The Journey From Being Coached to Coaching
Though it was a long time ago, I remember it clearly. Sales were solid, I was busy wearing a lot of hats and I was working a LOT of hours. A gentleman walks in and we start talking about my business. He tells me he is a business coach and after about 20 minutes I realize that I actually don't know that much about business...real business that is, with it's systems and spreadsheets and a language of its own. So I hired him and it changed my life.
The first day he showed up to work with me he was wearing a suit and tie and was about 40 years older than me or my staff. I thought, "He doesn't know anything about me, my business or my industry". I asked him to loosen his tie and take off his jacket as the air conditioner didn't work and I was afraid he'd pass out. And I was a bit intimidated and I wondered if the guy would think I was an idiot. Spoiler alert - he didn't!
After we sat down, the first question he asked was, "What is your Mission Statement?". That was the start of a beautiful relationship. Over the months that followed he taught me about org charts, tracking payroll percentages, office procedures, fiscal budgets, ROI, HR policies, marketing, training my staff, leadership and so much more! I really looked forward to our weekly meeting, especially as what he taught me was so measurable that we could discuss its results the next time he came in! I will admit it seemed expensive at the time, but the return on my investment could be measured in the thousands.
With me and my staffs skills and passion and my coaches help, my company underwent a huge amount of growth. We literally grew for decades and I had an amazing career as one of the premiere businesses in my industry. Along the way I coached hundreds of my employees, ran countless six month management training programs and helped start my industry's retail association. That led me to teaching other retailers at trade shows around the country and discovering that even better known retailers in my industry knew far less about business than I did.
With some reflection I realize that the coach I hired had not only taught me about business, but he nourished in me a love of the business process. I now was a sponge for learning more about leadership, new technologies and instilled with my employees a philosophy that everyone was responsible for helping us improve our systems and our structure. I now revelled in mentoring and growing my staff. I now loved to compare our sales reports with industry averages and benchmarks. And even more interesting to me, I took many of the things I learned at work and used them at home as well. Different words and situations, but the same set of values and communications we used at work, also worked very well at home! And as I now didn't have to work the huge amount of hours I used to, the skills I learned at work became indispensable as a husband and father (and soccer coach).
After I sold my business I found myself helping some friends with their businesses. Ex-employees were seeking me out for work and life advice. I was volunteering and helping in my community and I seemed to naturally take the role of helping improve the systems, structure and communication of whatever I was doing.
So becoming a certified FocalPoint Coach was an easy and exciting decision. First of all, FocalPoint shares my values exactly, but actually puts them into better words than I ever have. Then learning the skills and knowledge they taught me is amazing and I keep finding myself thinking, “That’s the way we did it at my company!”. Plus reading as much of Brian Tracy’s words as possible is beyond inspiring to me (the only thing more inspiring is listening to him read his audio books). And having the skills and knowledge to help other business owners and make measurable and substantial positive change in their businesses and lives is incredibly satisfying.
Being on both sides of business coaching has been a big part of my career and my life. Running my businesses (my retail & coaching businesses) with a high level of integrity and competency is a great way to live a satisfying and rewarding life. I feel blessed and look forward to continuing to grow, evolve, learn and help others as I have for many years.