June 2009

Shannon Wells

Better Business | by Neil Ducoff


The Best Leaders Have Coaches

Are you coachable?

This is a tough question for many entrepreneurial leaders.

Chances are, you started your own business to be captain of your own ship — to do it your way. Coachable? Why should you be coachable?

The answer is simple … you don’t have all the answers and getting better at what you do and how you lead is non-negotiable. If you’re saying, “Duh, tell me something I don’t know,” we’re on the same page. But here’s the rub.

What happens when leaders “say” they want to get better, attend seminars, read all the latest business books, and even hire a coach? Too often what I see is lots of time and money going in and the same old leader coming out.

I’ve spent the bulk of my career teaching and coaching owners and leaders. I’m proud to say that I’ve seen many of my clients grow into no-compromise leaders running great companies.

I’ve also seen a disturbing number of leaders who, driven by the best intentions, are just not coachable. They’re stuck in counterproductive behaviors that keep their companies in a seemingly perpetual state of springing leaks. Cash-flow challenges, employee turnover, drama, blaming, always the victim, and worst of all, denial the confront the reality they created.

FACT: The best leaders are coachable. More importantly, just like Tiger Woods who demands excellence in his golf game, they have coaches. They put their shields down and egos aside for one basic reason — to get better. They are 100 percent no compromise because 99 percent is pure compromise. In doing so, they rise above all others.

Here are some red-hot strategies to get coachable:

• Take ownership of the challenges, issues and problems in your company. Like it or not, as leader you played a role in creating what you don’t like because of what you did or didn’t do. First you’ve got to own it — then you can fix it. It’s that simple.

• After you own it, put your shields down and accept the gift of feedback and knowledge from those you lead and those who coach you. Confronting reality is nothing more than taking the first steps on a long journey. It’s what you do during the journey that counts.

• Try it, do it, execute it, engage in it, tweak it — until you master it. Coachable leaders do what they agree and say they will do. Their commitment and word is an ironclad contract that it will get done. Both coaching and leadership rest on a foundation of trust — trust that what is said gets done.

Becoming a coachable leader is easier than you think. But you must want it bad enough and be willing to accept it. The rewards in terms of fulfillment, accomplishment and success are beyond your wildest dreams. Just remember, 100 percent no compromise because 99 percent is pure compromise.

Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies, a business training and coaching company specializing in the salon and spa industry. He’s author of Fast Forward, and a new book, No-Compromise Leadership, published by DC Press and is available at www.amazon.com. For more information go to www.strategies.com. You can email Neil at neil@strategies.com.