Ideally owner’s plan for their eventual exit or transition from the business.  Unfortunately this is not always the case.  Transition planning requires dealing with emotions that include the owner’s desires, in many cases family issues, as well as the business health.  While intellectually this planning should take place several years in advance.  By putting this task off the owner is choosing the “die at their desk” option and assume they are “going to live forever”.  However, in a number of cases, the result is a family assumes ownership by default.  In several cases, the lack of planning resulted in quarreling among the surviving spouse and siblings.  It becomes a matter of what to do next.

Evaluation of People, Process, Purpose for Business Results

The role of a business coach or trusted advisor becomes crucial when the family “inherits the business” due to a lack of transition planning.  Again emotions may run high.  The future employment of loyal employees as well as the security of others of may be at stake.


In general the process, begins with a critical assessment of what the capabilities of the management (leadership), processes, and systems that are in place.  Have the basic management processes and systems been established to allow the business to prosper and grow?  Are there competent people in place to carry on?


After the assessment, the next important step is to develop and implement an action plan.  This is where the trusted advisor must not only assist in the design of the plan, but utilize their experience to execute the actions.  This step will require skillful facilitation and coaching of the “inherited owners” and existing management.  Are they coachable?  In many cases hard choices will have to be made if the business is to succeed.


At this stage it is the role of coach to hold the ownership and leadership accountable to the action plan that has been developed and now must be implemented.  The hard work begins at this stage.  Assigning “who” is going to take ownership of the specific action items is critical.  If more than one person is accountable (not necessarily have the responsibility), then no one is accountable.


The business advisor or coach must have the emotional intelligence to facilitate the process of increasing the value of the business after the owner exits.  However, the success ultimately resides with owners and leaders.