The idea of having a business mentor or business coach is as old as business itself.
In fact, business coaching and mentoring features throughout biographies of famously successful entrepreneurs when you read between the lines...
You'll find comments all over about the trusted advisors, the mentors and friends who gave them guidance to become brilliant in business.
In sports, it's the same too, with top performers in all fields operating with their own coach to help them achieve their full potential.
In the UK business coaching and mentoring are gradually gaining ground as the smart way to grow your business and achieve success faster.
When a child learns to walk, every time they fall over, a little bit of learning happens. Apparently the average baby falls over around 150-200 times before they get the hang of walking.
Imagine if you applied 'the 200 times rule' to everything you did in business before accepting it doesn't work!
Cold calling no good? Or just didn't do enough hours?
Imagine if you wrote 200 different adverts before giving up on advertising as "not working".
And then again, how different would your results be if you learnt just one thing from every mistake?
You may have heard yourself that the most successful people don't just get a lucky break, they have tried more things and failed a lot more than most ordinary achievers will ever do.
Business coaching and mentoring are not just learning from your own mistakes, but taking the learning of somebody who's solved the same problems before.
A mentor will help you to look at a situation in new ways, try out new strategies and then look at the result as feedback, rather than failure. Everything in life is about making adjustments based on feedback and a coach helps you to change your thinking, so that failure becomes feedback, not a grim and grey ghost that haunts you and stops you from changing for the better.
Business Coaching And Mentoring Turns Mediocrity Into Success
Here's an example. One of my coaching clients had a retail business with a big inventory of stock that wasn't moving. Some of it was over 7 years old and was just clutter in the stockroom. She held a sale every year but had not managed to shift the old stuff, only newer, more fashionable items at discounted sale prices.
You can probably imagine how she felt when I suggested that a special "by invitation only" sale might get a different result. Years of poor results from sales meant she didn't believe it could work. "We've done sales before, that won't make much difference". As her mentor, I helped her to see the subtle, but important, differences in the approach this time around.
The sale became the best event, in turns of profit, that the shop had ever done. Many of the old items, which we affectionately called heirlooms, sold that night. Lots of new stock sold without any discount at all. Over the next month, all the remaining "heirloom" items sold out, clearing space and making revenue to buy more up to date stock.
A carefully crafted invitation letter to existing clients only (i.e. people who buy, not just tyre-kickers) filled the shop with 40 eager customers at the official sale opening time of 6pm. Her sales staff were rushed off their feet the whole time and when they looked at the figures, they took a week's sales in a little over 3 hours. The official closing time for the sale was 9pm, but they couldn't close the doors until the last customer left at 9.30pm. This experience was a turning point for my client and helped her to embrace lots of other new ways of thinking about her business, rather than worrying about failure.
Whether you choose to call it coaching or mentoring, UK businesses are waking up to it. It makes compelling TV viewing, from the original Troubleshooter series with Sir John Harvey Jones that inspired me to become a coach, through to "Badger or Bust" and all the other business programs now showing on UK channels. There is a healthy and growing interest in using an independent third party to help you look at your business through new eyes, bring new ideas and hold you accountable to making it happen.
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