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Why hiring a business coach won’t solve all your business problems

But you knew that already.

If you had to guess the winner of a running race between two athletes, who would you pick? The runner with a perfectly healthy body or the runner with a physical deformity? This would appear to be a stupid question with an obvious answer. However, imperfection does not always lose to perfection. Usain Bolt is an example of this. Bolt — the fastest man ever — has a deformed spine. He suffers from scoliosis.

Has this condition been a disadvantage for Bolt?

His winning track record proves it hasn’t. Bolt’s scoliosis may actually have benefited him. To overcome the effects of scoliosis, Bolt has developed extraordinary back and core strength. It’s this core strength that has propelled him to his many victories. Everyone that reaches the pinnacle of their sport has worked hard to get there. Usain Bolt had to work even harder.

Building a successful business is hard work. It’s going to require us to work harder than our competition. We can’t wait for victories to just fall into our lap. Business coaches can certainly help us get those wins. But here’s the problem — from my personal experience — business coaches often sell their clients on the idea that their coaching will solve all our business problems. It’s simply not the case. Even with a coach, there is still a heck of a lot of hard work to be done. In this article we’ll discuss why a business coach won’t solve all your business problems by covering the following:

1. Who’s responsible for keeping us motivated

2. How we need to think outside the box

3. The matter of putting in the hours

Let’s begin by discussing point number one and motivation.

I’ve never had a business coach give me a morning wake up call

Never have I had a coach call me to give me a pep talk. And you know what, quite honestly, it’s not their responsibility. The responsibility of staying motivated falls on us. It’s up to each of us to jump out of bed when the alarm clock rings, to stay focused during the day, and to make sure we get done what we need to. Staying motivated isn’t the reason we hire a business coach.

We hire a business coach for advice and guidance

They aren’t there to crack the whip when we are slacking off. I’m sure there are coaches out there for that purpose, but not a business coach. The responsibility of staying motivated is not on them — it’s on us. What about coming up with new and original ideas? Is that the responsibility of a business coach? We’re moving on to point number two and how we need to think outside the box.

No one knows our markets better than us

That includes coaches. Our products and our customers — that’s our forte. We’re best positioned to perform a SWOT (strength — weakness — opportunity — threat) assessment for our business. Considering this, we are the ones who need to think outside the box when it comes to ideas for our business.

If our market isn’t being served in some way, it’s us that need to discover what’s missing. We need to know how to best serve our market. A business coach won’t do that for us.

Business coaches are rather generic actually

They need to be able to coach clients in any and almost every business niche. Of course, some coaches may be more niche-specific than others. They may specialize in coaching e-commerce or hospitality businesses. But most coaches are not. We can’t rely on them for new ideas for our business. It’s not a problem for them to solve and again falls on us as the business owners. Finally, when the job needs to get done, who’s going to do the real work for us? We’re up to point number three — it’s a matter of us putting in the hours.

Get ready to pull up your boots

We’re gonna need to do some bootstrapping. Once again, doing the work and putting in the hours comes down to us. Our coach isn’t going to help fulfill orders or make social media posts. They aren’t going to write that email that needs to go out asap. It’s our business and we’re the ones that need to do the work. But hold on — it’s nothing for us to be bitter about. We choose to be business owners. Building a successful business is hard work.

Why bother with hiring a business coach?

If there’s no guarantee that our business problems will be solved, what’s the point in having a business coach anyways? They aren’t cheap. Any business coach worth their salt commands rates starting at around $500 an hour.

So what do they bring to the table? Experience. That’s what they bring. Experience from running their businesses. Also, experience from consulting and connecting with many other businesses. Their experience helps them guide their clients.

My personal experience with business coaches is a mixed bag

I’ve had a few different coaches. They’ve all been wonderful people. I’ve loved meeting with them and am proud to call them friends. But from a business perspective, their coaching always felt very transactional. It was almost like scheduling a meeting with a lawyer.

When the clock started — it was time to begin. When the clock stopped the session was over. Too bad if we didn’t cover everything needed. I felt that after multiple sessions with coaches, I never came away much further ahead. But this is my experience and yours may be totally different.

In summary, be aware of what you’re signing up for

Business coaches do provide guidance, advice, and another perspective on the issues our business is facing. However, we need to be careful of how much reliance we put on them. Their scope is limited in what they can do for us, as we discussed in the following points:

1. Who’s responsible for keeping us motivated

2. How we need to think outside the box

3. The matter of putting in the hours

Usain Bolt, the greatest runner in the world, worked hard, very hard, to get where he is today. Never mind having to beat the competition, Bold had to overcome a medical condition as well. His coaches will have guided him, but winning the races came down to Bolt.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. If you’d like to hear more about Usain Bolt’s challenges, James Altucher and Angela Duckworth discuss on the James Altucher Show podcast episode #673.



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Steve Kehler

Sharing my experience in marketing. To a 2nd grader, a 4th grader is a genius.