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Coach your way to the top

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Need to work on your business rather than being stuck in it? Boost your business with help from the experts.

Working on your business is important to allow it to grow, but many business owners say they just don’t have the time.

There is now a succession of different ‘helpers’ or coaches who are putting their hands up to assist business owners and executives in big companies get the most from their life and business simultaneously.

Admittedly, many of these advisers were simply what we used to call business consultants who had embraced a better marketing hook in using the word ‘coach’ instead of ‘consultant’.

Audit yourself

One of Australia’s most respected business leaders, Michael Chaney, who once headed up Wesfarmers and is now chair of NAB, introduced executive coaching at Wesfarmers to ensure the best results from his key people.

The starting point is to have an honest audit of yourself. Just like you should do a regular SWOT analysis on your business – where your operation’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) are evaluated to direct your strategies for growth – so too you should use this analytical technique to assess yourself and your key players.

Once you do this realistically, you need an action plan to deal with weaknesses and threats, as well as to cash in on strengths and opportunities.

Weaknesses are a target area for coaches. Some businesses have business problems – finances, administration, systems, training, leadership, etc. Others could have personality, social or even psychological issues that hold back a business.

Invest in success

Objective assessments and brutally honest recommendations can provide fantastic input into sending your business into the fast growth lane.

Let’s face it, if your home life and your personal relationships are in chaos because of pathetic time management and supercilious attitudes towards your key family supporters, ultimately your business productivity will be affected.

Real estate guru John McGrath has had a business coach for more than 13 years and admits to learning ways to ‘turbo charge’ his business, which he might have missed if it wasn’t for his hired help.

And this last point is critically important: many people who struggle in business or who are treading water in their careers with little progress deny themselves outside help because they think they can’t afford it.

They could also complain they’re afraid they will get a dud who’ll be a waste of money. This isn’t a valid excuse. Do your homework, find a good one and invest in success.

Finding the time

The next objection to coaching regards time. The most common cry a business coach hears is: “I know I need to do some work on my business, but I just don’t have the time.” And you know what? You’re right.

So the question is, what are you going to do about it? Also, if you don’t address this issue now, is anything ever going to change?

This might be you: “I know I need systems to improve my business, but I work 70 hours a week. How am I ever going to find the time to design and then implement systems on top of this workload?”

Your challenge is it’s your business and you’re the only person who can make things change.

The questions to ask yourself are: what are the ramifications of you not implementing the systems you know you need? And, what will be the benefits of those systems once implemented?

These are the objective questions a good business coach will prod a client with, just like a good footy or swimming coach.

And here is a classic observation they’d make: “The problem isn’t that you’re doing too much work – you’re simply doing the wrong kind of work.”

Do the maths

A good coach will tell you to list all the things you do in a week and how much time you spend on them and then categorise them into client relations, office administration, administrative support, bookkeeping and so on. Then ask yourself what you would pay someone to do each category of work. Chances are a lot of it will be between $12 and $20 an hour. Add up the hours and consider what value you put on your time as the owner of the business. Now work out how much you are costing the business by spending so much time working in the lowest paid area of the business.

Systems enhance growth

It is only when you can get a picture of what you are costing the business that you can come to terms with what needs to be done. Start working on the systems in those areas and then get someone in on a part-time basis to follow them, freeing up some of your valuable time.

When you have that extra time, don’t just throw yourself into more of the same. Remember why you did it – and use the time wisely to develop more systems that will free up more of your time, which you can then spend on activities that have significantly more value to the business. A business is going to take a very long time fulfilling its objective if the owner is its most expensive clerical worker.

The process explained is the anatomy of the growth for a business. Our money and time are critically important resources and have to be allocated to the most productive activities, otherwise you’ll pass up opportunities to really grow your business.

If you can’t face the hard truth to promote this kind of growth, pay someone to make you!

Getting outside help for your business is smart business. And now Switzer Business Coaching offers a 100 per cent, money-back guarantee. So, if after 20 meetings you experience no difference in your business or your life (and you have attended every meeting and done the work in between), Switzer Business Coaching will refund your coaching fees in full.

Click here for a complimentary business assessment with one of Switzer Business Coaching's highly-trained coaches.

Published on: Sunday, July 12, 2009

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