John Nieuwenburg – Coaching a Business Owner to Increase the Value of the Business

John Nieuwenburg – Coaching a Business Owner to Increase the Value of the Business

John Nieuwenburg - Coaching a Business Owner to Increase the Value of the Business

Do you sometimes think it’s about time you get a business coach? What are the tell-tale signs that you need a coach? And how will you know whether that coach is right for you?

In this week’s episode, Ed and his guest John Nieuwenburg of W5 Coaching answered these questions and more as they talked about the wonderful craft of coaching. 

Listen to this podcast and find out how business owners can increase their business value, how they can work with coaches, and most importantly, how to determine if the coach is right for them.


Show Notes

1:23 – Who Is John Nieuwenburg
2:46 – What Is a Coach
4:05 – How to Ask Good Questions
5:36 – Everyone Seems to be a Coach
7:50 – How to Tell the Good Coach from the Bad Coach
15:28 – Remote Coaching
17:47 – Signs That You Need a Coach
23:50 – How to Calculate ROI for Coaching
26:32 – Habits of Business Owners That Increases Business Value
30:53 – Message to Younger Business Owners Today
32:30 – Legacy or Lifestyle
34:05 – When Does the Coaching Stops
36:38 – Piece of Advice that Would Have the Most Immediate Impact
37:09 – Connect with John Nieuwenburg

Learn More From This Podcast

Who Is John Nieuwenburg

John Nieuwenburg of W5 Coaching is an award-winning business coach who has worked with hundreds of clients. John coaches in three primary areas; business, personal growth, and accountability. In an earlier life, John was president of BC Liquor Stores that today does about $3 Billion in revenue and about $1 Billion in profit. Before that John was an executive with a national menswear retailer.

When asked how long he has been coaching, John has two answers. The first answer is that he has been a business coach for fifteen years, and the other answer is that he is a coach all of his life.

When John first started coaching in 2004, he had an epiphany where he was able to recognize that he has always been a coach. It might have been called different things at different parts of his life but it has always been his style. Steve Jobs said about you can connect the dots going backward. And if John is to connect the dots from his childhood to the present day, he is proud to say that he is hardwired to be a coach.


What Is a Coach

If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. As a coach, John teaches business owners how they might like to run their business a little better. John follows a Socratic method of leadership. Socrates thinks that the best way to help somebody is to help them figure things out for themselves. And the best way to do that is to guide them to make discoveries by asking questions that can help them think about things that they might not otherwise have been thinking about.

John’s job as a business coach is to help business owners figure out their answers, and because it is their answers, they will be more motivated to act on it.

How to Ask Good Questions

Play nice with each other. The business owner needs to be open to the idea of being prodded, challenged and pushed a little bit. There’s got to be an agreement in place that that is how it’s going to work. Many owners actually appreciate that because in some ways they don’t get it anywhere else in their life to be tested and challenged in a 3rd party perspective. 

John refers to the initial meeting with the business owner as a Complimentary Coaching Session. It is designed to give everyone the opportunity to experience what the relationship can be like and if the relationship could possibly work if the two parties agreed to work together.

Everyone Seems to be a Coach

One of the things that are interesting these days is that everyone seems to be a coach. A simple Google search will give you performance coaches, skills coaches, career coaches, personal and life coaches, business coaches, executive coaches, and team coaching.

The good and bad thing is that not just about anybody can hang out and call themselves a coach. Unlike accountants or lawyers who get educated at university and satisfy the professional bar, people in the coaching profession don’t have a 3rd party organization that confirms their capabilities. There are some organizations that present themselves as 3rd party accreditation bodies, but the truth is there is no professional association. 

Just how there are so many types of lawyers (e.g. family law, contract law, etc.), there are also many different kinds of coaches because there are many different kinds of needs. And there is no known single person who is capable of doing all types of coaching. Generally, we are better or more equipped in one of those areas than in the other.

How to Tell the Good Coach from the Bad Coach

One good way to quickly discern whether or not a coach is good and can deliver what they claim that they can is to look for 3rd party endorsements. Find out what people say about that coach. Check the quality and quantity of the testimonials. Reach out to people in your industry that are saying things that relate to the kind of things that you want to talk about and see if their experience of coaching is what will serve you.

Find out if the coach has the following:

  1. Results
  2. Testimonials
  3. Accreditation (or a demonstration that the coach has taken some level of professional training)

The book Co-active Coaching, which is available on Amazon, teaches the craft of coaching. There are a lot of people that have the training, qualifications, and capabilities of doing the craft of coaching but the harder thing for most people is how to market yourself, how to do a complimentary coaching session, how to sell the service of coaching.

Time, Team, and Money

Based on Strengthsfinder, John identifies his top two strengths as Ideation and Collector. He loves ideas and collects them. He has an organized way of collecting ideas that allows him to access them easily as things occur in a coaching session.

As a coach, John diagnoses the business and provides a prognosis on what needs to be done. There are three specific things John is expecting to hear when meeting with the business owner – time, team, and money.

Time – refers to complaints like “I got too many things to do and don’t have enough time to do them”, “ I can’t get everything done.

Team – refers to challenges like can’t recruit good people, can’t get the culture you want, can’t get people to work on the level that you need

Money – There are two sides to Money. The first side refers to the measurement of the results of the business – dashboards, accounting, KPI and metrics, etc. The other side of money is about complaints like “I need more money,” “I need more sales and marketing”.

If the business owner is talking about things in those areas then John can help them. He uses ‘silver bullets’ and place the most common support system to help the business owner come to grips with their Time, Team, and Money.

Remote Coaching

When John first started coaching, it was recommended to him to do phone coaching which meant early contacts after the initial meeting is done over the phone. However, John prefers to meet people face-to-face, and he did so for the first 10 years of his practice.

John meets with around 24 clients a week and with the advantage of today’s technology, particularly Zoom (a web-based video conferencing tool), all but two he meets on Zoom. Video conferencing is nearly as good as face-to-face.

Signs That You Need a Coach

One of the most important things that a client typically gets in the first month or six weeks of coaching is the feeling that they now have a light at the end of the tunnel and the faith and hope that comes from it.

These are the five things a coach should be giving you:

  1. Accountability to the stuff you say you are going to do. No matter how much discipline or willpower you have, you don’t have enough. None of us have enough willpower. But when we put ourselves accountable to someone else we will get more things done. 
  2. A Methodology that you can trust. Approved and practiced way which worked for a lot of people.
  3. Efficiency. Experience is a great teacher but it’s expensive and it takes time, so why not stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before you.
  4. Behavior Change. For things to change, you have to change – your habits, behaviors, and beliefs.
  5. Coaching is an Investment. No one’s going to say that coaching is cheap and so it only makes sense that you are to get a return on your investment. Measure the results so that you can see that you are getting a return.

Sometimes you get so used to your surroundings that it becomes normal, like a frog in boiling water. But when you experience pain at some level, when you feel discomfort, anxiety, stress, something that pushes you to get help, that is one sign to get a coach.

Another sign is when you feel like things should be better but you don’t know how to go about it.

How to Calculate ROI for Coaching

John guarantees his clients that they will deem coaching has been worthwhile after 17 weeks. He has worked with 260 clients so far in 15 years and not one has asked him about the guarantee.

In the early going, even in as much as 17 weeks, there might not be an obvious financial return in terms of profit or sales, but many times the owners feel better about themselves and their lives. Their contribution both as business owners, as husbands, as fathers, those soft values are hard to express in an ROI, but they are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, they are available to be a partner to their wives, they are able to go to their kids baseball game. Those have significant value for an owner even if it is not as tangible as a monetary result.

Habits of Business Owners That Increases Business Value

The mindset of most of the business owners is “How I can get this done?”. They always think that everything has to be done by them. The mindset should be, “How can this get done?”. 

Keep in mind this wisdom; “Systems run your business; people run your systems; you lead your people.” If you act on those three things then you are creating a business that is valuable to the acquirer.

Have a procedure that is not dependent on the people, but is dependent on executing the system. So, as people come and go, the business thrives because the system runs the business. If it’s the other way around and people run the business, as people come and go, your business falls and rises depending on the quality of people that you have.

Business owners must learn how to lead, communicate, delegate, and create a culture that they want. Systematize the routine and humanize the exceptional. 85%-90% of what happens in the business ought to be systematized, while the remaining 10% should be on the exceptional category.

Message to Younger Business Owners

Set aside a Thinking Time. Find time to sit down and take a look at your business from a ten-thousand-or-fifty-thousand-foot level as if it’s an arms-length third party detached from you. Business owners should not relate to their business as if it’s them. There should be no blur between the business owner and the business’ identities. Look at your business as a third party entity that operates systematically, and as a result, produces a profit.

Legacy or Lifestyle

You want to be in a position where you have a choice, where you can choose to have it as a legacy or a lifestyle, where you’re free to have time, and money, and freedom. This means you are free to spend your time in the fashion you wish and have the money available to do it. The power lies in the fact that you get to make the choice and you have the money to do that.

When Does the Coaching Stops

Sometimes coaching a client can be done in 3-6 months and both parties decided to end the relationship and move one, other clients can go on steadily for 5 years. The average, in John’s case, is about 12 months.

John’s coaching starts with the Diagnostics. He has a platform called the Five Steps of Freedom and it involves 22 “silver bullets” or the most common strategies used to deploy against Time, Team, and Money that help the business get to the place where people run the systems and the owner leads the people.

Any other relationship that has gone beyond a couple of years is more about coaching the person rather than the business. It is more about leadership skills, developing delegation skills, coaching on personal matters whether it is at home or other parts of the person’s life. It always starts on the premise of the business systems, skills, and strategies, but ultimately it leads to accountability and personal coaching.

Piece of Advice that Would Have the Most Immediate Impact

It’s not doing more of what you sell; it’s selling more of what you do.

Many of the business owners get so involved in doing what they sell that they don’t pay enough attention to selling what they do. And so the business follows an invariable cycle where they don’t have enough time to support the business as a robust predictable flow of plans to support the revenue and profit plan. Have a revenue and profit plan supported by a tactical marketing plan that helps you deliver the dollars you need to run your business.

Connect with John Nieuwenburg

The best way to connect with John is through any of his Social Media channels:

LinkedIn –

Facebook –

Twitter –

You can also visit his websites: and

Or email him at