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The Top 5 Questions to Ask a Business Coach BEFORE you work with them

The Top 5 Questions:

Hiring a business coach could be the absolute best decision you make in your business, and in your life.  Your ultimate success story investment.

Or, if you choose the wrong one – possibly one of your worst choices.  How?  Because what you do for a living and how you do it all add up to a uniquely personal undertaking.  

It means a lot to you.  In other words, you ARE your business.  

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that from my own experience, coaching a business owner-manager is also a highly individual and subjective process.  In the shell of a nut, great coaches can be amazing; ineffective ones are just expensive.

What’s your “Why”?

when to quit a side hustle

Consider the key reasons behind engaging a coach. In my view, most business owners want me to help them overcome challenges (whatever they may be) in order to achieve success (whatever that may mean to them).  And how is this done?  Through an individual doing things differently, and thus seeing different, better outcomes. 

And…

If your coach “gets” you, listens properly, understands and is genuinely on your side, you’re more likely to reach your goals and objectives.

So, reaching out to someone else who can help you grow your business, become a more effective leader, streamline your operations, or achieve a better work-life balance is a Big Thing.  You’ll have an Action Plan, you’ll be fully accountable and yes – although fully tax-deductible, there’s a financial commitment involved. 

Are you ready for all this?

Whilst you should always trust your instincts and work with someone you actually like (to be fair, this philosophy works in other areas of your life) I’ve compiled a list of 5 key questions to put to your business coach before you sign on that all-important dotted line.

Why these particular ones, though?  Because in my opinion, they reveal the principles and broad-spectrum attitudes that lie beneath the strategies of the man or woman sitting in front of you – or, at the time of writing, on your computer screen during your Zoom call.  Some of my opinions on the answers may surprise you.

Here we go, then:

  1. What are your Qualifications and Credentials?

I’ll come clean.  Business Coaching, along with similar “business advice” or personal development-type sectors, is a completely unregulated industry.  Anyone can decide to become a business coach, even with no academic credentials, business knowledge or business experience.  To be honest, it’s almost impossible to police or regulate.

However.  

Although your future business coach doesn’t need to have run a business, in my opinion, it helps if they have.  This way, they can also act as a mentor and should have enough experience to reassure you.  He or she should be able to regale you with examples of success.  And, importantly, several instances when they got things spectacularly wrong.    

Yes, really.  In my opinion, the best business coaches have made all those hideous mistakes so that you don’t have to.

  1. How often have you worked in my sector?

In my opinion, if your coach hasn’t worked in your sector it doesn’t actually matter.  Surprised?  I understand why.  You may think it’s important for me to understand your dog grooming enterprise, search engine optimisation agency or your family-owned mobility products business, but the truth is this:  

Effective business processes such as excellent client relations, good management styles and ninja-like productivity are not industry specific.  Again, walking-the-walk experience, both currently and in their previous life will be much more critical.

  1. How can I measure my success with you?

Your behaviour as a result of the coaching process WILL have an impact on your business. 

So, an experienced business coach will literally ask you what you want success to look like. And, in quite a lot of detail.  Clue: it’s different for almost everyone I meet.  It could be financial, for example.  Perhaps a recognition of a new skill.  Setting short term, medium and long-term objectives and determining when and how you’ll know you’ve got there should be at the heart of your coaching programme.

Both parties should know the measurement evaluation process and offer feedback regularly.  

  1. What’s Your Philosophy Towards Coaching?

How does your would-be coach see the world?  

What underpins their attitudes, beliefs and thoughts about coaching and how they would coach YOU?  A coach’s personal philosophy speaks volumes about their standards and integrity, and there are many factors that could determine this. 

In essence, does their approach resonate with your personal values?

Of course, it goes without saying that total client confidentiality and upholding professional standards should run through them like letters in a stick of Brighton Rock.  You may even want to ask them why they became a business coach, and what they hope to achieve for themselves.

  1. Why are you so Expensive?

Effecting personal and professional change isn’t easy.  However, coaching should be viewed as an investment and not an expense.

With your full commitment and engagement, an experienced and skilled business coach will help you to make the adjustments that you need.  And, your return on investment will be substantial.  Can you honestly put a limited price on business success and a healthier happier outlook?  Hey, you’re making more money and you’re no longer working at the weekends.  What would THAT mean to you?

A “cheap” business coach could end up costing you dear.  Not only in financial terms, but also from a reputational standpoint.  

Do the wrong thing and your prospects will remember your cack-handed sales approach for ever.  Or, do the right thing and build effective client relationships.  Which would you prefer?  Who is the best-placed person to know what works – and what doesn’t?  The cheaper coach or the one who values the expertise in what they offer?  

If you want a coach with the skills, knowledge and experience to help you reach your goals, their fees are likely to reflect the level of advice, guidance and support that you’ll receive.  

I’ll just leave that one here for you.

In summary…

Trust your senses.  Ask these important questions and listen carefully to the answers.  Ideally, you’re looking for someone with that golden combination of business skills and coaching experience.

So.

There’s no time like the present.  

What would YOU like to be doing 12 months from now?