What The New Era of Partnership (vs Guru-ism) Means For You

In Chronicles of a CEO by Rebecca Liston


I am writing today with tears pouring down my face.

There’s this feeling that I cannot quite describe that’s enveloped me since I wrote my last blog post about my 18-month “hate affair” with being a coach, and how I was happy to officially usher in a New Era of Partnership as we kiss the Age of Guru-ism goodbye, once and for all.

This feeling, in a word, is relief.

Relief to have written how I’ve been feeling for so many years. Relief at having let it all out.

And even more so, relief at how well you all received it. That article was more widely-spread than any other I have ever written and it’s dropped me to my knees.

I cannot thank you enough for your support. Truly. Thank you.

And so today it seems appropriate to talk about the “so what” of it all. So what that this is the end of guru-ism? So what if it is now all about true partnership and collaboration in your working relationships?

What’s it really mean for YOU? For your business? For your life?So here’s what I think it really all boils down to…(though I am sure I am missing a few juicy bits that will come to light in time):

Congratulations, dear reader, for you have entered the New Era of Business in which Community comes first. I have been “fore-telling” this to my clients for several years now as we’ve quietly changed their marketing strategies and revamped how they connect with their customers, and their teams. One of my deepest client relationships is with an incredible business woman in western Canada who, about two years ago, rewrote her company’s Manifesto with this in mind, and has now, surely and steadily rebuilt her entire company to be about this one thing: Community. She’s hired differently. She’s marketing differently. She’s taking her customer relationships differently (they stopped emailing!!). She’s assigning tasks within the office differently. She’s even arranging her client meetings differently. Every aspect of what she does (and has done for 20 + years) is changing in order to live out the company’s manifesto of delicious and delightful communications with their community. It’s impressive. It’s exciting. And it’s tremendously successful.

You have also entered the New Era of Business in which your Marketing gets to be about Connection, the shared journey, and your desire to give the gifts you bring to the world to others such that their lives can flourish (and yours can, too, for when we give what we get, then we get what we give.) No one writes about this better than my trusted colleague and dear friend, Stella Orange, so I am just going to give this piece over to her and suggest you download her white paper.  (And guess what? I am not doing that for some kick-back! I am not sharing this with you because she asked me to send it to my list twice next week and 4 times on Sunday! NO. In the New Era of Business, I get to share her stuff with you just ‘cuz I wanna! Woot Woot!) Check it out. You shall not be disappointed.

You have also entered the New Era of Business in which you are the King or Queen of the Effin’ World. You get to do what lights your fire, baby. Now, that said, I don’t suggest you toss your budget in the trash can or drop everything to chase the next bright shiny object because THAT would be a reactive decision and y’all know how I feel about those types of choices…No, what I am getting at here is that you are in the driver’s seat, firmly. When you’re anchored, grounded, and making active, conscious choices, the world truly is your oyster. Want to morph your speaking business into a business in which you host other speakers and create events like you’ve always wanted to do because deep down, you love throwing a kick-butt party? Do it. You can. And since there are no gurus to tell you otherwise, trust yourself, surround yourself with allies and mentors, and off. you. go.

You have also entered the New Era of Business in which shame, blame, and guilt have been gently asked to leave the premises. As entrepreneurs, we bring ALL of Who We Are to our businesses, and sometimes, we bring the Shame-Blame Twins and their nasty little brother, Guilt, too. They’ve done their duty. It’s time now to ask them to go play in the park while the rest of Who You Are gets down to business.

And you have entered the most amazing time to ever engage in a relationship with a business coach. We are collectively “calling out” the old ways of doing things and as such, you get to feel out your prospective mentors and truly make sure that they are Who They Say They Are. You are armed with great questions (Say, prospective mentor, how do you know what strategies will work best for me to grow my business?) and you know what answers to watch out for (read: no cookie cutter business building models, please!) Of course you need to have the basic foundational pieces in place to build a sustainable business, but that’s not what I am referring to here. Building blocks are critical for all of us — financial statements always need to be in order for example — but I am talking about overall strategy…vision…building it so that it feels good to you and serves your clients well. Find yourself mentors who get that this is about you and your clients, not them. Ensure that they are encouraging you, supporting you, facilitating you in finding your way on your own journey. There’s difference between a guide and a guru. One listens to where you want to go and helps chart that course using their wisdom and experience, lends support, provides perspective and insight, helps when you cannot see the forest for the trees, leads only when you cannot (out of fatigue, deep emotion, etc.) and willingly hands back the reins when you are once again able to take them. The other tells you where you want to go, lays the blame at your feet when you don’t get to where they said you should want to go (you “shouldn’t have taken that coffee break last week…you should have made more calls…you gotta just keep movin’ if you want to get ahead!” That kinda thing…), and always leads, and never asks what you really want to do (or how you might like to do it.) Yes. It’s a wonderful time to differentiate between a guide and a guru and perhaps the very best part is this: Most guides you’ll encounter were once lead by gurus…and believe me when I say that there is no experience like that one to teach a guide exactly what they don’t want to be doing! It will have made them even better at what they do.

And so welcome, dear reader, to the New Era of Business. May we continue to support one another in joy as we journey, collectively, on our path Home.

Fully completely,


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rebecca_purple2-190x300Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients are entrepreneurs with CEO-mindsets and executives with entrepreneurial instincts. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit rebeccaliston.com to find out more.