Sometimes when running a business or leading an organisation you just need some advice.

You might be stuck, you might encounter a challenge you’ve never encountered before and know you don’t have the skills knowledge or experience to overcome it. You just need someone, an external view from someone experienced and with proven results in that area to tell you what to do or show you how to do it.

I say this all the time, coaching isn’t for everyone and it isn’t for every situation.

And yet, there is no one else in your specific situation, with your unique experience and life journey, and with your unique aims and desires. There is no one that can tell you exactly how to live your life and run your business like you, that isn’t you.

Have you ever encountered a situation where you’ve been given a piece of advice, by a colleague, peer, advisor or a friend and somewhere deep down, it just didn’t feel right? Have you ever thought; “yes, but that wouldn’t work for me”, or; “how could you possibly know, you’re not in my exact situation”? Or have you ever been given unsolicited advice from someone when it wasn’t asked for and wasn’t what you wanted in that moment? (Read my post on active listening for more on this topic).

This is why my coaching is “pure” coaching. I’m not here to give you advice or tell you what I think you should do. It’s your life and your business. And in situations like the ones I have described, pure coaching* can be so powerful.

Let me give you some context. A common question I ask of my clients when we’ve been discussing an action that they have generated is, “you don’t seem so sure about this?”.

I don’t ask this all the time of course, but I am trained to watch out for those micro movements, the subtle body language and non-verbal or verbal queues which indicate that a client might not be fully behind the action that has just been identified, by them, I hasten to add.

And in every case I can think of, including recently during a group coaching session, I asked this question: what unfolded was that the client was then able to verbalise a number of limiting beliefs that they had about this action. This question that I asked, and the response it generated identified much deeper insight about what was really going on for this client and put into sharp focus other things that were holding them back. Unhelpful assumptions and limiting beliefs that, now in the open, we could tackle one by one.

This is why “pure” coaching works. If I had simply told the client what I thought they should do, pointed these things out for the client, or carried on accepting their action as the right action, what do you think would have happened?

Firstly, I might have made some wrong assumptions. I’m not a mind-reader after all, and I can’t possibly know what is going on for my clients or what they might be thinking or what they might be about to say. Secondly, me pointing things out, undermines them of their ability to identify for themselves. And this is why coaching is so powerful, because when something is discovered by a client for themselves, it is true for them. And when something is true for them, they will take ownership of it in a way in which no one ever can when they’ve been given the answer by someone else.

No one knows your business and your context better than you. Sometimes advice is what we think we need and sometime it is what we actually need. I’m not saying advice is worthless. It has it’s place 100%. But sometimes my clients need something else to help them apply that advice or that solution or action to their specific context, or someone who can challenge the advice to make sure that it’s fit for purpose. Sometimes advice on its own doesn’t get to the real root of the problem and this is why “pure” coaching can help YOU get to the right action for YOU and YOUR business in a way which generic advice may not apply in the exact right way.

And if you’d like an example of how coaching can complement other advice or input you may have received, here is a brief case study from a client I coached recently:

Case study

This client is a professional photographer, running their own business which has had success working with elite sports brands and big fashion names such as Selfridges.  This client was wanting to elevate their business to generate more consistent income. They had worked with a business mentor at the start of the year who, amongst other things, had given them some specific advice about how to grow their professional network by cold calling and effectively asking new contacts for business.

The client hadn’t had much success with this approach and came to me wanting to gain more motivation and a renewed drive into taking action based on this piece of advice.  I asked the client these questions:

  • What do you know about these people that you are intending to contact?
  • What is important for them?
  • Why would they want to speak to you, specifically (compared to other photographers vying for their attention)?
  • What things are they worrying about or what problems can you help with that they have?

This was the missing piece for this client.  They had only considered what they needed and, not what their prospective clients needed.  From this fresh insight, the client was able to begin to tailor their messages to make more meaningful approaches to each of their contacts with a much less “sales-y” message and one which focused on establishing and building genuine lasting rapport.

Will a more personal approach like this take more time in the immediate term?  Yes.

Will this approach get new clients right away?  Unlikely.

Could this client send off a high volume of generic, non-personal emails in a small amount of time and feel momentarily better?  Yes.

Will that approach generate sustainable business over the long term. Unlikely.

This client is in it for the long term.  The questions I asked will help the client to cultivate and nurture a meaningful network that will help them to do business over and over again by building the right relationships.  My coaching is about generating long term results for you and your business.

If you are encountering some challenges or difficulties with your business right now or you have received some advice but you’re not sure how to apply it, why not get in touch and explore how coaching could be the thing that can help, or can complement other advice you are getting.

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