Some creative professionals feel as if they have to settle for something “less than.” As in, “Maybe I earn less than my friends in business, but I get to do what I love.”

Creative businesses are still businesses. 

It doesn’t have to be that way for accomplished creatives who want more. Actually having the talent and being able to put it to work are table stakes for succeeding as a creative professional. For most, however, additional skills are necessary. Creative businesses are, after all, businesses, and they operate on fundamental business principles.

Some creative professionals turn to executive coaching to bridge the perceived gap between creativity and business, and often what they find out is that many of the same principles govern both – they’re just put to use in different ways.

Drive and Inspiration in Creative Professions

Inspiration and drive power creativity, whether it’s words on paper, paint on canvas, or custom clothing on the backs of famous people. Creativity is a gift, but it is developed through practice. Patrons of creative arts simply won’t wait around until a particular artist is inspired to create something for them, because they don’t have to be patient. Artists, writers, and musicians are everywhere, and with very few exceptions, it is their clients – the interior designers, showrunners, producers, etc. – who call the shots. So drive and inspiration are necessary, but not sufficient for success in the creative professions.

Drive and Inspiration in Business

Likewise, drive and inspiration power business. With technological advances, inspiration can power innovation faster than used to be possible, and as we all know, nobody gets strong, sustained business results without drive. Business coaching is about helping clients understand themselves better so they can see what’s holding them back, and then mapping out a plan to reach goals more effectively and efficiently. It’s not that big a stretch to see how business coaches can help creative professionals improve their performance, boost their earnings, and put a strong foundation underneath the creative factory inside their brains.

Discipline Can Bridge the Two

People don’t like to think about discipline, because the word derives its meaning from old words indicating suffering, teaching, and even martyrdom. But if you dig a little deeper and unearth the word “discipline” comes from – disciple – it’s not really gloom and doom at all. A disciple is someone who follows someone else for the purpose of learning. Disciples’ purpose is to grasp important concepts intellectually and analyze them thoroughly.

Business coaches can help creatives learn to thrive in the world of business.

This isn’t to say that the coach-client relationship is like that of a master and disciple. But that the techniques used by the best business coaches help professionals, including creative professionals, know where the metaphorical guardrails are, and why certain roads help them reach success faster than others. The benefits to the talented creative professional can be significant: better understanding of how successful business interactions work, knowledge of techniques that smooth out and accelerate business transactions, and greater security in which to practice their creative skills.

Business coaches who work with creative individuals and creative companies are there to take strategic actions for sustainable success. They’re not about circumscribing creativity in the name of business success (because that doesn’t work over the long term), but about solving practical challenges that face creative professionals determined to succeed in a business environment.

Today, even the most traditional business coaches understand that cookie-cutter solutions simply don’t work for all businesses and all clients. Business coaching has taken on a far more personalized and customized approach for a good reason: it works. And some business coaches are focusing their personalized services on creative professionals, helping them maximize their unique strengths, develop workable strategies, and gain the results they want.

Are you a creative professional who is determined to practice your skills with sustained success? If so, I humbly recommend that you check out my books, which cover key topics like performance management, talent leadership, and corporate culture. The most successful businesses on the planet understand the role of creativity in developing business solutions and innovations, so it’s not like business and creativity operate in different universes. In today’s connected, tech-driven world, there’s simply no reason why the creative professions shouldn’t fully participate in business success.

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