Or "How my bunions led me to hire a business coach."
I decided to write this post after reflecting on my time as a client at ThistleSea (I'm the only one in our office who can do this). This may give you an idea of why someone might hire a business coach.
I came to business coaching when the business was almost exactly 18 months old. I spent the first 13 months working between 70 and 80 hours weekly, and my 34-year-old body had begun to inform my brain that this was not a sustainable plan. What were my clues?
- I was missing important family events regularly.
- I had very few relationships outside of the business.
- My feet had developed problems that weren't healing. (This after many years of tap dancing and running without issue.)
- My marriage was pretty unpleasant.
- I arrived each day at work prepared to fight fires.
- If I wasn't putting out my own business fires, I was covering so that employees could put out their fires.
Looking back now, it's not hard to categorize my challenges. But under pressure, I couldn't see them:
- Work/life balance was poor
- Systems were not in place (in my case, HR systems were weak)
(I don't know if ThistleSea's Wexford office was literally at a cooler temperature than my business, but when I would arrive at a coaching session, there was a clear feeling of "Ahhhh...." I could breathe. I could think and plan, ask questions, propose solutions, write, be still... I had no fires to fight.) Getting to the root cause of anything is difficult under pressure, so it was important that pressure could be relieved.
Let's use one of my examples.
PROBLEM: "My feet had developed problems that weren't healing."
I was on my feet for 8-10 hours, 6 days per week.
I had to help the staff get the work done.
There wasn't enough staff capable of meeting the company's requirements for the amount/quality of the work.
Staff didn't stay very long.
We didn't clearly explain what was required when we hired new people. So we hired some people who didn't understand the work or weren't capable of doing it.
To tie my foot problems directly to employee hiring (1) was funny, (2) did not happen overnight and (3) did require making intermediate adjustments. That is, I didn't go straight to having an amazing system for hiring and then magically experience foot healing.
I'll talk a bit more about what happened in my next post.
TAKEAWAY: When you're having a problem in your business, write it down. Ask "why" 5 times. You'll get very close to the root cause, and that's where you need to be.