Is Your Business Coach a Therapist?

Coaching is a powerful tool for the growth of a business.  Good Business Coaches have mastered key skills and developed those through a comprehensive program that provides professional certification.  The greatest value from a Certified Business Coach is that they are focused on building and growing the business in a way that can be measured. Not all Coaches do that.  To quote a Forbes Magazine article, “Rather than focusing on developing, marketing and selling products and services that people want to buy, many business coaching programs have essentially become quasi-psychologist for many lone-ranger entrepreneurs in search of somebody who will finally understand them and the inherent loneliness often associated with founding and growing a successful company.”  The question you should ask yourself is, “Is your Business Coach a therapist, or are they a professionally Certified Business Coach?”

While these are seemingly harsh words, they are also quite accurate. In many cases, a Certified Professional Coach has helped business owners repair the damage done by self-identifying business coaches who are more focused on making the owner feel good about their business and “holding them accountable.” While accountability is a part of business coaching, it should not be the focus or primary purpose.

Today, anyone can decide they are a business coach. They can start their own business, buy a franchise, or go by another method to offer coaching services. The profession is unregulated and has no requirement for education, experience, licenses, or certification. You want to trust your business to someone who knows what they are doing and has the necessary education, training, experience, and credentials to be an effective business coach. The best way to accomplish this is by hiring only a Certified Coach. A certified and appropriately educated coach, at the very least, demonstrates some level of professional commitment.

A quick search of the Internet for “what value does business coaching bring” or “does business coaching provide value” results in a myriad of business coaching websites with these coaches discussing personal connections, feelings, and other emotions that, while having some importance, are outside of the scope of what a coach should be helping you to achieve. Business coaching is about bringing quantifiable, measurable value that impacts both the top line (revenue) and the business’s bottom line (profit). While it can and in part does address behaviors, accountability, and emotions, the primary purpose and focus of coaching should be on business outcomes. Business coaching must include quantifiable measurements with which to gauge success and determine your next steps.

Selecting a Coach should begin with preparation.  Preparation in the form of asking questions, evaluating responses, and making a decision based on the value the Coach can bring to your business.  A comprehensive set of questions and selection criteria can be found in my complimentary epub, Identifying, Selecting, and Working With a Business Coach.  Asking the appropriate questions and obtaining information that says the Business Coach did more than hold them accountable or made them feel good about their business is an important part of your decision.

Not everyone is coachable, and not everyone who works with a business coach is successful, in part, for that very reason.  For those who are Coachable and who genuinely participate in the coaching process, the Return On Investment (ROI)is very high. According to a recent study on Fortune 500 companies, the return on investment was as high as 529%.  If nothing else persuades a Business Owner or leader to consider hiring a Coach, that simple metric should.