Most business coaches spend virtually every business coaching session, talking about how they feel and trying to motivate the client. Instead of focusing on marketing, selling, and developing new products and services, most business training programs have become quasi-psychology seminars for that lone-ranger, entrepreneurial entrepreneur to finally break through the corporate ice age and bring to light a better way of doing things. To truly help a client is a successful entrepreneur, the business coach must understand how the business person thinks, what motivates them, and how to tap into those emotions to help propel them forward.
As we work together in our coaching sessions, we need to find out precisely what the client thinks and what he or she is looking for. It’s easy for coaches to get caught up with the “here’s what you think you want,” “here’s what you want your clients to do,” “here’s what you need to do” mantra. It isn’t useful in getting past a client’s resistance to change or understanding where their real problems lie.
A good business coach needs to help clients see their goals and their real motivations, but not necessarily the things that seem obvious to us. We have to know what we’re talking about and then show them exactly how to get there.
When it comes to this, the biggest mistake we can make is to tell them what they have to do and how they have to act. While I don’t mind telling clients precisely what they have to do, it’s essential also to show them how to do it. Showing clients how to go from being unproductive to productive in a matter of months is much different from showing them how to do it in three months.
Suppose you don’t show clients how to go from one state of being unproductive to productive to another form of being constructive. In that case, the client’s mind will immediately start thinking that the coaching session is over before they even get created. That’s why it’s so important to show them, step by step, what exactly it will take for them to move from where they are to where they want to be.
One great example of this is business development. In many coaching sessions, clients may have very similar goals, but they won’t see what is required to reach those goals unless they first look at some books or online resources that show them where they are currently at.
If you find great books that show people step-by-step, you can often present them in audio form and then ask clients to listen to them on the phone or a conference call as you conduct your coaching. When a client wants more information, they can ask you questions during the conversation and then listen to you as you walk them through the process of getting them closer to their goals. You can then show them what they need to do to get there.
The goal of business development isn’t dull, but to be as clear and direct as possible. Business coaching isn’t about making up jargon or acronyms. It’s about showing clients how to create a mindset that’s all about the results they want rather than what everyone else thinks about what they should be.
If you make yourself sound like a professor, clients will get the idea that you’re an authority figure. It creates a great sense of urgency to do whatever you have to do to get the results they’re seeking. For example, if you have a client who has been frustrated with a particular marketing tactic, you could say something like, “you need to think about why you are not getting anywhere in this area. And start putting together a plan to solve this problem.”
Clients often get scared away from doing things because they feel as though they will be judged and criticized. When they start thinking about doing something, they often stop in their tracks and don’t do anything at all. However, if you give them the tools you have and show them what they need to do, they will be motivated to do things. And not just think.
As you can see, good business development is about the outcome and not the process. It’s also important to remember that clients are going to have varying levels of motivation. You can’t expect to change someone’s behavior without first changing the way they think.