Today, anyone can get up in the morning and decide they are a Business Coach. The profession is unregulated with no required education, experience, licenses, or certifications. It is understandable that you want to trust your business to someone who not only knows what they are doing, but who also has the necessary education, training, experience, and credentials to be an effective Business Coach. The following will help you select your Business Coach:
A GREAT Business Coach will possess all of these attributes and qualifications. Good ones will possess most of these. Choose wisely:
CREDENTIALS – DOES ONE JUST SAY “I AM A COACH”:
In simple language – NO. Professional Business Coaches are certified by one of the many certifying organizations in the world. Additionally, their formal education is important. For Business Coaches I always recommend a Bachelor’s or higher academic degree in a business discipline.
A Certified and properly educated Coach, at least, demonstrates some level of commitment.
EFFECTIVENESS – IT’S ABOUT THE BOTTOM LINE:
How do you know the Coach is going to be effective? Are they going to meet a goal or are they just going to meet with you? Good Professional Coaches 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 message is simple. Coach for Measurable Business Objectives, Not to FEEL GOOD about your business.
LEARNING – WHAT WILL YOUR COACH TEACH YOU?:
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.
COACHING BACKGROUND – WHAT DID THEY DO BEFORE THEY BECAME A COACH:
What is the Coaches professional background? Does that Coaches background match what you are trying to accomplish? In other words is this someone from one profession claiming to have expertise in another or not having adequate support in the other. Size of business could also be important. Experience in a $1B company no more equates to working with a $1M company than does having $1M company experience and trying to work with a $1B company.
You also need to look at what skills the coach has. Has the coach worked at the same experience level of the individual they are coaching (i.e., if they were an executive, then they should understand the executive and below level). If they have had full P&L responsibility, they might be suited to coach at the President and CEO level.
Couple this with the appropriate education and certification and you may have found the right Coach.
METHODOLOGY – HOW DO THEY DO WHAT THEY DO:
Coaches should be able to clearly describe their approaches, but you should wary of coaches who market specific products, tools or are 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.
HOW LONG DO I HIRE A COACH FOR – THIS ISN’T FOR LIFE OR A MONTH:
As a general rule, I always recommend at least 6 months minimum. That does not mean you meet every day for that 6 months. Usually, a Coach will meet with you for about 1 hour every other week. This gives you an opportunity to practice what you have learned and give feedback to your Coach. If at the end of the 6 months the results are not being met as agreed you should consider the value that the Coach is bringing and make changes, if necessary.
Coaches who make statements that claim they will be with you 24×7, if necessary, are not appropriate coaches. They are more telling you what to do as opposed to “coaching” you in the necessary changes that need to be made.
Regardless of the state of your business, a Business Coach could be the perfect partner you need to grow and sustain your business. Good Coaches are not inexpensive and choosing wisely provides you with a demonstrable ROI. Choosing wisely ensures that the investment you make isn’t just a cost.