I am leaving off the eighth anchor (Security/Stability) because it is most often antithetical to entrepreneurship and may be the “safe port” to which entrepreneurs retreat when their own anchor has been lost at sea or proves in sufficient when the tide is strong or a storm is raging. Having set the stage, I will briefly describe each of the seven anchors as this anchor specifically relates to entrepreneurship and suggest several ways in which an organizational coach can best work with those entrepreneurs who rely on one or more of these seven sea anchors.
This is the traditional notion of entrepreneurship—the classic brave and visionary pioneer. These men and women make full use of the shifting sea anchor. They like to invent things, be creative and, most of all, run their own businesses. They like working with other people, but want to own (or at least control) what they create. They differ from those who seek autonomy in that they will share the workload, but are like the autonomous entrepreneur in their interest in control. They find ownership very important. They easily get bored. Wealth, for them, is a sign of success. Donald Trump has summed this up when noting that wealth is the only score card we have with regard to evaluating our value and success in contemporary society.
How might a coach be of assistance to a creative entrepreneur? First, it is not unusual for the creative entrepreneur to be stretched beyond their capacity (or the capacity of their co-workers). The entrepreneur’s coach can be of great value in helping her client not only fully appreciate his own capacity and the capacity of those working with him, but also in helping her client make the tough decisions regarding priorities once the capacity-limits have been reached. The sea anchor is shifting to such an extent that the client’s orientation and priorities might be unclear—leading to overwork and frequent loss of focus. The coach might ask challenging questions regarding priorities: “What is really important to you with regard to this project?” “Why have you chosen to work on this project rather than project Y?” The coach might also ask challenging questions regarding her client’s capacity-limits: “How will you know when you’ve reached your limits?” or “You seem to be often exhausted (or are often complaining of being overworked or of having no time for yourself) . . . could this mean that you are at the limit of your capacity?” or “When does your body (or your heart) (or people who you love) tell you that you’ve pushed too hard (or need to slow down)”?
What if the limit has already been reached? In this case, the coach might assist her client by suggesting ways in which he can find support for a difficult decision to back away from some of his current initiatives or at least not take on new ones until some of his current entrepreneurial work is finished. This support might come from co-workers, from a boss or board, from friends or from a significant other in the entrepreneur’s life (the significant other is probably also suffering from the entrepreneur’s over-commitments). While support may be needed, the coach can also provide some challenge—some hard love—in pushing the entrepreneur to take some action to reduce the amount of work in which he is engaged. This is part of the irony of creative entrepreneurship: this person will often be willing to take on almost any project other than the most important one—the project of slowing down, conserving resources and setting priorities.Download Article 1K Club