A growing part of my job here at Belmont University is coaching.
We offer our students a “life-time warranty”. We never take ownership in a student or alumni business and we never take a dime of consulting money from them no matter how successful they are. We are always there to be their teacher, their mentor, their friend, their therapist, and most of all, their coach.
Besides the teaching I do in the classroom, this is easily the favorite part of my job.
Our students and alumni have learned how to seek out and accept feedback, constructive criticism, and advice. But not all entrepreneurs have developed this skill set — and it is an essential skill that does not get talked about often enough.
This is something we have learned does not come naturally to many of the entrepreneurs we work with in our program. Our faculty and staff often talk about what we are doing to try and help student entrepreneurs to become more receptive to our input. For some students it comes quickly, but for others it can take months or even years to get them to understand the importance of seeking our council and to listen to what others can offer from an informed, outside perspective.
There is too much risk and uncertainty out there. It is essential to find people who can help you see issues and problems that you are ignoring. They also help you to discover the things that you don’t know that you don’t know.
Toddi Gutner has a post at Business on Main that helps explain how to become a “coachable” entrepreneur.