A business coach is a type of consultant that provides an outside perspective for you and your business. They will help you address not only business issues, but issues of a more personal nature, like finding career fulfillment and figuring out what’s most important to you.
Business coaching can play a critical role in the success of your company — but it might not be what you expect.
Coaches don’t teach practical business skills. Instead, we are partners in achieving radical personal understanding.
Business coaching is a thought-provoking, introspective, and creative process. Ultimately, the process empowers clients to maximize their personal and business potential.
As we support the growth of the individual, business success becomes an automatic practice.
Business coaches help entrepreneurs build successful companies. But only by helping the individual achieve a higher state of performance, to cultivate stronger leadership qualities, learn how to build trust in a team, and to learn how to improve focus so that you can get things done more efficiently.
Here’s how we do it.
What is a business coach, and what do they do?
As a business owner, you are in a unique position. You are responsible for both the vision and the execution of your ideas.
Focusing on growth and keeping everything running smoothly, it’s easy to lose sight of why you started a business in the first place.
A business coach helps you step back, look around, and assess where you are. Only then can you decide where you want to go and create a plan to get there.
Provides an outside perspective on your business
The catalyst for seeking out a coach is a feeling — often vague — of dissatisfaction with your business. There are many scenarios, but wanting answers is the common theme:
- Why I feel unfulfilled?
- How do I choose which ideas and projects to pursue?
- What can I do to get unstuck and reach the next level of success?
The first thing business coaches do is shine a light on what you’re doing, and why it’s not working for you. We help you understand why you are longing to find your purpose in your life and in your work, or frustrated at your level of success.
What does success look like? It depends on you, and on your business.
The coaching process looks at your business, in the context of your whole life.
A good coach helps you recognize where your business, and your role within it, are out of alignment — with your natural talents, core values, and vision for your life.
As an outside observer, a coach can also pinpoint ways in which you are getting in your own way, or holding back your team.
Helps establish vision and goals
If you already have a strong vision and clear goals, coaching can help you achieve them. More importantly, coaching ensures the business goals you set are the right ones.
It’s crucial to create long term goals that will bring what you are seeking into your life. Instead of arbitrary numbers or empty symbols of success, a coach helps align goals with your values.
For example, it’s not enough to say, “I want to increase revenue by 50 percent this year.”
Coaching uncovers the underlying motivation for wanting to grow the business:
- Passion for the business and the potential to make an impact.
- Buying free time to pursue other passions.
- Personal fulfillment and helping others.
- Building wealth to buy freedom for your family.
Without knowing the “why” you are in danger of creating a business that controls your life, and leaves you feeling burned out.
Business coaches help you establish the vision first, and goals second. So that your business provides the life you desire.
If you are feeling directionless, business coaches can help with that too. We provide specific processes for self-discovery — to uncover clues about areas where you can have the greatest impact.
Then we help you create a plan to get there.
Work with your strengths and weaknesses
With a clear vision and the right goals, you can go a long way. But working against your natural inclinations, you can end up spinning your wheels.
A big part of coaching is holding up a mirror for you to see your own depths. A great coach helps you see all parts of yourself, even the parts you hide, and especially the parts you don’t realize are there.
Working with your strengths
Building on your strengths is an often-overlooked shortcut to success. Being too focused on what you can’t do, it’s easy to miss what you’re already doing well.
When you double your efforts on those areas, you can learn how to be a badass, in business and in life.
Coaches use a variety of tools to help identify how you learn, how you work, and how you relate to others. We also look at what’s working well for you and what’s not.
Picking out the areas where you shine, we then find ways to maximize your natural gifts and help you learn how to identify your strengths.
Managing against weakness
Research shows that it’s a waste of time trying to turn a weakness into a strength. Business coaches help you manage against weaknesses — so they don’t trip up your progress.
Business coaches also help you radically question yourself to discover blind spots and patterns of behavior holding you back.
Then, we guide you towards the growth that this new knowledge brings.
For example, we can help you to improve your Conversational Intelligence and leadership abilities, or build confidence.
Creating a successful business will be the natural result of the actions you take consistently, over time.
A business coach is the ultimate accountability partner, to keep you moving in the right direction. With a deep understanding of you, your goals, and your situation, they provide invaluable feedback at every step.
The process of transforming your life and your business is long and not straightforward. It’s easy to lose your self motivation and slip back into old habits.
With a coach on your side, you can stay motivated, celebrate successes, and bounce back from temporary setbacks.
Consultant vs. coach
How do you know which one your business needs — a business consultant or a business coach?
They can both help you transform a failing business, or reach the next level. The answer depends on how you choose to get there.
Consultants teach processes and systems in their fields. Their focus is on the organizational and operational aspects of a business. For example:
- How to manage payroll and accounting.
- Assessing whether an idea is profitable.
- Restructuring teams.
- Cutting costs.
- Implementing a marketing system.
Consultants identify issues and prescribe fixes to problems. They are often hired to find inefficiencies or work on aspects of the business that can’t be done by someone within the organization.
What consultants don’t do is work to grow the people and ideas at the core of a successful business. That’s where business coaches come in.
Sir John Whitmore, considered by many to be the father of modern business coaching in the U.K., describes the role as two-fold:
- Raising awareness.
- Asking the client to do something with that awareness.
That’s not to say coaches leave you on your own with your new level of awareness. We also bring tools and processes to the table to help you become a better and stronger business leader.
The end goal is not only a better business but a better life with more clarity and purpose.
A coach will work with you, as the head of your company, to create a firm vision for the future. With this vision in mind, you’ll plan long-term and short-term goals.
Often, even as leaders, there is a tendency to procrastinate on tasks or avoid hard conversations. Your coach will help you see the patterns that are hindering your growth and compassionately push you to resolve them.
Coaching is a management behavior that lies at the opposite end of the spectrum to command and control.
A business coach, rather than telling you what to do, works with you to find the best path forward. We co-create solutions to overcome obstacles and create meaningful change in yourself and your company.
Is hiring a business coach worth it?
A number of reports have been done on the ROI of bringing a business coach on board.
Hiring a business coach has proven time and again to be a sound investment that can astronomically increase your earning potential.
It’s one of those decisions that could change your life.
Coaching produced a 529% return on investment and significant intangible results to the organization. Including financial benefits from employee retention, the ROI was 788%
Rich Tafel created a study on the ROI of business coaching in his business:
The impact was calculated at 372.8% return on his coaching investment — that’s $4.73 for every dollar he invested.
Later, Rich went on to consult as a Political Strategist working with his own clients. His work assisted one of his clients in getting a $3 million grant, increasing the chain of impact for an impressive 6,600% return on his original investment.
Research in the field of coaching has also shown that financial returns are not the only measure of coaching success. There are many harder to measure, but equally important benefits:
- Higher levels of engagement within the business.
- Reduction of work-related stress and anxiety.
- Increased resilience and well-being.
- Attainment of goals.
Coaching isn’t a quick fix, nor is it magic. But the results of these and many similar stories demonstrate the value of committing to the coaching process.
What to expect from a business coach
Having accurate expectations of the coaching relationship will help ensure your success.
While every coaching experience, and every coach, is a little different, you can count on an exciting and challenging process.
Here’s what to expect when you begin working with a coach.
The first thing you will notice is that business coaches ask a lot of open-ended and probing questions. For example:
- Why did you start a business, and specifically THIS business?
- What do you love about your business?
- How do want your business to change?
Questions like this make you think deeply about yourself and your business. It can be uncomfortable, but self-inquiry is a key first step.
Your coach will frame questions in ways that you haven’t thought of before. You’ll explore your own values, your mission, your fears, and your mindset. You’ll dive deep into your beliefs, the things that inspire you, and the things that hold you back.
For this reason it’s important that you choose a coach who you can open up to. Having a deep level of trust between you and your coach is essential to this process.
You probably know what you’re excellent at, what you love doing. And you might know some areas you’re weak in. Business coaches use a number of assessment tools to help you identify and learn more about these strengths and weaknesses.
For example, perhaps you believe you’re a good communicator, but you’re not connecting with your team. Maybe you have a big-picture view but spend all your time lost in the details.
Your coach will help you to see where you shine brightest, and where you are tripping yourself up.
Looking at your business from the outside, a coach can also identify areas where you are wasting efforts on battles you can’t win. Sometimes the best solution is handing certain tasks off to someone else, so you can focus on using your strengths.
This self-assessment phase takes a lot of honesty and vulnerability. A good coach will help you feel safe and supported during this exploration.
Creating a roadmap (and following through)
Some business owners have goals, and others have a mission. They both point the way to where your company is going. But without a roadmap, you can easily get stuck, or lost, on the way there.
Business coaches help you realistically plan how you will achieve the goals you set.
We use processes like the GROW model to identify the best path from where you are now, to where you want to be. We make sure your roadmap accounts for your personal challenges and unexpected obstacles.
You and your coach will craft a plan. You’ll have daily and weekly steps to follow, and a regular accountability partner to ensure progress.
When you don’t follow through, expect your coach to see your excuses for what they really are: fears and limiting beliefs that are holding you back.
Professional standards and values
It’s important to make sure the coach you choose to work with follows professional standards and ethics. As a client, you are placing a lot of faith in the skills and character of your coach.
Hiring a coach certified with The International Coach Federation (ICF) ensures you will be met with the highest professional and ethical standards.
ICF coaches are part of an international self-regulating body that maintains rigorous education and practice requirements of its members.
The core values embodied by ICF coaches include:
Once certified by ICF, business coaches are accountable to maintain these values and core competencies. As a client, that means you are in good hands.
Are you coachable?
Coaching is a tool that many entrepreneurs and business owners can use to great effect. It’s not, however, for everyone.
Here are some questions to consider before beginning the coaching process:
Are you seeking a partnership that will challenge you to think deeply?
Coaching is hard work, not just for the coach, but for the client. It’s collaborative. With the support of your coach, you must be prepared to tackle hard questions and go deep.
Do you want to work with someone who uses intuitive tools and innovative, creative coaching practices?
This process will take you out of your comfort zone. If you’re not willing to try new ways of being in your work and your life, coaching won’t work.
Does the idea of maximizing your personal and professional potential excite you?
If you’re excited about the possibilities for the future, that’s a good sign. You will be open to new ideas and doing the work to implement them.
Are you willing to take responsibility for your part of the coaching process?
For coaching to get results, you have to show up in good faith, ready to participate. If your motivation is to throw money at a problem, or have a solution handed to you, coaching is not going to help.
Do you understand that change and growth is a daily practice, and a journey?
With your coach, you will develop a roadmap and the daily practices to follow it. Your part is to commit to the process and develop the habits to propel your success.
Are you ready to step into being the most badass version of yourself?
If you answered yes to these questions, then you’re ready to be coached.
Business coaching is best suited for creatives, entrepreneurs, and visionaries who want to make a bigger impact. It doesn’t follow a cookie cutter plan. It’s for those who don’t even realize there is a box to fit into.
On the other hand, if you crave uniformity and rigid structure, business coaching won’t be your best choice. If you want a magic formula, someone to boost your ego, and a shallow relationship, business coaching is not for you.
Business coaching can transform your life, but only if you are open to possibilities and ready to embrace the process.
Are you ready?
Re-energize your life and business
The intensive, personal journey working with a coach will unlock your potential and dissolve the obstacles holding you back. It’s the surest way to continue leveling up in your business.
If growth and transformation are calling out to you, take the next step. You don’t have to feel ready. The sooner you jump in, the sooner you see results.