Getting a business coach can be a significant investment. As a prudent business owner, you will want to make sure that you are getting good value for your investment of time and money. In this article we will discuss if business coaches are worth it, when are they a bad idea, and how to make the most of your investment.

What a business coach can do

First of all, let’s take a look at what business coaches do. There are many possibilities that a coach can help with. Some of these include:

As you can see, there are many different factors that a business coach can provide value to. The challenge will be to figure out what your real challenge is. Typically, a business owner will think that they understand what the challenge is. Unfortunately, it’s more complex than it seems. That’s when a strong business coach will rise above other coaches. They will be able to sort through all that is happening and quickly assess what is really happening. This core condition is important to know so that you’re not working on something that doesn’t need it or worse, working on a surface-level issue. Working with the wrong issue leads to wasted time, energy, and resources.

A good example of this was a call I received recently from a prospective business owner. They wanted a specific lunch-n-learn session on sales to address a problem they had. I then asked several questions about what was going on and could see more was happening. They agreed to send an audio recording of a real client call. I reviewed the call and recommended a different solution that would have worked well to solve their problem. Instead of taking my expert review and recommendation, they still wanted the session they originally requested. In the end, I declined the job as a matter of integrity. I believe in providing the right solution for the right problem. The client will find someone to give them what they want. Unfortunately, they’ll be disappointed in the lack of results it produces.

The moral of this story is that a good business coach will have enough experience to help you because they will be looking at things from a much more informed position.

When is a business coach a bad idea?

Not all business coaching will give you what you need. If you pick the wrong coach to help you with a problem or new phase of your business, you won’t get great results. After spending 40 years in business as a businessperson or coach, I can say that thriving in a small business takes an understanding of how difficult it is to be a business owner. So, coaching is a bad idea when:

Just a note about all of the ads you see for an online coach or a program they offer. Online programs are based on information and are usually very expensive. An important thing to remember is that the online marketing model is about only providing the participant with a taste of what’s available. The primary focus is to upsell the next program each time by manipulating your emotions to get you to buy.

How to make the most of your investment in a business coach

To get the best results from your coach you’ll need to be clear about where you want to be in the months ahead. Once you let your coach know what the big goal is, they can see if it’s realistic or if more time will be needed to get you there. Then, come prepared, do your homework, and share your struggles. If you can’t seem to get things done that will move you forward, don’t worry, that’s normal. A good coach can help you work through the implementation challenges you have, and there will several. Also, remember that you are an important part of the business. That means your well-being needs to come first. If your coach is applying high accountability and driving you too hard, let them know before you become over-stressed.

How to pick the right business coach

Before you hire a coach, you will want to know more about them. Here are the areas you will want to consider.

Experience – What experience does the coach have in business, and how successful were they? How many small businesspeople have they helped? They don’t necessarily need direct experience in your industry unless they have been highly successful. Even then, the successful things they did in their area may not work in yours.

Coaching skill – Having a properly trained coach will be an asset. They can help you work things through and get moving. However, if there are larger issues that require other expertise, such as financial or technical, a trained coach may fall short  

Mentoring – This is the coach that has direct experience in your industry. They understand what it takes to be in your position and that can be a priceless advantage. Of course, having this experience may not be enough to give you the help you need. My background is a great example. I have run several different businesses including trade businesses. I understand what tradespeople go through. I know what it’s like to deal with customers, staff, regulations, and physical exhaustion. I also have been trained in many styles of coaching and am considered a senior member of the coaching community. I also specialize in high-performance coaching skills. If you put this all together with my ability to help all types of small businesses, I am able to help most businesses grow.

Consulting – Consultants are brilliant at discovering what the best course of action is to move forward. They are able to analyze the information and create a great plan to get you where you want. What they are not good at is the human factor. They don’t consider what the people who will be going through the change will need. Although you could hire an expert to help with this such as a project change manager, you may find it too expensive to have both parties on your payroll. Unfortunately, we have seen many companies that had recommendations made by a great consultant be unable to implement any of the recommendations. 

Final recommendations

Congratulations on thinking of getting help. Take the time to get the right fit for the stage of growth you are at right now. Interview several coaches to see about their history, the results they produce, and what their main philosophy is. If you do you’ll find a great coach that will be an excellent investment for you. The sooner you get your coach the less mistakes and new problems you will mistakenly add to your progress. 

Be wary of signing long-term contracts that lock you in or have no flexibility for you. These help the coach and don’t help you at all. Above all, be wise when considering an online guru. They may be saying the right things, but will you get what you want? It’s better to pick a solid coach that can understand what you are going through and knows how to help.

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