Business Coach or Business Educator

It seems a Business Coach is born every morning.  Somebody wakes up and their first thought is “I’m going to be a Business Coach.”  I am aware of several of those near me and they harm an otherwise high potential growing profession.

Let’s establish first a foundation reality.  Coaching is an unregulated industry.  It has no standards, no license requirements, and no regulatory or governing body.  It simply is.  Because of this, it is imperative that when you select someone to help with your business that they have the right credentials and provide you with what is most important to your business.  Be wary of those who promise results; I know of one “Coach” who promises to triple revenue, yet does nothing to measure or demonstrate how they will do that.  They charge their clients a lot of money for that too. They don’t even offer a refund if the promise is not kept.

A good Business Coach is a Good Business Educator.  They don’t just give you forms to complete, send you text messages multiple times a day all preceded by vague or near impossible commitments of helping drive you to success.  Further, they don’t offer you better service or results by increasing their prices.  While the premise of coaching is to help you find the solutions within yourself, all too often the real solution comes from you being shown, educated if you will, on how to do the things necessary to develop a successful business.  This is where the Business Coach MUST be a Business Educator.

You also should expect, no demand, proof of success.  How does the person you are hiring demonstrate that they have been effective?  Do they delve into your business performance with specifics and can they share how they will address the different key areas of your business?  Or are they simply telling you what you want to hear without providing any truth or substance?  Ask them for a case study on some of their successes.

Good Business Coaches and Business Educators establish goals with their clients.  These are tangible business goals and not soft targets such as being a better person; being a more effective leader, etc.  Good goals are measured in dollars and cents against an organizational goal that the coaching supports.  If a Coach says that is not how they work or how coaching functions, find another candidate for your coaching needs.

The best results from coaching come from the support coaching gives to an organizational development, training or change initiative.  Research shows that while coaching alone can improve organizational performance by approximately 23%, coaching done in consort with those other initiatives improve organizational performance by as much as 88%.   The message is simple.  They should Coach for Business Objectives, Not to FEEL GOOD about your business.

Some may choose to disagree but I believe a Good Business Coach is a certified Business Coach.  Not only should they have the appropriate educational credentials which to me is at least a Bachelor’s Degree, experience leading a business, and preferably even more education, but they should also be a Certified Coach.  a Certified Coach at least demonstrates some level of commitment to learning and understanding how to effectively coach someone.  If you are investing your hard earned dollars to improve your business, you should demand a Certified Business Coach.

You should also understand exactly how they will work with you. Coaches should be able to clearly describe their approaches, but you should wary of coaches who market specific products, tools or unwilling to be flexible in their methodology. Good coaches will use models, techniques, and frameworks from a variety of places and experiences.  They will match your and the organization’s needs with an appropriate process for you…not for them. Coaches should use tools that are a fit for you, the organization and its industry and that they can clearly describe.  While they may well use a template or a tool, if that template or tool cannot be customized to your business, it isn’t something you should invest in.

Choosing a Coach should not be a spur of the moment decision.  It should be well thought through and carefully decided on.   It comes from relationships, and an understanding of measurable, tangible outcomes.  If your Business Coach candidate cannot articulate the dollar value return on investment you will receive from their full package they offer you, then they may not be the best choice as a Business Coach. 

In the end, it is your money and your business.  If the best the Coach can do for you is hold you accountable then you are better advised to find another Coach.  If your Coach has limited Coaching or Business experience, insufficient academic credentials, no Coaching Certification, cannot describe the Return on YOUR Investment in financial terms and cannot demonstrate how that return will actually be measured, look some more for a Coach who can.