Coach, Mentor or Friend: Which One Do You Need?

Last night, at dinner with my friend Eileen, we discussed whether or not every business owner needs a coach. For the most part, my answer is yes. In addition to a coach, you need a mentor as well as, a handful of business savvy friends that you can bounce ideas off of.  Here is how I leverage my coach, mentor and friends.

Coach: When I first started my business I hired Jeff Harmon as my business coach. He helped me talk through issues and decisions and he also held me accountable when I committed to doing something. He was unbiased and pushed me to do things that I wanted to do, but needed a little encouragement to make them happen. A coach helps you figure out your way without giving advice.

Mentor: Sally Glick is my mentor. She was my former boss and is very much like a mom to me. She is completely biased, the way a mom would be. She supports me and is a great person to have as a cheerleader. When I ask her to be tough, she can be.  For the most part she just listens and offers advice.

Friends: I have a number of female friends that are successful business owners, authors and public speakers. I ask Kelly McDonald and Deirdre Breakenridge for feedback and love to hear their stories of how they started and grew their companies. I respect them as professionals and like them very much as people.

Partner: My partner-in-crime is Midori Connolly. We collaborate on projects, present together and are about to launch a brand new initiative.  We are not formal business partners in the legal sense, but she is the other half of my brain. She is my “work wife.”

I also coach others. I am not a certified coach, but have experience in developing personal marketing plans and helping people implement them. One of my clients is Billy Kirsch. He wrote about his coaching experience here: Get a Coach.

My friend Joe Rotella – who is one of the smartest people I know – has two mentors: one is older than he and one is younger.  According to Joe, it helps him stay “in touch” with the world at large and have a deeper understanding of the needs of multiple generations.

I am also a mentor to Jennifer Wilner who is my virtual assistant. There are a few other people that I consider mentees as well.

Coaches, mentors and friends aren’t just for business owners. They are for people who are looking for support from respected business professionals. Everyone can benefit from having their own personal “Board of Directors.”

Do you have a coach, mentor or friend? How are you using them?

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