Welcome to this month's edition of the Entrepreneurial Wisdom series!
After learning from several successful entrepreneurs, that a key to their success and business growth was to engage with a professional coach, I was just delighted to have the opportunity to interview Josh from Josh Horneman Coaching.
Josh works with talented business owners to help them achieve their growth aspirations and/or overcome a variety of day-to-day commercial and operational challenges.
Josh’s father, Patrick Horneman, has a long history in the professional coaching and mentoring fields through his involvement in the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) mentoring program over the past 7 years.
In this interview, Josh shares with us some nuggets of advice on being an entrepreneur and starting a company and, the world of professional coaching and how it helps companies and individuals grow.
1. When and how did your own journey in professional coaching begin?
I have been coaching in some form since I was a teenager, as I regularly found myself in conversations that saw me working with someone to achieve an outcome. I just didn’t know it was actually called coaching until I was in my early 20’s when my father explained it was something he does and I did a bit more research into it!
2. Your father, Patrick Horneman, has been helping business owners and professionals in various capacities over the past years. What influence did he have in deciding your career path?
I was very fortunate to have the parents I have. They have both been extremely supportive. Patrick has had a hand in almost every job I have ever undertaken and has always been a strong supporter of the direction I have headed with my career. He has certainly been an influence in who I am as a coach today.
3. For those unfamiliar with the term ‘professional coaching’, could you explain what it is and how it differs from ‘mentoring’?
In recent times coaching and mentoring have started to mesh into a bit of a grey area. Traditionally, mentoring is an interaction between two people where one has had more experience in a certain area and shares this experience with the other person to help them succeed and avoid unnecessary mistakes. It is generally informal and coordinated by a workplace or organisation to empower the younger employees or members.
Coaching differs as it is a much more formal and structured engagement. There is no need for a coach to be “older and wiser” as the relationship is driven by methodologies and outcomes. The coachee may be seeking assistance overcoming a challenge or setting goals, so the coach will use a methodology to assist the coachee in defining a plan to achieve what they desire. Coaching is less about sharing experiences, and more about empowering a coachee to define a solution themselves.
4. What were the biggest challenges that you faced when you started Josh Horneman Coaching?
The biggest challenge when starting any business is usually how to make it sustainable as soon as possible. Whilst still employed in other jobs I continued to focus on coaching to ensure that I had the experience behind me and a network that would be able to support my business growth when it officially started.
5. What have been the biggest joys thus far?
I am always happiest when someone I work with achieves what they set out to. Seeing others succeed is the reason I started coaching and is an awesome reward.
6. What can small business owners gain from engaging a professional coach?
Many benefits can come from coaching but one that I think really assists small business owners is having a sounding board to work with when defining the steps needed to achieve their goals. Coaching is extremely powerful when it comes to keeping on a focused path, but also allows prompt and effective re-direction if a new hurdle arises as the business owner has the tools to reassess and make the best decision for their business.
7. What are some key questions every business owner should ask a professional coach, during the ‘interview process’ to ensure it will be a good fit for them and their business?
It is helpful to understand how a coach works outside of the set face to face sessions they have with you, how available they are for a call or sms to help clarify your thinking if you need some instant assistance. I am also a believer that his goes both ways and a coach should be honest with a coachee and not continue an engagement if there is not a good fit.
8. What are the essential ingredients for a successful partnership between a business owner and their professional coach?
Honesty is a must. Without it you will not be able to truly succeed in a coaching relationship. It can take time to reach a point at which you can truly share your thinking, but you will find much greater clarity as soon as this occurs. The other key element is commitment to action, so if you set the steps to a goal ensure that you make your best efforts to undertake the actions required to reach it.
9. How would you describe a typical professional coaching session?
I wouldn’t say there is a typical session as my work is tailored to each individual or business. Early on you go through a phase of discovery with a coachee and get a feel for what is at the forefront of their mind. From there you develop a process that best suits them.
10. What are the most common pain points or pressing issues that small business owners come to you with?
In the current economic climate most business are recognising a need to diversify but may be unsure how to. This is something that can be daunting and coaching can certainly help a business owner better structure their approach and lead the business forward. The other key challenge is managing costs. The trend is certainly lending itself towards doing more for less; so many small businesses are leveraging new solutions to achieve this. Coaching can definitely assist a business owner’s thought process to ensure the direction they head is truly what is right for their business.
11. Could you briefly share with us a successful professional coaching story and what were the key outcomes?
I spent some time with a business owner who was unclear on the best direction for growth for their organisation. In our conversation it became clear to them how they would best be able to see the growth they were seeking because we stopped to walk through some of the financial data at hand. The thinking of the owner changed because they were not truly considering this data but stuck on how they achieved past successes, even though the data showed a trend that would lead to greater success from a different area of focus. With this new perspective the owner set some goals, worked towards them, has adjusted the whole businesses focus and is reaping the benefits.
12. What are the most rewarding aspects of your job and what keeps you motivated?
My motivation is helping others achieve things they may deem too far from their reach. And seeing this achievement occur is definitely the most rewarding part of what I do.
13. What would you tell business owners, who are experiencing difficulties to take their businesses to the next level, to encourage them to engage a professional coach?
Consider the ability to look at things from a different perspective and how this might affect the decisions you make about your business. Coaching is an excellent tool to facilitate this and really support your business getting to the next level and beyond!
14. What trends are you noticing in WA right now in your industry?
Coaching is gaining some ground in WA. Business owners and managers are starting to see the value in the change of perspective and how it can truly help. I believe we will see some great things in WA in the coming years, particularly around innovative ideas that change the way we live our lives.
15. If you had to pick only one, which book/podcast or blog would you recommend any small business owners to help them run their businesses more effectively?
Picking just one is cruel! I love listening to the StartUp Podcast by Gimlet. And can I sneak in a book on leadership - Humanise: Why Human-Centred Leadership is the Key to the 21st Century by Anthony Howard. Great learnings can be gained from both of these for business leaders.
16. What key advice would you give to anyone who is thinking about starting his or her own business?
Talk about it, lots, to anyone who will listen. So many people keep a new business secret until the launch, but I have found the benefits of sharing the journey you are on to get your business off the ground can be extremely beneficial.
17. Where do you see your business in 5 years from now?
I am developing a process that I hope will be able to support many other coaches deliver their services more effectively so in 5 years it would be awesome for that to have taken off. I will also still be doing what I love and working with people to achieve success in all they do.
18. Any exciting near future projects that you can share with our readers?
The process I just mentioned will hopefully be up and running soon so watch this space!
19. Outside work, what are the things you enjoy the most?
Sport, I am a fanatic and will watch or play anything. Travel, my wife and I love travel and so planning the next trip is always at the top of our minds.
20. For those interested in working long-term with a mentor, what source would you recommend they go to first?
To find a mentor I would suggest looking to your close friends and family, seeking out anyone who may be in a similar job or industry that has more experience than you and can share their knowledge. Otherwise joining an association or organisation with others in you industry can lead to you meeting people with vast experience too. I believe people are inherently good and love sharing what they know; it just takes a little bit of confidence to ask them to share it with you!
To get in touch with Josh, you can visit his website www.joshhorneman.com
To learn more about Josh, you can visit his profile in LinkedIn