How Executive Coaching Can Create Leaders in Your Pumping Business

Bringing on a coach can help your crew members learn vital skills beyond the technical aspects

How Executive Coaching Can Create Leaders in Your Pumping Business

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Executive leadership coaching has gained popularity in the past few decades, and many people wonder exactly what it is and if it’s worth the investment.

There are different types of coaches, and one of the first steps is to recognize where coaching might have the most impact for a pumping or plumbing business. Although it is a skill-based business, it has the same human dynamics and difficulties as other businesses. At some point, most businesses are left with questions of:

• How do we keep customers happy?

• How do we fire bad customers?

• How do we find and keep reliable employees?

• What do we do when there is conflict?

• If we grow, how do we maintain the values and work ethic reputation that made us successful at a smaller size?

• What if someone is a great pumper or plumber but awkward at interacting with people?

Developing people skills

Coaches with high expertise in emotional intelligence can help leaders who may excel in their technical skill sets but struggle with nuanced human interaction. Coaches with expertise in organizational development can help growing plumbing and drain cleaning businesses figure out the dynamics of adding individuals to the team and growing a cohesive culture. Coaches with business acumen can act as an adviser or as a sounding board for businesses that are pivoting or growing.

One of the most common concerns and uses of coaches is to improve leadership skill sets. Many people land in leadership positions by default, not because they wake up one morning and think, “Wow, I’d like to deal with some frustrating and unsolvable problems today by becoming a leader.” In trade businesses, such as plumbing and drain cleaning, the phenomenon is especially common. Pumpers and plumbers decide to have a business, eventually hire someone to help them, and suddenly find themselves splitting time between technical in-the-field jobs and managing many people problems for which they were never trained.

Some leaders in pumping and plumbing businesses will have excellent interpersonal skill sets, while others may flounder. Coaches who have high emotional intelligence can guide new leaders to increase relational skill sets in areas such as how to give feedback to employees, how to deal with underperforming employees, and how to interact with colleagues or business partners who have different personalities or approaches to work. For companies that specialize in residential services, coaches can help businesses navigate the tricky dynamics of providing professional services in someone’s home.

One of the frequently under-resourced problems is how to screen and turn down customers. Owners and leaders who are taking calls are tempted to go with the culture imperative of “More customers, more work, more profit.” Yet customers who are likely to complain or sue can cost thousands of dollars to businesses. Hence, the value of coaching may help leaders address both the internal and external people dynamics. 

Beneficial or a waste of money?

Where will coaching be a waste of money for a pumping or plumbing business? The most common mistake occurs when someone hires a coach to try to fix a leader with a character or personality problem. If people are not trustworthy or mean-spirited, coaching won’t help. Coaches can’t make people be motivated, open to learning, kind and reliable. In those situations, a coach will be better utilized to assist in the firing process or succession planning to help the offending leader exit the company.

Where will coaching be highly beneficial? When owners or leaders are both highly motivated and open to learning, they will be able to take the suggestions or thoughts of a coach and execute at a rapid speed. They don’t have to agree with the coach on everything, but fast execution speeds up the cycle of assessing the outcomes of strategies and changing them as necessary. It’s also a fast way to see if the coaching feels worth the investment. Change does take time, but if leaders simply work with a coach for a few months and have to ask themselves whether it is helping, it’s the wrong coach.

Coaches do not have to have a specific set of credentials. To find the right coach, it’s best to ask about their training, years of experiences, the problems with which they’ve worked, and their approach to coaching. You should get the sense that the coach is both competent and a person with whom you can speak freely.

Tricia Groff
Tricia Groff

About the Author: Tricia Groff is an executive adviser and executive coach who works with high achievers and their organizations. She is also a licensed psychologist who brings 20 years of behind-the-scenes conversations to her recommendations for workplace wellness and profitability. She is the author of Relational Genius: The High Achiever’s Guide to Soft-Skill Confidence in Leadership and Life.


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