There is a lot of independence associated with being an entrepreneur, resulting in many preferring to go it alone - often to their own detriment. While business owners have no problem approaching investors or other business owners for aid, it seems there is a stigma associated with approaching a business coach.
The stigma is surrounding the perception that a business coach is corrective, or is more in line with counselling than with its real status as a way for businesspeople - whether start-ups or seasoned owners - to improve their performance. The stigma is possibly the result of many peers growing up in an era when coaching was more of an intervention and thus was the result of personal weakness.
Coaching should not be considered as anything other than a means to personal and behavioural development, according to predetermined goals and desire for growth, and should rather be seen as a sign of dedication to one's leadership abilities in a world that is completely different to that of a few years ago.
So, as a business owner, why should you consider acquiring the talents of a business coach?
JDC Exec's very own Janine do Cabo, who is a certified coach, teacher, and brand professional, has much experience in aiding the personal and professional growth of business executives. Focusing on goals, positive thinking, and applying proven methods to aid business owners to reach their goals, Janine is perfectly qualified to answer some of Biz4Afrika's most pertinent questions about business coaching below:
Biz4Afrika: Why would a business owner require the services of a business coach?
Janine do Cabo (JDC): No other human development process influences and changes behaviour as effectively as coaching. The focus is on long-term behavioural change. This can only be accomplished through influencing both the conscious and sub-conscious mind through purposeful goals and an intentional growth plan. A good coach looks at the potential of a person and not their current position. He develops the person from the inside-out, and not the outside-in. Coaching is a wonderful process of seeing the potential within an individual and guiding them to discover the same potential within themselves. This process facilitates positive and profitable change, improves productivity, and causes long lasting results.
Biz4Afrika: What services do coaches offer?
JDC: Coaches mainly offer you workshops, seminars, keynote speaking, and coaching, aiding your personal and professional growth.
Biz4Afrika: What skills will coaches use in assisting business owners with reaching their goals?
JDC: Coaches address the performance gap, in other words, we look at "what you know" versus "what you do". The more you know, the more you will do, the further you will go. The wider the lens, the more you will see, same in business. Coaching is 1% technique and 99% who the coach is. Choose the right one!
Biz4Afrika: How do coaches help with focus and motivation?
JDC: Through 3 objectives:
• Creating awareness, that leads to clarity and understanding,
• By creating responsibility and accountability,
• And this leads to increased performance.
Biz4Afrika: What is the difference between mentorship, counselling, and coaching, and how can a business owner tell which option would be best?
JDC: When you are sharing content - you are teaching people. When you are sharing your experience - you are mentoring that person. When you help someone deal with a situation - you providing counselling. When you are asking questions, listening intently and being intuitive in your answers - you are coaching someone from where they are today to help them get to their tomorrow. Determine what you need as a business man. Do you need a teacher, mentor, counsellor or coach?
Biz4Afrika: At what stage in a business would a coach be approached for assistance?
JDC: Right from the beginning. Ask yourself this question, "If you do not want to invest in yourself and your business, why should people invest in you and your business?"
Biz4Afrika: Is it better to approach a coach with a goal in mind?
JDC: Goals are very important, as this will be what you are working towards.
Biz4Afrika: Are business coaches only for entrepreneurs or can seasoned businessmen also make use of them?
JDC: Most businessmen have more than one coach and mentor. The more success you achieve the more you need a coach.
Biz4Afrika: For a start-up, which competencies are important for a coach to focus on?
JDC: The calling of that business owner, to determine his reason for starting his business, he will always fall back on his "why" he started the business.
Biz4Afrika: What are the most important business applications coaching can be used for?
JDC: The coaching process changes the way a person thinks of himself and how he sees himself. By a change of mindset and shifting of perception, a person who did not see himself as a business owner before will now be able to see himself in that role and feel competent to perform in duties of the position and in turn achieve greater success.
Biz4Afrika: Should business owners consult coaches in every aspect of their business?
JDC: They definitely can, but that choice remains their own. However, it depends on the coach you decide to use. Most of the time it is be a good idea, as you can manage your departments and your people better. Also bringing in group coaching.
Biz4Afrika: Would a business coach work over the long- or short-term?
JDC: Long-term, effective change takes time and accountability.
Biz4Afrika: Can a business coach be employed to improve workplace performance?
JDC: On a consultancy basis yes, definitely. A business coach is a very valuable aid to any company.
Biz4Afrika: How do individual coaching sessions differ to group sessions?
JDC: The principles are the same; it depends if the person is focused on personal or organisational growth. I believe there should be a balance, as they work hand in hand. You can only grow as far as the person above you in your organisational structure. Is that far enough, or do you need to grow more. May be it is time to make a change?
Biz4Afrika: How important is a coach's prior experience when considering hiring one?
JDC: Crucial. Your position as a coach cannot make you a leader, it is the leader that makes the position. Leadership is how the leader conducts himself in order to influence a person. You cannot give a person something you do not have. A good coach improves himself in order to improve others. People are a passion for them.
In Part 2 of our interview with Janine do Cabo, we address what exactly coaches can help businesspeople with - from business matters to marriage problems. Read her advice here.
Photo by Janine do Cabo