Yes, but what do you actually do?
That was the first (of many) questions that I asked my coach, and although I wasn’t totally sold on the answer, I decided to give him a shot. That decision would go on to change my life for the better – not just in a professional way, but on a personal level as well.
This all started with the Ugurus Uacademy. They hooked me in with useful resources and templates and piqued my interest in actually paying for a business coach. I imagine that there are plenty of web developers, designers, and programmers who are in the same position I was at that point, and that’s why this article exists in the first place.
The decision to start a mentoring relationship with a business coach transformed the way I approach my web development agency. Before it seemed like I never had enough time, never made enough money to get ahead, and never got the right opportunities to progress in the field.
Coaching was instrumental in helping me find the answers to all of those problems. Read on to find out if it’ll have the same effect for you.
So What Exactly Does Web Agency Coaching Consist Of?
At first glance, coaching seems superficially similar to consulting. Apart from the fact that in both cases you pay a professional to give you advice, they couldn’t be farther apart – any less than a psychologist, lawyer, or even a philosopher, who are all professionals you pay for advice on things.
But these two particular words often get mixed up in everyday use, so let’s take a closer look:
- Coaches are leadership advisors that help you develop your skills and enhance the scope of the work you do. They do this by implementing accountability guidelines, addressing mindset-based limitations, and supporting progress towards overarching “big picture” goals.
- Consultants are technical experts in your field who help you apply solutions to industry-specific problems. Consultants analyze your “big picture” goals and help you develop specific plans of action that address individual challenges to meeting those goals.
For consultants to do their job right, they need to know your goals before they can help you create a business strategy for achieving them. Your coach’s job is to help you detail exactly what those goals are and to identify the challenges standing in your way in the first place!
At this point, it may sound like in order to get anything done, you need both a coach and a consultant. I wouldn’t disagree with you. But if you’re unsure where to start, consider coaching first.
What Coaching Really Does For You
Since all businesses are unique in their own way, every coaching experience is unique. Specific coaches have their own strengths and weaknesses like anyone does. If you take the time to find the right coach for your needs, however, it can change your life.
Coaching can help you improve in a lot of ways. Some of these are up-front of visible from the very first day, while others are more subtle and may take months of years to come out. For this reason, it’s best to start pretty early on – your third year as an independent web agency owner is a good rule-of-thumb.
Some of the things coaching helps with include:
- Navigating Challenges. When a particularly tricky problem comes up, who do you call? If you have a coach, that person becomes your go-to partner for problem-solving.
- Having a Support System. When things don’t quite go as planned, it rarely means the end of the world. Having a support system in place for dealing with unexpected setbacks is important, and coaching provides this system.
- Getting Immediate Feedback. How many times have you had a “great idea” that turned out to actually be not so great at all? A coach can help you identify the value of your ideas objectively, so you don’t waste time developing the wrong ones.
- Learning from Failures. A good coach helps you learn from both your own failures and the failures of others. This will help you internalize a set of ground rules for succeeding in the web agency industry.
- Conquering Your Mind. Your most challenging obstacles are in your own head. Doubt and insecurity are bigger threats to your success than market conditions, bad clients, or business risks.
- Personal Development. In helping you address the way your personal temperaments hold you back, coaches also help you cultivate yourself into a more confident and secure person – both in the office and outside of it.
- Networking. It’s a little-known truth that coaching communities offer excellent networking opportunities. The benefits of being part of a coaching network merit an entire blog post to themselves.
- Improving Your Work/Life Balance. Do you run your business, or does it run you? Coaching can help you address the balance between your work and your personal life, ensuring that you don’t make yourself a slave to your professional ambitions – nobody wants that to happen.
- Renewing Your Creativity. More than anything else, coaching gives you a fresh outlook on your situation and carves out new paths forward at every opportunity. You will walk away with fresh ideas and be excited to take on the day-to-day challenges of running your agency.
Where to Find a Good Coach
I used Ugurus to establish a mentoring relationship with a credible coach. You may have equal success doing so, or you may wish to look in another place – you may even already know someone who offers coaching services. The key is to know what makes a good coach before you sign up.
A good coach is not just someone who holds you accountable for your business decisions. It is someone whose experience and wisdom is sufficient to help guide you towards success, and whose empathy and understanding is deep enough to know how you define success in the first place.
You may find that your ideal coach isn’t even a web developer by trade. Having hands-on experience in a specific industry is not as important for coaches as it is, for example, for consultants. It’s more important than a coach knows your industry well enough to draw connections between universal traits of human behavior and derive meaning from the things that happen as a result.
Consider looking up prospective coaches on an accredited international database like the one maintained by the International Coach Federation (ICF). A serious coach will take the time to get accredited and offer you a guarantee of quality.