Coaching SMEs in Sustainability
I’ve just finished a number of 1-2-1 coaching sessions with owners/staff from small/medium sized enterprises (SMEs). I really enjoy this kind of work as there’s nothing like trying to explain something to somebody to reinforce/clarify it in your own head. Secondly, I’m finding small business owners are becoming increasingly literate in Sustainability terms, so I often learn new things from them.
There’s often a presumption in corridors of power that SMEs are behind the curve on Sustainability, but I don’t buy this. Not only do many really know their stuff, but small business owners have the agility that their bigger cousins do not have – if the boss wants to do something, it gets done without a gazillion hoops to jump through first.
This project also reminded me of how good coaching is for professional development. In the same way that having to explain a concept helps crystallise it in my mind, asking the client a killer question forces them to untangle a messy knot of exciting thoughts and straighten those threads into a coherent way forward. The hardest part for me is refraining from blurting out the answer to my own question. Rather it is essential to give the client time to get there on their own, because that process gives the client emotional ownership of the idea and confidence to move forward. Shutting up and listening has never come naturally to me, but it’s good discipline!