According to The ICF Global 2020 Coaching Study, business coaches are now among the top 3 most popular coaching specialties. For you, this now means that you have an abundant choice when it comes to choosing a business coach to help you on your entrepreneurial journey. Having a business coach in place can make you a better coach yourself as well as help you to focus on the business building both of which will lead to a successful coaching practice.
With so many resources available online and elsewhere, finding a business coach is easy. However, finding the RIGHT coach for you is another matter. So how do you wade through the weeds in order to find the right business coach who will help you transform yourself and your business?
Generalist or specialist?
Business coaches usually practice in one of two categories – Generalists and Specialists.
A Generalist would look at your business as a whole, focusing on business goals and attainment as a starting point which can help businesses of all sizes come up with solutions, strategies, and action plans.
Specialists work in certain areas of the business such as marketing or sales for instance. Business coaches with an HR background can help you, improve the performance of your employees, or resolve issues such as high worker turnover, low morale, employee burnout, or poor communication. So if you have a specific challenge that you need help with, a specialist may be the way to go
Many business coaches combine coaching with other product or service offerings. A coach specializing in SEO for instance may help you to understand your SEO goals and develop a deep strategy to connect with your ideal clients, as well as perform the SEO tasks and functions to achieve those goals.
Choosing a business coach is not an instant decision and is not something you can rush. There are several factors you should consider when vetting a business coach as follows:
How do they represent themselves online?
Take a look at your prospective coach’s online presence, website and social media. Seeing how a coach’s website is put together will give you an understanding of their values and if they walk the talk. Business Coaches would know how important it is to have a website designed to convert visitors into clients, so if you are not seeing a website that makes you want to learn more about this coach – walk away!
How are they representing themselves when you look at their social media presence? Do they talk about topics that are relevant to you? Is there good value? Are they consistent in their postings? Do they seem to walk their walk and talk their talk? Does their online brand seem in line with what they say they help their clients achieve? Read their articles, books, blogs, and watch their videos. Can you relate to them? Are they sharing high-quality insight, or just the ‘same-old-same-old’?
These are all clues as to the work ethic a prospective coach has and allows you to see if you resonate with their content. That said there are still many coaches that do not use Social Media as a marketing tool so don’t base your whole decision on this one piece.
What are their qualifications or certifications?
This might seem like common sense but remember that the coaching industry is not officially regulated so anyone can call themselves a coach. Look for a coach that holds an ICF accreditation if possible. This way you know that they had to go through ICF-endorsed coach training and a minimum of 100 hours of coaching practice to get their accreditation.
What do they know about business?
Most business coaches started off their careers in large corporations or by running their own businesses. Take a look at their history on Linkedin or look at their website to see how they have gained their business experience and in what areas.
Who recommends them?
Asking for recommendations from peers is not a foolproof way of finding a business coach, but a trusted recommendation is a far better solution than doing an internet search. Also, look for testimonials on their website or social media pages and don’t be afraid to reach out to some of those clients and ask for their opinion.
Once you are happy with a handful of coaches that you have researched and feel like they are a good fit, it’s time to reach out to them and get a more personal feel. Most business coaches will have a free consultation appointment somewhere between 15 and 60 minutes where you can get to know each other a little better. This is your opportunity to drill into how the coach intends on providing you with value and solutions that will drive your business forward.
The continued relationship.
Let’s be clear here, hiring a business coach or a coach of any sort means starting a relationship. A great coach works so deeply on transformation with you that it does become personal, and as with any relationship that requires effort on both sides to maintain.
It’s not unusual to “go through” several coaches before you find the right one. Aside from the factors above in helping you to choose a coach, you also need to recognize how you work together, communication styles and alignment with your overall goals are also factors that will make or break your relationship with your coach. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to understand the fit without experiencing it.
Some coaches make that “try before you buy” phase easier by having a smaller paid coaching/consultation session that you can go through to get a feel for the coaching style before you commit to a paid program or package, which leads me to another point.
Look for a Business Coach that has a paid program or packages.
A good coach knows that you cannot create transformation overnight and that several coaching sessions are needed in order to create momentum. If a coach allows you to book your sessions whenever you feel like it and charges you month to month, in my opinion, this is not a good way to manage your coaching journey.
Whilst it is ultimately down to the client to decide what they want to be coaches on and how often they want to be coached, a great coach knows that accountability is one area they provide much support in and that often to get results, they need to hold their client’s feet to the fire.
Therefore if you are looking to achieve specific results from your coaching sessions, look for a coach that offers packages (better value for you) and/or a program where you can collaborate with others and build relationships at the same time.
It’s not about how expensive a coach is, it’s about how much value they can provide for you. If they can’t find improvements in your business – even quick wins – that cover their costs pretty quickly, you should cut your losses and find one that can. If you feel like your coaching sessions have turned into a “bitch session” and you are not moving forward, take a moment to re-evaluate your arrangements. Coaches are not cheap – the average hourly rate is around $250 now, however, a good business coach should be helping you to recuperate those costs in other areas.
Is there a connection?
If there is no connection, or no respect and trust, the coaching process is doomed from the outset. “You need to make sure that your values are aligned with those of your coach, both personally and in business. Look for someone who is genuinely interested in your success. As you know, coaching is about asking questions that serve you, the client. If your prospective coach is only talking about their own accomplishments, they are probably more passionate about themselves, than about transforming others.
Firm but fair
Coaches don’t always have the right answers, so if your coach is advising you to take action that you are not comfortable with or that you feel is not the right direction for you right now, don’t be afraid to say something. I’ve sat with business coaches before who told me during my free consultation session to raise my prices by 5% as the first strategy to make my business more profitable. They knew nothing about my clients, my values or my business model at that point. Needless to say, I didn’t end up hiring those coaches.
That said, on the other end of the scale, you do need a coach who has the courage to tell you to go for option B even when you would prefer option A. A coach who agrees with you won’t push you out of your comfort zone and we all know that personal growth is outside of that zone!
Ultimately you may have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your perfect business coach. Go in with your eyes open and don’t let yourself be talked into anything you are not comfortable with. As Oprah says “your gut is always right”. However, be prepared for a trial-and-error kind of journey to find the perfect business coach to help you transform! It’ll be worth it, I swear!
Here at Diligent Assistant, we know how overwhelming running your coaching practice can get and how it can be difficult to focus on a specific niche when you want to help everyone! That’s why we have business coaching packages that hone in on our Coach to CEO methodology.
Interested! Book a complimentary exploration call with us to learn more about our business coaching packages.