Business Consultants Sometimes Forget

Not long ago, I was having a conversation with a fellow business consultant, well actually he called himself a coach, which I guess is the new trendy way to play it on your LinkedIn online resume? And so, we began a conversation of what makes a good small business start-up consultant, whoops, I mean coach. He explained to me his theory on this and stated;

“An excellent coach helps someone reach another level that they couldn’t on their own. People ‘overachieve’ with an excellent coach and under achieve with a poor or marginal one.”

Okay, I told him but, I also reminded him that; Great Achievers will achieve anyway, winners will win, that’s what they do. It’s part of who they are. If they let a coach in to their head, who sucks, they aren’t winners anyway, they aren’t strong enough or focused enough, and clearly in that case they don’t deserve to win. But of course, my consulting acquaintance, I meant coach – stated to me that;

The coach doesn’t necessarily have to have arrived there themselves, as their talent might not be in the execution (Tiger Woods coaches probably can’t hit the golf ball the way he can, Jackson wasn’t as good of a player as Jordan), it might be in their insight, other experiences, or other skill sets. Further, most people who are extraordinary at execution are rarely extraordinary as coaches and mentors. Why? They’re usually wired to be thinkers or mentors than they are to be activists. Most people who are exceptional executors don’t have the patience or the people skills to really guide and advise others. A few are, but they’re not the norm.

Well, that is one way to look at it, isn’t it? But still all that assumes a “dedicated player” – but if a coach is coaching non-dedicated players he is wasting his time. And if he’s coaching less-than-ethical ones, he is doing a disservice to all. There needs to be more responsibility in coaching. Like Mr. Miagi coaching the Karate Kid, if that kid uses those fighting skills to hurt people and rob them, then in a way Mr. Miagi is also to blame. If you are a business coach and you coach someone for money, and they are unethical, and you continue then what does that say about the coach?

One thing we could agree on was this statement he made; “Rarely is someone a hall of fame player and a hall of fame coach.” Which in looking at his resume, he was previously quite successful in his entrepreneurial niche, top of his field in fact, so I asked him; then why are you going from top player to consultant (coach)? After all, if he really believes that the best players don’t make the best coaches then he shouldn’t be selling his consulting (coaching) services, because how could he offer those services to his clientele in good faith, or even assure them of great results?

And it appears to me that the reason that great players don’t make good coaches is because they know that “if you want it, you have to go get it” and if you are going to sit around and make excuses, you don’t have the “right stuff” to be a champion thus, why on Earth would a Great Player turned coach like that want to bother to coach weak individuals who are not willing to dedicate themselves to do what it takes to win?

And so, I asked him; WHY are you doing it, to get money? What’s wrong with this picture? Look, I’ve given speeches before, and absolutely abruptly ended in the middle of them, and left, when I see lack of will in the audience, if they are not dedicated, or ethical, or don’t care – it’s a waste of time and breath. And clearly they don’t deserve the knowledge, in fact, it’s wrong to give it to them, they’d abuse the privilege of my hard work, experience, observations, thoughts, wisdom and knowledge.

Anyway, to all you consultants and coaches out there, I hope you are as good as your LinkedIn page purports, because I’ve seen some radically dazzling resumes – and been so unfortunately underwhelmed in the long run. Please consider all this.

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