You probably need a business coach
Running your business alone is a hard slog. I know because I’ve done it. Even if you have business partners or a team, you are still IN your business day to day with all of the internal and external influences that might be affecting decisions, productivity and success.
In this week’s episode I explain the coaching relationship and how it can benefit you and your business.
- Coaching relationship
- The invisible third member of the relationship
- Commitments within the relationship
- The difference between a mentor and a coach
- How you can find a coach
My business coach is Paul Green of the Coaching Circle, who I highly recommend, and who taught me the core principles of a coaching relationship. I have known Paul and been a part of his networking group for over 6 years. He’s a local legend.
My mentor is Chris Ducker who has lead the way and influenced so many decisions in my business.
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Lee Jackson:Welcome to The Agency Trailblazer podcast. This is your host Lee and on today’s show I would like to unpack the concept of coaching. Now before we continue, let us remind you, we have an amazing YouTube channel where we put out three pieces of content a week. We have Motivation Monday that’s going to get you started for the week and inspire you and your team. We have What’s Up Wednesday where we share with you something that we learned from the premium community that you can take hold of for absolutely free and enjoy to benefit your business. Then finally we have Frank Friday where I dare to talk about those frank things we should be talking about in this industry. Maybe I call something out, maybe I called myself out, whatever it is. Frank Friday is a great time for people to get involved in a conversation. So you can find out more information in the show notes and you can also access it quickly now on agencytrailblazer.com/YouTube and you will be directed there. Also if you are not part of our free Facebook community, you can also join that on agencytrailblazer.com/group come and join nearly 3000 of us now who are having great conversations about agency life, asking for help and advice and also sharing funny things too, which I think is very valuable in life.
Alright, so you all know that I’m part of a church and in that church we really value discipleship. That’s a word that will be commonly used in religious circles. But we’ve really unpacked what discipleship is and essentially it is coaching. It is putting yourself alongside somebody and helping them with whatever they are committed to, to get out of them what is inside of them. So we’ve created a culture at our church of ensuring that we find somebody that we can coach, but equally we have somebody that coaches us. Now, I’m not going to get all religious on you today, so don’t worry. We’re going to switch this into a business setting and I would like to describe a structure for a coaching relationship, in the hope that what you will do as an agency owner is find somebody that A you could potentially coach because one of the best ways that we can learn is also through teaching and coaching, but equally that you will be able to find somebody that can coach you. Going through agency life, running a business, all of that can actually be really lonely and when we’ve got nobody to bounce decisions off or to have those sorts of conversations with, it can be a very insular world and it can be very difficult to make major decisions or even see into the future or see things that we can’t see. I think you’ll have heard of that phrase. You can’t see the wood for the trees.
So in a coaching relationship there are essentially three characters involved. Sounds surprising I know, but we have three core characters and our first character is the player. So the player is actually you. If you are being coached, you are the player and your part in this just as someone who plays a game, a play is committed to the end goal. If you’re playing golf on your own, you’re still committed to the end goal which is to complete the course. If you are playing a football match, you are still committed to that end goal. It might be to win to score goals, whatever it is, but you are the player. As a business owner, you’re the player who has some specific goals that you would like to achieve and you are going to commit yourself as the player to doing everything that you can to doing all of the actions, all of the activities that are going to help you to win whatever it is to achieve those goals.
Now then, then we have the role of the coach, so the coach themselves are somebody who will see what is going on. They will interact with you and they will also say, so our business coach for example, says that his job is to see and to say, so he will often see what I’m doing and see what I’m saying. Then he will then come back in and give me some advice, maybe show me where I’m going wrong or point me in the right direction. Now as the player is committed to the end goal, the coach is actually committed to the players commitment. So the coach is not committed to my goals as an example. He doesn’t want to achieve the things that I want to achieve. His goal is to, or his commitment is to be committed to my commitment. Therefore, if I don’t commit to my goals, then what is the point of the coach committing to what I am doing and that player coach relationship is going to eventually break down.
So we have our player, you’re committed to the end goal, whatever that is. Then you have your coach who will be committed to your commitment. Now there is a final character despite the fact it’s just you and your coach. There is another person involved. We have our player, we have our coach, but there is in fact the journalist. Now a journalist will be telling a story. That’s what a journalist does. They tell a story of what is going on and the journalist in the player and coach environment is in fact that internal dialogue that you probably have. We all have this internal narrative inside of us that says that perhaps we can’t do this because or we’ll never be able to achieve that because, or don’t go on video for example, because I don’t look attractive or that’s bad lighting or put weight on or whatever these internal conversations are.
Equally the journalist can also be the conversations that are going on around us. Very often when we first start a business and we tell our family, our friends, ‘Hey, I’m going to go and start a business’, we don’t actually get encouragement, but we actually get ‘ohhhh you sure you want to do that’ and all these different negative statements. So the problem here is because of that narrative from the journalist, which is kind of represented by your inner dialogue, but also the dialogue that other people are committing to you that ends up influencing the decisions that you make. It actually ends up influencing as well the commitment that you have. If you think of all of the stories that are going on in the media, when you’re bombarded by messages all the time in media and on social media, it actually begins to change your mind. A great example of that would be Brexit. You know, I voted to remain and yet I’m being bombarded with so many messages right now and slowly but surely I’m starting to think we might as well just leave and get it done with cause I think everybody’s sick of it. But it’s that continuous bombardment of messages that end up changing your perspective and sometimes not necessarily in the right way.
So let’s recap here. We have our player and that’s you. You are committed to an end goal. We have the coach who is committed to our commitment and they are the ones that are so often able to hold us accountable when the journalist rocks up and is influencing our conversations is influencing our decisions. So if you remember the Christmas Carol, I think my favourite one was the animated one with Jim Carrey in it. Absolutely incredible animation and just a wonderful story. There is the past, there was the present and there is the future. So the player that’s you, you are committed to the present, you are doing activities that obviously will affect the future, but right now the player is focused on the present. What actions and what activities are you engaging with now? Your coach therefore is committed to the future. So they’re obviously seeing what you are doing now, but they are also looking at that longer game. They’re committed to your commitment like we’ve said, and they’re committed to helping you achieve those things that are in the future. So they are looking at that longer game with you and helping you with those relevant decisions. Then finally when we have that journalists, they’re pretty much like the ghost of Christmas, past, past events, past conversations, all of those are going to influence what the journalist is telling you, which again is going to potentially create that a negative picture and have essentially hold you back.
So it’s the journalists that we need to be the most careful of. Now the problem is is even if we don’t have a coaching relationship right now, the journalist is actually rocking around with us all the time. We all have that in a journalist who’s consistently reporting on what’s going on in our lives and what has happened and is influencing the decisions that we make. So many of us don’t start things or don’t do things because of that inner narrative as well as the influence of the people around you. I think that that kinda highlights why sometimes we probably need that coach. We do need that person that can sit there and look at A what we want to achieve. B, be committed to our commitment and C also be able to recognise when you are holding back because of the journalist. We can so often look at other people and see the flows in that plan or see where they are potentially holding themselves back because of ridiculous reasons and yet they can’t see it. It’s the same with us because we are listening to this constant news feed from the journalist in our mind. Then we so often can’t see what is obvious and we so often are held back. The journalist is essentially feeding us and building up those limiting belief systems that stop us from achieving so much.
So I think it’s obvious the direction that I’m taking us here. I’m essentially highlighting that without somebody involved in what you are doing, then it can be very, very difficult to achieve your goals. To be the player without a coach is still possible. You still can be great at what you do and achieve your goals, but there’s an awful lot of work and you’re going to be consistently battling with that inner narrative as well as the narrative around you. Whereas if you can have a coach involved, if you can have a third party who is impartial, who is outside looking in, who understands you, who understands what you’re trying to achieve, etc then they can really help. They can talk that positivity into, into your business and into you. They can highlight when they think it’s actually the journalist or those limiting beliefs that might be holding you back. They can be the ones that are consistently encouraging you.
Now, very often we might become a part of say a mastermind, so this might be a group of us and that’s wonderful. Being a part of a small group of people I think is also essential because you have a group of peers that you can bounce ideas off, etc. However, the dynamic of a mastermind is different to that of a coaching relationship, so you still will be getting people who will call you out, who will probably spot when the journalist is holding you back. However, the problem with say a mastermind where everybody’s involved and everybody is just sharing their thoughts and opinions. They actually might become the journalist who are giving you the wrong impression or the wrong ideas. When you are in a mastermind of peers with no particular leader, then nobody is committed to your commitment. Everybody has their own commitments, everybody is player, but there is no one coach. Everybody’s supporting each other, but equally at the same time everybody is also focused on what they are doing. In a mastermind of peers, it’s pretty much impossible for you to be the coach and be committed to everybody else’s commitment and vice versa. It just becomes a big hot mess if that’s the way you are trying to build up that relationship.
Now that is absolutely a place for masterminds and I absolutely wholeheartedly encourage you to join up with some form of mastermind where you are in a group of peers who can help each other out, who can support each other, who can be there to talk to, etc. For me, I’ve been part of mastermind now for the last few years and that has certainly helped me with my mental health with massive decisions. It’s also helped me get amazing leads as well. It’s been a phenomenal source of networking, so a mastermind is super important, but for me what was missing for a long time was that mental was that coach, and I’m very lucky to have been mentored by Chris Ducker. I’m in for another year with Chris, but equally I also have that dedicated coach here locally who is actually the person who was able to help me understand how a coaching relationship should work. He’s a local business coach running a small coaching circle and I’ll put a link to that as well in the show notes, you can check out how he works because you might be able to find something that might work for you in your area with a similar sort of setup.
Now I imagine that you are instantly going to wonder what is the difference between a mentor and a coach. So if you imagine the mentor is a relationship with somebody who has got experience doing and achieving what it is that the mentee would like to achieve. So if we look at Chris Ducker, my association with him is because I want to benefit from his firsthand experience of putting on multiple events, of speaking around the world, of growing a large podcast, of growing a large community. These are all things that he has done and I am getting to benefit from his experiences and also from the people that he connects me with as well through the masterminds as well that he puts on, which is phenomenal. So that’s a great community and a great relationship with somebody who has gone ahead as it were and achieved a lot of these things. He was very helpful when it came to Agency Transformation Live giving me advice and also was there at Agency Transformation Live 2019 not only to talk which I was very grateful for but equally to talk me down a few times cause I was getting so stressed during the event. I’m a bit of a perfectionist was worrying about tech and he was just able to to sort me out there.
Whereas a coach, this is a structured relationship so this is probably going to be say a monthly meeting. There is going to be some sort of format. There are specific discussions that we need to have updates, etc. There is going to be accountability with your mentor. This is a relationship while you’re having conversations and help and big picture sort of stuff. With your coach this is the data day hand holding as it were and helping with your business. Your mentor relationship is going to be more relaxed and informal, whereas a coaching relationship is going to be much more structured and focused. For me and for our success it has therefore been essential to have that mentor who has achieved in his industry what I would like to achieve in my industry so that I can therefore learn from his experiences. But also it’s been essential to have a focused coach, somebody who will help me with those day to days who will be committed to my commitment in our regular setup and will also help me when that journalist is limiting my beliefs and is holding me back.
So you’re probably wondering how do you find a coach? So for me, for a long time my coaches were in fact people from my church who were helping me out. So they were not only coaching me in life, but they were also helping coach me in business and that was invaluable. Especially if you’re ever in a position where you just can’t yet afford a regular commitment with a third party but you do at least have an experienced friend who is happy to commit some time with you. That is phenomenal And that is definitely a great start. Now as the business is growing and as we are changing direction, for me it has become important to actually commit to a business coach. This was a very big question for me, would be who do I go for? Obviously you understand with a mentor, you’re looking for somebody who has achieved the things that you aspire to achieve in their particular niche or their particular industry. Whereas with a coach, you don’t need them to have achieved all of that. You’d simply need somebody who can be, like we’ve said all the way through this, that one person who can be committed to your commitment. Therefore, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to be looking out locally for a business coach, somebody who has had experience in coaching and in consulting with local businesses and helping them achieve whatever it is that they need to achieve. So if you’ve got somebody who’s local and who is affordable to you, they don’t have to have all of the technical experience. They don’t have to necessarily have that background as well that a mentor might have. Your coach is simply that person who is gonna come alongside you, be committed with you, ask the right questions and be there as a support.
For me therefore, it was a complete no brainer to take Paul on as my coach and he is a local guy. He runs the local networking here, so it’s a big networking group with multiple meetings all around Northamptonshire and he’s just a great guy. He’s funny. Equally though, he is a straight talker, so I know that he’s going to be calling out the journalist whenever that journalist is speaking and I know he is going to be committed to my commitment, which means I’m paying this guy, I need to be super committed. If I don’t do what I say I’m going to do, then why would pull want to commit to me? Because I’d be demonstrating that I don’t really have that commitment. So I as the player, therefore commit to the plans to the goals that I have and sure those goals might change over time as we do our MVPs, as we validate ideas, etcetera. But we are committed to those goals and I know therefore that Paul is committed to my commitment and guys that absolutely fuels me knowing he is there.
So folks can, I encourage you, if you are doing this alone, if you’re rocking agency life on your own without that form of coaching, without somebody to beat that alongside you, can I encourage you to go and at least start by finding a friend or at least joining some sort of group like a mastermind. You could create one yourself quite easily for free. We are in one ourselves, me and a few guys in the industry. We’ve got our own private groups set up so that we can all communicate and keep in touch. Step one you could do that so that you’ve got some support with a network of people. Step two then could be finding a friend who could then maybe come alongside you and be that coach. You can create this sort of coaching relationship with that person if they’re able to and happy to commit to that and obviously ideally if you can find some form of local coach, it could be an online coach as well who can be committed with you, who can help you along your journey. Then of course if you don’t have a mentor, it’s always good to have some sort of a mentor who is leading the way, who you can be following.
As we come into land, can I encourage you to join our free community? We have a community on Facebook. You’ll find it by tapping in Agency Trailblazer in Facebook or going to agencytrailblazer.com/group. Like I said at the beginning of this episode, there are a large group of people in our industry who will often share their thoughts, their experiences, and will ask questions and we have such a lovely, friendly community of people within there who will more than happily help, who will share their thoughts and their experiences on particular topics. Of course that doesn’t beat a good coaching relationship, but it does at least start to help you remove elements of loneliness from agency life. It can be lonely even if you have 50 employees cause the book stops with you. So having an environment that you can hang out in, it’s a closed group so you can feel free to be as open as you want to. Go ahead and check that out agencytrailblazer.com/group.
If you’d like to learn more about our premium community, you can find out more information on agencytrailblazer.com and in that we have workshops, we have content from our past event, which was Agency Transformation Live 2019 and we also have weekly calls with myself or one of our community leads who will lead a presentation on a particular topic and then we will open up for questions. So for example, yesterday we had a call where I played the presentation I prepared, which was on business continuity and then we had a conversation about that with everybody. It was a phenomenal time and I really, really love our weekly calls together. I’ve also recorded next week’s presentation that we’ll watch together and then we’ll be talking about and that’s all about a one page business plan. In our company we have a one page business plan that we review. This is actually something that the coach can review with me as well every single month and this is essentially enabling you to get your goals down on a piece of paper and what activities you’re going to be doing to achieve those goals. Instead of trying to create a 30 odd page business plan that’s going to help you apply for money from a bank. This is all about a piece of paper that’s going to help you achieve what you need to for your business. So that’s next week’s presentation and I’m really looking forward to hanging out with everybody over there.
If you’d like to experience what goes on inside that community, then you can for one pound there is a very special secret offer only for people who got this far in the episodes. If you go to agencytrailblazer.com/secretoffer, that’s agencytrailblazer.com/secret offer. You can have a seven day trial of the subscription where you will get access to absolutely everything. If you are not happy with it, you can cancel and we’ll all still be friends, but if you want to check that out, that’s agencytrailblazer.com/secretoffer for more information. Folks, if we don’t see you inside any of the communities, we will certainly see you in the next episode.
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