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WHAT IS BUSINESS COACHING? – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Bonus Material: Are You Qualified For Business Coaching? Learn What Makes An Ideal Coaching Client.

Today I’m going to show you 1) what a ‘business coach’ is, 2) what ‘business coaching’ can do for you and your company, 3) six types of business coaches, 4) the difference between coaching, mentoring and consulting, and 5) things to consider if you’re thinking about hiring a coach.
(While you’re here, grab my write-up about how to tell if you’re qualified for business coaching.)

Then read on for help understanding exactly what ‘business coaching’ really means…

In the world of business, there are key personalities that execute specialized functions towards the growth of your business. Business coaching has become an important practice for CEOs and business owners who desire to make progress. As a business owner, it is important you know what a business coach is. That’ll help you decide whether you require some business coaching. Read through till the end of this article for a sure way to take action on this information.

What is a business coach?

Basically, a business coach is a type of consultant, someone who provides a different perspective on the business. The scope of operation of a business coach doesn’t just end at business issues. It may extend to more personal issues about the business owner, like steering towards career fulfillment.

Not all business coaches teach business skills, but most serve as partners in achieving success in the business. Coaches are significantly vested in the business and strive together with their business owner clients towards success. They can be quite instrumental in the success of your company.

What is business coaching?

Coaching involves the process of achieving the goals of a business by the processes employed by a business coach. It is the process used to elevate the business from its current level to where the business owner desires it to be.

Business coaching creates a reflective process that empowers business owners to maximize their potential for business success.

Simply put, business coaches help entrepreneurs gravitate toward business success. But then, how do they do that?

What do business coaches do?

business-coaching

The desire to grow and prosper your business can easily distract you from the initial intent and vision for creating the company in the first place. As a business owner, ensuring the smooth running of your business can cause you to quickly forget why you started the business to begin with.

The business coach is there to give you an outside perspective, to let you slow down, stop, and evaluate where you are and where you’re headed on your current path. A coach will guide you to make the right choices. They help you to work on the business rather than only in the business. In doing so, you can clearly map out the path to where you want to go and create a plan to get there.

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar to ask any questions you have about business coaching. I’ve been a business coach (and business broker) for over 20 years. I also have a business coach of my own, so I know what successful coaching looks like on both sides of the table.

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

Provides an outside perspective for your company

Most often, at some point in time as a business owner, the feeling of dissatisfaction can set in – dissatisfaction with your company and its current trend. Some questions then come to mind:

Why do I feel dissatisfied with the business?

How do I decide on which projects and ideas to act on for the success of the business?

What can I do to take my business to the next level?

And that’s where business coaches come onto the scene. Their first course of action is to shed light on what you’re currently doing, the path you’re on, and why it’s not yielding the results you desire. By letting you access where you’re at and what’s weighing down the organization, you can make well-informed decisions towards progress.

The business coach can help you figure out why you’re longing for your purpose and why the feeling of dissatisfaction is setting in. He/she also helps you identify what success looks like – its definitions are dependent on you and your business.

The business coach doesn’t just focus on your company but sees it in the context of your whole life. They help you realize where your business is at, your role in that business, and whether or not the business falls within your natural abilities and vision for your life. In so doing, the business coach can help you identify where you’re getting in the way of the business or pulling it back.

Business coaching helps to establish business vision and goals

Small business coaching services can help to achieve business goals when the set goals are healthy and attainable. But more importantly, they ensure the right business goals are set in line with your life’s goals, values, and abilities.

Your company goals must reflect what you’re seeking in life, and the business coach will help synchronize business goals to yours. It’s not just about increasing yearly revenue by the business; Coaching seeks to deduce the underlying motivations for business growth. Without clearly defining the “why,” there is the danger you’re setting up a business that would control your life, leaving you burnt out. This, business coaches do by clearly establishing the business’s vision first, before the goals, to ensure the business provides you with the life you desire.

If you’re feeling lost and directionless, not knowing what direction your business should take, then you should consider getting a business coach. A coach will help you to grow your leadership skills.

Business coaching works with your strengths

business-coaching

With a clearly defined vision and goals, success is attainable, but working against your natural inclinations can easily set things back.

Coaching involves unveiling your strengths and capitalizing on them for success. Capitalizing on your strengths is a quick route to prosperity and can easily be overlooked. Your limitations and the things you can’t do can easily blind you and cause you to miss out on what you can and are already doing well.

By identifying areas where you shine, business coaches can help you maximize your natural abilities and strengths. They develop tools and procedures to help you figure out details like:

How you learn

Methods you use to work

How you relate with others

What methods work well for you and which do not

Business coaching manages your weakness

Not only do business coaches identify your strengths to help you capitalize on them, but they also help you acknowledge your weaknesses and develop ways to manage them. Business coaches help to ensure your shortcomings don’t slow down your progress.

Business coaches develop tools and procedures to identify your weaknesses as a company owner. This could include questioning to deduce negative patterns of behavior/thinking, which are holding you back. Then developing ways to manage them to ensure they don’t spill over to constrain the business.

Business coaching provides accountability

Business success is inevitably linked to the actions you consistently take, and accountability is critical. With deep insight and understanding of the organization’s vision, goals, and current standing, the business coach can give invaluable feedback every step of the way. A coach will model leadership for you and keep you moving forward. This will help keep you motivated and focused.

Types of business coaches

Business coaches are of different types, some of which include:

Life coach

As the name implies, a life coach works with the business owner to explore more personal aspects and individual motivations for engaging in the business. Life coaches don’t really focus on improving the company directly but look at the business owner in a bid to attain fulfillment and satisfaction in the business.

It is sometimes important to deal with self first, establishing motivation and prospects for the business as a business owner, overcoming personal challenges and self-limiting beliefs before setting your sights on the organization’s actual advancement.

Executive coach

Executive Coaching is a slight variant of business coaching. It involves working with senior (executive) personnel in much larger companies rather than smaller business owners. Top executive coaching programs focus on developing better communication skills, team management, and career development in the executives.

Experienced business coach or mentor

business-coaching

An experienced business coach is one who has had experience in their own company and now does business coaching (captain obvious!). This person has walked in your shoes. They have struggled with bootstrapping, cash flow, making payroll, customer satisfaction, hiring and firing, marketing and sales. In other words they have worn all the “hats” in business in order to make it successful. This is someone who has had success in running multiple companies and is now dedicated to supporting other business owners to develop and advance their organization. It could also be someone who has retired from a long career in running a business and is now dedicated to supporting others in their organizations.

Sales coach

As the name implies, a sales coach works with the business owner on the aspect of sales. Perhaps your weakness is executing sales for maximum turnover; sales coaching would be beneficial in this domain to ensure you seal the deal.

Turnaround specialist coach

Turnaround specialist coaches specialize in companies at the brink of liquidation and work to revamp them. Such coaches are equipped with skills to bear companies out of such challenges and the legal skill set to achieve this.

Financial coach

Financial Coaching is a slight variant from business coaching because it focuses on the financial aspects of the business. The financial management or mismanagement of companies is mostly responsible for success or failure in business, and the financial coach pays special attention to this aspect.

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar to ask any questions you have about business coaching. I’ve been a business coach (and business broker) for over 20 years. I also have a business coach of my own, so I know what successful coaching looks like on both sides of the table.

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

Is a business consultant the same as a business coach?

The roles of business coaches and consultants are undeniably essential in rescuing failing businesses, but their functions are slightly different. The main difference between a business consultant and a business coach lies in how you choose to achieve the next business level.

Business consultants pay attention to the organization and modus operandi of the business, teaching processes, and systems pertaining to their fields. This can include:

Managing payroll and accounting issues

Determining whether or not an idea is profitable.

Restructuring teams.

Minimizing the costs of operation

Implementing a functional marketing system

Business consultants are primarily concerned with identifying problems and developing solutions to them. They have an eye for existing inefficiencies in the business, and they prescribe fixes from a vantage point not easily attainable by someone within the organization.

Business consultants vary from business coaches in that coaches pay attention to the individual growth of the people and ideas central to the business’s success.

Generally speaking, coaching can take two major phases:

Raising awareness.

Prompting action based on that awareness

In any way, this doesn’t suggest that coaches leave you to navigate your path to the next level on your own with this new degree of awareness. As a matter of fact, some business coaches perform all of the above roles of consultants. But they also bring to the table tools and processes to enable you to become a better and more efficient business owner. Their focus isn’t just a better, more successful business, but also a better life with clarity of purpose and intent for the future. Business coaches will work with you to ensure a clearly stipulated vision of your company and long-term and short-term goals towards attaining the said vision.

In the words of Sir John Whitmore,

“Coaching is a management behavior that lies at the opposite end of the spectrum to command and control.”

A business coach doesn’t just tell you what to do to attain success but works with you to find the best possible path forward, considering your vision for your life and natural abilities. It is a cooperative effort to overcome challenges and create substantial progress in yourself and your company.

Is Mentoring the same as Business Coaching?

It is easy to confuse mentoring with coaching, especially as they both bring to bear years of experience to aid the business owner. However, the main difference between the two is, mentoring focuses on providing advice to the entrepreneur owner on the way forward based on their own personal experiences.  Coaching serves a more intimate role in aiding the owner in planning and accountability, ensuring that the business owner finds satisfaction and fulfillment in the business venture.

What does a business coach do?

business-coaching

Having the right expectation of the coaching engagement will ensure maximum results. Though coaches may be individually dissimilar in their methods of operation and techniques, there is some baseline expectation you can have from working with coaches, some of which include:

Self-inquiry

Probably the first thing you should expect from coaches is questions – lots of open-ended questions. Business coaches will engage you with probing questions like:

Why did you engage in your company?

Why did you choose this particular business to take on?

What specifically do you love about the business?

In what ways do you desire your business to change? Etc

Such questions will provoke deep personal thought about yourself and the business. Though it can be invasive and sometimes uncomfortable, the results are worthwhile and totally worth it. Self-inquiry is where coaching begins.

You can expect your coach to pose questions that you may never have even thought of before, which will help you explore and uncover your actual values, mission, fears, and way of thinking. With these questions, you’ll be able to explore your beliefs, discovering the things that inspire/terrify you, as well as the things that keep you bound and derail you.

With this, you must get a coach you’ll be very open to and transparent in all things. Trust is a critical element of the coaching procedure.

Assessments

Being a business owner, you may already be aware of certain things you’re quite good at, things you love doing, and areas you’re weak in. The business coach makes use of assessment tools and criteria to uncover and better understand your strengths and weaknesses and their impact on the current trends of the business.

For example, you may believe you’re good at financial management but can’t account for the company’s financial transactions. The business coach will help you identify what you’re truly best at and where you’re holding the business down.

With an outside perspective, the business coach has a better vantage point to pinpoint areas where you’re wasting efforts or investing in vain. In some cases, the solution is to delegate specific responsibilities to other, more capable personnel to better focus on your string suite.

Our coaching firm has a 36 point coaching scorecard system that lead to 36 coaching modules in areas that include leadership to marketing to media to sales to processes to time management to hiring to accounting and everything in between. This assessment helps us to prioritize areas to work on and gives us a baseline that we return to as we measure our clients’ improvements.

This self-assessment phase demands a great deal of honesty and vulnerability, and a good coach will always try to instill a sense of safety and support through this phase.

Developing a business road map and following through

Most often, business owners have goals for their business, pointing to where the business should be in a certain period. Still, the absence of a concise roadmap will shipwreck such lofty visions and expectations.

You can expect business coaches to aid in developing feasible plans towards achieving set goals. A good roadmap should account not just for anticipated successes but also for challenges and unexpected obstacles.

The way it works is, you and your coach will create a plan with attainable daily and weekly steps and an accountability partner to monitor progress. This will enable the coach to deduce your fears and limiting beliefs when you fail and your strong suites when you do succeed.

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar to ask any questions you have about business coaching. I’ve been a business coach (and business broker) for over 20 years. I also have a business coach of my own, so I know what successful coaching looks like on both sides of the table.

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

Professional standards and values with business coaching

business-coaching

Like all other professional fields, you should expect pristine professional standards and values in the business coach, with qualities like trust and patience at the helm. Core values like integrity, faithfulness, trust, and respect should be clearly evident in the business coach, seeing you’re entrusting a great deal in their abilities. With such, you can rest assured, knowing you’re in good hands.

How long does business coaching take?

When it comes to the length of business coaching, several business coaches employ different methods to achieve results and so the length of time required may vary from one business coach to another. Even the number of sessions needed will vary from coach to coach, and may also depend on what you’re seeking help with.

For the most part, business coaches work with their clients for about 6 to 18 months. The sessions come to an end when all the goals have been reached, or whenever the client wishes the business coaching session to end. Coaches aim to work at their client’s pace and shouldn’t normally rush any decisions, or take longer than necessary working on a particular project.

Can you be coached?

Coaching is a great tool to better your business, but it may not apply to every scenario. But are you coachable? Before considering a coach, you should consider some questions:

Do you truly seek a partnership that will challenge you to think critically and more intently than you currently do? The coaching exercise’s success rests mostly not just on the coach but also on the business owner. As such, you must be prepared mentally to bear the challenge.

Are you ready to encounter innovative and intuitive processes in the coaching process to bring out the best in you? This will definitely drive you out of your comfort zone, and you must be ready to explore new things and new methods of doing things; else, the coaching process will fail.

Are you genuinely excited to maximize your personal and professional potential and ability? Such excitement is a good sign you’ll be willing to explore new ideas and strategies.

Are you ready to play your part in the coaching process? Coaching isn’t a one-way process centered on the coach; it depends on the business owner’s cooperation to reap the benefits, and you must be willing and ready to participate in every step of the way.

Do you accept that growth comes from daily practice and commitment and will take time? Coaching isn’t a quick fix or an overnight wave of a wand to get the results. You must be willing to commit every step of the way to the process and develop the intended habits for success and growth, both personally and of the business.

Are you ready to be the best version of yourself? There must be that desire to be the best you can be, to maximize your potential and ability, both for personal and business advancement.

Not everyone can be coached, and if you answered “yes” to these questions, then you’re ready to work with a business coach.

Is seeking business coaching worth it?

Now, to address the elephant in the room, is it a worthwhile investment getting a business coach? Well, in the words of Merrill C. Anderson, Ph.D., from MetrixGlobal LLC:

“Coaching produced a 529% return on investment and significant intangible results to the organization. Including financial benefits from employee retention, the ROI was 788%.”

Now that’s significant.

Investing in a good coach has proven to be an excellent investment, with significant returns reflected in greater revenues and earning potential of the business. Hiring a business coach can literally change your life and the outlook of your business for the better. And it gets better.

The returns on your investment in a good business coach aren’t just financial but have other immeasurable benefits like:

Greater attainment of set goals

Increased engagement and commitment within the company

A decrease in anxiety and stress

Enhanced well-being and resilience.

Here are some interesting stats that may reveal to you just how important a business coach can be to your business.

A 2001 study by Manchester Inc. revealed that businesses that employed a business coach saw an average return of 5.7 times the amount on their investment that they paid for the coaching services

A report conducted by the Personnel Management Association revealed that executives who received both coaching and training had increased productivity by 86% compared to a 22% increase in productivity by executives who received training alone.

A Hay Group study uncovered that 40% of Fortune 500 companies make use of business coaching to train and develop their executives

A study conducted by MetrixGlobal LLC revealed that businesses who paid for coaching saw a $7.90 return for every $1.00 spent on those services

53% of business owners and executives report that working with a business coach increased their productivity

61% of owners report that business coaching increased their job satisfaction

23% of executives report that business coaching helped them reduce operational costs

22% of companies report that business coaching increased their profitability

67% of business owners and executives report that business coaching increased their teamwork skills within their business

Coaching isn’t an overnight venture, neither is it a quick fix, but the results are worth the process involved.

Are You Ready For Business Coaching?

Every business owner hits a point of burn out or overwhelm where they lose site of how to get where they want to go.

But buckling down and working harder only gets you so far, because there are only 24 hours in a day.

I remember the moment – 8 years into my first business – when I couldn’t handle the workload myself anymore. My partner and I discovered the way out – our first business coach.

Finding someone who could help us with quarterly planning, overall strategy, and regular accountability allowed us to give ourselves raises in under a year.

The right coach can help you add more profit to your bottom line, free up time on your calendar, and systematize your business so your team performs the right way every time

If you want to see our expanded list of 90 top business coaches, click the button below:

Want Personal Help Figuring Out How To Hire A Coach?

The fastest and easiest way to find the right coach (and to find out if coaching is really for you) is to start talking to business coaches.

I’ll ask you to answer a few questions, and then I’ll spend 30 minutes of my time with you to help you discover whether you’re a good candidate for coaching, and what type of coach would suit you best.

I’ve personally built 12 businesses, coached other business owners for 20 years and currently have a business coach of my own, so I know what it takes from both sides of the table to get a great result.

SCHEDULE 30 MINUTES ON MY CALENDAR NOW

~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates