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“I probably would not still be working this hard if it wasn’t for Sydney. Please let her know how much I appreciate her work.”

I receive these types of follow-up messages quite frequently and am always grateful for our clients who take the time to share their appreciation and recognize a job well done.

The part about not working as hard if it wasn’t for Sydney is important. Why? It speaks directly to the value and necessity of accountability.

Sydney is an accountability partner as it relates to LinkedIn prospecting. This client, like many others, shows up having completed his work because she’s there encouraging, supporting and filling in the blanks. Let’s face it – pretty much everyone I’ve ever known hates prospecting and yet is there anything more important to a business’s success?

That’s what coaches do. Google, “What is the role of a coach?” and what rises to the top of the over 3 million results is this:

Sports coaches assist athletes in developing to their full potential. They are responsible for training athletes in a sport by analyzing their performances, instructing in relevant skills and by providing encouragement. But you are also responsible for the guidance of the athlete in life and their chosen sport. -Topend Sports

This article from Topend Sports is actually referring to coaching kids. Think about how many people you know who’ve enlisted coaches to help their children. You may be among them. We have hired coaches and trainers over the years for our daughters’ various passions and education including horseback riding, lacrosse, field hockey, tutoring, SAT prep, music (brief, to say the least) and driving. Sometimes, as parents, we hire these coaches and trainers, so we aren’t “the heavy.” I never played sports in my life so recognizing when my daughter was on the right diagonal on her pony or offsides in field hockey was well beyond my paygrade. I just wanted to be the encourager, not the coach, and knew they would take it more seriously if they were coached by someone who was considered an elite coach.

If we understand the value of coaching and accountability from this vantage point why is it we, as adults, don’t continue to seek out coaches and trainers who can help us be better at our jobs, careers, and businesses?

Some of us do. We hire personal trainers at the gym and look for mentors to help us. What about executive coaches, tech coaches, sales coaches? When I google “executive coaches,” over 4.2 million results appear. Clearly, a hot topic. In the article, “What an Executive Coach Can Do for You” the author illustrates the benefits of coaching for leaders and their team members.

Coaching is critical to career and business success.

When I started Intero Advisory in 2011, I re-established a relationship with an executive coach I knew from a former company. I had listened and participated enough through the years to know the questions he would ask, the tools and resources he would employ and the accountability he sought from his clients. I still hear his voice today.

Through him, I connected with Vistage, the world’s largest CEO peer advisory organization, and now serve as one of their instructors and speakers. I have the opportunity to listen and observe how former CEOs and leaders from companies coach, advise and build high-performing advisory groups with local CEOs and leaders who want to get to the next level, personally and professionally. Informally and through osmosis, I’ve learned a great deal from this community of leaders, and when I embark on a new project or am approached about a new venture, I run an abbreviated issue processing to determine the next step. I seek out advice from leaders who have my back and care about our business, yet are objective and challenge me to think differently and go beyond my comfort zone. For a long time though, it was not formalized. And, that’s where I fell short.

So, after several years of trying to answer all the questions on my own with an informal coaching group, I now have a coach and advisor. He is a former client, successful business-owner and former Vistage member. He knows my strengths and weaknesses well, understands our business and clients and is passionate about helping small businesses grow. It’s a good match. He pushes me to be accountable to my team and myself. He encourages and poses excellent questions and infuses a new sense of direction.

You recognize your child may not grow up to be the next Tom Brady, Lindsey Vonn or Hilary Hahn, but they still deserve to reach their potential and need people to help them do that. And you will invest in them and their pursuits, of course. So as an adult, don’t you deserve the same for you, your career and your business?

There is too much to know today to think you can conquer it all on your own, whether you’re an emerging or seasoned professional. Give it up. And, don’t make the mistake of thinking just because you hire a digital native or millennial they will help you become tech savvy. Think again. They don’t all come with that skill. They may know how to use their phone well but they may not understand the tools and strategies to leverage technology for you and your business.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking if you hire a social media specialist they will know LinkedIn. Over and over, probably 85% of the time (and that may be generous) they don’t. Knowing one platform doesn’t mean they will know another or can make the leap easily or willingly. That’s okay. Just know that.

The client who sent the message about working hard is our ideal client; one who seeks out a coach to reach the desired outcome and puts in the work to ensure the results occur. He may fall off course once in a while. We recognize that. Getting back in the groove is the next most important thing we look for in a client. Together, results happen.