The executives, leaders, and business owners I work with all have at least one thing in common: a bias toward action. These are not people content to sit around and wait for an opportunity to drop in their laps. Neither are they given to investing inordinate hours sitting, breathing, contemplating. And, like a vulture who's tired of waiting for something to die, they are strongly inclined to go out and force the action. That makes times like these uniquely challenging for action-oriented business owners and executives.
For these under-pressure leaders, it is vital that they have one trusted advisor– a collaborator or coach– who knows how to ask the right questions that lead to focus, clear direction, and consistent motivation when doing critical strategic work.
The right advisor or coach will:
1. Listen rather than tell.
You can find plenty of consultants willing to tell you what they think you should do. Which priorities are most important, which strategies you "should" employ, and the best tactics to support those strategies. But no one knows your business better than you. The right trusted advisor will help you find your own way, weigh alternate solutions, and decide on a course of action that is best for you.
2. Help you identify your most critical priorities.
When your business is facing huge changes, the challenge is to see the forest rather than a million trees all swaying in different directions. The right coach or advisor will help you pause, take a step back and help you through a process of identifying the three-to-five specific priorities that will have the largest, most critical impact on your business now.
3. Guide the process instead of directing.
When you're hearing divergent, strong opinions from your team and your clients, it's easy to get pulled toward the viewpoint of the wheel that squeaks loudest. And that can change on almost a daily basis. The right advisor will help you gather the data, sort it out, and analyze so that you can draw conclusions consistent with your most important strategies and priorities.
4. Provide an impartial sounding board.
Because your trusted advisor or coach is focused on your solutions rather than theirs, you get impartial feedback and a true sounding board to explore your ideas deeply. The right trusted advisor will be just that, someone you can trust to always have your best interests, and those of your business, as the driving relationship factors.
5. Hold you accountable for the right metrics.
Making positive progress toward your goals requires clarity and commitment. And, with all the pressures and distraction leaders face right now, it's easy to backslide into putting out fires and chasing shiny objects rather than focusing on the specific actions that move you closer to your vision. The right coach or advisor will help you identify the key metrics that show progress and work with you to keep you moving in the right direction, focused on the most important tactics, while maintaining your motivation and momentum.