A Good Business Coach Looks Under Your Hood

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On April 16, 2018

professional business coachI have to confess that one of my pet peeves is when someone tries to sell me something or offer me advice before they find out what I really want. It happens in stores and online all the time. Sometimes at business gatherings, people I don’t know will pitch me their services—without bothering to find out if I really need those services. You may have experienced that when trying to grow your business. People will offer solutions that don’t fit your needs or goals. A good business coach looks under your hood before suggesting solutions for your business problems.

Begin With the Business Basics
A lot of what passes for business strategy focuses on things that really aren’t business essentials. Sometimes those tweaks to your business can result in short-term improvements, but they really don’t get at the things that make for long-term sustainable growth. A good business coach will begin the business basics. He’ll help you look at your people; your business strategy; your execution of that strategy; and how you handle your cash. That may not sound sexy, but those four areas are where most businesses fail when trying to grow. And trust me, those areas can run deep.

Knowing Where to Look
The picture above reminds me of a friend who lived in Germany in the heyday of the VW beetle. He told me about a sign hanging in an auto repair shop there that said, “Don’t be alarmed if you open your hood and don’t find the engine—it may be in the rear!” That’s good advice for businesses as well. Your business isn’t necessarily like everyone else’s business. A good business coach doesn’t assume where the problem is, but he knows where to look to find potential problems.

Sticking With It
If you’re serious about growing your business you have to accept that it’s not going to happen overnight. Quick fixes don’t get at the real issues in your business. That’s why a good business coach will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to improve—and stick with you (holds you accountable) as you implement specific, measurable changes.

Here’s an Example
I often find that my clients’ experiences are the best explanation for what I do. Here’s what one of my Colorado clients recently wrote.

This has been a year of milestones for our business. We developed a comprehensive marketing plan and hired a marketing director to oversee the systematic execution of that plan [and] enabled us to add another salesperson. Our sales volume [will be] up a full 50% over last year! We’ve made necessary capital investments without squeezing our cash flow too hard. We hired an Office Manager who has taken at least 80% of the administrative detail load off my plate! Chuck has been instrumental in helping us make numerous internal process improvements that I believe will be the key to continued growth. Chuck helped transform my thinking and approach to business from that of a tactician to that of a strategist. —P.S. Peak Structural

Obviously, my clients are proud of their results (and of course, I am as well)! But results like this don’t just happen. They are a result of taking deliberate actions to make specific changes. None of that, however, will be effective unless you take a look “under the hood” of your business to see what needs work. And that is what a good business coach does.