Ep 68: #AskAkua // I’m Getting Results; Why Would I Need Coaching?

Ep 68

Starting your own business, running a startup for someone else, or leading a team is a heavy weight to bear, and it’s easy to feel like you’re alone. But you don’t have to be. In this #AskAkua episode of the Open Door Conversations Podcast, leadership coach Akua Nyame-Mensah discusses the benefits of executive and leadership coaching, even if you’re already getting results as a leader.

She’ll help you identify if coaching is right for you. If you already know it is, you’ll learn how to convince your stakeholders that coaching is an important investment that ultimately affects their bottom line.

Remember that as a former startup leader, Akua shares her own one-sided perspective on these #AskAkua episodes, which is different from her client-driven coaching methods. These conversations are a means to provide you with the opportunity for reflection and a path to personal growth. As always, feel free to reach out to Akua in the DMs with any questions!

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What's Covered in this Episode About <insert Keyword> 

  • Akua talks about the massive difference she saw in her own leadership when she created and honored the space to engage with team members and set expectations appropriately.
  • It’s important to realize coaching cannot be forced on people. They must be willing to change their behavior and believe change is possible.
  • If you’re a leader who is getting results in your business, that doesn’t mean you don’t need coaching. You may not like the way you’re getting results or find your methods unsustainable.
  • Learn to communicate the importance and the benefits of coaching to your stakeholders. Leadership affects the bottom line - the cost of bad leadership is high!
  • There are two types of leaders that Akua supports: 1. Firefighting Badass 2. Well-connected But Over-extended Founder. Listen to find out which one you are.
  • External vs. Internal coaching. Getting an external coach provides a different perspective and confidentiality.
  • Realize that what got you this far as a leader will not necessarily get you where you want to go. Coaching can help you up level.
  • Coaching gives leaders clarity on their blind spots and the support to do things in a way that feels good to them.
  • It’s not necessary for you to find a coach that has “walked in your shoes.” - Someone outside of our sphere can actually give you another point of view.
  • Find out the importance of communicating your coaching work with your team so they can help keep you accountable.

Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "Leadership really can be learned. It really takes some intentional thought and steps and potentially people holding you accountable." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "If you run a business, you have to invest in yourself. If there's no you, especially if you're a founder or CEO, there's no business." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "What got you here is not going to get you to where you want to go." - Akua Nyame-Mensah

Mentioned in #AskAkua // I’m Getting Results; Why Would I Need Coaching?

EP 03:#AskAkua // Masking Feelings + Balance
Ep 18: Want to Make Better Decisions? Rest More
EP 14: I Hate Asking For Help, You Probably Do Too

Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:

  • Read about Akua’s services if you’d like to learn more about how you can hire her to help you strengthen your organization’s culture.

  • Complete her contact form to jump on a call.

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Here’s the transcript for episode 68 about Why You Need Coaching

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 00:07 Welcome to the open door podcast. My name is Akua Nyame-Mensah. I also respond to Aqua and I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised facilitator and former sort of leader that loves supporting reluctant buyer fighting and overwhelmed leaders. I've worked with them to help them clarify where they should focus their time and energy each and every day so that they can love themselves, love their work, and ultimately love their life. If you're looking to learn leadership information and hear different perspectives, you are in the right place. My aim in this podcast is to help you see that one of the most productive and profitable things you can do is deeply understand yourself. Understand how you show up, understand how you thrive and allow yourself to align everything in your work in your life, and in your business to support that think of this podcast as your weekly opportunity to receive leadership support. And remember, there is no one right way to lead yourself or others. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. Let's get started. Hello, and welcome to this week's open door conversations podcast episode. This week is a hashtag ask Akua episode. And I'm really excited to dive into some of the questions and thoughts I've been receiving from people that know me that have worked with me and that are also interested in the work that I do. So today's hashtag ask Akua episode is really focused around the topic of coaching objections and results. So I have two three ish type questions statements that I'd love to share my perspective on. As always, I welcome your feedback. I welcome your thoughts. I'd love to hear what resonates and what doesn't. Because ultimately, right, this is just an opportunity to give yourself an alternative perspective. Before I get into the questions, I do want to start off with the fact that I was a former startup leader. So I know firsthand how difficult it was for me not only to listen to others, but to create space, to truly be a leader and connect with my team. I saw firsthand the difference it made when I created space not only created it, but honoured space in order to have conversations engaged with my team and also set expectations appropriately. I know that when I give my perspective on these hashtag, ask a couple episodes, it's incredibly one sided. So if you're listening to this, at any point in time, sort of rolling your eyes or saying, Hey, I've been doing that, or it's not something that I could do, please keep in mind, this is not a coaching conversation, because it's one way. And this is primarily my perspective, when I go into my coaching conversation, they're very different because it's directed by the coachee. And it's about their experience, not mine. And that's why I enjoy doing these podcast episodes because it gives me an opportunity not only to reflect but to provide an opportunity, not just for others, but also for myself to think about what are other ways I could show up, especially since I'm not in that experience at this moment in time. So I know once again firsthand that starting a startup is really hard or building a startup is hard, even if it's not your own money, even if it's not your own brand. So in the case of the experience I have it was fully funded, it wasn't my idea. And it was still difficult. So I can only imagine what it's like if you are bootstrapping or you're getting your own investment. But overall, I don't think it has to be as hard as we make it out to be a lot of times. So let's get into the questions because I could continue down that road. But I just felt it was important to share that because I feel like for a lot of us who end up in these situations or who are building our own businesses, we feel like we're alone and we don't necessarily have to be so as I mentioned before, today, I have two sort of three questions all about thinking about coaching objections, as well as coaching results. So the first statement that I have here and I'm really grateful for this statement because all of my content honestly everything I create is really in response and also a reaction to things that I receive. So when I put together podcast episodes, either I am inspired by something or someone has come to me. So this first one I have on here is a bit of a statement. And I think it's a really important statement for us to focus on because once again, this really has to do with that mindset piece. And sometimes we're in the middle of building something this is the mindset that we have. So this first statement is I'm not even aware that I need help as a leader because quite frankly I am getting results and the thing is all of us are getting some level of results right 100% on board with that. Yes, sometimes with a lot of difficulty, but which leader isn't. And I think that this is such a really great statement, because I know this is something that I would also tell myself. And one of the things that we talk a lot about in the service providers space is whether or not your client or potential client is even aware of the fact that they have a problem. And that's why when people ask me, you know, when is it time to get coaching? Or how can I encourage my CEO, especially when it's an investor who comes to me or board member and they asked, you know, how can I encourage my CEO or my founder to get coaching, the first thing I typically say is, you can't force anyone to get coaching, someone has to get to a point where they're open to it, because the only way you can change your behaviour is if you're open to changing your behaviour and believe that you can also change. With that being said, yes, in terms of the type of coaching I provide, the types of clients I support, all of them are already getting results. So it's not the fact that they aren't getting results. It's about how they're getting the results. Right. So what is a lot of difficulty look like for you? What are you willing to give up? Or compromise on? And what are you willing to do differently when I think about the two types of leaders I support, and I really love that I've come up with this little framework to sort of talk about the two types of leaders that I tend to support the first I have on here, and what I describe as a badass, but unfortunately, firefighting boss, alright. And typically, this person is someone who prefers practical strategies and no fluff. And that's where I like to think I live for the most part, even though I do coach. But I like to think the things that I do, the way in which I support my clients is very practical, there's no fluff, but at the same time, I recognise that there's something really unique that can happen when you get outside your comfort zone. And I think that a lot of the leaders that I support, recognise that it's time for something a little bit different, a lot of the leaders I support are also getting a lot of press, they're constantly being featured, they're getting awards, but they also recognise on the flip side, that it's getting harder to sustain their business progress, as they continue to accept these accolades. And as they get this funding. Also, in terms of thinking about this one particular type of leader, I tend to attract, they're getting a lot of opportunities, tonnes and tonnes of opportunities. But they feel like they could never follow through and can only concentrate on what's directly in front of them today. So they're not able to be strategic, they're not able to look forward, alright, because they're so busy, you know, firefighting, and just doing what's in the present, as opposed to thinking about what's going to help get my business to the next level, or what's going to allow us to have sustainable revenue into the future. The last bit with this first type of leader, which is the badass firefighting boss, is you can attract amazing talent, but you don't seem to last or they don't seem to last very long. And this is costing you money, and leaving you and your business and alert constantly. Another way that this could look for that badass firefighting boss is that they feel like they're the only ones who make decisions, or that they're the only ones who can make decisions. And they're constantly having to micromanage or validate members of their team, even if they've been working with them for a while. So that's really the first type of leader that I tend to support. And as I've mentioned, right in the description of this type of leader is that they're getting results, right. They're doing the things, they're getting things, they're getting accolades, but the question is, is it sustainable? Is it something they can do long term? And is it actually leading to the results that they want? Alright, let me tell you a little bit about the second type of leader that I tend to attract, and I tend to work with and I also really love this description, I had a lot of fun coming up with it. And it honestly is inspired by existing clients. All right. The second one I have here is the well connected but over extended founder, or what is this founder dealing with? And I will say, you might be thinking along one of these lines, you might see yourself in a bit of both, there definitely is some overlap. I know I was within both camps as well. So the first thing that this leader might think or might what might come up for this leader, when they think about coaching or getting some of this outside support is that they feel like they've gotten this far on their own so they can figure everything out by themselves. I mentioned this a bit earlier, I think or maybe this was in a different recording, but like you actually might be listening to me say this and share this and you're rolling your eyes and telling yourself you're too entrepreneur or too busy for reflections and silly questions. Because that is your perspective. And maybe even you've experienced a bit of coaching that's in that light. Alright, another thing you might say to yourself, or you might think is that, hey, I already have a tribe, I already have an army of mentors, investors, peers I can reach out to but maybe you're starting to recognise that you're not being heard, or that some of the things that you think might be standard, or what a lot of people are doing isn't what you want to do doesn't feel good or maybe isn't even working for you. Those are some of the things that you're starting to recognise. And so you want to really get outside not just your comfort zone in that way, but you want to get outside this sort of sphere of influence, or this sort of sounding board. There's a word for it. It's not coming to me but sort of you're just kind of in this this little space where you know things are bouncing off but nothing new is coming through. Nothing new is penetrating. All right. I know thing that might be coming up for you if this if you're this overextended but well connected founder is that you already do a lot of personal development, right, you already have a lot of personal development work to do. But maybe you're starting to realise that you need more accountability than simply reading a book or attending a one off leadership seminar. All right. And anything that might be happening to you if you're a well connected, overextended founder is you might tell yourself, well, I have no problem taking a holiday, I took a holiday last week, but maybe you're forced to work the entire time. And this annoys your partner or your kids, because you really can't be present for them, right? You're physically there, but you're not really present. Alright, another thing that might come up for you if you're that well connected, overextended founder that feels like, Hey, I am getting results is that you'd rather spend money training your team, right? But what you're starting to recognise probably, or maybe what's coming through, or some of the things that you're seeing is that not only does your team need to level up, because maybe there's been so much change, and so many things have been happening, but you see that you need support, also, to get to the next level. All right. And those are just some of the things that sort of might be coming up for you. Right, those are some of the things that you might actually start to become a little bit more aware of, as you start to reflect and you create time to reflect because that's a huge part of it, right? A huge part of the safe space that coaches create, or at least I create, as a coach is giving people the opportunity to recognise some of these things about themselves, hey, I'm doing things, I'm getting results, but am I doing it in a way that resonates with me? Am I doing it in a way that's going to allow me to get results into the future? Am I actually focusing on the right things? Am I prioritising things that don't allow me to get my startup really to the next level. And so for a lot of people that I tend to support within this space, and once again, I do this within my one on one work, I also have the opportunity to support founders and leaders within other organisations that either I mentor in, I coach in and some of this, I even do, no financial gain, right, a lot of them feel like they have to work harder, put more hours in or maybe even turn into somebody else in order to get more done. And that's not sustainable, that probably doesn't feel good for a lot of you. And that ultimately will lead to burnout. And so I think a key thing here, if you're thinking to yourself that, hey, I'm getting results, even if it's results of a lot of difficulty, is recognising that what got you here is not going to get you to where you want to go. So it's really important that you ask yourself like, Hey, do I constantly want to be up all night? You know, do I want to constantly be micromanaging? Do I want to constantly be second guessing myself and having to struggle to sort of handle all these different stakeholders by myself? Or do I potentially want to get some external support? Someone who can help hold me accountable, right, someone who can help me see my blind spots, and also help me think about where I should be focusing my time and energy? Right? And that's really the question that I think leaders have to ask themselves. Unfortunately, for some leaders, they have to hit a brick wall before they're willing to invest in this type of support. And once again, it doesn't just have to be a coach, it can look a little bit different. But I do recommend that it's someone outside of your current sort of sphere, right? Somebody that's outside of your current world. And that's really where a coach, whether or not they've had the exact same experiences you've had. And let me also maybe debunk this particular objection, because I do hear this one a little bit as well, like, oh, I need someone who's actually walked in my shoes. Yes, I do think it's important to get some support and get some thoughts on people who've maybe been there done that, or are somewhere close to you to what you're doing. But I also think it's even more valuable to get support and get ideas and brainstorm with humans that have nothing to do with what you do, because they're gonna see it from a very different perspective, offer you a very different viewpoint and potentially mindset that can save you a lot of time that can save you a lot of money, and potentially even save a partnership, a co founding relationship, because they're coming at it from a different space. And so they're not stuck in that one way of looking at something. And they're also maybe not stuck in that rat race or maybe not invested in your business in the same way. So those are just some of my thoughts to that question, thinking about, you know, am I getting results? The question always is, is that the right results? Is it really getting you closer or further away from what you're trying to do and what you're trying to accomplish and the vision that you set for yourself. And if you're constantly doing things that feels incredibly hard and incredibly difficult, and it also is going to have an impact on you physically, mentally, and emotionally, it's probably not the best way to do it and getting some additional support, potentially, with a coach I think would be a great way forward. So that's really my thought with that first question, thinking about that particular objection. I think it's a great objection to ask as I mentioned before, it's something that I also thought myself and I do think it's very difficult to put yourself out there and be vulnerable and get that support. Alright, so this next question I have on here, I also think this is a really important question. It's somewhat relevant to the first question, it's typically for someone maybe who's looking to invest in coaching, or someone who maybe has already invested in coaching. And they want to make sure that not only are they seeing the value, but they want to make sure others can see the value as well, because that's an important part maybe of their journey. So the question I have here is, how to show my boss, my stakeholders, my investors, maybe even a partner of the value of coaching, and once again, just a little, little preamble before I jump into answering that question directly. So the first thing to keep in mind, and I think the reason why I get this question is because the majority of my clients have their business or organisation pay for their coaching. So even if I'm working with a founder, I'm working with the CEO, a lot of times it's their business, it's a business expense. And I believe that coaching should be a business costs, because your leadership ability has a direct impact on your productivity, on your performance on your ability to make the most of your team and ultimately, your bottom line. If you're distracted, if you're burnt out, if you're not focusing on the right thing, it's going to be really hard for you to make sure you're building products and services that are going to help bring in the right clients, right, and ultimately, the right business. So I think that a lot of people that ended up, you know, working with the coach or even investing in me realise that coaching can really have this positive multiplier effect. Because if they're feeling better about themselves, if they're doing the right things, right, not only do their investors see it, do their employees see it, but it really helps to reinforce a lot of what they want their team to be doing as well. And I think one of the things that we forget a lot of times as human beings is that what we do is actually a lot more important a lot of times and maybe even what we say, I definitely think the two should match as much as possible, but we have to model the behaviour that we expect of others. And so if you're working on yourself, and that's something that other people are seeing, that's something they're going to be a lot more open to and maybe even vulnerable sharing, because ultimately, businesses are people. All right. So when thinking about having to justify, and I actually don't like the word justify, I think it should be more of a conversation of the impact. But justified might resonate with some of you listening to this. But if you have to justify the expense to your co founder or your investor or your CFO, right, I think the first thing you want to make sure that you're communicating is that, hey, this is an essential business costs. If you run a business, you have to invest in yourself, right? If there's no you, especially if you're a founder or CEO, there's no business. And so it's really difficult to get, you know, your best performance if you're not investing in overcoming some of the key issues that are stopping you for succeeding. And a lot of it's going to start with how you feel towards things, how you think, towards things, because the cost of poor leadership is really high, right, having a disengaged team, high employee turnover, low productivity, bad decisions on happy customers, right. And I think the key thing here is that leadership really can be learned, right? It really takes some intentional thought and steps and potentially people holding you accountable. But ultimately, I think that if you want to be a great leader with clear priorities, it's really important that you invest in your personal growth, because ultimately, that's going to lead to business growth. And also recognise that ultimately, like an overwhelmed manager and overwhelmed leader, a reluctant leader, or a firefighting leader might attract high performing and engaged employees in the short term. But in the long term, people are not going to work with you, even if you pay them a lot of money, because ultimately, it's going to be about that environment that you create that culture that you create. So in terms of thinking about communicating value, here's some thoughts to keep in mind. And another thing I always share when sort of communicating some of the things that you can keep in mind, or even if you're thinking about investing in a coach is really recognising that most coaches at least once again, this is how I practice the type of work I do, they're not going to share directly with your boss or investor what's happening in those conversations, because it's meant to be confidential, right? This is one of the reasons why working with an external coach is very different from working with internal coaches or having a manager who's using coaching tools and techniques. Because when you work with someone externally, right, it's meant to be confidential. Once again, at least the type of coaching I practice, it's confidential, it's not something I share with your direct boss or with your investors, with your board members, whoever is potentially sponsoring you or who has a vested interest in you becoming a better leader. So that's something that you also want to make sure that you get clear on as you think about who you want to work with and who you want to support you. But I do recommend that my coaches if it's something they want to do share an update on their coaching engagement. They get to decide what goes in there they can put together reports. I also always recommend that they let their team know they're working on themselves and they're working with an executive or leadership coach. One of the reasons why is because they can help hold you accountable. That something that you want to create in terms of a culture really starting with you so you being vulnerable, saying you're working on certain things and then have When your team members support you and hold you accountable, provide feedback to help guide you when working with the coach. I think another thing that's really important that I'm always trying to push my clients to do this, it's sometimes easier to do. And sometimes not as easy to do, but making sure that you're selecting specific goals that can be measured. I will say some things will be more tangible than others. But even when you're looking at more of a qualitative, more, how do I feel towards things or emotions, you can still rank things or rate things on a scale. And I think it's always great to sort of check in. And I still think that those are great results. If you're getting results where you're feeling different towards something, you're able to, you know, show up in different ways. Even if it's not super quantifiable, your feeling towards something is key, because how you think and how you feel towards something is going to change how you engage with it, and ultimately, your results. All right, I'm sure I have a podcast episode out there about that, at some point, or maybe even a blog post, I'll try and see if I can find something around this idea of like making sure you feel good towards doing certain things. Of course, there's gonna be things that you don't feel good towards. And then it's important to reflect on what can I do with it? Right? Can I delegate it? Can I delete it? Can I defer it? Is there a process I can create to help make it run a little smoother? All right. Another thing on here that I think is really important, is to really share how you've started to set these goals for yourself. Because I think one of the biggest issues I see with goal setting, and this is across the board, and in most organisations, it doesn't matter what you call it KPIs OKRs, I've seen them all is that you can have some of these big, hairy, scary goals. But it's really important that you focus on what you can actually control. And I'm saying that in quotes, I know you can't see me, but like the actual inputs that you can focus on, right. And I think that's a really big thing, a big learning that a lot of people take from having conversations with me, I also always recommend that you track progress. Of course, you don't have to share all your progress with the powers that be or the stakeholders are asking about it. But I think it's a great way for you to be able to reflect and share bits and pieces as they go. Also people who work with me, I do sort of keep track of our conversations, and they have complete access to it. So it's something that they can also use as they're moving on in their leadership journeys. There are bits and pieces that they can also share with the right and appropriate stakeholders as well always recommend that, you know, people share the specific goals, the new habits and behaviours that they're looking to potentially improve or work on. I also love to recommend that as they share that update on their coaching engagement, that they share things that they've tried progress in general things that they've implemented. And I also always recommend that they give their stakeholders an opportunity to provide them with feedback as well. So some of the clients that I work with sometimes will do actually a 360. And it's a verbal 360. So I'll actually interview members of their team, or even people within their personal life to help provide that feedback as well. And that's another way to help show people that this is something that's important to you, this is something that you're working on. And for those maybe who feel like you need to justify it having these conversations, it's a way for them to see what's really involved. Alright, so, as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts. How do you show others? Do you even show others the value of coaching? It might not be important, it might not be something that you have to do. But I just thought that I would answer that question because it's something that actually came up in one of my coaching conversations. If you are interested in working with a coach or want to learn more about how I support leaders, please feel free to get in touch all the links to learn more about the one on one support that I provide is in the show notes. I do have a few slots for December or probably more likely early January start but it's going to depend on when you actually hear this conversation. But please feel free to reach out. I give everyone the opportunity to jump on what I described as a chemistry call to see if we're a good fit and to see if it makes sense for us to work together. As always, thank you so much for taking the time to listen if you have any questions or any thoughts for me, please feel free to reach out I always enjoy responding to these hashtag ask Akua questions. Thanks again. I hope that you enjoy the holidays because they're coming up and stay safe and stay sane. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share it with your friends. We can continue this conversation on social media the links to my socials so that is LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. You can find them in the show notes. If you tagged me in a story and include the hashtag hashtag ask Akua I will share a special little gift with you. Thank you so much once again for your time and I cannot wait to share my next episode with you stay safe and sane.


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