Adopt a Life Coach Mentality to Succeed in Business

A good life coach is someone who will listen carefully to what you have to say; someone who will feel a genuine interest in you, your life, your hopes and your dreams; someone who has a profound desire to apply their skills and knowledge to assist you to be, do and have whatever it is you truly want in life.

older businessmanThose who believe business success requires a thick skin, an uncompromising nature and a hard edge, may be left bemused – but I firmly believe the mentality required to be a good life coach is consistent with that required to succeed in business.

For a variety of reasons, I’ve recently had to seek out a new accountant for my business. I’m happy to say that I met a lady who really impressed me and whose company will, henceforth, get our business.

Yes, I was certainly impressed by the depth of knowledge she displayed about her own profession and how she could apply it to the obvious benefit of my business. More than that, though, I was impressed by the interest she displayed in life coaching and the training of life coaches (the field in which my business operates) and the time she took to understand where and how my business fits in – and operates – in our industry.

I had to smile after that meeting. Rather ironically, my accountant had displayed what I believe to be the very characteristics of a good life coach:

Great listening skills;
A genuine interest in others; and
A desire to apply their own skills and knowledge to the betterment of those they serve.

Later, as I reflected on this, I felt somewhat surprised that this had surprised me! After all, wasn’t that exactly what I had been looking for… a good accounting ‘coach’?

This got me thinking about other professions in the service industry; doctors, dentists, electricians, teachers, plumbers, lawyers, dieticians, tour guides, politicians… the list goes on. In every case, speaking from the point of view of a customer, my definition of a good practitioner would have to be the same…

…Someone who can listen intently to what I have to say, show a genuine interest in me and my requirements and apply their skills and knowledge to best effect in meeting my needs.

My mind turned to all those people in the service industry that had failed to impress me in the past – and with whom I would be reluctant to do business in the future. Without exception, it seemed, what had put me off could be traced to either their inability to listen to me, their lack of interest in me personally and/or their inability to apply their skills and knowledge to best effect to further my interests.

The more I thought about it the more I became convinced that to be considered good at what they do, people in the service business need to redefine the way in which they operate and market themselves.

Quite simply, they need to think of themselves as coaches to their customers.business coach

As I processed this minor revelation, I was reminded of ‘Marketing 101’ classes at University. I vividly remember my lecturer, a flamboyant character, if ever there was one, admonishing his young students never to be tempted into following a ‘product orientated’, as opposed to ‘customer orientated’ approach to business marketing.

Product orientation – put bluntly – involves something of an obsession with the product. “Build the perfect widget and the world will beat a path to your door” might aptly describe this mentality.

With customer orientation, on the other hand, understanding the customer’s requirements is central to the approach to business. Here the philosophy could be described as: “Understand what the customer wants and build the ideal product to match.”

Admittedly, the weakness of the customer-oriented approach, when followed too literally, is the (obviously impractical) implication that all products should be custom built. Nevertheless, this philosophy, when broadly adopted and applied in the service industry, has proven to be infinitely superior in terms of marketing success.

So where am I headed with this?

I am advocating that everyone wanting to be successful in the business of serving others, whatever their trade or profession, should take a leaf out of the ‘good coaching handbook’!

And, lest you think this doesn’t apply to you, I would venture that every single one of us is – in some form or other – engaged in the business of serving others; if not directly, then indirectly.

As such, I believe we can all benefit substantially from learning to appreciate and apply basic coaching skills in carrying out that duty.

© Article by Bill Burridge – New Insights Africa Life Coach Training