I have a confession.
I am not really a person that is attracted to partnership. That may sound strange, since I really love people and have lots of friends and strong relationships. Yet I have always treasured my independence, and cherish being alone.
I am the oldest of 6 children, and as such, have been a leader all my life (when I was 2 years old, I was the oldest of 3 children, so I don’t ever remember not being a leader…). Because I was left to my own devices at a very early age, I have always made my own decisions, and many times, was called on to make decisions for others too.
Being single my whole life has added to this propensity of enjoying being on my own. So taking on partners in business or life has not been easy for me. Since I got into coaching, I have learned some key insights that have allowed me to be in partnership, and to be comfortable and happy doing so.
- The first insight about partnership is that it is important to have similar values with your business partner, or at least not competing values. In my partnership with Carolyn, we are both committed to the values of generosity, ease and service. When deciding on a business partner, ask what their top 5 values are, and make sure that they are in alignment with yours.
- The next insight is that I need to enjoy being in conversation with my partner. Creating anything through partnership means spending time together. Carolyn and I do enjoy spending time together, and we know about each other’s lives and support each other on more than just business. When going into partnership, ask yourself the question: Do I like spending time with this person?
- And the third insight is to be able to ask for what you need. I must admit, this one is the most difficult for me. What I have learned is that if I do not ask for what I need, that things start to get difficult for both of us. Fortunately, Carolyn is very direct and open to hearing what I need, so that makes it easier for me. In any partnership, be clear about what you need and ask for it as soon as you realize what it is. This creates lots of ease.
- One more insight – it creates lots of ease if each of the partners has their own coach. Carolyn and I both have our own coach. This way, self-responsibility is a key focus for each of us. And this makes our partnership safe and fun!
So, by all means, if you are in a business partnership (or any other one for that matter), get regular coaching!