It's natural for most of us to associate coaches with sports. Would Butler University's basketball team have made its incredible run to the NCAA championship game without its coach? Could you imagine Rocky Balboa lasting 15 rounds with Apollo Creed without his trainer Mickey? And jokes about his personal life aside, what kind of golfer would Tiger Woods have become without his six (soon to be seven) different swing coaches? (He probably could have used a good life coach too.) We'd most likely never know because without the success good coaching has helped to bring these athletes, we wouldn't know who they were.
Now let's connect all this back to your business. How many of us go through the everyday adventure of running a business, producing video, and wearing all the other hats necessary to make a living ... by ourselves? How much potential, productivity, and creativity are we missing out on because we can't see the forest through the trees? You could be the best cinematographer in the world, but if you don't know how to properly run your business, market your services, and sell your end product, all your talents are in vain. That's where having a business coach can make all the difference.
I must confess, even as the "Head Coach of Wedding Videography" (in the words of IN[FOCUS] co-founder Chris P. Jones), I didn't know what a business coach was until I had one myself. But having a business coach, who looked into my business with another set of lenses, changed the way I operated. It wasn't until I had a coach that I tapped the true potential of my business, as an owner and as a filmmaker. I saved myself years and years of trial and error. My coach taught me that even though I knew how to produce video, that didn't mean I knew how to create a profitable business. You might still be scratching your head. Let me explain what a business coach is, and what it isn't.
A coach challenges you to make and meet goals. It's hard to stay accountable to goals and milestones in your business when no one is there to encourage you. It's also hard not to move forward when someone is there to grill you when you don't meet those goals.
A coach provides unbiased professional feedback and support. Whether it's a new edit, a new advertising campaign, or a new budget, a coach isn't attached emotionally to your business like you are. It's refreshing to get a neutral opinion on something you thought was the best thing since sliced bread.
A coach shows you detours around hazards and roadblocks they have already experienced. Making mistakes in business is good for you, but only if you learn from them and avoid making those mistakes over and over again. Sometimes you don't even realize it. Having a coach gives you a road map to avoid mistakes that keep your business from growing.
A coach asks you the tough questions no one else will. Online forums for video professionals are an amazing resource. They help create a strong community. But no one can see inside your business like a coach can. Having someone analyzing your decisions and asking questions to inspire you, and sometimes frustrate you, allows you to see another side of your business that you've never seen.
Business coaching isn't just for people who are struggling; it's for people who have found success as well. Even Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a personal business coach. What he has to say truly sums up what a coach can bring to your business: "The one thing that people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them. A coach really, really helps."
All of us should have mentors, teachers, and leaders in every aspect of our lives who are pouring their knowledge into us, keeping us accountable, and asking us tough questions that make us better people, better leaders, and better business owners. Being a business owner can be a lonely, drudging job at times. But it doesn't have to be. In this column, I look forward to sharing some practical, no-nonsense ways to grow your business and allow you to tap into your true creativity. I'll be back with my next column in 2 months; in the meantime, visit www.vidbizcoach.com for a free audio download of "The Mistakes to Avoid in Order to Succeed in Wedding Video."
Matt Davis (coaching [at] lifestagefilms.com) of Life Stage Films has been described as the "Head Coach of Wedding Videography," providing one-on-one business coaching as well as group coaching webinars. A featured speaker at WEVA 2009–10 and IN[FOCUS] 2010, as well as a multiple CEA winner and 2009 EventDV 25 all-star, he is based in Wilmington, N.C.