Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Why Entrepreneurs Need a Coach

Let's face it, entrepreneurs can be wild about their dreams.

Yes, indeed, we will go to great lengths to not only dream, but make them come true.  Add to that the fact that we have idea after idea after idea, which makes our daily 'routine' almost impossible to stick to.  The result can be, at a minimum, lack of focus and spinning our wheels.  Or it could lead to burnout or throwing in the towel before the towel needs to be thrown.

Our passion drives our success.  But it can also drive our failure.  Our failures drive our success.  But they can also wear us down.

It's a vicious cycle.  Entrepreneurs can get very excited about a new project, and that can catapult it to growth and success.  However, without poise, focus, and consistent effort, that same project can fail.

I have been there.  I am a Coach and I have been there.  I'm a natural entrepreneur, and my ideas whirl. all. the. time.  It takes a lot of work to be focused.  It takes a lot of mental coaching to be consistent and stick with something.

Not only do we need to be focused and consistent, but we get beaten down a lot, and we need a way to rise to the top anyway.  This is one of the most important things my coaches have done for me.

I have had several coaches in my business, all of which have helped me out.  But the best coach I've had was my Executive Coach who held the space for me, allowed me to say what I had to say, and then helped me rise to the top (the 'top' is whatever the top is for you at that time).  She and I have had some time apart from our coaching, and that is why I can say this with confidence.  I have not had her coaching in some time, and I need her back.  My business needs her back.  And, so, she is coming back:)

My point is, though, that entrepreneurs need a coach as much as they need financial or marketing guidance.

We have days when we feel unsupported.  A coach gives support.  We have days when we have crazy (aka not feasible) ideas.  A coach pushes us to massage the idea to make it feasible - or release it and stay focused.  We have days when we are afraid - afraid to speak our truth, afraid to take the next step, afraid of success.  A coach listens with non-judgement and helps identify and face those fears.  We have days when things feel like they will fall apart.  A coach will allow you to sit in the chaos for a bit and then help you move through it so you can put the pieces back together and move forward.  We have days when we feel alone.  A coach gives you someone to talk to - she is on your team.

Yes, a coach will reel you in when you are scattered and hold you accountable when you are out of integrity and be a sounding board for your ideas.  But most importantly, a coach helps you rise to the top.  And let's face it, entrepreneurs can sometimes to be too wild about their dreams to do that alone.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Thriving on Change

We are in times of change.  We are always in times of change.  Everything changes.  Nothing is constant but change.

But we don't like change.

Not really true.  We don't like being told to change.  And we don't like things to change when we like or feel comfortable in the current situation.  So when an organization needs to make a change (which happens a LOT), employees may be uncomfortable with the change, fear it for a variety of reasons, and, therefore, resist it.  That resistance looks like disengagement, conflict, negativity, or sabotage.  And it results in low productivity, performance issues, and stress.  It may even lead to decreased sales, dissatisfied customers, or relationship issues with suppliers.

It is possible to be OK with change, though.  In fact, you can even thrive on change.  It takes some skill.  And mindfulness helps.

First of all, mindful leadership means the top down directives, decisions, and program roll-outs are compassionate towards what the employees may feel during changing times.  Organizational leaders communicate well and are considerate of the impact the changes have on employees.  They do not walk away from the difficult discussions or decisions and are transparent about what is really going to change... or what is unknown.

Secondly, a mindful culture will allow employees to be calm in the midst of chaos and be accepting of changes.  Additionally, because they are calm, they are more rational minded and can approach decisions and problems with a solution based attitude rather than a fear based one. 

Mindfulness is not all about going to a meditation room and zoning out to get some Zen... in fact, that isn't it at all.  It is about being able to be in the present moment without ignoring it, fighting it, or clinging to it.  It is about being open to change, because change is all we can count on.

If your organization is going through changes, you can begin to alleviate the problems that go along with change by helping your employees express how they feel without judgement and begin meditation groups or other stress relieving activities.  Training employees in mindfulness can help them cope with the changes and have a problem solving attitude.  

You can also help your organization by giving your leaders mindful leadership skills and attitudes and having open, transparent conversations about what THEY are fearing too.  Leaders do not purposefully try to hurt employees and make their lives difficult by changing things. Mindful leadership is about leading with heart.  And when that happens, even if a huge downsizing is the change occurring, employees will respect the leaders and continue to be cheerleaders for the organization.

Difficult changes are inevitable in business.  Resistance resulting from the changes is not.