Visualize climbing a mountain, making a slow and arduous ascent to the top. Money problems, slow business or career growth, and personal issues weigh you down. You’re committed to going the distance, but you can’t help wonder if there is an easier route. Now imagine that someone on a chair lift comes beside you to hoist you to the top. To get to your destination, all you have to do is get on board and follow the instructions of the lift operator. That’s what a Private Business Mentor or Career Coaching Program can do for you.
Over the years, I’ve seen people’s lives completely changed after they invested in a Private Mentor or Coaching Program. The mentor/coach analyzed their business or personal direction, repaired the leaks in their bucket, and developed and implemented a winning formula.
I’ve owned and operated eight businesses in six different industries, and the success of many of my coaching clients exceeded my own. I salute them and feel elated every time I think of their achievements. For me, they represent excellent examples of how any motivated person can achieve great results when there is a plan in place and they are coached in using the skills and tactics that make it happen.
If you’ve invested in a mentor or coaching program, these seven steps will help you maximize the benefits and accelerate your climb to the top.
1. Don’t Be Late
Schedule your personal calendar so that you are on the line five minutes before your coaching appointment. Your time with your coach is an investment, so treat it accordingly. If you’re scheduled for a 30-minute coaching call and you call-in three minutes late, you’ve robbed yourself of 10 percent of your investment. The time with your coach is yours and that block of time can’t be given to anyone else. It’s your responsibility to use your time wisely.
2. Prepare Questions in Advance
Coaching sessions have a distinctly different outcome when you submit questions and scenarios 48 to 72 hours prior to the appointment. When given the time to research your questions or evaluate your situation, your coach can respond more thoroughly. As soon as one appointment is finished, the coach moves on to the next scheduled item. Your coach doesn’t spend time reanalyzing the previous appointment in order to respond again. Those who are organized and have a plan for the coaching appointment get considerably better results than those who call-in and shoot from the hip.
3. Understand That Your Coach is Your Coach and Not Your Pal
Because of the nature of the Coach/Mentee relationship, you can easily become enamored with your coach and feel like friends who do business together. Don’t allow yourself to go there. While you may enjoy interacting with your coach as you learn and succeed, remember, you are a client doing business with a professional. When you become too friendly, you tend to waste valuable coaching time chatting about unrelated matters, instead of taking your business or personal performance to a higher level. Keeping this at the forefront will sharpen your focus and remind you to keep everything in its proper perspective.
4. Don’t Get Offended
Being excited about your ideas and believing in your creative tactics is good, but don’t get offended when your coach says, without hesitation, “It sucks.” You may think the coach is being short-sighted and doesn’t appreciate your genius. But a good coach will tell you the truth…the whole truth. If your coach has to disguise the truth to avoid hurting your feelings, you put yourself at a disadvantage and counteract their effectiveness. Rejecting an idea is not rejecting you. Suck it up and get over it.
5. Know What You Want to Accomplish
Don’t expect your coach to tell you what you should want. Your coach is here to help you move in the direction you want to go. I have had clients who go in a different direction each time I talked with them. That confused both me and the client! Your coach is like the GPS in a car. You state your destination first, and then the coach tells you the best way to get there. If you don’t know where you want to go, no coach can help you get there.
6. Learn When to Talk and When to Listen
A coach who doesn’t listen first is not focused on helping you and only you. But if they do most of the listening during a session, they’re functioning more like a therapist than a coach. Learn how to strike a balance. A mentee should spend time picking their coach’s brain about strategy, tactics, implementation, and execution. Likewise, a coach should readily offer the knowledge, suggestions, and plan of action to help you reach your goals.
7. Accept the Truth
Over the years, certain clients have tried to sell me on bad strategy, often because of an emotional attachment to a particular concept. If an idea, strategy or tactic is seriously flawed or is altogether wrong, you need to know. You don’t benefit by turning your coach into a yes-man. Nothing matters more to a qualified coach than results.
Today, more than ever, I applaud the courage and determination of the people who invest in consulting, mentoring or coaching. I regularly encounter people who tell me “the time isn’t right,” or “I need to wait until I can afford it,” or “I will when things turn around.” But unless you invest in your own development, the time will never be right, you’ll never be able to afford it and things will never turn around. Poverty thinking doesn’t get results!