Here’s why this is important: Getting the right support can be a great way to accelerate your business, but do you know what support you actually need?
Over the last few months, I have been reflecting hard on the word ‘coach’ and where I stand in the business coaching world.
As part of my re-branding process, I’ve been looking at my values and how important it is to me to be transparent about how I’m trained and what I offer so you’re clear what you’re getting if you choose to invest.
My business, just like yours, is always evolving. And whilst I studied coaching at the beginning of my journey (but remain an unqualified coach with any International Coaching Federation bodies), it has become obvious that what I really offer and what my clients value the most from me, is practical business-building advice and training.
So, whilst I believe wholeheartedly in coaching and will continue to use coaching skills, questions and techniques in the way I help my clients and members, I am moving away from calling myself a coach.
Another reason for this move away from the term ‘coach’ is because there have been a lot of unsavoury things going on in the coaching world lately. This is an ongoing problem sadly and not one that will probably ever be ‘resolved’ given the dark side of human nature.
But with the rapid rise of online business particularly in a post-COVID world, there have been way too many examples that I’ve heard of where business owners have felt conned and lied to about the programmes and support they invest in and are left feeling burned and jaded by the experience (and by the way if this ever happens to you I highly recommend getting support from someone like Lucy Legal).
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I simply don’t want to be part of that or to ever be accused of being unclear about what I charge for. And so redefining my role as a mentor instead of a coach feels much more in alignment with how I work, what I offer and how I’m qualified to help you get results.
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So anyway. You might be thinking, that’s lovely Vicky, but can you cut to the chase please?
Here’s the low-down from where I stand:
A lot of people use the word ‘coach.’ And that’s because it’s an unregulated, catch-all title. So this definition may not be exactly what you get when you look at a business coach’s offer, you’ll need to speak to them to clarify.
This is because coaching is based on the principle that you as the coachee already have all the answers inside you. As a coach, their job is to ask the right questions and structure any sessions they have with you in a way that draws out your own inner wisdom and truths so that you create a plan of action that feels good and aligned to you.
Coaching then in its purest sense is much more about the mindset you’re bringing to your business.
Coaching helps you believe in yourself and your own natural abilities and tackle any thought processes that are holding you back.
Coaching doesn’t equip and tool you up to do practical things like build a website, run a discovery call or use social media to attract customers.
For many people coaching will be the ideal support. Because they have all the moving parts to their business, but just lack the positive mindset, accountability and trust in themselves to come up with and follow through on their next steps.
Good coaching is super powerful. It makes you realise that looking within is the answer to what to do next and what’s stopping you. It’s a great trusted space to be with yourself and your thoughts in a structured and guided way.
For others though, pure coaching just won’t fill the gap. If you need to actually learn skills, techniques or ask advice, pure coaching won’t be able to help you.
It might be that you need a mentor instead.
“A mentorship is a relationship between two people where the individual with more experience, knowledge, and connections is able to pass along what they have learned to a more junior individual within a certain field.”World Education Services
I love this simple definition of what a mentor is as it fits perfectly with how I help people and what I do in my business.
But I’m probably a few steps ahead of where you are in terms of my set-up, income, client list and product suite, and so what I can share and teach you is what has worked for me in how I’ve got here.
I share what I know with a blend of coaching skills and questions too (see above for the definition of pure coaching).
That’s because I don’t use a “do it exactly like me and you’ll be successful” way of mentoring. I want to show and share with you what I’ve learned, but also empower you to make your own decisions about the path and tools that are right for you.
If you’re looking for someone to share with you their experience and learn from their successes (and failures, probably the most!) then really you want a business mentor.
If this is the route you think you’re going to go down, you will need to also ask whether the mentor you’re looking to work with has a set system or process they’ll expect you to work through.
Again, this might be something you want. But it might be that you need something more flexible and to work with someone who can help you shape your own path, rather than repeating the exact steps someone else took, even if they feel a bit icky and gross to you.
I feel like we don’t need a quote or a definition here, because training might seem obvious. But it’s worth reiterating the difference between someone who offers training, and someone who tells you they are a coach or a mentor.
If there is a skill lacking in you and your business right now that you think someone else can teach you, you need a trainer.
That might be things like:
I’ve realised I really am a trainer in many capacities that I show up in for my business. My whole resources area that Just Start Now members and my clients can access is filled with trainings I have designed and delivered to help you get your business started.
My clients and members tell me I have a great way of breaking things down and making them easy to understand and action, which to me is the biggest compliment.
My whole mission is to enable you to do things that you otherwise thought were out of reach or impossible. That’s very much the role of a trainer.
So you might be thinking: bingo! That’s exactly what I need.
But before you invest in training, really stop to think: do I need this training?
Is it actually going to enhance my business and get me the results I’m working towards this month / quarter / year?
It can be so tempting to just bounce from training to training, learning new things but ultimately find it’s a colossal waste of your time if it wasn’t necessary for the way you want to build your business, or that you’re basically just using training as a big fat excuse to not do other necessaries that will actually move the needle. Like, you know…. actually selling stuff?!
The other thing to say is, before you decide to invest in training, can you just outsource and get someone else to do this thing for you?
Don’t get me wrong, I am all about doing things yourself. It’s how I built my entire business. But sometimes it’s not the wisest use of your time and doesn’t keep you in your zone of genius.
Whilst I built my own website, mailing list and run my own social media, I learned pretty quickly to never do my own Facebook adverts after wasting hours trying to figure them out, even with training. Some things are just better left to the experts.
So now you know the difference between a coach, a mentor and a trainer it’s time to ask yourself: what is it I need right now?
Don’t jump on the bandwagon or get caught up in a launch or FOMO with a coach, mentor or trainer if what they are offering isn’t actually aligned with what you need right now in your business journey.
Before I leave you I also wanted to flag this brilliant podcast from Trudi Lebron: Are you overinvested in Biz Coaching? Here’s what to do instead.
The content Trudi shares in this episode is a great reminder that always looking for business coaching, mentoring or training perhaps isn’t where your money and attention needs to be. Trudi presents four brilliant alternatives that might actually be your key to success instead.
Let me know what you think. Do you want to invest in your business right now? Do you find it hard to know what to choose?