If you’re a business owner or an entrepreneur, at some point, you may feel the need for some feedback or guidance from outside your organization. Much like patients frequently seek a second opinion on a medical condition, business owners often need someone to serve as a sounding board or guide—someone who will ask the right questions and help them create actionable steps based on their answers.
Once you’ve made the decision to reach out to a business coach, how do you find the right one for your needs? As with all professional relationships, the right fit is key. Find the right match for you by examining your motives, your needs, and the results you desire from a coaching relationship.
Try evaluating a potential business coaching relationship in the following six ways:
Understand Your Current Situation. Start by taking a few moments to do a short self-assessment. Reflect on what your current situation is with your business. Make a few notes. Then proceed to looking at where you want to go. What’s stopping you from getting there? What are the barriers that are in your way? Take more notes. Draw a few diagrams. Just don’t rush this exercise. Your ultimate decision regarding the type of coaching you need will have a lot to do with your answers to these basic questions.
Check the Chemistry. It really doesn’t matter how much expertise a potential business coach has. If you don’t click, it won’t do you much good. If an otherwise “perfect” business coach is hard for you to communicate with, judges your feedback or perspectives, or has habits you find annoying or distracting, you have absolutely not found the coach for you in spite of their top-notch resume or credentials.
Connect. If a business coach offers a free webinar, workshop, online video, or complimentary consult, take advantage. Even if the encounter is virtual, there’s nothing like a one-on-one encounter to help you gauge the chemistry between two people.
Look into One-to-One. Every business, every owner is unique. That means its questions, concerns, and solutions will be, too. Therefore, cookie cutter coaching is not likely to be effective. Do your best to find a coach who is willing to work with you one on one, so that you can have personal time to dig into the issues you are grappling with and find the solutions you’re looking for.
Find an Engager. Try to find a business coach who is not only open to working one-on-one with you, but is also available to connect with your core team several times a year. If your coach is successful in helping you expand your horizons and think differently about the business, it will also be important to empower and encourage your leadership team as well.
Trust Your Instinct. Look at the peer reviews, ask your friends for recommendations, and do all the homework you possibly can on a potential business coach’s training and credentials. However, no matter how brilliant their testimonials may be, you must ultimately go with your gut feeling. Is this someone who makes me feel comfortable? Do I feel intimidated in any way? Do I find myself feeding this person the information I feel they want to hear rather than my unvarnished feelings?
If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” obviously, this coach is not the right fit for you and your business. It’s important not to get discouraged; keep looking. Just don’t rush into a relationship that is going to be expensive and time-consuming, with little to no benefit.