Sales and motivation expert Brian Tracy was quoted in today’s Australian newspaper, saying he believes success for small operators can enhanced by their recognising that they can’t do everything for themselves. He said some 20 per cent of small business owners in the US have business coaches and commented that the number of coaches has increased by about 500 per cent in the last couple of years.

My hunch is that there is a lower proportion of small business owners in Australia who have business coaches. But as we tend to follow US trends a few years later, Tracy’s observations suggest that the prospects for coaching in Australia look good.

One of the reasons small business owners don’t hire coaches is that their entrepreneurial approach can lead them to think they don’t need such outside help.

As the late, great Thomas Leonard observed in his course on “How to Coach Anyone”; “Where ignorance and optimism meet, arrogance follows”. He explained: the great thing about entrepreneurs is that they are quite optimistic, naturally driven and open to learning by doing. The downside of entrepreneurs is arrogance (meaning that they overestimate their ability to handle things well, or they can’t collaborate/learn essential things until it’s too late).

A coach who recognises and respects the positives of this optimism and openness to learning by doing, as well as the downside, can help the small business owner harness that optimism and balance it with other factors, to achieve greater productivity.

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