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Interview with Business Coach Darryl Russell, President, The Russell Group

We speak to Darryl Russell, President of The Russell Group, about his experience in our Coaching Program: "Talking about your ideas is critical for any entrepreneur. Even as a business coach, I have a coach of my own."

The Russell Group is a business coaching and organizational development company. Its business is designing and facilitating processes that assist clients in the pursuit of excellence. The firm offers unique methods of motivation, control, evaluation and application that are aimed directly at achieving an organization's specific goals.

The Capital Access Program speaks with Darryl Russell, President, about the value of business coaching and his path to becoming a business coach.

Q: How did you become a business coach?

I came into business coaching after spending over twenty-five years working for some of the largest companies in the world, mainly in sales and marketing. The latter part of my career was in the telecommunications industry, and I decided in 2002 that it was time for a change. I had been interested in coaching, initially as an athletic director and coach, and then started my own small business providing business coaching services. It's truly rewarding—I have fun helping people solve problems and scale their business.


Q: In your own words, can you explain what a business coach does?

The first thing a business coach has to do is take his or her own ego out of it. They must be a good listener, and know how to ask the really tough and challenging questions. Finally, they need to have the patience to wait for the answer.

Most of the time, my questions are ones that my clients knows they should ask themselves. But it's hard to hold yourself truly accountable to give an honest answer.

Coaches work with individuals to allow them to discover ways to help them find solutions. I don't tell my clients what to do—I help them discover what the options are, what the rewards and consequences of those options are, and then allow them to make the decisions they need to make. Then, I help hold them accountable to execute what they say is necessary.


Q: What motivated you to become a business coach?

I was motivated by my desire to help people, especially minority entrepreneurs. When starting my own business, I decided to identify and understand what skills I had developed throughout my career. I view entrepreneurship as the way to gain control of your life and do what you really want to do. To me, coaching entrepreneurs and starting my own company was extremely important to me. I emphasize the value and potential of such entrepreneurship to each of my clients.


Q: What are some realistic goals an entrepreneur can set when starting to work with a business coach?

As a business coach, I try to focus on what is most important to each entrepreneur at the time. During my work with the Green for All Coaching Program, for example, I helped one of my entrepreneurs focus on company values when considering a partnership with a much larger organization. Ultimately, they were not in alignment, and, in hindsight, my entrepreneur felt that not seeking the partnership was one of the best decisions he had made for his company.


Q: Why is it valuable for minority entrepreneurs to work with Business Coaches?

Once you start a business, you'll find you have to fill many difficult and challenging roles. As a result, it's difficult to determine your correct priorities and values. Often times, as entrepreneurs, we lose sight of the essentials of running a business. Anyone getting into a business needs someone to talk to assist him or her in the entire thinking process.

Talking about your ideas is critical for any entrepreneur. In order for minority businesses to drop the "minority" label—becoming just a business enterprise—it's important to have someone to talk to. Even as a business coach, I have a coach of my own.


Q: Can you describe your biggest coaching success story?

One minority company, I've worked with, specifically, has been a big success. This was a company undergoing a family transition between the owners, the parents, and their vice presidents, their children. I helped the vice presidents formulate a business plan, and communicate their vision to their parents and their employees, to get everyone working in the same direction. They told me that their business grew 20% in their first year as a result of our work together. In the following years, the company has received multiple awards as a result of their growth.

To find out more about The Russell Group, visit

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