Groundhog Day (and being a better leader)

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. In the 1993 film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character is stuck in an endless loop, forced to relive the same day over and over. 

He takes advantage of the time in a number of ways and including becoming an expert pianist, with the help of a teacher who effortlessly coached him from the level he could play at - which naturally grew over time.

"A good coach will teach into your experience to bring your performance through the next gradient.”

Groundhog Day may be a Hollywood rom-com but actually the same concept applies to your career - no matter what your title or experience level. A good coach will teach into your experience and work with you at your current level to bring your performance through the next gradient.

Research as far back as the early 2000s shows hiring an effective business coach is worth almost six times the initial investment. A study once found share portfolios made up of companies which spent heavily on employee development outperformed the US benchmark by up to 35 per cent.

A Korn Ferry study concluded coaching “works in most cases. Both individual coaches and their organisation benefits.”

Entrepreneurs and senior management are realising the value of a coach in their highly competitive markets. Leadership coaching accelerates the performance of successful executives and ensures corporations remain at the forefront. 

The four most-common reasons managers hire business coaches


Often business owners are so focused on dealing with their problems they lose the ability to be objective. A good business coach can help them by asking the difficult questions about things the business owner may not be able to see themselves.

Problem Solving 

Hitting your head against a brick wall is a common feeling among business leaders and coaches can help them see an easier more efficient way to jump hurdles they’ve had trouble with in the past.


Having a trusted support person in your corner there only to support you with no other agenda is invaluable as a resource.

Being understood

Business owners, particular with SMEs, can often feel isolated as they can’t talk to staff about the business or family as they may not understand. A business coach is someone who can listen and help you.


Good business coaches can help professionals get clarity on what objectives and goals they are looking to achieve.  Gaining clarity as well as confidence, which a good business coach helps find, can improve decision-making abilities.

Improved communication skills should also a product of working with a skilled business coach. Being able to relay ideas effectively to staff so everyone is on the same page saves time and prevents confusion and upsets that can be caused by poor communication. 

Good communication makes delegating tasks a much more seamless transition which helps free up your time as the business owner.

A lot of time and money is spent in the recruitment process and the training of a new employee and again my experience tells me business coaches are able to assist in placing staff in roles they're truly suited for and will therefore feel fulfilled in. 

Red flag

I’m a business coach so obviously a have a particular view but It’s no surprise to me membership of the International Coach Federation has tripled in the past decade and coaching is a billion dollar industry in the US alone.

Still, it’s important to be aware that while some coaches have extensive experience and are well trained there are many who are not and may simply have a week long course under their belt.

An obvious warning sign of a business coach that isn’t worth engaging is one who has ‘50 ways to improve’ something or delivers all their coaching online, simply increasing the workload for an already overwhelmed leader.

Executives and business owners want to be able to talk openly and honestly with their coach. They want someone who will work to understand them and who will ease their burden not add to it.

Asking a lot of questions to gain valuable insight and understanding is another positive sign of a good business coach as well as a minimum five years experience in business either as a coach or as an owner.

In the 1993 film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character is stuck in an endless loop, forced to relive the same day over and over.  Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

Mike Irving is a Performance Coach and Founder of Advanced Business Abilities. He has 20 years’ experience in Business Management, Leadership Performance Coaching and Team Building. 

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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