In the words of entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn, “Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.”

A regular and unflinchingly honest personal stock-taking is essential to help you recognize and overcome internal roadblocks that stand between you and growth, both professional and personal.

But how is it possible to take a truly honest inventory of that person who is closest to us of all, our own self? It can’t be a solo undertaking. The kind of transparent self-assessment that leads to professional growth requires us to accept the support and unbiased guidance of someone who can see us in ways we can’t see ourselves. A great mentor can help us to take an accurate inventory that lets us know where we stand: The good, the extraordinary, and the not so pretty.

This is not the type of assessment that can be done by your mother, your best friend or your worst enemy; an honest inventory of yourself calls for the objectivity of a trusted advisor. The support of an advisor—a mentor or a coach—is your most powerful secret weapon for business growth.

Leadership expert Carol Sankar interviewed 21 top leaders and CEOs and asked them, “‘What do you believe contributed to your success?’ Without hesitation or inference, every respondent said it was the investment of their connection with great mentors.”

A business mentor is a disinterested outside party who can give it to you straight, point out your strengths and your weaknesses and offer support in finding out what needs to be tweaked—or what is working just fine as is—to help set you on a straightforward path toward your goals. Most highly successful entrepreneurs have had mentors. Leaders like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Bloomberg all have had trusted advisors whom they largely credit with their success.

Part of what makes these business leaders great is recognizing this need for personal guidance. Those who are drawn to self-growth understand the necessity of continual progress. Continual growth is essential for a business. Either an organization is on a trajectory of growth, or it begins to stagnate, no matter the level of success achieved. There is no final destination where no further evolution is necessary.

Ahead we’ll illustrate some important ways that a coach can help you to embrace self-growth so that you can more easily follow in the footsteps of hugely successful business leaders.

Coaches Can Help You to Find New Ways to Respond

Executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, teaches that we all have sets of capabilities and responses that need to stretch and evolve as our businesses grow.

The skills that serve us best change as our business becomes bigger and more profitable. When you are first building your business, your highest priority may be rolling up your sleeves, keeping your nose to the grindstone and tending to the minutiae and the day-to-day details of running your company.

As your business evolves, a good coach can help you to shift your mindset and work with you on leadership skills, like inspiring and directing your team to take care of the details that formerly preoccupied you while you focus on your larger vision.

Coaching Keeps You Accountable

In the same way that regular checkups help you to keep on top of your health, regular meetings with your business mentor help you to continually assess the health of your business.

You and your mentor can come up with a plan for growing your business that includes measurable goals along with periodic milestones you’d like to hit.  Checking in with him or her on a regular basis can ensure that you stay on track with your plan and help you to make course corrections where necessary.

Grasshopper COO, Don Schiavone, who hired a coach from CEO coaching firm CEO Coaching International, does not mince words when he talks about how valuable a coach has been to him in growing his business, “To have someone that learns your business but has an outside perspective that you can bounce ideas off of, can challenge your thinking before you go and act, is invaluable.”

The only person to whom you are truly accountable is yourself, but having an objective advisor that you trust and check in with on a regular basis keeps your perspective fresh and your integrity intact.

Coaches Relieve Stress So You Can Focus On What’s Important

Venture builder Varelie Croes says this about mentors: “They are people that I can trust and openly talk about what keeps me up at night, vent with and also celebrate wins with.”

A trusted mentor can act as a sounding board to whom you can vent your concerns, releasing frustrations that you accumulate in the course of day-to-day operations.

Saying out loud the things that are troubling you can have a wonderfully freeing and stress-relieving effect. Talking to someone about what’s on your mind, especially someone who has been in your shoes, helps you to sort through your feelings and put things into perspective.

When you are able to regularly release concerns that might become a drag on your energy levels and distract you from the greater ‘why’ that caused you to launch your business to begin with, it keeps you focused, on-track with your goals and fulfilling your larger vision.

Coaches Encourage You to Never Stop Learning

Bill Gates, who famously reads approximately 50 books per year, has said that reading is “…the main way that I both learn new things and test my understanding.”

Lifelong learning is essential to the success of any entrepreneurial pursuit. Learning how to learn--that is, acquiring good learning skills and developing the ability to get honest with yourself about your shortcomings so that you can better address gaps in your knowledge, will ensure that you stay ahead of the curve as your business grows.

For those who understandably balk at adding yet another to-do item to their already overwhelmingly busy schedules, CEO of BusinessBlocks, Justin Kulla asks, “Do you have time to grow your business by 10%, or do you have time to prevent tens of thousands of dollars of mistakes?" or "Do you have time to reduce your odds of failure?”

The most important requirements for a lifelong openness to learning are an ability to release assumptions and be receptive to new ideas or new ways of doing things. This is especially true for ideas that directly contradict long held and cherished beliefs.

A good business coach or trusted mentor can help you to keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date by evaluating with you what is truly useful information and filtering out what is less valuable, This also helps you to recognize blind spots so that you can get honest about which of your skills most need fine-tuning.

The Final Word

Continual self-growth and the expansion of your business are inextricably interdependent, each driving the other. An experienced coach who has grown a business—or several—of their own can support you in maintaining the kind of clear-eyed perspective you need to stay on-track so that you and your business can thrive. Success is rarely achieved in solitude; it takes a tribe to change the world, so stay connected with those that continually inspire you, and your results will reflect this commitment tenfold.

Author's Bio: 

Zac Johnson is an entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the world of online marketing and business. To learn more about what he's currently working, be sure to visit his blog at