The secret weapon of the most successful Ghanaian business leaders

This one person is on the teams of the most successful Ghanaian businesses...

Lucy Quist

Lucy Quist

President, African Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Ghana and Former CEO of Airtel Ghana

Senior executives all over the world refer to their business coaches as their “secret weapon,” and for good reason! The right coach, paired with the right business leader, can be an unstoppable force.

Unfortunately, business coaching is a little-understood and little-appreciated aspect of business success and wellness in Ghana. Too few executives enjoy the mental clarity that comes from sparring with an objective, experienced third party.

What’s a business coach, and why might you want one?

Photo: Maarten van den Heuvel

A business coach is an objective, independent third party hired by a business leader to discuss high level strategy.

Because they’re an objective external party, they can be trusted to speak candidly and objectively. Business coaches can call out blind spots and hidden dangers - both in the executive’s personal life, as well as in the business as a whole - without fear of falling out of the executive’s favour. Such candid feedback can be surprisingly difficult for an executive to acquire the higher they climb up the professional ladder.

Thanks to their broad experience, coaches are also able to make surprising connections between industries and reveal strategic opportunities.

Finally, business coaches usually enjoy large networks of domain experts, which makes them an invaluable resource for everything from recruitment, to fundraising.

A business coach is an investment in your business, and in yourself

Photo: Matthäus Windhausen

I was lucky to be introduced to my business coach early in my career through a previous employer.

The company placed a strong emphasis on senior leadership coaching and connected me with my coach. What emerged was a relationship so strong that I continued to see my coach even after I left the company, and the relationship has paid for itself many times over.

For executives who’ve never engaged with a business coach, before, however, the return-on-investment can be difficult to appreciate. The truth is that business leaders in Ghana are used to being able to touch and feel an outcome when we pay for a service. The “deliverable” for business coaching, however, is conversation, which can be difficult to come to terms with at first.

But for those brave few who take the risk and invest in paying for a business coach, the outcomes in terms of a stronger business, and a balanced life, quickly become self evident.