I’ve been coaching business owners for years. I’ve trained hundreds to be marketing coaches. I believe in the process of strategic thinking, planning and doing, but I had never employed a coach myself.

euthman via Flickr CC

Highly paid athletes and performers are really only on stage or in the game for very short amounts of time. The rest of the time they spend practicing for the show and resting. Business owners on the other hand are always on, rarely practice to perform and, sadly in my case; don’t spend enough time rejuvenating or even thinking strategically.

Recently, I engaged my own coach to help me perform at a higher level and the payoff has been immediate in three very distinct ways.

Figure out the things I can’t do

You know, I have lots of answers. My problem, and the problem with most business owners, is nobody is asking me the right questions.

One of the things that engaging a coach has done is give me someone who will ask questions about what’s not getting done according to plan and why. So often the answer to these kinds of questions is that there are things I can’t do well.

The great thing about acknowledging these things is that most of the time they are also things that I don’t enjoy trying to do either. This simple acceptance has me fully engaged in finding team members who can and do excel at these things.

Figure out the things I won’t do

Lots of people know what they should do, what’s good for them and what’s prudent. The problem all too often is that left alone they do what feels good in the moment, what makes the most noise or strokes their ego.

That’s why we’re overweight, stressed and burned out.

In my case a coach is helping me understand what I won’t do on my own and providing me with a level of accountability that I can’t muster through pure will power.

Figure out the things I shouldn’t do

Spending time analyzing where I make my money is a pretty eye opening exercise. Like many people most of my income is derived in a couple of 30 minute blasts during the course of the day. Of course, part of the reason that is true is because of the fact that I’ve been doing this for a long time and part of it is true because I do a lot of little things all day that don’t pay – or at least not at the level I need to reach my plans.

Let me ask you this? If given the opportunity to identify three and only three of your highest payoff activities, what would be on that list?

Now, let me ask you another this? How much time do you spend doing those three and what would happen to your business if you spent twice as much time doing them?

Figuring out what you shouldn’t do and delegating or deleting it is just as important as figuring out what you should do.

If you want to take your business to greater heights in 2012, find a coach, consultant or someone that can force you to see what’s real and where to go to think and be bigger. (I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest a group of marketing consultants I’ve played a role in training.)

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Hey John,

    I really like the part about accountability: 

    “In my case a coach is helping me understand what I won’t do on my own and providing me with a level of accountability that I can’t muster through pure will power.”

    For me, “externalizing” accountability seems to be helping a lot.  To the degree that I am telling a number of “trusted” folks about a particular goal, the less I am willing to be slack and disappoint.


  • Funny – I’m often most resistant to coaching where I’m the strongest — and of course, that leaves me blind to perhaps the greatest leverage in my business and life.   

    Thanks for the nudge John

  • I find a specialized coach is often the best way to get guidance in unknown territory. They ‘force’ you to do the work and get the education at the same time.

  • I do agree with you on this matter concerning the reasons on why it is helpful to hire a coach. If you think about it carefully, hiring a coach will guide you in the things that you should and shouldn’t do.

  • Jordan Fowler

    I have found that an coach stands on the sidelines/pressbox and thus sees things
    that I cannot see with my head in the game. I found this to be true in
    my years as a swimming coach and in the presence of others who have
    coached me, as well. There is a reason there are coaches in the pressbox that send down pictures in the NFL. One of the greatest things they offer is to tell you things are NOT happening as you perceive them to be happening on the field. Realize that a coach can offer clarity but never execute for you.

    As to accountability, I have found coaches make for lousy accountability. My swimmers were much more responsive to accountability from their peers than to me. Knowing they were letting their team members down was much more of an accountability factor. A friend who coaches business owners in peer groups told me several of his clients said they wouldn’t have executed for him as a consultant but refused to look their peer small business owners in the eye without having completed their milestones.

    Coaches, great clarity givers, lousy accountability.

  • Hi John! Well explained about the importance of hiring a coach. As mentioned in this post, a good coach can observe the problems, mistakes and defects in us very carefully and he can rectify them. I like this post very much.

  • Thanks for the excellent post.  I have found as a coach, I wouldn’t be operating at my best without someone else coaching me.  Besides the external evaluation and accountability, I use my coach as a sounding board to try out ideas on.  I treat her (my coach is a woman) as a peer not as a superior. 

    I also have to mention the value of a mastermind. A mastermind is a group of people that regularly meet, talk about their goals and help each other each them.  Besides a coach, I see my Mastermnd as the reason for my success.

  • Coaches create champions because they are there with us to develop our full potentials. This is a very nice briefly explained article that gives its readers a full understanding of how a business coach becomes so important to every business owner.