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How to Choose a Business Coach

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt. 

One of the big differences in running your own business, as opposed to being in employment, is not having a boss. Given that the reason many people have chosen to have their own business was to get away from their boss in the first place, this seems like a blessing. However, it can often be a curse, too, as it can make the job seem very lonely at times. The buck stops with you and there is often no one to bounce ideas off, agree remedial activity, phone and offload to at the end of a bad day or make sure you’re sticking to your business plan.

People choose to work with a coach for a variety of reasons. But it tends to be one or more of the following three areas:

  1. Relationship. Everybody needs somebody, as the song goes. So for many, having someone in their corner they can completely trust, who will support them, listen to them, encourage them and be their advocate is a ‘must’.
  1. Creativity. People will hire coaches to enable them to think outside the box, or even ditch the box. A competent coach will have ideas, appropriate models, impartial thinking, concepts and strategies, which they will employ to take a business owner and their company forward.
  1. Leadership. Many want a coach to effectively be their boss. In other words, holding them accountable, checking they’ve done what they committed to, challenging them, being completely truthful. A coach is not there to please, but to serve.

So, how do you find the right coach for you?

Well, the Key Attributes of a good Business Coach are:

  • Someone you really connect with. It’s vital that you get on with each other, as you’ll most likely form a very close professional relationship.
  • Someone you can completely trust. They need to be open and transparent as to how they work.
  • Someone who is results-focused and is able to help you know and articulate exactly what you want to achieve.
  • Someone who will hold you accountable and ensure you are doing exactly what you said you would.

In choosing a good coach, therefore, you need to balance the need for someone who’s not afraid to challenge you, stretch you and ensure you ‘stay on the path’, with someone who is easy to talk to, will listen patiently, encourage you and be your best advocate, especially when things aren’t going too well.

So, often a good coach will have years of experience working with people in business, they can understand and empathize with the common problems, but they’ll also have fresh ideas, a different perspective and, most important of all, a sense of humour!

There are many Business Coaches out there so how do you distinguish who’s the best fit for you? Often the best way is to ask people you know whom they would recommend. But don’t feel obliged to go with the first one you meet. If you can, check out a few as they will often have different approaches and don’t be afraid to ask for a demonstration of their services. Coaches love to coach and many will be more than happy to offer a no-cost, no-obligation coaching session which will give you the opportunity to experience coaching and then decide if you want to continue to work with them.

Remember, at the end of the day, it’s less important what someone calls themselves, whether coach or mentor, strategist, advisor or consultant. All that really matters is, can they help you? If they can, happy days!

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