Thought partnership and how it helps you
A founder will make better progress, wiser decisions and achieve more if he or she has a thought partner.
What is a thought partner?
A thought partner is someone you regularly engage with to help you clarify your ideas, expose biases and assumptions, organize your thinking and develop and choose your next steps and goals.
Our discussions create value for the way you work, how you see things, how you think, and help you make progress with the decisions you make.
We are partners. As your coach, I am not a directly involved in your business nor am I an emotionally attached investor, office peer, employee, or family member. This outside perspective allows us to have better insights and lets us see more possibilities for action – my approach is not enmeshed in daily office politics, personal conflicts, or loyalties. I am external to your organization but dedicated to your success and growth.
We approach your journey from different perspectives, with different experience, but with the same goal of making improvements in what you do and how you do it. I am not an “expert” or a “guru” who sells you a secret, because there is no secret to development and growth, only our individual paths that we must travel and sometimes wrestle with.
I stand by you, with experience, questions, challenges, empathy, understanding and dedication in pursuit of an improved set of choices and behavior that will increase fulfillment and help you achieve your goals.
How does this work?
At regular intervals we discuss what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what you are capable of doing differently to achieve those goals, how to shepherd your business, and what is needed to become more fulfilled. Our goal is to guide your thinking and questions into learning and action.
I help you organize your thoughts and see them from a different perspective, which allows us to determine the next step, whether it’s action or another question. Our agenda is determined by what is pressing at the moment combined with the underlying properites of why it’s happening and what we can do to make your situation better.
We engage around a challenge, an idea or an opportunity – and sometimes around all of those things at the same time because it hard to tell the difference at first blush. We often examine how you are thinking or approaching something as much as the specifics of that particular issue. This approach helps you consider a broader spectrum of action because it can expose biases, tendencies and assumptions.
If we have a better understanding of those, we have a much better chance at making progress that is meaningful and long-lasting.
What is the result?
As with life, business is not something that ends and that you or I can “win.” Despite the sports and war analogies, and despite Hollywood’s depiction of startups, there is no finality or closing scene to business. We all start again tomorrow, no matter what we did today.
But we can get better at what we do, more effective, more profitable and have more meaningful impact on the world around us. That comes from making better decisions, day after day, and better decisions come from thinking better.
What we develop in our discussions results in innovative and creative solutions to challenges that individually we could not easily come up with, and where we go is grounded in the values and purpose of your business, including profit and its impact on the community. We spend our time dealing with specific problems, which can relate to overall challenges and perspectives that we address to reduce the number of similar challenges in the future.
We work together by harnessing my experienced-based perspective, our collective curiosity for the best choices, and developing questions that make both the issue, possibility and action more clear to both of us. My experience and ideas help you navigate your complex real-world problems, and individual path as a founder in real time.
In many ways, talking equals thinking, so we spend time together in discussion that helps us determine your needs, limits, desires and the next steps in your potential path.
I don’t know the exact font you should use in PowerPoint, what exact words to use in the meeting, or what the investor or customer is really saying. But I can help you figure out the confusion, stand by you as we think and react to new information, and together we can determine the best course of action.
Until tomorrow, when the whole thing starts again.
What to do
Everyone needs a thought partner in some ways. Founders, however, have a particular need for thought partners because the work that they are doing can be isolating, anxious, demanding and take more mental and emotional energy than usual.
Having someone stand by you with experience, outside perspective and deliberate care can help you think better, more calmly and consider understanding and options that would be difficult to find on your own.
You can hire a coach, advisor, or mentor like me – only if you fit personally and you embrace the process – or you can find someone who essentially volunteers or donates their time. The second option is a great start when hiring is not possible, although some professionals do offer some help for no charge.
Either way, having a thought partner will change the way you work, your results, and your fulfillment for the better.