How Coaching Can Transform Your Business — And Your Life

If you dream about breaking through to the next level in your business — the level where your business runs itself instead of running you ragged — then let me share what can happen when you take a different approach.

I have more than 50,000 hours experience running a business.

But I still remember the very first hour of my very first day.

It was 9 am, the Tuesday after Labor Day. I walked into a small, street-level office with no curtains, no clients and no phone — and no idea what I was getting into.

But I wanted my own business. So I learned as I went.

And along the way to growing a successful, award-winning strategic communications company, I learned a lot…

…from my employees.

…from my competitors.

… but mostly, from my mistakes.

In time, my company grew. I hired one employee. Then another.

Slowly, I made the transition from working as a communications professional to running a professional communications business — with millions in billings.

I learned how to build a successful team (and how not to).

I learned the necessity of building business systems — financial, production, pricing, marketing.

I learned that everything in a business falls into one of four categories:

  1. Running the business
  2. Doing the business
  3. Getting the business
  4. Guiding the business.

For a long time I spent all of my time on the first three and no time on the fourth.

Eventually, I learned how to delegate. In some cases, delegation came easy; in a few instances, my staff needed a crowbar to pry work out of my hands.

The result?

A company that often ran itself. A company that employees and clients wanted to stay with.

It would be difficult to name a business problem that I haven’t wrestled with — from hiring and firing, to financing and phone systems, to strategic plans and sudden crises.

And, of course, let’s not forget my favorite: cash flow.

One of the best things we ever did at my company was to hire a small business coach-consultant.

Someone with the skills, experience, and wisdom to give us (and especially me) an outside perspective.

Someone to facilitate missing conversations.

And someone to stand in my corner. Because it does get lonely at the top.

Our organization grew to the point that I was able to sell my business to a key employee. The transition was seamless.

Today, I help other businesses as a coach-consultant. In addition to my business experience, I am also a certified professional coach.

I love this work.

As a consultant I can help you and your team…

…create a ‘process dependent‘ business so all of your employees are doing what you need them to.

…build a growth strategy

…design a marketing plan

…step up to to the next level of managing

…plan and implement projects

…and brainstorm solutions for whatever is keeping you up at night.

As a coach I also focus on your professional development. And bring you clarity to the tasks at hand, whatever they may be.

If this service sounds like something your business could use, let’s talk. I’d like to help you with the challenges you face.

To schedule a free exploratory call, please email me at bart@erbachcoaching.com.

 

The Bottom Line of Being a Father

We brought my first son home from the hospital on Christmas Day. After the flood of family and friends departed, we were finally left alone with our tiny infant. I remember thinking to myself “OK, now what!?”

 As a professional coach who sometimes works with dads, I once conducted a survey where I asked, “What training did you receive to be a father?”

 One dad shot back, “You’re kidding, right?”

 I wasn’t kidding. The sad truth is that you get more training to drive a car than to have a child.

The kind of father you become can be heavily influenced by notions you don’t even know you have the day your child is born. For better or worse, it’s impossible to enter life as a parent unaffected by the framework and culture of your upbringing. That’s your starting point.

 I myself was exposed as a young boy to many different models of fatherhood from various sources on TV, at the movies, in my family, and around the neighborhood:

• the quiet, aloof dad who comes home from work and is left alone to sit in his chair (hey, he worked hard all day) while mom cooks dinner

• the docile dad who leaves all the big decisions to his wife,  “the boss”

• the all-powerful patriarch who rules the roost without opposition

• and the Great Santini-style marine sergeant who is always ready to knock some sense into his young charge. 

I also grew up in a time where fathers were expected to be breadwinners, not nurturers. So I figured I was in charge of making the money for the family, taking care of discipline, and academics.

It’s not as if my wife and I discussed any of this. They were just assumptions I made without realizing it. I think it’s safe to say I inherited these roles from my own father, like an automatic download.  

But I knew I wanted more. Most dads do.

I wanted always to be able to talk to my children, to maintain an active and open channel of communication. I wanted them to know I could see what they were doing and who they were becoming. I wanted them to know that, in good or difficult times, we would always be able to talk.

I also wanted my children to know and feel, without any doubt, that I loved them unconditionally — that no matter who they became, what they did, where they went … that I just loved them. I wanted this love to give them the freedom to be whoever they wanted to be.

Though I am far from perfect, I have worked at being present in this way to my two sons. And this has been the greatest joy of my life.

I don’t mean to suggest that everything has gone just swimmingly. Hardly. My wife and I have experienced many of the great moments that parents dream about, but also some of the moments you pray will never happen.

So here’s my bottom line about being a father. It’s easy when the report card is aces, when health is good, when the kitchen is full of laughter. But your finest hour doesn’t come until the going gets tough. And it inevitably does.

It is in the most challenging circumstances that you get to see what kind of father you really are. If you haven’t taken the time to consider this, you may too easily default to some automatic setting. And that’s probably not who you really want to be for your children, nor who they need you to be.

Recently, for completely different reasons, I chose to have a difficult and uncomfortable conversation with each of my two sons. Both times I was nervous. Both times I was able to be vulnerable, as they say. I’m not ashamed to say there were tears. And both conversations ended with an embrace.

It’s been 21 years since the doctor gently placed that tiny boy in my hands and here’s what I’ve learned: In the end, the key to being a father is to see your children — to see them so clearly that they can feel it! Because this is how your children will know that you are standing with them — not just one part of who they are but all of who they are.

And when in doubt, go with your heart, not your head.

What is Professional Coaching?

So many of us want to change our lives in some way. We’re frustrated or stuck. Or we need a little support. We sense we are capable of showing up in a different way — at work and in our relationships — but we can’t seem to hit the bulls-eye of our true talents and passion, our true voice, our true self.

Being stuck can hold you back in significant ways — both professionally and personally. If you feel this way (or know someone who does) coaching can help.

Simply put, coaching is a partnership that helps you reach your potential. Coaching helps individuals and organizations articulate their vision, identify their values, deepen awareness, set goals — then create and implement plans to actually achieve those goals. I’ve seen it happen again and again and again.

A coach is someone who truly sees and appreciates you, someone who supports and challenges you, someone whose only job is to be in your corner.

Here’s how it works. Typically I begin with a personal interview (either face-to-face or by phone) to assess your current opportunities and challenges, define the scope of the relationship, identify priorities for action and establish specific desired outcomes. Of course these can grow and develop as we proceed.

It’s important to approach the interview without any attachment to the outcome. Personal chemistry is key to any coaching relationship and so it is important for both the coach and the client to feel it’s a good match.

If professional or personal coaching sounds like something you’d like to explore, I invite you to schedule a free consultation call. It could be the first step toward creating the change you truly desire.