In today’s post, Melisa Liberman, host of upcoming MBO webinar “Using an Executive Coach to Accelerate Your Career Revenue” and an executive coach specializing in tech leaders, offers actionable tips from her own experience as both a “coach” and a “coachee” to help independent professionals considering coaching for future career growth or career transition.
There are so many types of coaches and coaching models out there, it can often be confusing to know why you would want to hire a coach.
This comes from personal experience, both as a coach and as a coachee (meaning I have my own coaches…. yes, that’s plural. I have 3 at the moment)!
Here are some areas to consider when deciding if now is the right time to hire a coach.
1. Accelerate your results
such as increased revenue growth, scale at a faster rate
An executive coach can help you accelerate your results. They do this in so many simple ways, like helping you to stay accountable and in action.
And, they can help you in more complex ways as well.
For me, having a coach made me see a much bigger picture of what was possible with my business. If I had been left to my own thinking about my business, I would have played smaller and safer.
How do I know this?
I tried going it alone for the first several months of my own business. I was under-selling, under-charging, and under-estimating myself.
As soon as I hired a coach, she pushed me to see that I was capable of so much more, so much faster.
My coach helped me to see that I was holding myself back from charging what I was worth because of fear and self-doubt.
My inner voice sounded so rational at the time; I was telling myself things like:
- I don’t have very many clients, so I should charge an entry level price in order to build up experience.
- I am just starting out in my business; I should build a reputation first before charging a “premium” (aka the market rate).
These thoughts were not true.
They all had counterpoints to them:
- I had 12+ years of experience, I wasn’t just starting out.
- I already had built a reputation and professional relationships. Yes, my business was a new way of delivering what I had already been doing for years, but that didn’t mean I was new.
These were all stories I was creating to feel more comfortable and to control the fear in my mind.
They were holding me back.
My coach was able to help me see where the opposite of all of it was true, and to help me 10x my revenue over the 1st year new business average2. Market Your Services with Relevant Messaging
Next, take some time to review your current marketing efforts. Make a list of what you are doing well and what you could be improving on. Perhaps you need to update your professional website to showcase your latest projects, or invest more time into your blog to share content across a wider variety of social media platforms.
By consciously developing a strong personal brand, you will boost your credibility and automatically increase your outreach efforts. Having your name out in the world in a way that shows you are an expert in your industry is a great way to reach those target clients. Be sure to make content and messaging short, sharable, and informal yet entertaining to hold your audience’s attention and keep them coming back for more.
2. To serve as your trusted advisor
a role your spouse, your team (if you have one) and your client can’t play
By nature, an IC is independent. Alone. Operating as a company of one.
Yes, you might have some support staff or project-based resources working with you. But likely you are the one who is ultimately responsible. You are the CEO of your business. It can be lonely.
And, it’s easy to fall into the trap of swimming in your own thoughts all day long, not challenging your own thought processes or seeing opportunities to look at things differently.
A warning – you might think that you can use a friend or spouse for a sounding board.
This can end badly.
Spouses, clients and staff aren’t the best equipped to help you. At best, they can be a sounding board who sporadically gives good advice. At worst, they can send you in the wrong direction by telling you what you want to hear.
An executive coach’s job is to help you see your blind spots,
- To consider areas you might not be thinking of
- To challenge the way you’re thinking about something
- To look at the bigger picture when you’re down in the weeks
3. Pinpoint why you are not getting business results you want
An executive coach can help you troubleshoot issues such as
- A weak pipeline of potential clients
- Difficulties closing deals
- Determining your pricing and offerings
- Setting and managing boundaries and expectations with clients
- Navigating challenges as they come up with clients, vendors, etc.
A coach can help you dive deep into each of these challenges (and more), to figure out how to best handle them, and to consider approaches you most likely wouldn’t have thought of on your own.
4. Identify and improve weakness
An executive coach can help you strengthen skills in areas that are critical to your business.
I’ll give you another personal example. My strength is delivery for clients. After a deal is signed, I feel virtually limitless in my ability to help clients achieve their goals.
Marketing and sales on the other hand….
At one point in my career, a CEO called me “sales repellent.” That label has stuck with me, nagging in the back of my brain that I am missing the “sales gene”.
But this self-perception isn’t true.
There isn’t a sales gene and no real sales repellent, like some version of RAID.
My coach helped me look at all that baggage and to figure out what my true sales strengths are (yes, it turns out I do have some!). She also helped me fill in the gaps of the skills I was truly missing.
A good executive coach should be able to help you do the same, whether it’s sales, marketing, finances, or aspects of your client delivery. The coach should help you pinpoint these gaps and build the skills and resources needed to fill them in.
You might be thinking – I don’t need to learn ALL the skills; I can outsource them. And, this is an important topic to touch on briefly.
What I will say is that filling in skill gapes doesn’t mean you need to become a CFO or a master at sales on every level.
But it is important to learn the basics so you’re able to converse solidly in every area of your business, even if you end up choosing to outsource it.
4. Help you do what you don’t want to do (but need to) — procrastination, overwhelm, resistance
And, finally an executive coach will help you to overcome and tame the roller coaster that comes with being an IC. It’s normal to experience overwhelm, resistance and fear. These emotions, if left unmanaged, can lead to procrastination, slow growth, and giving up entirely on your IC dream.
An executive coach can help you learn the tools to both prevent the negative emotions, and also to manage them effectively when the negative emotions inevitably occur.
The ability to manage the ups and downs is a skill that many don’t realize is so key to their overall success.
For those ICs who work with a coach on mastering negative emotions, it can mean the difference between letting the IC work consume you (or even quitting) and having a successful, thriving business that also provides balance for you personally and professionally.
In the webinar, Melisa will discuss:
- What an executive coach does
- Why you may need an executive coach
- How to find a coach that is the best fit for you
- What to expect from executive coaching
View Melisa Liberman’s website and find her on LinkedIn.
About the author
Melisa Liberman is an executive coach who coaches fellow tech leaders helping them find, land and thrive in their dream jobs, including as an Independent Consultant (IC). She offers a unique approach to her coaching clients, by combining her extensive industry and domain expertise with the mindset tools and strategies from her life coaching certification.
This post is a guest contribution from a member of our MBO Advantage community. MBO Advantage is MBO’s premier membership program that offers dedicated, personal support to independent professionals so they can maximize the value of their expertise.