Click here for mentoring and coaching.

The Achilles' Heel of Small Business Owners

The myth of individualism can negatively affect our chances for success.

Most small business owners think it is important to "go it alone" due to their belief in the myth of individualism; they hold tightly to the idea that everyone succeeds or fails on the basis of individual efforts and abilities. This assumption is so powerful that when an alternative view is suggested (that success depends on our relationships with others as much as it does on us) the usual reaction is denial. Denial of the role of relationships in the business owner's success preserves the self-enhancing illusion that we are masters of our own fates and, therefore, deserving of all the credit for our successes.

Since the myth of individualism continues to drive most small business owners and executives, they don't know that help is available to grow professionally and personally. They fail to realize that a coaching relationship would help them and their organization become more productive.

A recent study by the International Coach Federation (ICF) reported that most small business owners, who hadn't been coached, would like to achieve positive change in their business development, career, and financial and physical health. The top six professional and business development areas identified in the study were: productivity and effectiveness, planning, sales and marketing, business management, positioning their firm for the future and leadership. Yet, 47% of study participants, who had not been coached, paid under $100 for professional development within the past year and 51% spent under $100 for their personal development during the same period.

Of those in the study that had been coached, their top four professional and business development areas were: productivity and effectiveness, leadership, sales and marketing and planning. 69% of the coached business owners met with their business coach at least two times per month, mostly on a one-on-one basis in person or over the telephone, working on productivity and effectiveness, planning, sales and marketing and their leadership skills. 49% of the business owners who were coached spent $500 or more in professional development and 42% spent $500 or more in personal development. Monthly coaching fees ranging from $250 to over $3,000 were paid by 47% of the small business owners.

Many business owners fear their subordinates will learn how inadequate they feel in their leadership role and are looking for help managing in today's faster, cheaper, better global economy. Although hiding vulnerabilities is hardly new, this concern has been exacerbated by a new fear of either becoming obsolete or technology-driven toast in a world of business transformation. "I've never seen businesspeople have to fake it more," says B. Joseph White, past business school dean and interim president at the University of Michigan.

Coaching Tip

FORTUNE magazine reported that one reader said, "I went into the coaching experience kicking and screaming, at the insistence of my then-boss. And what an eye-opener it turned out to be. I won't even go into the grim details of bad management habits I had unthinkingly developed in my 14-year career up to that point--but I will say that since I was 'cured' by 12 weeks of pretty intense coaching, I've been promoted three times."

The most valuable results of the coaching experience reported in the ICF small business study: brainstorming (28%), independent viewpoint (28%), encouragement (18%) and being accountable to the coach (15%).

Of study participants who had been coached, 59% would recommend coaching to other small business owners. Of those small business owners currently not working with a coach, 45% stated they were somewhat or extremely likely to hire a coach in the future. The top three ways of finding a coach to work with are: ask a colleague or friend for a reference, do an Internet search by keyword(s) or visit the website of a professional coaching association.


Build Effective Leadership Skills

Click for leadership coach John G. Agno.
Subscribe to low-cost
daily ...or... weekly leadership tips from world-class teachers...or...take a 30-day test drive...or...sign up for free monthly tips below.

Give the gift of leadership when you send a gift certificate for daily leadership tips to family, friends, employees, customers and even the boss.

Free Monthly Leadership Coaching Tips!
Enter your name and email address below:

Enter your Name:

Enter your Email:

What interests you in becoming a more
effective leader?

Call 734.426.2000 (US Eastern Time Zone) or email for a free consultation regarding your leadership development. 

Click here for leadership tips. Click here for information on Coach John Agno.

Learn more about John Agno, certified executive & business coach.

Free Monthly Leadership Tips

Search this website by keyword(s)

Click here to see how you compare with other CEOs.

Signature, Inc., PO Box 2086, Ann Arbor, MI 48106 734.426.2000

Click here for information on personal coaching. Click here to ask your question by email message.

Copyright 2004-2010 Signature, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI 48106 USA

Do you need a coach?

back to home page