As a leader and entrepreneur, I always knew I had more to learn. I always seek ways to accelerate and raise the bar to achieve success. A key to getting maximum results from your advisors is to have a vivid picture of the outcomes you want to change. This allows you to understand the type of advisor required. When it comes to coaching, there are so many different types of coaches: behavioral, accountability, productivity, business, career, life, and other specialty coaching (e.g., communication, sales, speaking, leadership, etiquette, and so on).
Please beware of the term executive coach because it is broad and can mean too many things. To get maximum results, you need to hire a coach that is an expert in the area required. The best coaches focus on one or two types of coaching, and none excel in helping you in all areas. I have focused primarily on behavioral and business coaching, the two areas in which I excel.
I am often approached by people that want to achieve better results and are uncertain whether business coaching is right for them. A business coach brings three things to you and your organization:
1. REPEATABLE GROWTH SYSTEM
Your coach must bring a structured and repeatable growth system. This is not a system for every facet of your business. It is a proven leadership system that facilitates working “on” the business rather than in it. It is not a system for every function. Your functions (e.g., sales, marketing, operations) require knowledge from an expert in those functions and how to address those issues in your industry.
Don’t assume all systems are the same. Our Business Acceleration System® is a repeatable framework designed to simplify the ease, speed, and confidence you have in growing your business. Driven by the CEO and delivered by your team, we help the team learn how to master and integrate six areas: cash, team cohesion, culture, execution, human capital management, and strategy. Most systems are deep in one or two of these areas.
2. SYSTEM EXPERT
You need a coach who is an expert in the repeatable process and ensures the team has clarity of role and position while keeping it highly cohesive and focused on the team result. Often you presume someone is expert because they have received a certification. Don’t allow certification to fool you. Certification indicates you have learned and shown proficiency in understanding the methodology. This does not mean they have put in 10,000 hours to master implementing the methods. Reading about and applying methods are both essential to mastery.
It is best if your coach has proven successful in many industries and companies. Otherwise, your company is a test bunny. It takes most coaches three years (or longer) to master a methodology. After being a coach for approximately 20 years, I can tell you my work is far better when compared with my first three years.
3. A PLATFORM FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
A software platform that creates daily behavioral habits leading to more clarity and alignment and a higher level of accountability. This is separate and distinct from your accounting, operating, and marketing software. As we have learned, no one software addresses all our needs. You must have the right platform that keeps the leadership focused “on” the business.
In addition to evaluating your coach’s ability to deliver the system and platform, I recommend that you evaluate a coach for culture fit, business acumen, and style. A great coach in a wrong culture leads to problems. As for business acumen, there are a lot of people that make good executive coaches but lack business acumen. Don’t confuse business acumen with industry experience. And it would help if you had a coach whose behavior compliments the team. Too often, leaders hire a coach that is most like them. While this may feel comfortable, it may not be what you need.
Howard M. Shore, Founder and CEO of Activate Group Inc. is a bestselling author, serial entrepreneur and business coach specializing in liberating leadership teams from the barriers holding them back personally and professionally. Howard has helped create over $1 Billion of value and authored two best-selling books, The Leader Launchpad and Your Business is a Leaky Bucket.