Business Coaching And Your Need To See...Clearly
I’ve been wanting to write a blog about…innovation in your business. The need for revision.
So, that means I’m going to talk to you about business coaching. This may sound like a commercial. So be it! We need to talk about it.
See, your small business - any business - starts with a vision. Its life begins based on that initial wonderful idea. But that’s just for starters.
Your business will not, cannot look the same at 6 figures as it did at $0. Experimenting, testing, and reiterating are all going to be part of your success story. That’s business - adapt or die.
But. If you’re a solopreneur or have a tiny team, that can be a problem. Change is hard to do in general - but from that angle? You’re gonna need perspective. And that’s hard to get when you’re in the trenches.
In this blog, I want to talk to you about leaning on your business coach in a new way.
To level up you’re going to need:
Strong Questions and Experiments
Analysis and Integration of Ideas
It’s time you used your business coaching a little more expansively. If you’re ready. Because business coaching is about more than just pricing packages and social media.
Business Coaching and Busting Your Biases
I think it was a Stoic philosopher who said, “It’s impossible to learn what you think you already know.” Or maybe it was Oprah. I don’t know.
The point is you and I take a lot for granted every day. Biases are baked into us - and they play a secret, subtle role in your business.
Good business coaching is a way to shine a light on them. And - trust me - you need to shine a light on them.
Look, we all have a tendency to orbit life in patterns. We learn something. A habit. A skill. A life lesson. And then we use what we learned…indefinitely. And it works at first. It gets you somewhere.
But most lessons have a shelf life. Once we level up, a whole new set of models are likely needed. The old stuff won’t apply as neatly. Still, we cling to the original model. That drags us down. And our business.
This is a job for business coaching. Your coach is there to help you see past your expired ideas. They can help you tear down unhelpful biases and remodel your vision for the present moment.
Weirdly, most people don’t do this. More often than not, it’s our own confirmation bias that we consult. We cherry-pick the evidence to favor what we already think.
“We commit cognitive errors all the time,” Elizabeth R. Thornton, professor of management practice at Babson College in Boston told Fast Company Magazine. “We perceive something, and in an instant, we project our mental models, our past experiences, our backgrounds, onto whatever that is–a person, situation, or event. Oftentimes, we get it wrong.”
Growth isn’t about following trends blindly. But it isn’t about same old, same old either.
It’s about responding to the present with fresh eyes. It’s about finding useful solutions to today’s problems.
Preconceptions are lousy tools for that kind of thing. The informed pushback of your business coach will be way more helpful. Together you can discover what you can’t see alone.
Create Better Experiments
Every time your business grows, it’s sort of like a new invention. It springs from a hypothesis. “What if we did…this?”
You ask a new question. Then, you need to build an experiment to test it.
Some clients see experimentation like it's a dice game. They want to just throw something at the wall and cross their fingers. But that’s not an experiment. That’s gambling.
Use your business coaching sessions like a laboratory to create better experiments. Sit down with your coach and clearly draw out the question you want to answer. Then build a test to discover the solution.
Consider your resources. Define useful metrics. Figure out the limitations of your experiment. Do this beforehand with your coach - or you could fudge the results to suit your biases without realizing it.
“[To] ensure that business experimentation is worth the expense and effort—companies need to ask themselves several crucial questions,” cautions Harvard Business Review. “Does the experiment have a clear purpose? Have stakeholders made a commitment to abide by the results? Is the experiment doable? How can we ensure reliable results?”
The questions may seem like no-brainers, but you’d be shocked at how few companies really think these through before starting.
Then consult with your coach about an honest timeline. If you can’t be patient… don’t even start.
It’s tempting to get a little impatient for results. We’re a microwave culture. Anything more than 60 seconds seems sooooo looooong. Business coaching can help here too. Use your coach's experience to create a realistic timeline - and if necessary to hold your hand while you wait.
So. You’ve asked your coach to help you break up old habits and biases. You’ve asked good questions and built new experiments. Terrific.
Now, what do you do with all this data?
Once you’ve tested your hypotheses, leave space in your coaching sessions for drilling down on the harvested data.
Business coaching has a sort of left brain and right brain function. Some of it’s about concretes and some of it’s about the big picture - your Why. Schedule time to sit with your coach and integrate these halves based on what you’ve learned.
And be prepared to go back to the drawing board. Sometimes you learn what you came to learn. A lot of times, the data just creates new questions and other experiments.
What you learned is the foundation of your next move. Co-create a new vision with your business coach that works with the new info.
New entrepreneurs can sort of meltdown in an orgy of new ideas at this stage. Don’t use this new info to pull your business in 100 new directions. Your pivots should be sleek and really reflect what you learned. Nothing more.
“No solution can be everything to everyone” warns Entrepreneur.com, “but your initial passion can make it feel that way. This confuses customers, and dilutes your marketing impact.”
Lean on your business coaching sessions to truly connect what you’ve observed to what you change. Prioritize your moves according to the real question.
The Bottom Line Is Perspective
Business coaching gets confused with therapy so much that I’m afraid to make the comparison.
But the one thing they definitely have in common is that - in both - you can really get bogged down in small questions while ignoring the essential issues.
You know what I mean? Like talking to your therapist for hours about a co-worker who swipes your pens, when you came in to talk about your fear of commitment.
Maybe that’s not the best use of your time?
Change get trickier as you grow. But it also gets more crucial. The impact of not experimenting, not taking in new data, not adjusting your trajectory accordingly - this can be the difference between withering and thriving.
Use your business coaching hour. Don’t waste it. Leverage your coach’s experience, their point of view.
In the marketplace - perspective is A LOT. So, borrow some perspective from your business coach for the time being. So you can really see where you're going.
Can’t see past your first idea? No worries. I can HELP with that.
Claim your FREE call below.
Let’s talk about what comes next for you!
Harvard Business Review, The Discipline of Business Experimentation, Stefan Thomke and Jim Manzi