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My History with Business Coaches

In January 2007, I started my recruiting company, MGR Personnel, later to be renamed MGR Accounting Recruiters. I had worked for others for many years, and then took a few years to work outside the industry. However, I had the nagging feeling that I could do it better on my own, or at least improve a few things, and that is how MGR began.

I found an “executive suite” (translation: tiny office), repurposed my family’s laptop computer, bought a particle-board desk, and I was in business! The next few months were spent calling and emailing everyone I knew, working to build up sufficient clientele as to be able to do fun stuff... like pay my mortgage. Looking back on it, it was a fun journey, and I was definitely blessed to have made it through those early years.

Sometime after the first year, I happened upon another professional at a networking event. We were both waiting in the buffet line and struck up a conversation. We were both looking to build our businesses, and she happened to be a business coach. Patsy Foxworth was a blessing to my business in those early days. I hadn’t been aware that “business coaches” existed, but Patsy filled the exact need I had, which was to have someone to discuss strategy with and to tell me the truths that I needed to hear. It was the start of MGR growing past what my sole efforts could accomplish.

As time passed and both our businesses changed, I went without a coach for a while until meeting another, very intriguing coach named Alicia Arenas (now Alicia Maples). Alicia was intriguing in that she was much more edgy in her approach than I was comfortable with initially, but because of that she truly challenged my thought processes and encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone. We ended up working together for many, many years... too many to count actually, like in the seven to ten year range! Through her coaching (translation: prodding, challenging, questioning), I started to free myself from the thought processes that had been engrained in me from previous employers, and became unfettered by ‘what recruiting companies are supposed to be.’ We unchained ourselves from those expectations and focused solely on what made sense for our customers. Her insights helped us revolutionize our company. It was a time of tremendously strong growth.

All things have a beginning and an end, and eventually our needs and her business changed, causing our sessions to be on more of an as-needed basis, which worked out well for us both. Around this time though, I had become familiar with peer advisory boards through The Alternative Board (TAB). Peer advisory boards had a dual purpose. They acted as a board of directors for small businesses, and in addition had a private business coaching component as well. At this stage in the growth of our business, it made sense to move to a peer-advisory group in order to benefit from the shared wisdom of the group of board members. I gained insights that I never would have had without that input. It helped me not only be successful in the business, but to also mold the business such that it fit the vision I had for my overall life as well. I gained freedom through the process.

I remained a TAB member for 10 years until being presented with the opportunity to become a paid facilitator with TAB. The local groups were growing and there was a need for another facilitator. I jumped on the opportunity immediately and started to sit on the other side of the table so-to-speak, running the group meetings instead of participating as a member. I had found something new that I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed.

After a few months, I had decided that I wanted to spend more time in my new calling with TAB, and started the process to sell my recruiting company. It was a hard choice, but it was time. I could feel my interests in running that company waning, and it just wasn’t right to continue if I didn’t feel the passion for it anymore. And with TAB, I had a new outlet for my professional endeavors. It was something that seemed like a natural fit for me.

But why do I share all this at this time? I felt it would be helpful for anyone that has read this far to understand why I chose to use business coaches for so many years, and then to become one myself. It’s difficult for some owners to understand how a business coach would be beneficial. “I don’t need another boss,” or, “What could you possibly know about our business??” Those are understandable concerns. None of my own business coaches had experience specific to what I was trying to build, and if anything, that was probably a good thing because they didn’t feel like they knew the one-and-only way to build our business. They had to listen first in order to understand, before they then could make some recommendations. It truly was a mutually beneficial relationship, of which I definitely got the greater benefit as the client. A good coach doesn’t need to have experience in your specific industry. However, it can be slightly like having a boss. 😊

If you are an owner and have ever considered, but not acted upon, using a business coach, it’s something you should reconsider. Don’t do it if you don’t like being held accountable or reconsidering some of your business processes. It only works for open-minded owners that realize they don’t have all the answers. But for owners that want to accelerate their growth, and get true joy out of owning their businesses again, a good business coach is a God-send.

If we can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out. As always, I wish you the best in your business.

Mark Goldman



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