4 Things Entrepreneurs Do That Make Business Coaches Cringe

Content was originally published on Inc.com on August 21, 2018.

Here at Maui Mastermind, we have coached thousands of business owners over the past decade. We have seen small businesses blossom and grow into owner-independent companies. We have seen business owners scale their businesses and sell them for more money than they ever thought possible, and we have watched executives climb the ladder faster than they ever imagined. To the outsider, being a business coach looks like a pretty amazing gig.

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But there are a few things that keep us awake at night. 

“I’m too busy…”

I was working with the managing partner at a regional law firm in the south east.  One day he said to me, “David, I don’t have time to meet with you anymore because I need the time for billable work.”  Now this attorney billed $600 per hour.  But during the prior year we’d spent roughly 20 hours of one-to-one coaching sessions, during which the ideas I helped him implement increased his firm’s operating profit by over $750,000.  If you do the math, that’s an effective hourly return of $41,000 per hour of one-to-one time.  Yes that is distorted math because he and his team still had to implement the ideas we agreed on, but the you get my point.

I know you are busy. You have a thousand things on your plate, and currently, your business can’t run without you. I see that day in and day out with new coaching clients.

But here’s the thing– many of the things you’re so busy doing are just not that valuable.  And if only you had the courage to say no to other people’s urgencies, and to the seductive call of your inbox, you could accomplish so much more.

If I were sitting there with you during your work day, would you really spend your time doing all the low value things that currently interrupt and eat into your day?  Of course not.  First, you’d be too embarrassed, but more than that you know you have higher and better uses for your time. 

You are not too busy; you simply don’t have the habits, structure, and courage to say no to the lower value “stuff” that you’re drowning in.

You Lie To Yourself (And Your Coach)

When we meet up for our sessions, it’s human nature to want to put your best foot forward. Take our quarterly 1 page action plan strategy reports for example. We have all our clients prepare a strategy plan each quarter (which we also do for ourselves) and then we review them together during our sessions.

It’s been my experience that there are two layers to strategy and many coaching clients lie to themselves about their strategy. 

Layer one is your “stated” strategy. This is where you say you company will invest its best time, attention, talent, and money to progress the company to its most important goals. This is the “theoretical” part of creating your strategy.

Then there is the second layer – the actual strategy your company is following regardless of what your pretty strategic plan says. This second layer is the practical, “on the ground” reality of how your company’s daily decisions actually direct your top company resources. It is the accumulation of all these small decisions about where you and your team actually do invest your time, talent, attention, and money that define what your strategy actually is in the real world.

You might say your strategy is X, but if day-to-day you don’t back that up by actually investing your key resources (e.g., employee time, customer attention, money, equipment, capacity, etc.) in this area, then this reality isn’t your strategy. Your real strategy is the one that gets the resources, regardless of what you say your strategy is.

So when you meet up with your business coach, be honest and forthcoming. Share the good, the bad and the ugly so that we can get a more accurate picture of areas for improvement.

You Don’t Think We “Get” It

“But David….you don’t understand…..”

We do. A great business coach has not only been in your shoes, but they have come out the other side triumphant. We understand your pain points and want to see you succeed. They aren’t going to ask anything of you that they haven’t already done themselves. We call that “eating our own cooking” here at Maui. We have systems and controls setup for our own coaching businesses and we know the value in a great mastermind group.

You Don’t Know How Much We Care

And the #1 thing that keeps your business coach up at night…..the fact that you don’t know just how much they are rooting for you to succeed.

You have people in your business life who are rooting for you and counting on you– remember that.

4 Things Entrepreneurs Do That Make Business Coaches Cringe
Article Name
4 Things Entrepreneurs Do That Make Business Coaches Cringe
To an outsider, being a business coach looks like a pretty amazing gig. But there are a few things that I commonly see business owners do that make me cringe....
Publisher Name
Maui Mastermind Business Coach
Business David is a Wall Street Journal and Business Week bestselling author of 11 business and financial books. A syndicated columnist for Inc.com and HuffingtonPost.com, David’s articles have appeared in over 6,500 publications. As the founder and CEO of Maui Mastermind®, David has worked with 100,000+ business coaching clients and community members to buy, build, and sell over $5 billion of businesses.