Business Coaching for Partners

I’ve had occasion to work with business partners as my clients, and it’s an interesting dynamic. Here’s why:

Partners often enter into a business relationship because they recognize that they need to bring together different skills and viewpoints in order to help the company succeed. That’s wonderful, and it usually works quite well.

Often the two will have a “50-50 mindset”: the significant decisions will be made with equal input from both people, which then implies that consensus (pretty much full agreement) is the way to bring it to conclusion. Even if one partner owns more of the company than the other, it’s still desirable to reach a consensus agreement because that makes for a stronger forward motion. Employees like to see consistency and agreement, as do customers and investors.

Remember, though: These are two different people, with different backgrounds, viewpoints, and personal goals. So if you rely entirely on consensus decisions as your only tool, you may find times where you reach an impasse. Or, you get APPARENT agreement, but without full commitment. That can be even more dangerous than outright disagreement, because there’s less than full honesty.

This is where a business coach really helps to create a stronger alignment. When I’m working with partners, I often explore HOW they make decisions, where they have independent areas of ownership and when they want to drive a deeper alignment. I help them to get their viewpoints, opinions and emotions out on the table where they can be talked about in a less contentious way. Part of that is just having a third person in the room, but it’s also important that I ask some probing questions and honestly listen to the responses.

The result is sometimes quite startling: I find partners who are able to go back to their core reasons for working together, rather than focusing on the differences. Often what appears to be a large gap becomes much smaller, and can be resolved via compromises and creative alternatives. And what results is stronger alignment to create a powerful future for the business.

If you work in a partnership of some kind and sense that there could be value in aligning the two of you and helping to resolve differences, give us a ring. We’d be glad to sit down with you and show you what a great coaching conversation looks like.

Carl Dierschow
Small Fish Business Coaching Fort Collins

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