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Bob Ruffolo

By Bob Ruffolo

Jun 28, 2023


Marketing Strategy Executives and Leaders
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Marketing Strategy  |   Executives and Leaders

Why Hiring a Coach is the Surest Way to Spur Business Growth

Bob Ruffolo

By Bob Ruffolo

Jun 28, 2023

Why Hiring a Coach is the Surest Way to Spur Business Growth

When I started IMPACT in 2009, it was just me, working out of my condo.

At first, it was just a side hustle: I was building websites for local businesses. It was months before I was ready to quit my day job and hire an employee. 

Today, IMPACT employs more than 60 people, and we service clients around the world

I’m not sharing this to pat myself on the back for hustling and growing my small business. I’m not trying to show everyone that I’m unique. Actually, it’s for the opposite reason.

My story is the same story that so many business owners know to be true: As we grow, the work we do today is completely removed from what we did when we were getting started. 


I started as a web designer but I haven’t done any client web design in years. 

This is often the way it is. You start a business because you have a skill or a focus, but you eventually hire your own replacement as you grow and the company needs different things from you. 

Instead of a frontline worker, you become a manager (then, in many cases, you become a manager of managers). Maybe you become a course-setter, too.

Anyone who’s had this experience knows how different it feels.

Embrace the idea that there’s a lot you don’t know

A new role requires new skills. There’s no other way of saying it. If you were hiring a developer or you were hiring a CEO, you’d look for different resumes. 

So, the big question is: How do you learn those new things? How does a developer become a CEO?


I didn’t go to CEO school or take time to get an MBA in executive leadership.

For me, those lessons came from my bookshelf, from my day-to-day experiences (that is, the hard way), and most importantly, from coaches. 

Many of the most respected business leaders use coaches to get ahead, and I wanted that same competitive advantage. 

As we’ve grown in size and had more resources at our disposal, we’ve invested more and more heavily in coaching — for our leadership team and for our whole company. 

This is for a simple reason: I’ve found coaching to be the surest, fastest path to reflection, growth, and mastery.

I didn't invest in a coach when I needed one

When the company started expanding, I knew there was a bunch I didn't know yet. I was drawn to EOS, or Entrepreneurial Operating System. I had read Traction by Gino Wickman. The book really spoke to me. It offered me a path forward to becoming a purpose-based leader. 

For our growing business, this framework helped us focus on culture, routine, and processes to give us a clearer structure and goals, which were just what we needed to mature. 


We used EOS extensively. Still, I knew I wasn’t getting all I could out of the EOS framework because we were doing it on our own.  

Any time you’re guided by self-reflection, you're limited by your own blindspots. That’s a truth you can’t get around. 

There’s a reason the best athletes in the world hire multiple coaches, trainers, nutritionists, and more. Those experts can see things that the athletes can’t see themselves. They can provide discipline, organization, and accountability in a way that is otherwise impossible. 

At the time, we couldn’t afford to hire an EOS coach, so we went without. As a result, our outcomes were not what they could have been. 

We grew more slowly. We made more missteps. We had less productive conversations.

Why I choose to invest in coaching

Now, years later, I keep that in mind. Granted, we have more capital at our disposal, so we choose to invest some of it to work with coaches. 

When I read Scaling Up by Verne Harnish, I knew how big an effect this business model could have at IMPACT. I also knew, from my EOS experience, that we’d get the most out of it if we hired experts to guide us through it.

So we did.

Next, it was Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand. The same thing happened: We hired a StoryBrand guide to lead us through the framework. Even though we do web design for our clients, we found that we were just too close to our own company to create a clear marketing message. 

With outside guidance our conversations were richer, our outcomes were greater, and our progress was faster. 

For learning to stick, it has to be active

If you can think back to when you were a student, what did it feel like when the teacher lectured to the class? I tended to zone out. Why? Because the learning wasn't interactive at all. It was passive. 

Don't get me wrong, you can get a lot out of a lecture or a video. But the real magic happens when you work directly with an expert.

I can read a book about golf and watch a dozen YouTube tutorials, but I'm going to get a heck of a lot better when someone actually watches my swing and offers feedback.


Watching videos is passive. Coaching is interactive. 

The expert is evaluating your progress and spurring your growth. 

For learning to stick, for growth to happen, it has to be active — and interactive. 

Why you need a marketing coach, not a marketing agency

When you think about it, all education is aimed toward independence. Whether you’re taking a business class in college or you're apprenticing to an expert, you're learning so that you can eventually do it on your own.

As IMPACT grew and became an agency, we became frustrated with the way most clients were treated by agencies. In almost all cases, education was absent. Agencies were not teaching clients to update their own website, write their own content, gather their own data, or schedule their own emails.

Instead, the client was dependent on the agency for success. 


We imagined a different model, one that went beyond the too-common "hire and agency and wait" approach:

Our coaching programs are designed to empower excellence — from leadership coaching to tactical training in marketing, sales, HubSpot, video production, and more. 

That's a future to believe in. 

Coaching helps you move fast, avoid blind spots, and supercharge your progress.

When you’re serious about growth, a coach can show you how to get there. 

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