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The 3 roles of a coach in a growing business

The 3 roles of a coach in a growing business

When running a growing business it is essential for the business owner, entrepreneur or CEO to clearly explain its changing business objectives. Taking on a coaching style of leadership to communicate shared goals to employees and overcome resistance is key to keeping your expanding business on track, says Matthew Crook, a director at Engaging Success, a business optimisation advisory firm.

Personally, I have seen many businesses suffer from a dysfunctional culture, underperforming staff and poor financial results due purely to the business outgrowing the capacity of the CEO’s management style. To avoid this happening, being a coach is one way to harness your team’s intelligence, with the added bonus of being scalable as the business grows.

Here are three roles a coach can play to lead business through a period of expansion:

The visionary

While everyone in a growing business may have their own idea of its vision, having a single common picture will ultimately be more effective. It is up to a leader then to harness these into one solid vision and to unite the team towards one goal. Coaches should use techniques such as scripting to discuss the company’s evolution and to create a single common picture.

Some tips to bring this to life:

  • Break down the vision into measurable objectives that the business, and then each function and individual, can focus on to achieve.
  • Ensure team members are involved in vision creation and the agreed objectives are measureable, and linked to achieving the vision.
  • Start with your personal vision and invite the team to contribute to it.
  • Make objectives and the end vision visible, accountable to individuals, and updated and celebrated as they are achieved along the way.

The person who empowers others

Coaches see delegation as an opportunity to build capacity and capability, and allow staff to make a mark on the business. Ask yourself: ‘Do my staff help me run the business or do I help them? Do they have a clear goal?’ It is a simple but powerful mindset change to put your staff in charge of achieving the vision. 

Some tips:

  • Remove the obstacles in your staff’s path and provide the resources, training and reassurance they require.
  • Lend a hand where needed – nothing engages a team more than the boss working in the trenches to meet a deadline.
  • Clearly define roles and a system to reward improvement.
  • Coaches should make as few decisions as possible, but where needed make the tough decisions. Through empowerment of a team to determine the process and steps to achieve agreed objectives they take an ownership position and will ensure a better result.

The honest communicator

Trust is critical. You already trust your staff to do the work, see your customers and handle inventory. Why wouldn’t you trust them with a reasonable amount of information about how the business is going and your vision for the business? 

Furthermore, once they are informed, why wouldn’t you trust them to have input into the decisions that affect them. Their engagement in your vision is dependent on their trust in you, which will be limited by your trust in them. Communication and honesty is essential to building trust and an engaged team who will help you to achieve your vision.   

Some tips:

  • Communicate with team members and discuss their performance openly, and honestly.
  • Be consistent and fair with all team members.
  • Keep the team updated with news about the business.
  • Discuss with your staff how much they want to know about the business and how much input into the business direction they would like to have.

As a manager in a number of businesses I have benefited greatly from the engagement of the teams who have reported to me. It has meant less stress, a better work environment, improved customer service and safety, and financial results beyond my expectations. I have also enjoyed watching team members grow in skills and confidence, and take on bigger challenges using the coaching technique.

It’s important to review and update your business insurance as it grows. Contact a Resilium adviser to help you choose the right coverage for your business. Together you can update your cover to make sure it’s adequate.

Matthew Crook is a director at Engaging Success, a business optimisation advisory firm with a simple goal to build stronger businesses. He is also a principle consultant at BDO, working with SME clients. Crook applies his extensive management expertise in business process improvement to assist organisations identify the real problems and provide effective solutions. 

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