One of the things I love about being an executive coaching, is the variety of clients. We have a wide range of clients from large multinationals and public bodies through to smaller organisations such as family run businesses. I was asked by one of our clients who runs his own business if his topics were different from those of larger organisations. I was struck by the similarity in the executive coaching topics, irrespective of the size of the business.
Over the course of the last three years, here’s what I recall as being the topics raised by smaller business operators whom I have coached:
- How to grow their business
- How to manage change in their business
- How to attract, recruit & retain talented people in their business
- How to develop their own leadership
- How to balance their work & personal life
- How to work through the cash flow challenges in the post credit crunch world
- How to demand late customers pay up on time without impacting the sales from that customers
- How to plan for who takes over the running of the business.
All of these seem remarkably similar to executive coaching conversations I have with a number of clients in larger organisations. These topics are perhaps symptoms of modern business and executive coaching will always be an effective way to deal with these questions.
The only difference in executive coaching a small business ownercompared to a leader in a large organisation, is if the topic of family & business is raised.
Family and business are sometimes the best of bedfellows, where as sometimes they are the worst of enemies. This is very understandable, simply by the facts that the people involved in both the family & business may be one and the same thing. Usually the big challenge is understanding and coping with where to draw the line between the business and family life – not easy if the family and business is in the same place. Knowing where the boundary of work and family are is very difficult, and the issues raised in one environment very quickly can be transferred into the other. As executive coaches, we can help bring objectivity to the situation, helping business owners build their awareness of the competing elements in their family and business life.