As an entrepreneur in Oregon , you like to do your own thing. But going at it alone is not always the best idea.
There comes a time when you need an expert opinion to ensure you and your business reach it’s full potential. And that’s where hiring a life coach or a business coach becomes a smart move.
I’ve personally experienced the benefits of hiring a coach in my own business over the past year. Below are ten examples of how hiring a coach can make your business more successful.
1. Get Unstuck and Find Motivation
Without a doubt the best thing a business coach can do for your business is get you unstuck. As a business owner, you can get in our own way a lot, and spend a lot of time in your head. So you need someone to pull you out of the funk.
No matter how much self-motivation you might have, it seems nearly impossible to yourself to keep going. That outside push from a coach is what you need to get moving and get going. Even if it’s a confirmation of what you were already thinking, a coach can give you that extra jolt you’re looking for.
2. Challenge You to Try New Things
As an introvert who runs an online business, I can very quickly become enthralled in my own ideas and goals. This is a comfortable place because you can stay at home in your office all day “creating” and leave the outside world where it is.
If you’re anything like me, you know how hard it is to step outside your comfort zone and meet new people or try new things. This is one of best things about having a coach on your side. They will give you a gentle push to explore yourself and your ideas more, while giving you that tough love not to quit.
Everything we do in life is intertwined; our finances, our businesses and ourselves. For this reason I’ve worked with both a life coach and a business coach because I needed help getting over my mental and financial blocks.
3. Increase Your Creativity and Income
Once I was able to get past my (often self-imposed) roadblocks, my creativity was unleashed and I was able to start brainstorming ideas for better products and services for my customers. A coach will give you the courage to get out of your own way, so you can charge what you’re worth, start a line of products to make more money, or increase your prices.
A coach also creates a safe place for you to hash out ideas, test theories and ensure you showcase your work properly. For many of us creatives, it’s hard to brag on ourselves or share our accomplishments, but a coach will help you get past that insecurity. And once you get that ball rolling, it will be hard to stop you!
4. Find Support and Encouragement
You’ll be amazed at the things you can accomplish when you have someone who believes in what you’re doing. Having a support system around you or hearing a few words of encouragement can lift your spirits when you’re down.
With everything going on around you, it can get overwhelming, frustrating and even lonely at times. A coach will be right there with you the whole time, helping you take that next step towards success.
Of course, the point is to get to a place where you have all the tools in your toolbox to handle what life throws at you. But until you’re ready, the encouragement you get from a coach might be just the thing you need to do your great work.
5. Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
t’s easy to think that we know ourselves really well, and understand our likes and dislikes. But when it comes to bringing out the hidden talents and deep desires, you’ll likely surprise yourself.
It often takes an outside perspective of someone who knows you really well, to tell it like it is. A coach can identify patterns, and help you exploit your strengths while bolstering your weaknesses.
6. Gain More Confidence
You’ll never truly know what you’re capable of until you have someone who pushes you outside your comfort zone. After working with my own business coach for over a year, I’ve been able to build up a lot more confidence in my own ideas, thought process and even the way I approach my business.
If you’re like me, you know you have greatness within you but you aren’t always sure if it’s a good idea, or something that will get you rejected. It’s hard to convince yourself that you have the ability to accomplish your business goals, and that’s where having a coach is key.
They can help instill the confidence you need to accomplish your big goals, while offering support and guidance for your (sometimes not so great) ideas.
7. Establish Audacious But Realistic Goals
It’s not difficult to set goals and create dreams and I’m sure you already have multiple ideas for your business listed out right now. But will you ever attain them?
With a coach you can! And you better be sure you want to reach a goal because once you mention it, they won’t let you make excuses for not trying. Most times they expect you to reach for the stars, because they can see your potential.
As they challenge you to try new things, they will also strongly encourage you to think bigger, jump higher and really go for what you want.
Audacious goals are the ones that scare us to death, but for an experienced coach they know it’s closer within reach than you realize. Then once you reach those crazy goals you’ll feel invincible and your confidence will skyrocket!
8. Prioritize Your (Business) Needs First
As a business owner it’s easy to put your customers, clients and even your family ahead of your own needs. This is especially evident as a solopreneur or freelance who single-handedly keeps the business going.
A business coach will help you prioritize your business in a way that will enable it to be successful, without sacrificing the other parts of your life, including your mental and physical health.
Additionally, you could even work with your coach to seamlessly integrate your work into your life. With the technology available today, you have no excuse not to take care of yourself so you can give the best to your business and those around you.
9. Be Accountable to Someone
What did you accomplish this week? Are you making progress on your goals? These are standard questions at the beginning of each coaching session that will get you sweating if you haven’t put in the work.
A coach is a built-in accountability partner that nudges and reminds you of what you promised to do, and what you’re working towards. It’s all too easy to make promises to ourselves and then break them because we don’t feel like it, or it’s too hard.
When you’re accountable to someone else, you don’t have that luxury. If you really want to accomplish your big goals and take your business to the next level, hiring a business coach is the right step.
10. Harness Your Ideas
The entrepreneurial mind is a beautiful thing, but it comes with it’s fair share of challenges. One of them being the fact that we have so many ideas, we don’t know where to start. On the flip side, you might be clinging to an idea or direction a lot longer than you should. (Beating a dead horse and all.)
Having a coach on your side will help you gain a fresh perspective so you can harness your ideas. They will also allow you to pivot directions if it’s time to move on.
A Coach is the Best Investment for Your Business
Running a business alone is a tough thing, and I would say nearly impossible to do successfully. You generally need the support of friends, family and colleagues. But in my experience a coach is also a must.
It’s like having a best friend who also knows the ins-and-outs of the industry and can share trade secrets with you. They are a valuable resource you can count on and look to when you need guidance or even a friendly ear.
Are you having a hard time closing new leads? Hire a coach to help you revamp your marketing campaign. You two can sit down together and hash out your process. Download a free proposal template and do it together; two minds are better than one.
Hiring a life and business coach has single-handedly taken my business to the next level in Oregon . And without that much-needed support, I would probably still be stuck at my day job, hating my life.
Frank's Barber Shop / Rusty's Second Wind
It seems that everyone I meet these days wants to be a life coach. “My passion is to help people find their passion.” “My purpose is to help people find their purpose.” I hear this at many of the personal development retreats and career workshops I attend.
This is a noble and beautiful goal; to dedicate your life to empowering others to reach their full potential. In a world where 70% of Americans are disengaged with their jobs, and millions of people are depressed, unfulfilled, or addicted to prescription pain medication, we certainly need more coaches, enablers, and givers.
In 2012, the International Coach Federation (ICF) reported that life coaching is a $2 billion a year industry. Since there is wide disagreement on the value of professional coaching certification programs and many coaches don’t pursue formal training, this number is probably higher.
The problem I have with life coaches is not their lack of certification or qualifications. I have many friends who lack formal training, yet are excellent coaches. Furthermore, I’m not sure anyone can be certified in something as broad as “life coaching,” whether it’s a 2-week, 2-month, or 2-year program.
The problem I have with some life coaches is that they sell their life, disguised as a coaching product. Perhaps a result of the growing popularity of the lifestyle design industry, these life coaches spend more time trying to live and sell a lifestyle that suits them, rather than investing in the service they are allegedly providing to others.
I see a lot of life coaches post photos on Instagram of themselves on the beach or at yoga retreats with captions like, “Live life full! Be free! #lovemylife” These pictures are in places like Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Bali — often at all-inclusive resorts or very pristine beaches. Usually the coaches are incredibly attractive people with tan skin who seemingly spend a lot of time at the gym or do yoga all the time (as in, like, every second of every day).
We should all strive to live a beautiful life (whatever that means for each of us), I’m just not sure the point is to sell that life. Depicting an idealized life that others should aspire to is dangerous. It misleads clients into thinking that their goal should be to emulate and idolize their all-knowing coach. It also misleads other coaches into adopting deceiving marketing practices and making false promises.
Here’s the thing: you don’t need to have a pristine life to be a coach. Coaching is about inquiry, asking the right questions, listening, empathy, and empowering someone to become their best self. I know many talented coaches whose life doesn’t look that great on social media — some of these coaches aren’t even on social media at all! They make a living because their clients recommend their services. They are talented coaches because they know how to coach, not because their life is perfect or they know how to run an auto drip campaign on MailChimp.
I don’t do much 1-on-1 coaching, because personally, given my background and lack of coaching training, I think I can provide more value writing, speaking, and doing workshops, but when someone approaches me about hiring me as their career coach, I ask them why they want to work with me. If they say anything close to “your life is awesome, I want your life,” I don’t respond to their email. Don’t get me wrong, my name is Smiley — I love my life. But it’s my life. It’s not intended to be someone else’s.
Trust me, my life isn’t for you. I have five roommates. My kitchen has a mice problem. My sink is constantly full of dishes. There are fruit flies everywhere. My bedroom is so small it barely fits my bed. I bring tea bags with me wherever I go to save the $3 (that adds up to like $60 a month!). I can’t for the life of me find a moisturizing cream that keeps my hands moist — I’ve tried like seven different kinds. I can’t drink coffee or alcohol anymore since I have really bad acid reflux. I love to do yoga but I fart a lot when I do it, so I can’t go to class more than once a week. My back is already starting to hurt — and I’m only 31!
These are the kinds of things I spend my time thinking about — it’s just not Instagram life coach worthy material. I can’t post a picture of me wallowing in back pain with the caption, “Love my life! #lifeisamazing. Sign up for my 3-step plan to fulfillment now — it’s only $495 — ahhhhh, my back!”
I refuse to sell some notion that my life is ideal or perfect — it’s inauthentic and it’s bullshit. I see some life coaches prancing around the beach and I’m like, “#Livefree?! You just quit your job! I know your ass is broke! Ahhhhh, my back!”
All of us (myself included) are sharing our highlight reels on social media, but I am immediately turned off by life coaches who make life seem easy or perfect in order to sell their product. These coaches give a bad reputation to talented coaches who have a tangible and valuable service to offer.
The coaches I know who make a living from coaching, don’t spend their days at the beach. They are on video calls with clients, working with executives and senior managers in office buildings, meeting with students at universities, and running trainings at leadership development programs. They don’t work 4 hours a week. They work 40 or 50 hours a week, sometimes more. Their life isn’t perfect (no ones life is perfect), but they are still a great coach.
When we depict an idealized life others should aspire to, we ignore the fact that most people’s lives are actually really complicated and nuanced. Most of the time, when people are “in flow,” “coming alive,” or “living with purpose,” they are not at the beach or sipping a green smoothie or doing endless yoga or traveling in a foreign country, they are studying in a dimly-lit library at 1 in the morning, sweating in a noisy warehouse, or a managing a classroom full of restless children. Or, they are cooking dinner for their family.
The goal of coaching (and personal development work in general) should not be to get people to ignore these day-to-day rituals, but to find more personal meaning in all aspects of their life. It’s not about escaping to the beach and posting a photo (#lovemylife!), it’s about finding meaning, purpose, and joy in the day-to-day (and sometimes mundane) rituals that make up our lives.
We need more coaches. More business coaches, relationship coaches, career coaches, leadership coaches, communications coaches, and even more life coaches. But we need coaches who are honest about the services they are able to provide to their clients (and just as authentic about the services they are not qualified to offer).
By all means, design your ideal life and travel to exotic locations—just be conscious of what it is you’re actually selling. I’m all for personal development retreats (even ones on the beach) that offer honest and practical solutions for navigating the complex and nuanced world we live in. I have participated in retreats that are extremely powerful; offering someone permission to be who they are, embrace their fears, overcome roadblocks and barriers, set new intentions, align work with purpose, integrate health and wellness into daily routines, and build a community of like-minded peers.
Life is not easy. There are no 3 simple steps to fulfillment or 10 ways to do anything. Happiness cannot be bought for $495 (or $4,095). There is not one answer and there is no quick fix, so let’s stop selling one.
Smiley Poswolsky is the author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: a guide for millennials to find meaningful work. Follow @whatsupsmiley and get free resources at smileyposwolsky.com.
Special thanks to my friends Peter Rubin (a business coach and relationship coach), and Lauren Weinstein (a consultant and coach) for reading a draft of this piece and offering feedback. If you are interested in learning more about pursuing coaching as a profession, I recommend reading Coaching is Calling, by Lauren Weinstein.
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