The last scene in The Wolf of Wall Street showed Jordan Belfort (Leonardo Dicaprio) hosting a seminar on business success, and telling members of an audience to sell him a pen; a very (by now) cliché business coaching technique.
If it’s not in any kind of sports competition, coaching is heavily criticized for being an ineffective educational model with a high susceptibility to con men taking advantage. Business coaching companies and organisations recognise the negativity that a few impersonators inflicted on their image, which is why they’re doing their best to reverse it. But, business coaching isn’t exactly a 9-to-5 job.
The Insider Requirements
There are challenges intrinsic to coaching that no other profession comes close to having. For one thing, there’s no formula of any kind for business coaching. There are definite goals and parameters to serve as guides for a business plan, but the exact methodology of the operation is a big question mark.
Any kind of strategy or guideline not only has to be effective for the target market, but also has to take into account the company’s resources and unique personality. An aggressive strategy won’t work for those with the charisma of a snail, no matter how brilliant they are. Likewise, a conservative approach would utterly fail for someone who wants results before he even gives the order.
What makes coaching so difficult is the amount of insight coaches need to have in the company as well as the market. People can only imagine the ridiculousness of someone requesting something that takes years to be delivered in a matter of weeks, but that’s what business coaching entails.
On The Inside, or Not
So, if it takes years to understand the nature of a market and a company, how can coaches do what they say they can do? Though the construction of an effective business strategy takes knowledge of the market, identifying problems doesn’t.
The first step coaches take in transforming their clients from garage operators to office building CEOs is to identify what they’re doing wrong, and that takes an outside perspective. If you’re part of a company and helped build it from the ground-up, it’s going to be hard to see any flaw in the system, even if they’re obvious to everyone else.
Fixing the internal problems visible from the outside is a good starting point for any struggling company. The rest will come later, as the coach builds their strategy as their insight on the company grows.