Being self-employed can be a lonely business. Even when you have a team of people and the phone never stops ringing. The buck stops with you. And whilst you may well be the absolute best at fitting central heating, rewiring properties or servicing cars, it doesn’t follow that when you decide to go it alone you automatically acquire a fully formed set of business skills.
So, working with a business coach can be a great way to move your business forward – whether you need the accountability of having to ‘report back on progress at regular intervals, the benefit of another perspective besides your own on the unique challenges of your business or are just keen to save time, money and effort by being shown the way a little rather than having to find everything out for yourself! But there are a lot of coaches out there. So how do you find the right one? Here’s our top tips for making the right choice:
BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE
Don’t be afraid to ask how long they have been working as a coach and what brought them into the profession. Are they professionally credible – do they seem organised, structured and in command of their own business? Do they speak, write or teach on business topics? Are they in demand? Be conscious of how soon they are able to see you.
CASE STUDIES & TESTIMONIALS
Establish what kind of businesses they have helped and how. Have they coached businesses in your sector? Ask for specifics on what those businesses achieved as a result of working with the coach. Check out case studies and testimonials and ask if they have clients that would be willing to speak to you about their coaching experience.
THEIR SALES PROCESS
Be wary of grand claims. Promises to triple your sales in six months should be viewed with caution. Coaching relationships are a two-way street and it should be made clear that it will be down to you as the client to follow through on the actions you agree. Are they transparent about fees and what you will get for your money?
Find out as much as you can about how they work. Do they offer a free consultation so you can find out more before committing? Do they give away any free content? One size rarely fits all in life so look for a coach who offers different packages and services to suit the varying needs and budgets of clients. And give thought to how they deliver their services and how it would be best for you to receive them – do they have groups as well as 121 sessions. Do they offer Skype?
Perhaps one of the most important criteria. Make sure to meet with the person who will actually be coaching you. Do you feel you can trust them to deliver? Do you like them and would you enjoy working together. Did your initial consultation leave you feeling energised and positive? You will be spending a good deal of time with your coach so you need a good rapport.
In summary, the aim of the exercise is to find a coach with whom you can build a profitable long-term relationship. And doing your research will help you to find that person.