Just like in sports, coaches push athletes to reach their optimum performance and motivate them when the going gets tough. Business coaching does the same thing – it can help you overcome the difficult challenges you face in running your business and help you attain your goals.
However, business coaching is also an industry that remains unregulated. As such, without proper checks, not all business coaches are created equal. Bad business coaching can have disastrous effects on a business, but what exactly does it do?
What does business coaching achieve?
Business coaching is a powerful method of growing a business. Developing a robust and effective strategy for a company’s future can be a very time-consuming and difficult task, one which CEOs rarely have the time to devote energy to. The right coach will have a proven framework that will ensure a company develops a strategy that will keep them ahead of competitors and accelerate their growth. They will then work with the business ensuring successful implementation of the strategy, working through barriers whilst holding the business to account for delivery.
An experienced coach will also be able to open doors and facilitate introductions with a vast network of people to help you achieve your goals faster.
Having been a coach for over seven years and working at the highest level in previous roles, I have seen how a good coach can really help a business to move to the next level, while an unqualified coach can set a business back years.
What are the dangers of bad business coaching?
As you would expect, poor support can have terrible consequences for a business. Depending on how much damage is caused, it can have serious ramifications, not just for the company, but also for its employees and the local economy.
Bad advice from an inexperienced and unqualified coach can take a business down the wrong path, cost it significant revenue and growth and waste a lot of time. Ultimately, this will stop that business from achieving its goals.
A successful business coach will make it their mission to understand your business, its aims and values and its strengths and weaknesses – adapting to the needs of each client as opposed to stubbornly following their own or ‘off the shelf’ formula.
Yet despite the influx of business coaches over the last few decades, this industry still remains totally unregulated. This has essentially meant that any individual is able to call themselves a business coach, without any real test of merit or experience, other than those that potential clients perform at their own volition.
Tips for picking a good coach
Bringing an experienced and passionate business coach into your business is an effective way to ensure your internal processes, strategy and vision are geared for promoting growth. Hiring one should come with all the rigorousness you would apply when hiring a new senior member of staff. When selecting a business coach there are several questions you should be asking:
- Can you call their former clients? Most businesses coaches will have a portfolio of testimonials. However, the true test is if you can call business leaders they claim to have helped. Ask if you can speak to some of their previous clients and talk about their experience. If the answer is no and they insist on only providing written testimonials as evidence or have nothing, you may wish to avoid them.
- Do you respect each other? The best business coaching results come when respect exists between both parties. Contentious issues may sometimes arise between coach and client, so it’s important that both parties respect each other’s opinion and are willing to listen to why they think or feel the way they do.
- Are they accredited? What qualifications do they have and what training have they received? Coaching a business is not a straightforward task, so the more experienced and qualified your coach is, the more confident you can be that they will achieve the results you want. Ask about their careers before they become a coach – have they been coached and by who?
When working with a business coach, you should both be working towards a mutual goal – success. A good business coach will want you to be successful just as much as you want your business to succeed, as this helps them grow their reputation and improve their skills.
Remember that just because someone is good at business, does not mean they will make a great business coach. Coaching is a skill and should be seen as such – experts in this field have worked hard to acquire the tools and knowledge to help you and your business perform to its true potential, and beyond.
By Stuart Ross, business coach and founder of High Growth