Should You Hire a Business Coach?

Entrepreneurs are accustomed to going their own way: They take a great idea and make a business of it. But being independent and self-sufficient doesn’t always work to your advantage over the long haul, particularly if you’re strong in some areas and weak in others.

The time may come when the advice and insights of an expert can make the difference between saving your company and watching it go under. In these situations, small-business owners often enlist the services of a business coach to help them turn things around.

A coach is different from a consultant. Generally speaking, consultants come in to identify problems and to provide specific solutions. Coaches work alongside business owners, asking tough questions to find clarity and focus and guiding them toward discovering solutions on their own.

Here are a few ways in which a business coach may prove most effective. A coach can:

  • Offer a realistic assessment. Often the most valuable service a business coach can provide is an objective, third-party evaluation of your operation. It’s easy for small-business owners to be too close to a situation to fully understand the options and opportunities available to them. From time to time, we all need a reality check from someone who isn’t interested in “making us feel good” and who wants to share useful methods for fostering change. A knowledgeable coach can quickly identify where your strengths and weaknesses are in ways you most likely can’t do alone.
  • Provide valuable feedback. Maybe you have some great ideas about how to improve your company. A trained business coach can be the ideal sounding board — and help you organize what seems like a perpetually chaotic existence.
  • Instill accountability. As your own boss, who do you answer to if something goes wrong or just doesn’t get done? Business coaches establish a sense of accountability, much as a personal trainer pushes people to do more than they might on their own.
  • Get you out of a rut. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the business gets stuck. You know a significant change in attitude and/or process is required, but you just can’t decide where to start. A skilled coach can get you out of the doldrums.

Hiring a business coach doesn’t make sense for everyone. Help doesn’t come cheap, so if your budget is tight, you may want to consider less costly solutions, such as connecting with an expert in a local trade association or others in your professional network. If you’re fortunate enough to already have a trusted mentor or adviser, a coach’s services may be unnecessary.

If you decide to hire a coach, do so sensibly. Here are a few tips:

  • Know what to expect. A business coach can’t change your operation with a snap of his or her fingers. Expect to work closely with your coach to make the adjustments that seem right for you and your business.
  • Check their credentials. Business coaches should have some formal training and preferably belong to a coaching association or organization. Also, gauge how much experience they have in coaching entrepreneurs like you.
  • Ask for references. Get at least three references — and contact them. Ask these previous clients whether the coach successfully helped them reach their objectives. Have they referred others to this coach? Would they hire him or her again? What did they like best about working with the coach, and where did he or she fall short?
  • Take advantage of a free consultation. Many business coaches provide a free initial session. This is your chance to ask questions and get answers to your specific situation. This get-acquainted meeting can also help you identify your own preferences — whether you want step-by-step directions or more of a long-term approach. Get a sense of the person’s style. If it doesn’t feel like a comfortable fit, you may want to explore other options.

About Lee Polevoi

Lee Polevoi is an award-winning freelance copywriter and editor and a former Senior Writer for Vistage International, a global membership organization of chief executive officers. He writes frequently on issues and challenges faced by U.S. small businesses.
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6 comments
meredithhaberfeld3
meredithhaberfeld3

Business coaching is an ideal outlet to define roles and responsibilities in your business.  A business coach is a sounding board and partner in this planning process.

InstituteForCoaching
InstituteForCoaching

Work can be a meaningful experience that brings a strong sense of purpose to our lives.  Business coaching is an excellent support structure to define a vision, which guides decision-making, business imperatives as well as values and behavior embodied in your business.  A business coach will help you to clarify your vision for the business.

coachangel
coachangel

So true! Coaching makes a huge difference for so many business owners. Whether you're just getting started or need help advancing, coaching can make all the difference.What's especially true is that coaches help you see around the corners of what you don't know or can't see for your self. Sometimes that makes all the difference! 

YourSmallBusinessCoach
YourSmallBusinessCoach

Resounding yes to hiring a Business Coach -if your focus is on developing your business and are keen to accelerate growth without too many pitfalls and save yourself time and money. If you are looking for worklife balance as a business owner, then maybe a Personal Performance or Life Coach will work best for you. In genuine coaching approach, your Business Coach does not need to be an expert in your specific business (a Mentor may be more suitable). Your Business Coach, however, should have experience of running their own business, understand the mindset of an entrepreneur, be able to ask questions to challenge your thinking soa as to ensure your goals are relevant and necessary, be available between coaching sessions should you need to make contact AND be capable of sharing additional options that can be broaden those you have already. The latter will enable you to make informed decisions based on the best available set of options, not limited to only those in your knowledge base. 

 

Veronica

Your Small Business Coach

www.yoursmallbusinesscoach.co.uk

 

 

Hawkeye68
Hawkeye68

Lee Your description of business coaching is one of many different definitions of "business coaching." "Business coaching" can include anything the "coach" and even many times what the client wants it to include. Is your definition the most accurate? Is your form of business coaching the best for a business owner? Both of these answers depend upon what the business owner wants to achieve and feels is best for the owner. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. May I offer another definition of business coaching that has proven to work extremely well, because it is really a form of "Personal coaching" that focuses on business type goals? First. The only reason a person hires a business coach is to ACHIEVE their "coachable goals." The job of a business coach is to make very sure their business owner/clients actually COMPLETE their "coachable goals." Business coaches coach themselves out of a job. Second. A "Coachable Goal" is a "Future place you want to be that requires that you grow and improve as a person to achieve it." The most common business coachable goal is that owners "want to become far more successful and productive business owners on their own terms." Yet the real mystery is that owners are almost always confused about what in actually means to be successful and productive.  Third. The coach assists the owner/clients to discover themselves so well that they unravel the mysteries of themselves by discovering and becoming very clear about Their Own Personal 1. Passions, 2. Self Imposed Obstacles (the things they dislike doing) 3. Beliefs and values (their boundaries and integrity points) 4. Talents, and 5. Priorities. The owners become "The World's Leading Experts on Themselves." Fourth. When the owners become their own experts, they and their coach work together ash a well focused team to " Custom Design" the conditions of their business that will create the future place of success and productivity for the OWNERS that will allow the owners to fulfill their passions and priorities, follow their beliefs, maximize their talents and avoid as many of their self imposed obstacles as they can. Fifth. Coaches then hold the owners ACCOUNTABLE to THEMSELVES to have the steps executed that will create and custom build their business as they designed it. Note the owner is the absolute KING or QUEEN of his or her business, and not only has tho power, any capability to create the conditions of the business that please the owner, but owners have the right and obligation to do so in their best interest. Once the owners have created their ideally designed business on their terms, and the owners KNOW IT, the business coach has completed his or her job. Some other very important differences between your definition of business coaching that must be clarified to create the best framework for the above coaching to actually work. A. A business coach is the "EQUAL partner of the owner/client. NOT the owners superior in any way. The owner/client becomes the absolute center of attention and is the "KING" in this very special unique relationship. The coach never instructs, advises, sells, evaluates, critiques or judges the owner. The coach does NOT list strengths and/or weaknesses of the owner, to do so requires that the coach take the superior position, which once done, virtually blocks further coaching. B. The coach asks the owners questions to get the owners to open up and reveal things about the owners that they have never revealed to anyone else in the world, including THEMSELVES. The coach then reflects this newly discovered information back to the owner/client in a clear, objective, confidential, non judgmental and totally supportive way. This way the owners discover themselves for the first time through their coach, to gain true clarity and confidence about their 5 core ingredients listed above. This is a mirror reflection of who they are without judgment. No evaluation or advice. The business belongs to the owner.   C. Business coaches coach PEOPLE (The business owner) NOT the business. The very practical reason is that as the head (The owner) goes, so goes the body (The business) As I have said many times, "A Journey without a destination becomes nothing more than an aimless wandering." Business coaching virtually guarantees that owner/clients will discover, define in great detail, and actually reach their personally designed destinations for themselves and the business. Now the owners have clear passionate visions (Destinations) for their business and themselves that are in easy alignment. No confusion. No contradictions. Since, years of research have shown that over 80% of all start up businesses fail before the end of the first year, and the overwhelming reason this happens is because the owners are confused about their goals, roles, purposes and integrity. Confused owners frequently, change direction, purposes, priorities culture, integrity and motivations, which confuses everyone, and virtually assures failure.  For example, Steve Jobs designed and created the world's biggest small business from near bankruptcy because he had been coached and he was VERY clear and confident about his purpose and vision for Apple. He ran Apple in his own very unique way.The rapid decline of Apple upon his passing away was predictable. Bill Gates build Microsoft His way and it acceded because he did. Martha Stewart built her company her way and it succeeded because she did. The two founders of Google have stepped out and have let others run Google in other ways, hence the reason Google is also fading. Being a business owner is a very powerful and lonely position. Having a dedicated business coach to always seek the truth and work with as a completely supportive partner to develop the business in the best way possible with total clarity and confidence is priceless and has proven to be an excellent formula for business owner success. Regarding your steps to hire a coach, we have published the 6 key conditions to successful coaching that are different once again that we can offer at a later date if requested. These 6 conditions are universal.

Juan G
Juan G

@Hawkeye68 I need help, stopped using quickbooks but keep being charged $14/mo, where do I call?

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