By Steve Feld, MBA, Certified Business Coach
We see it everyone now day. In publications, on line, from networking groups, business acquaintances and the media. Having a business coach can make you a better and more successful business owner and leader. Whether you are in the early start-up stage or ready to take your business global, a coach can push you outside your comfort zone and provide the unbiased opinion and reality check that will keep you on track to achieve your business goals-or not, if you have chosen the wrong business coach.
Recently an entrepreneur shared with me their experiences with a business coach…
The coach meant well, but he told the owner of the startup that he had to grow a pair (of you know what) and move into a brick and mortar office, and to stop working out of his house as well as all his virtual employees. The coach told him, that no one will trust you working remotely, it will get you and your team to improve its morale and profits.
So, the owner found an office that he could barely afford many miles away from his house to look professional. Six months into his new location, he was putting his own money into the business to keep it afloat.
The owner told me, “Our productivity dropped, my stress went through the roof, I hated sitting in traffic every day and it got to the point that I didn’t want to get out of bed and go to the office.”
He said he closed the office down six months later, paying a hefty bailout fee on the lease, sent everyone back home to work remotely, and the business took off again. Six months later he doubled the size of his business with staff and sales.
With the pain of the lease exit clause still fresh in his mind, he said, “the problem was that the coach had an idea of what the business needed to be without taking consideration our business DNA. He never really listed and understood what we are, and what we wanted to be. It was what he wanted us to be which didn’t match up.”
The owner still understands the need for a business coach.
In fact, he had to get a life coach to get through the trauma of the office opening and closing. He now has a business coach that is there for him and his business. He said,
“Coaching is vital for me and my business. I just needed to trust myself a little more. Now, I have a clear vision for my business, which came through the assistance of my business coach. Listen to the advice the coach provides, but at the end of the day all the decisions for the plan are mine and mine alone.”
So, where do you find a business coach that is right for you and your business?
Peer referrals? Online review sites? Internet search? Industry organizations?
No matter which method you use to find a business coach, it’s not easy to identify the great coaches from the hacks.
Here are a few methods to find a business coach:
- Check them out on social media. Do they seem to walk their walk and talk their talk?
- Are they certified? Being certified is just like a college degree. They took the time to obtain the education and get the resources to help you. A non-certified coach may have just left that cubicle job and decided to be a business coach.
- Are they posting relevant content to what you are looking for in your business? Are they speaking your language?
- Do they have a proven system they use? Do they create everything for you from scratch, or have some methods that have been proven and tested to deliver positive results for you and your business?
- Do they have relevant industry experience? Has your business coach been there and done that? Do they know and understand what you are experiencing? Do they have resources that can assist you? Many of those poor coaches, have no real ownership or leadership experience.
The worst thing that can happen by choosing the wrong business coach is that it will hurt your bank balance for little while or you will receive no return on that investment. The wrong business coach can damage the business owner’s confidence and they start questioning if they should even continue with the business.
Avoid long term locked in contracts with a coach unless they guarantee a specific return on specific metrics. This is like locking into a 2-year phone contract and you realize the phone service is horrible in the 2nd month and now you are stuck for another 22 months with that carrier.
Remember, one of the most important factors for an effective business coaching relationship is the connection between the business owner/leader and the coach.
If there is no connection, no respect, no trust, then the coaching process is doomed from the start.
Make sure that your values are aligned with those of your business coach, both personally and in business, and that you get a positive return on investment by working with a coach. If they cannot find improvement in your business that cover their costs, then you should cut your loss and find a coach that can.
You can also start with a free SCORE Mentor! Click here to schedule an appointment.