Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

strategic business coaching

Recent Posts

It seems like a lifetime since I launched my coaching practice in 1997. In fact, there were only 5000 coaches of all disciplines (business, life, time management, career, etc.) internationally. Today, that number has soared to include those educated by reputable institutions to those who merely hang out a shingle and call themselves a coach. In fact, a recent report by IBISWorld shows that 46,700 firms provide coaching for business in the U.S. alone. It’s growing!

Coaching, for all disciples, is primarily about discovering…discovering what’s missing—missing in your thinking, your vision, your direction, and your plans. The coach asks probing questions that allow a coachee to search within the database of their experiences to uncover the missing piece.

Coaching is also about discovering what is present yet unseen. That includes talents, skills, values, beliefs, and attitudes that are getting in the way of success.

That’s all well and good—in theory—but in the real world of small business, it’s not very practical. This is especially true for small business owners who are masters of their crafts, such as attorneys, thought leaders, writers, accountants, and therapists who have transitioned to entrepreneurship. Without the context (i.e., experience) from which to draw, many business owners are frustrated with their coaching experience. They want—and need—more. And, I might add, they deserve more.

The Coaching Wants of Today’s Small Business

Although today there is an element of probing questions that will always arise within the context of any productive business coaching call, small business owners truly desire much, much more.

  1. Small business wants a business coach who partners with them.
    Regardless of the number of employees within a business, the owner walks the trail alone. Isolated from what feels like the rest of humanity, it is a solitary journey. Growing a business in a silo is bad for business.Having a business coach that walks next to them accelerates learning, reduces isolation, stimulates creativity and innovation, and removes the fog that accompanies the loneliness of business ownership.
  2. Small business wants a coach with strategic business skills.
    Few people have been taught, or know how, to think strategically within a business. Yet, strategic thinking is the prevailing skill that shapes the future of a business. It makes the difference between success and failure—achieving and doing—moving forward or falling further behind.A coach with a strategic skill set is priceless for small business owners.

    It’s the strategic piece of coaching that fosters the alignment of goals and plans with mission, vision, and strategies. Rather than cluttering the business environment with seemingly unrelated activities in hopes of growing the business, a strategic approach prompts a business owner to think in terms of what really matters.

    Coaching that is strategic promotes lean thinking, saves a business owner countless hours of unproductive activity, and fosters greater work-life balance.

  3. Small business wants a business coach with an understanding of business.
    Especially in today’s complex business environment, a small business owner can no longer engage a coaching professional without a deeper knowledge and understanding of strategy, marketing, process, performance, metrics, and growing pains associated with the various stages of business.An experienced and well-informed business professional, armed with a tool box of entrepreneurial competencies, is a powerful combination that allows business owners to cut through the flood of information and make quick, smart, strategic decisions that catapult their business forward.
  4. Small business wants a customized coaching style.
    Cookie cutters are the perfect solution—for a baker. A business owner in today’s market, however, wants a coaching approach tailor-made for their personal, professional, and business needs and wants.There is no denying that small business is becoming more complex. As each industry responds to the rapidly changing needs of small business with greater innovation and ingenuity, business coaching must also branch out and grow to meet those needs.

Are we up for the challenge? You bet!

My Fitbit buzzed the start of my day. When my feet hit the floor I didn’t see the usual rays of sun filtering over the hillside. It was gloomy and gray. A dense marine layer shrouded the area.

We’ve been known to have early morning fog along the ocean, but this was different. The neighbor’s house—a mere 40 feet away—was invisible. The heavy, wet fog saturated the ground. In the distance, the low moaning of foghorns bellowed.

The dense marine layer reminded me of the experience many business owners face—when the ability to see clearly is murky. Each step is taken cautiously, if at all, because business is blurred. Confidence fades and stress fills the void.

Undoubtedly, each of us has days when we’re a bit muddled. You get up in the morning with priorities and direction a bit jumbled. But, by noon, the fog burns off to reveal the crisp countryside. This type of mist is so light that you move quickly and easily forward. There’s no need for foghorns. You think, see, and act with clarity, calmness, and confidence.

The type of fog I’m referring to is different.

It’s dense and long lasting. Try as you may, you’re unable to find a clear path to your destination. The stress builds. You sound the alarm. Your foghorn signals that you’re out there in the impenetrable fog—by yourself—and need guidance.

This is when business coaching becomes vital.

Business Coaching: The Fog Lifter

How does business coaching provide clearness to what feels nebulous? It happens in a variety of ways.

  1. Design fresh new ideas or approaches.
    In as early as 1546, John Heywood knew the power of coaching when he coined the proverb, “two heads are better than one.” More effective solutions that produce better outcomes are created when we avail ourselves of collaboration.
  2. Find clarity.
    We know what we do, what we want to achieve, and where we want to go—intuitively. Yet, we lack the right words to describe those elements with precision. A good listening ear and a coach’s extended vocabulary, equips us with the language needed to fully express our desires.
  3. Diagnose obstacles.
    “We have met the enemy…and it is us.” In many situations, we are the masters of our own demise—without realizing it. We need a fearless coach who can caringly point out barriers in our path, especially those to which we are blind.
  4. Pinpoint strengths and skills.
    When we’re in the middle of the murky waters, its difficult to see our assets. Rather than placing attention on what’s wrong, a coach focuses on strengths, abilities, and capabilities. And, helps create a plan to develop business skills needed.
  5. Bring opportunities to light.
    When encased in confusion, it’s difficult—if not impossible—to recognize the good fortune that is within our reach. “Colluding” with a coach opens us up to unanticipated opportunities.
  6. Extend support.
    Knowing, with unequivocal certainty, the best resources to tap into is challenging when business is a bit cloudy. A qualified business coach avails themselves of vital resources, like strategic service providers, to save us countless hours and unnecessary stress.
  7. Render analysis.
    Someone needs to keep their head about them—and, this is your coach. When knee-deep in perplexity, a coach provides objectivity, investigative scrutiny, and reasoning that allow us to unravel what’s before us.
  8. Furnish encouragement.
    Floating aimlessly in the fog—alone—is challenging, at best. It’s reassuring when someone, who believes in you and your goals, comes alongside while you maneuver through the maze.

Add these together and enthusiasm and optimism is restored. The fog lifts. The horizon is within view. And, the path is clear.

There’s no better way to travel…

Have you worked with a business coach? If so, tell us how your coach helped you achieve the clarity you needed? Inquiring minds want to know…

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

Search The Blog