What is the benefit of having a coach for something you can do on your own?
“How is a coach any different than all the ineffective digital marketing consultants I’ve previously worked with?” This is one of the most common questions we hear about our digital sales and marketing coaching program from business leaders.
By Eric Dunn
As a business leader, you’re good at getting stuff done. Even if that means rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself.
You like getting your hands dirty and taking ownership of initiatives that will help you get the results you’re looking for. If there’s a project around at work or at home that needs to get done, your first instinct is to dissect the problem, create a plan, and execute it on your own. That sense of accomplishment is intoxicating and you feel a true sense of pride in seeing the finished product begin to take shape.
You welcome do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, seeing them as opportunities and challenges. You see them as a chance to learn, adapt, overcome, and succeed.
If this is you, a DIY, “get-sh*t-done” business leader, I understand why the concept of you needing a “business coach” would immediately make you skeptical. . You have a proven track record of getting things done and are already highly motivated – why would you need a “coach” for something you’re already doing just fine at on your own?
I’ve spent years working with business leaders just like you, and I’ve heard a lot of the questions you may be asking yourself right now:
- “What the heck is ‘coaching?’”
- “How is a coach any different than all the ineffective digital marketing consultants I’ve previously worked with?”
- “I’m already motivated to do the work, what real value is a coach going to bring?”
As a coach myself, with over 13 years of marketing and branding experience, let me start by saying I get it.
I understand why you’re asking these questions, and I want to make sure we cover each one to help establish clarity, understanding, and a good grasp on what it means to work with a digital sales and marketing coach at IMPACT.
What is coaching?
The word “coach” has a weird connotation and doesn’t exactly have a clear definition in the business world. It’s probably been years – maybe decades – since you actually referred to someone as a coach. Perhaps it was a little league manager, dance instructor, band leader, or karate sensei. Whoever it was, I doubt it’s a relationship of yours that’s been top-of-mind recently.
So, how do we bridge the gap between a coach we had from childhood, to a digital sales and marketing coach? It begins with the first two questions I almost always ask clients on our initial kickoff call:
“Do you remember your favorite coach or teacher from growing up? How would you describe that person, and the impact they had on you?”
Some coaches might have been more demanding, as others were more compassionate. While the profession and teaching style might vary, one thing I have found in this research is the words used to describe these inspiring individuals are consistent.
I have asked this question to multiple clients over the past five months, and have collected the adjectives and phrases used to describe dozens of coaches and teachers - three consistent themes have emerged:
- “They pushed me to succeed.”
- “They held me accountable.”
- “They provided guidance.”
Despite the fact these relationships were formed when people were much younger (20 to 30 years ago in some cases), people continue to hold these coaches and teachers in such high regard that it still evokes powerful emotions when they recall those relationships with me.
“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” – John Wooden
Coaches come in many forms
Many of us can quickly reflect back on a teacher or coach who truly inspired us, but the reality is, you might not have had that same experience.
I asked my dad about this; a retired public-school educator, principal, and high-school football coach, to get a better understanding from someone with more than 40 years of experience. He said:
“Coaches come in many forms. It’s not simply a person at the head of a classroom or someone leading a team on the field. It’s a parent, a spouse, a reverend or priest - sometimes it’s even your children (he said while pandering to the interviewer). The one thing these people all have in common is they see potential in you, and want to help you to grow in some capacity - to be a better student, athlete, husband, CEO, whatever.”
Whether that growth comes through a structured curriculum and playbook, or simply shared life experiences, we can all relate to the benefits of having someone in our lives who provided guidance and knowledge and pushed us to be better.
How is a coach any different than all the ineffective consultants I’ve worked with?
The honest answer is, we used to call ourselves “consultants” here at IMPACT. When I first started at IMPACT, my job title was a strategic consultant. The title was inclusive enough to not scare anyone away, while also generic enough to not really stand for anything. It was the vanilla ice cream of job titles, no one really believed it was amazing, and no one really thought it was terrible either.
That is, until we started thinking about business leaders like you.
People who don’t need someone to tell or instruct them what to do. Organizational leaders who want to take ownership of their successes. Someone who doesn’t need a consultant to do the work for them, but more importantly, a coach to help them unlock their full potential, and push them beyond their expectations.
We had conversations with our senior leadership team at IMPACT about our job titles, and they didn’t need much convincing to make the cultural shift away from consultants to coaches.
🔎 Related: Why I hate the word ‘consultant’
Our philosophy is rooted in educating and guiding clients, helping them align their teams, to build a stronger company culture, and ultimately grow their own businesses. Coaching aligns perfectly with our organizational values and beliefs, as we’re each determined to create heroes, grow businesses, and change lives.
We’re different from consultants because we’ve tried it. We listened to clients just like you who are high-level thinkers, problem-solvers, and confident business leaders. You’re motivated to learn and put in the work and you don’t need another consultant telling you about their best practices.
What you need is someone to tell you the truth. Someone to look at your marketing strategy and say, “You’re going to fail if you don’t have buy-in from sales and leadership.”
What real value is coaching going to bring?
I’m going to answer this in two different ways, because the outcomes of digital sales and marketing coaching with IMPACT are both strategic and forward-looking (“big picture), as well as operations and activity-driven (tactics).
Big picture outcomes from coaching
Using the proven digital sales and marketing framework of They Ask, You Answer, we coach clients along this journey with honesty, empathy, and when it calls for it, some hard truth. We’ve seen companies succeed and significantly increase their revenue.
But we’ve also seen companies fail. And we know the red flags to look for that are telltale signs of slipping into complacency – like not having a sole owner of your content management, or not having insight into how your content is performing. We also share these experiences together as a team of coaches, to learn, grow and become better coaches ourselves.
🔎 Related: Wait, what the heck is They Ask, You Answer?
One of the best formats we have for learning from one another is during our weekly training meetings with Marcus Sheridan, (the author of They Ask, You Answer). We roleplay scenarios we recently experienced with clients, share wins and constructive criticism, and help coach each other along the way. Even coaches need coaches, and these weekly meetings help us all sharpen the saw.
These client experiences, trainings, and shared knowledge, give us a clear snapshot of a digital sales and marketing roadmap. We’ve seen what it takes for companies like yours to be world-class at this, and we also know how to help you avoid the most common mistakes other business leaders like you have made that stood in the way of their success.
But the value isn’t just in our experiences, it’s also in the value of your time. You’re motivated to get things done and want to reach your desired outcomes, and you want to get there as soon as possible. For companies that work with a coach, we start seeing results with content and team alignment as early as 90 days.
🔎 Related: How quickly should I see results from IMPACT and They Ask, You Answer?
Those results only manifest when organizations are pulling all the right levers at the right time, like hiring a content manager, building and forging sales and marketing alignment, publishing at least three articles a week, and using this content to educate buyers throughout the buying process.
Tactical outcomes from coaching
We’ll start with a planning session that will include your sales, marketing, and leadership teams. It will be a long initial meeting (typically around two to four hours) focused on identifying three critical objectives:
- Where do you want to go? (vision for the next 18 to 24 months)
- Where are you now? (scoring your company across 10 critical digital sales and marketing categories)
- Where do you want to start? (priorities for the first 90 days)
These three objectives will build out your roadmap, which we’ll use as our resource guide during our bi-weekly coaching sessions. We’ll identify who will take ownership of each priority, what assignments will help you reach those goals faster, and track progress and metrics along the way.
We’ll conduct a version of this planning session with your team every quarter to make sure we’re setting and hitting targets in categories such as content creation, data driven understanding of your buyers, company alignment and training, and much more.
What does the future look like without coaching?
Here comes some of that hard truth – it’s going to take you much longer without a coach. Could you dedicate your time to this philosophy, hire the right people, and provide them with the necessary resources to implement Big 5 content? Absolutely, that’s why our educational online community IMPACT Plus is such an incredible business tool.
Right now, you’re excited! This “They Ask, You Answer thing” sounds like it could work for you, and you know it has promising outcomes. But how long will it take to reach those outcomes you’re looking to achieve?
If you don’t have a coach holding you accountable, pushing you to achieve aggressive goals, organizing your priorities, and keeping you on track, what will happen to that excitement and team alignment in a few months?
Without a coach, in six months from now, They Ask, You Answer will be seen by your team as “that thing we did a few months ago.” The conversation will get stale, your sales and marketing teams will find themselves getting pulled back into silos, and the quality and quantity of your content will decline.
The team at Office Interiors met with the same struggles, following their own excitement at launching They Ask, You Answer at their company:
“We tried to self implement They Ask, You Answer. We found it really difficult because we didn’t understand the concepts behind how to make it work. We thought, ‘We gotta go down a different path if we’re going to be serious about this.’ [After starting working with IMPACT], we generated over $1 million in revenue in 2019. We’ll continue to work with IMPACT. If they can get us these kinds of results in two years of working with them, what will another two years look like?”
Is coaching right for you?
To answer that, first I want to ask you three questions:
- How quickly do you want to build trust with your buyers?
- How valuable is your time?
- How important is a unified sales and marketing team?
These are questions only you can really answer. This is a big decision for you and your business and you shouldn’t take it lightly. It’s more than just writing content for your website or creating new videos that will drive more traffic, it’s about creating an effective strategy that will build trust with your ideal buyers and customers, and ultimately drive revenue.
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I hope when you answer them, you’ll have a clear understanding if coaching is right for you and the future growth of your business.
Wondering where to begin?