This article explains why business coaching plays a critical role in an entrepreneur’s success:

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“Goals release faith”. Carl F. George, Nine Keys to Effective Small Group Leadership

Am writing this article just after the news that Uganda (the Cranes) has lost the return leg of our AFCON qualifiers game to Togo’s Sparrow Hawks at the Stade de Kegue in Lome. A second loss in less than a week. In four days to be precise. It means, we gave up SIX points. We, who at the start of the game, were topping the table of our group, find ourselves bottom. We had no goals. Togo, had the goals. Such losses, of necessity beg questions. What went wrong? Where is the problem? One issue that is sure to show up in the sports pages is about the coach.

Earlier in the week, thousands of miles away, Roger Federer had just won his ATP Final of the Shangai Rolex Masters (not to be confused with our Ugandan rolex). And it was not surprising, because Roger has been playing well. In fact, excellently. Just watching him this time around made me dig up an article a friend of mine once sent me. I must quote from it: “Roger Federer is 33, and even now, he makes tennis look easy. He doesn’t sweat much, even when it’s hot. He doesn’t struggle, even when he’s losing. Federer’s defeats can sometimes feel strangely meek, for the same reason that his victories can seem foreordained — because he seldom gives the impression that he’s fighting. A warrior-baseliner like Rafa Nadal, his great opposite in this respect, will sneer and roar and hack at the ball like the last defender of a city — anything to keep the match going. Federer might release an occasional “Come on!,” but for the most part he remains silent, poised, observant. He’s a watcher, a glider. He tiptoes very fast. He plays in the noiseless channels of the universe, and if the universe is against him, he doesn’t waste his time arguing about it. That’s not to say he surrenders, only that there’s something inward about his resistance. He makes winning and losing look almost the same — not like a test of strength; like something closer to a form of meditation.”

(By now I guess the editor has glanced back at this article more than once to be sure it’s the right article. We better move to things business

Coaching in Business.

Just like in sports, coaching in business plays a vital role in one’s success. According to Wikipedia, “Business coaching is a type of personal or human resource development. It provides positive support, feedback and advice to an individual or group basis to improve their personal effectiveness in the business setting. Business coaching includes executive coaching, corporate coaching and leadership coaching.”

Like for the seasoned sportsman (even a great one like Roger Federer), hiring a business coach to help further develop and hone your skills could greatly improve your chances of success whether as an executive, a business owner, or manager. You don’t have to be an owner or manager. You could also be a person simply looking for a new job, an employee or seeking to make career move.

Types of business coaching

Today you could get coaching for almost anything. It could range from the more specific areas of: career coaching, leadership coaching, executive coaching, start-up business coaching, interview coaching, management coaching to coaching aimed to improving your public speaking skills, work/life balance, team work, or coaching in Christian leadership. Now you can also get coaching on dating! Why am I even surprised? Our traditional Sengas offered that service for generations. Albeit freely.

Why you as a small business owner may need a business coach.

In continually interacting with many small business owners, I have learned that across the board, the challenges small business leaders face are anything but small. Where a sports coach will perhaps make you work harder and run more than you would on your own, a Business Coach does pretty much the same thing, just in a more civilized way – before you bay for my blood, I mean that they are more focused on helping you do business more successfully without as much physical effort. A good business coach should, by talking with you and listening to you, help you to develop short-term goals for your business. He or she should help you set mid-term goals and long term goals that will paint a beautiful picture of what your business will look like three years later and beyond. The end result being that you, the business person, are very motivated to work towards those goals and be successful. The goals and end results become a motivator. That’s because a good business coach will employ impartiality, acquired expertise and existing structures to help you explore your challenges and learn new ways or techniques to be successful in your business. And they will hold you accountable. Just like Federer’s coach (Roger has a new coach. His name is Stefan Edberg), your Business Coach will make you focus on the “game”.

Areas of focus

Different coaches specialize in different subjects, and business is quite diverse and, as such, it’s incumbent upon you the business owner to know what area of your business you need to be coached. It could be; Sales, Marketing, Branding, Finance, Management, Delivery or Leadership where one might be an expert in public speaking techniques, another might be more accomplished in strategy and management. Before you hire a business coach you should make sure that they have experience with the subject you wish to address.

The Inner Game.

My son enjoys playing tennis. Recently, one of his trainers advised me that he (my son) now needs a personal coach. And so I sought to understand from him what we had been doing over the last two years with the club to which he goes. The sweaty gentleman (is there such a thing?) explained to me that a trainer is far different from a coach. But this is UG. And you don’t just fall for stuff, right? Right. So I went about doing my homework. My journey led me to a little book published in 1974 called ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’ authored by a one Timothy Gallwey. The book is available as a free download on the internet. The author explains in that little book that “Every game is composed of two parts, an outer game and an inner game. The outer game is played against an external opponent to overcome external obstacles, and to reach an external goal”. He goes on to add that “It is the thesis of this book that neither mastery nor satisfaction can be found in the playing of any game without giving some attention to the relatively neglected skills of the inner game. This is the game that takes place in the mind of the player, and it is played against such obstacles as lapses in concentration, nervousness, self-doubt and self-condemnation. In short, it is played to overcome all habits of mind which inhibit excellence in performance.” Hmmnn…I was thinking again.

Falling back to the article I quoted from earlier, I read on: “There’s a tension in tennis, always, between the physical power of the athletes and the abstract beauty of the game. This is true in all sports, probably, but you feel it more in tennis than in, say, football, where the sheer amount of visual chaos on every play makes it harder to see pure geometries. In tennis, being thrilled by what the athletes can do — how fast they run, how deftly they manipulate the ball — is never quite the same thing as being thrilled by the shape of the point. The game is amazing as a spectacle of bodies and also as a spectacle of math. Of the many reasons why the Federer-Nadal rivalry has been riveting for so long, one is surely that they each seem to represent one side of this dichotomy. Nadal is all sinew and biceps. Federer is all elegant degrees. Of course Federer is also made of flesh and blood; he just moves so efficiently, goes so long between injuries, and (still) constructs such imaginative points that you’re surprised whenever he shows it.

My buy-in was complete. What’s your buy-in in looking for a business coach?

Bertrand Management Group in Ontario, California, is a management consulting firm that helps companies improve their business process. Follow this Twitter account for the latest news and updates in business management.