I have had the extreme pleasure of working with many young entrepreneurs throughout my years of coaching. One of the topics that always comes up is the importance of surrounding themselves with their own ‘personal board of directors’…those people you can count on that play different roles and have different levels of expertise than you.
Leaders of companies, big or small, cannot be all things to the organization. They cannot be the expert in all areas. People tend to get into business because they are passionate about a product or service, perhaps one they have developed themselves.
They may have a lot of knowledge about and expertise in that product or service. Once they officially start their business, they soon learn they also need to have expertise in finance, marketing, sales, production, and human resources to name a few.
Whether you are leading team or leading a company utilizing coaching and mentoring can have a seriously positive impact on your success.
So…which should you choose – Mentor or Coach?
The answer is both! However, it is important to understand is the role that each plays in your success.
The Value of The Mentor
Beginner entrepreneurs and leaders can greatly benefit from a ‘seasoned’ mentor, or mentors, that can provide guidance, point out potential pitfalls as they begin building their business, perhaps connect them with other people or industries to drive growth.
Mentors often have experience in the same industry, or perhaps have navigated a similar journey as the one you are embarking on. “At this stage, a mentor can offer broader advice and connections to help the business grow. As the company and CEO mature, however, the issues may become more granular and nuanced.”
A great mentor will support and challenge you! They will bring their vast business expertise, wisdom and personal experiences into the relationship and will be straight with you if they think you are moving in the right direction or off course.
Although the mentor/mentee relationship is often considered a less formal, more casual and conversational relationship than the coach/coachee relationship, I highly recommend to clients to treat it like a formal relationship in order to get the best value and honor the time the mentor is freely giving.
Book regular meetings, go in with an agenda (i.e. Ask yourself, What’s most urgent now?), listen, ask questions, share action taken since last meeting, leave with new action plan.
The Value of The Coach
Beginning entrepreneurs and leaders can greatly benefit from coaching. Your coach will provide a fresh, outsider perspective. They will be a confidential, non-judgmental sounding board for your ideas and approaches. Your coach is focused on holding up the mirror so you can discover the things that might be holding you back.
A great coach will support and challenge you! They will help you explore options and solutions and then act as an accountability partner for the actions you decide to take to help you reach your goals quicker.
“Coaching with leaders and within organizations is often cited as a highly valuable tool for developing people and businesses. The Institute of Coaching cites that over 70% of individuals who receive coaching benefited from improved work performance, relationships and more effective communication skills.
They also reported that a huge 86% of companies feel that they recouped the investment they made into coaching plus more on top… In an interesting new case study published in the International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring researcher Sally Bonneywell explores precisely how coaching supports the development of female leaders in particular, within a global organization.”
At Epiphany we are fanatic about the relationship with our clients and we meticulously track ROI for both our individual executive coaching and large-scale coaching programs because we want to know if the investment you are making in yourself and your organization is helping you reach your goals. . Current stats show that 98% of coaching clients identify that they have made progress on their goals.
The coach/coachee relationship is a formal and deeply trusting relationship that is all about you! Most leaders admit they spend so much time ‘in’ their business they don’t spend enough time ‘on’ their business… which includes spending time looking at whether their leadership style is moving them forward or holding them back.
Executive coaching is also holistic. A coach will often help you gain insights that impact your whole life. After all, you are you! Whether you are running a business, leading a team, volunteering in the community or hanging out with your family.
To get the most out of the coaching relationship book regular meetings, go in with an agenda, be willing to be challenged on your perspective, be willing to explore and try new things, share action taken since last meeting, leave with new action plan.
The Value of Investing in You
The investment you make in yourself will compound into every area of your life and ripple out to the people you touch along the way. We all need support along the way to achieve the level of success we want, both professionally and personally.
Most top athletes will tell you they could not have achieved the level of success they achieved without putting the time and effort into investing in themselves and without the support of mentors and coaches along the way.
I love the concept described in this article for aspiring athletes…“When you are not getting better, you are getting worse” is a cliché that may intimidate many athletes. Improve just one rep each day and push yourself outside your comfort zone.
If you are lucky enough to be around a coach who pushes you, holds you accountable, and may even be demanding at times, consider it a gift. Although it may be stressful, they probably see something in you that you don’t yet see in yourself.
Here is what a few coaching clients have to say about the value of investing in themselves:
“I never knew how much of a positive impact that coaching could have on my ability to lead. My confidence as a leader has increased exponentially and I now have the tools to be the kind of leader that I have always wanted to be!”
““It was an excellent experience. The skills and knowledge I have gained through their sessions and 1:1 coaching is invaluable to my leadership development.""
"Epiphany was very flexible and responsive to our needs. They were also very generous with sharing their time, resources and expertise. It simply felt like they were part of our team."
So, what are you doing to invest in your success and build your own ‘personal board of directors’? Comment down below!
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