With a multitude of resources available online and elsewhere, finding a business coach is rather easy. However, finding the right coach for you and your business is another matter.
What key qualities should you look for in the person who will guide you through your business decisions and help propel your business to new heights?
You should meet with several coaches before making a decision. You want to make sure the coach you choose not only has good chemistry with you but also these essential qualities:
Wealth of experience and a diversified skill set
- Study the CVs of the candidates and select those who have a wide variety of business experience.
- You need a coach who is comfortable talking to you about such diverse topics as strategy, new markets, innovation, continuous improvement, human resources, operations, and your financial position.
Excellent understanding of small businesses
- Look for someone who held managerial positions in a small company or has owned their own business and dealt with the challenges entrepreneurs face every day.
- You have to understand their family and emotional environments to be able to guide them in their business decisions.
Analytical skills and a critical eye
- Business coaches help entrepreneurs to improve how they manage their businesses and overcome obstacles. This is why you should seek out a consultant with strong analytical skills and good judgment.
- Your coach should be able to cast a critical eye on how you do things and highlight your strengths and areas for improvement.
- At the same time, the coach has to be able to say to the entrepreneur: “Things are going very well. Your business is top notch. You don’t need my services now.”
Driven when it comes to your success
- Look for someone who is genuinely interested in seeing you succeed.
- You prospective coach should be asking you questions to get a good grasp of where your company stands instead of talking about their own accomplishments.
- A coach can be a guide. But he also should say, but I often tell people: Let’s roll up our sleeves and work together.
- A coach may guide you but, in the end, it’s the entrepreneur who does all the work and who should get the credit.
Courage, tact and great confidence
- To make sure your coaching experience is successful, you need a consultant who has the courage to tell you to go for Option B even when you would prefer to select Option A.
- A person who always agrees with you won’t push you forward. At the same time, a good coach chooses the right time and the right way to tell you what could be uncomfortable truths and help you make the best decisions.
- Entrepreneurs share many things with their business consultants including very personal information. You want to make sure that information will stay with your consultant.
- It is highly recommended to call on the services of a business consultant who is a member of a professional order or an organization that offers a well-defined approach based on a code of ethics.
Finally, as you search for your coach, remember to ask for references and take the time to check them. The experience of other entrepreneurs will be one of your best sources of information. Taking your time and doing your due diligence when selecting a business coach is prudent and will potentially alleviate future problems that could occur in the relationship. Especially after you have paid a significant sum to engage a business coach. This is a strategy for Keeping Life Current.
Steve is the SBCN Community Mentor and can be reached at Steve@NorthernRiverFinancial.ca