One question I get asked quite a bit is whether I have a business coach. Most people are surprised when they find out the answer is yes. I do have a coach and can’t imagine where my career would be without one.

Why does that surprise people, and most often, really surprise my clients? I think that because I am a certified coach, most of my clients assume I do not need a coach. When in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. In addition, anyone who knows me is surprised that someone as goal-oriented and disciplined as I am uses or needs a coach.  But no one has to push me to go to work, or ride me to get organized. I love to make it happen, and I love to get it done!

However, I do believe there is no way I would be where I am today without a coach to help me. Spend ten minutes with my mother and my sister, and you will hear stories of the unfocused, undisciplined and somewhat lazy girl they knew growing up — yes, that would be me! Sure I was fun, sure I had potential, but as far as making it happen or being driven? Nope, not my natural state. Believe me, no one in my family thought I would go on to even read four books, let alone write four books!

So, how did I get here, how did it happen? Well, I do not owe it all to my coach; there were a lot of other changes that took place. However, having the smarts and good fortune to hire a great coach has certainly made all the difference. I hired my first coach when I was 32 years old, when I was pursuing my first coaching certification, and I have had one pretty much ever since.

So why do I work with a coach and what do I gain from working with one? Well here are the top six reasons I have a coach:

1. Focus – I know that if you want to succeed, both in terms of achievement, but more importantly in terms of enjoying life, you need to be focused. In today’s world there are just too many distractions. A good coach ensures I have a clear vision of what I want, and that I make choices that align with achieving that vision. More importantly, I let go of things that do not align with it.

2. Accountability – The age old problem of working in the business vs. working on the business. If you want to move your company forward, you have to be working on those goals and objectives that take your company to the next level, not just those that keep it going day-to-day. My coach is just the person I need to ensure I stay accountable.

3. Brainstorming – My coach is smart, tough and experienced. She’s highly successful in her own right, so she is fantastic to brainstorm with. She pushes me out of my comfort zone, makes me look at things from a different perspective and challenges me to take risks. It is so helpful to share ideas with someone and invest the time in discovering solutions and new paths of growth and opportunity.

4. Groundedness – as someone who is direct in terms of communication, I enjoy working with someone who is strong enough to keep me grounded. And for me, “grounded” means holding me accountable. Not letting me make excuses or blame others for what is not working in my business or my life. My coach is good; she is tough, nurturing and most important, seriously invested in helping me do what it takes to reach my goals.

5. Motivation – I love the energy of my coach and her positive outlook on life and business. Working with her and meeting with her infuses me with energy and inspiration. It is time I invest each month to “fuel up” with what I need to push myself to the next level.

6. Success  – Without a coach, I do believe I would be successful. I have done a lot of personal growth and development to get myself focused and disciplined. However, there is no way, without a coach, I would be even thinking about or achieving the things I am doing now.  I had a good friend ask me what my end game was; what did I want to ultimately achieve? I just had to laugh! End game, are you kidding? I don’t want this to end. I want to grow, develop and change, and working with a coach helps me do that.  I cannot WAIT to see what my coach and I come up with next.

So, yes I am a coach, I very much believe in coaching, and I use a coach. My clients know that I will never encourage them to invest in something I am not willing to invest in myself. And for me, having a coach has been one of the best returns on investment I have ever received!