of success there is another level of success just beyond the horizon that requires thought, decisions and actions that a coach can help you accelerate or think through.

Athletes have relied on coaches for years to improve their games. If multi-million-dollar athletes rely on coaches to improve, why shouldn't entrepreneurs?

Related: What Athletics Can Teach About the Characteristics of Great Leaders

Michael Cooper

Founder of Innovators + Influencers

Michael O. Cooper equips right-brain entrepreneurs, creative professionals and agencies with the business mindset, strategies and skills to thrive in a constantly changing environment. He is the founder of InnovatorsandInfluencers.com and serves as executive coach, facilitator and trainer for design, software, public relations and communications firms, as well as TED Fellows. 

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