No sports team is on its game without the proper insights and support of a good coach, and the business world is no different. Sometimes the thing that’s holding a business back comes down to decision making, and that’s when it’s time to call in the coach.
Bruce Baker, founder and president, Workplaces, defines a business coach as “a person or professional who facilitates mindsets to the purpose of executing tasks.”
“Most of the time, larger companies will use executive coaches to come in and coach leadership,” Baker says. “Making a change in a team or organization all starts with leadership, and it trickles down from there. For smaller businesses, the business coach is there to give guidance, not just content or knowledge; they qualify decision making and minimize risk as much as possible.”
Regardless of the size of the company, though, decision making is a key focus for business coaches.
“People tend to struggle making decisions in general,” says Baker. “They get into what can almost be described a paralytic state: they can’t move forwards because they aren’t sure what the right decision is.”
That’s a good time to call in a business coach, but it isn’t the only reason companies should consider consulting management services.
“There are a few reasons companies might want to secure the help of a business coach,” Baker clarifies. “Indecisiveness is a big one, and it can still incur when handling qualitative and quantitative date; it can be hard to tell which decision is the right one to make for everyone involved.
“Another reason to call a business coach is when a business is going through a significant change. A large part of the success of a business relies on the senior leaders; they are the ones who keep things calm and make sure the changes go through without too much trouble. A business coach can guide those leaders so they can facilitate the changes smoothly.”
Baker continues. “For mid-to-large-sized companies, another reason to call a business coach occurs when a new leader is promoted into a significant leadership position. Part of the transition into the next stage of leadership requires executive coaching to ensure the new leader takes on their role appropriately. For any size of business, when leadership is failing, it’s the perfect time to call in a coach to provide the needed outside perspective.”
Regardless of the reason, calling on the expertise of a business coach is a positive investment that can have a strong return—but only if the company is willing to execute on the advice they receive.
“That’s the one problem a lot of business coaches face,” Baker points out. “Traditional business coaches don’t have much control over the execution of their solutions, and yet, when a business doesn’t experience a benefit as a result of their consultation, it can reflect negatively on the business coach. Consultants are another form of business coach. They are the subject matter experts who run diagnostics and make suggestions, but don’t necessarily follow up or focus on cultivating a mindset or coaching the necessary skills needed to implement the solution. What I have done alternatively is create a combination of coaching and consulting models so I can provide both sides of the equation, and I’ve gotten a lot of success from that approach.”
It’s an approach that has guided numerous Edmonton businesses to success, including Amanda and Richard Maxim, owners of Seedling to Stump Tree and Garden Service, who suggest that business coaches “offer an impartial, non-biased view for business improvement and expansion.”
“Workplaces has had a huge impact on our business’ processes, systems management, and our overall efficiency,” say the Maxims. “Bruce has helped us implement a game-changing online booking system, which increased our productivity and profit. Workplaces also helped set up a financial planning and a growth/expansion plan for our business, making the little ‘unexpected surprises’ less stressful and less impactful on our bottom line.”
“We have increased sales, revenue, and productivity,” the Maxims add. “We have also identified other untapped potential revenue through implementing a new online platform. The business is more organized, and I am more confident in my business and my capabilities as a leader.”
Brittini Hostyn, CEO of Fox and Forth Promotions and Design, had a similar experience when she chose to work with a business coach.
“It is important to work with business coaches because there is an accountability factor, as well as the tactics and outsider views on ways to be successful. Business coaching has allowed me to step back to look at my company in a big-picture way. Having set systems and goals with my personal coach allows me to take time to look inward on my business and get a full understanding of where I am, where I’m going, and how I am going to get there. This has helped me develop the tactics to make running a business more of a science and less about guessing what the next step will be.”
The benefits, Hostyn points out, have been reflected in rapid growth.
“Fox and Forth has grown upwards of 40 per cent in revenue in the last year. We have worked towards keeping my business proactive on our offering, as well as on eliminating wasted time by implementing the systems I needed to streamline my processes, constantly reviewing and evaluating future goals, and implementing marketing systems that will increase return clientele and new clientele cycles.”
Candice Nikolaisen, partner, Gameday Sport Services Inc., corroborates, “It is important for businesses to consider using business coaching services because we are all so busy wearing so many hats that the important role of building or maintaining your business isn’t prioritized. Our business coach helped us to get a handle on our finances so that we are not boom and bust anymore. It also helped us organize our employees better so they know what is expected of them and what they can expect from us. It helped us to have better communication with our employees, and it helped us get more of our company online so we can be more efficient.”
Elissa Fesyk, CEO, Fesyk Marketing, adds that working with a business coach “took my tiny creative business, gave it legs and made it scalable.”
“[A business coach] helped me to create systems that allowed me to capitalize on my strengths. I experienced significant ROI and gained a great deal of confidence in myself and the services that I provide.”
Fesyk concludes, “Most business owners are challenged by an issue that they may be aware of but don’t have the skills or confidence to move through with efficiency. Business coaches help their clients become more successful by arming them with systems and tools for successful growth.”