Couples In Business – Misery or Synergy
by Phil Okrend, CPCC, JD
Developing and running your own business is one of life's greatest challenges. Having a successful relationship or marriage is also one of life's greatest challenges. When you join them together and go into business with your significant other, the potential outcome can run from misery on one end to synergy on the other.
Here is some of the downside. Working with your loved one in your own business can increase stress as you are constantly together, and there may be little separation between work and home life. There is also the chance of increased friction when your personality or style differences clash when dealing with certain business issues. For example, money and finances can be a source of tension when each partner has different views on how to spend money to grow the business.
The upside to working with your spouse or significant other however can be incredible. You are working with someone you know intimately and can have a greater trust with than anyone else. As a couple you are calling your own shots, directing your future together, and building an entity that you both have a hand in creating and developing. There is potential for greater connection, intimacy and financial success.
One of the ways to determine whether working with your partner or spouse will lead to misery or synergy is to look at how you deal with conflict.
As a professional coach who works with couples in business, I have observed two approaches to conflict. One approach is limiting and the other is proactive. The limiting way is to see conflict as something bad or unacceptable, to be avoided, or dealt with quickly like a band aid approach. The other is to see conflict as healthy, an opportunity for growth, where you learn to accept your partner's differences and move beyond them.
It may be hard to see at the time, but there is a major cost for avoiding conflict. By avoiding it, you can start to build resentment, judgment and hostility towards your partner. That can have a debilitating effect on the business, on family life, intimacy and even health. By avoiding the perceived pain of dealing with conflict the result will be much greater pain down the road.
Approaching conflict directly is the only way that really makes sense. In order to do this successfully, effective communication is vital. It is really important to listen to your partner with respect, empathy, and without judgment.
The process of coaching is a powerful way for couples to address their issues. Working with an objective professional can help the couple see themselves from a larger perspective where they keep their business and family vision at the forefront, while their differences are acknowledged, heard and looked at. From this place, new solutions that honor both partners can emerge.
In my Couples In Business Coaching Program, I work with the partners individually and as a couple to · Gain clarity on each partner's vision for their life and business · Explore and implement effective communication styles that work · Learn to enhance each other's strengths while managing each other's weaknesses · Create rules and boundaries that serve the relationship and the business · Balance home life, intimacy and business
As a coach, I have seen miracles occur with the approach outlined. That is what sets the stage to make the 'Love Flow and Profits Grow."
Phil Okrend, CPCC, JD started his career as a family and business attorney in New York and then went on to build a nationally recognized greeting card company with his wife, MixedBlessing,Inc. Phil is a Certified Life and Business Coach and Certified Mediator who works with Professionals, Business Owners and Couples in Business to achieve greater levels of personal and professional success. Also an accomplished musician and composer who has produced two CD's, Phil incorporates his relaxing meditative music into his work as a coach to facilitate higher levels of focus and performance.