Can a Business Owner REALLY Have Work/Life Balance?
President, Professional Services Firm
Building Leadership Awareness
The president of a professional services consulting firm was striving to gain a deeper understanding of her leadership style.
The business owner had a clear vision of the type of coach whom she believed could best support her as a leader, and address the ever-pressing issue of work and family balance. Namely, she was seeking a working mother who had built and sustained a successful service business. Andrea fit the bill perfectly because she had built and sustained her own business while balancing work and family. Highly professional, yet personable and sincere, Andrea supplied the model for phenomenal leadership success.
The coaching process began with a structured and detailed assessment of the company’s culture and the president’s management practices. The assessment, weekly agendas, and goals that emerged were organized into a binder that served as a map of the leader’s progress. While clearly defined metrics and outcomes were highly valued, Andrea also wanted to help the president appreciate and embrace the personal qualities she brought to her work. For example, the president infused the company with a sense of fun and celebration, and encouraged ongoing dialog with team members. The downside to this leadership style was that there often wasn’t enough time to circle back and discuss how team member input was integrated into company planning and implementation.
It was clear that the primary issue for the president was her need to strike a balance between being a highly collaborative and people-centered leader, and allocating time to assess and strategically plan. For example, being accessible to her staff and soliciting their input was quickly addressed through sequestering time on a weekly basis for thinking, planning, and feedback. Additionally, throughout the year, if a month carried a fifth week, that week was deemed a planning and thinking week.
On a personal level, Andrea taught the owner the value of recognizing that when she felt overwhelmed, she always had the option to take the time to ask, “What do I really need to do?” rather than just plowing forward. Andrea reminded the president that her leadership style really is based on who she is as a person, so embracing that style was critical to growth and success.
Model for Success
Andrea’s experience and success in the business world were key components in supporting the president’s leadership development and by extension, her company’s expansion. In fact, over a two-year period, the company’s revenue increased by 20% each year and several new managers were hired. Additionally, planning time was routinely worked into the president’s schedule so that clarity of thinking and feedback from team members were integrated into decision-making. Time with her family and for herself was also built into the schedule, creating a true balance between work and family life.
Client quote, “Andrea could write the book on how to engage coaching clients! She is very professional and has designed a highly polished coaching methodology. Andrea’s approach helped me understand my leadership style, and that valuing my style was important to the success of my company.”