You can't move online for articles sharing what skills you need to be a great coach. Everything from listening to questioning is shared as an essential skill. The people who write these articles are clearly very good coaches. They get a lot of comments, and a lot of pats on the back from other coaches, but are they the actual skills that a small business owner needs? And if they're not, what exactly are the skills that a great business coach teaches?
What's Wrong With Business Coaches?
According Clay Clark in his 2018 Forbes article, it's this:
Image (C) Clay Clark
"Rather than focusing on developing, marketing and selling products and services that people actually want to buy, many business coaching programs have essentially become quasi-psychologists for many lone-ranger entrepreneurs in search of somebody who will finally understand them and the inherent loneliness often associated with founding and growing a successful company.
Although there is value in hiring therapists, psychologists and life coaches, that is not what business coaching is about."
Business coaches are not coaching business owners anymore. They're in effect a hired person who understands that it's not only lonely at the top, but lonely on the way to the top! As Clark succinctly points out, they're no longer coaching but giving half-baked therapy sessions.
Now, before you start saying "Not All Business Coaches" let's take another look at the things that are deemed essential for a business coach to teach...
Whilst These Are Good Skills to Have...
They're not the skills that transform your clients the way they need to. Basically, they're the skills that turn you into an underpaid therapist.
The Purpose of a Business Coach
The most effective business coach allows you to be you, and at the same time gets the best from you. It's not about the listening or the questioning per se, or even having trodden the path you're about to take, but about having a trusted relationship so that you step into your potential.
Take NASA for example. They have bases filled with experts who have never been to the moon. But collectively they've put 24 astronauts into lunar orbit. If you go with the maximum that you want your business coach has to have done, you wouldn't hire NASA; you'd hire Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin.
The purpose of your business coach depends on your existing goals, and setting new goals with a coach may be fun, but it's probably not going to get you where you want to be!
Hire For Attitude?
When hiring it's often said that you should hire for attitude and train in the skills you need. This works perfectly well for outsourcing to freelancers, but for a business coach? Think again!
Back to the NASA example, Neil Armstrong has the right attitude, but can you train him in the skills you need to get into orbit? If you're Elon Musk maybe, Steve Jurczyk maybe... An ordinary entrepreneur? No way!
3 Skills A Great Business Coach Needs:
Skill 1 - thinking
To take you from ordinary to extraordinary you'll need to change how you think. You can no longer think like an an employee; you need to think like a CEO. A great coach supports you as you change your thinking.
Thinking in action:
Barack Obama was famous for having suits that looked almost identical. When asked about this he explained that he was using his thought processes more efficiently by not wasting decisions on what he should or shouldn't wear. This means he doesn't suffer as much decision fatigue. A great business coach helps you avoid decision fatigue and helps you step into thinking like a CEO.
Skill 2 -Delegating
Changing your mindset and thinking like a CEO is just part of your journey. The next part is delegating. Not just any old delegating (also known as micro-managing) but effective delegation skills that free you up to grow your company.
An example of delegation in action:
Your team member brings you some images for social media. They need a logo added and they need to be re-colored in the brand colours. You can show them how to do this, you can even do it for them, but the best option is to share your branding guidelines with them and let them know that all the images need to fit this spec.
Skill 3 - Innovating
The final skill that a great business coach develops is how to innovate. Innovation in your small business is different to innovation in management or even innovation in your workplace, and a truly great coach knows this.
Innovating in action:
I'll use us, Content Sparks, as our example here. In 2018 we added challenges to our Blaze materials. This means you can purchase certain Blaze courses and be ready to deliver a 5-day challenge to your audience right away - instant results. We added an experience into our online course materials so the person teaching would be more interactive with their students and tailor their content for maximum impact. We expanded this innovation by adding books to certain products. This means our coaches could easily create a physical product and have it delivered via Amazon.
Content Sparks programs are innovative and create a results-orientated environment for you and your students.
Brainstorming with yourself isn't as effective as brainstorming with your business coach.
You can find out more in our Creativity course, where you can teach yourself and then teach others.
Beyond Great Coaching Skills
But it's not enough that a business coach has these skills. They have to be able to teach them as well. Because they can't teach you these skills if they don't know how to. It takes time to plan out what elements of thinking, decision making and innovation matter to your clients, and as a business coach you may not have time to do this.
Content Sparks Can Help
As you've seen in our examples, here at Content Sparks we help coaches become great coaches. We supply you with premium materials that you can use to teach yourself, and then teach others. If you're new to this kind of content, then you'll love how much time is freed up for you, and with a little delegation you'll soon be innovating with your clients and delivering the coaching experience they've always dreamed of!
Think Like a CEO
Teach Yourself. Then teach your audience.