Why every Business needs a Coach
Sanjiv Dodhia has been an ActionCOACH franchise owner since April 2016, but has already made a positive impact on his business owner clients.
One such client is Figment Agency, a London-based, award winning digital marketing agency. They were blown away by the transformation of their business since they engaged with their Action Coach. So much so, their Marketing Director, Emma Levy, wrote this article for other business owners.
The biggest challenges facing UK businesses
Businesses face an array of problems on a daily basis. Some are external, such as lack of access to funding, competition, staff shortages and skills gaps, red tape, health and safety and the state of the economy. Others are internal, like getting the most out of your staff, but are no less challenging.
Are you guilty of ‘shelving the strategy’?
According to Sarah Watts, Head of the Information and Advisory Services at the Institute of Directors, business leaders will often spend time developing strategies, only to fail to do anything with them. Furthermore, many organisations don’t have meaningful performance measurements in place and don’t carry out regular performance analysis.
Backed up by bestselling business author, Bernard Marr, he cites lack of financial management as a key contributor to the stunted growth of many organisations.
Writing for Hiscox Small Business Knowledge Centre, Bernard says: “Many CEOs I know are ideas people. That means they’re great at the big picture and disruptive thinking, but less good with things like cash flow, profit margins, reducing costs, financing, etc.
“Small and medium businesses may not require a full-time CFO, but would do better to employ a financial consultant, who can step into the role as needed.”
This is something business growth and employee engagement specialist, Sanjiv Dodhia, strongly agrees with. All the issues, bar none, outlined by both Sarah and Bernard are widely apparent through the work he does developing businesses.
Three vital facets of effective business coaching
A good business coach will combine the three major areas in which business owners need help: mindset, strategy and systemisation. Sanjiv is part of a worldwide network of Action Coaches, who all work very differently to consulting firms.
Following their unique and proven models, the business growth coaches look at the business in relation to the most important elements that drive profitability.
Lack of execution is one of the greatest barriers to development for the smaller business. Often it’s the mindset of the business owner that’s behind this lack of execution.
Sanjiv says: “Business owners are generally technicians. They are excellent at their craft, which is obviously crucial for the success of the business in terms of quality. However, technicians don’t tend to have natural business acumen.
“This is precisely why the mindset aspect of business coaching is so important. It’s designed to coax out the underlying business leader, to get them to step up to become a confident manager and leader and, eventually, to think like an entrepreneur.
“Encouraging the owner to work on the business instead of in it helps achieve the desired goals and strikes a far healthier work-life balance.”
The strategy part of the ActionCOACH process is all about the mastery of the business.
“It’s about turning goals into plans and plans into results,” Sanjiv says.
“It’s vital to have a solid operational structure in place, so that a business is able to deliver on a consistent basis. Sometimes this could involve slowing a business down because growth at too rapid a rate can be detrimental.
“So we might put in structures and systems, install a division of responsibility, bring services in-house, budget and plan ahead and, of course, establish good financial control. Premature growth without such systems will lead to business distress.”
This part, according to Sanjiv, is all about building a roadmap that starts with the goal and works out how to arrive at it.
“This is aimed at making the business owner self sufficient, so they have their own inset skills to continue driving the business, rather than use outside consultants for fixes which turn out to be only temporary,” Sanjiv explains.
Do i really need a business coach?
Many business owners wonder whether a business coach is really going to add value to their organisation. Common reactions include:
- What can a business coach teach me, I’ve been in business for years?
- No one understands my business like I do.
- I don’t have time to follow a coaching programme.
Steve Grant, Managing Director at Figment Agency, says: “Life as a business owner can be lonely. Even when you are in partnership, it’s helpful to have an outside perspective.
“We find that having a sounding board and point of accountability keeps us motivated and our time management has greatly improved. We would say to any business considering taking on an Action Coach, look at it as an investment rather than a cost. Imagine that continuous access to practical, expert knowledge.
“We have found working with ActionCOACH and Sanjiv to be of significant value to our business. We now spend more time working on the business and have gained focus, clarity and perspective.
“In addition, the quarterly ‘GrowthCLUB’ is an excellent forum for planning your next quarter’s activities, sharing ideas, discussing issues with other business owners and networking.”
Business coaching is not a sign of weakness
These days, everyone who is anyone surrounds themselves with coaches, advisers and experts. Athletes, sports stars and high flyers all have teams around them to support various aspects of their lives and careers.
As ActionCOACH says: “You may be able to survive in business without the help of an Action Coach, but to thrive you need to be at the top of the game.”
Making a difference
Sanjiv Dodhia lives in Surrey with his wife and three children, but had spent much of the last 15 years working away from home in varying roles.
He explains: “I was ready to move on in my career, but it had to be for the right opportunity. I wanted something to keep me engaged and enhance my own development for the next 15-20 years, doing meaningful work that would get me out of bed, rather than cruising to retirement.
“I went to the ActionCOACH discovery day in January 2016 and was convinced this was the right path to take for the next chapter of my life.
“I wanted to build my business by coaching established companies that are looking to go from good to great or those that were stuck looking to get to the next level.
“In my first week, using the techniques from training, I saw three prospective clients and they all signed up for one-toone coaching. That means I had already smashed the client income guarantee ActionCOACH offers new franchise owners - if you invest in enough marketing to get you in front of six qualified prospects a month and use their UK sales process, you will achieve a gross £10,000 monthly income within your first seven months of training.
“At this point in my career, my purpose is not keeping my bank account topped up - my property business pays my bills. I want to become a world class coach and make a difference to the businesses I work with, make an impact on their lives and the communities they serve.
“I’ve also gained much greater flexibility and control over my time. I have time to play tennis and spend more time with my family.
“My journey with ActionCOACH has already been transformational. Never mind wanting something to get me out of bed in the morning, it’s given me that stretch I needed.
“It’s been an immense educational opportunity and there is more to come, with over 70 days of development on offer each year from the UK support team.”