Find a Small Business Coach: Asking the right questions
Updated: Feb 8
Just like any relationship you start, it's important to know what you are getting into. I've had clients over the years agree to work with me after a very short meeting. I knew what kind of value they were getting by hiring me, but at the time, they didn't.
I like to tell my potential clients that my business model is designed to have a lot of upside potential and not a lot of risk (It's true as I offer a money back guarantee), however it is still an investment in valuable time for the small business owner and time is the most valuable commodity a small business owner has (or doesn't have in most cases).
The following is a guide for deciding (by asking the right questions) if a business coach is right for you and how to choose the right one for your business.
To determine if you are ready for a Business Coach, ask yourself (and answer honestly) the following questions;
Do I have a genuine desire to improve my situation?
Am I open to a different perspective?
Am I actually willing to change?
Will I be accountable for implementing what is mutually agreed to?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you are probably not a good candidate for coaching at this point.
I didn't add two of the more popular questions I hear that stop a business owner from moving forward...
Do I have the time to work with a Business Coach right now?
Do I need to make some changes or improvements to my business before hiring a Coach?
If you answered no to these two questions, you are probably still be a good candidate for coaching because...
Working with the right coach can help you focus on what's important in your business and potentially free up time
A good coach will figure out a process that doesn't demand too much of your time
A good coach will prioritize your core business responsibilities
From a coach perspective it is much easier to diagnose issues when you get to see the good, the bad and the ugly in the business
I have personal experience with this somewhat misguided thought process. At one point in our life, my wife and I hired a cleaning service for our home. We were both working full time and had a hard time keeping up with everything. The cleaning service came once a week. I began to notice that my wife would spend a couple hours cleaning right before the cleaning service was schedule to visit. I thought she was crazy and questioned why she was doing that? She said "I don't want anyone to see how messy our house is".
There are a lot of business owners who feel this way about their business. I would argue it is not a valid reason to put off hiring a good business coach.
The coach/owner relationship has to be a two way street. I've tried my best to coach small business owners who said they wanted to improve but did not meet one of the requirements above. It made for a difficult and frustrating experience for both of us. On the other hand, finding a small business owner who answered yes to all four questions (the vast majority of my clients) is an awesome experience and usually leads to a lasting win-win relationship.
Now that you have determined you are a good candidate to be coached, you have to find the right coach. Find a Coach that checks the following boxes. The right coach....
Has a proven track record of verifiable results
Has built long term relationships with their clients
Will focus on measuring and reporting on ROI for coaching fees
Has testimonials and positive reviews from the majority of their clients
Will share best practises from other clients, businesses and industries
Communicates clearly and concisely
Listens more than they talk
There are a lot of available choices for coaches. There are some that focus on motivating their clients (just try harder), there are some that focus on having a positive attitude (if you are positive, you can accomplish anything), there are some who just want to impart their wisdom to whoever will listen to them, however, there are others (the good ones) who will take the time to properly diagnose your issues, build a strong relationship with you, focus on what's important and deliver real, process driven solutions to help you achieve your goals.
Good coaches are out there...you just have to look and ask the right questions!