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After attending some seminars on professional development more than 15 years ago, Rafe Beeson, CEO of Austin Business Coaching had found his calling: To help others achieve new levels of excellence in business and in life. Since that time Beeson has been helping clients to break through personal and professional plateaus, allowing them to bring take businesses to new heights.
In this candid video interview, Beeson talks about the similarities between business and sports coaching, and how coaching offers an accelerated path for the dedicated entrepreneur to reach the top of their ‘business game’. He also shares his insight on the importance of working from a strong personal foundation as a platform for building peak results in business performance.
Rafe, can you briefly take us through your own personal journey into how you became a business coach?
Sure, I first came across the concept of being a coach when I was approximately 24 years old. I had participated in some workshops and seminars in professional development, going through some weekend seminars that were designed to really transform your life and open you up to new possibilities. And in these workshops they had these coaching volunteer programs, if you will. So it sounded like a good idea, and I had no idea what it would be like, but it just sounded like fun and an exciting opportunity to work with people and develop them in a way where you interacted with them in this model, in a way where you help them achieve more than they thought they could achieve. Its helping people discover their brilliance, and working with them in a way that maybe they can open up some things for themselves and raise their awareness and as a result take action and move forward and produce breakthrough results. And that’s how I was first exposed to coaching.
It was first just starting part time, working with people, and I had a career. I did a lot of sales, worked in technology … and so I had a job but at the same time it was like, this is what I’m passionate about and I’m gonna pursue that. And I made the decision one way or another. And I think a lot of people do this … they get in a job or something and ultimately it may not be like, ‘this is it’ or this is the fulfillment that they want but there’s something more, like a project or business that they’ve always wanted to start. And they start doing it part time until that income or the pain of staying in that old pattern becomes too much and they make that shift, which is what I did.
How would you compare business coaching to being, say, a baseball coach? How do you help people to reach the top of their game?
I think the analogy though is that in sports you know, if you’re on the court, right, and in the game … if you’ve ever played any sports whether its football or basketball or anything, your play by play, your perspective is really on the court and you see what’s happening right in front of you, and you have a sense of being involved moment to moment. And the coaches perspective is a different one Its really back out of the game, almost in the stands if you would. So the coach has this view of the team, and the game, from this perspective that really gives him the whole picture.
The coaches job in sports is to, expect your best. To push you harder than you would push yourself, and to hold you accountable, to train you and hold you accountable to take the necessary steps and actions that lead to successful results and in that case to win … and to give you feedback when things aren’t working in a way that doesn’t beat you down but empowers you and lifts you up and inspires you. And I think that’s what good coaching is. Its inspiring and helping people see that the things they want they can have, and to give them the necessary feedback that allows for course correction.
Having that accountability partner, and having someone who’s there to hold you accountable and move you forward and encourage you while at the same time telling you if there’s a place where you’re not hitting the mark in your game, in your game of your life or your business … you know, that feedback is important, and critical I would say. And not everyone … nobody needs a coach you know. You don’t need anything. But there’s an opportunity there if you want an accelerated path. Do you know, its like you can go play baseball but if you want to play in the major leagues you need some other kind of training. But it doesn’t mean you can’t go play on your local softball team. So there are different levels of what kind of game you want to play.
Hiring a coach is about your intentionality and you setting your goals, and you making it known really to yourself, and the world, in setting these intentions … and when you do that something amazing starts to happen. I’ve seen this over the years time and time and time again, and its really powerful. When people set their path, there’s a lot of support out there for our goals, and when you’re deliberate and intentional about something and you commit .. amazing things can happen.
What is one of the biggest challenges commonly faced by business owners that you’ve identified in your 15 years of coaching?
It depends. It depends on the type of business and if they’re running that business by themselves or with business partners. If someone has a business partner or several business partners, there tends to be .. you know in every relationship that you have in life there can be conflict. As a matter of fact there will be conflict, eventually. So the question is not are you going to have that, but how are you going to deal with that conflict in your relationships.
When stakes go up, and when you’re talking about shares of a company, or money, you know, people act funny around money. It brings up some interesting qualities. So you start talking about business, and ownership and things like that and how you make decisions. So when a company grows for example from a small business to a large business, frequently I’ll see business partners … it was easy in the beginning but as the company gets bigger it gets to be more of a challenge, and when you get stuck … typically when people get into a conflict they want to be right. You get stuck and it becomes this wedge, and the next thing you know they’re hiring attorneys and their not talking anymore. So that’s one common thing.
And then another type is someone who’s already engaged in profitable, … maybe not as profitable as they want to be you know, but they’re already up and running. And with that then there becomes, how do I increase my revenue, profitability, target a bigger audience, expand my reach .. And so a lot of times there’s a plateau in particular businesses that people hit, and they know they can do more, but they’re not quite sure what’s the strategy there. So it helps to have this strategic plan to come in and say, lets look at …. and you know a lot of its trial and error, and a willingness to fail, too. A lot of times having a coach, I know for me even it was like, go out there and if you fall down and skin your nose or something, its okay, you know., that you can’t do it wrong. There’s just the next step and finding your next step.
People have these really big goals and they can become almost unattainable, unless you start to look at, what are you doing tomorrow? What are you doing next week? How do you break this large … you know, I want to change the world, or I want to make a million dollars, or write a book, or your thing. Okay, well let’s start talking about where the rubber meets the road, and a good coach will help you find that traction.
We sometimes get ‘stuck’ in ways of thinking or doing business that keep us from reaching the next level. How do you help people bridge this gap, and to become aware of their own impediments?
Well, you know, what you’re talking about is kind of a blind spot I would say. If there’s an impediment to you progressing or getting results that you want then maybe there’s something that’s kind of hidden from you. So a good coach really asks the right questions, and listens from a particular place. One of the most valuable assets a coach can have is to listen powerfully, and to not only reflect, but to ask questions that ask you to look inward for you to discover more about yourself.
And a lot of times its not so much doing more, but its … well, there’s also just being. Who you’re being about something has a lot to do with your results too. Because if you’re not in the right space or the right mindset, and you’re not open, that can be a real inhibitor to your results. But often times I find its not about doing more its about doing less but focusing your actions on the things that have the greatest results. But sometimes finding what those things are can be a challenge in and of themselves. So that’s kind of where I help people really pinpoint and prioritize, you know … how do we put our hands on the wheels and dials of these things that we want. But it starts by stepping back one, and defining what is success? Lets get these results you want really clear, so that you and I both know when you hit them, that its very obvious. They’re specific and measurable so that they’re very clear to us and they exist in time , and that we we can look up and see when we’ve hit some milestones that lead us up, and we can course correct. But its really more about … who you’re being.
It’s evident from the testimonials on your website that you’re having a deep impact on your clients personal as well as professional lives. Is there a difference between the two, in your mind?
Well, I don’t know if you can divorce one from the other. My philosophy is, for people, you really are your body and your mind, and there’s a spiritual component too. And all that plays into how you’re moving and operating and affecting things in your life and your business. Business success can be challenging if you personally don’t have a foundation to work off of. And I think your personal life can be your foundation. People talk about performance, and business performance and business results, but all that’s on a foundation on your life really working well.
Its tough if you’re sick, for one thing, you’re health and well being is compromised, to get up and go to work or go to your company and be really effective. Now you may be able to go, but how effective are you going to be. So in that sense maybe your health and well being becomes maybe your highest priority. Because if you’re well and you’re fulfilled then you can have this platform to launch off of which is really powerful, because you’re enjoying your life which is critical.
A lot of times when people hire me, they’re suffering around their business. Their business is kind of running them vs the other way around. They want to know how to get out of that, and to reclaim some of their time and freedom to spend with their family or go out and do the things that they love to do and pursue their passions. So when I work with a person I work from the individual, with a focus on the business and a focus on the business results, but I also look at helping that person grow, as a person, because I know if I can do that then their results and their business will flourish as well.
Can realizing your full potential as a human being add to the bottom line? Do you ever think about it in those terms?
Absolutely. Unequivocally. You’re full potential is something we’re all striving towards. Everyone wants to be able to hit their full potential. Again, when you’re operating in your life from a place where you feel really good about your life and the way things are going, I think everything in your business is going to flourish too.
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