Have you ever reached a point of stagnation in your business – where it (and probably you) have kind of flat lined?

You’re putting in long hours and there are sales coming in but you know you’re not getting the results or generating the profit you really want. You know your business is capable of so much more but you’re not sure where it will come from or how to leverage it.

Check out this recent article published by Officeworks where I share some observations and thoughts on how small business owners can avoid common pitfalls and accelerate the growth and profitability of their business.

You run a small or medium business and you want to see it succeed.  But are you investing enough in yourself and your own growth as a leader?  The challenges of leadership are often overlooked.  Beyond planning and management skills, leaders need to provide the vision and motivation to grow and develop teams.  Business leadership coaching is becoming a vital circuit-breaker for anyone looking to take their business to the next level.  Through coaching, business owners and leaders can break through barriers, discuss complex decisions and seek counsel privately.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt says getting a coach was the best advice he ever received.  Schmidt told Fortune magazine that he initially resented the advice, as he was already an experienced CEO.

“But that’s not what a coach does,” he said.

“The coach doesn’t have to play the sport as well as you do. They have to watch you and get you to be your best.”

Today, coaching is spreading rapidly from corporations to small and medium enterprises. Sydney-based business coach David Howells specialises in helping SME owners.  He draws on his own experience as the former owner of an import and distribution business. He built the business from zero to $15 million in turnover, facing many challenges along the way.

“I start by really understanding the business and its owner’s purpose, drive and passion,” he says.

Howells says many business owners are overwhelmed or reluctant to seek help. Some are fearful of moving forward because they know there are gaps in their knowledge.  But in an unregulated industry, it pays to do your research.  Howells says there’s been a boom in group or internet-based coaching, often delivered by someone without a business background.

“Ask what experience the coach has had in business before coaching,” he says. “And make sure the coaching is one-on-one.”

Here are three reasons why executive coaching may help you succeed as a leader.

#1: When you grow, your business grows

As a business owner, you are the public face of your enterprise.

A leadership coach will analyse how you present yourself to the world.

Their feedback can help you adapt your personal style to build contacts, gain clients and customers, interact with staff and be clearer about your future vision.

It sounds simple, but it’s not. Identifying any blind spots or areas to build on is a job best undertaken by an outsider.

A coach offers fresh eyes, collaborative discussion and guidance.

#2: Coaching can help you overcome roadblocks

Let’s say your business has carved out a niche and is doing well. You’ve got big plans.

But something is stopping you from reaching the next level. And you don’t know what it is.

Coaching can help you identify what’s blocking you. It might be anything from managing risk to finding the right staff.

The first step is to identify the key issues and find ways of tackling them.

A good leadership coach will test your thinking and work collaboratively on the challenge of success.  Howells says many business owners get bogged down in the day to day and can’t see the issues clearly.

“I see so many small business owners who only get a picture of their real financials once a year with their accountant,” he says. “Not understanding business numbers is a key roadblock. Many find themselves working hard with no result.”

#3: Coaching can help you streamline business processes

Right now, business owners are paying close attention to business process management.  Why?  Because finding efficiencies or better ways of doing things helps you save time and money.  A good leadership coach will give you fresh insights into the way your business runs.  They will show you where you can streamline processes and cut out middlemen.

A coach will also help you set goals.

Howells says a client of two years runs a veterinary clinic in Melbourne’s western suburbs.  The owner was a vet who hadn’t come from a business background. Howells examined her business model and made recommendations. He then set ambitious growth targets, which the business has met year on year.

“A good coach can see the real potential of your business and help you avoid pitfalls,” he says.

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