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Is Business Coaching the way for Namibia’s SMEs?

Because there are no reliable statistics available for registered small and medium enterprises, the vast potential that these enterprises can achieve cannot be estimated.
However, if just 10% of these businesses grow at 20% per annum – if they follow in the footsteps of their overseas counterparts, local SME’s have the potential to be the drivers of economic growth in Namibia.
This is the opinion of Francois Smith, local ActionCOACH business coach. ActionCOACH is the world’s No 1 business coaching firm with its footprint in more than 50 countries worldwide.
“Right now the business coaching industry is in its infancy in Namibia, but I predict that business coaching will continue to gain a steady foothold as an invaluable business tool among mostly small to medium sized companies within the next few years,” he said.
This prediction is based on the steady growth of their southern African footprint. Currently ActionCOACH have more than 30 certified and trained coaches in Southern African of which two operate in Namibia.

As a profession, business coaching is relatively new, making its début around the early 1990’s. However, referenced by the Harvard Business School, it is the second fastest growing industry behind information technology and estimated to be worth over US$1-billion in the US alone. Statistically the failure rate of new businesses is high. Worldwide figures show that only 40% of companies still trade after the first year and 80% of businesses fail within their first five years. “Not looking for a cure for ill corporate health is akin to not seeing a doctor with physical ill health,” said Smith. “Such statistics make business coaching a necessity, not a luxury.”
So what exactly is business coaching? Smith describes it as an entrepreneurial degree using your own company as a case study. He emphasized that it’s really no different to sports coaching.
“Can you imagine any major sports team or player you can think of without a coach?  Someone to develop skills, someone who directs focus on achievements and puts player strategies in place, encourages from the sidelines, offers ongoing counselling, ensures goals are met and guarantees an optimum performance. Business coaching is really no different,” he added.
“Business coaching is not to be confused with mentoring or consulting,” he explained, “Mentoring involves a developmental relationship between a more experienced ‘mentor’ and a less experienced ‘student’ and involves the sharing of advice in a particular industry. A consultant is there to do a diagnostic and prescribe the medicine but does not transfer the skill required for the business owner to successfully implement various strategies. A business coach needn’t have specific business expertise and experience in the same field as the person receiving the coaching.”
The business coach is a specialist in various field such as marketing, sales, team synergies, and business systems and works with the business owner over a longer period of time to ensure that exceptional growth and results are achieved.
“With business coaching becoming more popular worldwide, it may be worth further investigation to see if this relatively new business tool really is the answer for the success of business going forward,” he said.

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