While it’s imperative your executive coach can help you develop self-awareness and lead you down the path to continuous self-development, there’s one element that’s equally crucial…
Your coach needs to have a thorough grounding in real world business experience.
Let’s face it, you’re a leader and an expert in your field. You don’t want to be explaining the nuts and bolts of running a business to your coach when you should be the one being guided.
Luckily, the most effective executive coaches can help you to sharpen your business acumen and organizational development. It’s just a question of finding the right coach.
The Key Benefits of Business Acumen for Your Organization
Business acumen is not just a necessary evil for someone running a business of their own.
As a salaried leader of an organization, you’ll notice some distinct and tangible benefits from improving your know-how in this area…
- Increased efficiency should lead to enhanced profitability
- By understanding the trade-offs involved in various actions, you’ll be able to make more logical and more strategic decisions
- Not panicking in the face of threats and problems ensures you make more level-headed and superior decisions
These are all areas where a solid coach can help out.
How can they be of even further assistance, though?
How Can a Coach Help Polish Your Business Acumen and Organizational Development?
In order to help you refine your business acumen, a coach needs to understand how your organization makes money, and how it uses that money strategically. Your coach needs to be fully aware of how you contribute to your organization’s bottom line if you want to make an even stronger impact.
Better business acumen translates to better business decisions so which areas need working on?
While I’ll highlight financial literacy first, I want to make clear that business acumen is about far more than formal training in the intricacies of a balance sheet.
Where your coach will help you most is in interpreting this data and thinking at a higher and more strategic level. This, in turn, can improve organizational development where necessary to further drive profits and improve performance.
Do not underestimate the need for coaching in these areas either. Even if you’re already at the top of your game professionally, a solid coach can always fine-tune your business acumen but how is this so?
Well, business acumen is not an innate ability. You’ll need to develop skills you already have in the below areas and learn any skills that are not in place. Your coach is an invaluable part of this journey.
These components are all central to great business acumen:
- Financial Literacy: If you want to manage budgets and improve ROI, you’ll need to understand the financial metrics of your company. The more you know about how cash is generated, margin and profitability, the better you can drive processes to improve profits. An effective executive coach will be familiar with all these areas. Your coach can step up your financial literacy by helping you probe into what creates growth in your organization and the reasons behind this. Your coach can help you determine what makes customers buy from your company so you can better attract more customers.
- Leadership: Perhaps the area your coach can work on with you most easily is leadership. You should already have natural abilities in this area if you’re an executive. Your coach will simply bring out the best in them
- Marketing: Since your coach will be marketing their own business, they’ll be able to assist you with the overview required to make better strategic decisions based on how your organization carries out its own marketing. And we’ll round out
- Strategic Alignment: The most critical of these core competencies, an understanding of your organization’s overall strategy can help you and your coach to pinpoint gaps and identify areas where improvement can drive the bottom line
Assuming your coach has the ability to nudge you in the right direction of improving your knowledge of the above areas, what kind of elements can you work on during coaching?
Sharpening Business Acumen for Strategy Through Coaching
You can enrich your business knowledge by training in all the above areas. While your coach can assist you, that won’t be the prime focus.
Here, instead, are 3 fundamental elements your coach will work on with you so your business acumen naturally develops.
- Your Thought Processes
- Your Management Style
- Your Leadership Skills
Your Thought Processes
By understanding the overarching frameworks of your organization, you’ll be better placed to evaluate decisions and steps you’re thinking of implementing, particularly useful for organizational development.
Your coach can dive deep with you into what drives your own decision-making process. By increasing your awareness of the scope and complexity of situations with the guidance of your coach, you can assess more clearly how your decisions will affect outcomes.
Your personality is pivotal here and this, again, is an area where your coach will be instrumental in guiding you.
Fluidity counts, too. Your coach will stress the importance of remaining able and willing to improvise when necessary.
Your Management Style
Any good coach will easily pinpoint your management style. They can readily identify any weaknesses here and push you gently toward making positive changes.
From strategic planning to measuring performance, from dealing with employee problems to managing an unwieldy department, how you get things done can directly affect the outcome.
Thinking about your management style is one thing. Working on it in tandem with a sharp executive coach is another entirely.
For both overall business acumen and the ability to affect organizational change, working on your management style is vital.
Your Leadership Skills
Simply mastering people and leadership skills can have a dramatic influence on your business acumen in general. A great coach will excel in these areas.
In addition to sessions with your coach, developing a mentorship network can also help you to drill down on how other executives lead and manage teams.
Working through a range of approaches with your coach can help you establish which would be most effective within your particular organization.
What To Do Next
As you should see by now, strong business acumen leads to wiser judgments and more impactful decisions. This inevitably translates to business success.
The bad news is that business acumen is not very easily acquired.
The extremely good news is that it can be taught and can absolutely be strengthened. Learning along with experience can get you so far. Why not give yourself the extra edge and speak with an executive coach to see how, specifically, you can push to the next level?
You can schedule an appointment if you’d like to talk through any of the aspects I’ve covered today.