##Business coaching can help you to overcome barriers you face when growing your business. Coaching works on the premise that you, as the business owner, have the answers within, but these need to be drawn out, through questioning and exploration. Then achievable objectives need to be set and reviewed and adjusted accordingly. The end goal should remain the same, but you might come across other options and possibilities as you start to action your plan. It’s all part of the learning process of growing yourself and your business!
As such, a business coach tends to be focussed on working towards a specific goal, one at a time, and can be performance-focussed or role-focused, whereas a mentor will act as a “sounding-board” and will use their own personal experience to help the mentee. In some cases coaching and mentoring can work together, and both can help a business, although mentoring tends to be a longer-term and less formal in structure. We’ll come onto structuring a coaching session, using a helpful model, later in this article.
It looks as though there are few opportunities for free business coaching, but most business coaches will offer a free initial consultation so that you can see how this works and to allow you to check out the style of coaching and whether or not it suits.
Another check to make is that the coach is accredited to a professional network and has undergone professional training, so don’t be afraid to ask for proof of this.
If your issue is about skills, behaviour development, or a transition into a leadership role, take a look at the Leadership & Management Wales (LMW), which is the Centre for Excellence for leadership and management skills in Wales. The website shares information about how to hook into free, funded and subsided opportunities for training and coaching.
Other companies specialise in different types of coaching, from team coaching to personal one-to-one coaching. The list below shares differences between types of coaching, a directory of coaches, and some share events you can attend to find out more information.
Zokit offer networking sessions and coaching/mentoring for businesses, including start-ups. More information can be found out on their website: http://zokit.co.uk/
As a guideline, a useful approach to coaching is to work through a series of questions, by using the CIGAR model. This explores:
Current: What is your current situation? What are your current issues? Prepare a SWOT analysis if you need to, exploring strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Ideal: Where do you want to be? What would your ideal situation look like in 12 months? What is your motivation to achieve this?
Gap: What are the gaps in existing knowledge, skills, motivation or experience? Why do the gaps exist? Why is it important to bridge the gaps?
Actions: What actions do you need to take to take you to your ideal state? What are the priorities in those actions? When do they need to be achieved? What support do you need to achieve these? How can you reach out to get the support you need?
Review: How will you know if you have achieved this action? What’s the outcome or output? How will you measure this?
It may be worthwhile working through this coaching model, work on your action plan and use any insights gleaned to spur you on!