My father sold bathrooms for a living back in the 1980’s. Business was good and at one point he owned a chain of showrooms across the East Midlands. I remember that he was always on the go: Buying, selling, shifting stock, doing deliveries, you name it my father did it. He worked really hard and was a very busy man.
He always said that he didn’t run the business, the business ran him and now I’ve started Gambit I understand what he meant: Business is tough and if you’re not careful you end up reacting to circumstances rather than planning for the future; long term goals fall by the wayside as more and more time is devoted to the day-to-day task of running a company.
The problem is that whilst long term planning is extremely important it’s rarely urgent. As such it often gets given a lower priority than it should. One of the main advantages of hiring a strategic growth coach is that it allows you to set time aside to plan in an organised way using a tried and tested process.
How is this done? Personally I like to use the GROW method. GROW is an acronym that stands for: Goals, Reality, Options and Way (forward). The model was originally developed in the 1980s by business coaches Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore.
Planning using the GROW method is similar to planning a physical journey. You start off by deciding where you are going (Goal) and consider where you are now (Reality). You then consider all the best possible routes (Options) to get to your destination before deciding on the best route (Way) to take to get there. So what are the main advantages of the GROW method coaching?
Client Centred Approach
A good business coach won’t tell you how to run your business, instead they’ll empower you to realise your goals. The advantage of the GROW method is that it allows the client to set out their objectives and to decide how to achieve them. The coaches job therefore is to harness the client’s expertise rather than supersede it.
If it’s all about the client’s expertise, then why do we need the coach? Well, whilst the coach isn’t an expert in how to run your business they should be an expert in how to coach business owners and senior management teams. Their experience in this area enables them to challenge their clients to think critically about the business and any obstacles which have been holding them back.
Coaches should also be able to offer an objective point of view which can be beneficial. An objective voice can help to combat groupthink. As Bertrand Russell says: “In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”
Coaches should also be able to introduce MBA level strategic thinking into the process and help clients to utilise business tools such as: The Orbital Planner, Ansoff Matrix, Business Model Canvas, Balanced Scorecards and a host of other business tools that may be useful to the process.
An Embedded Strategy
A good coach should also help his client embed strategic thinking within their organisation. Hopefully when the coaching has ended the client continues to plan for long term growth. At Gambit we like to work with clients to develop a single page business plan with SMART objectives that will continue to be used long after the assignment has ended.
If you’re running a business and would like help planning for future growth, then Business Growth Coaching may be for you. Send me an email briefly outlining your needs and we’ll arrange a time to meet up for a free, no obligation consultation.