what is a business coach

WHAT IS BUSINESS COACHING? 

Alan Melton

What is a business coach?

coached, consulted and mentored thousands of entrepreneursBasically, 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. Still, 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 quest for growth and prosperity can easily distract 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 so doing, you can clearly map out the path to where you want to go and devise a plan to get there.

Provides an outside perspective for your company

business owner mentoring

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 loom in 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. The business coach 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.

Helps to establish business vision and goals

business coach and team developing strategic planningBusiness coaching 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.

Works with your strengths

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.

business coaching vision into realityIf you can identify what you’re doing well and double your efforts therein, then success is almost assured.

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

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 impede 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.

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

committed business coaching services

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 imperative to deal with self first, establishing motivation and prospects for the business as a business owner, overcoming personal challenges and self-limiting beliefs before attention is set 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. The focus of executive coaches is developing better communication skills, team management, and career development in the executives.

Experienced business coach or mentor

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.

Is a business consultant the same as a business coach?

business consultant with clientA business consultant and a business coach’s roles are undeniably essential in rescuing failing businesses, but their functioning has some differences. 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 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.

Expectations from a business coach

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

a business coaching sessionProbably 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

business assessmentsBeing 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 weakness 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.

Professional standards and values

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.

Can you be coached?

business coaching servicesCoaching 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 hiring a business coach worth it?

business coachingNow, 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 if set goals
  •         Increased engagement and commitment within the company
  •         A decrease in anxiety and stress
  •         Enhanced well-being and resilience.

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

Take it to the next level

Are you looking to take your small business to the next level? Do you desire to grow as a small business owner? Then check out our small business coaching program with Small Business Coach Associates. Get imparted with dynamic strategies to build your small business and set you as a leading business owner.

Do you need the services of a business coach in your company?

For more details, click here.