I’m often asked by business owners what I do. And while I prefer answering that question by showing them rather than telling them, I thought it would be helpful to post a white paper that is included in the coaches binder that we give to our clients during the orientation session. This paper outlines quite nicely the primary role that a business coach provides to the company.

business coaching

Most business owners think a business coach is not for them. But then, most new business owners fail. The attrition figures are scary. One third will go bust in the first 2 years, half within 5 and two-thirds within 10 years. You know the very definition of business coaching? It is to guide entrepreneurs to achieve better results. Every entrepreneur needs someone in their corner, a confidante and professional counsel to support them when times get tough and to cheer them on when things are rolling.

It is all in the name, COACH…

C is for confidence.

Your business coach will help you clarify your vision for your business. They will be your confidential sounding board as you develop and put in place your business plan. From their experience they can guide you to more confident decision-making and true visionary leadership of your enterprise. Your business coach cares about you and your success and is committed to helping you fulfill your ambitions and dreams. There is no hidden agenda; they only care about your success.

O is for objective.

Your business coach is an objective, outside observer. They will guide you with suggestions and timely feedback to achieve better short, medium and long term objectives. Smarter objectives will ensure you stay focused on your vision. All businesses are acts of creation and happen in two parts. First they are created in your mind, through your vision and secondly they are created in reality. All too often new business owners, micro‐manage the parts of a business they feel most at home with. Your business coach will prompt you to step back and look at the ‘big

A is for ask.

Your business coach will not impose ideas or solutions on your business. That is the role of specialist consultants, rather they will ask you the right questions at the right time to clarify your thinking, your ideas and guide your actions. As an entrepreneur you are the conductor of your own orchestra. You may think of yourself as violinist or timpanist, but when you start a business you must step out of your comfort zone, take on new responsibilities and learn new skills. Your business coach will remind you of the baton when you reach for the bow or the stick. They will be your teacher in this daunting new position, up front, taking the lead, achieving total harmony.

C is for cash.

Cash is the lifeblood of business. All businesses that fail, do so because they bleed to death through insufficient cash flow. Turnover is vanity, profit is very nice but CASH IS KING. Your business coach will ensure you always have your finger on the pulse of your business, that you don’t procrastinate or focus only where you feel comfortable. Your business coach will be your cheerleader. There will be tough decisions, long hours and hard work. They will support you, encourage you and listen to you when you need someone to be on your side. The bottom line – bring in more cash.

H is for honing.

Nobody gets better at anything without quality feedback. Think of your driving skills! You were never better than when you qualified for your license and you’ve been slipping into bad habits ever since. You can’t afford bad habits when driving your business. Your business coach will guide you to hone your management skills, to develop professionally, as you get the job done. When you are sawing wood it is essential to stop regularly and sharpen your saw. Decision-making, planning and organizing, delegating, leading meetings and time management are just some of the key saws for the business leader. They all need regular sharpening.

Continue Reading…

Tattoos in the Workplace

June 11, 2014 — 1 Comment

Here in Ottawa, there’s a lot of talk these days about tattoos in the workplace. The Ottawa Convention Centre has locked out three employees who refuse to cover up their full sleeve tats (you can read about it here: http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/convention-centre-workers-say-they-were-locked-out-for-showing-tattoos). I’ve had a few people ask me my opinion on the issue, and I think my response has surprised many of them. TATTOO 0719 RMB 24585

I have a lot of tattoos. My right arm has an eagle’s head and wing that stretches from my shoulder to my wrist. My left arm is covered in warriors from different eras. Over my heart is a tattoo that represents my daughters. I plan on getting more ink in the future (BTW, if you live in Ottawa and want great work done, you need to see Monty Holladay – https://www.facebook.com/montyholladaytattoo).

I find my support leaning towards the Convention Centre in this situation. I quickly admit that I don’t know all the facts and can only go by what I’ve read in the paper, but it would seem like the Convention Centre had a clear policy regarding tattoos being covered and the employees in question agreed to that policy when taking the job. On that basis alone, I would have to side with the Convention Centre.

Having said that, I do think society’s view of tattoos has changed. These days, everyone and anyone seems to have a tattoo – or want a tattoo. There’s really nothing rebellious about them. Tattoos are (rightfully) seen as body art. Permanent. Body. Art. Very few people would view someone as less professional because they have a tattoo. At least not tattoos on someone’s arm, leg, or back. I’m not sure the average person is quite ready to embrace facial tattoos at the board table.

Still, the Convention Centre, like any business, has the right to decide if they want their employees to cover up. It bothers me when people argue that they have a right to show off their tattoos and that they are being discriminated against because of their ink. I cry “bullshit!” to that argument. I made the choice to get inked. I did it knowing that not everyone in society would embrace my tats. If someone makes a judgment about me based on my tats, I can’t cry “Unfair!!“. I accept it. Their loss.

To be honest, most of the time I forget all about my ink. In the same way most people don’t suddenly look down at their hand and think, “Wow, that’s right! I have fingers!!” I rarely notice my ink. It’s simply a part of me. These days, I usually only think about my ink when I’m about to meet a potential new client. If I’m meeting a business owner for the first time, I’ll usually wear a long sleeve shirt. Not because I’m ashamed of my ink, but because I want to limit any barriers that might keep me from the opportunity to work with that business owner. If they become a client, I have no issue with showing up at a meeting with my ink showing. Once I’ve started working with a client, my tattoos are a non-issue. All they care about is whether I can help them further their business. And, I’m damn good at that. If you’re a business owner, check out my post over at Breakthrough Coach on workplace policies and how they relate to tattoos.

What do you think? What’s your “line”? Are tattoos okay in the workplace? What about neck and face tattoos? What about piercings?

ist2_2727787-i-don-t-knowAbout ten years ago, I was standing in front of a room full of bikers during one our the early Bikers Church services. We would have a Q&A time after the “sermon”, and someone said, “There are times when I doubt the existence of God. I feel so guilty that I do. How can you be so confident that God exists?”

I stood there for a moment, contemplating his question. Finally, I answered, “I don’t know. To be honest, there are times when I wonder if God really exists too. I guess that’s why they call it faith.

Some of my leaders were bothered with my response. I had a couple of them come to me afterward and suggest that my answer wasn’t the best approach. That even if I didn’t know, people were expecting me to have a better answer than simply saying, I don’t know. They felt that the Pastor should know how someone can confidently believe that God exists.

However, for the person asking the question, my response lifted a weight of guilt from their shoulders. After all, if the pastor has doubts, then perhaps they shouldn’t be so hard on themselves when they doubted. Maybe doubt wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

This isn’t a post about faith or doubt. It certainly isn’t a post about God’s existence (so please don’t fill the comment section with proof that God is real).

I’m convinced that the most powerful words you can offer someone are I don’t know. Yes, there are some challengers for the three most powerful words. Some would suggest that the three most powerful words are:

  • I love you.
  • I am sorry.
  • You are accepted.
  • I want beer.

All of those can be very powerful when spoken in the right context. Perhaps in a later post, I might even argue why one of those statements is more powerful than I don’t know.

But not today.

1395033982931Today, I am overwhelmed with how many people think they know … everything. We are surrounded by those who hold strong beliefs on a wide range of topics. Whether we’re talking about politics, sexuality, religion, women’s rights, teenage killers in California, kidnapped school girls, Ukraine, or whatever 15 second bite leads tonight’s news. Ask someone what they think, and most will gladly give you their opinion.

Ask them how much they’ve read up on whatever subject they are giving their opinion on, and most will stutter before admitting that they have done limited research on the topic.

I don’t know.

When you think about it, those three words can be so freeing. Suddenly, you don’t need to impress others. You don’t need to worry about getting into an argument. You don’t need to have to sound intellectual. You can simply be … honest.

I’m not suggesting that we should strive for ignorance. But what if, when asked about something we really haven’t taken the time to learn about, we admitted to people that we didn’t have the answer. What if when acknowledging we don’t know, we also commit to finding out. What if we responded, I don’t know. What do you think?

I’m a big fan of learning. I am always reading books, browsing blogs, and trying to learn more. However, far too often, I devote my time to learning more about things I already know a lot about. I want to become more curious about things I don’t know anything about.

I think I’ll do that. I think I’ll pick one subject a month that I have no knowledge in and try to learn about it. I have a feeling I’ll never run out of potential subjects!

What about you? Pick a topic that you know nothing about and commit to learning something about it over the next month. Share the topic in the comments section.

I don’t know where it will lead us.


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