There Are Some Things I Just Won’t Do

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On July 21, 2014

Won'tDoThatAs a business coach I do a lot of different things for my clients. I encourage them to think strategically about their businesses, and I provide them with tools to facilitate that process. I teach them certain proven business disciplines that will make them more successful. Then I help them make those disciplines a natural part of their lives.

I challenge clients to improve their thinking, their business skills, and their awareness of what’s happening in the marketplace around them—and I point them toward books, articles, seminars, presentations, and other things that will give them useful information they can use to get a leg up on the competition.

I work with clients set specific business goals and map out measureable action steps to meet those goals. I provide encouragement and accountability. I challenge clients to out-think, out-learn, out-plan, and out-work their competition. Then I meet with them one-on-one or with their management team to help them succeed.

And yet, there are some things I just won’t do.

I’m not talking about things of a moral or ethical nature. I’m talking about things I won’t do because I can’t. These are things that only my clients can do. Here are three:

  • Vision: I can’t create a business vision for them. I can help them identify it. I can work with them to refine it. I can coach them in ways to turn that vision into reality. But the vision itself has to come from them. Sometimes people have an idea of what they should or could do, but it’s buried or blurred. I can help them uncover it or sharpen it. But the vision has to come from them.
  • Desire: You know the old adage about leading a horse to water, but not being able to make him drink? It’s true in business, too. I can (and do) provide clients with motivating true stories and examples of what others in business have done. But I can’t create that burning desire within them to do the same. That has to come from them.
  • Persistence: Bloomberg.com says that 80 percent of small businesses fail within the first 18 months. There can be a number of reasons for this. For some businesses it’s the fact that they really don’t have something that the market wants. Others never quite figured out how to clearly communicate their value proposition to their audience. They’re perceived as a “me-too” business. Others fall victim to poor leadership that lacks the management skills to make the company succeed. Each of these issues (and others) are surmountable problems—if the person at the top is willing to work at it and keep working at it. But I can’t will someone to persevere. Again, that has to come from the client.

When it comes to business coaching, there are a lot of things I can do to help your business succeed. But there are some things I won’t do—because I can’t. You have to do it. But if you have a vision for what your company can be (or at least the seeds of a vision); if you have the desire to succeed; and if you have the persistence to stick it out and do what it takes to reach your goals (with a little help), then we ought to talk.

I won’t succeed for you, but I can help you to succeed.