For over 25 years, I coached and consulted internally and externally in business. I promoted the success of everything from individuals to large companies.
An incubator, by definition, is an artificial (or external) method for the hatching of eggs. In essence, an incubator allows you to hatch eggs without having hens. Incubators mimic the conditions and experiences of a brooding hen for fertilized eggs, including appropriate temperature, humidity, and ventilation levels.
Business Incubators help new and startup companies develop by providing services such as management training or office space. There is even a professional organization dedicated to this field, called the National Business Incubation Association. They define business incubators as a catalyst tool for either regional or national economic development.
What is the difference between personal and professional business? Well, that is a great question. As a coach and consultant (differences explained below), I work with individuals and businesses to help them both be successful in business. The types of services can be very similar in nature, but the focus and approach are often not. The kind of assistance that I might provide a person usually is quite different from that I might give a business.
A vision, like a mission, is so important in business and life. To me, my vision is everything.
Visions are something we aspire to be – it is not something we are, and it is not something we can say, “We’ve achieved it, we’re done now.” Thus, my vision is something I constantly aspire to. What does it mean? In all interactions, I want the people involved to walk away and say, “That was worth my time – he really added value.”
To me, that is success – adding value in every single interaction!
Services and Expertise
In a nutshell, I provide personal and professional business coaching and consulting.
In my definition, professional coaching is obtaining paid advice from an expert. When I say “advice,” I mean guidance on what I recommend you should do or not do in a specific situation.
Coaching is not physically “doing” anything for the company. Coaches are paid to share their mental capabilities and experiences with their clients.
On the other hand, consultants provide a capacity to implement something they have advised (or coached) someone to do.
A consultant rolls up their sleeves and does the work for you. This is a different level of engagement than coaching. Many people might be able to give you advice and recommendations as a coach, but they could never implement their own recommendations because they have never done it themselves.
“Those who can’t do, teach,” Woody Allen
How is a coach or consultant different than being an advisor or mentor?
Stick with me here, these are my definitions, and I am sure others will disagree. However, in my mind, advisors are people that listen to what you are dealing with, and they give you advice on how to handle it. They might have a lot of experience, but not necessarily what you do or what you are dealing with. In essence, an advisor is like a sounding board.
Mentors are people with concrete experiences that you seek out for continued advice and counsel. Let us say you want to become a lawyer; you might find a prominent lawyer to mentor you on becoming a successful lawyer like them.
A coach is someone with proven expertise in the area you are dealing with, but they follow a particular coaching process or approach. Coaches are paid to help you improve in a specific way. As I said earlier, a consultant takes advising, mentoring, and coaching to the next level – they actually do the work for you.
Here is a sports-related analogy regarding golf.
You want to become a professional golfer. You golf with three other people on the weekend who share tips and tricks they’ve learned while playing. These are your advisors. You know a guy who has been on the professional golfing circuit and you meet with him regularly to discuss how he got to where he is today. He is your mentor.
You hire the local golf pro at the country club to teach you regularly. This is your coach. You figure out that you just are not very good at golf, so you pay someone who is good at the game to play professionally under your name to make you feel like you have become a professional golfer. This, my friend, is a consultant.
My Background and Experience
In a recent search on LinkedIn, over 6 million people with ‘coaching skills’ in their profile and an overwhelming 22M have listed themselves as a Consultant. That is a lot of noise!
However, I have seen many people who say they are a coach and/or a consultant, and they have very little to no experience in the thing they are coaching and consulting on.
When looking for someone to provide you with paid business advice or to fix complex business problems, you really should have someone that has been there and has the background to do the job – right?
As a personal and professional business coach and consultant, I back up my offerings with over 25 years of experience. Below, you will see the experience that I bring to you and your company.
Professional Business Improvement
I officially started in the field of business improvement back in 1992 with Total Quality Management. I was still a cop in the Air Force then, but I immersed myself in the world of quality management. This led me to eventually moving into a full-time role as an internal coach and consultant with the Air Force in 1998. After my military retirement in 2008, I worked both externally and internally, improving businesses non-stop.
Broad Industry Experience
When in the military, I realized that this was the career for me. Although very broad, I also realized that military experience was too limiting to offer my services professionally. When I left the military, I was invited to join the top ten consulting firm, Booz|Allen|Hamilton, as a Strategy and Organization Consultant. Over three years, I amassed 18 clients across several different governmental industries as an external personal and professional business coach and consultant. In 2012, I was invited to join United Services Automobile Association (USAA) – a Fortune 100 financial services firm. Over seven years with them, I led the evolution of four enterprise-wide efforts. Most notably was completing reengineering the enterprise-wide process improvement program, supporting the 35,000-employee company.
Business Ownership and Leadership
I have established and run six successful small businesses – five of which I still own and operate today. Most recently, I was a Chief Operations Officer for a medium-sized security-based business here in San Antonio. They were a client and asked me to join their company in this executive role based on their experience with me. I recently volunteered to step down as the business dealt with the impacts of coronavirus. Three of my current companies are successful non-profits, and I have nonprofit leadership and management experience that traces back to 1992, when I started getting involved in quality.
Education and Certification
I consider myself a life-long learner. I find learning fascinating and have immersed myself in many forms of formal and informal education. I amassed two associate’s, a bachelor’s, a master’s degree, and I am working on my Ph.D. I have a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Black Belt, and Master Black Belt certification.
I also have two certificates in Change Management and a diploma in ITIL Foundations. I have extensive training and expertise in Program and Project Management and all Agile methodologies – I am considered an expert at SAFe. Additionally, I am an Advanced Toastmaster and master-certified speechwriter.
Proven Industry Expertise
Over the years, I have taught and spoke in many organizations and in many professional settings. My written work has been published through many various means. Most notably, I recently published Overcoming Organizational Myopia in 2019, available in paperback on Amazon. Additionally, I was invited to join the invitation-only Forbes Coaches Council in June of 2019 and published with them numerous times.
What I Specialize In
My business expertise is extensive and very deep. The below areas formulate my understanding of Operational Excellence – what I bring to improving your business.
I am considered an expert in leadership and management coaching, education, and development. I am extensively experienced in change management, change readiness, and organizational transformation. I have many years of successful strategic planning and strategic shift. I am also a recognized expert in process management and improvement, corporate design and development, human capital planning, training and education, strategic communication, and marketing. I also bring to the table broad skills in information technology and facilitation.
This article has been reprinted with permission from John Knott’s Linkedin page.