Not enough entrepreneurs take up or maintain an executive or business coach. A key obstacle is the perception that business owners hold of coaching.
Serial Entrepreneur Creel Price is on a mission to change this. His admiration of coaching stems from the attribution of much of the success in his own business to Michelle Duval of Equilibrio, the executive coach he used for nearly a decade. Success that saw him cofound Blueprint Management Group with $5,000 and sell it within a decade for over $100 million. He is frustrated by the lack of coach utilisation among business owners suggesting; “When I see an entrepreneur not realising their full potential I find it short sighted when they either refuse to engage a coach or give up before the results pay dividends.”
Price has spent the last five years training thousands of entrepreneurs around the world in his unique formula for business success. His methodology is used in the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship - a contribution that inspired Sir Richard Branson to include him in his book Screw Business as Usual - ‘Creel is one of those people who never, ever accepts that there is not a way to solve something. He is the living, breathing definition of an entrepreneur.‘
So why aren’t more business owners and entrepreneurs using coaching? Because of what Creel calls the Paradox of Coaching Entrepreneurs – seven mostly negative forces that once identified in a coach's practice can be addressed to achieve more entrepreneurial clients.
Creel lists the Seven Paradoxes as follows:
1. SOLD / BOUGHT
One of the enduring paradoxes of business is that coaches need new clients to build a reputation yet they need a reputation to secure clients. This equation is multiplied in a coaching practice that has a service that has to be sold, not bought. Entrepreneurs don’t know they need coaching. Yet selling coaching can give the impression that the coach is desperate for business and can cause a loss of creditability, putting the question in the entrepreneur’s mind – “how can this coach help me if they haven’t been successful at business themselves?”
Impact – Coaches don’t convert as many prospects as they should.
2. LARGE WANT / SMALL WALLET
Unfortunately many of the potential entrepreneurial clients that want a coaches service the most, are the clients who simply can’t afford it. They are newly in business, have little revenue and whilst they need the most help are not in a position to justify the expense. A coaches is database is often littered with these prospects that they would love to help but the effort simply doesn’t warrant the reward.
Impact – Coaches waste time with unqualified or unlikely prospects.
3. COACHING TIME / SALES TIME
Coaches make their living selling their time. Every hour they aren’t in front of a client is an hour they aren’t making revenue. Yet the key sales person in a coaching practice is usually the coach, which often creates conflicting interests on the coach’s focus. When business is in short supply a coach devotes significant time to sales so that their coaching time fills up causing the time devoted to sales to quickly drop off which of course causes a future hole in coaching activity. Then the cycle starts all over again.
Impact – Coaching practices are often in a boom bust cycle.
4. HIGH PRICE / LOW PROFIT
The hourly rate coaches charge can appear high to business owners and entrepreneurs who are used to paying high-level staff much less. Yet due to the limited number of chargeable hours in a week, the need to allocate unpaid time to relationship selling and their often high overheads results in coaches being paid much less than they deserve and making much less than the entrepreneur might believe. A case of perception trumping reality.
Impact – Coaches lose sales because their service is perceived expensive.
5. PAYMENT / PAYOFF
Entrepreneurs often under-value the cost they pay coaches because they have a hard time justifying the investment. The payment is immediate yet the payoff is more often sometime in the future. The expense is not something that shouts the loudest in an already tight budget. Yet the paradox is that there are few business expenses that have as a big an ROI as coaching. Just one decision can be the difference between building a multi-million dollar business compared with not being in business this time next year.
Impact – The first expense to get rationalised is coaching.
6. TIGHT / LOOSE
Entrepreneurs are often very pragmatic people and love to be in control. The latter is usually one of the big motivators for why they went into business for themselves in the first place. If entrepreneurs need to allocate time and funds to something like coaching they want surety about the results. However the dilemma with coaching is that it is often difficult for a coach to give them this in advance if they don’t have intimate knowledge of their business or the sometimes hidden limiting beliefs holding them back.
Impact – Coaches lose clients without demonstrating a clear pathway.
7. FORGOTTEN / BLAMED
Good coaching is often about facilitating clients to arrive at solutions themselves. Unfortunately this staying in the background often results in clients not attributing their success to the work coaches do. Yet on the opposite side of the coin – when a strategy doesn’t work the coach is often the first to be blamed. It’s always easy to have a scapegoat or someone to damn even when deep down the entrepreneur surely knows that when a strategy or coaching session doesn’t pay dividends it is mostly due to the entrepreneur not following through on their commitments.
Impact – Coaches get little glory but often all of the blame.
Creel has developed a system to help coaches fix each of the Seven Paradoxes one by one. To find out more go to www.accelerateglobal.com