Over the past few years, books such as “Good to Great” by Jim Collins have created serious interest and major growth in the area of business coaching. Although many executives and business owners are familiar with consultants as individuals or teams who enter the business to impart expertise, not so many understand what a business coach does. Essentially the main difference lies in the focus; the consultant focuses on business processes whereas the coach focuses on you.
So how do these two services differ? The consultant enters a challenging business scenario armed with the expertise to come up with possible solutions. The business coach interacts with the individuals empowering them to uncover and implement their own solutions. Essentially, the business coach focuses on behaviour, values and habits that shape processes and performance.
Both coaches and consultants can be vital to business success; but may be required in different scenarios, for instance
The consultant will offer advice, but the coach will empower and support you in uncovering your own. Consultants will present a report of their findings whereas the coach will deliver feedback to empower you to question and review your own thinking and behaviour.
I’ve used both interventions through the course of my professional life and I would not have achieved success without either one. The key was knowing who to call … and when. If I could give an executive or entrepreneur advice, it would be to surround yourself with a strong team. There’s no way of guaranteeing success, but there are things you can do to enhance your chances and avoid costly mistakes along the way.
I wish I’d known this at the beginning of my entrepreneurial career .. although it is the reason I started Idea Alive.
Lynne Frost is the founder and managing director of Idea Alive - a coaching business that works with Executives and Entrepreneurs.
For more information go to: www.ideaaliveSA.co.za
How it began …
My journey began 20 years ago with a call from Khulisa’s founder, Lesley Ann van Selm. She explained that she had developed a programme to rehabilitate youthful ex-offenders; and had arranged for a pilot group of these young offenders, then inmates of Leeukop prison in Johannesburg, to be paroled into her care.
Whilst I was filled with admiration for Lesley Ann’s latest endeavour towards saving our world, her next request took me somewhat by surprise.
“Please come and meet these young men,” she pleaded, “They are amazing people, and I would really like you to consider taking on three of them on as interns in your company.”
“Have you gone completely mad?” is how I recall my response!
My company was, after all, an extremely conservative recruitment and human resources firm, specialising in placing senior management and executive candidates. How on earth could I justify bringing former inmates into such a set up?
Needless to say, in her inimitable and most persuasive way, Lesley Ann, talked me into meeting a group of these former offenders, and, naturally, I was deeply touched and impressed by their passionate wish to make the very most of this second chance.
So that’s how three ex-offenders came to be employed as interns in my company for a period of two years, some twenty years ago.
It wasn’t all plain sailing!
Read how we integrated these offenders into our office environment and meet some of the successes that came out of the programme.