Archive for April 2013

How The E-Myth helps me identify and overcome gaps

2-e-myth-revisitedI’m a big fan of The E-Myth Revisited, by author Michael E. Gerber. The concept of the book has helped me identify and overcome gaps in my own life.

The book talks about the different roles a small business owner has. Most small businesses start because the owner thinks that he can do something just as well on his own. Whatever his business does, that’s his role as a technician.

But a small business owner has two other roles as well. And forgetting or neglecting these roles is the key reason that most small businesses fail. Those two roles are that of the entrepreneur and the manager.

We spend around 80% of our time being a technician. But if we’re only a technician, it can lead to important gaps in the other two roles, the entrepreneur and the manager.

When I have internal dialogue with myself, I’ve found that I take on all the roles. All three of them show up. For me, the entrepreneur shows up a lot. And really, so does the manager. That means that by default, the technician is showing up less and less. And that’s been eye opening for me.

When my technician doesn’t get in the way, it helps me with the gaps in my business.

First, it helps me identify the gaps in my own business role, simply by having a different perspective. Each of the respective roles can identify the gaps the other roles are having. If you’re a technician 80% of the time, then your manager and entrepreneur should be showing up a lot in your inner dialogue as well.

Second it helps make those gaps easier to overcome. Identifying the gaps is really like shining a light on them. And once you shine a light on something, it’s no longer unknown. It’s now an identified issue, and you can take steps to overcome it.

The gaps you’ve identified are no longer a big deal.

 

How to identify your gaps

163 OTIwMDYtMTlKVU5FLmpwZw==I went through an experience with one of my coaching clients the other day that is one of my favorite things about coaching. And it’s something I do with them frequently. It’s something you can do for others, and others can help you do as well. It’s the identification of gaps.

This lady was talking with me for a coaching session. As she talked, I noticed that she was talking about the same topic over and over and over again. It wasn’t literally identical each time, but as I listened, it because obvious that it was the same issue each time she talked about it.

Even though I coach clients, I’m not an expert on their life. If I coach you, you’re the expert on your own life. I can’t tell you how to live your life. I can’t tell you what should be important to you. I don’t know what your vision is. I can’t decide your mission in life for you.

What I can do is listen! I listen to what you’re saying, and employ reflective listening. When I hear you saying something over and over and over again, I can point it out to you. And what I point out is a gap.

See, we all have gaps. You’re over here, but you want to be over there. The gap is the distance between the two points. It’s hard to see when you’re so personally involved in the situation. Sometimes it takes an outside observer to point those gaps out to us.

The other thing is that the gap moves. Some days it’s bigger. Some days it’s smaller, and the point we want to get to is closer.

As a boss, I have gaps. As a friend, I have gaps. As a father and as a Christian, I have gaps. I always will. The real question is: What is the gap today, how big is it, and how can I fill it in?

When I figured out what gap my client kept coming back to, I repeated it to her, rephrasing it. Basic reflective listening. But it had such a big impact that she stopped for a few seconds. After thinking, she shared with me, “I have never thought of that.”

Honestly, that’s the simple part of coaching. But it’s also the coolest thing ever! I didn’t do anything more than identify what she kept saying over and over and over again, then I reworded it and repeated it back to her.

By the time we finished up our coaching session, she had already filled in the gap. And beforehand, she didn’t even know it was there.