Coaching for SMEs: focus is key
As I prepare for the New Forest Business Expo, I’ve been thinking about how best to articulate the benefits of coaching to owners and members of SMEs. In many respects, the coaching process is no different from the process for any other kind of business person; but what is different is the focus, especially when it is your own business.
The purpose of coaching for SMEs
The purpose of coaching for SMEs, as I see it, is to think through issues and opportunities that are important but not urgent, that you know will boost your own and your business’ growth, but that you rarely give time to because you are working diligently in the business rather than on the business.
The outcomes are individualised, depending on what the client wants to work on, but two of the biggest themes revolve around bottom line performance and a focus on opportunities for growth. These often stem from working on yourself first. It’s about developing you and your team to get clarity, direction, fulfilment and business growth.
Why opt for coaching over other developmental opportunities?
- First and foremost, it’s individualised to your needs – no “sheep dip” training here that immerses you in content whether you need it or not. You choose what is most important to work on for you and your business.
- You work on real issues, things that are keeping you up at night. You don’t leave your business behind to go and learn something that you then have to figure out how to apply to your business. Instead, you are working while you are learning, learning while you are working. You will also unlearn habits that you decide have been holding you back.
- It’s really cost-effective, because you are working on real problems, where you have perhaps been stuck for months or even years. Making progress on these things makes a real difference to your bottom line.
- It’s totally confidential, so you don’t need to worry about being seen to be perfect (which actually gets in the way of making great progress).
- Time and location can be arranged to suit both you and your coach. You can figure out where and when you do your best thinking. For some people, that means going out for a walk with your coach, to free up your mind from the day-to-day detail that is sitting on your desk; for others, working on the phone can be really advantageous, as it allows you to be in your own safe space.
How does it work?
Well, you define your goals for the programme and you contract with your coach for how they can support and challenge you in achieving those goals. Each time you meet, you bring an issue to think about strategically. You meet for a length of time and with a frequency that feels right for you and your goals. And at the end of that time, you review your progress and decide whether you want to re-contract to work on a new set of goals. In terms of what you might bring to coaching, it can be anything that is important and meaningful to you; others have worked on:
- Lifting their heads out of the detail of the day-to-day to think strategically – working on the business, rather than in the business
- Increasing profit, through better customer service, reduced employee turnover and cutting costs
- Being more productive – creating processes to automate/outsource etc., while also working smarter for the benefit of their own work/life balance
- Building their team through their own leadership, building better communication skills, delegation, conflict management, etc.
- Being more courageous in their decisions
- Or anything else that is important
Coaching works for people who:
- are results-driven
- want to enhance their capabilities
- want insights, strategies and skills to solve issues
- want to fast-track their organisation’s growth
- want to learn
Interested in coaching for your Small to Medium Sized Enterprise? For you or for one of your team?
Then give me a call on 07775 817 344. Or come and find me at the New Forest Business Expo on 3rd June, if you are local.