You’re in the business of coaching

Some years ago Gary Keller of Keller Williams, now one of the largest Real Estate businesses in the USA and recently opened in the UK, said “we’re a training company that happens to be in the business of real estate.”


I believe this to be more true now than ever before, whatever your business you’re going to win if you attract, develop and retain the best people. But I would slightly adapt his quote – a training company isn’t enough, you need to be a coaching company.

Let me share my definitions: Training is showing people how to do something. Coaching is helping them to develop themselves, particularly around specific desired results. Mentoring is helping people to develop generally, with a broader agenda. In my opinion these terms get confused and whilst people say they want training, and they do of course, what they really respond to is being coached to help themselves develop and improve.

Coaching starts with the Leadership – soldiers watch what their generals do – and I see with our Group members, (many of whom are owners, CEO’s and MD’s), their passion for self improvement which tends to rub off on their teams. By contrast, I’ve seen organisations where the leaders believe they can’t learn any more, have acquired all the tools they need. This always results, in my experience, in a company where the team members resent training and coaching, often viewing it as depriving them of work time.

My daughter is doing a Masters in Law right now and her boyfriend just got his from Cass Business School on a scholarship provided by Sir Stelios  Haji-Ioannou. I observe how they and their friends discuss and debate the sorts of companies they wish to work for and regardless of sector they are hugely influenced by the opportunity to develop and progress. This new wave of talent is highly sought after and companies like Apple, Google and Virgin have thousands of unsolicited applications from people wanting to work for them. I believe that smaller companies can also attract the best, indeed can offer a faster track in many cases, but they will only do this when they are clearly, first and foremost, a coaching company.

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