How to Find a Business Coach That’s Right for You4 May, 2015 By: Harry Hecht, U.S. Bank Equipment Finance
Ask any successful athlete or business owner how they achieved their success and they’ll likely give credit to their coaches and mentors. Business coaches can be the difference between simply reaching versus surpassing your goals and building a business that you never imagined. There is no reason to go it alone.
Why Hire a Business Coach? Business coaches come in all shapes and sizes. They each have their own unique systems, experiences and approach to business. When you find the right business coach for your needs, and who is a fit for your type of personality, they can lift you out of your comfort zone and guide you toward achieving the success you seek.
A business coach also does something that you might not be able to accomplish on your own – providing unbiased insight into your business goals, model, and practices. They can often spot challenges and identify strengths and weaknesses that you are unable to simply because you’re too close to the business. In addition, a business coach is often aware of the new technologies and best practices that you may not have heard about on your own. Capitalizing on trends and technology can put you years ahead of your competition, not to mention increasing the overall value of your business.
Finally, a business coach can help you stay accountable and on track. Plans and actions are easily pushed back – sometimes motivation and inspiration, along with opportunity, are completely lost. A business coach is like a personal trainer – they hold you accountable to reach your goals and on a deadline that is results-oriented.
How to choose the right coach for you The standard coaching industry attracts consultants, analysts, researchers, sales coaches, even therapists and people with good intentions who want to help. However, as there are no regulations or set of rules, the prospective client should choose a coach wisely.
1. Evaluate their credentials
A business coach should have some formal training, work experience, and an understanding of organizational dynamics including how to navigate corporate culture.
• Is the coach part of any relatable organizations?
• Does the coach publish books or articles, or speak at industry events?
• Does the coach offer products and services in addition to coaching?
Don’t take degrees and certifications at face value, however. They tell you little about the quality of the experience of the coaching. Get answers to your other questions.
2. Evaluate how they work with clients
Many organizational consultants direct you toward answers without involving you in the solution. That’s not coaching. A skilled coach will engage you in dialogue, give you a new look at an issue, and ultimately guide you to let you decide what’s best.
The coach’s role is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity which you already have. Coaches are trained to listen, observe, and offer advice to help customize an approach to meet your specific needs. Coaches will also elicit solutions from their clients, but a skilled coach also knows when to jump in and provide needed direction when you get off track or are misinformed.
3. Make sure they’ve been in your shoes
Make sure your coach has experience in your market or area of need, and speaks your language. Many individuals jump on the coaching bandwagon yet are not that experienced. While these “coaches” may have some skills and knowledge, they’re not necessarily effective at helping you really adapt your leadership style or improve your business performance.
Other ways to learn about a coach:
• Read their bio, then ask about their background.
• Ask if they’ve worked on the issues you’re having; get examples.
• Visit their websites and social media sites and see how they market themselves.
4. Look for testimonials and get real referrals
Most business coaches will post a partial client list or customer testimonials on their website for you to learn what their clients think of their performance. Beware of anonymous testimonials. Ask for a few names to contact to get a direct referral, to validate the coach’s work. Call or email them.
Ask specific questions such as:
• What was your experience being coached by this person?
• Did they help you achieve your goals?
• Would you hire this coach again?
5. Make sure you fit with your coach
Trust your instincts when deciding whether or not the coach truly understands who you are and what you need.
You may want:
• A coach who is direct and assertive to keep you constantly motivated
• A coach who talks about their experiences for you to share and relate to
• A coach who listens and “mentors” as you pull the answers from inside yourself
Ultimately, you will want a coach with whom you have great rapport, whom you would trust with certain details of your life and business as well as share your observations; someone who will not judge you but will support and encourage you to higher levels of performance in order to meet your set goals.
So How Do You Find a Business Coach?
My best advice, and certainly the first recommended step, is to start asking people you know, trust, and respect for a referral. Chances are many of your business associates have worked with or know of reputable coaches that are familiar with your industry and best practices. Make a list of coaches to consider and begin the interview process.
The next step is to begin researching those coaches and comparing their ideologies, methodologies and also the industries that they’re most familiar with. For example, some business coaches specialize specifically in helping MSPs or Print Providers. Narrow your possibilities by the coaches that best seem to fit your needs.
Once you’ve got your list of possible business coaches, pick up the phone or send an email! The next step is talking to them. You don’t need to love your coach but you do need to respect their abilities and be able to communicate effectively with them. Ask if there is an initial free consult session. If so, you can get a feel for how they coach and what will be expected of you. It’s a perfect way to test drive your ideal business coach.
Bottom line is, it’s important to choose someone who will challenge you in order to help you step outside of your comfort zone. You want someone who will motivate you, inspire you and help you make good business decisions in order to take your business to the level that you have dreamed of. Start now.
Harry Hecht, Business Coach and Consultant has 32+ years of business experience; was the former Regional Manager for US Banks` Office Equipment Finance Division, with 22 years as the Vice President US Dealer Sales for Konica Minolta Business Solutions, and 5 years as VP/ General Manager for Global Imaging Systems, a Xerox Company. He is a member of the MPSA and actively involved for 10+years in the development, creation, implementation & growth of Managed Print Services programs throughout the independent dealer channel. At email@example.com or 609-636-9893.