I bumped into a neighbor recently.  She’s very nice and our kids have gone to the same schools for nine years.  While we aren’t exactly friends, there is a history of drop offs, student dances, after school programs, etc.  We hadn’t spoken more than the normal neighborly “hellos” in months.  She did know that I started working as a Business Coach but had no real understanding of what that meant.

We had a chance to talk last week and she asked about my Coaching Business.  I summed it up for her as, “I ask my clients uncomfortable questions, tell them unpleasant truths and they typically thank me for it.”  This is the best summary that I have been able to come up with to describe my coaching.  When I work with my clients, my role is to push them to understand themselves and their opportunities by asking them questions they might not want to answer.  Then I call them out when their answers are excuses or are inconsistent with their goals.

I have a great client who’ve I’ve known for years.  She is a powerful business owner who succeeds in a business where most fail.  She has earned consistent earnings while the majority in her industry have been declining.  One of her significant goals is to get new customers and shift her business to being more online.  Our recent recession got a bit heated because I challenged her.  I told her that her plan was not sufficient to achieve her goals.  As the owner of her own business and a successful one at that, no one has told her “no” in years.  No one has said that her plans were not sufficient.  She didn’t like it.  She didn’t like it at all but it was necessary.

What would have happened if I hadn’t asked her those uncomfortable questions and told her those unpleasant truths?  She would have been fine.  As I said, she is a powerful business owner.  She would have maintained her base of business.  She would have even made some inroads towards new customers and shifting her business online but not nearly at the rate she needs to realize her goals.  In a few months, she would have started to realize that her tactics were not achieving her goals and she would have started making adjustments then.

By me pushing her, she has saved herself three to six months.  She can start to adjust her plans now so that six months from now, she’ll be much farther along toward her goal.  That is what I do.  That is one of the benefits I offer my clients.  I am an asker of uncomfortable questions and teller of unpleasant truths and my clients thank me for it.