In 2018 I was invited to speak at the BOLD MINDBODY conference – sharing the same stage as Keynote Speakers Michelle Obama and Billie Jean King. Not at the exact same time 🙂 just the same stage.
A truly unforgettable moment in time
This is the transcript of my presentation:
The Coach, The Mentor and The Consultant – Finding the Right Guides for your Business
My very first experience with a business coach – his … yes, his name was Jeffrey. I had completely erased Jeffrey from my memory bank and it was only when I recently found notes of our meetings that revived memories of him.
As I read the pages I could feel myself transported back to 2001 and this coaching experience with Geoffrey.
You may be wondering what this a positive experience.
In a word … NO
I was studying my masters in coaching psychology and we were allocated a coach from the year ahead of us. We were to have a number of sessions. As my third session loomed … I honestly would rather have had my fingernails removed then make or take that coaching call.
We just didn’t gel, didn’t fit, didn’t click, didn’t connect…
It was awful.
And to be 100% honest while I had erased Jeffrey completely from my memory I had absolutely retained the lesson:
The importance of FIT.
I’ll talk about FIT in a little while
Who is Ingrid Thompson and why would you listen to me?
I was a coach, a mentor long before anyone called ourselves these words. I was a girl guide Leader and mentor to the girls who are working towards their own leadership achievements.
I’ve always been good at maths– And it high school I coached students in my maths class. I have a natural ability to make things simple and easy to understand.
For the past 15 years I have worked with more than 1000 businesses to train, coach and mentor small business owners.
How did I go from maths coaching to mentoring and coaching small business owners?
To start with I believe my DNA includes the three of the elements I’m going to talk about today. I am in fact all three – coach, a mentor, consultant depending on what is needed by the business I’m working with.
Because I was good at maths I thought I would go to university and study to be a maths teacher or maybe scientist. What actually happened was that I had a gap year – that’s a story for over coffee at the break – I returned home to Brisbane which was the most incredibly parochial “town” at the time and all I want to do was earn money so I could go travelling again.
My parents were mortified
I was attracted to accounts work and to payroll – lots of numbers to be added up, reconciled and analysed.
Fortune would have it that I landed a terrific job in a hotel.
Sheraton was the first 4 star Hotel in Brisbane – we only had 4 stars back then. It was in this role I met my first mentors. I didn’t know that’s who they were at the time. I can call on that now.
There were a few people who had significant impact on my life while I worked at the Sheraton. The role I had was a combination of payroll, manpower planning and food & beverage costing.
This gave me access to the senior management team who I regularly met with – the general manager of the hotel and the heads of department. I was in my early 20s and these were people who had worked in Sheraton hotels all over the world.
I was hooked.
I watched how these managers conducted themselves.
I asked questions about how the hotel operated.
I listened and I learned.
I wanted to learn everything I could about how to run a hotel business.
To my parents absolute delight I – finally – enrolled at university to study bachelor degree in Commerce part time while I was working at the Sheraton hotel full-time.
I wanted to be the general manager of my own Sheraton hotel and I was motivated and mentored for this role.
I was mentored by:
- People I admired
- People I aspired to be like
- People who had travelled the path I would need to travel to be like them, to be them
- People who willingly shared their knowledge and their wisdom … with me
As it turned out General Manager of the Sheraton wasn’t to be my future. I follow the accounting pathway where again I was fortunate to have a mentor to guide the direction of my career.
When I was wavering about what to do he said to me:
Ingrid, choose a tree to climb – it doesn’t matter if it’s the wrong tree just – start – climbing. You can always come down and choose another tree.
I was working in a large Corporation and I did indeed climb down from that Corporate accounting tree and moved into the training and development department.
I loved it.
This was my opportunity to take all my accounting and business skills combined with my natural ability to simplifying complex ideas to show people how to manage and run their part of the organization.
Little did I know that while I was in that large corporation that I was actually creating my future.
Again I had the benefit of mentors – my immediate manager and the CEO of the company at the time.
These people had faced the challenges of being in a business that was facing challenges, that wasn’t working as well as it potentially could.
Through their knowledge, skills, passion, drive and determination they were able to bring that almost broken company back to success.
This is what I do. I work with businesses that are facing challenges. I work with business owners who don’t quite understand what’s going on, who are looking for what do they need to do, to be, in order to be better than what they currently are. To make more money. To find more clients.
I consult, I teach, train, coach and mentor.
In this session you will discover:
The five key differences between a coach and a mentor. The role of the coach and of the mentor are quite different and we’ll take a look at these differences and what they mean to you in your business.
The number one reason that most businesses hire a coach. This is an important consideration for every business owner considering hiring a coach. We also look at the range of reasons a business wants to hire a coach.
The latest trends in coaching and mentoring and what this means for you and your business so that you can be at the forefront of the opportunities available in your industry.
How to find the right coach for you and your business, the one who will bring what you most need for your business.
When would you choose a mentor for your business instead of a coach
The 2 reasons that a specialist consultant would be more suitable than either a coach or a mentor
How to make the most of working together. Having made the decision to hire a coach, mentor or specialist consultant what can you do to ensure you gain the most value for yourself and for your business. Knowing this will make all the difference to you and your business.
Why is this topic important?
Quite simply – the wrong one at the wrong time will cost a lot of wasted time, effort, energy and most of all money!! Actual money paid by you and opportunity cost of potential money not earned.
Like so many aspects of business no-one teaches us about this topic. There are many choices when it comes to coaches, mentors and consultants and they all claim they are the one who can help …
Why are you here to learn about this topic?
My guess is because you want to hire a coach or a mentor and/or a consultant and want to know more abut what they do and how to find one and then how to make it work
Maybe some of you have already hired a coach or had a mentor and want to know how to get more from the relationship
Maybe some of you are coaches and/ or mentors and want to know how to do what you do even better
Maybe you are thinking about getting some coaching for your team and want to know more about it
There are lots of potential reasons …. Is there anyone I haven’t covered?
For me – There is one other reason that this is an important topic and it’s the reason I’m here in front of you. I’m a professional and there are many professional coaches, consultants and mentors and we care about the reputation of our profession.
Why is this topic important ?
So it is important for clients and potential clients to:
- understand what we do
- know how to find us and
- especially how to find the right one at the right time for what the business needs at that point in time
- be able to make the most of working with us.
Lots to cover in a short amount of time so let’s get on with it.
Let’s start with me asking you a question if that’s OK?
Every business owner I have ever met has questions that keep them awake at night … the questions they ponder and chew over … all … the … time.
These are the questions that “If only some one could answer this question for me my business would be better, grow more, be easier…”
Thinking about yourself – what is the question that keeps you awake at night? What is that burning question for you? Think about it for a moment and then ….
There are some post-it notes on your table. Take a post-it note and write down your question.
If you have more than one, please use another post-it note.
These are your business questions… we’ll set those aside for the moment and come back to them a bit later. Keep them some where safe
OK, so into the nuts and bolts of this presentation and I do plan to take coach/ mentor / consultant questions at the end. Here we go:
Five key differences between a coach and mentor.
At this point I am also going to clarify that by coach I’m talking about a business coach vs a life coach. A business coach is focused on you and your business. Of course “life” will from time to time be part of the conversation between coach and client. A life coach is a different type of coach – as is a sports coach. This presentation is about the business coach
- Age: a mentor tends to be older than their mentee. There are instances where it is the other way around – and this is much less common. My mentors were much older than me and more experienced.
A coach can be any age compared to their client.
- Gender: traditionally mentors have been male although this is certainly shifting as we see more women in leadership roles mentoring or “Leaning in” to encourage younger women to follow their path. Thus the expression “If you cannot see it, you cannot be it” In my experience I have had both male and female mentors – certainly more about my level of respect for their knowledge and experience than their gender.
Coaches are both/ either male or female
- Amount of contact and structure: mentoring tends to be intermittent, ad hoc, not especially structured, more informal, perhaps even one off or as was my experience especially at the Sheraton anecdotally and through being in proximity of my mentors – and being able to ask my questions informally and with a high degree of curiosity
Coaches – tend to have formal contact – weekly, monthly, a regular pattern and for specific amounts of time for each session.
- Money: mentoring tends to be a part of what some one does. Traditional mentoring rarely includes financial transactions between mentor and mentee
Coaching: as one of the people I asked said “Coaching is all about the money” and it would be easy to believe this to be true. Most coaches charge money for what they do – that’s their business model. As a professional coach I believe it’s so much more than “just about the money”.
Yes, there usually is a financial consideration / payment between coach and client.
- Experience: a mentor tends to mentor some one in the same industry, profession etc the senior lawyer who takes the junior solicitor “under their wing” The Pilates or yoga instructor who mentors a new instructor… the mentee is seeking specific guidance from some one who knows their industry
Coach: may or may not have specific industry experience. They will certainly have business experience, knowledge and skills from their running their own business and from working with other businesses. And may or may not have industry specific experience – I’m going to talk a little more about this aspect when we get to the section about trends in coaching
And just because I can … here is a 6th difference:
And this one is subtle:
- what happens between sessions?
With a mentor/ mentee relationship there are less likely to be any formal “actions” or “tasks” to complete between sessions – if in fact there are additional sessions.
With a coach – you would expect actions, tasks, projects, goals …
Let’s focus on the coach – why does a business hire a business coach?
There is a wide range of reasons to hire a coach. Take a moment to think of why you have one, have thought about hiring one, or others you know have hired a coach.
Reasons to hire a business coach include:
- having some one to bounce ideas, to talk to. Being in business can be extremely lonely and who do you talk to, who understands?
- give a fresh perspective – we can look at some thing for so long and where do we get “fresh eyes” the coach can give that outside and knowledgeable perspective
- having some one who understands what it’s like to be in business – the challenges, the highs and lows
whether industry specific and therefor can guide on what to actually do or business generally and this becomes more true coaching where you know what to do – you’re looking for support to get it done
- guidance: how to get from here to there. A coach can help you figure out where you want to go, what you want to achieve. then can help you map out how to get there – steps, considerations, what to watch out for
- broaden your business awareness: a well experienced coach will bring in their experience from other businesses to help you understand business more broadly. This assists with growing to be a bigger business, opens and expands your view point, keeps the business fresh and alive.
- a coach can assist with going from being a subject matter expert to actually running a business in your field. People are terrific dentists, yoga and Pilates instructors, chiropractors etc photographers, architects and so it goes on and want to run their own business. being great at what they do does not equal being successful at business. Whole new skill set. A coach can assist with this transition
- time management: this is one of the most common reasons given for hiring a coach. Many people need assistance to manage their time and by this they mean get more done. You may resonate with this …? The distractions are endless.
- Clarity of purpose: why are you in business? why do you want to continue to be in business? what’s the purpose of having a business of being in business
- Teach you things you don’t know: this could include communication skills, how to deal with clients, asking for the sale, being able to give great customer service, put together processes, map out the sales cycle, identify client avatar – endless
- help you to make solid decisions. Often in business people vacillate about what to do, toss and turn at night wondering the answer, ask others – who may not know what to say, might not have their best interest at heart
- have some one who is “in your corner” They help pick you up when things go wrong and you are flat on the ground, they cheer from the side lines when you have a win – large or small.
There are so many reasons for hiring a coach and you are possibly thinking of others.
So what is the number 1 reason for hiring a business coach?
I believe that ultimately each of these previously mentioned reasons points to one overall idea/ word/ concept: commitment.
Commitment is the #1 reason for hiring a coach.
Commitment requires a clear understanding of what needs to be done, creating the plan to carry it through and then the willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed. This is where the coach works with the business owner.
This is where coaching steps in to assist. A business coach boosts commitment.
Some of you may be wondering how is commitment different to accountability?
We’ve all heard someone say “my coach keeps me accountable”
It is a bit of a business buzz word and actually means “doing what you say you’ll do” and coaches certainly do hold their clients accountable
Commitment is more than accountability. Commitment is
- knowing what you want to achieve,
- developing a plan to do it,
- following through with actions and then
- making sure you continue to sustain what you’ve developed.
For me commitment is the summary and the underpinning of business coaching. And at different times another of these reasons may be more to the forefront of an individual coaching session – you may need a bit of TLC on a certain day and that’s the coaches role to understand what you need – you may also need a bit of a boot along instead!
The latest trends:
There are a few trends I’d like to mention… there are many more. Time restricts me to my top few:
- The blurring of mentoring/ coaching
calling it mentoring instead of coaching. Because mentor has what might be considered a “better profile” some coaches are calling what they do/ offer mentoring. Be clear what you are really getting/ paying for.
- Targeted and retargeting advertising. With Social media allowing closer identification of the targeted audience you will see more and more ads offering you coaching that sounds like it’s designed specifically for you.
Retargeting is where the ads follow you around – to avoid this always use a private browser. Those slippers are still following me years later!
Really pay attention and investigate before signing up for anything and certainly before paying money
- Group coaching and mastermind as an alternative. Can be more cost effective – or in fact not!
This can be a terrific alternative to one-on-one coaching. Doesn’t work for everyone. Is offered via Zoom or other at regular times and everyone has their turn and everyone assists adds their input.
- more online coaching and online products and we’ll certainly start to see AI introduced
- more coaches than ever – very crowded space. The research shows a large disparity in pricing and earning. Coaches coming from subject matter expertise to coaching – JLD is a terrific example. He started making podcasts and then people said “teach us and coach us to make podcasts” multi million $$
The same for many health professionals: dentist to business coach, Pilates instructor to business coach – and there is a strong argument that these coaches straddle the mentor/ coach roles. I worked with a dental business coaching business as a coach and many of the dentists really found it beneficial to work with me and occasionally one would want one of the dentist coaches – more mentoring than coaching.
They needed more specifics about how to be a dentist AND a business owner.
You see when you know your craft, your profession the business coach bring the business aspect – the commitment
- Final one I’d like to mention. I believe there will be an increase in a demand for specific, evidence based, demonstrated results.
This segues me nicely into
How to find the right coach.
I’m going to move fairly quickly through these 7 steps because it’s much the same as the way you would find a plumber or a new Pilates class …
- What is your reason for hiring a coach? Knowing this will help you find the right one. You’ll seek them out vs be captured by their promotional material. Decide this before you start looking
I actually think this is the most important part of the process. What is it you think you need the coach for?
- Research. Ask others who they have used – WOM is very powerful to find the good ones and the ones to avoid.
If you want specific skills then search for that and see who comes up – incognito browser remember.
Compare the available coaches for:
- Their method or style. Some coaches are tough, some not so tough. Some are very structured and follow a system for every call. Others are more free flowing. Some are diligent about following up every action from previous sessions, some leave that to the client to be responsible for doing some of the smaller tasks and actions.
Some coaches are focused on behaviours such as leadership and interpersonal skills. Some are more focused on the operational aspects of the business.
Asking questions about how they have worked with previous clients can uncover what sort of coach they are.
- the details – costs, timing, policies, confidentiality
- References – what do others say. Are there any you can speak to? Or hear from. I’m often intrigued by the online coaches who make the huge promises and every one who is on their website confirms the 6 – 7 figure results. Where are all the people who’ve paid $$ and have not achieved the results? Be very cautious about signing up before you have all the information you need.
- Gut/ fit/ click
- Try them out – free/ discovery session or maybe after that pay for one session
I’ve provided a list of questions that you can use when you speak to a potential coach. I’m not suggesting you ask all the questions on the list – that would take days!!
Choose the questions that are most important to you. This goes back to why you need the coach for your business.
If references and credentials are important – then ask those questions.
If how they operate is important ask what the coaching process is, what can you expect from each session? What do you do? What do they do?
Be specific. Asking questions and having those conversations is a 2 way discussion so that you and the coach can figure out if this is right for both of you
I’d also add that once you make the decision – get on with it. Make the most of it. Do the work. Get the results. The only person who can make your business a success is you – others can support and assist. It’s your business!
When would you consider a mentor?
As I described with my dental client. He was reasonably new to dentistry and to business. so he needed the mentorship of how to be a dentist as well as business acumen.
If the coach is calling themselves a mentor instead of a coach.
When you want a one off session with some one in your industry
Remember how I described my early mentors… I was mentored by:
- people I admired
- People I aspired to be like
- People who had travelled the path I would need to travel to be like them, to be them
- People who willingly shared their knowledge and their wisdom … with me
The 2 reasons you would choose a consultant instead of a coach
A consultant has a specific set of skills that your business needs/ requires and you don’t have in the business.
In most cases a consultant will tell you what to do. Coaches help you figure out what to do – not tell you what to do.
There are times when the consultant is the right person:
Putting together strategy – needs the skills of the strategy consultant
Marketing plan – the marketing consultant
New website – the website consultant
Putting together a pricing strategy – requires a consultant who understands pricing strategy
You can see how it works.
A specialist coach may know some of these things and even consultants don’t know everything. Most of them are very specific about their area of expertise.
Consultants can teach you what to do
The consultant works on their area of expertise and shows you how to do it so that you have the skills inside the business for the future.
Marketing: they teach you how to use social media, about the importance of customer retention and how to set up systems to retain clients/ customers
A consultant can help with recruitment, teach you how to interview, how to assess new team members.
Your coach can then work with you to implement and retain the skills – the consultant teaches you
And a 3rd reason would be where you actually just want the consultant to do it for you
Design and build your website, your branding, logo
Manage your social media – send out your newsletter. Plan, design, source and deliver your posts
So a consultant can
Tell you what to do when you don’t know what to do
Show you how to do it so you can do it next time
Do it for you so you can concentrate on what you do best in business
How to make the most of working together:
FIT is critical
Take your time to decide to work together. Do your research, ask the questions as mentioned previously.
Have the informal get together. Understand what’s expected by and from both parties.
Ask for a formal agreement – clear objectives, time frame, commitment – financial, emergy, pre-work, post work
Opt out clause if the relationship is not working – what time frame, what reasons? Not just “change of mind”
Check the testimonials – be sure you are choosing the right one
Is there a structured approach? How do you know if you are making progress? Wht measures, actions, fllow up
What is your commitment? What will change? How much time are you prepared to devote? How much energy will you devote? It’s important to be highly invested.
Get disciplined about your goals and objectives
Some of the pitfalls I have seen:
Falling for the hype and joining a coaching program that is not going to meet the business needs
Not being clear at the start about what the business actually needs
Signing up and “locking in” for more money and time and then feeling trapped in the wrong program
Not doing the work in between, not being committed
Coming to sessions unprepared. “Oh I just realised my coaching session, haven’t had a chance to …” whatever it is
It’s your coaching sessions.
Most coaches will be uber/ hyper prepared. I know I spend time before and after every coaching session – summarise my notes and then pre-call going over notes, preparing topics for discussion, actions ideas to work on
The coaching session is always what the client needs. As a coach I always have ideas, options for my clients to help move them in the direction they want to go, keep their business fresh and alive.
The client is always the focus.
Let’s come back to FIT – What is it? Where does it come from?
It can come from shard values: such as Respect, honesty, authenticity
Trust is paramount
Liking each other – what does “like” mean? Your coach is not your friend. In fact I have seen some coaches become too close to their clients – over time – and lose the perspective of being able to be honest, “shine the light” on behaviours and habits that are not serving their client.
There is an expression “frentor” the combination of friend/ mentor and this person has a specific role … frentor!
Your frentor takes you for a cuppa T or a wine when things go badly and gives you a hug ….
Your coach will be empathetic and then will work with you so it doesn’t happen again – at least not in the same way …
Spending time together
Faith that the person has your best interest at heart – even if they are tough, is it tough love or tough tough
So the best way to make it work?
Find the right person by following the steps outlined – know what you want from the coaching relationship, research the right person, ask the questions, do the reference checks, know what you’re getting into – the contract, the arrangements, how do you get out? Once you’ve made the decision – get on with it, do your bit to make it work.
Do the work in between. Participate fully. Be prepared for every sessions. Be prepared to listen, ask questions, learn, learn and learn some more.
There will be times as we have said where one is more appropriate for your business
This is where those post – it note questions come in
Take a look at your question and based on what I’ve said here which would you choose to help you right now?
How can I be more organized – this is for a coach
How do I put together a marketing plan – a marketing consultant and maybe a coach with marketing expertise
How can I find more clients? One of the most asked questions in every presentation/ FB group etc
What do you think?
Before you can find more clients, knowing client avatar and your value proposition … so the right coach or a consultant
As we close, here are my contact details. I’ve written this book to help people in the early stage of business and even before they start. The basic 7 steps take the reader through pretty much everything they need to think about to get their business up and running
It’s only 15 months till 2020. What would like to be doing in 2020? What would like to have achieved by then?
Having a coach can get you there faster, can keep you committed to what it is you dream of.
One of my favourite lines from a poem is Mary Shelly – what will you do with this one precious life … what do you wan to do?
Whatever that is ….
A year from now you’ll be so glad you started today
Please take a moment. There has been a ton of information across the past 2 days and more coming at you today … what’s one thing from my presentation that you will do?
What one thing will make a difference in a year … as you approach 2020?
Thanks for reading – I trust it is thought-provoking and will encourage you to take action. Taking action is a key characteristic of successful business owners.
If you currently feel overwhelmed, worried & inadequate when it comes to understanding money, my guarantee is that when we work together you’ll start to feel empowered, courageous and hopeful when it comes to your business finances.
My guess is you are here because …..
My guess is that you are here because you are a business owner and what you really want – is to build and grow a successful business – whatever that means to you.
We know that business owners want to feel more confident when it comes to the money side of business.
In just 2 minutes you can take your free personalised Business Financial Health Check to increase your financial safety in business. Are you ready to discover your score?
Having a successful business means making business decisions with reliable information – facts & data as well as your “gut feel.”
… ultimately you want to do what you do best AND have a successful business AND make a difference.
I’m here to help you.
There are 2 ways you can access all my best material:
I regularly run webinars on a range of money related topics:
- Managing Cash Flow so you never run out of money
- Understanding where your money goes – getting those expenses sorted out
- Understanding the Profit First book
- Pricing – getting it right for your studio
- The things you need to know before signing a commercial lease
- How to make more money
- … and many other topics
If you’d like the replay of any of these recent webinars, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Replay” in the subject and let me know which one you’d like to watch. I’ll send you the link to the replay
Read my book! It is a Business 101 and can answer pretty much all your business questions.
This book is designed to help you build your business – whether you are starting from scratch and creating something new or you have been in business for a couple of years and want to build from your foundations.
The book is your step by step guide to building a business smarter and faster.
“So You Want to Start a Business”
It’s so exciting to be sharing it with you.
If you prefer the kindle Head straight to Amazon
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