In this article I’m looking at 5 business coaching myths – then I’ll bust them!  It’s almost Halloween, and I loved Ghostbusters (the original) as a young lad so it may be tenuous but….

Grab your coffee, have a look through and we’ll jump straight in to number one:

It’s expensive

I’ll not argue the first aspect to this, you’re paying a coach to support your business, it is an outlay.  You won’t get a coach for free (although I did offer this once when I was starting up, then regretted it when it I was asked to work according to the clients terms).  A coach can help you to get a clearer picture of your business which could include where your business spends its money and the value it returns.

Your business coach should be paying back the return on the investment whether their rate is £30ph, £100ph or £1000ph.  There are coaches at different stages of their career who will charge different rates.  Different coaches will have different styles and focus on different areas so you might find a wild variation in fees, but again all should return on your investment in them.

A real world example to compare is when it comes to time to repair a car.  I saw a repair quote the other day where the estimate was £1300 and £800 was labour.  The labour rate was £50ph, but that’s two full days for a trained mechanic who has spent years learning their trade, has all of the right tools and likely done the exact same job before.

Coaches should earn a lot of money

This proves they are a good coach, they earn a lot because they’re a really good coach.  I found this fascinating to read when I saw it.  The concept I understand, success will garner success but with many businesses there are lots of different reasons the business was founded.  There are different cycles of growth and success is different for each business and individual.

At Align the Arrows, the biggest metric of success is time.  In particular how and where time is spent.  It was a major factor creating the business and it’s still a key driver today.  I’d been cursing out loud during a hill training session at 9:30am and half way through the session I realised I was at the top of a hill, there wasn’t a soul in sight, there were hills, fields and a river (and a great big Nestle factory).  The grass was slightly damp and there was fresh cow dung in the field.  This is why I do this, it was 9:30 on a Thursday, I wasn’t trapped behind a desk, or in a traffic jam, or stressing after dropping the kids off and just making it to work on time.

If you’re a business owner, I’d love to know which is more important extra revenue or extra time.  No smart quips about time is money, that’s a whole other article.

Your coach HAS to have run a business before

Another great comment I read recently is that a coach has to have run a business before they can coach someone how to run their business.  Again this is a good idea in principle, but in reality this should be viewed more as the experience the coach has.  I would say that this industry would be incredibly hard to teach from a text book, for someone to study at university and dive straight into a coaching career aged 21.  It doesn’t mean that’s not possible and of course I’m biased based on my background (I started my business aged 41, and ssshh, don’t tell everyone, I didn’t want to go to university).

To bring another alternative example on this, would you trust a midwife to deliver a baby?  How about if the midwife hasn’t had a baby herself?  What about for a real shock, what if the midwife was a man?  How can he possibly know!  Maybe the male midwife has delivered 300 babies, but the alternative has had enough of her corporate career, had 2 kids but never delivered a baby before?

Back to coaching, there are lots of things coaches can do for your business.  Find one that works for you, someone you can relate to and have a conversation.

A business coach guarantees success

I love this in principal.  Hell I even coach on it.  If you are able to provide a guarantee, shout about it.  I tried adding a guarantee when I started my business but it was too woolly.  Even now I struggle as businesses I work with have to do the ‘actual work’, I can’t do it for them.  My job is a catalyst, the “mirror of reflection”, the way to help you look at your business differently.

I guess I could guarantee you would increase revenue by 20%.  Put your prices up by 20%.  Or maybe that’s not for you.  Maybe cut costs by 20% oh, hang on I’m a cost, scrub that, bang your prices up.

On top of that, a common theme I find is that businesses aren’t in great control of their data.  So if my guarantee is data based and then I help to move the goalposts…  Well lets just say it doesn’t really sit with the values of my business.

Another real world example.  This week I’m working with a client who is looking to relocate.  The new shop would increase footfall and increase profitability but it’s going to take time and money to fit out and the competition for the premises is strong as it’s a great location.  I’ll help assess it, I’ll probably write some supporting documentation but what guarantee am I giving?  I know for sure my client appreciates it.

My coach will have the answers

Last one for this article, beware of the expectations you set upon yourself.  Sometimes I talk to business owners who expect their coach to have the answers.  Almost as if they want someone to sort their business out for them.  When I get into that kind of conversation I tend to nod and try to change the subject as they are probably not a good client for me.

I see the role of the coach to be the “mirror of reflection”.  To help play back what is happening in the clients business.  To help businesses take control and understand the decisions that need to be made rather than making the decisions for them.  There will be hard work along the way and probably some reflection on the personalities in the business.  When I am asked for an opinion I’ll give it, but the way to get results is for everyone to put the work in.

Hopefully that’s helped bury some myths and if nothing else, give more of an insight to how we work!  I’d love any feedback on this, either comment below, or on LinkedIn.