🎙️Show Notes for Episode 038 - The 5 Benefits of Working With A Coach for ConsultantsDec 01, 2021
As a coach myself, having coached hundreds of different people, and also having had my own coach for the last six years, I want to give you a well rounded perspective of what it look like to be coached from both of these aspects and the benefits that you can gain so that you can really understand what a coach does and how they can help you.
And, if you’re considering a coach, I’d love to connect with you to discover what working together could look like. I invite you to schedule an Independent Consulting Success Blueprint session with me. This is a 1-hour call where we will start with an initial assessment to figure out where you are in your business and then based on that assessment we will take a deeper dive to identify your obstacles, how to overcome them and then outline a roadmap for you to progress toward your overall goal. For more details, go to https://www.melisaliberman.com/ic-blueprint.
In this episode, I discuss the five benefits of having a coach:
[04:03] Benefit #1 and examples
[09:24] Benefit #2 and examples
[14:43] Benefit #3 and examples
[20:19] Benefit #4 and examples
[27:25] Benefit #5 and examples
[34:00] Next Steps
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**note: This is an automated transcript, so please ignore spelling errors and grammar mistakes*
Welcome to the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. I'm Melisa Liberman, a fellow IC and business coach. On this podcast, I teach you to become a consistently booked independent consultant without becoming a pushy salesperson or working 24/7. If I can do it, you can too, listen on to find out how.
Welcome back, I'm so happy you're here. And today we're going to talk about the benefits of hiring a coach. Whether you hire me as your coach or someone else's your coach, that's not the point. The point today is, what are the benefits the tangible and intangible benefits of having a coach? And the reason why I want to focus on this is that I often get that question like, What does a coach do? How does a coach help? Why should I hire a coach? Like all of those types of curiosity based questions, I get them all the time. So I thought today, we would demystify this. And I'm going to do it from a couple of different perspectives. The first being a coach myself, and having coached hundreds of different people, what does it look like to be coached from that perspective, and the benefits that you can gain from it. And then also, from the perspective of me, having had my own coach for the last, I lost track of time, five or six years. And so I want to give you kind of that well rounded perspective so that you can really understand what a coach does and how they can help you. And I will tell you, this is coming from someone who up until you know, the point at which I hired my first coach, where I was kind of kind of at a very low point in my professional career, really not sure what I wanted to do next. At that point, I was before that I was so adamantly opposed to asking for help, I would never ask for help, I would always try to figure it out on my own, I would never want anyone to see the crack in my armor, I would never want anyone to know that I felt insecure or had self doubt. Like there was never a point at which I would ever be open to talking about where I might not feel confident with any other human being. And so to go from that point to now really I want at get I always have had a coach, since I hired that very first one, I've never been without a coach. Sometimes I have more than one, maybe one on a personal side, maybe like a weight loss coach and one on a professional side, like a business coach, whatever it might be, I'm constantly leveraging coaches because I know how much more progress and momentum and fulfillment I've been able to create as a result of it. So that's what our topic is today. I'm so excited to share this with you, I'm going to give you very tangible examples, and stories so that we can really bring this to life for you, then you can decide if it's something that you think is would benefit you as well. So with that, before we dive in, I want to recommend that you go and sign up for an independent consultant and ice success Blueprint Session with me. And you can go get all the details on the AIC dash blueprint page, the link will be in the show notes. But these sessions have been going really well where I dive in with a client, give them an initial assessment to figure out where they're at in their business. And then we really dive in, based on that assessment to figure out what their roadmap should be against their overall goal, and what obstacles are going to hit and how to overcome those. So go check that out. It's on IC dash blueprint.com. Okay, with that, let's dive in. So today we're going to talk about those five benefits of having a coach, which is really another way to look at it as a second set of eyes on you, and on your business. And I'm going to give you those examples in the story so that we can make this really tangible and relatable. Let's dive into number one, the number one benefit of having a coach is to avoid those costly mistakes, the coach can help you see and avoid those unexpected blind spots that they know will most likely happen for you based on where you're at or that they could happen for you based on where you're at and help you avoid those costly mistakes. So I'll give you a few examples. And then we'll talk about a story that relates to this. The examples would be you might not be billing for work that you're doing. You might be justifying that as a cost of doing business. When in fact you're actually could be billing for that work, such as scoping work, for example. You're avoiding it because you are avoiding difficult conversations or don't want push back. Another example would be if you're reaching the limit of the budget and rather than having a conversation about extending the budget, you're just eating the Just because you feel like you've made a mistake, by not estimating or correctly or whatever the reason might be right. You might be undercharging, you might be missing opportunities that are out there that are literally right there in front of your face, but you're too close to the problem to see them. And then I'll give you an example of that in here in a minute. Another example of this is that you could be making changes to your business without really fully fleshing out your reasons, and potentially setting yourself back for, you know, six months, nine months a year, I've seen that happen. So want to make sure that you're at a place where you're able to best avoid the costly mistakes. This isn't a foolproof process, right, you're not going to ever, completely avoid costly mistakes, otherwise, you're probably just playing really too small. However, with that being said, you can leverage an expert like a coach to help you avoid the mistakes that are so common that you're not seeing, because it's like they say, if you're inside the jar, you can't see the label. Right. And so that's what a coach can help you do is really to avoid those costly mistakes. So I'll give you an example a story about this, I had a client who was selling consulting services and really getting into a rhythm, she had a business that many of us would dream of having right, a very clear service offering a very dialed in business development process. So she knew exactly how to keep her pipeline filled and her close rates and how long it took from start to finish to land a deal on average. And all of that was in really well dialed in and well oiled a well oiled machine, she kind of had that queue of client work. And so she was at the point where she was considering adding another service to what she was doing. She wanted to add another service offering. And so on the surface, as we started looking at this, it seemed reasonable, right, she had all of this other stuff, she was wanting to make a change or an addition to her business. And it wasn't from the place of trying to, you know, pivot because something wasn't working, it was actually from the place of this is working, I want to expand my business. And so like I said, on the surface, it seemed very reasonable. But as we dug in, to really understanding why she wanted to do this, what her drivers were, what her logic was, what her reasoning was, what her mindset was, we figured out the actual reason why she was doing this, wanting to add this additional service is because she was basically chasing other people, she saw other consultants and the businesses they had, and she was wanting to kind of keep up with them, like keep up with the Joneses, she had a fear of missing out on what they were doing, you know, just felt like she had to keep up with them. They in somehow were ahead of her, and she needed to keep up with them. And so, if we had just gone off, based on what she saw on the surface, she may have misdirected her business for, you know, six or nine months chasing something that, in actuality, she realized she didn't really want to pursue, she was pursuing it for reasons that she definitely didn't like once we uncovered those. And so alternatively, what she did was abandon that plan, put it on ice, maybe we'll come back to it at some point for different reasons. We put that on ice, and she realized that she had some very low hanging fruit that she could pursue to expand her business to expand her revenue. And so those opportunities are what she focused on instead. And so we avoided that costly mistake of her derailing her business getting distracted, pursuing something because she felt like it was the next thing that she should do as part of her business, versus taking advantage of that low hanging fruit that was a much better fit for her and what she is trying to create overall. So that's a really good example of helping a client to avoid costly mistakes. And that's something that you know, having that sounding board is so valuable, because you can really dig into the reasons why you're doing it, and uncover those before you go down a path that might not lead to the result that you're looking for. Okay, let's talk about the second benefit of hiring a coach. The second benefit is that ultimately, if you hire one that really fits well with what you're doing, can help you increase your bottom line. So let me give you some examples of this. You might not have a reserve right now a reserve in your business. And so that puts you in kind of a precarious decision making situation where you're settling or constantly settling or taking work that you might not necessarily want to take or that doesn't pay you what it should because you feel like you have to you're in a situation from a cash flow perspective that you To another way that a coach can help you increase your bottom line is where you are not necessarily thinking about things from a revenue perspective versus a profit perspective. And really questioning and digging into the way that you're building up your proposals and your cost models. A coach can help you strategically raise your rates for existing clients, as well as for new business. A coach can help you move from hourly based work to value based pricing so that you're not tied to how many hours that you work, a coach can help you see where you might feel like you need to do everything in your business, I know I've been in this situation, I know I can do it, I can edit videos, I've taught myself a lot of this stuff, right, you probably have to doesn't necessarily mean you should be doing it. And so a coach can help you figure out where you could be hiring people to do that lower value work, the work that's more repeatable someone else is an expert in it, and free you up to do the higher value work. Even if it's not billable, like you know, you're freeing yourself up to do business development work that pays off in the long run. So those are some examples of how a coach can help you to see situations that you might not recognize yourself, or that you might be avoiding in order to increase your bottom line. So give you an example of this one, which basically was a client who felt like they had to take on work, they were being offered work, and felt like they had to take it on. They felt like they were stuck between a rock and a hard place. They had had several months without income without any consulting revenue, and felt like this opportunity, they had to take the burden the hand, right. So it was about 25 or 30%, below what their typical rate was, but they needed that cash flow. And so initially, that client was going to agree to a six month kind of full time contract. And by full time, that means like 50 or 60 hours a week, right? And so it looked fairly attractive, like okay, I you know, on the surface, that client was thinking, Well, I can solve my cash flow issue, I can get, you know, some work under my belt, I'll figure out a way to do my business development, somehow I don't know where the time would have fit. And then we'll do better next time. So many of us think that right? I'll fix this next time, I'll do better next time. I'm not going to get myself into this situation next time. But when you're signing up for a six month full time contract, where you're paid hourly, so you're incentivized to work more, because you get paid by the hour, and they think you're okay with working more, because you're getting paid by the hour, you know, she would have been setting herself up for a really difficult situation to move into the business model that she really wanted, which was having some balance between delivery and business development and not getting paid by the hour. So it wasn't this, you know, internal personal conflict as well as you know, incentivizing the client in the wrong way. And so in a sub, I won't say wrong way, it's suboptimal way. So what we ended up doing for her is just, you know, we did a lot of modeling it out. And we realized that she could negotiate a slightly higher rates, which she did. And then she could also tell them, she was only working up to 30 hours a week to set that boundary. And then she, you know, and we leveraged both of those two things together, created a little bit of scarcity, right, you need to leverage me in what I do in 30 hours a week. And I'm valuable, I'm worth more than what you're putting out in this marketplace, for example. And so that was the conversation that she had in a nutshell. And she was able to land that contract. So she had the cash flow. So that left her space 10 Or 20 hours a week to work on business development. And within three weeks, I think it was she landed 180k contract is that would never have happened. Well, I won't say never, it would be very unlikely to have happened had she not taken a step back not agreed to what a client was initially offering to her and really thought about what she was trying to create in her business created a hybrid solution that she offered to that client, and was able to meet both her cashflow goals and her goals of keeping that space available for business development. So that's a great example of how working with a coach can help you increase your bottom line. The third area or third benefit that I've seen both being a coach and also always having a coach is the benefit of increased fulfillment. It's really hard to put a price on this right? For so many of us if we're just leaving ourselves to our own devices. We're In a place where we're constantly feeling stressed and overwhelmed, and doubting whether the is this thing gonna work or not, as a roller coaster, and a coach can help you get to the place where you're feeling more fulfilled, doesn't mean that you're going to get rid of self doubt or worry or stress, I would never tell you that having worked with so many clients and with my own coaches, that never goes away, it's part of kind of the human condition, right. But at the same time, the ability to override that stress and worry, the ability to replace it with peace of mind and fulfillment and feeling valued. And the ability to disrupt that. So it doesn't take days on end, it takes maybe minutes or hours versus days on end of feeling stressed and worried when you can truncate all of that down and feel so much more in control of your emotions. That, to me has been one of the biggest impacts of having coaches, not only on my business in my professional life, but also in my personal life, having control of your emotions is invaluable. As a mom of three and a wife of an Army Reservist, and also an entrepreneur, like there's a lot of emotional management going on over here, as I'm sure there is for you, too. So this is such a value of having a coach one that has a really good background in mindset, coaching, particularly. So I'll give you an example here of how a coach can help you feel more fulfilled and in control versus stressed and worried and overwhelmed. I'll give you an example of a client who came to me riddled, I will use a word riddled with self doubt, and worry, they hadn't had a client and I think it was probably six months or so they left the last client in sub optimal situation, the client wasn't happy. And so they just had so much self doubt going on about whether or not they could, you know, be successful on another client. And if they even landed one, they were worried about landing a client. And if they got it, would they be successful. And so as we dug into this, at a high level, that client looked really good on paper, all of this stuff that I'm telling you, you know, didn't come through on their LinkedIn profile by any stretch of the imagination. And really before this dry spell, they had clients most of the time. But that second guessing and doubting just kept elongating this dry spell further and further, and made it really hard for that person to keep moving forward and to get out of the ditch and to be able to, you know, successfully sell business and feel really confident in delivering the business. And so as you can imagine the fix to this challenge of feeling like an imposter feeling that incredible amount of self doubt, the fix isn't to go land a new client, because you have to feel the confidence before you land the client, right. And so that's where we really dug in as to help that client really learn and develop a strong and solid sense of self confidence, and how to create it without anything else changing in their life where they although circumstances were still the same, right? They still were in a dry spell, they still had a bad last experience with their past client that they were, you know, kicking themselves over. And so we weren't able to change any of that. But what we weren't able to change was the lens at which they were approaching their business development and the way that they were looking at themselves. And that's where being able to shift into self confidence whenever you need it is incredibly valuable to be able to shift into peace of mind whenever you need it incredibly valuable. The ability to shift into feeling in control, and fulfilled and valued without needing anything external to changing is incredibly valuable. And I'm not talking here about putting lipstick on a pig, right? I've been there. I've had coaches trying to like make me think positively it doesn't work. It's not believable, it actually makes the problem even worse, because now you're not only feeling stressed and overwhelmed and insecure. But now you're feeling incapable of even getting out of this ditch and someone's trying to tell you to just think positively that's not going to work. But what does work is really understanding how the brain works, and how to generate that confidence and sense of fulfillment in a way that is realistic and practical, and that you can believe yourself. That's the benefit of having a coach to get you out of the ditch when you're in the ditch to get you out of the overwhelming you're in the overwhelm to get you out of the stress when you're in the stress and to teach you those tools. to do it for yourself, and to continuously build that muscle so that you're able to function at a really high level as a business owner, and be fulfilled and have the peace of mind, and that you've created for yourself. Okay, I love that one. So hopefully it came through. Okay, number four. Another benefit of having a coach is to help you to increase your client impact. So this isn't just about you and your business and meeting your business goals, although those are incredibly important. But it's also how do you deliver at a higher level with your own clients. And so I'll give you some examples of this. There are a lot of areas where I see people over complicating things as they deliver them to their client. I'll give you an example of that here in a moment. So you're giving a lot of things to the client, but it's not necessarily things that they see as valuable. So being able to really align what you're delivering to the client with what they value can be incredibly important and difficult to see when you're in the weeds. The other thing that is really helpful from a coaching perspective is to be able to look at that, what we call the client journey, objectively, from beginning to end with a client, what does it look like for you to first engage with someone that may be a claim or may refer someone to you or may be a good partner for you? By partner, I mean, someone who helps you get an audience for the message that you've got the type of problem that you solve? And then what does it look like to walk through from step by step to get them to agree to a first call with you? And how do you manage that call. And then how do you get them to agree to another call and ultimately to co designing a solution together, and then to signing a contract with them, and then to onboarding them into your system, and then to delivering the work. And then ultimately, the onboarding process, really looking at that objectively, from an external lens versus being in the middle of it can help you increase your client impact so much, because you're working through each one of those steps. So carefully, methodically to get it where you dialed in to where you want it to be. Another great place that a coach can help you increase your client impact is helping you to see areas where you can productize what you're doing, where potentially, you're kind of handcrafting things over and over again, and helping you to see where there's commonality, common threads across what it is that you're doing, so that you're ultimately able to productize, create repeatable frameworks, create repeatable methodologies, and ultimately start becoming known for what you do and sought after for what you do. So those are a few examples of how you could increase your client impact, especially through working with a coach may give you an example of this. So I had a client who was overwhelmed, I'll just run it that way overwhelmed so much on their plate, so much work getting done, always feeling behind, never feeling like they were able to, you know, really give the attention that they wanted to give to their client, and to their business development process and to the subcontractors they had working with them. All just felt really hold in so many different directions. And so we started looking at their business and that client journey I was describing to you. And one of the quickest areas, the lowest hanging fruit that stood out to us as we were diving into each of these steps was the amount of time and energy and deliverables they were producing around just summaries and reports and presentations. And it was a lot of work to create these weekly status reports and these executive presentations and these executive summaries and these case studies and you know, all of this work that they thought the client really wanted and that they felt like really best communicated the value that they were providing to that client and substantiating the Billings and the amount of money they were spending for my client. And then at the same time, my client was just dreading this work wasn't part of the overall, you know, deliverables. They were in the ultimate value they were trying to produce for their client. It was, you know, what we all work on in some level or another, you know, the communication, the strategy process and that sort of thing. But it was a lot of overhead. So we took a step back, and we said, Okay, this is a lot of work, and you hate it. My client did not like it. And we're not even sure if their end client, my clients client is even looking at it. So let's just take a step back and think about this from the bigger picture to figure out is this even needed or not? And so that's what we did. And we figured out that really the client wasn't it was like Find value. I don't know if you've ever heard that term. But basically, my client was just producing a lot of kind of sexy looking reports, but at the end of the day, no one was actually using them. And so what we did is figure out, Okay, what does the client truly need in this situation? And what method of communication? In a very the simplest of terms, just because you're producing a lot of things doesn't mean that they're valuable, right? It's like, what is the most simple thing we can provide? That adds the most amount of value and reaches these goals. And so that's what we work together on. And we simplified this down to a monthly updates with her stakeholders that was supported by a one pager, and that clients, her end client, my clients, clients felt so much less intimidated, right? It was very clear what was happening, what had happened, what was going to happen, what decisions needed to be made. And my client doing this work to simplify their delivery, not only made it better for them, because they weren't dreading this work every month now, but at the same time made the result and the impact on their end clients so much greater because of the simplification. And so the moral of this story is that a lot of times we overcomplicate what we're doing for our clients, or we don't see the commonality of what we're doing for our end clients. And so we're just operating on autopilot, just delivering for the client, because they asked for it, or delivering for the client because we think they need it. And being able to take a step back with the support of a coach to really figure out from end to end of what is going to make the most sense for your own. And clients can be incredibly valuable in increasing the impact that you're making. As you work with your own clients. Hopefully, all of that made sense, because there's a lot of clients going on here. But at the end of the day, that's the goal, right? You are a consultant, because you want to make an impact for your end client, you want to make some change for the better for their own businesses. And so being able to look at that, and take a step back from a diagnostic perspective can be incredibly valuable to increasing the amount of value that your end client sees. Okay, number five, the last one here, there's so many more, but I had to pick the top five, a coach can help you to create that momentum toward the bigger picture. So let me give you some examples of that. It's so easy to get mired into our own day to day our own way of thinking our own perspective on what's possible for our business, and to not be able to see the bigger picture of what's possible. And so working with a coach can help you to see what's possible for you that you might not have ever even considered or thought was realistic for you. So a few examples of this is what's possible for you revenue wise that you might be discounting what's possible for you profit wise that you could be discounting what's possible for you schedule wise that you could be completely unaware of or discounting, it is possible to make more money, working less, I assure you, it's also possible for you to work as a, you know, as a solo consultant, or as a business owner, to balance those two in a way that really gets you to your results, right? How do I balance the delivery with being a business owner, and creating that ratio that ultimately leads you to the end results that you're looking for. So those are some examples of how a coach can help you to see the bigger picture of what's possible for you what's possible for your business, because they have a perspective across multiple clients, probably their own perspective of what they've done, you know, in their own consulting business. And so being able to see what's possible outside of where you're at just mired in your own day to day, if you're most like most independent consultants, being able to see that bigger picture can be really valuable as well, and help you to create the momentum and ultimately reach your goals so much faster than you would having done it on your own. So let me give you an example of this. I had a client who was under charging relative to the market based on all the data points and was charging on an hourly basis. And they had accepted work that quite frankly, they could have done probably 10 or 15 years ago in their career, like in one hand, it was easy and a slam dunk. But on the other hand, they were really selling themselves short on how much they could charge and the level of work that they could do successfully and the impact they could make on their end clients, ultimately. And so they're constantly working, you know, over 40 hours a week. Week to drive that cash flow. And to stockpile money kind of like a bear for the winter, right? In case there was a downturn, that was a business model that they, you know, occasionally they might have a little fixed fee or a daily rates, but for the most part that was the business model under which they were working. And so we dove into their business, and immediately found a lot of opportunity, from end to end within their business, all the way from productizing, their service offering, getting really clear on what their offer was, and who their ideal client was creating a pricing that aligned to both the end client's goals and the value they're looking for, as well as with the clients goals of not working, you know, 50 or 60 hours, five days a week or not wanting to take vacations. So we just found all of these opportunities at each step in their business. And from there, we put a plan in place because obviously can't, can't boil the ocean, right? So we figured out what is the lowest hanging fruit, what is the most impactful next step that we could make. And we just kept doing that biting off one step at a time, and ultimately getting them to the place where they were able to double their revenue, along with their profit, and get to the place where they're only doing that in three days of client delivery a week, which gave them time to work on their business and the other couple days of the week, or take time off even and also take off, I think it was six weeks in the in the year. So because we just took this very methodically, and based on a couple of success factors. Number one, what would make the greatest amount of impact, let's start there. And we can adjust this business on the fly, we don't have to stop anything. And the second thing that we did that helped this client get into such momentum was helped them to see as they wanted to keep changing their mind or going back to doing what they had been doing. And fear was setting in as we were making changes in their business, helping them to get past that so that ultimately they could get past the ceiling that they kept hitting from a revenue perspective. And from a schedule perspective and push beyond that into the business and toward the ultimate business model that they were wanting to build. So that is such an important success ingredient here is not only having the plan and knowing what the greatest impact would be and where to start, but also the ability to see where they were trying to logic their way back into repeating what they already had created because it was comfortable. And pushing past some of those things that were uncomfortable, were scary, were new, and required some you know, new learning, and help support them to get to that place so that they could create the momentum and push past that ceiling that they had been hitting over and over again in their business. So that is the fifth example of a benefit that working with a coach can help you to create as well. Okay, let's recap the benefits here. There are tangible and intangible right help you to avoid costly mistakes working with a coach can help you increase your revenue and your profit. Working with a coach can help you increase your fulfillment, and manage that overwhelm and stress and worry, working with a coach can help you increase your client impact. And ultimately, the value you're delivering to your clients in a less stressful way. And ultimately, working with a coach can help you create that momentum toward the bigger picture, the momentum toward the business model toward the business goals that you either have and haven't been able to achieve, or that you didn't even really think was possible for you and hadn't set as a goal.
So what now, I will recommend to you get a coach. Hopefully you can see through this episode, how important it is to have a coach, how much stress and worry can be lifted off of your shoulders, and how much faster you can proceed and make progress toward your ultimate goals, including revenue, including take home profit, including the schedule that you're creating for yourself. And so if I'm not the right coach for you, you interact with me here on a daily basis, at least for this episode. No worries, I'm not for everyone who find yourself someone who is a great fit for you. And if I am or you think I am, I could be the right fit for you. Maybe you know for sure, or you're you want to figure it out, then I highly recommend that you sign up for one of these icy blueprint sessions. It's an hour for you along with some pre work. We'll dive into your business together, create that roadmap for you help you To uncover and plan to proceed past those roadblocks and obstacles, and then ultimately help you see what the steps are to get you where you want to be in your business. Alright, so that is what I have for you today. Hopefully, you'll go out and get yourself a coach, again, whether it's me or someone else, really want to make sure that you're supported in this business owner endeavor that you've got and are ultimately wildly successful. That's what I wish for you. Alright, have a great day and I will see you again next week. Thanks for joining me this week on the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. If you like today's episode, I have three quick next steps for you. First, click Subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to make sure you don't miss future episodes. Next, leave me a review in your podcast app so other independent consultants can find it benefit to and finally to put the ideas from today's episode into action. Head over to Melisaliberman.com for the show notes and more resources to help you grow your consulting practice from your first few projects into a full-fledged business. See you next week.