Many people believe that only 10% of all business leaders have a "natural talent" for leading. What those people may not understand is that leaders aren't born: they're built.
There are certainly ineffective leaders, but it's not because they don't have some incredible "leader gene" that would help them. More often than not, it’s because they never had the right mentor to teach them the magical ways of great leadership.
Even the best leaders know that there's always room for growth. They're always trying to learn new things and hit ever higher milestones. But what happens when they get stuck? It's not uncommon for leaders to hit a roadblock as they climb the ladder, since there are fewer people around to give them feedback.
That's precisely where executive coaching comes in. The most successful leaders are those who invest in coaching to get the feedback they need to improve. Coaches can evaluate, give constructive criticism, and ultimately help them change their lives for the better. It might sound a bit over the top, but becoming a fantastic leader can have a ripple effect on everything from company morale to your home life.
And that's why we're here: to break down some of the top benefits of hiring an executive coach for your small business.
1. They'll Boost Your Self-Awareness
When it comes to being a great leader, self-awareness is a huge deal. It may not seem like a big benefit to some people, but trust us, it's a game-changer. That's why we put it at the top of our list! Solid leadership all starts with how a leader views and understands themselves, so having an executive coach who can help you become more self-aware can really make a difference.
Think about it: as an experienced professional, you probably spend more time observing and directing others than looking inward. That's where an executive coach comes in - they can act as a mirror for you and help you see yourself more clearly. They'll help you identify your patterns, both good and bad, and either foster them or adjust them accordingly.
Why is self-awareness so important for leaders? Well, for starters, people want to work for bosses who are able to see themselves clearly and who strive for personal growth. By working on your self-awareness, you'll be taking a huge step toward becoming the kind of leader that people want to follow.
But it's not just about how you're perceived by others - self-awareness is also integral to emotional intelligence, or EQ. Having good emotional intelligence is crucial when it comes to being a successful leader. By understanding yourself, you'll be better able to understand others and develop more empathy. You'll also be better at controlling and using your emotions in a productive way.
And let's not forget about the benefits of personal growth. By becoming more self-aware, you'll be able to identify areas where you need to improve and work on them. This can help you become a better leader, of course, but it can also improve your personal life. After all, the skills you learn in coaching sessions can be applied to all aspects of your life, not just your job.
So, if you're on the fence about hiring an executive coach, consider the value of self-awareness. It's a benefit that can truly make a difference in your life, both personally and professionally.
2. They'll Help You Improve Your Relationships with Others
Alright, let's chat about how hiring an executive coach can up your relationship game. As a boss, you don't want your team to see you as some tyrant that they fear and despise, do you? Of course not! That's where an executive coach comes in to help you become a leader that your team will actually like, respect, and trust.
One of the most important things you'll learn with your executive coach is how to communicate effectively. I mean, sure, you might think you already know how, but trust me, there's always room for improvement. Your coach will teach you how to truly listen to people and understand them with active listening. They'll show you how to pick up on body language and other non-verbal cues as well so that you can communicate more effectively.
But it's not just about what you say, it's also about how you say it. A common refrain from any relationship counselor for a reason. Your coach will help you develop a communication style that both works for you and while also helping you better connect with others. They'll teach you how to be a actively leader and how to express your own ideas clearly and confidently. The goal is to eliminate ambiguity on both tone and content.
And it's not just about your employees and colleagues, either. The communication skills you'll learn from your executive coach can also help you in your personal relationships. So not only will you become a better boss, but you'll also be a better friend, partner, and family member!
Plus, when you're able to communicate effectively, you'll also be better at negotiating. Whether you're trying to close a big business deal or just figuring out where to go for dinner with your friends, negotiation skills come in handy all the time. While negotiating skills, specifically, are something your coach can also help you with, they will absolutely start with proper communication either way.
So, if you're ready to improve your relationships with others and become a better communicator and negotiator, it's time to find yourself an executive coach.
3. They'll Help You Truly "See" and Respond to Others
As a small business owner, you probably think you're pretty good at "reading" people, right? You can tell when an employee is unhappy or when a coworker is sucking up to you (I’m looking at you Carl). But what if there’s a chance that you're wrong? What if you're misreading people and situations, and as a result, responding in ways that hurt your business? It’s not as far-fetched as you might thing, even if you’re a vastly skilled businessperson.
That's where an executive coach can help. They won't give you the power to read minds (wouldn't that be nice?), but they can help you see people and situations more clearly.
An executive coach is like a fresh pair of eyes. When they come to your workplace, they see things without any preconceived notions or biases. They can see patterns and dynamics that you might have missed because you're too close to the situation. More importantly, they can then craft training specifically for you to empower you to see those issues in the future.
For example, you might have a top-performing employee who's a bit of a jerk to everyone else. You think it's okay because they bring in those sweet, sweet sales, but the coach can help you see that it's actually creating a toxic work environment. Or you might be overlooking a quiet employee who has amazing ideas because they don't speak up in meetings. The coach can help you identify the unseen chaos as well as nurture that silent talent.
As we said before, once the coach has helped you "see" what they see, they'll begin to teach you how to develop those skills for yourself. They're not mind-readers, but they've learned how to read people over time. They can teach you how to pick up on body language, tone of voice, and other subtle cues that reveal what someone is really thinking and feeling.
Being able to "see" people and respond appropriately is a crucial leadership skill. It can help you build better relationships with your employees and coworkers, and ultimately create a healthier and more productive work environment.
4. They Can Provide an Unbiased Sounding Board
Having an executive coach as a neutral sounding board is an incredibly powerful tool that is often overlooked as a benefit to hiring a coach. When you're trying to figure out what to do, it can be hard to see things clearly when you're only considering your own perspective. That's why it's helpful to have someone outside of the situation who can offer fresh insight.
… or as too often the case with small business owners, you might try to just carry the burden all on your own. Not only does this add unnecessary stress, but it is also a massive case of the “Ego’s”. As mentioned before, great leaders are the ones who know when to look for help!
As an alternative to that, you might think you can just talk to your friends about the problems you're facing as a leader. But there are a few major issues with that line of thinking. First of all, your friends might not be in leadership positions themselves, so they might not fully understand what you're going through. Even if they are in similar positions, they're still biased towards you and might not give you the honest feedback you need. Honestly, sometimes you need that critique that your friends might feel too caring to give.
You might also feel compelled to reach out to the online community as well. But let's be real, posting about your problems online can be sketchy. You never know who you're talking to or if they know what they're talking about. Do you really want to be the entrepreneur who ruined their small business because they took the advice of “The Internet?” Plus, it can be hard to maintain privacy when you're posting online. It is entirely possible that your competition could use avenues like this to sniff out weakness and capitalize on it.
Which is where your future executive coach comes in. They're not biased towards you, but they still want to help you succeed. They can offer you honest feedback and valuable insight based on their own experience working with other leaders. Their obligation is in helping you succeed as a leader which means they will have your best interests in mind even when others might shy away from the REAL talk.
When you have someone, you trust to bounce around ideas and problems, you'll be able to make more informed decisions and avoid making costly mistakes. That's why having an executive coach as a neutral sounding board is such a game-changer for leaders looking to improve their decision-making skills.
5. They'll Identify Your Existing Strengths
Many people are hesitant to work with an executive coach because they're afraid of being told everything they're doing wrong. But that is a common misconception! A good coach will absolute be more than happy to provide constructive criticism where it's needed… but they'll also help you recognize and develop your existing strengths.
Maybe you're a fantastic communicator, but you never thought about how you could use that skill to motivate your team. Or maybe you have a talent for seeing the big picture, but you're not sure how to turn that into actionable plans. An executive coach will help you identify those strengths and show you how to make the most of them for your small business.
Plus, let's face it, sometimes we're our own worst critics. We might not even realize how great we are at certain things because we're so focused on our weaknesses. A coach can help you see yourself in a more balanced light and boost your confidence in your abilities.
And here's the thing: sometimes our strengths can surprise us. We might think that certain traits or skills aren't important to our job, so we don't put much stock in them. But an executive coach can help you see how those "irrelevant" strengths can be a huge asset in your leadership role.
For example, maybe you're a fantastic listener, but you never thought that was a particularly valuable skill for a boss. But in reality, being able to truly hear and understand your team members can make all the difference in creating a supportive, positive work environment. A coach can help you identify and capitalize on those hidden strengths you never knew you had.
Another common example of a hidden strength would be that of the fabled introvert. On the surface it can feel like a detriment and not an asset. But things like being an introvert or other awkwardness shows that you are human. This can make you more relatable as a leader. An asset, not a hindrance.
If you're feeling stuck in your leadership role or just want to make sure you're really making the most of your talents, an executive coach might be just what you need. They'll help you see yourself in a new light and give you the tools to take your leadership skills to the next level.
6. They'll Identify Your Weaknesses and Mistakes
On the flip side, a good executive coach will also help you identify (and correct) your weaknesses and mistakes. Like I said, we are often MORE than happy to point out faults (Evil laugh…) This doesn’t stem from some sadistic pleasure of the coaches’ part, but rather focusing on these items can garner the most improvement in your leadership skill. Which is the whole point of leadership training.
As a leader, it can be tough to recognize your own weaknesses and mistakes. You're used to being in charge and making things happen, so it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you're doing everything right. But the truth is, nobody's perfect - not even you.
Executive coaches are there to give you an unbiased, outside perspective on your leadership style and help you identify areas where you could improve. It's not always easy to hear about your weaknesses and mistakes, but if you're willing to listen and learn, it can be incredibly beneficial.
Think of it this way: if you were an athlete, you'd have a coach to help you improve your skills and techniques. As a leader, you need someone to help you improve your leadership skills and techniques. And just like an athlete, you can't do it alone.
The thing is, as a leader, you might not be getting a lot of feedback from others. Sure, you might get the occasional employee review or 360-degree feedback, but that only goes so far. An executive coach is there to provide comprehensive feedback that you might not be getting anywhere else. They will tell you how it really is because they have no other responsibility other than to improve your ability to lead others.
A good coach will notice things that you might not even realize you're doing wrong. They'll help you see your blind spots and point out areas where you could be more effective. And the best part is, they won't just criticize you and leave you hanging - they'll help you come up with strategies to correct your weaknesses and avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Of course, it's critical that you have the ability to accept these types of in-depth criticisms. If you're not ready to hear about your weaknesses and mistakes, you might not be ready for the big time. But if you're willing to be honest with yourself and put in the work to improve, an executive coach can be an incredibly valuable resource.
7. They'll Help You Set and Achieve Goals
Alright, so you're a leader, but do you have any goals? And no, I don't mean those vague, wishy-washy goals that don't have any real direction. I'm talking about those glorious SMART goals! The type of goals that you can actively hold yourself accountable, with the help of your executive coach.
The thing is, many leaders tend to focus on their companies and employees' goals, but they forget about their own personal or career goals. It's like they're stuck in this endless loop of work-work-work, without any idea of where they're going or what they want to achieve. And let me tell you, that kind of stagnation is not good for anyone. It’s often a deep and powerful source of stress of any small business owner.
Here comes your executive coach to the rescue! They'll help you figure out what you really want - both in your personal and professional life. After all, being a strong leader entails being comfortable and confident in both sides of your life. Once you have a clear idea of what you want (to be in life, maybe!), they'll help you set realistic and achievable goals that will get you closer to your dreams.
But that's not all. Any skilled executive coach will also be there to support you while you work towards those goals. They'll give you that extra push when you need it, and help you stay accountable. Because they want to see you succeed.
And let's be honest, sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees when you're in a leadership position. You might get bogged down in day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the bigger picture. That's where an executive coach can really save the day. They'll provide an outside perspective and help you see things from a different angle or help you just refocus back to your own goals.
So don't be afraid to set some personal and career goals for yourself. And if you're not sure how to get started, consider hiring an executive coach to help you along the way. Trust me, it's worth it.
Is Executive Coaching Right for You?
Executive coaching can help take you from newbie leader to superstar. And even if you're already a successful leader, that doesn't mean you can't benefit from some extra guidance and support. In fact, executive coaching can take your leadership skills to the next level and help you achieve extraordinary success.
At Out of the Box Advisors, we understand the challenges that leaders face. We know that even the most accomplished leaders can benefit from an outside perspective and some extra support. Our team of experienced executive coaches has the skills and expertise to help you reach your full potential and become an even better leader.
We're here to help you every step of the way to becoming an exceptional small business leader. Our executive coaching services are tailored to your unique needs and goals, so you can be sure that you're getting the support and guidance that's right for you.
If you're ready to invest in yourself and take your business (and yourself) to the next level, we want to hear from you! Schedule your first Executive Coaching session today and let's start working together to help you achieve your goals and become the best leader you can be.