Business coaching can provide significant value to Hong Kong’s busy entrepreneurs and executives. Yet, when it comes to deciding, things can get a little bit complicated. What exactly is business coaching about? What to expect? Who to work with? The questions are numerous and a quick look on the internet suggests that there is a lot to consider prior to making a decision. So, in this article, we try to give you the big picture.
This is no surprise, Hong Kong is a (very) busy city where people tend to spend most of their time running. They run from one meeting to another. They run from one place to another strictly similar place. And, perhaps more importantly, they run after time and money.
For many, business coaching therefore represents a possible solution. It provides a source of support from an organizational perspective, for starters, but more importantly it provides a way to focus on what will get the business to the next level, step by step. Session after session, indeed, a personal adviser seasoned with business coaching methods will gain a very clear idea of what your business is about, and with that will come valuable insights along the way.
In sum? Business coaching – as one form of business advisory services among others – is all about giving you access to personal and dedicated support. Someone who listens, asks questions, understands the ins and outs of your business strategy, and helps you to figure out what your next smart(er) move can be.
Having said this, deciding to ask for help can be difficult. First coaching services often seem rather intangible, and in many cases, the clients may fear an apparent lack of visibility. Second, getting a clear picture of the future financial impact of business coaching sessions usually takes time, and that creates an additional later of uncertainty for the future coachees. Should that stop you from getting the help you need? Absolutely not, and here is why.
In this article, we explain what business coaching is about – and debunk a myth or two as to what it isn’t. We explore how Hong Kong entrepreneurs and executives can benefit from it. We help you understand how business coaching sessions work – in Hong Kong live everywhere else. And we give you some tips to help you make your choice when the time to decide comes. So, shall we dig in?
Looking for a Business Coach in Hong Kong? Read this first!
Why business coaching is particularly relevant to Hong Kong entrepreneurs and executives.
Let us start with the basics: why is business coaching particularly relevant to Hong Kong entrepreneurs and executives?
From a general perspective, running a business is like a marathon. You need to run (a lot) but you also need to ensure that you will still be there in the long-run. That takes a lot of energy, but ultimately what really matters is endurance and resilience. Whatever happens, you need to be ready. Whatever happens, your ability to react fast gets you to the next step.
It won’t come as a surprise (once again), but doing business in Hong Kong is however way more than just a marathon. You need to run (obviously) and you need to build up endurance to stay on your feet in the long-run. In Hong Kong more than anywhere else, however, you also need to sprint (because your business depends on networking) and to swim (because him who doesn’t swim faster than the current drowns). The one million dollars question is: what does that mean for your business?
The “I am stuck” and “I am lagging behind” syndrome.
We are really asking a million dollars question here, as in our experience this race typically leads to a very negative mindset which usually becomes detrimental to business. In fact, whilst they won’t admit it publicly, many Hong Kong entrepreneurs and executives complain about feeling stuck with their business and the reason for that is precisely the nasty running bit we were just writing about.
Things move too fast for them and catching up with everything is too demanding, so the “I am lagging behind” syndrome often emerges sooner than later and from there, things tend to go South. Which is a very a big issue. Really.
First, being an entrepreneur or an executive is a very solitary position. You can’t complain, and you have no room to discuss your difficulties with people around you – unless you want to create a feeling on panic on board, that is. So, how can you manage pressure?
Second, how can you plan the future development of your business when all you have time for is to permanently run after time? How can you get your activity to the next step when, in reality, all that matters to you is to pay the bills over the next three to five months? Impossible equation…
There is a solution, however. In our experience, again, the “I am lagging behind” syndrome kicking-in means that the time for you to react has come and that you should act sooner than later.
Hey, dear Hong Kong entrepreneur! Ever hear of the four “H” rules of business coaching?
So you can’t just keep running, yet what tools do you have at your disposal to change your current trajectory? Believe it or not, but as it turns out the best way to change your current way of doing things is to sit, slow down, and look at things critically.
Can you build anything robust and viable in the long-term if all you do is run? No, you can’t. But can you stop running without a backup plan? That’s a definite no as well. So what options does it leave? Well, between you and us, that’s precisely where business coaching can help.
In case you still wondered, the point with business coaching is to help entrepreneurs and other business-minded people with looking up and forward. As business strategists, we use business coaching methods (as well as design thinking, actually) to give Hong Kong entrepreneurs and executives a privileged access to unique business management and leadership development tools, and we help them planning the forthcoming development of whatever they do.
Ultimately, our work turns around what we call the four “H” rules of business coaching – which all focus not on the business but on whoever is in charge of it (“Him”) – and which come as follows.
Rule 1: Him who runs after time never thinks ahead.
First, “Him who runs after time never thinks ahead”. We didn’t reinvent the wheel here, but this rule directly flows from years of looking at how people work and we can say with absolute certainty that it applies to most people out there. It probably applies to you, actually.
The logic is simple, the time you spend focusing on the urgent stuff is time you don’t spend planning for the important, strategic, and primordial things that need to be put into place for whatever comes next. It’s all about business karma here – what you build is what you get.
Maybe your next thing will be a great opportunity – the type of contract you dream about that will add several zeros to your bank account statement. But does your business have what it takes to scale up and deliver? Have you, once again, put the right processes into place? More often than not, the lack of planning is a major barrier when new opportunities present themselves, and running day after day is unlikely to help you think ahead.
Or, and that’s even more problematic, maybe your next thing will be a big problem which will need to be managed. A quality control problem, a fundamental market change that you didn’t see coming, or a wall of some sort that you simply can’t afford to meet frontally (because smashing into a wall really hurts). Yet without the right procedures into place will you be able to manage without drowning?
Rule 2: Him who doesn’t have a strategic plan ends up in the wrong place.
Second, and in line with the first rule, “Him who doesn’t have a strategic plan ends up in the wrong place”.
Again, we only talk from experience here, but our years of advisory and business coaching work tell us that people who don’t set goals for themselves (or for their business, depending on how you want to look at things) rarely end-up where they hoped to end-up.
They run, they try to go with the flow, but mostly they try not to drowned. And by doing that, they ultimately get where the flow wants them to get. Sounds bad, doesn’t it? Or does it ring a bell, maybe? If it does, make no mistake, you are fully responsible…
Rule 3: Him who strategically invests his energy turns expectations into results.
The good news is, the third “H” rule of business coaching provides a solution to the second rule – “Him who strategically invests his energy turns expectations into results”.
Does the idea that people without a plan usually end up in the wrong place sound surprising to you? It shouldn’t, really. This is going to sound like common sense (now that you read it), but one without goals simply can’t say that goals were met.
Yet, in the field, goal-setting exercises are largely ignored and many entrepreneurs and executives have a hard time building robust strategies to guide their operations and teams. Ironically, the focus is often put on KPIs – performance indicators, that is – but as many clients confess, KPIs are of little use when you are not able to formulate what your wanted impact is, generally speaking.
So? Well. To get in the right place, you need to think strategically, and business coaching can help you with doing just that.
Rule 4: Him who strategically invests can let his business run without him.
The fourth “H” rule of business coaching often becomes the ultimate goals of our clients. As soon as they realize the potential behind the idea, that is, and that a bit of methodology can help them with getting there.
Think about it for a second: “Him who strategically invest can let his business run without him”… doesn’t it sound appealing?
Ultimately, working hard shouldn’t be a goal in life. No, working ought to be a way to help you live the life you want to live, and down the road your business ought to run for you and without you. The question which arises from that (another million dollars question, in fact) is easy to grasp: how do you make that happen?
Again, strategic thinking and monitored implementation are probably your best allies. All it takes is a decision to start.
How business coaching sessions actually work – in Hong Kong and everywhere else.
As the above suggests, and as our four “H” rules emphasize, the idea behind business coaching is to give people – you – an opportunity to think ahead and to free yourself from the usual and impossible routine.
There are two things to consider here. One relates to the actual role and contribution of a business coach (compared to other types of business advisers). Another related to how sessions actually take place.
Business advisers with coaching methods vs consultants.
Before you decide to hire a business adviser, make sure that your expectations are aligned with what coaching actually is about, particularly compared to other forms of support. To be very pragmatic, different types of experts can help with developing your activities, and what differentiates them is the methods they use to get a specific type of result.
Some would be consultants, and their work would mostly consist in “doing” things for you. IT consultants would typically build an IT infrastructure for your company, financial consultants would focus on building your financial infrastructure, so forth and so on. Their investment in time and man-hours is typically important, accordingly, and so is the necessary budget.
On the other side of the spectrum, advisers seasoned with business coaching methods rather focus on helping you to get a big picture on your business and on helping you to decide what should come next.
Said differently? The former option is best for you if your purpose is to externalize the implementation of a project that you don’t want to take care of by yourself. The negative aspect, however, is a likely loss of autonomy and power as consultants are likely to manage directly, in line with their attributions.
By contrast, the later – coaches, typically – would focus on transferring organizational and business skills to you and on asking questions aimed at supporting your development. The decision process remains yours, that is, as the purpose is literally to empower you and improve your ability to manage.
How business coaching sessions typically work.
The question of how business coaching sessions work comes next. Things depend on the client, of course, but typically a business coaching program in Hong Kong – like everywhere else – would be built on weekly sessions between you and your personal adviser.
One hour at a time, these sessions give you an opportunity to stop running and to look at what comes ahead of you. The sessions help with questioning your goals, in the first place, but they also help with differentiating the urgent from the important, with reviewing your processes and with organizing your time and structure in a way that makes sense.
To do this, bringing challenging ideas to your attention usually proves useful, but so is a variety of pragmatic and practical business development tools which can be used very easily. From helping you with defining your vision (more important than you think) to articulating a value proposition that does the sales work for you (yes, yes, and yes again) and to building the organization you need for the future, there is a lot to do… All it takes is a decision to kick-in.
How to choose the right adviser &business coach for you.
As we mentioned earlier, field practice and experience tell us that oftentimes the value created by coaching is not tangible. Business development takes time and the return on investment is not immediate, so people spend a lot of time wondering about whether or not coaching is for them.
To help you with that part of the decision-making process, we therefore have a few tips to suggest.
Tip 1: beware of quick results promises.
As we just explained, building a robust business around a robust strategy takes time. Action is important, but quick actions without clear and sensible objectives make no sense.
In our experience, you should allow between three and six months to start seeing a tangible difference in your business, depending on the extent to which you are willing to commit. After a year, assessing whether the objectives have turned into results normally makes sense. So, if someone promises you quick results, think twice.
Tip 2: choose the type of support you need.
As mentioned previously, different types of support are available. Some will do the work for you and will take a de facto control on your operations. Others will leave control in your hands and focus on helping you make decisions as time goes. The difference between both is important, so think carefully.
Tip 3: business coaching, executive coaching, career coaching, life coaching, and all that.
Last but not least, keep in mind that there are also different types of advisory and coaching experts and services out there. Some will focus on executive coaching and will help you become a better leader, others will help you with career change and personal professional ambitions while life coaching would typically get you on a very personal journey, whether humanly or spiritually.
Business advisory based on business coaching methods is an additional form of support, that is, which focuses on helping you develop your business into something that is aligned with your personal priorities and can, ultimately work without you.
The bottom line: Looking for business coaching in Hong Kong? Start with your basic needs.
The bottom line of this article is this one: if you are looking for business advisory and business coaching in Hong Kong, start from clarifying your basic needs.
If your purpose is to get someone to do the work for you, then externalizing the operational bits to a consultant could be the best option. Make sure that your basic specs are clear, however, as you might lose some internal control in the process.
If your purpose is to get support when it comes to making your decisions, however, business advisory services – particularly those based on business coaching methods – can be very efficient. From having a trusted private adviser willing to challenge your thinking, to getting help in building processes that make sense to you, the range of possibilities is large and very complete.
If that sounds relevant to you, feel free to get in touch with us, we can help.