Paul was your usual business leader and owner. He worked over 70 hours a week trying to keep his business profitable. That wasn’t just his working “IN” his business where he performed the services his business offered. There was also the paperwork. Everything from his checking account to ordering supplies, keeping inventory, paying the bills…the list goes on and on.
One day, Paul’s wife told him that she was unhappy in their marriage. She never saw him, the business had become his life and she wagered he couldn’t even name two friends of each of their 3 children. She wanted to know what Paul was going to do to change his business and his work habits.
Paul Decides What To Do
Paul thought about it and then one day a friend told him he should find a Business or Executive Coach. Not any coach but one who would provide him with proven results for his business and not the silly inflated promises made by so many other Coaches they knew of.
Paul found such a Coach, they aren’t easy to find but he found one, and began a dialog to change not only Paul but Paul’s business. What surprised Paul was that their entire engagement was by phone; “isn’t technology great” was what he actually found himself saying.
Paul’s time with the Coach started out with a couple of meetings where they discussed Paul’s business. What was its current state, what were its business numbers and what had Paul done to improve the business? They also discussed what Paul expected to achieve through Coaching, what his goals were and how fast he expected to accomplish those. Paul was surprised to learn that Coaching is not a magic wand where “POOF” change and results instantly happen. Nor is it the Cavalry riding to the rescue; it is a process that if done correctly develops true change that lasts.
A Plan is Made
The plan was simple. A modest growth in the profits of the business by 10% over the next year, a reduction of the number of hours Paul was working to a more acceptable 50 hours a week and changes in some of Paul’s behaviors as they related to his ability to delegate and execute.
Paul and his Coach met every 2 weeks by phone, the time in-between used by Paul to implement and execute the plans and processes they agreed on in each session. Each session contained a brief review from the previous one and a check to determine if Paul was meeting the goals that were established while uncovering and fixing those things that were keeping Paul from accomplishing his goals. At first, progress was slow. In fact, the first month Paul confessed he had actually increased his hours to over 75 per week and that no growth was realized in profit or the business. The Coach was able to address why this happened and by working with Paul instead of telling Paul what to do, Paul began to see what the cause of this was and how the processes being put into place were going to change him and his business.
Over the next 6-months, Paul began to see an improvement. His work hours were slowly decreasing and because this period included the Christmas and New Years’ holidays he was glad to report that he actually was able to spend more time with his family while also seeing that his business costs and profits were improving. At the end of the 6-months, Paul had reduced his time at work to about 60 hours a week and improved his profit by some 20% while reducing his business expenses by almost 7%. He was also gaining customers and was considering hiring another employee to help with that. His delegation skills had improved and he was executing his plans and strategies more effectively.
The Plan is Executed and The Results Are In
After the end of the first 6-months, Paul reviewed his progress with the Coach and decided to continue for another 6-months. He was able to actually see proof of the improvement in his business because the Coach took the time to not only understand Paul’s business but to ensure that real measurement of what was happening was occurring. Paul was impressed when his Accountant was able to verify the financial improvements and in the Spring, Paul and his wife took a week off to go to Mexico, something they hadn’t done since their honeymoon almost 15 years ago.
If you are wondering, Paul, is my client. He lives almost 500 miles away from me. Together, we developed a solid strategy for his business, worked on his business behaviors, and fundamentally changed how he operated his business. Further, we took a significant amount of stress off of Paul, stress that was eating him up in many different ways. Finding the right Coach, one who can truly address his concerns and prove the results was what saved Paul and made his business fun again.
Whether your need is similar to Paul’s, or you are in a business leadership role and want to improve your effectiveness and performance, business or executive coaching could well be the best professional investment you’ve ever made.