CONNECT ON SOCIAL
Leading a business can be lonely.
Leading a business during a recession is hard. Mix in the pandemic with high emotions from an election year and simple business decisions start to feel like placing a bet at a Las Vegas casino.
Throw in another semester of homeschooling and – well, all you want to do is watch non-stop reruns of 90-Day Fiancé while eating peanut butter from the jar.
You need a mastermind for your business
It is time to call for reinforcements. You need at least one intentional tribe of business friends – a group of peers who coach each other to see opportunities, solve problems and stay accountable to their goals. The structure of a coaching group will keep you focused on moving your business forward and help you get more done in less time – a huge bonus when your time is more limited due to helping your kids with virtual learning.
Magic happens in small groups. Business visionary Napoleon Hill said, “No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.”
As part of the XY Planning Network, I have an amazing mastermind group with five incredibly smart Fee-Only financial planners. We meet weekly for confidential mutual coaching sessions. I think of them as my advisory board for running a financial planning business:
- We encourage each other
- We learn from each other
- We can ask each other any questions about virtually any topic
- We help each other stay on strategy and on message
- We hold each other accountable
Create a circle of connection
I also have a squad of professional women friends who coach each other. We have each other’s backs in every way, especially in:
- Finding ways to meet family and professional responsibilities with grace and humor
- Sharing what works
- Affirming each other’s talents and opportunities
Brooke Castillo calls this way of building a relationship portfolio based on shared, specific goals, “the connection circle.” For me, my two coaching groups – my business mastermind and my circle of professional women friends – provide essential nutrition for my business self.
Tackle financial challenges and overwhelm
Two decades ago, when I was in the midst of my own financial transformation, I was successful in large part due to the support and encouragement of friends. Together with other self-employed companions, we formed a coaching group dedicated to providing support and encouragement for tackling our individual financial challenges. Each of us had a different challenge: paying down debt, dealing with employer responsibilities, managing financial paperwork, or navigating money in a relationship.
Because we had diverse challenges, we were all able to gain inspiration from each other’s strengths. The group, formed expressly for the purpose of achieving financial goals, offered us motivation and structure. For me, the support of those friends was a critical lifeline at a time when I felt overwhelmed.
What to look for in a coaching group
Excellent business coaching groups:
- Are judgement-free zones
- Keep discussions confidential
- Encourage members to share best practices for finances, operations, sales and marketing
- Create an environment where members learn from each other
- Offer mutual support, encouragement and accountability
- Are free from conflicts of interest and sales pitches
Some coaching or mastermind groups are self-coaching, and others are facilitated by a business, financial or life coach. A great coaching group session should offer you:
Encouragement – Having the support of a group of like-minded seekers is like having a personal cheerleading squad for your business. Group members can provide the extra boost needed to tackle the tricky tasks. Choose people to join your group who are positive, encouraging and trustworthy – and who really want to learn.
If you need to make a stressful phone call to your biggest client, they have got your back. If you can’t decipher an application for a loan or can’t figure out how to upload a YouTube video, there’s someone who’s done it before. If you landed a new customer after a successful negotiation, who better to celebrate with than folks who know how hard it was to ask for the order?
Confidence – Take it from the late Vince Lombardi: confidence is contagious! The structure of the group learning experience creates confidence, especially if you encourage a “judgement-free” zone for meetings. First, everyone in your group might not have the same challenges or questions. Use that to your advantage. Those who have “been there/done that,” can share their guidance with those who are just getting started on a business goal, while the novices may have a fresh perspective or ask thought-provoking questions.
Second, by working through the puzzle pieces to financial independence in bite-sized chunks, you create a pattern of success. As group members build up small wins, overall confidence grows. That’s what happened in all my coaching groups.
Accountability – Many of us are more successful when we have to meet the expectations of others. Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestseller about changing habits, Better Than Before, calls this the “obliger” tendency of meeting expectations. Obligers try hard not to let other people down but might let themselves down. If that describes you, a group structure is particularly helpful in creating the kind of external accountability that aligns your goals with what you need to stay focused on them for the long term.
I’m like that, which is why the group accountability works so well for me. Even when I do not feel like working on something, knowing that others are also tackling challenging projects keeps me on track. Not sure if that describes you or if a group setting would work for you? Take Rubin’s quiz.
Opportunity — “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity,” said Albert Einstein. You may feel frustrated by your business or worried about what has to change to respond to the pandemic economy. Maybe you don’t feel in balance, or you aren’t on track to achieve your financial goals. Perhaps you find content marketing or payroll frustrating and complex. It could be you have good habits and a strong foundation, but you just don’t know if you are doing all you could be doing.
If you are reading this post all the way to the end, consider this an invitation to get started.
A version of my first group coaching success story originally appeared in the Financial Finesse personal finance blog on January 11, 2016.
This blog is for general financial education purposes. Information contained in this blog should not be construed as financial, tax, real estate, legal or investment advice. For educational purposes, blog posts may contain links to other websites which are not under the control or and are not maintained by Real Life Planning. Real Life Planning has provided those links for your convenience but does not necessarily endorse all the material on those sites. Please consult your financial, real estate, legal, or tax advisor for advice specific to your situation