Consultants: The Game Changers

When things get tough on the field of business, it may be time for a consultant, or a coach, to help restore perspective and purpose, or manage a complex system.

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Photo by Scott Holstein

Tallahassee Business Coach Mark Raciappa huddles with his clients to talk about what’s working, what’s not and what needs to change to achieve success.

Business is tough. In this economy, it’s tougher. Sometimes, you need to stop and re-examine your strategy and your team’s performance. Other times, you need help to successfully carry out a large project.

Let’s use a sports analogy for a moment.

It’s fourth-and-forever on the other team’s 20-yard line. You’re taking your last time out to talk things over with your quarterback. Do you try for a touchdown, go for a field goal, settle for a loss, a tie, go back to the training room, restructure your entire team or acquire the other team’s franchise in a leveraged buy-out?

But the questions don’t end there.

How is the team’s morale? Do they feel that the work they do is valued by the boss, and that there’s a greater purpose for their labors beyond making touchdowns and collecting a paycheck? Is each team member in the right position to maximize his or her skillset? Are they all communicating efficiently and effectively? Do they have the right training? Are they able to relax and breathe once the job is done, or are they drowning under a relentless schedule?

It’s these kinds of questions the business consultant — or, nowadays, a business coach — is here to help answer.

“Business consulting has been around forever,” said Mark Raciappa, a Tallahassee-based certified business coach with ActionCOACH Business Coaching. Recognized as a leading global business-coaching firm, it’s one of the most awarded franchises in the world today.

“Business coaching” is a new methodology for solving old challenges, Raciappa said. Namely, how do we run better businesses, how do we make more money, how do we attract and keep the right people, how do we market to our customers, how do we get them to come back?

“Consultants have been dealing with those questions for eons,” he said.

Raciappa likes using a sports metaphor to describe how he works.

“In most cases you have athletes and you have a coach. The athlete represents the raw skill and talent, and the coach I like to say represents the old man with a clipboard and whistle,” he said. “He’s there to teach and train, to help refine. Come game day, though, the coach is on the sidelines and the players are out there competing on the field. And, periodically, they come back over to the sidelines to huddle with the coach and talk about what’s working, what’s not, what needs to change, what we need to do differently. So the coach again analyzes the game plan, the strategy, makes the assignments, sends the players back on the field. That’s basically what I do.”

Coaching a business team in that manner requires an intermittent presence over a period of time, but sometimes companies, corporations and entire government sectors can face singular problems that require the services of a more conventional business consultant.

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