A GPS for Your Business

As summer vacation time is here many of us find ourselves packing our suitcases for a summertime road trip. I think back to the road trips we had when I was young - long before the days of GPS or even cellular phones. My Dad would be driving and my Mom would have the maps out navigating the way. There would be maps everywhere - one for each province or state we would be traveling through, and then one for each city. We would have travel guides that explained what to see, what to do, and where to stay everywhere along our route. Every so often we would miss a turn, often because we couldn't see a sign, we just couldn't get into the correct lane fast enough or we were detoured because of accidents or construction. When this happened, we would get off of our desired route, and it could occasionally take us a long time to get back on the correct route.

Now, as an adult planning my own vacations, I have the luxury of technology. I have a GPS and a cell phone, and navigating the way from home to my desired destination goes a lot smoother now.

I find myself thinking about the parallel between how a GPS helps to navigate a vacation and how a business coach helps to navigate an entrepreneur. There are 5 parallels:

1. Know The Starting Point

The first thing I do when I am starting on my vacation is to program my GPS with my starting position.

Interestingly enough, in business coaching the first thing we look at is also the starting position of the business. We get clarity on where we are on the “business roadmap”.

2. Determine the Destination

The second thing I do when I program my GPS for my vacation is enter the final destination of where I want to go.

Again, with coaching, it is also important to identify the final destination of the business. It is important to help the business owner get clarity on their goals. You can't hit a target you cannot see. Many business owners "hope to" take their business to a certain level. Coaching will work with the business owner to eliminate the words "hope to" from their vocabulary and replace them with S.M.A.R.T. goals. Then the coach works to hold the business owner accountable to achieving their goals. SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Aligned with the business owner’s values, Realistic and Time bounded.

Goal setting is like putting a final destination in the GPS.

3. Find the Best Route

Once I have programmed my GPS with the desired destination, it takes a few moments for the GPS to calculate the most direct route.

Business coaches work systematically to plan the most direct route to take the business owner to the final destination. The business owner commits to a series of actions and the coach holds the business owner accountable for these actions. This process ensures the arrival at the destination much faster.

Kind of like going on vacation with a map vs a GPS, the map will probably get you there, but the GPS will get you there faster. A business owner will probably get to their goals on their own, but the business coach will get them there faster.

4. Recalculate

I cannot remember ever going on vacation without having some sort of detour or course correction. Sometimes we stop because of an incredible opportunity to visit something enroute which wasn't planned but we don't want to miss out on. Sometimes there are roads out and detours. Either way, we would adjust our vacation plans to compensate. The GPS has the course corrections handled. We have all heard the "recalculating... recalculating" as the GPS quickly processes the next best route. The GPS does in seconds what would take significantly longer with maps.

Business is never a straight line from point A to point B. Figuratively speaking, there are always road blocks, accidents and detours in business. A business coach works much like a GPS, helping the business owner to "recalculate" and adjust the direction to get to the destination.

5. Confirmation

I can remember traveling by map and occasionally realizing that I was on the correct highway, but I was going the exact opposite direction. There is something really reassuring about the GPS – giving us confidence that we are going the right direction.

A business coach provides this confidence to the business owner. Often the business owner just needs reassurance that they are on the right path, and close relationship between coach and coachee provides that reassurance.

To know more about how business coaching can work like a GPS for your business, please contact me.

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