Do Business Coaches Really Add Value?

It is a question I have been asked frequently, especially these last few months.  Always the question revolves around value.  Can a Business Coach add value?  As with many things and not in an attempt to be a smart alec but it depends.  It depends on the Business Coach, and it depends on who wants to be Coached.  Further, it depends on what the person wanting to be coached expects to gain from the relationship.

What creates value for a Business Coaching Client?

Let’s start with a statement; Not everyone is coachable.  The ability to be coached, to accept what comes from coaching does not exist in everyone.  I generally have those who are interested in receiving my business coaching services take a brief assessment to see if they can be coached. If the assessment determines they are coachable, then we can proceed.  If not, then I would suggest other means of improvement.

One must also understand that the purpose of a business coach is to help you help yourself.  They will assist you and hold you accountable in achieving the tangible goals you seek.  If all you want is someone to talk to or your goals are simply to feel good about yourself or your business then coaching is not for you.  If you want the coach to do it for you then a consulting arrangement would be better.

Coaching Isn’t For Everyone

A key part of value-added business coaching are the credentials of the coach.  Coaching is an unregulated industry, and anyone can wake up and decide to be a coach.  Sadly, many do.  To find a good coach:

You need to look at what skills the coach has to solve your problems. 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.

The Coach must help you set good goals.  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.

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.

Is the Coach Certified and have the appropriate education?  A solid educational foundation for a Business Coach is a necessity.  Commonly this would be minimally a Bachelors Degree.  They should also have specific education and training in business operations, accounting, etc.  Additionally, a Coach should be professionally Certified.  There are many certifying bodies for this and finding a Coach who took the effort to ensure they had the proper credentials benefits you and your business.

You don’t have to meet in person to participate in coaching and many coaches engage with their clients over the phone or through applications such as Skype.  Most coaches will meet with you bi-weekly with the expectation that you are working on those things you committed to in your coaching sessions.

Business coaches should be professionally trained coaches with experience in the areas you have hired them to coach you in. They will help you develop and grow your business by establishing goals, helping you prioritize them, help you achieve them.  If necessary, they help you gain the knowledge, Skills, and Abilities you need to run your business more successfully.

Many ask if a Coach should be certified.  There are differing opinions on this, but my view is yes they should.  The person may well have been successful at operating a business before they became a Coach, but having the necessary skills to be a coach are learned.  The only way to ensure that is to ensure that your Coach is professionally certified.  There are many options for this, and one is not better than the other.  The key is that you know your Coach has been trained on proper coaching techniques and has the necessary and informed body of knowledge to use them.

If your Coach has the necessary Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Experience, and Certification then gaining value from them is a partnership.  As I shared earlier, this comes from the mutually planned and agreed on goals you develop.  More importantly, these goals must be measurable.  Feeling better isn’t a measurable goal you should seek from your coaching relationship.  Increasing revenue, profit or some other tangible aspect of your business is.  You don’t want your coaching time to be a waste of time; you want success from your coaching relationship.  A recent Forbes Magazine article  Explains clearly Why (Most) Business Coaching Is A Waste of Time.

Coaching can be a great experience if you are coachable and you have a properly skilled and credentialed coach.  As I say on my website, Having a Coach… IS NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS OR FAILURE. IT’S-A SIGNAL OF SUCCESS!