If you own or run small business the chances are you have a business coach. If you don’t then it’s worth thinking about because a good coach does many things. They hold you accountable, steer and direct you, act as a confidant or sounding board, give you fresh thinking and a unique perspective on things you often miss because you’re too close to the action, along with many other benefits. But like anything there are coaches who will work well for you and others who won’t. How do you find one who can actually makes a difference? Here are three things to look for.
What’s their expertise?
You need to figure out why you need a coach in the first place because a good business coach should fill a gap in your own skill base or mindset. In other words, they should know and do stuff that you don’t. For example, one of my coaches has a background in marketing as well having built a number of hugely successful businesses. Another of my coaches expertise is purely in writing. When I wrote my last book we would talk every couple of weeks because that’s what I needed at the time. So, ask yourself what you need a coach for.
Have they got the runs on the board?
I know this sounds obvious, maybe even nasty, but there are a lot of coaches out there who simply don’t have the experience in what you need them for. Personally, my coaches are better than me and they have the goods to back it up. Sure, no-one knows everything and to expect your coach to have all the answers simply isn’t fair, but at the same time, you want them to know what they are talking about and more importantly have been there, done that.
Are you aligned?
I get on well with my coaches, I trust them, like them and we are aligned in our values. You need to get on well with your coach because you want them to be honest, whack you on the side of the head every so often, and you need to listen. But you don’t want them to be best mate because then you are never going to take their advice and they may never give it honestly.
A couple of final questions to consider.
Is a coach for life? Some are some aren’t. It took me awhile to find a coach who I admired, respected and got on with, not that the others were good or bad, we just didn’t connect. Don’t be afraid to move on.
Do you need to touch base with your coach every week or month? There have been times with my coaches where we scheduled regular catch ups because we needed momentum other times when I just call when I need them. So, like most things in life…it depends.