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Business Coaching Basics

I was recently in an “interview” type conversation with a gentleman who owned a local financial advisory firm. He got my name through a business buddy who recommended he contact me to possibly have me provide some business coaching to him. As the conversation unfolded it became apparent that he had the typical challenges most small business owner have – time crunches, poor delegation, few systematic or automated approaches, marketing inconsistencies and financial tightness to name a few.

At one point in our chat he posed a question to me. He said “John, if you’re not a CFP, Series 7, 63, CPA or trained someway in the financial field, how in the world are you going to help me?”

I paused a moment, knowing full well the answer to the question, and gave a firm smiling glance back at him. I dropped a question back on him. “Do you have a clear picture of where you want to take your practice?”

He replied “Well somewhat.”

I had spent enough time with him to comfortably fire back “Do I have your permission to be brutally inquisitive with you for the next five minutes?”

He said with a smirk “Sure, why not?”

“Can I be equally blunt if your responses could be different?”

He nodded an affirmative.

“Good” I said and asked him the typical opening question I give to most people considering taking on a business coach, “What do you do for a living?”

He looked noticeably relieved at the question and said “Gosh that’s an easy one. I was expecting a tougher one. Basically I’m a financial professional who gives advice and related support to my client base.”

I said “Good start now brace yourself! I don’t think you’re quite on target with your statement. I'm going to be bold here so tell me if this is more accurate. You’re a business owner who has chosen to personally provide financial services and products to a specific target market and as result created a job for himself instead.”

He blinked. Then he blinked again and started to stare off into space for a moment. The contemplative expression changed to a sign of recognition. He grinned and said, “Ya know. That’s the problem I’m having right now. I’m stuck doing the business and as a result I don’t own it anymore. It owns me.”

“Great, then what’s the first thing you would need to be focused on here to break this pattern?”

“Gosh. That’s a good question. What would you recommend?”

Not wanting to get into 'advice mode' just then I replied “How ‘bout telling me ‘who you are?’ coupled with ‘where do you want to go?’ cause I can tell from what you’re doing now, it isn’t supporting what you want in your life.”

“You’re right there, Coach.” he replied. “I don’t have anywhere near the time to do what needs to be done much less do the things I want to do that this job is supposed to be supporting.”

“Let me ask you this.” I said “if money wasn't an issue, and you sincerely want to have this practice prosper, what would you want to put in place to get it to the next level.”

“Wow. I think I’m getting a better idea as to why my friend referred me to you. I just answered my own question about my concern regarding your lack of financial credentials. You don’t need them to coach me. You’re focusing on the business aspect and not the financial services aspect. Okay I got it now.”

The conversation continued much along the same lines for about thirty minutes more and ended with his scheduling a formal coaching session with me as my new client.

It was great to see that he really did "get" that a good business coach really didn't need to have the technical credentials to do the job of the person he or she is coaching. He needed to know "business" well enough to create an environment with the client that moves the client forward. In this case, we worked together to create one that the client could safely challenge himself to get out of his comfort zone to focus on bringing about what he really wanted in his life.

As a result, my “soon to be client” was able to arrive at the answer to his own question very quickly. He “got” that the support he wanted to grow his business could be provided by me and the issue of financial credentials was really not an issue at all.

He’s still “getting” more from his business coaching relationship as the years have shown. He’s currently grown his practice to include two other partners, assorted assistance and the figures projected for this year's end look like he’s going to surpass his growth plans once again.

NOTE: If you’re interested I taking a “test drive” or taking a look at some challenging questions for yourself, check out the coach’s challenge when you get a chance.

In the mean time, here are a few questions for you to ponder:

  1. How do you see yourself performing into the future?
  2. On a scale from one to ten, with ten being great, how well are you currently doing running your business?
  3. If your answer is less than ten, what would you have to add to make it a perfect ten? (and I'm not referring to a number here.)
  4. If it was a perfect ten, then what does the next level of success look and feel like for you?
  5. What must you commit to in order to make this come about?

Have a Bodacious Week!

Coach John S. Nagy is CEO and Lead Business Coach for Coaching for Success. Inc., a Business Coaching Service specifically designed for top level decision makers dedicated to peak performance in all facets of their activities. He’s hired to focus them continuously in activities that bring higher returns on their resource use. His programs are for the seriously committed. This means having his clients work "ON" their businesses, not just "IN" it. He’s a published author and a multi-degree professional with a nationwide client base. Coach Nagy can be reached through his E-mail address at his website at http://www.coach.net and by calling 813-949-0718.
Copyright © 2002 John S. Nagy

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