Over the last 10 years, David Standing and his team at Accordant Partners have helped hundreds of clients unlock their business success by generating more enquiries, sales and profits. He’s worked alongside businesses both big and small, using a clear, effective model that guarantees positive results every time.
In this interview, David talks about what it means to have a business coach, and how coaching can help to grow a business in new and exciting ways.
- David, as a business coach yourself, what stage do you think a business should be at to consider hiring a business coach?
There are different ways of looking at this, and there’s not really a right or wrong time.
If your business is just starting out and is very much in its infancy, it may be possible for you to find an experienced businessperson within your network who can offer coaching informally. Their expertise will be of great benefit to your business and will provide a sounding board as you establish yourself in your market.
As far as mature businesses go, a great time to hire a business coach would be when you’re about to go into a more competitive environment. You might be launching a new product or service, or want to expand into new territory. Also, if your business has seen a period of stability but not much growth, that too can be a sure sign that you need a coach to look at your processes and work with you to push in a new direction.
- What qualities should a business owner be looking for in a business coach?
There are a number of important qualities to look for, but I’d say the most important one is experience. A business coach needs to be well grounded and have a wealth of real world business experience behind them. I have come across people who have never run a business before wanting to coach others, or only ever been in middle management without the experience of making tough senior management decisions. That’s not going to help you. A great business coach knows what it’s like to lead, to make mistakes and to learn important lessons first hand. They should be able to demonstrate that they have worked successfully with other organisations using this experience. The other qualities you should look for is an ability to listen, a strong sense of ownership and accountability, and finally a lack of ego.
- What are the benefits of a business venturing outside of its comfort zone?
A good business coach will challenge the status quo, and this is a positive thing. There’s no point in doing exactly the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. To grow the business, change is necessary. Business coaches will leave no stone unturned. They will look at your processes, people, profits and much more. Once the business moves outside of its comfort zone, you’ll be able to better identify what works, and which staff are particularly committed to being creative and flexible. In business, you should always be anticipating the next challenge and adapting proactively, and that’s what a business coach will help you to do.
- To be an effective business coach, you need to give business owners and their employees straight and direct feedback. How do people respond to your frank observations?
I set the scene at the initial meeting and am consistent with my direct language and actions throughout the business relationship. My style is non-emotional, straight-up and honest, but I have the business’ interests at heart and I make sure this comes across. Everybody always knows where they stand with me, and I’ve developed a no-nonsense approach that ensures maximum value for my time. Business owners and their employees can be open with me in return, which I actively encourage. Whenever I’m in a meeting, whether it be with a business owner, a board of directors or a group of employees, I reiterate that the tone of the meeting needs to be honest, open and frank. Of course, sometimes it can be awkward but ultimately the purpose is to achieve the best results for the business.
- Do all businesses benefit financially from hiring a business coach? How long until they see results?
Ultimately yes. But it really depends on which areas have been focused on. For example, if you’ve spent some time coaching sales staff to become more confident and creative with their customer communication skills, you won’t necessarily see big financial benefits on day one, but will do within time. If you’re focusing on a product launch or manoeuvring certain processes to become more efficient, you might see more rapid results. It depends entirely on what needs to change and how quickly those changes are implemented.
Would you like to talk with David about your business? Book an appointment here and receive a free half hour consultation.