One of the things I love about coaching is when a client provides insight about business coaching that explains the benefits it will bring to a business and its owners. Such an occasion happened to me recently when I had the following conversation at the end of a strategic planning day with a client:
Client: I believe I understand why a business would look to engage a business coach.
Me: Really, I would love you to share
Client: Well…do you own a dog?
Me: Yes [I responded quizzically as I own a dog being a black lab and pondered where this was going]
Client: When you walk your dog does it drag you all over the park taking you where it wants to go and fails to respond to your commands, which leads you to become increasingly frustrated & stressed? On the other hand, does your dog follow you around the park obediently obeying your commands and directions, thereby making the walk an enjoyable experience?
Me: Hmmm… a bit of both but probably more of the former than the latter
Client: If you wanted that to change you would engage a dog trainer to help you train the dog to obey your commands such that the walk will on balance always be an enjoyable experience.
Me: Correct but what has that go to do with business coaching?
Client: My experience is that as a business grows and achieves success, it will take the business owners on a journey where they feel like they are just along for the ride and have no control over the direction of that journey or the final destination. In such a situation, the business owners will become increasingly stressed and frustrated and feel like this was not what they wanted when they started the business. At this point the business owners should bring in a business coach to help them take back control of the business such that they are able to guide the business along the journey to the destination they desire.
I just loved the analogy between training a dog and taking control of a business as upon reflection this represented the situation of many of my clients. When I am coaching a client in this situation, I always ask them the following questions:
Is your business controlling you?
Are you controlling your business to serve your needs?