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Why do all athletes, individuals and teams have coaches and what is the link with business owners?

Article provided by The Alternative Board

“I underestimated and undermined myself in my business”.

These were the words of a business owner, after one of our accountability sessions.

He’s been running a successful business for 8 years. Last year his business made a loss. Since we started working together almost a year ago, he diversified using what he already had, and created two new revenue streams.  In the last 90 days his cash flow improved by more than 800%.

So, why do all athletes, individuals and teams have coaches and what is the link with business owners?

Athletes are proactive. Proactive in what, you might ask?  The impact their level of success will have on their life. They know they are good.  But, more importantly, they know they can be better with accountability.

Think of coaching as accountability sessions. Coaches track goals by creating key performance metrics (KPIs) that make the journey to reaching them very transparent.  The coach is there to keep track and measure progress that someone might avoid recording if they are on their own.

When the journey is transparent, it makes the person that is in charge of reaching them, YOU, very accountable.

Allow me to make this personal for a few seconds …

Many years ago I decided to take up road cycling.  I bought a bicycle and all the required gear.  At least that I knew about.  I started training, and chatting to various friends and colleagues who had been cycling as well.  Some advice was good.  In hindsight, never great.  Most advice was just opinions.

I entered my first race, and it was PAIN.  I trained more and entered my second race.  PAIN again. Next came the then 94.7.  Even more PAIN, followed by the Argus in Cape Town.  Yes, you guessed it, PAIN. After that Argus race, sitting at the finish line watching the riders come through I listened to the seasoned riders chatting about their training and planning for each race.

Planning for each race.  Training for each race.  Getting help, for eating correctly and training correctly.  Getting coached.

I returned to Jozi and found a sport scientist at the gym I attended.  I learned that it was not just about getting on a bicycle and riding for hours.

Like my client, I realised that I underestimated and undermined myself.  I didn’t have accountability.

Eating, sleeping, hydrating, planning my week and month, planning every training ride, stretching, and reviewing every week became important.  Sharing my goals with my wife and daughters were critical, as it impacted on our family time.

Together with my coach and family, we learned, adjusted, executed, came back every Monday and did it again, and again.  There was accountability.

Snowball effect

This accountability spilled over, no snow-balled, into many other parts of my life.

I chatted to some friends and convinced them to join me and cycle to Cape Town from Jozi in 10 days.

We planned to do it during December with our families joining us as our support team.

At the end of it we all, 3 families and four “singles” spent a week at the beach on a family holiday.

It took planning, accountability.  Daily distance, food and fluids on the road, which roads to use, access to medical attention if needed, spare parts.  Accommodation, entertainment for the kids (at the time ranging between four and eight years), daily meals (breakfasts and dinners for the cyclists and our families – we ate different to our families), starting times every morning, and packing up and setting up every day.  And the week at the beach on a family holiday.

We had heat, winds, punctures, broken chains, blistered and very painful “bottoms”, and we had fun and made memories.

After that, within a very short period of time my race times halved and I was starting my races in the A or B groups, just after the professionals.

Proactive business owners seek to understand why reaching business growth goals is important to them personally, and the impact it will have on their life.  After all, the business owner ultimately determines the speed and passion in which the goal is met (if ever).

At The Alternative Board® (TAB) we specialize in accountability

But, like any athlete will tell you, it’s hard work.  And being a member of TAB is hard work.

We work with your life, your future, and that of your family.

We assist and guide the business owner in running a business by helping them clarify the vision of their business and how it fits in with their personal goals.  Business coaching, accountability, is a process used to take a business from where it is now to where the business owner wants it to be.

We don’t mentor

The biggest difference is that a mentor focuses on advising while a coach assists the owner in goal planning and keep them accountable so that they achieve overall success.

After clarifying where a business owner wants to take their business, business coaching will help plan and prioritize what goals and strategies are needed to help progress the business closer to its goal.

A business coach will meet with the business owner regularly, either weekly or monthly, to keep them accountable to their commitments, their goals.

You will never see a coach run laps of the field for their athletes and teams

The very same fact is true of a business coach.

At TAB we are not consultants.  We will not do the work for you in your business.

Our responsibility to you is to keep you focused on the end result and remind you why it is important.  We keep you accountable to your commitments.  As your sounding board we also hold a mirror in front of you, reminding you of, and highlighting your business and personal blind spots.

Many great business owners credit their success stories in part to having a great business coach.

Business owner’s peer-to-peer advisory board

Combining the power of a business owner’s peer-to-peer advisory board (who acts as a sounding board for ideas and challenges in your business), with a business coach, will help you to implement ideas and strategies borne from each monthly meeting.

Think of a business owner’s peer-to-peer advisory board as fellow athletes from different sport disciplines.  What can you learn from them, and they from you?

TAB business coaching sessions, along with your TAB business owner’s peer-to-peer advisory board, provide accountability (planning and strategy) to get your business from where it is today, to where you want it to be in the future.


Allow us to treat you to a non-obligatory coffee to find out if and how we can assist you and your business by contacting us.

The Alternative Board is a proud Partner of the NSBC