While the entrepreneurial life is exciting, fulfilling, and a way to “turn your passion into your paycheck,” the rewards can come with their set of challenges.
And even if you’re doing everything right as a retailer and live for the hustle, there can be moments when you need clarity, support, and renewed focus.
Enter: the business coach.
If you’re an athlete, then you already know the benefits of having a coach. In a sports context, coaches will push you past boundaries and help you achieve goals you never knew were possible.
Imagine if the same could be said about a business coach? It can!
We spoke with two entrepreneurs — Samara Zelniker, health and wellness coach, and founder of Mindfulness Matters, and Belma McCaffrey, founder of Work Bigger — about the importance of coaching when it comes to business (and life) success.
“It is so essential to have a coach because s/he is someone who acts as your guide on the side. They are someone who wants the best for you and also has an objective view of what works well and recognizes what your natural strengths and weaknesses are.”
The Pros Of Hiring A Business Coach
1. You Identify What You’re Resisting (And Make Progress)
A business coach basically serves as an objective set of eyes, giving you a fresh and important perspective on your business. As a retail owner, you can hold meetings or huddles with your team and partners, but a coach has a totally objective point of view — a perspective that’s free of emotions. This is priceless.
As the founder of Work Bigger, a program and community bringing self-awareness and creativity to the forefront of work, Belma McCaffrey helps others define their mission. And although she has spent more than 10 years in business development and media strategy roles at companies like the Associated Press and Condé Nast, she still sought the support of a business coach.
A coach helps you identify what's going on underneath the surface with your business.
“Personally, working with a coach has helped me identify ways I'm holding myself back. A coach can also help you identify any skill gaps and push you to focus your efforts on the right activities, as you're in different stages of the business from conception to launch to scale.”
As someone who has worked in business strategy, it might be surprising that McCaffrey feels resistance around sales and pitching her Work Bigger program.
“My business coach has helped me understand where this fear comes from and has held me accountable to push through it.”
2. A Business Coach Holds You Accountable And Ensures You ‘Show Up’
Accountability is likely one of the most important benefits of hiring a coach. Setting goals for yourself is one thing; ensuring you act on those goals and do so within a specific timeframe is another. The quote “Actions speak louder than words” couldn’t be more relevant here.
A coach will hold you accountable in ways that even your closest friend cannot. And it’s not because your friend doesn’t know how — it’s because it’s human nature to be more intimidated by a coach than a cohort. Your coach will follow up with you on the actionable steps needed in order to grow your business and will do so on an agreed-upon timeline. So, you are forced to deliver.
My coach has taught me that ultimately I'm responsible for my success and failures. A coach is your cheerleader and can guide you but if you don't show up, do the work and trust the process in working with a coach, you won't see results. You have to allow yourself to be challenged and you have to accept that challenge.” — Belma McCaffrey
3. You Maintain a Better Work-Life Balance
When you’re running your own business, it’s easy to burn the candle at both ends. Founder burnout is a legit phenomenon, and it’s easy to get caught in this trap.
A coach can help you recover from a burnout state and even prevent it from happening in the first place.
One of Zelniker’s main focuses as a coach is ensuring her clients are living their best life, in a holistic way.
“I help entrepreneurs deal with work-life balance by identifying what their non-negotiables are. Non-negotiables are things that make you happy no matter what. They are the things that if you had all the time in the world and all the money in the world, you would still do. I then work with my clients to weave these things into their daily and weekly rituals.”
I help them realize that when they are doing the things that make them happy first, everything falls into place a lot easier.” — Samara Zelniker
4. You Can Embrace the (Likely Inevitable) Chaos
You might be an entrepreneur who thrives on planning and predictability, and shudders at the thought of surprises.
In McCaffrey’s case, the unexpected can make her feel anxious. Her coach has helped her deal with this occurrence, which is basically inevitable as an entrepreneur.
“My coach has pushed me to embrace the chaos. I'm a huge planner and super organized, but in the early days of building a business, you're doing so much testing that you have to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable — in my case, this means being a little disorganized.”
5. You Can Find Your Focus And Maintain It
As a retail business owner, you likely have a long list of to-dos, ideas, and dreams. But an important aspect of success is honing in on what you do best for your target market and narrowing in on that focus. Because yes, big dreams are awesome, but you can’t be all things to all people. A coach will remind you to starve your distractions and feed your focus.
So, while well-intentioned friends might tell you that “you should do this and that” to improve your business, a coach will help you identify your focus and guide you to narrow in on what’s essential to your retail business.
Zelniker has hired a coach to help her grow her own coaching business. “Working with a coach has completely changed my life as it as given me perspective and insight into myself and my business that I otherwise would not have been able to access on my own.”
Even Business Coaches Need Coaching
When searching for the right one for you, McCaffrey offers this advice: “Be clear on why you need or want this support, and if an opportunity arises to work with someone who will help you level up, take it. I've learned so much about leadership and coaching by working with other coaches. They've taught me what's possible, and as a result, I can bring these lessons to the Work Bigger community.”
As for Zelniker, working with a coach has been a key to success, especially as an entrepreneur who wears many hats.
“Instead of looking at it as a luxury, look at it as a priority. As business owners, you have to spend money to make money. Think about this as investing in yourself and your business. This is a way to become the best version of you, so that you can make decisions quicker, reach peak performance more efficiently and release self-doubt.”
Whether you’re looking to scale your business (while maintaining a sense of work-life balance), change course and pivot, or find your focus and achieve specific goals, a business coach can take you there and beyond.