Should You Hire a Business Coach?
A successful company sometimes owes its success to a coach one way or another. Some of the biggest names in business have hired business coaches for themselves. If you want to take a piece of the pie, you need an effective, reputable expert.
Business coaching can be a great opportunity for many individuals. Just remember to assess every coaching program individually. When you invest in an executive coach that offers actionable advice, you’re sure to take a firmer, more well-judged step forward.
If you’re thinking about hiring a business coach, you’re not alone. The International Coaching Federation, one of the primary organizations that upholds coaching standards, estimates that there are over 53,000 professional coaches worldwide. Why have business coaching programs so exploded in popularity, seemingly overnight?
The answer is that – or a lot of people – they work. However, that hasn’t stopped some less-reputable coaches from making bold claims that don’t really pan out. Is it worth the investment?
If you want to make sure your business coach isn’t a waste of time, here are 3 things to really consider.
1. Your Business
The first thing to think about is your business. Understanding more about your venture’s place in the world can help you understand how a coach might assist.
Area of Business
Consider your unique area of business. What are you selling? How are you selling it? Different niches, industries, or arenas should require different types of coaching. You won’t sell soft drinks the same way you’ll sell luxury cars, after all.
You need to understand your area of business fully if you’re going to take action steps to enhance your venture. Just as importantly, it will affect the coach you pick. If a coach promises to be a catch-all solution, it’s worth thinking twice about them.
Yes, the underlying systems and processes necessary to run a successful company do tend to be similar, regardless of your business’s industry. However, that doesn’t mean every coach will be able to help with every industry. Instead, try to find a coach that has worked in the industry you’ve chosen.
Age of Your Business
Whether your business is young or old, this is an important thing to keep in mind. The age of your business has a dramatic effect on the advice and insight you need. After all, a longer-lasting business is often less shaky than a brand new business.
When you have an established business, people have already invested a lot of time and money into strengthening the venture. Brand new companies often lack that additional strength.
Does that mean there’s a specific age of business at which you no longer need a coach? Certainly not.
The coaching process can benefit anyone, regardless of their time as a business leader or their current business’s lifespan. However, younger businesses, by their very nature, are more prone to disaster. That means a coaching relationship can be even more effective for newer businesses than established ones.
It’s important to think about the competition surrounding your business. This can positively affect both your sales and your coach-hunting goals. Be sure to ask yourself these questions:
- What are other business leaders in your industry doing?
- How are they marketing themselves?
- Are there many successful companies in the industry?
- Does the industry still have many small companies?
- Is there new technology you haven’t adopted?
- What is the trajectory of your industry?
Chances are, some of the most successful businesses in your industry are utilizing business coaching programs in one way or another.
Do you want someone to encourage you to take measured risks and put your company out there, or are you satisfied with the moderate growth you’re experiencing now? Keeping pace with the competition is good. However, outpacing them is always better. You can pick a coach that’ll guide you in the way you believe you’re primed to go.
2. Your Coach
Next, you want to carefully assess your potential coach. Consider these elements of their background to decide if they’ll bring effective coaching to you.
Of course, the first thing many people consider is the coach’s credentials. What businesses have these experts helped? Do you notice many successful businesses on their past-clients page? Be sure to check if the coach has experience managing businesses that are similar to yours.
Additionally, see if you can find word about these business leaders and their opinions of the coaching. This can be done through testimonials, reviews, or even contacting people directly (with permission, of course).
Be sure to seek out information from the coach where they describe the coaching process and enumerate how they helped this business leader. Do both parties seem like they received some valuable information through the process? Did it seem like the business was able to achieve the results the coach was pushing for? These are all important things to check.
Next, it’s good to take a look at the claims the coach is making. This is partially because some coaches make outlandish claims that they have no way of delivering on.
If a coach is promising overnight success or generally telling you that you can become successful without an investment of your own time and energy, that coach is telling you lies.
Any coach that’s worth the investment is going to tell you that there’s no “secret key” to business. There’s nothing you can do that will immediately turn your business into the most successful company in your industry. What you can do is put a lot of time and money into your business.
A coach is here to guide you toward something better, not somehow magically transform your company.
Although this isn’t the most important aspect, you do want to get along with a potential business coach. After all, business coaches aren’t just there to help you with business. They’re also life coaches. A business coach may help you with:
- Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses
- Bringing an outside perspective to your company’s system
- Holding you accountable for your promises and choices
- Helping you balance your life and your business
If you don’t like your coach, you run the risk of feeling frustrated when they give you actionable advice. Talk to your coach before you hire them to make sure you feel comfortable around them.
Lastly, take a good, hard look at yourself. Consider these elements of both your personal and business lives to understand the benefits of a business coach.
What do you have that gives you an advantage in the business world? Most entrepreneurs have some sort of advantage that they leverage as they become more successful. However, it’s up to you to find out what those advantages are. They may include any of these:
- Educational background
- Connections with investors
- Specialized knowledge
- Friends in certain industries
- A strong support network
- Lists of potential clients
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. Depending on your industry and your unique position, you may need some of these skills, while others may be irrelevant. A business coach should help you identify this, as well as other skills you may not have recognized. With that understanding, effective coaching can then help you utilize these advantages in the best way possible.
Potential Business Issues
What are you dealing with that might have an impact on your business opportunities? Most commonly, this has to do with your demographic or current events in the world.
Consider some of these statistics. As you can see, you may have some roadblocks to get through:
- 58% of woman entrepreneurs believe women still don’t have equal access to capital
- 15% of the United States’ businesses are minority-owned
- Immigrant-owned United States businesses have about 70% of the average sale levels of non-immigrant-owned businesses
These aren’t the only impacts to consider for business, but they are important.
It’s also crucial to remember that they’re not insurmountable. In fact, this may be part of the reason you want to hire a business coach. Especially if your business coach has a similar background to you, they can help you with implementing proven strategies to overcome these roadblocks.
Knowledge of the Business World
Be sure to consider your own existing knowledge of the business world. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that your experience, knowledge, or general understanding is limited. However, if you lack a strong footing in business dealings, you definitely need a coach who knows a lot about how a successful business handles itself. That way, you can learn what you need to succeed.
Nobody is born with an all-encompassing knowledge of business. Everyone had to learn their business savvy at some point. You just need to be honest with yourself when it comes to whether or not you have that footing in business already. If you don’t, you’ll want to create a coaching relationship where you can learn it.