I like to watch sports on TV especially college football and pro basketball. I like it best when my team wins but that doesn’t always happen. Regardless of whether teams are perpetual winners or are growing in their capabilities, coaches play an important role in sports.
I’m sometimes amazed at the number of coaches that famous and elite athletes have. Consider Steph Curry or LeBron James, both superstar NBA players. There is the team’s head coach, a half dozen or more assistant coaches, strength coaches, shooting coaches, and nutritional consultants. The question is that if a superstar athlete uses and learns from multiple coaches, why do we think we can make it as innovators and entrepreneurs on our own?
Read on or watch the 30-second video summary.
What is a Coach?
Just like Chris Peterson (the coach of my beloved UW Huskies) guides players, individual business owners and innovation entrepreneurs need guidance and governance. Of course, Peterson has assistant coaches that specialize in defense, offense, and special teams, but his role is to guide the overall effort of the team and to be a role model.
Entrepreneurs and innovators need coaches that can offer an overall view of the work. Coaches help individuals to identify challenges and to create action plans to close gaps. There are executive coaches, technical coaches, and life coaches available to help entrepreneurs. The key to coaching is accountability.
An executive coach will help you refine skills and performance to get to the next level. Often senior management recognizes a skill gap and calls in an executive coach to help with a specific performance area. For example, a coach may help a mid-level manager become more comfortable with sales meetings or with giving earnings presentations.
A technical coach plays a role like Steph Curry’s shooting coach. Technical coaches are focused on helping entrepreneurs and innovators close specific skill gaps. The area for improvement is narrowly defined and the engagement might be brief to transfer measurable knowledge and skills. Your technical coach might be a senior staff member who also serves as a mentor.
Life coaches help People sort through any array of challenges business or personal. However, it’s important to note that our business successes impact our personal lives and vice versa. Learning how to better prioritize work tasks has a positive spillover to being able to better prioritize home chores as well. When we become more balanced in designing our lives, we are happier and more productive.
Coaches for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs and innovators need coaches that cross the spectrum of executive coaching, technical skills development, and life balance. We also need tools to manage the multitude of activities that make innovation successful – understanding goals and purpose, empathizing with the customer, prioritizing tasks, and designing a product.
Design thinking is a set of creative and collaborative methods that aid in identifying needs and features of products and services that will satisfy customers and bring joy to the innovator. Some of my favorite design thinking tools are the customer journey map, the affinity diagram, and the customer empathy map. You can read about these tools here. Innovation practitioners and entrepreneurs can use these techniques to ensure we are addressing the right problems at the right time. Moreover, design thinking tools help innovators identify gaps in skills and performance to meet customer needs.
Next Step: Coaching and Design Thinking
Design thinking tools offer a simple and natural way for a person to develop new skills and to achieve balance in their professional and personal life. Coaching drives accountability. Join me for the free design thinking Q&A webinar on date to learn more. Join me for a complimentary webinar to learn more about the Life Design Master Mind group. Register now!
I am inspired by writing, teaching, and coaching. I tackle life with an infusion of rigor, zeal, and faith. It brings me joy to help you build innovation leaders. I am an experienced professional with a passion for lifelong learning with a PhD in Chemical Engineering and an MBA in Computer and Information Decision Making. My credentials include PE (State of Louisiana), NPDP, PMP®, and CPEM, and I am a DiSC® certified facilitator. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or area code 281 + phone 280-8717 for more information on coaching for entrepreneurs and innovators.
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