Whether you need support to take your business to the next level, or you’re struggling to achieve a specific business goal, a business coach can be a great asset to your business. However, finding the right person for the job can be a challenge in itself. Not only do you have various types of business coaches to choose from – each with different skill sets – you also need to sort the good coaches from the bad.
With so many options, where do you begin? To help you on your path to finding the right business coach, here are nine questions you should consider before making a decision.
1. What Are You Really Looking For?
Take some time to consider what kind of help you need and also what you want to get out of coaching. What do you want to change or accomplish in the short and long term? For example:
• You need some motivation to change your mindset and stay focused on the right things.
• You have a business goal you want to achieve within a certain time frame.
• You know what to do, but you’re struggling to get it done.
• You have a weakness you want to overcome.
• You simply don’t know what to do next.
• You feel overwhelmed by daily tasks.
From the outset, it’s crucial to be honest with yourself and your prospective business coach; it will save a lot of wasted time and energy in the long run.
Some coaches are more adept at helping you understand what isn’t working and providing you with strategies to overcome your challenges, while others will have more expertise in personal development, helping you understand what is most important to you. Other coaches will have detailed knowledge and experience of your particular industry sector and can help you make the best decisions to maximize growth. The best business coaches can switch between different styles of coaching, depending on your personal needs and business objectives.
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2. Are You Ready for This?
Many business owners seeking help from a business coach underestimate the time and commitment it takes to get results. The best coaches will steer you in the right direction, but the progress you make and the end results will always depend on how willing you are to put in the work required. As the client of a business coach, you need to play your part by listening carefully to the advice you receive and making time to implement the strategies identified during coaching. In short, before you hire a business coach, make sure you’re willing to put in the work. This means being honest from the outset, and being open to new ways of doing things.
3. What Experience Does the Business Coach Have?
Ideally, the coach you hire will have at least 10 years of coaching experience, and will also have experience in running their own business. A business coach who has run more than one business will understand your fears and frustrations because they’ve already experienced many of the challenges you’re facing. This is especially true if they’ve owned businesses in the same sector as yours. However, a coach who has experience in other industries can bring an outside perspective that is just as valuable. If possible, find a coach who has experience in a wide range of sectors.
4. Is Their Online Content Consistent and Thorough?
Before choosing any business coach, check out their website, social media, and email content. Do they provide helpful resources and come across as knowledgeable? Can you relate to what they say? Or do they brag about their own achievements too much and just spout generic phrases that many other coaches use to sound clever? If their content is useful, insightful, and original, they are probably worth investigating further.
5. What Do Current and Past Clients Say?
Following on from the last point, it’s also important to check the references and testimonials from past and present clients of the prospective business coach. How many clients have they helped in the past, and who are they? If you can’t find any information on their clients or any solid testimonials, this could be a warning sign of an inexperienced coach.
Make sure any testimonials given are real names of people from actual companies. Also, consider calling past clients directly. Ask them about their experiences with the coach and what impact the coaching has had on their business.
6. What Do They Offer?
Before making any decision, you need to know what you’re going to be paying for. Will they be able to help you with all areas of your business, including any personal challenges you face? Do they offer classes, audio programs, books, and virtual meetings? How often will you meet? Does the coach clearly explain their fees? These are all questions you need to ask to determine the nature of the coaching process, and what you’ll get in return for your investment.
Fortunately, most coaches offer free initial consultations. This is a great opportunity to get to know a prospective coach, test the relationship, and find out exactly what they’re offering.
7. Do They Communicate Effectively?
The best business coaches can clearly express their thoughts and talk to you in a way that you understand; they won’t confuse you with complex industry jargon. They will put you at ease and help you speak openly to uncover any underlying problems and challenges.
Do they really listen to what you say and respond with relevant feedback, or do they seem more focused on their own predetermined theories and strategies? Your coach should be flexible and show a willingness to focus on your needs.
In your initial consultation, it’s also important to find out how you will communicate going forward. Can you send a message to them at any time of the day? How quickly can you expect a response? And what’s more, will you be charged extra for contacting your coach outside of regular sessions?
8. Do You Click?
Coaching can be a long-term investment of time and resources, so don’t underestimate the importance of finding someone whom you actually get along with. You might meet a few business coaches before you find one that “clicks.” Some people seem perfect on paper, but when you meet them in real life, something feels out of place.
When you talk with a potential coach, do you feel comfortable opening up to them? When they talk, do they inspire you or do they make you feel nervous? Do you enjoy their company, or do your personalities clash? If something feels not quite right, it’s probably best to continue your search. Trust your instincts – you’ll know when you find the right one.
9. What Are Their Values?
From the outset, it’s crucial that both parties have clear expectations of what can be achieved and how to achieve it. This is why it’s important to choose a business coach that shares your core values and understands the situation from your point of view. You may not be looking for a friend, but the most successful coaching relationships are based on mutual respect and trust.
Is their coaching style compatible with your approach to business? What does “success” look like for them? Does it match your own definition? If you have different ideas about what is important, the relationship is unlikely to be successful.
Hiring a business coach can be one of the smartest investments you make, but only if you choose the right person for the job. If you feel anxious about beginning the process, you’re not alone; many entrepreneurs and business owners are apprehensive in the early stages of finding a business coach. However, it’s important to remember that there will be someone out there who can help with whatever challenges you’re facing.
Use this guide to make sure you’re asking the right questions before choosing a business coach to work with. The answers will help you discover what you really need from a coach. It’s an important decision, and there’s nothing wrong with carefully assessing your options. After all, making the wrong choice can do more harm than good, but choosing the right business coach can keep your business on a successful path for years to come.
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