Serial CEO Gives #1 Piece of Advice for Fast-Tracking Your Career.
CEO | Investor | Entrepreneur
Casey LeBlanc is the CEO of New Venture Escrow. He is a serial entrepreneur that has led several small to medium sized businesses that have experienced rapid growth and scale. He is also a business development addict that thrives off of innovation and promotes healthy leadership.
So why write a blog now?
Well, mainly because I want to start deeply processing the personal and professional development that I experience, while simultaneously documenting it for others who can stand to gain something from the lessons I learn (which sometimes may just be myself).
I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of building and growing a company and all of the moving parts that said journey encompasses.
But who am I to talk?
Who am I and what makes me qualified for this?
Well, I googled requirements to actually write a blog and I seem to have met all the prerequisites. In other words, none.
Perfect, finally a job I am built for!
As for my real résumé… I have quickly built and scaled businesses in several different industries, invested in many different real estate plays, bootstrapped several startups, failed at almost everything, and consider myself a “conservative risk junkie” that enjoys every step of the ride.
Today I am discussing my experience with business coaching.
Take my advice: Everyone should have a coach, or mentor, or accountability partner (call it whatever you want).
I am such a strong believer in coaching, development, and accountability.
I joined Vistage, a peer mentoring organization for CEOs, business owners, and executives, over 10 years ago.
Imagine- it was 2007 and the economy was still moving along pretty well. We hadn’t hit the crisis yet.
At the time, I felt I had taken my company as far as I knew how. I started to question if I was actually the person that could navigate this company successfully to higher levels.
I was actually close to enrolling in MBA school until I remembered I was a terrible student and I was certain I would hate it.
So I found executive coaching and peer group networking. I entertained a few options and did my research. I realized quickly that I would be making this decision primarily based on the people and what value we would be able to bring each other.
I was choosing a coach and a group. I was not choosing Vistage.
Little to my knowledge, once I had committed myself to mentorship, my career and personal life would never be the same. I navigated through a partnership break up, a divorce, and ultimately a company that has not ceased to double in size every year since its inception.
What was I looking for in a business coach?
- Someone who ran a 100M company. This is where I want to take any business I am involved in so I was seeking someone who had already experienced that scale.
- Someone that had done it. For example, my CPA is MY CPA because he has several investments and owns different businesses. My real estate agents HAVE to have many properties and investments.
I needed a coach who had done it, not who had read about it.
- Someone that understood financials. I am a big believer in the “numbers don’t lie” and I wanted someone to help me understand what numbers to pay attention to in my business on a practical level.
- Someone who would challenge my thought. A group of people that would objectively call into question my way of thinking.
I didn’t want or need motivation. I already had plenty of that.
I wanted people to tell me “no” when I was wrong, to question each part of my strategy, to inspire more well thought out and deep buy-in for what we eventually take on.
We all have too many people in our lives that just agree with whatever life brings us and nod their heads at how we respond. I wanted more.
“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”
-Harvey S. Firestone
Beware: Coaching WILL result in humility.
The first year in any Vistage group, each member has to get up and present a 30 minute power point that outlined the financial health (good or bad) of their company.
I did my presentation in front of a group of highly successful CEO’s and was utterly embarrassed by my true lack of knowledge about how to interpret and manage the financials of a growing company.
They began asking questions about COGS, cash flows, percentage based sales, costs to acquire customers, budgets, EBIDA, and owner adjustments. I tried to bullshit my way through every question and I dug myself a bigger hole. There was no escaping this embarrassment. I actually did not know, or at the time, even understand the questions
I realized I had to invest more time in mentorship, which ended up being one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made.
Here are the top benefits of hiring a business coach.
Getting involved with a business coach or peer mentor group can be just the catalyst you need for some serious positive change in your life. Coaches are wired to:
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses. There is no one better to call you out on your crap than a business coach. Sometimes we are blind to our own limiting thoughts and we just need a breakthrough, which is at the heart of coaching itself.
- Clarify and prioritize your business needs. CEOs often get caught in the trap of being so involved in their business that they forget to run it.
Coaches can help you look at the big numbers (like the ones I was so candidly unfamiliar with) and objectively measure your short and long-term business needs, leaving you with clarity of how to proceed with action. Like they say at Vistage, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.
- Focus on growing profits. Coaches lead you on a path to sustainable growth. They focus on making your business more efficient so you can worry less about profit and focus more on high-level decisions.
Coaches are also highly skilled at finding strategic alliances or alternative revenue streams, designing ways to build on what you already have to create additional or passive income.
Having an ally on your side who is fully dedicated to fine-tuning your business model is often way underrated by execs. Executive coaching often brings in an ROI of 5-7 times what you pay, not to mention the productivity and personal growth gains that come along with it.
If I can give you one piece of advice, it’s this!
Everyone should have a coach, mentor, accountability partner. Someone with whom they can share ideas and receive honest feedback.
Is your boss your coach? Does your work challenge you to be better, to learn more, to achieve at the highest level?
All famous athletes have a coach. GET ONE. Ask around, interview…and find people that lift you up, educate you, and demand you do better than you think you are capable of.
I ask if you ever enjoy reading or watching any of this crap that makes me uncomfortable to share that you leave a comment in the comment section.
I really hope that this writing and video endeavor becomes easier because this has taken 4 weeks to put together.
Until next time!
“There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that, once unleashed, can make any vision, dream, or desire a reality.“
— Anthony Robbins