In a previous article I explored "what is a business coach and do you need one for your business." I also explored the 7 types of business coaches that you might choose to use to help you grow your business.
Once you know all the different types of business coaches there are, it can be tempting to jump in and hire one. But, when hiring any kind of specialist advisor in your business, you want one that is right for you.
Here are 7 things to consider before you hire a business coach:
So that you can ensure you hire the best one for you and your business...
What do you actually want or need help with?
Really, the most important question to ask of all. Because hiring the wrong kind coach can be an expensive mistake!
You don't want to hire a marketing coach, if you haven't first made sure your business is profitable. And you don't want to hire a sales coach, if you already convert customer well, you just need more people to know about your business (the job of marketing).
So you'll want to first get clear in what you need help with, and who the right type of business coach is to help you with that is.
If you have no idea what you need help with, you just know you need help, Audits like my In-Flight Audit® can be a very affordable way of getting clear on what your business needs to work on first (which is exactly why I designed it!).
Or, you can look into working with a generalist business strategist first. Just be aware that this is usually a lot more expensive than doing an Audit.
What are your expectations?
Do you want a cheerleader to give you pep talks every day or someone with a bit of a tough-love attitude?
Do you expect your coach to be available for emails and phone calls at any time, or are you happy with a more hands-off approach, such as more email accountability than in-person?
These expectations will affect the type of package which you'll be most suited to, and it will also alter the price that you'll pay. Because usually the more one-on-one accountability and support you get, (like my Flight Club Plus Program provides) the more you will pay.
Whereas if you are self motivated, and enjoy working as part of a group, you might thrive as part of a group membership (like my Flight Club group program).
It's just important to make sure that your expectations for the type of package you have chosen are realistic.
What are the outcomes you’re looking for?
To help find the right coach, and make their job a bit easier, try and get clear on the goals you have for coaching.
Do you want to grow your profits by ten percent in the next six months, increase sales, boost your ROI on investment, or scale up your business?
I work with a lot of clients who have been frustrated or "burnt" by experiences with other coaches. And many times this is because there haven't been very clear goals and timeframes set at the beginning of the coaching relationship.
So, be wary of a coach who isn't taking you through a Framework or process, or isn't setting clear goals with you for each session. Because outcome focussed coaching sessions are typically the most efficient way to see success.
What’s your budget?
Business coaches are usually specialists or experts in their field, so business coaching doesn’t usually come cheap. But it should provide a measurable return on investment.
When considering different packages, and choosing the best one for you, I always recommend that people thing about what it will take for them to get a return on investment.
Does that number of sales, or other outcome, feel possible or realistic?
Of course, no outcomes are guaranteed. But, you want to make sure that the required increase in sales or profit is at least in the realm of possibility.
How much time do you have to dedicate to it?
Whatever style of support you are after, remember that a business coach can only do so much. The ultimate power to transform your business lies in your hands and with how much action you take as a result of the coaching.
Outside of your one-on-one or group sessions, you must find the time to work on and implement the strategies or insights gained from your coaching. If you don’t have the time right now, what can you change to make it happen?
How much time can you realistically dedicate to this?
How well do you “fit” with them – do you trust and feel comfortable with your coach?
Finding a coach that you “vibe” with is essential. You don’t have to be best friends, but you do need to trust them and communicate effectively with them.
Take time to read through their website and browse their social media pages before contacting them to get a feel for their style, then use that first discovery call to see if the chemistry works for you.
What are their credentials?
The last step before you hire a business coach, is to check out their credentials.
One of the downsides of hiring a business coach is that there aren't any specific qualifications or memberships that a business coach has to have. In fact, in most countries, business coaching is unregulated and pretty much anyone *could* call themselves a business coach.
So how can you make sure you're not hiring a lemon?
Credentials can come in many forms.
Here are some things that you might like to check out about your prospective business coach before signing on the dotted line:
- What experience do they have?
- How long have they been a coach for and what did they do before that will contribute to their experience?
- What do their other clients say about them?
- Look for testimonials pages like my one. Or at their Google and Facebook reviews.
- Do they have any qualifications?
- I put this further down because qualifications aren't everything... Qualifications also date. So I'd personally put more importance on their recent experience and reviews.
- What results have they helped other people get?
- Look for case studies, testimonials or client videos which express results they've helped others get
- What industry bodies are they part of?
- Usually when you're a member of an industry body, there is a certain amount of training that happens as part of it. You want to make sure your coach is keeping up with their skills so that they're teaching you current best practice.
Once you've asked and answered these 7 questions of yourself, you've set yourself up for a successful relationship with a business coach.
So, how do you hire a business coach?
Here are 3 tips for making the hiring process go smoothly:
Audition several coaches
Most coaches will offer a free, no-commitment chat, so take advantage of that to suss out whether they are right for you and your business.
Get a written outline of what the package includes
Before you get started, it’s a great idea to ask for a written document of what their coaching plan will include or exclude. This ensures you are both on the same page and there are no surprises in store for either of you.
Take some time to read through the inclusions carefully and be careful of what you are committing too. Think about how long is the commitment for, what it actually entails and what your investment will be.
Make sure you're also clear in any cancellation or refund policy that might apply.
Ensure they provide a privacy agreement and terms of service
Your business coach will likely be getting access to your financial documents, your marketing data, your clients, and a whole lot of other sensitive information. Make sure that the privacy agreement and terms of service are specified in writing, so you're both clear on the expectations before you begin.
Hiring a business coach can be one of the best things you ever do for your business. But, it can also be an exercise in frustration and whopping great waste of money.
The success of the relationship isn't only down to your coach. Making sure you ask yourself these 7 questions first, ensures you've done what you can to set you and your business coach up for success.
There are also lots of ways we can help you at The Helpful Academy. Reach out and have a chat if you'd like to discuss which ways would suit you best.
About the author:
Kat Soper is the Founder and Head Trainer of The Helpful Academy Online Business School.
Kat is passionate about helping start-ups and small businesses succeed and achieve their business goals so that they can achieve the lifestyle they desire (and deserve).