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Scope for greater use of business coaches in New Zealand

Scope for greater use of business coaches in New Zealand


New Zealand business owners and senior management are among the heaviest users of business coaches in the world but there is still scope for greater involvement, according to Pam Newlove, Chair of Grant Thornton New Zealand Limited.

The latest Grant Thornton International Business Report survey of 45 countries has ranked New Zealand in sixth position, with 56% of those surveyed reporting they have used a business coach. A further breakdown revealed that 34% were currently using a coach and 22% had in the past.

“It can be pretty lonely running a business and a business coach provides an opportunity to talk with someone from outside the business in a non-threatening way,” said Newlove.

“They add value because they are impartial and it’s then up to the owner or senior management to consider the input from the coach and adopt or dismiss the advice they’ve been given. The recent recession is likely to have increased the need for coaching as well, as when tough decisions need to be made, the benefits of an external sounding board are even greater.”

The Philippines leads the world with 90% of business owners using or having used coaches followed by Taiwan (71%), Armenia (70%), Malaysia (66%), Botswana (62%) and Singapore alongside New Zealand on 56%.

“In many ways, New Zealand is trending towards the emerging economies in their use of coaches. As well as the countries above us in the survey, Chile, India, Russia and Brazil are also strong in the use of business coaches.

“Businesses in the emerging economies tend to have fewer regulations in some areas compared with those in mature economies like the United States, which gives business owners and coaches a greater opportunity to be innovative and different.

“New Zealand also has its own somewhat unique challenges in our isolation, reliance on primary industries and limited access to technology compared with advanced countries. Countering that is our ‘can do’ attitude and the ability to visualize the benefits of success.

“Our younger business owners tend to be pragmatic and are always looking to find a win-win solution, rather than trying to trump another company or person. Impartial coaches can have a positive impact on these situations as they do not have a personal agenda that can stymie a sensible outcome.”

Newlove said that coaching should not be confused with mentoring, which tends to have an internal focus and is undertaken by a senior staff member, who’s unlikely to have the same impartiality as an outsider. It can be easy for a mentor to slip into bullying behaviors because of their seniority, and other personal agendas that may be at play, such as role insecurities.

“A good coach will guide a business owner – not try to bully them.

“It’s worth investing time in finding a well suited, experienced coach, as just like in any sports team, a good coach is a game breaker,” she said.

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