Following the Winter Olympics this year and in particular the Paralympics I am struck by something other than I need to take more exercise! And that is the fact that the place of a coach for all sportsmen is defined and required, no-one expects our sportsmen to excel at their chosen sport without a coach. To achieve excellence in any sport you are expected to lean on the support of someone else; it is unthinkable that you would climb to the top of your profession without guidance, mentoring and advice from probably a whole team of coaches – each with their own specialism.
What has struck me is that in business there is an expectation that you can succeed and excel without a coach. It is acceptable that you can start your business without so much as a mentor at your side … indeed I met a business advisor recently who felt that if a business plan had any money set aside for a coach (let alone several) he would suggest they removed it until they can afford it. He didn’t seem willing to accept that possibly the reason so many businesses fail in their first 3 years is exactly because the business owners didn’t have a coach or mentor to work with.
As we start preparing for our 15th year in business I can look back at the many people who have been my coach, mentor and advisor and wish that I had understood earlier that if I want to excel at something I need to find and pay for the support of a coach. Over the past 10 years I have worked with great coaches such as Mark Fritz and Sue Roberts, had wonderful mentors such as Catherine Watkins and the advice of many – both paid for and freely given by the many specialists that I meet networking.
If I could give any advice to any one starting out in business or their career path it would be to find a mentor, coach and/or advisor to help you along the way. If you want to reach the top then like our athletes you need to find specialists who can help you hone your skills so that you really are the best that you can be, and you might just have to pay for their skill to improve your own!