Coaching is a hot trend at a growing number of companies, from IBM and Dow Chemical to entrepreneurial start ups. According to a recent survey by The Hay Group, an international human resources consultancy, between 25 percent and 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies use executive coaches. A coach is defined as being “part advisory, part sounding board, part cheerleader, part manager and part strategist (Business Journal).”
Coaching can occur in one-on-one face-to-face meetings between the coach and the business person, over the telephone, in small groups, and even in group conference calls. Recently, a client of mine, who owns an acoustical tile cleaning franchise, was so pleased with the results of our coaching sessions, that she organized group telephone coaching sessions for her and other franchise owners. The benefits are enormous. Not only do the franchise owners save time and money conferring in a group telephone session, they all receive the same information at the same time, there are networking and sharing opportunities, and a spirit of teamwork has evolved.
Coaching does not only occur in the one hour session each week. I give my clients reading assignments and “homework” to do in between sessions. One exercise that I use frequently with clients is to have them look at their entire business and pick two things that would impact their business the most. Then, we determine one or two things in each area that would give them the biggest bang for their buck. After doing this exercise, one client picked getting back in touch with old clients and telling them all of the services her company offers. In one week, she had three new proposals to bid on.
John Russell, Managing Director, Harley-Davidson Europe Ltd, says, “I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable.”
Coaching has not only helped my clients – it has also given me great satisfaction. I enjoy taking my experience working for organizations and owning my own business and helping others grow their businesses. You can almost hear people breathing a sigh of relief. It can absolutely make the difference between where a business person is now and where he/she truly wants to be.