Ep 11: Meet Business Coach and ‘Hostage Negotiator’ Chris Steinlage

When Chris Steinlage coaches business owners, he often feels like a hostage negotiator, trying to free the owners from their businesses to help them grow. Find out how Chris started his business and how he helps leaders improve.
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Our guest today is Chris Steinlage, a Certified Professional Business Coach and a Principal with Aspire Business Development. Aspire works with small- to medium-size businesses through coaching, strategizing, consulting, and training.

Chris started in management in the food processing industry in the southeast, where he was instrumental in implementing new procedures to reduce maintenance downtime and increase flow by incorporating more structured processes in equipment maintenance.

He later transitioned to being a business coach and helping leaders grow and improve their companies.

“There’s so many people that get really good at the mechanics of a business, but they don’t really know how to run the business,” said Chris. “We a lot of times promote ourselves as hostage negotiators, because the idea behind that is you’re trying to free a business owner from the business that is literally holding him hostage.”

One of the biggest things that holds businesses back from growing is not putting processes into place. It’s slow and you have to rethink it and update it. But once you get the process put together, it changes everything.

During our conversation, Chris also shares:

  • How he got into business coaching
  • How he gets business leaders to buy in
  • How he deals with difficult business owners

If you’d like to learn more about Steinlage and Aspire KC, check out their website here. 

Use the timestamps below to skip around to the specific topics you’d like to hear.

0:44 – Meet Chris Steinlage

4:35 – Aspire Business Development

5:32 – Responsibility of being a leader

7:20 – Business coaching

10:26 – Helping businesses

16:54 – Getting business leaders to buy in

23:46 – Dealing with difficult business owners

31:33 – Covid

35:00 – How to contact Chris


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Bernie Wurts

Since 1994, Bernie Wurts has been working with individuals and business owners to help them map out their retirement and succession plan.


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