Let’s take it for granted that you’re energetic, experienced in business with several years under your belt, and you want more than you’ve currently got. There are other, more intangible reasons why it might be an excellent idea to work with a business coach.
After more than 10 years of business coaching, working closely with business owners from a variety of professional services industries, including other business coaches, executive coaches and leadership coaches, I’ve noticed certain recurring conditions that make the client best placed to get the most out of business coaching.
Here are seven signs that you need a business coach.
1: You were recently blindsided by something and don’t want this to happen again. It’s clear that you have blind spots and want to be aware of these
While everybody has blind spots, for business owners, these can be especially costly – and I’m not just talking about money. Partnering with an experienced business coach enables you to overcome hurdles that you weren’t even aware of, find quicker ways to negotiate complex or ambiguous situations, and simplify where you may be overcomplicating things.
2: You’ve been wanting to develop a project that’s been squatting in your brain and you need a thought leadership partner
When you’re a highly capable business owner, it’s very confusing when you keep prolonging the start of a project that you’re really excited by, but meanwhile, nothing happens for months (years?). Some things are psychologically difficult, not technically difficult, and this is where having a good business coach as a thought leadership partner is invaluable.
Your coach can help hold the vision you have, and plot your strategic, high-impact moves, supporting and cheering you as you make them.
3: You know your work is good and you have significant experience in your field, but you have a persistent feeling that you’ve not made the most out of your work
Being a legitimate expert in what you do doesn’t necessarily result in accolades, high profits, or leverage. A business coach can guide you to elevate your expertise, develop your unique methodology and business models, and give you strategic direction into raising your professional profile and deepening your authority and influence.
This can be done several different ways and a good coach will help you curate key marketing activities that make the most sense for your strategy, brand position, and personal strengths and preferences, such as speaking on stage, publishing a book, being a guest on influential podcasts, attracting media publicity, and developing thought leadership pieces.
4: You know you use work for emotional purposes and don’t want to do this anymore
Work is often used as an emotional regulation tool; for business owners, this typically happens in two ways: overworking to avoid dealing with complex or difficult personal situations; continually seeking adrenalin through disrupting the business.
Overwork can be easy to justify: things are going well, and you’re making excellent money and getting great results, therefore, the more you work, the better the business will be. And as it’s your business, this is great, right?
Meanwhile, your romantic relationship is falling apart, all your friends are similarly workaholic owners, and you can’t remember the last time you did something for fun, just for the hell of it. Overworking causes many issues, including a loss of perspective that’s absolutely invaluable – not just in business.
A business owner who’s seeking adrenalin through their business is regularly disruptive when things are too calm. The dopamine hit and adrenalin of high risk and potentially high reward translate into an unhappy team with a high turnover, unnecessary expenses, and a confusing brand. And, because our brains are wired to restore balance, peak levels of dopamine can be followed by painful crashes, cravings for more thrills, addictive behaviour, and, ultimately, anxiety and depression.
While deriving a sense of pleasure from your work is normal, throwing a whole bunch of unnecessary, uncalculated risks because you’re bored is not. A business coach can be a steady hand to direct your desire for adrenalin, to activities outside of your business.
5: You struggle to see the big vision of what you’re working towards. Dreaming big always feels like a fantasy
It’s easy to lose your big vision when you’re consumed by the day-to-day running of your business. And if you’ve been in business for seven years or longer, your original vision is likely out-of-date.
Business coaching is an opportunity to carve out a safe, inspiring place to reimagine yourself, your business, and your future. I often see vision, potential and pathways forward for my clients that they don’t see for themselves. We take our strengths for granted. We often don’t recognise the throughlines in our stories and experiences. An outsider can help you see possibilities and collaboration on the best path forward for you.
6: You’re constantly listening to ‘not good enough’ internal dialogue. You know you’re missing opportunities due to imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome persists despite numerous qualifications and accolades, and significant experience. High achievers frequently suffer from a constant critical inner voice that undermines their confidence and satisfaction at work.
Therapy can support you to understand the personal origins of this. Business coaching can be a great compliment to therapy, enabling you to use a toolbox of techniques to rewire your neuropathways toward more constructive, helpful thinking, self-satisfaction and joy.
7: You’re coasting – falling into work rather than actively choosing it
Complacency is a common human tendency that needs to be regularly revisited to safeguard against it. The problem with coasting is that it’s self-perpetuating – taking on work that you don’t really care about it means you’re not invested nor stretched, and you feel little, if any, satisfaction.
Worse – you could start to resent your work and clients.
Business coaching is an opportunity to explore the creative possibilities of your business. Your business coach can lovingly challenge assumptions you may be making about what you “have” to do and empower you to explore where you want to go and what the right path might be, or if there’s an alternate route or destination entirely.