By Kai Murray, non-exec director and business coach at Firefish Software
Successful CEOs today recognise that the best investment you can make for your business is to invest in yourself. Marc Benioff, Bill Gates and Roger Enrico regularly consult coaches to uncover some fresh perspective and constantly push themselves to innovate. Indeed, business coaches pave the way for leaders to improve by helping them identify and pursue their goals, both supporting them in their professional journey and adding value to their business.
- Identify your strengths
There is no one style of leadership: where some leaders prefer to be on the front line, others might value giving autonomy and flexibility to their teams. Business coaching is a way to discover (or strengthen) your style of leadership: by reflecting on your attitudes, motivations and projects, you will identify what leadership style works for you and your business.
This will not only support you in your professional journey but will also be a way to uncover strategies for your business to evolve and innovate, increasing resilience and competition. For example, one small business in Edinburgh doubled its workforce and profits in eighteen months after undertaking the coaching process; the CEO had used business coaching to identify where talents and opportunities lay within his business.
- Challenge yourself
As part of the professional development process, self-reflection can boost confidence and encourage you to try new ideas and become a more efficient leader. However, this process can be challenging as opportunities to discuss leadership issues with internal teams are limited by the power dynamics between a CEO and employees – who dares question the CEO?
This is where the business coach comes in to challenge you to achieve your potential capabilities and unlock skills and talents you didn’t know you had. It can be a difficult process as you will be confronted with some hard questions to tackle the behaviours that hinder your leadership.
The business coach facilitates this process not only through constructive conversations but also by reaching out to your teams and discussing with them how they perceive their manager, thus adding an external perspective to your internal reflection process. The coaching process therefore allows business leaders to achieve their best: by challenging you and pushing you to critically reflect on your own behaviours, new opportunities, such as innovative business strategies, open up.
- Inspire others
Having the ability to motivate and inspire others is crucial to lead a cohesive team: motivation is key to enhancing employee performance, as a demotivated team is more likely to produce sub-standard work which in turn affects client retention and, eventually, profitability. As shown by the pandemic, teams and businesses that thrived were led by strong CEOs who had the ability to maintain a unified team despite the challenging situation.
Business coaching helps develop your ability to inspire others: identifying what motivates employees is central to building your leadership skills as you understand how to drive your team forward and encourage them to strive for excellence. In this sense, uncovering your own motivations through coaching will allow you to appear authentic and passionate, producing better results because teams are likely to follow someone who shares their vision and works towards it relentlessly, but also stays true to themselves.
- Support your team
Having a confident and inspiring manager is crucial for teams to feel supported: one of the key motivators for Gen Z, which makes up 40% of the workforce, is the opportunity for growth and personal development. Consequently, a lack of development opportunities leads to a higher employee turnover: around 70% of people who leave their jobs identify the reason as issues with their managers. This shows the necessity to ensure that the team feels supported by their manager in their personal and professional development.
This can be achieved through business coaching. A good strategy to shore up team morale and motivation is to allocate a business coach to star employees. When coaching a CEO, a holistic approach can be adopted by talking to the individual and the team and by emphasising how the CEO’s decision will impact the business itself. This signifies that the team is considered in individuals’ coaching process, meaning that managers gain a better understanding of their teams’ needs after receiving coaching. Some leaders also develop their ability to support others by applying certain aspects of the coaching process through their own leadership, adding value to their own team by pushing them to reflect on their abilities and motivations.
- Gain perspective
To continuously innovate and maintain efficient business plans, perspective on the work you are undertaking is vital: coaching will provide insight and guidance that helps you identify your own key challenges, make considered decisions, and develop strategies to take the business to the next level. The reflective process will allow you to increase your self-awareness, thus helping you make better and more efficient decisions both for your business and in your professional journey.
For example, some CEOs decide to be coached to relieve the stress they are under: by building a constructive and reflective conversation, they identify the underlying reasons for their stress, such as their inability to delegate. This self-reflection pushes them to change the way they are leading their business by giving more autonomy to their employees, ultimately benefiting themselves, their team and their business.
So coaching is a business investment. Developing professionally and personally builds the backbone of the company, creating the base for development and growth. No company can thrive without a manager who is authentic, inspiring, and passionate, and business coaching will help add value to your business by developing these attributes and bringing out the leader that you are. This is essential for your professional journey but also to enhance your team’s efficiency, coherence and motivation, ultimately supporting business development.
Firefish Software is a combined CRM and recruitment marketing software that’s changing the way businesses recruit. First in their industry to implement a ‘Work From Anywhere’ policy, Firefish Software has a strong company culture at its core, and recently won ‘Best Talent Tech Company to Work For’ at TALiNT Partners TIARA Recruitment Awards (Sept 2021).