Thursday morning I met with a business coach,
Leah Maclean. I met her
through a small business networking group
that we're both members of. As it happens she also worked with a good friend
of mine at Motorola a few years back.
Why are you meeting with a business coach?
I've been running a small business as an IT contractor/consultant for
about 8 years now. Along the way I've made enough mistakes to learn quite a bit
about both how to run and how not to run a small business. This new venture
though will be quite different to what I've previously experienced as a business
I met with Leah to chat about what support she could potentially provide me
with as I go through this new learning curve. I did most of the talking,
bringing her up to speed with
my current day job situation and how I
intended to fund the project. She voiced her thoughts on what should be
my immediate priorities and said the next thing we had to look at was the
viability of my
beer and movie money plans.
We've already got some healthy disagreements on one or two things which I think
is a good sign.
What are you hoping to get from this?
I guess the most important thing I want to introduce to the project is some
checks and balances both on myself and on the product. Leah should bring an
impartial viewpoint to the project and will hopefully help me to recognise if
I'm losing my way.
It will also be good to have someone to bounce ideas off and
challenge my assumptions. That sort of feedback is invaluable when you're
working on your own. It's far too easy to delude yourself that you're doing
everything right or to reject winning ideas because you're unsure of their
So why have you decided on this particular business coach?
There are a few reasons. I've known her for a few months now and my friend
highly recommended her to me. I like the fact that she has a somewhat technical
background and experience in dealing with technical types like myself. From her
bio she also appears to be actively involved in the business coaching community
which is a sign of someone who obviously takes their profession seriously.
Does she have experience in bringing a software product to a global
I'm don't believe so. My understanding is that most of her experience is with
small businesses who primarily service their local areas.
At this stage I'm not too concerned by that. I'm not looking for someone to
develop and bring a product to market for me. That's my job. Leah's job will be
to make sure I don't look back on next year and think, "Well I really could have
done a much better job of that."
If it becomes an issue later on I can always approach others for advice as
well. In fact pointing out when I should be speaking to others for advice is
one thing that I would expect a good business coach to be doing.
Is a business coach anything like a life coach?
I hope not.
I've heard Leah say she focuses both on the person and their business and
when you're talking about a sole proprietor that's fair enough. I don't mind
getting a kick in the pants every so often to keep me moving, but I'm not
looking for advice on how to run my life.
Are you ready for a business coach? Aren't you still at your day job?
Yes I am still at my day job. Thanks for reminding me.
It's becoming a bit of a now or never proposition. I've been talking to Leah
about engaging her services for a few months now. Each time I'd speak to her
though I would put her off saying that I just want to get the day job out of the
way and then I'd be ready.
This time around though, even though the day job isn't yet out of the way,
I've decided to get things moving. Leah's first bit of advice to me has been to
firmly allocate my time and to be firm with the client about how much time I'm
willing to give them. Nothing I didn't know already but having someone on my
back about it might mean that I actually go through with it.