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Learning to fly higher in your business

Photo of a woman wearing aircraft communications headphones and sitting in the copilot's seat pointing to an object on the horizon as if calling it to the pilots attention.
Photo by Snapwire on

Jim Ratichek’s company helps business experts understand technology and use it strategically to deliver big results.

He’s been unpacking mistakes he made along the way in founding and growing AP Logic.

Want a true lesson in thinking at the proverbial “30,000 feet”? Jim takes it to a new level by recording video podcasts from 5,000–10,000 feet above the ground while flying his really cool airplane.

In today’s episode, he talked about mistake #2. In just over 3 minutes, he expertly explains the challenge that so many business owners have with modern day coaches:

Learning to fly without an instructor might be dumber than running a business without one, but it’s not as different as you think. — Jim Ratichek

What he says is so important that I want to reflect two key elements a bit more.


Who’s business model is it, anyway?

Jim says “a lot of people want us to follow their business model rather than them actually helping us with our business model.”

I’ve written about the modern 8, 11, or 13 step plan most coaches have for their clients these days. In part 1 of the Three Key Contributors to Growth (Coaching), I wrote:

A coach who tells you they have a plan for your results before they’ve even talked to you? That’s probably a consultant masquerading as a coach. It is important to know the difference. A true coach will start with you. What are your goals? What do you want to see? How can we design a series of conversations that will help you think differently?

Here’s a question to consider:

How can you, a business owner, tackle big challenges in bold new ways if you’re following somebody else’s plan?

In Jim’s model, the coach is like a flight instructor. They know something about the journey and how to help you see the inputs differently. 

He says:

A good instructor…doesn’t have their hands on the controls, flying the airplane. In fact, a good instructor is typically very hands off. What they actually do is point things out. They see what’s coming ahead on the chart. They see what the gauges are telling them — things the student may not realize….good instructors are always getting the student to look further ahead.

Your business. 

Your vision.

Your process.

Having a coach who helps you see things you’re missing (or focusing too much on) is incredibly valuable.

And you probably won’t get that if you’re focused on applying whatever lesson is in step 7 of the coach’s process.

A training course, facilitated by a professional coach, can be a helpful professional development tool. But it isn’t the same as having individualized flight instruction that’s tuned specifically to the challenges you’re experiencing in your business. How could it be? The pre-designed “curriculum” doesn’t know about your specific challenges and how this design-your-own-adventure of business will change based on a decision you make today.

The key is for you to be clear on what you want so you can achieve your goals.

When you’re doing something unique, why not find someone who is willing to hop into the seat and fly along with you?

Here’s the link to Jim’s video post on his LinkedIn thread — you should really check it out:


Paravelle offers executive coaching services to founders and CEOs with big growth goals. It's a crucial support structure that helps leaders avoid the negative results that come from being lonely at the top.

We might be a good fit to work together if you're:

  • at the create (<1M ARR), build ($1-3M ARR), or grow ($3-5M ARR) stage,

  • curious and looking for ideas and answers, and

  • ready to invest in working with a collaborator that brings a co-founder's perspective (without losing half your equity).

Let's chat!


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