What Business Coaches Are and How They Help Your Fashion Business

coaching Apr 25, 2018

If you are not familiar with coaching then you should find this post helpful as it explains what business coaches do and how they can help you in both personal and professional areas of your life. We'll also cover the difference between coaches and consultants and how to get a complimentary coaching session to test out the process.

What is a Business Coach?

The term for a coach was first used back in the 1800s referring to a trainer or instructor that would help a candidate through their exams to achieve higher grades and better results. 

We know of a coach in other respects as a means of transport to get you from one place to another. And as far as business coaches are concerned their role is to get a business from where it is now to where the business owner wants it to be in the future, aiming for improvements in specific areas.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential."

A fashion business coach is one that focusses on businesses within the fashion sector offering a more bespoke service and the added value of serving clients in the same sector. Other than that what we are covering in this post applies to business coaches in general whether they work predominantly with fashion clients or not.

At the heart of their work with clients, are the clients themselves. Everything hinges on the client's perspective and an effective coach will focus entirely on the client's goals and desired outcomes.

Successful business owners work with their coaches trying to understand why reaching business growth goals is important to them personally, and the impact it will have on their life by trying to achieve those goals. Ultimately it's the owner that determines the speed and passion with which any goals are met.

If it is not linked to the business owner’s personal dreams, goals and vision for themselves, their family and those important to them, then there's not going to be any burning reason why getting to that business goal is critical. Consequently, when there is no flame of passion the chances of achieving your goals and making the dream a reality is reduced.

What Does a Business Coach Do?

Business coaching enables the client to understand their personal role in achieving business success and to enhance that role in ways that are measurable and sustainable. But the coach doesn't give business solutions directly. The coach isn't acting as the expert in the business such as a consultant would do.

Coaches respect the client as the expert in his or her life and work. They believe every client is creative, resourceful and has access to the solutions they need. Based on this point of view the coach's responsibility is to:

  1. Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
  2. Encourage inner reflection and self-discovery from the client
  3. Draw out client-generated solutions and strategies
  4. Hold the client responsible and accountable for progress and taking action

The coaching process may take different forms (e.g., individual or team coaching) and involve different types of goals such as problem-solving, career and succession planning, leadership/executive development, the creation of high-performing teams etc., but throughout the coaching process there is a clear focus on the business objectives of both the client and their business.

After clarifying where a business owner or leader would like to take their business, business coaching helps strategise and prioritise what goals and strategies are needed to help progress the business closer to its goal.

The fashion business coach will meet with the business owner regularly, either weekly or monthly, to keep them on track to the commitments made during the last coaching session. Increasingly the use of Skype and phone coaching is used to help reduce costs and improve efficiency and of course, with the ever-increasing speed of the Internet video coaching is being used more and more.

What's the Difference Between Consultants and Coaches?

If I or my business partner were acting as your fashion business consultant we'd come acting as an expert in a particular field. This might be in small business marketing, web design, strategy planning, customer experience, developing a team or growing the business.

Part of our role as the consultant would be to teach you skills, show you better systems for your business, develop better man management skills or better social media marketing techniques for example.

Then after careful discussion and analysis of what results you're looking to achieve, we would create a plan of action together for you to move forward on with specific projects. So our aim and focus of the consulting are to get projects and tasks done that will enhance your business and move it forward.

This is a very different approach to when we come to you as coaches.

As a fashion business coach, we're always working on bringing out the best that's already inside you. We focus on the “bigger picture” of what it is you want to create for your business, your family and your lifestyle. We discuss what will keep you motivated to move forward on your dreams, goals, and tasks and help uncover the barriers and restrictions to your progress.

Jointly we are focussing on developing YOU to your highest potential, as well as developing your business. And our time together whether face to face, over Skype or the phone will help you to discover honest insights into where things aren't working. You already have “wisdom within” and our discussions and my coaching skills will bring this to the surface so that you can apply it.

Look for the best of both worlds, the "coach - consultant"

From me as a coach you'll get lots of encouragement, support, celebration and empathy.

We do believe though that often, especially as the owner of a small business, the best is had when you receive both coaching and consulting, preferably from the same person.

Benefits of Using a Business Coach

Innovative companies that strive to stay competitive and find new ways to operate successfully recognise that coaching can help career-minded professionals increase their performance at work. So they male sure that they invest in coaching for their senior leaders and those recognised with high potential.

Successful small business owners are no different. They know that they are unlikely to be as successful without coaching than they would be with it. So choosing within smaller organisations is equally important as it can make a big difference to the bottom line.

According to a study by the ICF and HCI found that 60% of respondents from organizations with strong coaching cultures report their revenue to be above average, compared to their peer group. That's a significant improvement.

So you coach can be a powerful asset who can help you get out of your own way, stand out, and take action to achieve the things that are truly important to you.

Your coach can help you to:

    1. Be clear on your goals. In a world that is constantly changing and you feel like you have multiple forces pulling you in different directions, your coach will help you determine what’s really important to you and help you stay focused on that.
    2. Identify blind spots. Because they are not vested in any specific outcome you coach can help you figure out what you don’t know, and clue you into things you may not be able to see about yourself or your situation and the challenges you face.

Be accountable.

    For many of us, having someone we answer to motivates us and helps us be accountable for what we do and what we don't do. Your fashion business coach keeps you on track and moving forward toward new levels of achievement and success.
  1. Gain a competitive advantage. A coach can help you get from point A to B faster than you could on your own, helping you differentiate yourself from the pack and advance your career and grow your business at a quicker pace.
  2. Focus your development efforts. Coaches help you invest time and energy only in the most beneficial opportunities by enabling you to recognise the difference between weaknesses you need to fix and those that can be left alone.
  3. Increase employee engagement. Study after study reveals that less than 15% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. Whereas in companies with a strong coaching culture 65% of employees rated themselves as highly engaged (ICF and HCI study.)
  4. Acquire leadership skills. Watching and following the key skills demonstrated by your coach means you can integrate a coaching style into your own leadership approach. Coaching skills are important for today's leaders/ Coaches model skills that are valuable for today’s leaders so through being coached you will become a better leader.
  5. Feel happier. Coaches help you increase your professional fulfilment by helping you identify and align your values, create a focus, cut through the noise and clutter, and clear away the negative restrictions you tolerate.
  6. Create new ideas. Nowhere else do you find somebody else solely dedicated to acting as your own personal sounding board on ideas you have. A good coach excludes all thoughts from his or her own mind so that they can be present and just listen to you. This allows the coach to ask powerful coaching questions that uncover insights and strongly held perspectives that affect your behaviour and performance. By helping you see things differently and reflect on different perspectives your coach enables your creativity to blossom.

How to Get Started with a Coach

If you have never worked with a coach before then choosing the one you feel comfortable with and happy to work with will be your first challenge.

We offer three levels of support and each one begins with a free coaching call allowing you to experience what a coaching session is and to see if we are both a good fit for each other.

  1. Individual Coaching - you purchase coaching sessions these as and when you need them and focus on the key issues that are important to you.
  2. Fashion Business Coaching Program - our 7-week hybrid coaching program for business owners that includes both online support and resources, as well as coaching calls.
  3. Personal Life Coaching Program - our 12-week hybrid personal coaching program for fashion industry professionals that includes both online support and resources, as well as coaching calls. The focus here is purely on the individual's life, not their business.

If you'd like to schedule a complimentary coaching session for a maximum of 45 minutes please click here and follow the instructions to schedule your call.

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