Must a business be failing before using coaching?

“Only failing businesses need coaching” – Steve R


We had a conversation with a group of SME business owners about the pros and cons in using a coach. What came out was surprising, with these being the top concerns:

  • You’re seen as failing or a failure if you seek coaching
  • No external person can know my business as well as I do
  • Coaching is super expensive


These same people also admitted that if they were sick, they would have no problem going to a doctor or specialist to diagnose the cause, offer advice and deliver treatment.

So why do they not see the same value in doing this for their business? Let’s address these concerns.


Coaching = I’m a failure:

Seeking a coach is the furthest thing from being a failure. You’re making a strategic decision to put your business first and giving it the best opportunity to be better. Also, your business doesn’t have to be broken before you get a coach, it may be doing very well, and coaching can help it level up.

Furthermore, coaching is confidential. The trust created between you and your coach is of the utmost importance. Should you experience any shortcomings or failings, these are dealt with between you and your coach in the appropriate way.


Not knowing my business:

It is very common for large businesses to seek specialists and consultants to help solve or enhance specific aspects of their business, so why not for an SME business?

A coach may never know your business as well as you, however they are often ex business owners or operational executives that bring with them a wealth of multi-industry expertise and experience gained from working across many different operations. Their ability to assess your situational needs and advise on suitable solutions is their superpower.

Coaches also know your unique role in your business. You’re the owner, leader and visionary, the person that the entire business looks to for guidance and stability. Your coach knows the weight you carry daily in keeping people employed and helping to put food on their family’s table.


It’s too expensive:

The coaching model is designed to provide returns that far outweigh the investment and your business can only be what you put into it. The interpretation of ‘expensive’ is also relative to each person’s unique perspective, so instead of assessing the cost, consider the value you get in return.

As a SME business owner, you’re in an ecosystem of 1 when it comes to key strategic and operational decisions. Having a sounding board for new ideas and challenges is an insurance policy against costly mistakes. Using a coach is a low-risk approach that has massive upside potential for your business.


As Warren Buffet says “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get”.


High performers in any discipline use a coach to guide them on their journey to success. Coaching ensures you stay focused on the right things and offers unique perspectives when faced with operational challenges. Your coach helps sharpen your abilities, gives you the confidence to execute daily and amplifies your successes.

Having a coach creates a safe space that allows you to be vulnerable about personal and business challenges that keep you up at night. The types of conversations you’re able to have with your coach cannot be had with anyone else in your business. Having someone fighting in your corner that puts your business’ best interests at the top of each conversation is super powerful.


The most effective and successful coaching engagements start with you:

  • Are you coachable and seek personal growth?
  • Are you able to put your business priorities first?
  • Are you willing to make changes to achieve success?


Lastly, coaching is as much about helping other people succeed as it is helping themselves succeed. A good coach eats their own dog food, so ask them how they continually seek growth and advice to better their business.