Women’s Leadership Coaching for Successful Business Partnerships
Discover why most business partnerships fail and how to avoid failure, so you can be the successful woman business owner and leader you want to be. This article includes an extensive list of questions all potential business partners should consider before engaging in a partnership, plus a case study of how Leadership Coaching transformed a fragile partnership into a thriving enterprise. The return on investment (ROI) of Women’s Business Leadership coaching is over 500%. It will help you prevent leadership problems while addressing existing challenges.
Why Do Up to 70% of Business Partnerships Fail?
Many partnerships are formed because friends or family members have a business idea that sounds like it could be valuable, lucrative or fun. Sometimes, neither partner has taken the time to first answer questions that should be carefully considered before a single investment is made.
Diving into a business without thoughtfully answering the above questions (and more) is an example of the trial-and-error career exploration and business planning process, which is common in the U.S. The rules are simple: Try a career or job. If you don’t like it, find another job or create a different business. If your next adventure still doesn’t work, explore a new career or start another business. Keep trusting that you’ll eventually stumble into a good fit for you.
Even though playing the trial-and-error game could possibly produce a successful business or career if you’re remarkably lucky, at least 70% of partnerships fail and the vast majority of employees are unhappy or disengaged at work. As if failure isn’t painful enough when you’ve invested a good deal of your life savings, time and energy in a failing business and then you’re forced to search for a better career match, most people who fail in a partnership deplete their confidence and alienate their business partner. This person usually entered the partnership as a loyal friend or family member. That relationship rarely fully recovers from the business trauma. This unfortunate event is unnecessary. (I previously wrote about this in a different article.)
Prevent Predictable Business Failures So You Can Create Business Success
The bullet list above illustrates a partial list of proven ways to determine possible strengths and weaknesses when two people explore a potential partnership. Let’s explore an example of two partners I coached. Although the two individuals had complimentary skill sets, their personality types predicted an inherent conflict related to significant skills gaps. When they asked me to coach them, their partnership was failing because they hadn’t conducted proactive pre-planning that could have prevented a very serious problem that almost cost them their business.
This case study demonstrates that, even when partners’ skill sets are complementary, there will sometimes be differences of opinion regarding how to fill a skills gap and how to work together. The partnership in this case study included one extroverted partner who was highly skilled and experienced in public relations, business promotion and sales. He spent most of his time traveling to promote the company and its vision. He enjoyed being on the road showing company products at trade shows and to potential investors. He was out of office over 80% of the time.
The other partner was an introvert who was delighted to serve as Chief Financial Officer. He enjoyed sitting in his quiet office meticulously analyzing and managing finances and related company operations. Happy to churn out reports for the company Board, investors and the bank, he wasn’t interested in spending time roaming the facility engaging with employees, seeking and providing feedback or in other ways interacting with employees on the ground.
The partners asked me to coach them because of serious interpersonal conflicts and because neither of the partners was interested in nurturing one of their most precious assets, their employees. The partners had failed to explore this major gap in their own skill sets. Their failure to compensate for their inability and disinterest in employee coaching and training had created low employee morale, disengaged workers and a serious slump in profits.
As problems intensified, disagreements related to their diverse personality types led to resentment and verbal explosions. The introverted partner reminded the extroverted partner, “You always knew I only wanted to focus on finances and operations. It’s my area of expertise. I keep the bank, investors and the Board happy. That’s a huge job. I never said I’d change my personality and mix with the crowds like you do. It’s not who I am.”
The extroverted partner angrily countered, “You always knew I’d be the person on the road, bringing in most of the cash for you to manage. Unless you find a way to coach and train our people, I’ll have to trigger a buyout. You need me more than I need you! I thought we were friends. I thought I could trust you.”
How Leadership Coaching Can Save a Failing Partnership
When I coached the partners, both described an emotional roller coaster filled with resentments that had been festering for over a year. The entire situation could have been prevented if the potential partners had carefully explored the bullet list in the first of this article.
During their coaching sessions, the two partners began to understand how their dramatically different personalities could actually become highly beneficial to their company. I coached them about many topics, including:
It has now been over 10 years since leadership coaching helped the partners transform their fragile partnership into the thriving organization it is today. Although it took several years for their friendship to recover and parts of the process were painful, both partners agree the results were worth all of their efforts.
The Proven Value of Leadership Coaching for Women Partners and Other Female Business Owners
The ROI (return on investment) of Women’s Leadership Coaching is over 500%. I help women business owners and leaders in all types of industries, partnerships and nonprofits prevent and resolve leadership challenges, including those specific to women in male-dominated industries.
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© 2019 Doris Helge, Ph.D. as interviewed on “The Today Show,” CNN and NPR. Certified Master Leadership and Executive Coach Doris Helge is author of bestselling books, including “Joy on the Job,” Doris has helped hundreds of leaders like you meet every challenge you’re facing. Click here to view examples of solutions to women’s leadership dilemmas and sign up for your complimentary Leadership Coaching Consultation.