A coach or a non-exec director?

In my last blog post, I discussed 5 key benefits of having a non-exec director. In this 3rd instalment I wanted to outline the difference between a coach and a non-exec director (NED) since t’s a question I am frequently asked and it’s often a natural progression for a valued business coach to get more deeply involved in a business and then join the management team/board as a non-exec.

Coaching – short sharp interventions
It amazes me when I hear stories of coaches working for a business for 10s of years.  Coaching shouldn’t be about creating this kind of dependency but instead working with a business on a specific project for a specific period of time.

Coaches are often brought in to focus on one area of the business or one project (e.g. staff retention or helping implement structure).  They help the business see in an objective way and bring tools/templates and techniques to move the business forward and get the management team/leaders thinking in a slightly different way.  They bring experience and expertise that the current leadership will not have and they also bring focus to the important areas of the business, in order to help it grow. The coach will be typically paid on an hourly or day rate, or an agreed fee to deliver a specific piece of work.

The non-exec – taking a more holistic approach
OK I hate the word ‘holistic’ too but in this context, it is the right word to use since the NED will work regularly with a client, sitting along side the management team/board and taking the same high-level view of the entire business.  The difference is, they bring experience and knowledge that the management team may not have, and having worked for other businesses who are in a similar point in their evolution, they help their clients avoid the pitfalls and mistakes others may have made.

The NED offers the input of an expensive director, at a fraction of the cost.  The NED will be paid on a part-time contract at an agreed fee.

Should I hire a coach or NED?
In short yes.  I believe every business, especially SMEs, needs this external expertise and input to create accountability and growth. What route is right for you depends on your need but a coach or NED will pay for themselves multiple times over, if they are efficient and deliver the growth that you will discuss in your early meetings, so really it’s a no brainer!

I hope you are finding these emails useful/enlightening.  One final instalment to come.

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