At times people reference business and executive coaching interchangeably without realizing they are quite different. Each contributes its own value, and when pursued together, these two types of coaching can accelerate performance. Sometimes small business owners have difficulty understanding how their leadership styles and certain competencies limit their business’s success, because they are too involved in the daily operations of the company. For this reason, executive coaching for the leader and business coaching for the team can be a powerful investment.
What is Business Coaching?
A business coach works with the leadership and their teams to define vision, mission, and/or goals that the company wants to achieve—more commonly thought of as the coaching objectives. Business coaching is typically lead by coach who has a firm understanding of the various moving parts of business (i.e. finance, operations, marketing, customer service, and sales) and how they come together to deliver a product or service that attracts target customers. A business coach doesn’t necessarily have to be an expert in the industry but should have a working knowledge of how successful businesses operate.
The coach works with the team to gather data and help evaluate the company’s operations, systems, people structures, and communications, looking for obstacles to remove, more effective methods to deploy, and resources required to improve the organization’s effectiveness. The coach may help the team:
- paint an accurate picture of the internal and competitive landscapes
- help leadership perform a gap analysis from where the company stands to where it wants to go
- develop or modify processes and systems that enhance the business operations
- brainstorm and select a strategy
- create a plan with a schedule of critical milestones
- provide facilitation and accountability
Leadership decides what they do, how fast, and how involved they want the coach during the different phases of execution.
In many cases, hiring a coach to help identify the root causes of underperformance is worth the cost. You’ve likely heard the expression that sometimes it’s lonely at the top. As leaders rise in the ranks, they typically don’t receive all or accurate information of what needs to be addressed within their company. A business coach can help uncover the facts, so a company has a firm understanding with what they are dealing.
What is Executive Coaching?
Executive coaching deals with the worldview, thoughts, and behaviors of a leader and how these impact his team and ultimately business performance. Executive coaching focuses on what the leader needs to acquire, shed, or change in order to achieve a personal goal, move the company in a specific direction, or prepare him for another role. Leaders will usually be coached in one or more of the following areas:
- Identifying and developing personal strengths
- Minimizing overuse of a strength where it may become detrimental
- Understanding leadership style and enhancing leadership skills
- Developing a professional presence
- Improving collaboration and communication
- Driving successful team behaviors
In many cases, success is proven by how people respond to the executive. Although executive coaching implies a high-ranking individual in a large organization, executive coaching is very appropriate for a small business owner. I prefer the label “professional” as opposed to “executive” coaching, because everyone can benefit from individual coaching.
What Impact Can Coaching Have?
Leaders influence work processes, cultures, and how employees feel about themselves, their work, and their employer. How employees feel is reflected in how they treat their colleagues, vendors, and customers as well as how they speak about their employer. Leaders who embrace the coaching process can realize higher self-fulfillment, see their business thrive, and have greater impact on their employees and community.
Coaching can help with:
- Focusing on structure/boundaries/performance issues to increase productivity while creating a positive working environment
- Reducing or creating processes that make doing business more efficient
- Empowering employees to deliver a more positive customer experience
- Changing leadership behaviors to reduce organizational anxiety and increase focus on what’s most important
- Increasing collaboration and communication to build alignment and drive faster execution
- Creating a more positive working culture that draws in talented employees, customers, and strategic partnerships
Executive coaching is for leaders who want to lead their businesses well. Sometimes the most effective approach is for small business owners to commit to an executive coach and then move into business coaching with their team.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in business and leadership. She coaches individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people and be the best versions of themselves and see businesses thrive. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com