Small business: Business coaching

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Fashion designer Vicki Taylor.
Fashion designer Vicki Taylor.

For those of you who have never had a business coach or gone along to a leadership development course, you will learn a lot in the columns this week about the benefits for hiring a business coach. And it's not just for business owners. If you want your team to understand your new thinking, you might want to give your senior staff some coaching too.

The recurring point made by business owners using some kind of business coaching is that it means they have someone to be accountable to. Of course your business coaches need to be accountable too.

We ask the questions you need to know, such as: Is a an advisory board better than a business coach or should you go for both? And how do you identify the best business coach for you?

Fashion designer and businesswoman, Vicki Taylor, has done both courses at the Icehouse and has her own business coach plus she and husband Mark Thomson are fortunate that their families both come from the textile or manufacturing industry so they draw on expertise close to home.

What's interesting is that those who really embrace having a business coach will often turn around and do some coaching themselves as in the case of chartered accountant Matt Bellingham and Windowmakers' owner Heidi Johnston. Bellingham also gives an example where coaching was almost too successful for one company.

A business coach or course is not an easy fix - you will have plenty of "homework" so be prepared for that. But it sounds worth it when you are getting too close to the business. As The Icehouse's Jo Clayton says, "We get emotionally attached to our businesses."

Next week: Hiring a new staff member is a big step for a small business. They need to be reassured that the company can afford it and that the position is absolutely necessary for its growth. Tell us what a new person has done for your business and any tips you might have on your workforce planning.

- NZ Herald

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