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Consulting Traction in 6 Easy Steps: A Business Fable of Helping Clients Achieve Dreams

Consulting Traction in 6 Easy Steps: A Business Fable of Helping Clients Achieve Dreams

Imagine it’s your final appointment of the year with your favourite client, Zoe, who you’ve been counselling. You are there to celebrate her astounding year-end earnings and income. Her staff is overjoyed since it is their first time receiving such incentives. She has decided to put part of her earnings into a different area. There were obstacles to overcome, to be sure, but Zoe finally felt that her company’s success was not dependent solely on her. Her team members stepped up and played crucial roles in making it happen.

You and Zoe identified six main factors that made a difference.

1. Put the result first

During your first coaching session with Zoe, you prompted her to consider her career and family goals by asking thoughtful questions. You discussed her desired company valuation and set a schedule for its realization. You guided her in calculating the necessary revenue increases for the company to reach the desired valuation.

You taught her to utilize Breakeven PLUS to project future sales and profits based on predetermined exit targets. Then you assisted Zoe in developing a budget to serve as a guide for her monthly cash flow.

You didn’t just ask Zoe about her excellent salary and vacation time; you had her think about it. When she finally took a vacation (something that hadn’t happened in years), she intended to disconnect from the internet as much as possible. She preferred to focus her work time on activities that she enjoyed and was good at.

2. Involve the Group

Zoe took her staff on their first-ever retreat, where she outlined her plans for the future. She shared her thoughts on the retreat with you, saying that her staff valued hearing about her hopes and plans for the company and feeling her trust in them. The group then vented their disappointment at being pulled in too many ways. They even suggested to Zoe that she may have been more productive elsewhere. This sparked a lively debate on where they saw Zoe’s strengths and weaknesses. She forced herself to listen without being defensive, and it helped.

3. Construct an Informative KPI Scorecard

Using her annual objectives as a guide, you and Zoe developed a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Scorecard for the next meeting. The monetary targets were revenue, gross profit, labour expenses, and cost-cutting. There were also targets for marketing, infrastructure, and happy customers.

You and Zoe ranked the significance of her KPIs in light of her annual objectives so that her scorecard would fit on one sheet. The metric remained on the scorecard if it was a necessary measure of progress toward objectives. If it didn’t, it was gone.

4. Identify Key Stakeholders for Each Key Performance Indicator

The onus of success was no longer solely on Zoe. To take corrective action along the way, she needed to establish responsibility and a framework for tracking her success (or lack thereof). Zoe designated a team member as the KPI Goal Source for each objective. This individual was responsible for achieving the objective but could delegate tasks to others.

5. Meet with your SET team once a month to discuss your KPIs.

You aided Zoe decided to have her Key Performance Indicator (KPI) scorecard reviewed in a monthly SET meeting. You briefed her on designing an effective agenda and presided over the gathering. A team member was responsible for updating the scorecard with the month’s actual results compared to the target for each key performance indicator before each meeting. When the team achieved or surpassed their target, Zoe and her colleagues applauded, and when they fell short, they discussed possible solutions. Zoe was impressed by the ingenuity with which team members tackled issues outside their purview.

As the year continued, it became clear which team members often fell short of expectations despite receiving more guidance and assistance. Because of this, she had to do something difficult but essential.

This year, Zoe’s job routine changed significantly. When she became absorbed in unimportant work, her colleagues quickly pointed it out to her. Her staff members stepped up to do the tasks she avoided (or at least put off) undertaking. She freely stated that her staff was superior in several regards.

She could finally shift her focus from working “in” the company to working “on” the business. She enjoyed coming to work on most days, and she was genuinely unplugged when she was off. Zoe gushed as she left that she was about to invite her best employee to take over as general manager of the next site.

6. Don’t spill it, coach! Acquire Expertise In Both Coaching And Financial Analysis

When you contemplate Zoe’s success, you may see the value of the time and effort you put into learning Breakeven PLUS and other financial analysis tools. You helped Zoe “own” her answers by asking insightful questions and being a curious, open-minded collaborator (rather than a subject matter expert). This helped her define her success criteria and stay motivated. Results from the ASBDC 2023 PreCon course, “Level Up Your Financial Coaching: Profitable Growth from Day 1,” show a substantial return on investment for you and the business community you’re dedicated to serving.

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