Business at a crossroads, not sure which way to turn? Reach out and ask for help!
So, you recognise you or one of your senior team needs help, guidance and support in respect to gaining clarity on the direction of your business, but where do you start and who do you reach out too?
With everything going on in the world, regionally and locally which may affect our businesses in a number of ways (positively and negatively) it can be difficult, as a busy business owner, to know which way to turn, how to prioritise your time and what to focus on first. And this uncertainty in itself, will manifest in the behaviours you display and therefore create a working environment which isn't conducive to you and the team performing at their best or tackling effectively the key challenges at hand. Don't worry, you're not on your own as this tends to be a common trait within small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and even larger organisations, particularly as they adapt to the ever changing business environment.
There's help out there!
Speak to any experienced and successful business leaders and they will share with you that they continually and regularly reach out to trusted confidants in times of turbulence, change or as their business grows. Now that might be a mentor, business coach, consultant, a counsellor, or a number of professional associates across their network which won't necessarily be for free. Mind there are some people that offer their time pro bono too.
And there is an abundance of training courses, business advice books, blogs, videos and information online which are a great way to self-educate and kickstart the learning process on that journey to gaining clarity and establishing a sense of order. However, the chances are, it's a 1-2-1 sit-down, deep and meaningful conversation that you ultimately need to help introduce a change in your thought process and a shift in mindset, to gain that clarity and exude the behaviours in executing those actions you need to prioritise first.
So, to start, just stop and take the time to reach out!
But do understand the difference between engaging with a Business Coach, Business Mentor, Business Consultant or a Business Counsellor.
- Business Coaches are trained, qualified in professional coaching and use their skills to guide the coachee to find solutions to their own challenges and questions. Coaches don't give business advice but very much focus on personal development and don't confuse a business coach with a life coach, which is a different perspective of the coaching profession.
- A Business Mentor will be an experienced, knowledgeable person who is or has been in business for many years. A mentor will help the mentee (you) consider different options by asking open questions and suggesting areas of the business to investigate further or for you to try things out. As opposed to a Business Coach, Mentors tend to work with clients over the medium to longer term.
- A Business Consultant will use their professional, technical skills and experience, normally within a specialist field, to scope out and deliver a project which has agreed set outcomes and time frame. A consultant will often do this for and on behalf of the businesses they engage with too.
- A Business Counsellor will be professionally qualified and trained to explore and to help you understand the psychological experiences you may be having now or had recently. A counsellor through questioning techniques, will help delve into and discover the reasons for the way a client feels or any underlying emotional problems and then help their client develop recognition and coping mechanisms going forward.
Business counsellors focus on what and why things happened in the past, therefore a reparative process, whereas a Business Mentor, Coach or Consultant will focus on supporting you to conceptualise, break down into its component parts, map and then support and help you deliver a future state or goal.
Typically, all of the above are great listeners, will show and share empathy and have a strong desire to give back, along with being a valuable source of 1-2-1 support for you, the busy business owner, and members of your senior team. However, do make sure when you engage with the appropriate professional 1-2-1 support that from the outset you are clear on what help and guidance you are looking for and also what, as individuals they can offer you in return.
Ultimately you and your team may need a number of trusted associates, so ensure whoever you engage with is; reliable, available, professional, operate with full trust and integrity and have the experience too. It is also worthwhile asking for and obtaining references.
"No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others"
Alfred North Whitehead
If you're stuck in business, not sure which way to turn and wish to explore the above further, I offer a no obligation, initial and free exploratory 1-2-1 session. So, please do just drop me a line.
Should I not be able to support yours or your businesses needs, I am more than happy to point you in the right direction and introduce you to the appropriate professional advice and support you require.
Peter Fleming MBA, member of Association of Business Mentors
Mobile 07966 686112