I've just gotten back from being live on stage at Ali Brown's Thrive Live event, two days especially for her Elevate coaching members. There's nothing I love more about my work than listening to and helping purposeful entrepreneurs and small business owners, so I enjoyed every minute!
We took a lot of live questions from the audience. Sometimes, though, I wasn't able to offer much of an answer. So as I was flying back across the country I started thinking about what NOT to ask your business coach.
- Don't ask permission for something you want to do. Making a yes or no decision about your business is yours to make, not anyone else's. I'm a strategist, an expert on marketing your business, and a great person to help you see where you are stuck. I can help you weigh the pros and cons or help you see where a particular path will take you over time. I'm an advisor and mentor, not an approver or decision maker. Here's the deal…..when you ask me to make a yes or no decision for you, you give away your responsibility and your power. Unconsciously, you are asking someone else to make a hard decision so that you can blame that person if it doesn't work out – even though you are the one who has to carry it out to make it work. Abrogating your decision-making authority to someone else (coach, parent, spouse, friend) never works out in business.
- Don't ask long, winding questions that are not clear. In the years I've been advising and coaching others I've seen this hundreds of times. I once timed a business owner and at the 8 minute mark I had no idea what she was asking. If you can't succinctly ask your question it tells me that you don't have a clear vision about your business and how to talk about it. Your issue isn't your “question” at all – your issue is knowing what business you are in and having the ability to talk about it clearly. This is one of those “we have to back up before we can go forward” places. I can help you get clear about your question first, and that usually means getting clear about your business. It's a great practice to be succinct – it's what works in the world of business, and it's helpful in personal relationships, too.
- Don't ask a coach about guaranteed results. The minute I hear someone ask this my ears perk up. When you ask for guarantees you are basically looking to take the risk out of what you do. You cannot be successful in business without taking risks, and there are no guarantees. I could write out a complete 90 day action plan for a business owner, but I have absolutely no control over what that person will do with that 90 day plan. Personally, I go work with the best coaches in business but I know going in that they can't guarantee that any certain thing will happen just because I worked with them. When someone says to me, “I want to make certain the results I'll walk away with” I know they are not a good match for me. Most of the time that person is too risk-adverse to be a successful business owner. Most of the time what they think they need to talk about is 180 degrees from what the real issue is. I can study a person's business for hours and be fully ready to talk about their marketing strategies and business plan, only to find out in the first 15 minutes the real issue in their business is they aren't working at it very well because their husband asked for a divorce. That's what I love about coaching – it's comprehensive, holistic, and unpredictable. I have to be on my toes, and I love that challenge. I work hard at what I do, but I can't guarantee what will happen. We may get to a truth about you or your business that isn't on your list to discuss at all, yet it's critical for you.
A while back I did a video I called “Will You Get Gypped By A Coach?” which you can watch by clicking here . In the meanwhile, think about the questions you ask, and stay away from the 3 kinds of questions I listed above. In the end, they won't help you build the kind of business and life you most want for yourself. If you need help with any of these, consider working with me in a One and Done hour. Click here to get the details about what that is and how it works.