Business Partner Coaching
Business partnerships are like marriages, they are formed with the idea that the partnership as a whole will be greater than the sum of its parts.
But like marriages they are often faced with some very difficult problems.
Partners typically start out with the best of intentions. They may even be friends or family members before going into business together.
However, despite the good intentions, many business partnerships fail because of dysfunctional patterns of behavior that have developed over time and have not been properly addressed and remedied.
As in a marriage or a long term love relationship, resentments begin to form when one partner starts to view the other as unappreciative, entitled, unapproachable, irrational, incompetent (may or may not be the case in actuality) or simply unproductive.
These issues are often even more pronounced in family businesses. Family members may have particular problems working together because of the dynamics created in the family even outside of the business.
Often in small businesses remedies for poor behavior or even methods for addressing grievances are not formally dealt with in a partnership agreement.
Sometimes the roles of the partners have not been clearly defined leaving room for misunderstandings or disappointment.
Considering Business Partnership Counseling/Coaching before the Partnership is Formed
Before partners form an agreement (legal or informal) they would do well to consult a business relationship coach.
The parallel here is the pre-marital model of relationship therapy.
In pre-marital counseling/coaching the objective is for the coach to bring to light any potential issues that the partners may not have thought about, considered unimportant at that time or were perhaps a little too fearful to discuss.
How will they work together to build a great business and, despite the pressures of the workplace, create an enduring and satisfying relationship? What roles will each person play in the partnership? Do they have the same vision for the future of the business? How do they handle disagreements?
The successful partnership hinges on the satisfaction each partner has with the other. Typically personal problems between partners have the most deleterious effect on partnerships.
If you get along you can work together to solve a business problem but if you are in conflict with each other you may not be able to overcome your personal problems and your business will likely suffer as a result.
Dealing With Problems for Those Already in a Partnership
Not unlike married couples who find themselves at odds due to resentments and frustrations that have built up over time, partners who have been working together for a while can fall short in their communication skills, ability to set boundaries and convey empathy for each other.
This can be even thornier a problem when partners are family members as the emotional experience of growing up together can negatively influence the way they deal with each other in business.
Being married or in a long term love relationship with your business partner can present some unique and complicated personal issues as well.
Here are some tips to help you and your partner work better together:
- Resist using personal attacks to make your point: If your objective is to improve a situation or solve a problem, offending your partner will not meet that objective.
- Take personal responsibility: There is often a sense of superiority or competition between partners (this goes for married couples as well). Placing blame (sometimes appropriately) cannot be done effectively unless there is a sense of accepting personal responsibility for some of the problem.
- Be ready to let bygones be bygones: The best way to use past experiences is as a vehicle for improving future decisions and behavior. Harping on things typically distract from that.
- Curb your egos: When egos get too big partnerships may become dangerously close to failing. There is nothing wrong with feeling confident and masterful but it sometimes comes with an uptick in arrogance that can be off putting to others. Humility is far more attractive to those you wish to engage.
The objective of Relationship Coaching for Business Partners is to look ahead for ways to create long term solutions.
For partners who are just beginning to consider working together it can help to create from the outset a first rate atmosphere in which to thrive.
For partners already dealing with conflict and may be feeling stuck, it can serve as an important tool for creating a successful way forward.