When you’re ready to hire a business coach it’s good to do your research first. Reading up on what sort of qualities to look out for in a good business coach is important when you’re narrowing down your options.
The aim of business coaching is to help the business owner impact the growth and success of their company positively by shaping and enhancing their role as the person leading the business to success. The business coach ensures this is done in a measurable and sustainable way.
With a clear focus on your objectives, your business coach will help you to problem-solve, plan strategically, create high-performance teams as well as develop leadership skills to lead the company to success confidently. For the relationship to work effectively, your small business coach will attempt to create an environment of trust and respect, accountability and challenge, whilst making you feel safe.
So what makes a good business coach? Let’s not forget that every business coach has a different personality and a good business coach will remain authentic to themselves. However, assessing the different coaches at ActionCoach, we can distinguish 13 traits that make a great business coach.
A good business coach will…
A good small business coach will keep you accountable and therefore will have some expectations of you, which they will lay out clearly giving you a timeframe within which they expect you to complete the task. They will expect that you dedicate a sufficient amount of time to working ON the business, applying all the advice and practical tips they give you during the coaching sessions. It should be a red flag to you if your potential business coach doesn’t emphasise that the process of business coaching requires you to put in a lot of work!
Have the experience you want
Hiring a business coach who has never coached entrepreneurs who are in a similar position to you makes it unlikely that they will have the right insights to give you the advice you need to move your business forward. Some people might be tempted to go for celebrity coaches thinking they will be able to get them the best results. However, by the time a coach becomes ‘famous’ for coaching well-known business owners, their clientele base might have shifted towards much larger organisations and may therefore find it difficult to relate to your situation and the place your business is in.
Ask you all kinds of questions
A good business coach will ask you many questions to get down to the nitty-gritty. They will want to know about your personal motivations for running your business, where your insecurities lie and what your grand vision for the business is. They will want to know whether you’re looking to create a sustainable business with a regular source of income or if your efforts are concentrated on building the business fast and selling it on within a few years time. Additionally, they’ll try to dissect your products and services to help you bring the best out of them. The more questions your business coach asks, the more they are interested in you and your business. It is a good sign that they are not assuming your business is the same as a business they helped last year that happens to be in the same industry.
Want to know how you like to work
Having your business coach force you to do something that is outside of your strengths but has always worked for their other clients is not going to produce the best results. A good business coach will take the time to find out how it is that you like to run your business and do your sales. They will assess with you whether it is working for you or not and will help you to capitalise on your strengths to develop the best system for your personality and business model.
Saying that, don’t expect your business coach to be easy on you – they will push you outside of your comfort zone when they believe it will be beneficial for your personal or business growth. However, they will not go against your natural strengths when for example, helping you to develop a marketing funnel.
You want to work with a business coach who has your best interest in mind and believes in you. When you’ve found a coach like that, you’ll know they’re a good coach if they take action and risks on your behalf. For example, they’ll make introductions to other professionals or business owners that might help you, or refer your business to others. You don’t want a business coach who only offers you advice. You need a good business coach who actually follows through with the steps to help you, whether that’s introducing you to others, giving you a book that they think will benefit you or recommending a specific course or a resource that can enrich your skills.
As mentioned before, a good small business coach will push you to step out of your comfort zone when they believe it’s appropriate and helpful for you. Every time you step up to the challenge they’ll find the next opportunity to stretch you. Good business coaches are able to judge how to help you grow by pushing you further without breaking you. Without them, you might never know what you’re capable of.
You will not learn much from a business coach who gives you praise just for trying. The best coaches are ones who are able to tell you the truth in a tactful way. The feedback needs to be specific to what you do right and wrong, not general.
As your business grows, there will be more challenges and learning to take on constructive criticism from your business coach at this stage of your business helps to prevent any foreseeable problems before they grow with the business.
Hold you accountable
One of the biggest benefits of having a business coach is having someone to be accountable to. A lot of the time things get in the way as life gets busier. Most business owners I know, including myself, tend to drop the ball on their own business and focus on their clients when time is scarce. A good business coach will not forget about you and let you disappear – they will keep checking in with your progress and support you in any way they can. A lot of people find they become good friends with their business coach.
Be willing to share & will have a love of teaching
You will notice a great business coach by their willingness to share wisdom and knowledge with you. A coach who is generous with their time and expertise will not hold back as they want to see you succeed. Additionally, the way they deliver the teaching shines through if they are truly passionate about it. If your business coach shows up late for your scheduled meetings right at the beginning of your working relationship, you can assume this will continue. Not only does it show disrespect to you and your time, but it also demonstrates they are not as engaged with the process as you want your business coach to be.
Have a good attitude
Business coaching is something that requires a serious commitment from the business owner. At the same time, you don’t want it to become a very dry and overly serious part of your week. Finding a business coach who approaches life and business with a good attitude goes a long way. Having spoken to many coaches within the ActionCoach organisation, I believe a good attitude is a trait shared by those with a lot of experience. Very often, those business coaches have been through many different situations and helped various businesses and know that having a sense of humour helps to get business owners through tough times.
You must be able to feel that you can reach your coach whenever you need them. A good business coach will not overbook themselves with clients in a way that doesn’t allow them to provide each individual client with enough attention and support. Your coach and you should chat about communication outside of coaching sessions and establish a common ground that makes you feel supported and fits your coaches schedule, too.
In business, it is often about who you know. Business coaches will have good relationships with people in various industries that he or she can connect you with. Often, the more experience they have the more connections they have.
Help you to create and implement a strategy for your business
What you can expect from a good coach is their help with creating a strategy for your business that will aim to get you where you want to be with your business and personal life in relation to your business. Not only, will a good business coach help you create one, but they will be there beside you helping you to implement that strategy.
At ActionCoach, we like to create 90-Day Plans with your mentees to break down the action plans into quarters and then further into weeks and days. This helps business owners to come up with digestible activities and tasks that they can get on with or delegate to the team each week. This keeps the ball rolling.
Even though your coach will be there helping you to create your business strategy, their role is more of an advisory one. They will point you in the right direction or highlight areas that you might have overlooked in the past, but will not create the strategy for you. You still have control over your business and you will be the one making the critical decisions. You can, however, explore the different options with your business coach and ask him or her for advice.
What will I get out of working with a business coach?
When you have found the right coach for yourself, you can be sure to come out on the other side with more clarity in terms of your vision and an action plan on how to get there.
A good business coach will be able to pass on important lessons and skills that you will be able to utilise in the future in your business as well as your personal life.
Your role as a leader will be enhanced by new skills and knowledge that you will need as the business grows. Among other things, your ability to think strategically will have improved.
Depending on how much effort you put in, business coaching results in improved business, whether that’s down to strategy, implementation of it, systems and processes, a new team or a combination of all of those things. Your business success will not only mean monetary gains but will also fill you with confidence and pride, which will motivate you to go further and achieve more.
If you’re at a point where you are considering hiring a small business coach, there might be many questions going through your mind. One of the big questions that small business owners will ask themselves is “How much does a small business coach cost?”. I answered this in another blog article and invite you to read it! And if you’re ready to have a complimentary consultation to see if I can help you improve your business, get in touch!