Imagine a baseball game: bottom of the ninth and bases are loaded. The underdog is set to win the whole thing, and the only problem? The coach is nowhere to be found. Sure, a capable team could probably work out a strategy and put in their heaviest hitter, but without the coach’s years of experience, hours reviewing the tapes, and holistic understanding of each of his players, the best path to a win would be through the coach’s careful guidance.
We get it: You don’t need to hear another “business is just like baseball” metaphor. Without it, however, it’s hard for us to explain just how vital coaching is to your big picture. In sports, players benefit from a coach’s oversight and experience. In business, it’s almost impossible to state the value of someone who knows exactly how to manage key players, set up big plays, and even identify blind spots in your current strategy.
Whether you bring on a coach on an individual level, invest in a team coach, or opt for peer-to-peer coaching, you’re sending a clear message to your management and your employees: We’re a team. Through clear and open communication, real-life application, and personal accountability, consider some of the ways in which a business coach can seriously help you step up your game.
- Set Clear, Measurable, and Attainable Goals
You might have a general idea of where you want to be three, six, nine, and twelve months from now. If you’re really prepared, you might even have a five-year plan in place. But the problem with those long-range goals is that they aren’t always crystal clear and easy to measure.
Consider the following scenario: You have a goal to double your sales by the end of the year. You feel like it’s attainable, but you might not have thought about the changes that need to take place for you to reach that goal. A business coach can assess your current strategies, suggest new ones, and then help you create metrics to measure your pace along the way. That way, you aren’t blindly hoping to reach your goal only to find that you came up short.
- Assess Performance Before and After Changing Behaviors
Let’s face it: Self-assessment is notoriously difficult. After all, we pretty much all want to award ourselves five stars. A business coach takes some of the subjectivity out of the assessment process. Armed with clear metrics, coaching can encourage a change in employee behaviors and, after a prescribed amount of time, assess how those behaviors affected the bottom line. Seeing positive outcomes then encourages your organization to keep working, becoming a self-fulfilling cycle of growth, development, and results.
- Get Personal With Employee Paths
Do you know what your employees want? Other than snacks in the break room, of course. Each of your employees has ideas of where they want their career trajectory to go. It may be with your business or they might be looking elsewhere, but a business coach can help them more clearly see their path within your organization. You might not have known that one of your sales reps really wants to take on the mantle of manager—a coach can help draw out that information and you can work together on a route of skills and goals to get there.
- Identify Areas for New Approaches
An outsider’s view is a particularly valuable tool, especially when you spend most of your time in the day-to-day game. Consider it “reviewing the tapes.” A coach can observe and go over past projects with a fresh eye to identify learning gaps and areas that could be revamped for efficiency. This step in coaching often seems the most difficult, because it means acknowledging stumbling blocks and appealing to employees’ hearts and minds to encourage making a change. Still, an outsider’s opinion might soften the blow and create a more positive environment for making changes.
- Address Small, Mindful Steps to Improve How You Work Together
When you get an organization made up of different personalities, ideals, values, and goals, you’re bound to botch a few plays. Instead of seeing your differences as drawbacks, however, business coaching can help masterfully weave them together for an organization that communicates, works, and connects better than before. Even something as simple as changing the way you connect online could help employees communicate more clearly.
Remember that business coaching doesn’t always result in huge, sweeping organizational changes. Sometimes, small and mindful changes can have the biggest impact on the way you work.
- Define What’s Most Important
When was the last time you asked yourself and your management team what matters most to them? If you’ve never posed the question, you’re likely in for a big surprise. The answers will span the spectrum from self-fulfillment, professional development, success, and career experience. With a business coach, you can take the time to align with your management and your employees so you’re all working toward the same goals. Together, you can find out what matters most and create a plan to put your “why” front and center of all of your interactions.
Here’s the thing: A coach can’t guarantee a championship. A coach can, however, work with you and your team to hone their abilities, give you better clarity, and carve out your organization’s unique pathway to success—and that’s a win in our book.