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Growth or Holding Pattern - Keeping Your Business Coaching Clients on Track
October 14, 2010 — Anonymous
Harvard Business Review had a blog on the leadership lessons of ants last week written by Ndubuisi Ekekwe, founder of the African Institution of Technology – a non-profit organization.
Ekekwe was watching ants working and he saw that when one found food, others came to help collect it, and when the line was damaged
You have a business coaching client that has hired you to help them grow and you have done so, then, a couple of years later they call you again.
They want more growth, they want to introduce a new product line, or maybe they feel the business is becoming stagnant.
But, as their business coach, you know when you left them they were doing all they can to grow – and it might just be harder and slower in this economy.
Should you fix what doesn’t need fixing? Is there a point where the client should simply correct course and continue on?
First off, you need to clarify what’s working for them and what isn’t working – that’s what we business coaches do, right? You did this in the first coaching engagement – now it’s kind of like a Quality Assurance.
Ask your client the hard questions once again, like these ones from Brian Tracy’s Tubostrategy:
What are the most important products in your business right now – as in what is bringing in the most revenue?
Where have the major changes taken place in your market?
And, finally, the hardest of all, what are your major assumptions about your clients, your market and your product? Do they hold true in today’s market?
What worked yesterday may not work today, not just because of where the economy has been, but also because of the rapidly advancing technologies that bring on a world economy: the game has changed.
A client may have assumed there is a huge need for ping pong balls in his area and he has been importing them – but business has dropped significantly. Further investigation shows that ping pong balls can now be bought online for half the price that he is charging his customers.
The business coach needs to help the client see where his business is heading. This is why we recommend regularly scheduled maintenance for our clients. It isn’t just client retention, it’s essential customer service.
Make sure the original game plan has worked and if what you and the client based that plan onn still holds true and that it is still being carried out.
Get your client back on track again but explain that they may need to work at the plan a little longer.
If your client has recently implemented new strategies based on business coaching assessments and recommendations and has had a reality check that corrects any misdirected energy – then you might want to suggest they soldier on.
Emerson said, “Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.”
Brian Tracy says “Nothing great was ever accomplished without persistence.”
Perhaps your client needs to reminded of that fact. It is a hard time to make a go of it, but if you are good at what you do in the hard times, imagine how good you’ll be at it in the good times.