It is only when this very difficult task of setting limits occurs that the creative entrepreneur avoids the burnout and abandonment which is so common among these men and women. The creative fantasies that serve these entrepreneurs so well in the world of design and innovation often do not serve them well when it comes to acknowledging the realities of their own life. A coach to the creative entrepreneur must navigate a narrow path in encouraging the creative entrepreneur to be more realistic about their own energy level, priorities and emotional state, while also not dampening the creative fire which these gifted men and women bring to their work.
This second kind of entrepreneur is also well known—though often not identified as an entrepreneur. This is the inventor – the nerdish engineer who builds a new computer or the teenage-genius who designs a new software program. These men and women are the legends of Silicon Valley and other high tech centers around the world; yet, they are not necessarily the high flying legends of high tech. They might instead own a repair shop or work on a new invention in their garage. They might paint pictures or write novels – in hopes of making a few bucks and demonstrating their technical skills (while not as a rule being at the cutting-edge of their craft). These are the entrepreneurs who (with little fanfare) design a new building (as architects), a new treatment program (as physicians or social workers) or a new financial program (as bankers or investment managers). These entrepreneurs might not be the next Thomas Edison, but they can make major contributions to our society and can generate considerable wealth for themselves.
Why aren’t these technically and functionally competent people considered to be “entrepreneurs”? First, they don’t fit the mold. Their sea anchor is not likely to move very far and they are often described as stable and risk-aversive. These entrepreneurs often work behind the scenes and usually seek out someone else to actually run the business (unless they are super arrogant—in which case they often fail). They often look to partner with someone in one of the other entrepreneurial categories—in particular the managerial entrepreneur. Second, these men and women often do not consider themselves to be creative or innovative. They are more likely to think of themselves as simply “doing their job” or “building on work already done by other people.” The very notion of technical or functional competence suggests that this person has learned their “craft” and they have received substantial and superb training in providing this craft. Yet, they are knowledgeable enough and gifted enough to move beyond what they learned from other people. They have advanced their craft and have taken risks while engaging in this advancement—thus they are indeed entrepreneurs.
How, then, does a professional coach work with the technical/functional entrepreneur? As a coach to this kind of entrepreneur, it is important to recognize that this kind of person likes being good at something and will work hard to become an expert. They like to be challenged and then use their skill to meet the challenge, doing the job properly and better than almost anyone else. They are competitive—though this competitive spirit is often hidden under a veneer of rationality, understatement and apparent modesty. These entrepreneurs want a standard against which they can work. This is one of the reasons why they are usually not considered to be very creative.Download Article 1K Club