Archive for

The Top Ten Myths And Realities About Business Coaching, According To Your Strategic Thinking Coach

I think it is safe to say that there are many preconceived notions about business coaching. Furthermore, some of these notions really are myths rather than reality. In an attempt to provide some insight into what are the major myths about business coaching, I have developed a list of the top ten myths and respective realities that are counter to each myth.

Myth # 1. I really don’t have any problems. I am doing well and don’t need a business coach.
Reality: Maybe this is true, but it is important to understand that business coaching is not about fixing problems. Business coaching is about creating new possibilities and improving yourself.

Myth #2. Business coaching is nothing more than a cleverly disguised way of telling people what to do.
Reality: Effective business coaching focuses on results and uses various approaches to pull solutions from within those being coached rather than the coach telling them what to do.

Myth #3. You have the questions and your business coach has the answers.
Reality: From my perspective as a strategic thinking business coach, this is very far from the truth and reality. As an effective business coach it is just the opposite. Your business coach has the questions and you have the answers within you and your business coach will help you discover them.

Myth #4. Business coaching is only for troubles or poor performers.
Reality: The best business coaching clients are those with potential that is not being realized or people who have hit a hurdle or stumbling block in their development and need coaching to guide them through the impediment.

Myth # 5. Business coaching is just sitting around and listening to people.
Reality: Effective business coaching comes from asking the right questions at the right time. A well thought-out question may be worth hours of listening. However, listening is only useful if it yields enough information to formulate the right questions.

Myth #6. Business coaching is time consuming.
Reality: Reality is just the opposite. Some of the best business coaching happens in brief and sharply focused doses. And remember the old saying about there is never enough time to do it right but there is always enough time to do it over? Effective business coaching will increase the probability of getting it right the first time and therefore save time in the future.

Myth #7. Business coaching is too expensive and only wealthy people can afford their own business coach.
Reality: Maybe this could be true with some business coaches, but certainly not for all business coaches. When speaking with prospective business coaching clients we focus on the value of the business coaching to their own growth and development and their business and personal goals. After that we develop a mutually satisfactory and beneficial financial arrangement.

Myth #8. I can coach myself for free or I can simply talk to my best friend.
Reality: No matter how hard your best friend tries, he or she cannot be unbiased and impartial with you. And you and your best friend will not ask the tough questions that need to be asked and will not bring the benefit of a true outsider’s perspective.

Myth # 9. Men cannot coach women and women cannot coach men.
Reality: Effective business coaching is gender neutral. In fact, sometimes business coaches of the opposite sex can facilitate people seeing issues from the other’s perspective.

Myth #10. A business coach must have a similar personality to yours.
Reality: Business coaching is about growth and development and having a business coach with a different personality will offer fresh perspectives.

The Top Ten Myths And Realities About Business Coaching, According To Your Strategic Thinking Coach
By: J. Glenn Ebersole, Jr., Chief Executive of J. G. Ebersole Associates and The Renaissance Group (TM)

The Dangerous Consequences of Micromanaging Your Business

One of the most dangerous and damaging practices of business owners is MICROMANAGING their business. And this practice is entirely too prevalent in today’s business world and it wastes valuable resources of time, talent and financial assets. It is particularly prevalent in entrepreneurial businesses. And the reason behind that may be rooted in the fact that entrepreneurs are motivated to start their businesses so they could be their own boss, make more money and gain more freedom.

So, with that being said, I need to ask those of you out there who are entrepreneurial business owners a couple of questions. My first question is: If you had to leave your business for an extended period of time, let us say a couple of months, would you come back to a business that is still running smoothly and profitably? My second question is: What would your answer be if we changed the time frame of your absence to two weeks? Let me say that if your answer was anything other than yes, then you probably don’t really own a business, you own a job.

Well guess what? The good news is that you are not alone. It is well known that small business owners are among the hardest working people in the world. However, it cannot be said that they are among the smartest working people in the world. To be successful in today’s business world, it is imperative you adopt and develop a strategic thinking mind-set. As a strategic thinking business coach, I emphasize repeatedly to my clients that a major goal for them is to develop a self-managing and systems-oriented business that still runs predictably and profitably while they are not there. And this enables them to “work on the business” instead of having them only “work in the business.”

The first commitment a business owner must make is to stop acting like an employee and start thinking land acting like a CEO. A transition is necessary for the business owner to think and behave more strategically and less tactically in their role as owner. The business owner must stop micromanaging and delegate. The business owner must start reducing the amount of time they spend involved in the daily transactions of their business.

Michael Gerber implores business owners to implement systems and procedures into their business that ensure daily tasks are completed correctly. In any well run business, all current systems and procedures need to be evaluated based upon results and updated as needed. In addition, documentation for all procedures, policies and systems need to be created to have a reference for employees and new trainees. Another good proactive and strategic business practice is to cross-train your employees before the need arises, not after the panic has set in.

Please read this very carefully – Trust your employees. One of the common major issues I hear from employees in my business coaching practice is that they are not trusted by the owner(s) of the business. What a sad commentary that is on business today. If you cannot trust your employees to complete the daily tasks and act in the best interest of the company, then maybe they shouldn’t be employees. In the long run, the more hands-off you can be, the more time you will have to work on the strategic issues and the larger vision for the business, which is what a business owner needs to do.

Boiling all this down to a single thought: you should run your business; it should not run you, your family or your life. You need to have a systems-dependent business, not an owner-dependent business. Many of these concepts are very challenging for owners. And some owners will never “get it” and will continue in a vicious cycle of turnover in their business and failure to achieve full potential in their business. Other owners will recognize the error of their ways and transition into a new way of thinking and managing. The owners that understand this will survive and thrive, while those who refuse to let go of the “micromanaging mentality” will experience turnover of employees, less than optimal performance of employees, continual dysfunctional behavior and decision-making in their business and therefore be destined to be under -achievers and failures in the long run.

The Dangerous Consequences of Micromanaging Your Business
By: J. Glenn Ebersole, Jr., Chief Executive of J. G. Ebersole Associates and The Renaissance Group (TM)

Doing Business In the Age of Information Technology

As a former employee of a business consultancy firm for the past 8 years, it has always intrigued me as to why some small businesses or practices were more ‘successful’ than others. By ‘successful’ I am referring to a business that has survived its first year of establishment and turned it into a profit-making business the years after. My mentor once told me that in order for a business to survive profitability, it must continue to create value.

Creating Value Through Strategies

In today’s competitive business environment, the only way for your business to prosper is to create value through strategies. You have to prioritize your business strategies depending on the type of industries you are in. Nevertheless, there are some strategies which are generally applicable to a wide range of businesses, namely:

(1) Segment Your Market

(2) Create a Unique Product

(3) Sales and Marketing

(4) Evaluation and Feedback

(5) Selective Outsourcing

(6) Develop Hybrid Skills

(7) Building Partnerships and

(8) Exploit Information Technology.

As the nature of my business is to provide e-business solutions for small- and medium-size businesses, I’d limit my writings to my area of interest i.e. e-business and its significance in today’s marketplace.

Exploit Information Technology

One the best ways to leverage your time and resources is to let information technology do the work for you! The great benefit of today’s information technology, particularly Internet, is that it allows easy access to information and knowledge just a click away regardless whether you are running a small business or managing a corporation. Internet helps us to level the playing field.

How many times have we heard someone say, “Just check the Web.” Many of us have begun using Internet to conduct our day-to-day chores as compared to 10 years ago when Internet is still in its infancy stage. We now use Internet to buy cars, upgrade software, track shipments, store data, compare prices, conduct research and much more. This trend is growing at an immense pace and will continue through the next decade. Our reliance on its capabilities will increase. Many experts believe that this sector is projected to be one of the top strategies to jump-start and grow a business in the coming decade. Even Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Inc. has eloquently put it, “If your business is not on the web today, you won’t be in business….

Beyond the Brick-and-Mortar Business

Brick-and-Mortar business can simply refer to a business with a physical presence – which offers “human-touch” experiences i.e., a consumer could feel and touch the merchandise before purchasing. This model of business is no longer viable in today’s world. But before you jump into the deep end of e-business change and began shifting the model of your business towards Click-and-Order, you should bare in mind that doing business online alone, is not going to bring any significance results.

Take the example of Napster and iTunes. Both companies offer similar services by selling music online. While Napster is an online only business, iTunes on the other hand, is associated with the Apple brand image. iTunes is more successful than Napster because the business can be seen beyond the monitor. Though both market an invisible product, music in this case, the business with a physical presence has an advantage.

Here’s a formula for the digital age: (brick-and-mortar) + (click-and-order) = click-and-brick

It’s no doubt that the next trend of business model is towards the click-and-brick pattern, a combination of online/offline business model incorporating both physical and online business practices. If your business were to survive the first year of its establishment, perhaps it’s about time to take a paradigm shift and take a leap ahead of your competitors.