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How Do You Find a Business Coach Suitable for Your Company or Industry?
This is a question I’ve been asked countless times, and I understand why people are so concerned about this decision. It’s a big step for a business owner or director to seek additional help from outside the immediate company. So, when you do make that move, you want to be 100% sure the information and advice you receive is correct for you.
With those understandable fears and concerns firmly in mind, I’ve put together my guide to selecting the perfect business coach.
How Do I Find a Business Coach?
Outside of referrals from other satisfied business owners, some common websites to find a Business Coach include searching social media sites like Noomii, Upwork and LinkedIn which are all ok options.
With that in mind, let’s get something important out of the way.
Before We Start: Understand Your Reasons for Wanting a Business Coach
Before we explore the key steps, I want you to spend time thinking about your reasons for wanting a business coach. You will only find that perfect person if you have some feeling as to what you want out of this relationship.
It doesn’t matter the exact reasons as often times problems exist in your business, but you don’t know they are there – this actually pretty common.
On the other hand, you may clearly see the need for guidance in your business. Possibly, you believe your goals are unattainable. The list of reasons can be extensive. Knowing you need the help and advice from an expert is strong reason for wanting a business coach.
Once you clearly identify the reasons (a good business coach can help you with this), it will help you better understand the coach you want or need.
With that point covered, let’s dive into how you find that all-important business coach.
Step 1: Do Your Research
My first tip is to do your research. This involves checking out the background of your coach and their experience. This is easier now thanks to the Internet, and it’s the first step I would always recommend to someone contemplating hiring a business coach.
Failure to carry out due diligence can easily lead to a poor coach and, in turn, a weak relationship. You could easily hire someone lacking knowledge about your industry or the size of the business. They may lack experience of even being in business and merely believe they are some sort of ‘guru’ without having the backup to prove it.
You must remember this decision to hire a business coach will potentially shape the future of your company. Under no circumstances should you ever go ahead and ‘employ’ a coach without knowing anything about them. Also, if it’s tough to learn about a coach, then that’s another red flag to pay attention to.
Never rush your research. It’s better to take double the time to be 100% sure of your decision.
Step 2: Understand Their Knowledge and Credentials
This second step kind of carries on from the due diligence point, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to be aware of their business acumen and knowledge.
For me, the key is the knowledge and experience of a business coach tallying with your business. But, I will explain what I mean.
If you run a business with let’s say 30 employees, would you want to hire a business coach where their experience is limited to coaching a business owner who is the only person working there? It wouldn’t make sense!
A coach with that restricted knowledge has limited insight into the issues faced by a company over a certain size. Sure, they may have the ability to think logically about goals, visions, and problems, but they don’t have the correct experience to help deal with those issues.
Also, will the coach be capable of understanding the stage your business is at? Do they focus on start-ups simply hoping to get up off the ground? Problems and challenges differ depending on where a business is at with its development. Is the coach versed in helping?
So, if you are a small business owner. Check that the business coach has the knowledge and experience of helping small businesses. If you own a company that operates nationally, or internationally, then check the coach can deal with that
Believe me when I say it will make a substantial difference to the outcome in the long-term.
Knowledge can also apply to credentials.
Countless business coaches effectively decide to become one on a spur of the moment. That’s fine if you have the background experience, but a lot don’t.
Countless business coaches effectively decide to become one on a spur of the moment. That’s fine if you have the background experience, but a lot don’t.
I encourage you to check the credentials of a business coach before proceeding.
In my case, I am not only a CPA but also a Certified Business Coach. I have built and sold two highly successful businesses. I built them by encountering and dealing with a whole host of problems. I know building a business is not plain sailing. I know all about the long hours, the stress, the difficult decisions to be made, and then dealing with the consequences.
That experience should form the basic foundations of any business coach. If they lack that personal experience, then how can you expect them to help you grow a successful business?
Understand your own needs and how they fit with the coach and their knowledge.
Step 3: Study Referrals and Feedback
You believe you have located a business coach you sense may be suitable, so what now?
Well, you don’t want to merely take the word of the coach as to how brilliant they are, and that’s where referrals and feedback come into play. You want to hear from others all about their experience with the coach in question.
Of course, any business coach of any value will be open to you checking out what others have to say about their experience. It’s in their interest for you to learn how they helped other business owners, like you, to break through that ceiling and attain new heights with their company.
Referrals and feedback can be brutal in their honesty. However, they give you an accurate picture of what to expect should you hire them.
Search online for feedback, check the website of the coach, and don’t be afraid to ask them directly about this.
Never just take the word of the coach. Check their referrals and feedback wherever possible.
Step 4: Quiz the Coach
I’m going to assume you have checked the referrals and feedback and are still interested in a possible business coach. Now, you need to interview the coach, or coaches if you are checking out several options.
A professional business coach will have no issue with you asking questions about their background or achievements. You will often find that type of information all over their website, so check out each page as it’s surprising how much info is on there.
You want to find out details including:
Remember this is an important step for you and your business. You need to be 100% certain that the coach is not only a fit for your company but also you personally.
This can be done either by email or check if a phone consultation is available. This gives both sides the opportunity to get to know one another and determine if there is indeed a fit.
Prepare your questions in advance and think about them. This step will provide clarity on the suitability of the coach for your business.
Step 5: What Does the Coach Offer?
Now, I understand this step may be difficult for some individuals. After all, not everybody will be aware of what they even want from a business coach.
However, I’m going to make that entire process a lot easier.
What I mean, in this instance, is to look specifically at what the coach offers in the way of their approach. Do they offer help with business plans? Do they specialize in sales and growing your figures? Do they focus on building teams?
You must be aware of what they do, and how their approach may have an impact on your business. Some coaches will decide to specialize in certain areas rather than providing more of a broad spectrum of advice.
Ask yourself, does this specialization correspond with problematic areas of your business? If it does, then the coach may be perfect for your needs. If not, then move on to another coach.
Oh, and at this point, I also want to mention something else that I feel is important.
As you are finding out what the coach offers, pay particular attention to whether you deal with the coach themselves, or some assistant. There are coaches out there that take on too many clients and have to use consultants under their ‘brand’ or have a team of coaches.
You want to know from the outset who you will be dealing with and what they themselves offer their clients. You don’t want to read up about one individual only to then discover after paying money that you are dealing with someone else.
What is on offer to potential clients should be easy to find. If things aren’t clear enough, then ask the coach direct questions about it. Remember, that’s your prerogative to do that.
Also, spend time understanding their overall approach, and make sure it’s not one-dimensional. Personally, I use 22 different strategies as I know not every business can fit into one approach.
Some of the items that a coach might help you with include:
* Developing an entrepreneurial mindset
* Accountability for business owners
* Preparing a business plan
* Delegation skills
* Time management strategies
*Creating business systems
* Gaining more customers
* Finding work/life balance for entrepreneurs
Now, I know the idea of all those strategies sounds a lot, but I can assure you it means so much flexibility while still providing a systematic approach that ultimately generates powerful results.
You want to know who you will be dealing with 100% of the time. Get assurances that the coach you are speaking to will be your point of contact.
Step 6: Do They Offer a Complimentary Session?
Even if their website and referrals point toward the coach being a fit, you won’t really know it until you sit down and have a chat. That’s why I suggest you check to see if they offer a complimentary session as this is one opportunity I would strongly advise you to take.
This session is designed to offer both sides the opportunity to check how they blend. It allows you to hear from the coach, speak to them directly, and see how you feel. It then provides the coach with the opportunity to learn more about your business, and to start to determine how they could help.
The length of this complimentary session will vary from coach to coach. However, considering this is the time to get a feel for the coach, I would avoid anybody who limits this session to only five or ten minutes. That’s not enough time for you to get a feel for the coach and to come to some sort of decision as to whether you would want to proceed.
You must remember that, up to this point, the coach has no idea you exist. Conversely, you only know what you have read about the coach. This decision to hire a business coach is important, so this session is key.
If a business coach does not offer a complimentary session, then you run the risk of spending money on an individual that is not for you. A responsible business coach should be aware of this and be willing to initially sit down and discuss your business and their approach without any contractual obligations in place.
Always use the complimentary session and then never rush into a commitment after it.
Step 7: Availability
Considering you will be leaning on a business coach for various types of support and advice, being aware of how their availability fits into your own business is going to be important.
Now emails can be sent at any time, but does the coach only work between certain hours, evenings, or weekends? How does that correspond to your own business hours?
This isn’t to say you must work the same business hours as that’s not necessary. Instead, some overlap makes the entire process of arranging sessions or being able to contact one another to work through problems a whole lot easier.
Questioning your potential business coach about their availability is something that should be done during your complimentary session.
While availability is important, include flexibility in your requirements to get the best possible fit.
Step 8: How Do You Feel?
I now want to talk about the aftermath of the complimentary session.
What you need to do is to think about how you feel. What are your thoughts on the points made by the coach? Do you feel excited about anything that was discussed? Is there a positive vibe, or did you feel drained or disappointed?
The reason I say all this is that your immediate gut reaction can be surprisingly accurate.
Of course, how you are as a person also plays a role. If you are the type of business owner that’s full of energy, buzzing around and making instantaneous decisions, then would a coach that’s more laid-back and methodical work?
The answer isn’t always as simple or straightforward as it seems. At times, having a coach who is the opposite of what you are normally like could help unlock the key to what is holding your business back. Perhaps you see qualities in their approach that you believe are lacking in what you do. If so, then that’s not only fine, but it could be highly beneficial.
What I’m saying here is to think carefully about the type of personality that you are as well as the potential coach. It’s not all about finding someone with the same approach as you.
But here’s an important final point for this step. Do you believe you could easily spend time in the company of your business coach? Remember you will be consulting with one another at various times.
You want to feel excited about the advice you will receive. You need to feel pumped at your new potential. If the coach doesn’t leave you feeling inspired, then it means they are not the correct fit for you.
Listen closely to your own emotions and feelings. If there’s energy, it’s positive. If you feel flat, then it’s negative.
Step 9: How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Coach?
The cost or fees, of course, are important. Your potential business coach must fall within your budget, but I must stress the need to look at your budget in the long-term rather than as a short-term solution.
Using a business coach is not going to be a single event. Positive changes cannot be correctly implemented after a single 30 minute or one hour long consultation.
You must be aware of the entire process that you, your business, and your coach have to work through to then allow your business to grow. The coach must spend time getting to know your business. They need to understand your vision and desire for your business. They need to become aware of your industry, competition, where you have been going wrong, and how to rectify it.
Then, they need to create a workable plan, and that plan or strategy will be unique to you. This isn’t some cookie-cutter approach where a coach will seek to squeeze a square peg into a round hole.
It doesn’t work like that!
Using a business coach needs to be over the long-term. You must have a clear understanding of the fees to then budget accordingly.
Is Hiring a Business Coach Worth It?
However, I want to put across an alternative point, and it’s a different way of looking at fees.
People look at fees as a cost. On the other hand, I look at them as an investment. For your business to grow, you need to invest in it. This is a basic principle.
Think of it this way.
You buy a motor vehicle, you put gas in it, and it gets you from A to B. If you don’t put gas in it, then you are stuck where you are and not moving. Hiring a business coach uses the same idea.
I see fees as being that fuel being added to your business to propel you to a new point in the future. That investment in the fuel pays dividends by the increased business that you will achieve thanks to the new strategies to be put in place. Your revenue will grow thanks to the investment. When that happens, do you see how it changes your perspective on fees?
At the same time, any fees should be clearly laid out by the coach ahead of time. There should be no surprises.
View fees as an investment to move your business to the next level with increased income and profit.
Step 10: Do You Feel They Challenge You?
Here is my final step, and it’s something to think carefully about after everything else. Do you feel as if the business coach would be capable of challenging you?
I’m not talking about challenging you in a negative manner. The role of a business coach is never to undermine your confidence or destroy your own faith in your decisions.
However, they are there to help push you and your business along to take it to a whole new level. This can only be achieved when you feel you are being challenged and taught a new approach.
If a coach comes across as being the type of person who won’t seek to force some movement or allow you to get away with merely continuing to do all the old stuff, then they are the wrong coach for you.
Remember you have sought out a business coach because you have realized that something isn’t working. How can you ever hope to make progress if the coach doesn’t push you into changes?
But this is something else that I want to stress.
You also don’t want to see your business coach as being overbearing, most people hate having those kinds of individuals around them. Sadly, some people simply have that kind of personality where they are a real alpha individual. They can still get results with that approach, but it’s not easy.
What I want you to do with this step is to think about the following:
If the coach has failed to say anything that excites or motivates you, then it may not be a match.
So, what should you draw from all of this? Well, I hope you get quite a lot from it because the one thing I truly want for you and your business is to find the perfect business coach capable of taking your company to new heights.
If you find this post interesting and would like to know more about my 5 stages approach to transforming your business, schedule your complimentary session today.
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