• Dr. Rajesh Mohan Rai

Small Businesses and Need of a Business Coach

Article originally published in The Higher Education Review.



Success requires the focus on goals, action towards achievement of goals, with discipline and accountability. Coaching is not just for Fortune 500 CEOs and business leaders. A coach can be a valuable asset for the small business owners too that is just starting or has a deep desire to grow. When a business starts, it is all about firefighting. A lot of time is spent reacting and responding to planned and unplanned things. Though it may be necessary and need of the hour, it’s not the same thing as running a business that grows. When a business owner spends most of the time reacting and wearing many hats, it is easy to lose sight of goals and vision. A coach can be ideal growth partner for the small business owner for helping a business gain stability and scalability. Here are few reasons small businesses need a coach.


1. Clarify Purpose and Goals

Early days may be disproportionately spent doing things a business owner has to do to exist as a business. A coach, however, helps the business owner put the purpose and goals at the forefront, and helps and supports regularly remind the business owner that why one is doing what one is doing.

Every experienced coach would agree that the skills and attributes of the successful CEO are the same whether the business employs five people, or 5,000 people. Running a small business isn’t easier because it’s smaller.

2. Transition from SME to Entrepreneur

Being a subject matter expert (SME) is not the same thing as being an entrepreneur. In fact, being an accomplished SME may be seen as necessary, however it is insufficient for running a successful business. Any business must be run like business. The coach can offer great insights and help a business owner develop smart habits and best practices so that the business can succeed while the business owner still gets to engage the subject matter expertise.


3. Expansion of Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Emotional intelligence can be the single defining difference between a business that succeeds and one that does not. It doesn’t matter how outstanding the products and services are. EI is a skill which supports individuals to guide the interactions with stakeholders that helps their interactions glide effortlessly. EI used effectively makes people start taking actions, gets people to the point of action swiftly, without lingering doubts or questions. People with strong emotional intelligence know how to get the best results from others, and also how to ensure the experience is positive and builds momentum. Engaging the services of a coach for the express purpose of developing Emotional Intelligence can be one of the wisest investment a business owner can ever make.


4. Establish and Promote Accountability

The most common advise a coach gives to a business owner is that don’t lose sight of the importance of accountability in making the small business succeed. The coach is frequently called upon to support the business owners in understanding how to get into the habit of self-accountability, and how to insist upon accountability from all stakeholders and key team members.


It’s hard enough succeeding in business with everyone on board and accountable, let alone when a business founder or key team members plays fast and loose with accountability. Accountability isn’t about constricting the scope. It’s about doing what was said will be done and building a stronger foundation for the business to grow as mentioned in the goal and vision. Every experienced coach would agree that the skills and attributes of the successful CEO are the same whether the business employs five people, or 5,000 people. Running a small business isn’t easier because it’s smaller. In some ways, it is harder than running a big, established business. Small business owners who engage the services of a coach aren’t spending money on non-essentials. They’re investing the money in becoming the best business leader they can be and developing skills necessary to ensure the best performance of individual team members and the business as a whole.