Governments, Universities, Incubation Centres, Innovation Hubs & Centres of Excellence are all Devising Strategies to Help SMEs to Achieve Accelerated Growth.
The one thing they all have in common is the use of so-called ‘high growth coaches’, ‘growth consultants’, business advisors or executive mentors. But who are these super-people on whom the Politicians and key stakeholders are relying?
Rarely before has there been so much interest by Government agencies and policy makers in both the UK and Europe generally in job creation and economic growth initiatives. It seems that despite radical budgetary cuts, Governments recognise the importance of supporting the growth of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Since the business case for the High Growth Coaching appears to have been accepted, Exponential has been asking the question what makes a great High Growth Coach.
Since its involvement in the High Growth East Midlands programme in 2008, Exponential has been assessing and observing hundreds of so-called ‘High Growth Coaches’. This has enabled the Exponential team to compile a profile of the ‘High Growth Coach’. The profile is based on the assessments of over 300 individuals engaged in the delivery of business support activities aimed at organisations seeking or experiencing rapid growth including government sponsored initiatives such as Coaching for Growth.
Not surprisingly, maturity and experience appears to be important criteria when it comes to being a ‘High Growth Coach’ with over seventy per cent of the sample aged between 40 – 59 years. More specifically, those aged 40 – 49 years accounted for 32.8% of the sample and 39.0% for people aged 50 – 59 years. Just under one third of the sample claim to have 10 to 20 years experience of providing business support services such as coaching, advising or consulting with a third reporting 3 – 5 years experience; just over one tenth of the sample reported having less than three years experience.
As might be expected nearly two thirds of the sample (60.0%) reported being self employed or a partner in a consulting practice with the remainder being employed. One quarter of the sample rely upon publically funded business provided through initiatives such as Business Coaching for Growth. In contrast 44.2% reported that public funded work accounted for no more than ten per cent of their revenue.
When asked to identify their primary specialism over half of the sample identified it as ‘business management’; 12% training; 8% finance; 7% marketing and 5% Human Resource Management. When asked about their secondary specialism one quarter identified business management as their secondary specialism; 16% identified training; 14% identified marketing and 8% identified sales. It was rare for people to identify industry sectors as a specialism, for instance just three per cent identified manufacturing or engineering as a specialism.
Although many of the individuals in the sample work on programmes such as High Growth Coaching and Business Coaching for Growth, just under half of the sample described themselves as a ‘coach’ (45%), one third (29%) as a ‘consultant’ and 12 per cent as an ‘advisor’. Others described themselves as mentors and trainers.
Exponential Training Managing Director, John Moore said, “This finding supports our belief that the effective High Growth Coach needs to be proficient in the use of a range of business support methodologies rather than relying on just one or two methods. The High Growth Coach Competency Framework, identifies seven High Growth Coaching roles – the Coach, the Consultant, the Facilitator, the Adviser, the Mentor, the Broker and the Consultant”.
He added, “This is an interesting piece of on-going research and underpins much of the work we are doing in Eastern Europe. In the next couple of months, we will have the results of a two year project involving business coaches and consultants from Lithuania, Slovenia, Romania and Hungary. Combined with the work we are doing for the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the development of consultants in countries such as Azerbaijan, Mongolia and Georgia, we are getting a clear picture of the competences required by effective High Growth Coaches”.
In September, Exponential will be hosting a dissemination event reporting on the outcomes of the EU funded High Growth Coach programme. If you are interested in receiving details of the event, contact us today.